On any given day at Juneau Co-op Preschool, children are baking gingerbread people, visiting with a corn snake or painting a picture with blueberry juice.
The smell of hot-spiced cider permeates the classroom on a winter morning, or a sunny day may prompt an outing to a nearby park.
A limited number of openings are now available at the preschool, one of the longest-running preschool programs in Juneau. A nonprofit, nondenominational program run by the families who attend, JCP is open to students ages 3-5. Scholarships are available for families in need of tuition assistance. The school is downstairs at Northern Light United Church on 11th Street downtown.
Classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:15 a.m. to noon and Tuesday and Thursday mornings during the same time.
There is also a class Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
JCP's philosophy centers around play as a child's natural way of learning.
Whether it's putting together a pirate's costume from the dress-up box or feeding Rudolph the guinea pig, JCP attempts to foster the child's natural curiosity through a variety of activities, field trips, and visitors such as firefighters, musicians or storytellers.
While staffed by professional teachers, parent involvement is an integral part of the JCP program.
Parents provide snacks, help with projects, and do fund-raising, cleanup, toy maintenance and many other important jobs that keep school running.
Substitute slots are also available for children who wish to attend on a more intermittent basis.
Children must have turned 3 by Dec. 31 in order to be eligible for enrollment in the school.
For more information about the program or about openings now available, please call the school.