Frequently Asked Questions

In a parent co-operative nursery school, classes are taught by a fully-accredited teacher with the help of parents, who learn how to present lessons in art, music, math concepts, reading readiness, science, working together, and problem-solving. Parents attend evening meetings to learn more about child development, positive discipline, nutrition, and ways to further kids' learning at home. By volunteering their time to run the school (from cleaning, making repairs, and making play-dough, to serving on our board and running this non-profit organization) parents help to make tuition affordable for our members. They also become part of a vibrant, caring, and supportive community that extends beyond school functions. Sunnymont-Westside parents can rely on one another for everything from playdates to coffee shop recommendations to support in times of family crises.
Click here to read more about the benefits of Parent Co-op schools.
Sunnymont-Westside is a place where children and their parents grow together. It is a place where the needs, talents, and perspectives of every individual are honored.
For the CHILDREN Sunnymont-Westside provides:
  • Creative play: open-ended art and science projects, music, movement, cooking, water, sand, mud, etc.
  • Encouragement to explore and mature at the child's own pace, promoting a strong self-concept
  • Opportunities to develop as a "whole" child - physically, socially, cognitively, and creatively
  • Acceptance of all feelings and guidance to express them appropriately
  • A high adult/child ratio providing ample individual attention
For their PARENTS Sunnymont-Westside provides:
  • Support in developing skills working with young children
  • Opportunities to increase their understanding of children's behavior and development
  • An opportunity for parents to be involved with their child's education
  • A strong community of supportive parents
None of Sunnymont-Westside's classes require your child to be potty trained. This goes against our belief that children should learn at their own pace.
Sunnymont-Westside is a wonderful blend of religions and cultures. We invite families to share their religious holidays and traditions, so that our children can learn to respect and appreciate the different cultures throughout our community.
We are proud of the diversity of our families at Sunnymont-Westside, and feel that living in the Santa Clara Valley provides an excellent opportunity to teach our children to honor diversity from an early age. We encourage families to bring in their native languages and share them with our children, and to bring in their customs, foods, celebrations, and values. We explain to children that "Some people believe…" We share with our children that some of our families are vegetarians and some are not, some people celebrate this holiday and some people do not, some families have a mom and a dad, some have grandparents, some have babies, some have two moms, some have pets, etc. We encourage you to share your customs, culture and experiences with all of our children. We are proud to have many religions, cultures, and unique individuals in our membership.
At Sunnymont-Westside, discipline and guidance are considered part of the curriculum. Social learning is probably the most important aspect of nursery school. It is natural for children to make mistakes as they learn to get along with others (adults still do!). Children misbehave because they are trying to get their needs met and have picked a poor method. Our job as adults is to help children understand these needs, and find and practice better methods for meeting them. Time out or other punishments don't give children an opportunity to learn, and they do leave children feeling defensive, and less ready to listen to our adult wisdom. Discipline at Sunnymont-Westside is gentle and supportive. Limits are clearly enforced by loving adults who explain why they intervened ("You wanted that car! And I can't let you grab.") and help a child to learn alternatives. ("Let's let him know you're waiting for a turn when he's done, and I'll help you wait.") Kids learn that an adult's most important job is "to keep everyone safe, bodies and hearts" and that we will keep each of them safe while they are learning to keep others safe.
It is preferred that a parent participates. Discuss this with the teacher.
Tours happen by appointment. If you schedule a tour, please know that someone is taking time to be there just for you. Call if you can't make it, so they don't wait for hours.
To get notified about open houses, email a request to the registrar who will let you know once they are scheduled.
Our policy is that children must be within the age range as of Sept 1st. In Dec, your child will be months older, but so is the entire class.
Age exceptions are usually only granted in the 1-day class and for days, occasionally weeks, and rarely a month. Exceptions are granted on a one year basis and must be reapplied for every year. Your written request for an age exception must be submitted to the board, and your child must be recommended by the teacher. Placements are first filled by children meeting age requirements. Then in August age exceptions are considered. Age exceptions are give a 1-month trial period to ensure that the teacher and parents feel that the child will thrive in the class.
These are mandatory! Parents act as teacher's aides in the classroom, and the evening meetings provide us with some time away from the children to discuss classroom issues. In addition, evening meetings include the wonderful curriculum that the teachers develop to share with everyone. This curriculum provides parents with opportunities to increase their understanding of children's behavior and development. Our parent education program aims to foster interaction between adults and children that is dynamic, harmonious, and mutually respectful.
As an added bonus, evening meetings provide us with the opportunity for adult-only bonding time that parents at other schools often miss out on. Once you go to the meetings, you'll be happy that you do because you will get so much out of them!
Schedule a school tour by calling our Registrar at (408)371-7646 (be very clear when leaving your number) or by sending email to The school tour is a wonderful opportunity for you and your child to experience Sunnymont-Westside firsthand, and to have most of your questions answered regarding Sunnymont-Westside's philosophy and programs. After the tour, you can obtain an application form, which you can then fill out and submit with a non-refundable application fee. Thereafter, we will notify you about class availability and the status of your application as soon as possible.
Each family contributes to the running of our school, and Sunnymont-Westside families find that the rewards of participation are well worth the effort! The children enjoy an affordable, high-quality preschool program, and the parents become members of a strong and supportive community.
Parents are the heart of a parent co-operative school. When you enroll your child in Sunnymont-Westside, your family will agree to:
  1. Work in the classroom once a week.
  2. Hold a "job" to help the school run smoothly. (For example, some parents serve on the school board, others make play-dough, do laundry, repair toys, make library trips, help care for school pets, or help organize fundraising events.) Or, families may pay extra each month to "buy out" of holding a job.
  3. Attend parent education classes in the evening once or twice each month. The wonderful curriculum at our parent meetings provides parents with opportunities to increase their understanding of children's behavior and development and aims to foster interaction between adults and children that is dynamic, harmonious, and mutually respectful.
  4. Take a turn helping to clean and maintain the school on the weekend twice per year.
  5. Help to support school fundraising events.
On your workday, your responsibilities will include duties such as supervising the children on the climbing structure, preparing healthy snacks for the class, and cleaning the children's restroom. Thus for the safety and well-being of students and babies alike, it is not feasible to bring younger siblings to your child's class on your workday.
Many families find that it works well to find another family with a baby in their child's class and trade babysitting duties.
In an ideal world, we wouldn't! However, we have only one classroom. And since our 2 and 3 year olds also do best in the morning and attend school more days of the week, they got "dibs" on that time of day. The good news is that the afternoon actually works fairly well for most toddlers. It's only once a week, and for that day, we find that most of our toddlers do great during class, although they may fall asleep on the way home, and you might have a quiet dinner time on Sunnymont-Westside class days! Come and visit and ask current parents how it's working for them.