Below are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Where is Children & Company located?
Children & Company is located at 5355 Phelps Luck Drive in the Phelps Luck Community Center in Columbia, Maryland. Our telephone number is 443-741-2436. Voicemail is checked regularly. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 1364, Columbia, MD 21044.
How does the application process work?
The membership process typically begins in the fall when applications for the following school year become available. For more information, please see the Enrollment page.
Can I stop by and visit the school before applying?
We offer classroom tours and observations only by appointment when there are openings in the school or places available on the waiting list. Families interested in membership are encouraged to begin exploring our school by attending one of the open house events. Please see the Enrollment page for more information.
Does my child need to be potty trained to attend?
Children do not need to be potty trained to attend. Diaper changes or toileting assistance are handled only by the teachers.
How many children are in each class?
The 2-year old class has a maximum of 12 students. The 3-year old class has a maximum of 16 students. The 4-year old class has a maximum of 16 students. All classes are led by a team of two teachers and have daily assistance from a co-op member.
What is a typical day at school like?
Each class begins with a free play period when children choose their own activities, using the resources of our classroom including a variety of toys, books, puzzles, manipulative play objects such as playdough, art supplies, and educational games. Each day also includes a circle time, teacher-planned crafts and activities, snack, and outdoor time on the playground when weather permits.
Do you serve snacks? What are the policies for food allergies?
Snack is served in each class every school day. Families have a rotating responsibility for bringing snack supplies on the days they are scheduled to co-op. Children & Company is a nut-free school and we have procedures in place for protecting children with food allergies and other dietary concerns. Each year, an approved snack list is developed based on the needs of the students and the snacks brought to school must conform to this list.
Which school calendar do you follow?
We follow the Howard County Public School Calendar with a few exceptions. Our school year usually starts the day after Labor Day.
How will I learn about my child’s progress in school?
Teachers distribute progress reports for each child twice per year. After the progress reports are distributed, the teachers meet with each family during regular school hours on special conference days.
How is the curriculum developed? Who plans the daily activities?
Our dynamic and highly qualified teachers develop the curriculum and plan classroom activities. Having essentially accepted the school’s philosophy by joining, the members give the teachers the sole right and responsibility to run the classroom on a day-to-day basis. We encourage active discussion of the school’s philosophy and activities and comments or suggestions can be brought to the attention of the teachers, or the chair appointed for each class.
What if my child has problems adjusting to separation from me?
For children first coming to preschool, we try to gradually let the child become familiar with the people and the room. Leaving should proceed at a pace that the child, Teachers, and parent are all comfortable with–this will be different for each child. Before your child comes to school, familiarize him/her with where the school is (drive by a few times on your way somewhere else), who s/he will meet, who will take your child to school and back, how long s/he will stay, and some of the things that are there (blocks, toys, climbing equipment, sandbox, etc.).
Do the children go on field trips? Are there special enrichment activities?
Yes, the 3- and 4-year-old classes participate in monthly field trips and enrichment activities. More information is available on the Programs page.
What are co-op and set-up duties?
Families have a rotating responsibility for acting as the co-op and set-up person. On a set-up day, you must arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of class. The co-op person stays for the entire class and is responsible for bringing the snack. The co-op person will spend the majority of his/her time in the classroom playing with the children and assisting the teachers with class activities. The set-up person assists the co-op person with the preparation of the classroom and also returns early to the classroom to help clean or pack up classroom furniture and supplies. The process of packing up the classroom on Fridays and in the afternoon classes can require that a parent stay up to 15 minutes beyond the end of class.
Can older or younger siblings attend the school occasionally? Can I bring my younger/older child on days when I’m the co-op or set-up person?
When you are the co-op person, you may not bring other children to the classroom unless they are younger than 6 months of age. We have found that this is in the best interest of all parties. As the co-oping person you will be more available to address the needs of the classroom if you do not have to attend to your other child(ren). We encourage you to coordinate babysitting with other members. When you are the setup person, you may bring other children, but you must be able to perform the duties of setting up and packing up the classroom.
What kind of job will I be assigned?
We have a variety of co-op jobs and try to match jobs to our members’ skills and preferences. You can view the list of co-op jobs and details about job requirements on the Enrollment page.