Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What is a Co-operative Preschool?

A.  A co-operative preschool can be described as a non-profit organization of parents who are committed to providing and maintaining a preschool for their children. Parent effort and participation allows for more affordable tuition; therefore, more parents are able to provide their children with preschool experience. A co-operative preschool school creates an environment in which parents and teachers work together to provide the highest quality early childhood education. In keeping with the co-operative nature of our school, you, as the parent, are encouraged to become actively involved in your child’s education. By helping out in the classroom, or on field trips, through participating on committees, or perhaps joining the School Council, you will be showing your child that you are interested in his/her education. At the same time, your child will take pleasure in having you at school. This partnership between you, your child and his/her school will help to ensure your child’s success at learning.

Q.  What is an Emergent Curriculum?

A.  The emergent curriculum builds on the interests and natural learning styles of children. In a warm and nurturing environment, teachers deliver programs that provide positive, hands-on learning experiences, which promote the development of skills that children will need for later school and life success. “The curriculum is called ’emergent’ because it evolves, diverging along new paths as choices and connections are made, and it is always open to new possibilities that were not thought of during the initial planning process” (Jones and Reynolds, 1992). Teachers develop program plans and adjust and shape these plans as they go along, responding to children’s interests and activities. Emergent curriculum arises naturally from teacher-child interactions that allow for “teachable moments”. It connects learning with experience and prior learning. It addresses children’s interests and responds to their interests rather than focusing on a narrow, individual, or calendar-driven topic. The teachers encourage learning through play by providing learning objectives within the classroom activities/centres. These learning centres are designed to encourage a variety of activities including pre-writing, pre-reading, creative art, sensory, discovery, dramatic play, blocks/construction and computers (4-year-old program only).

Q.  What is a typical day at school like?

A.  The following is an example of a typical beginning and ending of the school day in each of our programs.

Morning 2’s Program & Afternoon 3’s Program

8:50 a.m. or 12:50 p.m.

  • Arrive at the School and reverse into parking spaces.
  • Enter the School and look for nametag along the wall. The shelf space and hook under your child’s name becomes his/her cubby.
  • Remove outer clothing and hang on hook along with their knapsacks. Have your child sit at his/her cubby space and wait for the teachers.

9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m.

  • Teachers announce time for children to go into the classroom. Parents say goodbye and leave.

11:30 a.m. or 3:30 p.m.

  • Parents return to pick up children. On good weather days, children will be in the play yard. Pick your child up at the play yard door. On bad weather days, pick your child up in the gym. Parent dresses child in his/her outer clothing for departure. Parents are to check their child’s cubby for any memos or artwork.

Morning 3’s Program & Afternoon 4’s Program

8:50 a.m. or 12:50 p.m.

  • Arrive at the School and reverse into parking spaces.
  •  Enter the School and look for nametag along the wall. The shelf space and hook under your child’s name becomes his/her cubby.
  • Do not remove child’s outer clothing. Have your child sit at his/her cubby space and wait for the teachers.

9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m.

  • Teachers announce outside playtime; parents escort children to the play yard door and say goodbye at the play yard door, but do not enter the play yard.

11:30 a.m. or 3:30 p.m.

  • Parents return to pick up their child.
  • Parents wait in the hallway and the teachers will call the child out of the classroom when the parent is seen waiting in the hallway.
  • Parent dresses child in his/her outer clothing for departure and checks child’s cubby for any memos or artwork.

Q.  What kind of screening do adults have before they can fulfill duty days or function as a field trip supervisor?

A.  Bells Corners Co-operative Nursery School is responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for all members (children, employees and volunteers) attending and participating in the School and for minimizing potential situations of risk.

All agencies funded or licensed by the Ministry of Community & Social Services, providing direct service to children, including childcare, are required to have Criminal Reference Check Policies and Procedures in place. Criminal Reference Checking is a precautionary measure. It is designed to ascertain whether individuals providing direct service to children have a criminal history which could potentially make them unsuitable for certain positions of trust. Such checks can assist agencies in attempting to ensure the safety and well being of people who are receiving services from them.

It is the policy of BCCNS that any person who intends to fulfill duty days or function as a field trip supervisor must have a criminal reference check (CRC) in process by the Ottawa Police Service on a yearly basis. The Ottawa Police Service will return the CRC forms to the individual who is then responsible for showing this to BCCNS. BCCNS will maintain a record of individuals who are eligible to be duty person and thus permitted to enter the classrooms or be field trip supervisors. These records will be kept on file for one additional year after the member leaves the School. At the end of that time it will be shredded.

Q.  How can I obtain a Criminal Reference Check (CRC)?

A.  The child’s parent/guardian decides who will supervise field trips and/or fulfill the duty days (i.e. caregiver, grandparent, or other individual approved by parent). If more than one person is to fill this role, a separate Criminal Reference Check (CRC) must be completed for each of those individuals on separate forms. In the Registration Package, you will find the form: Police Records Check for Service with the Vulnerable Sector. This form is to be completed for at least one person per family (although the school suggests that two people from each family should be available) and submitted with your Registration Package. The forms and instructions for completion come directly from the police and can be found in the Registration Package. Additional forms are available in the School’s Office if more than two people will be carrying out the duty day and/or field trip supervisory responsibilities. Failure to follow the correct procedures will result in the return of the application unprocessed and significant delays in obtaining CRC approval. The Ottawa Police Service state NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE. If an incomplete form is returned to the school it will be the responsibility of the member to produce a negative CRC before his/her scheduled duty day and/or field trip.

Unfortunately recent policies implemented by the Ottawa Police Service have resulted in lengthy delays in processing CRC forms. The onus will be on the applicant to submit their own CRC. The form must be submitted in person. A list of permissible locations and hours of operation is available upon request (please speak with your Registrar or the Program Director). The filled out CRC form must be presented with the Registration Package before it is considered complete.

Q.  How will my child benefit from preschool?


  • Physically through activities designed to develop muscle coordination, using developmentally appropriate toys and equipment.
  • Intellectually by solving problems, thinking creatively, and expanding language development.
  • Socially through playing, sharing and co-operating with other children in a supervised learning environment.
  • Emotionally by learning to channel emotions constructively and by increasing independence in meeting and solving problems through the growth of self-esteem.

Our preschool will provide an environment where your child can build a positive self-image, learn skills which will allow him/her to co-operate with others and become skilled at both independent and group learning activities.

Q.  What happens on my duty day?

A.  A duty day offers parents a first hand opportunity to share in their child’s preschool experience. You will see your child grow as they play at the different learning stations in the classroom, find out which is their favorite and watch them interact with their peers. At the same time you will be contributing to the smooth running of the program while assisting the teachers. Parents of children in the four-year-old programs are not required to fulfill duty days; however assistance may be requested throughout the year for various activities and events.

A grandparent, aunt, uncle, caregiver or friends are welcome to be the duty person for your family, provided that an approved Criminal Reference Check has been submitted and processed by the preschool. Only individuals designated as “duty persons” will be permitted to fulfill this role, even on short notice or emergency circumstances.

On your Duty Day your responsibilities will include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Distributing previous day’s artwork to the cubbies
  • Assisting teachers as needed during the program with: Writing the children’s names on art work, putting art work on racks to dry, putting new blank paper at easel or table for next child to use, taking dry art work and place at child’s cubby, keeping floor free from water, play-doh, cornmeal etc.
  • Providing enough snack for the class and teachers, clearing and disinfecting tables, preparing and distributing snack, filling water jugs and cups
  • Clearing and disinfecting the tables and washing and disinfecting cups after snack (you are welcome to bring your own cups from home)
  • Cleaning art materials (washing paint pots and brushes etc.), wiping tables, wiping easels, sweeping and mopping floor, vacuuming carpets, disinfecting bathrooms
  • Playing with your child and the other children in the class – Have fun! The teachers greatly appreciate your assistance and your child will enjoy sharing his/her classroom experience with you

Q.  Are siblings allowed during duty days?

A.  In an effort to assist and encourage parents with infants to keep their duty days, to support nursing mothers and families with little assistance, and to honor attachment parenting, BCCNS will allow infants to accompany parents into the classroom while they are duty parents. It is hoped that this will also help with acceptance and adjustment of the enrolled child to a changing family situation. Parents must ensure that they are still able to complete the duties required of them. As well, infants must be in a carrier (sling, snugly, car seat, etc) while in the classroom. Children who are able to move around independently (crawling or walking) and require direct supervision by the parent are not permitted on duty days as the classrooms are geared towards older children and are not suitable for toddlers.