We help children build a solid foundation that will enable them to explore and participate in the larger world. We help them be kind to themselves and their peers, and learn from positive everyday interactions with teachers, parents and volunteers.  The Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool uses the The Creative Curriculum which categorizes your child’s development into four arenas: Social/Emotional, Physical, Cognitive, and Language Development.

The most important activity is play. Play is your child’s “work.”

  • figure out social relationships
  • learn how to take responsibility for their actions
  • invite in the world of reading and writing
  • experiment with how their body moves in space
  • cope with indescribable emotions
Dance and play
Courtney dances with the children.


Our outdoor playgrounds are active places for play and learning. The woods that envelope our playgrounds are natural classrooms. They are perfect for exploring and discovering new things-from a fuzzy caterpillar to a new friend. Teachers talk with the children about the things they see, hear, touch, and feel. In this way, your child learns about changes in the weather and the seasons, how plants grow, and what animals are sharing their woods with us.

The Creative Curriculum categorizes your child’s development into four areas: Social/Emotional, Physical, Cognitive, and Language Development. While these areas are fluid and continually overlap, you can take a look at your child’s “day of play” from each developmental perspective.

Social/Emotional Development

The goals for children in this area are achieving a sense of self, taking responsibility for themselves and others, and behaving in a socially positive way. Whether playing by themselves, with one friend, or in a group, children learn how to adapt to new situations and new faces, manage their feelings appropriately, stand up for themselves.

  • Over breakfast, your child described her feelings when she told her friends how excited she was because her parent was coming home from a trip today.
  • During dot time, your children claimed independence by choosing which rooms they went to. They were able to direct their own play.
  • During gathering, your child was frustrated because he wanted to use the green marker his friend was using. He demonstrated respect for his friend because after they talked it over, he decided to use a pink marker until the green one was available.

Literacy and Language Development

Children inhabit different worlds in play similar to the worlds we introduce them to through books, songs, and stories. Their own inventive creations—stories they tell with their friends, their drawings, and dramas they act out through play—form a connection between what they have heard and seen in the past and what they will read, write, and see in the future.

  • When another parent dropped off their child in the morning, your child took his friend to a corner to draw. They created a story about butterflies and asked a teacher to spell out words for their book.
  • In the classroom at centers time, your child “read” a book to a group of younger kids by including several details of the familiar story.
  • During a gathering activity, your child gave enthusiastic responses when the teacher asked if she wanted him to write down her desires, thoughts, and ideas in print.

Cognitive Development

Children use play to learn how to problem solve, think logically, and eventually, to think in symbolic ways. They show imagination, creative thinking, and curiosity in their ever new world. Play is one vehicle children use to work out new understandings.

  • Outside on the playground, your child learned how to take a flexible approach to a problem by calmly solving with her friend who should get the red-handled shovel.
  • In the Green Room during dot time, your children used bowls, and spoons, added ingredients and made a delicious pretend meal of their customer’s choice.
  • During breakfast, your child learned how to use one-on-one correspondence by counting out one cup and one napkin for himself. He then counted his neighbors to figure out how many cups and napkins the gathering needed.

Physical Development

As gross motor and fine motor skills develop, children master increasingly sophisticated tasks and gain personal responsibility in areas such as self-care. This in turn promotes children’s self-confidence and willingness to try new tasks. Their play —indoors and outdoors— creates a space for experimentation and mastery.

  • In the early morning, your child tried a challenging new puzzle and worked for twenty minutes until he finished it.
  • During center time, your child and their peers built a town out of lincoln logs.
  • Your child proudly announced that she went through the hole on the big climber for the first time all by herself.

When your children play at Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool, they use the natural setting and unique open room concept to learn about themselves, discover how to interact with the world and their peers, and create and use new skills. Your children benefit from the years of experience that CHCP teachers have to enrich their development and growth.

5-Star and NAEYC-accredited preschool with two locations in Chapel Hill, NC