What do you mean by a cooperative school?
Nutfield is a true cooperative school. In addition to having four Parent Representatives on the Board of Directors, parents also participate in the classroom on a rotating basis. Each parent is scheduled to co-op in their child's class in alphabetical order. In the fours, parents come in approximately once every six weeks; in the threes, approximately once every two months.
If you have special requests for co-op days, you can alert the Director and we will try to honor them. The co-op schedule is circulated every two months. If you or someone in your family cannot co-op on your scheduled day you have two options: you can swap with another family in the class or you can hire our Contingency Aide for $20 to take your place.
What is the average class size and the teacher-to-student ratio?
The class size for the 3-year- old program is a maximum of 15 students.
The class size for the 4-year- old program is a maximum of 18 students.
Each class has a teacher, a teaching assistant, and a volunteer parent. There is also a Contingency Aide floating among the classrooms while school is in session, to offer additional support in a classroom when needed.
What is the daily schedule in the classroom?
The daily schedule varies in each classroom, but for the most part, each class session begins with a choice time, in which students can choose from the centers in the classroom to spend time with their classmates.
Then there is a circle time in which the class works together exploring current topics, and academic and developmentally appropriate concepts are introduced and taught.
There is a snack time, time for outdoor play with peers, story time, and another large block of choice time in which students again select from the centers in the classroom to explore. During this extended choice, projects designed to engage and support the student in learning concepts are supervised by the aide and the parent. There are also gym and music classes.
In the Expanded Day class, after lunch the children have a second outside time, selected silent reading, time for math and science activities, and a writing time.
Can I request a teacher?
Parents are given ample opportunity to discuss their child’s personality, needs, and learning styles. This information is then used to place the child in a classroom environment that is best suited to the child. You can request a specific teacher, but we cannot guarantee that the request will be honored.
Do you have a security policy and plans in place?
Yes, we do. Please refer to the Health and Safety page, or the Parent Handbook.
Where is Nutfield located?
Nutfield School is located on the premises of the First Parish Church in East Derry, on East Derry Road. The school is not affiliated with the church.
Does the Nutfield school year match the Derry Cooperative School System yearly calendar?
Nutfield’s school year ends the second week of June. This provides a school year of ample length of children aged 3 to 6. Nutfield does provide a Summer Program of classes during the month of June for those students and families that would like to participate in a longer school program.
Are the students escorted to the bathroom and chaperoned during toileting?
For children attending the 3-year-old program, students are escorted to the bathroom as a group before snack, and if a child needs to go at another time during the class session, they are accompanied by an adult. For children in the 4-year-old program, the student needs to sign out and/or notify an adult that they are going to the bathroom. An additional Hall Monitor is usually present during school hours, responsible for observing and guiding any children in the hallways and bathrooms.

During the School Year Questions

How do you handle discipline in the classroom?
Discipline means to teach or train. In our classrooms, the children have three adults to teach them the rules of good classroom cooperation as well as a class of children to model appropriate behavior.
If a child is having a hard time figuring out appropriate classroom behavior, one of the teachers will take them aside, help them see the consequences of their behavior, and brainstorm a better approach to the situation. The co-oping parent may speak to a child they are working with who is having difficulty, or they may ask the teacher to intervene. The safety of all children is always our primary concern; we will do what is needed to guarantee safety without embarrassing a child.
Will my child be ready for Kindergarten?
Our curriculum is designed to introduce the children to all of the skills they will need to be ready for Kindergarten. We teach these skills in a developmentally appropriate way, which means the way in which research has shown that children learn best.
Research has show that children learn best when they are using all of their senses. A child needs to move, touch, see, hear, and sometimes even smell, to make a concept their own. We give children opportunities to move each day both in the classroom, in gym, and outside; children have many opportunities to touch materials that reinforce the curriculum; most of our lessons include a visual element as well as an oral description; and finally the fragrances of various activities often fill the halls at Nutfield.
The feedback we get from many of the schools in Derry is that Nutfield children are very well prepared for further learning. They are independent, comfortable asking questions, and able to learn from their mistakes.
How do you handle social problems between students?
We encourage children to do a lot of talking and to practice good listening. We ask students to try and tell each other how they are feeling (sad, mad, frustrated, jealous). We ask them to tell each other how they would like to solve the problem. If they can not agree on the solutions the teacher would then act as a mediator.
Sometimes we encourage parents of children who are having problems at school to get them together outside of school so they can get to know each other better.
Do you use computers in the classroom?
Computers are a large part of daily life in most homes, and certainly in public schools from Grade 1 and beyond. Therefore, for the 2 ½ hours your child is at Nutfield, we feel the time is better spent in other areas that will promote creativity, socialization, and hands-on learning.
We feel that you are sending your child to us for the social experience, so that is what we focus on. With all the concerns educators have about the amount of screen time children are getting we have chosen not to include computers in our classrooms.
Will my child learn to read at Nutfield?
Reading is much like putting a puzzle together. The level of difficulty of a puzzle (number of pieces) a child will be successful at depends on a child’s developmental level.
We will introduce the children to all of the skills (pieces) they need to begin reading. If a child is ready to put all of the skills (pieces) together to read (make a picture) they will be reading when the leave Nutfield. If they are not ready they will have a good head start on reading when they enter Kindergarten.
What if my child claims to be bored?
If you hear your child make the comment that he or she is bored at school, first do not panic. Rather, in casual conversation, try to determine exactly what your child means by “bored.”
Be very careful to listen to your child and not feed them answers. Frequently we find that a child who is bored has one or more of the following problems at school.
Sometimes it means “No one at school is playing with me”; which can be remedied by helping the child gain access to play.
Sometimes it means “I am having a hard time sitting for so long in circle”; the teacher can make some adjustments to accommodate this issue.
Sometimes a child is having a difficult time adjusting to the routine, in which case, perhaps he or she needs some one-on-one guidance through the day.
If the issue stems from your child missing you while at school, assure your child you will be there at the end of the day to pick them up. Be sure to share this info with your child’s teacher, she will be sure to help your child deal with any problems and will watch for other areas that could contribute to “boredom.”
Will my child be safe at Nutfield?
We take the safety and security of our students and staff very seriously, and we have solid and tested procedures in place in the event of an emergency. Please refer to the Health and Safety page, or the Parent Handbook.
Under what weather conditions do the students NOT go outside?
We feel in this day and age it is particularly important to get the children outside for some fresh air and exercise every day. The students go out in all but the most inclement of weather (pouring rain, exceptional cold).
There is no particular temperature at which we do not go out. The decision to go out or not is made by the individual teacher. A class is usually outside for around 15 minutes, and if the weather is bad, this time will be decreased.
How do I decide what to provide for snack on my day to co-op?
Keep it simple, healthy, and remember if your child likes it, chances are the majority of their classmates will as well.
The teacher and teaching assistant will provide a suggestion list at the beginning of the school year, and they will periodically update the snack suggestion list during the year. Also, be sure to check the bulletin board outside your classroom for notices of any food allergies that students in the class might have.
Finally, remember to avoid food items that might promote choking, such as peanuts or whole grapes (slice them before serving).