Rocky Hill Cooperative Nursery School

Welcome to Rocky Hill Cooperative Nursery School!

Since 1959, Rocky Hill Cooperative Nursery School has been a parent-cooperative nursery school where teachers, parents and children work together to provide a rich preschool experience.

RHCNS is a fully certified, non-profit and non-sectarian community for Rocky Hill, Belle Mead, Montgomery, Princeton, Hopewell, Kendall Park, Kingston, Franklin, South Brunswick and surrounding areas.  We are located in the heart of New Jersey’s historic Rocky Hill Borough, in Rocky Hill’s Municipal Building, and have open space and a wonderful playground.

RHCNS is so much more than just a little Nursery School!

We are also a licensed provider of the  Music Together Preschool program, and a member of Parent Cooperative Preschool International.

Our Playhouse

Our Playhouse

Why Choose a Cooperative Preschool?  

Taking part in a cooperative preschool allows you to be directly involved with your child’s early education. Being able to supervise your child, and the teacher, guarantees your child is safe and with the best teachers anywhere. Interacting with a community of other parents who share your commitment to childhood and receiving modeling by the teacher as you help, gives you opportunities to learn alongside your child. Most importantly, choosing a cooperative preschool gives you extra time to bond with your child and create memories together. Your child will always know that education is important in your family because you live it everyday.

- From Parent Cooperative Preschools International

CLICK HERE for our School Brochure


Latest Blog Entries

Jun 26

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I think is one of the most important thing we do every year!  Imagine a child in a dark, smoky room. A person looking and sounding like Darth Vader stretches out his/her hand. What will s/he do?

Our wonderful Rocky Hill firefighters come every year to show us how they put on their gear, the highlights of their truck, and how to shoot water out of the hose!


A fire truck in our parking lot!



Piece by piece, the firefighter gets dressed.



Now the heavy helmet…


The mask so they can breathe..



High fives for the fully dressed firefighter!


The fire company is right near us!  They can come to us, or we can walk through the fields to them!



Using the fire hose!




Look how far is goes!

Thank you once again, Rocky Hill firefighters! Thank you for all you do!

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Jun 26

Typically, I don’t do a lot with holidays. We usually spend one day on each holiday, inviting parents to share their traditions.  Our biggest holiday, by far, is Mothers Day!  As a parent co-op, parents and staff work together.  To honor our moms, (we’re not in school for Father’s Day!) we have a Mothers Day Tea every year.  The children get SO excited! They plan and prepare the menu. Mothers don’t do ANYTHING except show up that day. The dress code is “Preschool Fancy,” meaning they can dress anyway they choose!  Gifts  and cards are prepared and wrapped. The children serve their moms and do the clean up!  Grandmothers are invited too!


No peeking, Moms!


All dressed up and cooking for Mom and Grandma!

DSC_0022 DSC_0023 DSC_0183The muffins are definitely made by each child!


Moms finally come in!


Food is served, icing is wiped off of arms!


Sharing a fruit salad.


Big hugs!


Presents are given, the children get SO excited!



“Here, Mommy, I’ll put it on!”


Each child is interviewed and asked about their mother.

We even set up a “photo booth” for special family pictures!  Thank you parents,  for all you do!

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Jun 26

We explored habitats.   We went on a hike at Duke Farms in Hillsborough to see a few.  (I actually went twice, since our schedule allows us to take trips with small groups of children.)








Looking over the stone wall at the water below.  One child to another, “Don’t even THINK of climbing this wall!”



This wall allowed us to view wildlife without them seeing us!




We heard the waterfall before we saw it!





Duke Farms provides online checklists for  children. They can mark the items they’ve seen as well as the colors they’ve observed.  Here, mother and son work together!


“Did we see a frog?”


Working together, sharing information.


“What did YOU see?

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Mar 01


We had a wonderfully attended Open House on Saturday.  I’m always “on.”  I’m careful to introduce myself to new parents. I try to be respectful of the “brand new” little ones who may or may not want a stranger talking to them. I try to figure out the best way to connect with them (it might be over a truck later in the morning, or showing them our rabbit.)  I make time for current students who have news to tell me.  I try to hold back tears when TALL “alumni” bring their little brothers and sisters and show them around.

Ok, back to the title, what happened AGAIN?    Apparently, when I talk about preschoolers’ education, I get a bit… animated!  I never realize it until I see a grin, and (usually the dad) says, “You’re really passionate about this.”

Huh. Yes I am. I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, have been taking care of babies since I was 12, and have been a parent for almost 27 years now.  I proudly say that my degree IS in  Early Childhood education. I’m also certified as a special education teacher.  I worked hard for my degree, and graduated magna cum laude.  I’ve EARNED this title of TEACHER.

IMG_5124 (A gift from a parent!)

 I’ve seen the “pendulum” shift over the years. What does that mean?  The “right” (popular) way to teach has changed every couple of years. (Mostly in the elementary grades.)  I always appreciated my early childhood degree (I got it in 1980 before it was “smooshed” in with Elementary.)  We learned HOW children learn, not WHAT they learn. I had a wonderful mentor, Renee Bennet, who encouraged us to think out of the box.  Don’t fall back on holidays and other stereotypes.  What do children LOVE? What everyday things can be explored?

We learned Developmentally Appropriate Practice before it had a name.  PROCESS, NOT PRODUCT was the mantra.  What does that mean?  It means children get so much more out of exploring materials than replicating something the teacher precuts ahead of time and tells them where to glue the pieces.


So, when do my hands start flying?  When I talk about how kindergarteners are often treated like first graders, and some preschools think THEY have to become kindergarten. Or their perception of kindergarten.

Children need to play. Children need to explore. They need to get messy. They need to be read to. They need to sing and dance.   Preschoolers do not learn sink or float by doing a worksheet! They learn it by getting wet.  They need to be met at THEIR level, and not what some adults think they SHOULD be doing!

Letters and numbers are used to express or decode someone’s thoughts and experiences.  Before you can write about your experiences, YOU NEED TO HAVE EXPERIENCES!!!!  H might be for hill, but it’s far more important for a child to run down a hill, climb back up the hill, roll down the hill, find a flower on the hill and explore that hill before the H even makes an appearance!   All of those movements and experience stimulate the brain far more than looking a flashcard and saying “H.”

(Ha!  I’ve been typing furiously, I’m sure if I were talking to you in person, I’d be pacing around the room right now!)

At a recent parent meeting, I asked the parents to think about THE most important thing their child needs to learn. I waited, then told them my opinion.

The most important thing for a young child to learn is that s/he is loved. S/he has a warm, supportive family (in whatever shape that takes) that will be there no matter what.  The adults in his/her life may not always like WHAT they do, but they will always love THEM.  Someone whose got their backs.  People to guide them.  Looking at my adult sons, I think the greatest gift we’ve given them is a sense of family. Teachers came and went, they survived the different teaching philosophies, some better than others.  What has not changed is family.


(Daddy the snow monster carries our hero off!)

That’s why I get so passionate about my job. About this school.  Family is a child’s foundation, it makes perfect sense to bring it into school!  Of COURSE mom and dad are involved in school.  Of COURSE Grandpa can read  to the class when he’s visiting from Florida.  We’re a team. School and family.


So go ahead, kiddo! Conquer that hill. Your parents and I are here.

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Feb 09

We’re always busy at RHCNS.  We’ve just “closed” our “Rocky Hill Sweet Shop,” which sold hot chocolate, muffins, coffee and cookies.  You could also add pom pom marshmallows if you’d like, and sit in the “cafe” with your laptop!


Bakers, Baristas and Servers, Oh My!

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And Happy Customers!

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Coming up next, a Post Office!

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