Dear Families,

Welcome to Montclair Cooperative School. Since our founding in 1963, the Co-op has honored our founders Lauretta Freeman and Mary Meager by keeping children at the center of all we do and involving parents in the life of the school. As the original 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.

A progressive education bestows four gifts upon students who graduate from the Co-op: a lifelong love of learning, creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence. Armed with a problem-solving mindset, confidence, caring for the world, and the ability to connect with people, Co-op graduates make an impact in high school and beyond.

As a progressive educator for twenty years, I’m thrilled to lead the Co-op community and join our families both as a parent and as the head of school. My background consists of teaching and leading at progressive schools in San Francisco and New York. I’ve studied at Georgetown, Stanford, and Columbia. I grew up in northern New Jersey and am delighted to finally come full circle back again to the Garden State. My passions in education and when working with children include science, math, writing, reading, field trips, diversity, and leadership development.

The Co-op is at an interesting juncture in 2015. A growing body of research is proving that qualities such as social-emotional intelligence are key to a successful life, and that progressive education is more relevant than ever. The best new paradigms in education are now looking to progressive schools for inspiration to reform what ails schools childhood. Ideas such as integrating studies into a STEAM paradigm (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics),the tenets of twenty-first century learning, or the wisdom of project-based learning, are based on features integral to progressive education. Progressive educators have long emphasized providing students meaningful, integrated studies that connect with the real world and encourage both critical thinking and creativity.

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. If you share our vision for a transformative, not merely informative, education for your child, please come check out Montclair Cooperative School.


Namita Tolia

Namita Tolia
Head of School