The idea of a cooperative nursery school in the Northfield area began in the spring of 1958. Interested parents formed an investigative group and sought professional advice. During the summer officers were elected, by-laws were written, and willing fathers handcrafted a variety of large toys and play equipment. In September 1958, the parents approved the by-laws, and the Northfield Presbyterian Cooperative Nursery School began. Several amendments to the constitution were made during the first two years of operation; and in May 1960, the members adopted a completely revised constitution.
In 1967 two more class sessions were added to accommodate the increasing requests for enrollment. In 1970, the school was licensed under the Day Care Licensing Act to operate in accordance with State requirements. In 1971, the State of Ohio decided that co-ops did not fall into the category of Child Day Care and we were no longer required to be licensed as such.
There were major changes in 1973 to the constitution and the parents adopted a new name for the school: Lollipop Cooperative Preschool. During the summer the school was relocated from the Northfield Presbyterian Church to the Shepard Road Christian Church.
During 1979, the State tightened regulations governing programs for young children. All such programs were either licensed or formally exempted from licensure by the State. Since co-ops still did not fit the definition of child day care centers, Lollipop applied annually for formal exemption.
In 1986, a new State law became effective requiring all co-ops to be licensed. A licensing committee was formed which reviewed the laws of licensure. The Constitution and Handbook were revised and other areas surveyed to be sure that Lollipop met the requirements of the State. An Administrator was added to the staff as was required by State law.
In January 1997, the school contracted with the United Methodist Church of Macedonia for classrooms to accommodate additional growth. Teachers and parents worked through the summer to prepare the classroom and curriculum for the new program. In September of 1997, the school added the two new sessions, a Pre-K class and a 4-year class and in the summer of 1998, an additional 3-year-old class was added to the UMC location.
During the 2000/2001 school year Lollipop Cooperative Preschool was informed by Shepard Road Christian Church that this would be the last year for occupancy due to the cost of maintaining the old building and the constant upkeep the church had no choice but to dissolve the partnership at the end of the school year. Fortunately were able to relocate our Shepard Road classes with our other classes at the United Methodist Church and in doing this we were able to reach a long range goal which was to operate from one location. The Constitution and Handbook were revised to meet the requirements for United Methodist Church. Teachers and Parents worked very hard over the summer months to move everything from our old location to our new classrooms. By the first day of school everything was ready for our new start as Lollipop Cooperative Preschool at the United Methodist Church. The school now offers three programs: 3 year old class, 3-day Pre-K class, and a 4-day Pre-K class. Each class offers morning and afternoon programs.
In 2003, Lollipop began the lengthly process of obtaining accreditation form the National Association for the Education of Young Children—the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professional. NAEYC created its accreditation program in 1985 to set professional standard for early childhood education, and to help families identify high-quality childcare and early education programs. To earn NAEYC‘s accreditation, a study was conducted to determine how well Lollipop met their program standards. After necessary improvements were made, Lollipop was observed by independent, professional validators, and then reviewed by a national panel. Lollipop officially obtained accreditation in February, 2004. An annual report is submitted to NAEYC. In 2009, we did not renew our accreditation with the NAEYC.
We are currently working on the Step Up To Quality Star Rating Program. It is a voluntary Five-Star Quality Rating System that recognizes and promotes early care and education programs that meet quality benchmarks over and above the minimum health and safety licensing standards. The steps are based on national research identifying the key benchmarks that lead to improve outcomes for children. These benchmarks include low child to staff ratio, groups size, accreditation, staff education, specialized training, improved workplace characteristics and early learning standards.