Elizabeth Benimoff, Member for 2 Years
Smithtown Cooperative Nursery School is a wonderful place for every child. The teachers are warm and caring. The learning environment is play-based so the kids have fun while learning. The curriculum is based on NAEYC standards and is age appropriate. There is an open door policy.
Separation is treated gently and with kindness - each child can separate at their own pace which provides a level of security for each child that turns into a love for school. Individual differences are valued and accepted. If your child is still working on potty training that is okay AND the teachers provide valuable guidance, if desired. In fact, the teachers provide valuable guidance on all aspects of early childhood development. If needed, positive discipline is employed with calm reminders of the rules and redirection.
There is a sense of community among the families because this is a cooperative school. The best part for my family is being the participation parent for the day - you get the chance to see your child blossom and play with their friends. The participation person for the day can be any caregiver for your child - there are a number of participation grandparents (or aunts, uncles, friends - anyone you designate). There are scheduled activities throughout the year that are fun and contribute to the sense of community (e.g., movie night, Halloween party, spring dance, and fall/spring festival). Everyone is welcome to contribute ideas and all parents are welcome at every board meeting (as a cooperative the school is run by a Board of Directors).
Everyday my son has the opportunity to paint, draw or play with play dough (building those writing muscles). Books are always available. In addition to reading stories to the entire class, during free "play" when a child shows interest teachers or assistants read to one or more children. Music is incorporated into every day. There is circle time each day and children who wander away are gently guided back to the group. Weather permitting the children play outside every day. For bad weather days the kids play in a room set up as an indoor gymnasium equipped with tricycles and other toys. My son is learning every day and he has a wonderful time at school. Smithtown Cooperative Nursery School is a wonderful preschool!
Melissa Rosenthal, Member for 3 Years
The second I walked into the school I knew I was in the perfect place for not only my daughter, but my family. The way the children interacted in the class among themselves and with the staff made me feel that I had made the correct decision in choosing Smithtown Cooperative. The curricula they support for each age group is age appropriate, allowing my children the opportunity to grow and succeed. There are no dittos or workbooks, but hands on activities that allow my children to be inquisitive, problem solve, and be creative at a level that they can comprehend. The structure and support that the staff provides is well balanced, thorough and thoughtful.
In addition, being a cooperative, the school gives our family an opportunity to be engaged in the activities and programs they offer, as well as providing a community that is supportive and filled with parents who feel the same as we do about our children's early childhood development. My children are excited about going to school, excited about what the day brings and are excited to share what they have learned, each and every day!
Vesna Sengstaken, Member for 4 Years
One of the exciting things about Smithtown Nursery School, and their play-based philosophy, is the way they invest in uncovering a child’s natural curiosity. This, to me, is the heart of knowledge. The staff at Smithtown Nursery have given my daughter more than a place to mature her social skills, they’ve given her a love of learning. Learning should be fun, and Smithtown Nursery’s program strives to make each child feel appreciated, validated, and nurtured both mentally and emotionally. The atmosphere is fun, caring and friendly. It is the perfect combination of parent involvement while giving our children the space to grow. It is a wonderful experience for the whole family. I highly recommend this school to any family that wants to be a vital part of their child's education and growth.
Erin Leal, Member for 3 Years
The co-op has been a wonderful experience.! I would recommend this school to anyone without hesitation. The joy I see in my daughter's eyes when she is saying hello to her teacher, saying good-bye to a friend or telling me what she did on the playground, makes me feel like this was the perfect place for us! Plus, coming in to participate gives me a chance to see my daughter in action! She is so proud of her school & I am happy I can provide her with such a enriched learning environment!
Kathy Miller, Member for 3 Years
As I write this I am sad that my 4 year old is heading off to kindergarten in the fall. My husband and I couldn’t image sending our child anywhere else. It has been a wonderful experience to be in a co-op family where you actually get to see how your child grows, how they interact in the classroom, and get to know the parents of the kids that go there. No other type of preschool will you get to witness this. It’s a wonderful experience when your daughter is so excited when you’re the class mom for the day and they can’t wait to show you everything that is going on in the classroom. They're only toddlers for so long and the co-op gave us the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful time in her life.
It is great to experience the joy of having a happy toddler, eager to go to Nursery School and be with her friends. When Shannon gets home from school she often tells me what she did or learned in school. Imagine a four year old telling you what “tundra” really means (it is a place with no trees) because you don’t know! It is these small, simple things that make my day brighter. Shannon has made friends in school that I believe she will have for many, many years. I have seen that the things she learns through playing.
A happy, occupied child is a beautiful sight, and it brings me such satisfaction. My decision to send Shannon to Smithtown Nursery School is one of the best I have made. Any siblings she may have will certainly go there also. The staff is extraordinarily experienced, with teachers who have worked there for decades and choose to stay because of their belief in what they do. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but I don’t see that very often today. It is something to be valued. Children are amazingly perceptive and feeling that spirit puts them at ease and makes them feel welcome and safe.
I could send my child to any nursery school, or none at all, but my husband and I felt this was truly a special place and strongly recommend it.
Kristen Rokosz, Member for 8 Years
The first time I came to Orientation at this school and saw the way the parents and teachers all interacted with each other as one big family, I knew my husband and I had picked the right place for us.
This school does not sell itself on its academic teachings. However, both of my children were more than ready for Kindergarten academically; having learned about letters, numbers, the months and days of the week, the arctic, the rainforest, space and the planets, the stages of a butterfly, camouflage, and dinosaurs just to name a few things. They learn through open classroom discussion, hands on experimentation, and field trips as well. The children are encouraged to ask questions about what they see, hear, and touch. The teachers frequently provide parents a glimpse of what they learn with surprisingly insightful quotes from the children on each subject covered.
Outside of just the learning experience, the warm, loving and encouraging atmosphere was the perfect place to watch our children grow emotionally as well as academically. Through the 4 years each of my children have spent at Smithtown Nursery School, I have watched them become more confident and comfortable with themselves. Here they were given the freedom to develop in their own time and their own ways all with the teachers’ loving and gentle guidance to help them along. They were always encouraged to try different things, but not pushed to do anything they didn’t want to.
The teachers couldn’t be more caring and competent in every way. In addition, the teachers helped comfort and guide my husband and I as well when we expressed all of our concerns, big or small, regarding the development of our children. These women aren’t just teachers; they’re mothers as well, and when they speak with you, you know they aren’t just giving you a practiced response, but the experienced wisdom and compassion of having once been in our shoes with a full understanding of the worry and frustration we feel.
My daughter started loving school at Smithtown Nursery School and hasn’t stopped since. She will enter 5th grade this fall. She’s been a member of Student Council and due to her academic performance was asked to be a part of a special program called STEMS (Smithtown Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Science) this past year. My son, who had such a difficult time learning to separate and was always so unsure of himself, is just about to enter Kindergarten this fall and for the first time appears excited about the unknown that’s ahead of him and the prospect of meeting new friends.
My husband and I can’t thank the director and the teachers of the Smithtown Nursery School enough for ALL they have done for our children and ourselves as well!
Chrissie Tansey, Past Member
What can I say about Smithtown Nursery School. Some of the best memories of my children are from there. My husband and I have madethe BEST friends from there too. My "babies" are 18 and 20 and we still talk about the fun times and the GREAT teachers. I STILL miss the co-op!!!
Heidi Contreras, Member for 3 years
Smithtown Nursery School, what a wonderful place! My daughter had had a very special school experience over the past 3 years. From free play to projects, field trips and the playground, she had made great friends and learned SO MUCH! She will truly miss coming to the co-op as she enters Kindergarten but she will always love her memories ad the strong foundation they have given her.
Maryann Harkins, Member for 6 years My priority was my daughter and making sure that she would be in a safe, nurturing environment. Little did I know, six years later, we would be a a part of something so much bigger. All 3 of my children have been here and it is much, much more than a nursery school- it's a family, it's a community. The co-op allows me to participate in the most important years of my children’s' lives. The teachers continue to encourage me to take an active roll. My children love their classes, their teachers and friends (still to this day!). This is a special place!
Sarah Cordova, Member for 6 Years, Alumni
It is hard to explain this extraordinary place. Being a former student (some 33 years ago), I knew my children would always attend Smithtown Nursery School. I just didn't realize how incredible the experience would be for them and me.
Everything the nursery school does is for the children- socially, academically, developmentally and emotionally. The children are given choice, independence and nurturing in all ways possible.
My children can dress up like firefighters and "rescue a family" with their fellow firefighters , paint a picture with the colors of the rainbow, build a block tower that reaches the sky, play in the sand table and bake a "cake", create an amazing project in their own way, listen to a meaningful story and dance their little hearts out all before snack time. They get to make their own decisions when it comes to their day. Their teachers guide them and teach them new things each and every day. My children can't wait to go to school in the morning and talk about their day and their classmates long after we leave.
I know the things that they have learned about themselves, about working with others and about being part of a community will enable them to be more active members when they go off to public school. I look forward to seeing what else they learn as we continue to be a proud member of such a special place.
Traci Licata, Member for 3 Years
I believe a child's first school experience will forever influence,shape and affect the way he or she thinks, feels and cares aboutschool. I wanted my son to have the best experience he could for hisfirst time.
What he and I have experienced has gone above and beyondwhat I originally thought the school would be. It is so much more than I anticipated. It is a wonderful, loving, nurturing, hands on,creative and fun "first school experience".
I also have had a wonderful experience myself. I get to be hands on and participate in my son's school. It is a wonderful sense of community, getting to knowall of his classmates and their parents. Both he and I have made somewonderful friends at the school.
I cannot begin to thank Tricia and Margaret for their love, wisdom and patience with all of the children. They are truly special teachers.
We are very lucky to have a greatstaff and board members who give so much of their time to make theschool what it is.
Lynn Clifford, Past Member
Our twins, Candice and Joseph, were a year old when we joined a new mother's group at the Smithtown Nursery School. I knew right away that this was the nursery school for our family. All the teachers are so dedicated, caring, and truly love what they are doing. The Co-op is a place where children can explore in a learning way.
My favorite memories were when my children painted and when they played at the water and sand table with their friends. Many of the children that played around that table are still friends and they have shared so many happy times throughout the years. It has been fun watching all these Smithtown Nursery School graduates become incredible, confident, and caring young adults.
The Co-op was also a special place for my husband and me. We learned how to be better parents and truly cherish our life long friends that we met there. Candice and Joe are in their second year of college and attend the University of Scranton.
Patty Anello, Past Member
A wonderful place for our children! I have great memories of my children at this special school and I have made life-long friends from the Smithtown Nursery School. My babies are 19 and 16 and I miss the co-op days!