Montclair Cooperative School was founded in 1963 and has been a leader in progressive education for the past 56 years. The school’s mission is to educate the whole child, said Ana Younghusband, Co-Head of School for Programs and Education.
“We meet each child where they are, and each child feels seen and heard,” she says. “Every classroom is a community of learners.”
At the school, which starts at Early Ages and goes through eighth grade, students work in an environment where they’re invited to take risks, question, explore, discuss, interpret and create. “Our curriculum ignites children’s curiosity, poses appropriate challenges and lays a strong foundation for continued study and growth and hopefully a lifelong love for learning,” says Younghusband.
The approach to learning at the school is experiential, where students have a chance to practice the academic concepts they learn.
The Co-op has handled the changes that came with COVID-19 in a way that Younghusband says brought them even closer to parents. “Our community connections and parental involvement in day-to-day school life have made all the difference in enabling a smooth transition to distance learning. Parents have become co-educators,” she says.
A cornerstone of the Co-op is the school’s focus on social-emotional learning. “Our social-emotional program guides children towards the understanding of, and respect for, others. Children learn how to negotiate, to reach consensus, to resolve conflicts and to advocate for themselves and others in group situations, with teachers as guides,” she says. “We believe that a child who is socially and emotionally in a good, balanced place is usually also in a good mindset for learning.”
65 Chestnut St., Montclair