About Us

Our Mission Statement and Philosophy

Co-op preschool classroom in Fairhaven

Kids gather for circle time activities.

Our mission at Children’s Co-Op Preschool (CCP) is to provide a safe, nurturing, and rich learning environment for both parents and children to build confidence and a solid foundation as their first school experience.

We believe that young children learn best through hands-on, open-ended, and creative play. We nurture and respect the whole child. Therefore, our classroom environment is thoughtfully created to encourage and support each child’s unique social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

Our School, Program, and Curriculum

Children’s Co-Op Preschool is a nonprofit, parent co-operative school that is affiliated with Whatcom Community College (WCC) for children ages two to six years. It is one of six co-operative preschools under the larger umbrella of WCC. We provide three separate programs: a Toddler class, Preschool, and Pre-Kindergarten. Our preschool has been running for more than forty years, and some of our first students have now returned as parents!

At Children’s Co-Op, the parents serve as administrators and staff of the school. Our teachers plan the curriculum and guide the parents working in the classroom. A facilitator is provided by Whatcom Community College who offers professional support for the teachers and families, trains new board members, and leads the parent education program.

Our curriculum is developmentally appropriate to support young children’s learning. Based on seasonal themes where children actively explore our different learning centers, the children learn by doing. Through active involvement with their environment, children learn to make sense of the world around them. Our role is to create a community within our classroom that invites children to observe, to be active, to make choices, and to experiment.

In accordance with the requirements of our insurance company, all participating parents are expected to be familiar with and follow the practices outlined in the OPEP Safety Orientation video.

Being in a Co-Op Means:

  • Working in your child’s classroom (approximately once every two to three weeks depending on the child’s age and the size of the class)
  • Attending the parent education meeting once a month
  • Performing a parent job (board positions, fundraiser, newsletter, etc.)
  • Participating in fundraising
  • Building lifelong friendships for you and your child

Our Teachers

Our teachers bring a love and passion for learning and exploration to the classroom. They celebrate and honor the uniqueness and development of each child. Heidi Peterson, who teaches the Pre-K and Preschool classes since 2002, and Daravan Marith, our Toddler class teacher since 2007, both have teaching degrees in early childhood and elementary education, and have been working with young children for more than 20 years each.


Daravan teaches the toddler class at Children’s Co-op Preschool in FairhavenDaravan Marith
Toddler Teacher

Teacher of the preschool and pre-kindergarten classes in Bellingham at Children's Co-Op Preschool

Heidi Peterson
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Our Discipline Philosophy

At our school, we promote three simple rules, each understood and applied in an age appropriate manner for the classes:

  1. Be Safe
    ~Hands to self
    ~Personal space awareness
  2. Be Respectful of Self and Others
    ~Cooperative learning (taking turns)
    ~Care of toys and equipment
  3. Learn good etiquette
    ~Good manners
    ~Becoming independent and taking care of self

For children who need more guidance in behavior management, we promote problem-solving skills, redirecting children to another activity, and giving them choices. Some children may need to have a quiet, safe place to process their situation with an adult in a positive way before rejoining the group, and this is done in a loving, respectful and supportive way.  We do not practice any punitive discipline, and strive to build an inviting, creative and fun learning environment for our children to grow and learn.

Dealing with separation anxiety

Our goal is for children to love school. Therefore, if you feel your child is having a hard time separating from you, we ask that parents stay with their child until the child feels secure and safe. Our role as teachers is to support each family’s needs. If this persists for more than a couple of months, then this might be an indication of your child’s development that he/she is not ready for school and should wait to try again next year.