Welcome & Mission

Our Mission

The Montclair Cooperative School is a community of students, teachers, and parents who are dedicated to creating a diverse and nurturing environment where children flourish intellectually and where they develop exceptional social skills along with a deep sense of community responsibility.



Since our founding in 1963, the Co-op has remained true to its mission to educate the whole child, keeping children at the center of all we do and involving parents in the life of the school. As our first teachers did over fifty years ago, we give children the opportunity to excel today in a nurturing and academically exciting environment. At the Co-op, students find learning joyful and relish coming to school every day. 

The Co-op exists to engage parents in their children’s education, to keep children at the center of school life, to safeguard play and childhood, to excite and ignite imaginations, to support growth, allow for mistakes, and to impel our students towards their own personal excellence. It is the most important work in the world. We bring out the best in our students so that they can be the leaders who make the world a better place. At the heart of our educational approach is the belief that children thrive in an environment that emphasizes a progressive approach to learning, a sense of community among students, teachers and parents and the development of social skills.

A Focus on Progressive Education

Since its founding in 1963, the Co-op has remained true to its mission to educate the whole child.  The emphasis is always on children’s work and the way children think about their world.  The Co-op program is founded on the belief that children learn best through hands on experiences inspired by their questions about the world.  The teacher’s role, in essence, is to support and give necessary guidance to these young learners as they grow and develop, an approach to learning that leads our students to thrive academically both at the Co-op and beyond. Each class is a community of learners where children are invited to take risks, question, explore, discuss, interpret and create. They discover how to apply learning effectively in solving problems and constructing new knowledge. Teachers regard learning as a process of discovery and introduce concrete experiences that stimulate abstract thought. 

The curriculum encourages natural abilities, poses appropriate challenges and lays a strong foundation for continued study and growth.


At the heart of the Co-op’s success is the sense of community that permeates all aspects of school life. Students of all grade levels feel that they are part of a school community that extends beyond their own classroom. Older children learn about nurturing and responsibility by sharing in a wide range of activities with younger students. For example, older students work one-on-one as reading buddies to children in younger grades.  At the Co-op we take seriously the idea that parents, too, are partners in their children’s education.  This partnership between parents, children and teachers is one of the cornerstones of the Co-op philosophy and parents are offered meaningful opportunities to participate in many aspects of Co-op life.


Guiding children toward a greater understanding of and respect for others is one of the school’s primary missions. The social curriculum is therefore an on-going, fundamental aspect of Co-op life.  We recognize that conflicts are part of growing up and that it is our responsibility as adults and educators to guide children toward appropriate ways to resolve them. Children learn how to negotiate, to reach a consensus, to resolve conflicts and to advocate for themselves and others in group situations. Rather than lecture children, we use their personal experiences in and out of the classroom to teach healthy social behavior. 

Students graduate from 8th grade socially responsive and responsible young people well-prepared to face the challenges ahead. They are thinkers, makers, and doers. They are advocates and activists with a strong academic foundation for success in high school and beyond. Their love of learning launches them into new experiences with confidence.