About Maple Street

Dear Family,

Thank you for your interest in the Maple Street School.

We are a parent cooperative preschool that emphasizes nurturing, play, and hands-on learning.

We also emphasize parent involvement, connection to the community, and a cooperative spirit.

In our classrooms, we value each child as unique and growing. Play is central to our progressive philosophy of education and, as such, is an important part of the curriculum.

At Maple Street School, all families participate to ensure that our children learn and grow in a safe, creative environment. This includes obligations such as providing classroom snacks, maintenance of the building, serving on a co-op committee, and fundraising. Participation is at the core of our mission and operation.

At Maple Street School, families and teachers together provide a rich, nurturing, creative, first school experience and foster a lifelong love of learning for children.

After reading about our school and community, please feel free to call with questions or ideas.

In cooperation,

Wendy Cole


The Maple Street School is a preschool that inspires children through play and discovery, values a diverse community, and relies on the active participation of cooperative-member families and teachers to thrive.

Philosophy and Curriculum

Drawing in progress.

At the Maple Street School, we believe children’s work is their play. Children construct their knowledge about the world through interaction with the people and materials in it. We value the development of a child’s mind, body and spirit and we respond to the individual needs of each child. We facilitate each child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development through child-initiated activities.

We are dedicated to stimulating the innate curiosity of each child and supporting emotional growth and expression. We believe in respecting individual differences in temperament, learning styles, creativity and personal needs. We encourage students to express feelings honestly and to deal respectfully with the feelings of others. We believe preschool is an extension of home, a place where each child is nurtured in a warm, caring atmosphere. Maple Street is a supportive environment where teachers help students feel safe to take risks that lead to true growth.

At Maple Street, we encourage students to explore the world around them based on their interests and development. We offer programs in art, music and dance to help children develop their language, intuition, concentration, reflection, reasoning and decision-making skills. Academic skills are presented when children are ready and are usually incorporated into ongoing studies or daily rituals and routines.

The Maple Street School ensures children have a rich, interactive, creative preschool experience, and that they are prepared for their journey into kindergarten and beyond.


As a curricular framework and for assessment, our program uses Teaching Strategies Gold (Formerly The Creative Curriculum), a research-based curriculum that utilizes interest areas to support children’s learning. Teaching Strategies Gold defines the role of the teacher in connecting content, teaching and learning for children. It is based on the latest research on how children learn best, employing the following child development theories:

  • Abraham Maslow–Basic needs and learning
  • Erik Erikson–The emotions and learning
  • Jean Piaget–Logical thinking and reasoning
  • Lev Vygotsky–Social interaction and learning
  • Howard Gardner–Multiple intelligences
  • Sara Smilansky–Play and learning

Teaching Strategies Gold meets all of the standards put forth for effective early childhood curricula by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/SDE). Teaching Strategies Gold additionally allows and supports curriculum modification to ensure access for all children.

The Maple Street School assesses children’s progress in formal and informal ways with the goal to learn about children in all areas of development or needs, including social/emotional development, approaches to learning, physical development (including self-help skills), cognitive development and artistic/aesthetic development. Assessment helps us create curriculum and learning experiences based on children’s needs and interests while providing us with important information that helps us:

  • Monitor children’s development and growth
  • Guide planning and decision making
  • Adapt curriculum to meet all children’s needs and interests.
  • Identify children who might benefit from special services
  • Report to and communicate with families (and other teachers, specialists, as needed)
  • Know what areas of the program need improvement

Informal assessments include:

  1. Observation and documentation: Teachers write down what they see and hear your child doing
  2. Work samples: Teachers collect your child’s work throughout the year
  3. Photos: Teachers take pictures and describe what children are doing in the classroom

Observations and documentation are done throughout the school day beginning in September. Our goal is have at least one informal observation per child per week.

Formal assessments include:

  1. Ages and Stages Developmental Screening and Referral: A formal screening for special needs that will be distributed in mid-September for families to complete
  2. The Creative Curriculum Developmental Profile: A form where we record your child’s progress in all areas of development
  3. Conference Forms (twice a year): A form where we summarize your child’s progress in different areas of development and share it with you. We also get your feedback and record it.

All of our assessments are confidential and will be shared only with families and teachers unless permission is given. Assessments will be communicated in a language the family understands and be respectful of cultural identity.

Culture and Diversity

The Maple Street School is a cooperative preschool. We believe in a culture of diversity, collaboration and democracy. We believe in the importance of cooperative interactions between children, and we model cooperation, democracy, respect, and conflict resolution in our parent community as well as in our own lives.

Maple Street values and celebrates its diversity in all its forms, and Maple Street staff and families are active in identifying and countering any teaching practices, curriculum approaches, materials or interactions that are degrading with respect to gender, sexual orientation, age, language, ability, race, religion, family structure or ethnic background..

Two’s Class

Maple Street views diversity as important to children and families within and outside of the classroom. Administrators and faculty actively gather information about the way families define their own race, religion, home language, culture, and family structure so that it can work towards being representative and sensitive to family diversity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Maple Street values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the program. The staff and the cooperative ensure that all families, can participate fully, freely, and safely in all aspects of the program including classroom life and volunteer opportunities regardless of their family structure, socioeconomic, racial, religious, cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, or preferred language.

The Maple Street School affirms its policy of equal opportunity in education and employment. Maple Street does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin, or any other category protected by law.

The school also strives to ensure economic diversity in our classrooms, and as such, has implemented a tuition assistance program for eligible families.
For information and resources related to Maple Street School’s commitment to diversity, please visit our diversity section here.

History of Maple Street

The Maple Street School was founded in 1978 by a group of parents in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens community who felt the need for and combined their visions to create a cooperative preschool for their children.

Maple Street has been housed in many places since then, including cooperative members’ homes and rented spaces throughout the neighborhood. In September 2001, we relocated to our current home at 21 Lincoln Road where we have access to Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Wildlife Center, the Audubon Center and other cultural institutions. Our space is equipped with several classrooms, a kitchen, a gross motor skills room, and a greenhouse.

The Maple Street School has grown into a non-profit, culturally diverse, non-sectarian program serving Prospect Lefferts Gardens and other surrounding communities. Since its first year of operation, the school has hired professional teachers, and the school remains a democratic parent cooperative where each member family contributes to the operation and maintenance of the school and has a say in its policies. The school serves children ages two through six in its general programs and, in addition, offers after school and summer programs to children in the wider community.

Staff and Administration

The staff and administration include all the classroom teachers, our administrative assistant, custodian, business manager, and the Director. The staff and administration are responsible for the care of your children on a daily basis and the daily operations of the school.

Teachers work closely with the Director, who helps support their efforts in fulfilling the following responsibilities:

  • Curriculum utilizing Teaching Strategies Gold (Formerly The Creative Curriculum)
  • Parent-teacher communications
  • Daily and special in-school events
  • Consultation and support of specific child and teaching needs
  • Maintaining relations and communication with the wider community

The faculty of the Maple Street School bring a depth of experience and education to the school along with a sincere commitment to further the growth and enhance the experience of the children, families, and the school community. The staff are lifelong learners and continually work to increase their knowledge, improve their practice and further the quality of the program. They go to several outside trainings per year and have retreats in the school to reflect on their teaching and to be inspired.

The administration and teaching staff may be supported in their work by interns from New York City colleges and high schools. Several of our experienced staff members began as interns at Maple Street.


Though the Director is technically a part of the administration of the school, the position stands alone and carries its own vote within the co-op structure and in making school policy decisions. The school’s Director, with the support of the Administrative Assistant, Business Manager, and Board of Directors, is responsible for the integrity and efficient year-round functioning of the school, including the following:

  • Ensuring that license requirements and standards are met
  • Serving as or providing a liaison between the staff and the Board of Directors to ensure that policies are followed and the mission of the school is upheld
  • Overseeing the financial operations of the school
  • Overseeing enrollment
  • Facilitating communication within the school among staff, Board of Directors, and co-op committees
  • Maintaining relations and communication with the wider community

Parents and The Cooperative

Homes away from home

Homes away from home

Parents are recognized, valued and respected as each child’s first teachers. The staff believes that forming partnerships with parents is essential to children’s and families’ positive school experience.

Maple Street has an open door policy, and we encourage parents to raise concerns and work collaboratively to create a mutually satisfying experience for staff, teachers, parents, and children.

Parents at the Maple Street School are also Cooperative Members. They donate their time, skills, resources, and funds to make our school successful. The maintenance, finance, development, education, creative, and leadership components of the school are supported greatly by parents. We cannot do this important work without you! Parental involvement is critical to the well being of the school.

We value all and any contributions that parents make during the school year. In advance, and in great appreciation, thank you.

The Board of Directors

This board is made up of current and former parent members who have been a member of the co-op for at least one full school year. Board members are elected for sometimes staggered, one-year terms by the cooperative membership at the first general meeting.

The board oversees the running of the school by shaping and monitoring co-op committee work, creating and overseeing the budget with the assistance of the Business Manager, and advising the Director. The Board has the authority to enter into leases/licenses and to assume debt on behalf of the school and each year must advise the Director on requirements for meeting the long-term obligations of the school (i.e., the cost of rent and debt).

We encourage families to consider serving at least one year in a leadership position on the Board of Directors.