What is a cooperative preschool?

Portland Kinderschule is a Portland cooperative preschool. A cooperative preschool program is operated by a group of parents who take an active interest and role in their child’s first educational experience. Portland Kinderschule employs professional teachers to lead our classes, but all other aspects of the school are managed on a volunteer basis by the students’ families. Families have the opportunity to feel ownership of our non-profit cooperative preschool by having a hands-on role in assisting in the classroom, by fundraising to support our programs and by participating in the business administration of the school.


Why choose a cooperative preschool?

Young children benefit tremendously from the safe, nurturing and fun environment of a cooperative preschool. As parents work together both inside and outside of the classroom to create a school year filled with learning and adventure, a tightly knit community is built. The security that children draw from the sense of community ensures that they will begin their educational journey loving school.

Sending your child to a Portland cooperative preschool benefits not only students but also their parents. As a parent, you can expect to gain a better understanding of your child’s individuality by observing them in the classroom as they interact with the teacher and other students.

Our strong community will provide you with a network of German-speaking families for play dates, outings, and community events. Portland Kinderschule families value the mutual understanding and moral support from other parents with the same interests and values.

You will have a voice in school decisions, administration and policy-making. You will have the opportunity to maintain or improve your German language skills, or, for those new to German, the opportunity to explore a new language and culture. You will have a voice in school decisions and policy-making, and the satisfaction of working with others to run a great cooperative preschool. Perhaps most importantly, you will have wonderful memories of activities shared with your children during these precious preschool years.

What are my obligations?

Parental involvement is essential to the success of our school. The contributions of each family allow Portland Kinderschule to offer an outstanding, immersive education at a very reasonably priced tuition.

Parents are required to:

  • Attend general meetings two times per year. We discuss and vote on school issues, elect board members, hear speakers, as well as enjoy some adult social time.
  • Assist in the classroom as a parent helper according to our rotating schedule. The number of days you are required to parent help depends on how many days your child attends school per week. Many families at Portland Kinderschule have two parents who work. For those with flexibility in their work schedule, parent helper days can be planned to fit your calendar. Other families may choose to have a nanny, grandparent or substitute help cover their parent helper days. All classroom helpers are required to pass a criminal background history check.
  • Speak German to the best of your ability in the classroom to children, teachers and other parents. Parents who do not speak German are supported in their efforts to learn some rudimentary German, including basic phrases and greetings to use in the classroom.
  • Fundraise: Our reasonable tuition does not fully cover the cost of educating your child. Our fundraising goal varies annually and is divided evenly among all families. Your fundraising goal, or your “fair share,” is easy to meet through a number of annual fundraising opportunities that are offered throughout the year. Families who opt out of fundraising may make a tax-deductible donation to cover their fair share.
  • Clean classroom two times per year. Semi-annual cleaning parties are typically held on a Saturday morning and take approximately two hours.
  • Volunteer for one job per school year.

How will I be involved?

Each family is required to volunteer for one job per year. Positions on the board of directors are more time-intensive also carry the requirement of attendance at a monthly board meeting. Portland Kinderschule values each family’s commitment to our cooperative effort and understands that contributions come in many forms. We strive to match families with appropriate volunteer jobs that will enhance your overall Kinderschule experience.

Positions on the Board of Directors

Coordinates and oversees all operations of the preschool.

Supports president as needed and takes over when president is not available.

Takes minutes during meetings and communicates them to the membership via email.

Receives and dispenses funds. Keeps complete financial records. Develops and presents financial reports and budgets.

Acts as registrar, ensuring all required forms are on file prior to start of school. Maintains files of student records, immunizations, and school roster.

Ensures the website is up to date. Post to the school’s Facebook/Instagram account with pictures and updates. Identifies other marketing opportunities.

Works with board to plan, coordinate and organize fundraising events for the upcoming year.

Non-Board Volunteer Positions

Determines number of parent helper days required per family. Creates and provides sign-up sheets at general meetings.

Takes pictures of all incoming students and families. Creates bulletin board identifying each student and the family’s job. Compiles a memory book for each child as a gift from the school. Gathers photographs throughout the year and creates a year-end yearbook.

Plans field trips and schedules classroom visitors that support Portland Kinderschule’s curriculum. Organizes four cultural events per year.

Checks emergency and first aid kit to make sure there is sufficient food, water and supplies. Organizes two cleaning days per year. Coordinates with teachers to make sure periodic fire, earthquake and lock down drills are carried out.

Manages website in cooperation with Marketing Manager, manages user accounts and shared file access rights.