Niskayuna Co-Op Nursery School

Children are encouraged to be independent and self-motivated by learning through self-directed play and guided group activities. They are allowed to grow at their own pace while learning social, emotional, and intellectual skills.

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Our Classes

3-Year Old

$120/ month

  • 2-Day Class
  • 9:00am - 11:30am Tue/Thur
  • must turn 3 by Dec 1st of school year
  • Supply fee $35
  • Registration fee $55

4-Year Old

$147/ month

  • 3-Day Class
  • 9:00am - 11:30am Mon/Wed/Fri
  • must turn 4 by Dec 1st of school year
  • Supply fee $35
  • Registration fee $55

- Children are not required to be potty trained before they start our 3-year-old class

- Space still available in the two day class and waitlist is available for three day class.

Our Teacher


Pam Ober

Ms. Pam Ober has taught preschool for 13 years—in NH, Boston, and Ecuador. She has been part of the Niskayuna Co-op since 2005—first as a parent and co-chair, then as a trustee, and now as the preschool teacher. She is absolutely thrilled to have come full circle! Pam has a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Early Childhood Education.

Our School

Our School

Children are encouraged to be independent and self-motivated by learning through self-directed play and guided group activities. They are allowed to grow at their own pace while learning social, emotional, and intellectual skills.

A cooperative nursery school is a school in which parents have the unique opportunity to participate in their child’s first experience with school. Through their involvement in the classroom, parents ease the children’s transition from home to a classroom environment while seeing for themselves how their children learn and grow and interact with others.

Self Esteem and independence are so important in a child’s development. Niskayuna Co-operative Nursery School works with you and your child to develop these skills for the coming years. Your child will get the confidence they need to take the next step to Kindergarten and the Elementary School years ahead.

Family Involvement

Co-op parents assist our teacher in the classroom on a rotating basis. “Helping parent” days are fun, and they allow parents to observe their children at school and to learn from the model of our professional teacher. Co-op families also develop a strong sense of community while serving on committees and visiting at social events. Whole families make friendships that last far beyond their time at the Co-op.

Play based learning

During play, the children at the Co-op are encouraged to be curious, to explore, and to problem solve. As children engage in self-directed activities, the teacher supports their discovery by commenting, making occasional suggestions, and encouraging reflection. By following the child’s lead, our teacher communicates that the inclinations and ideas of each child are worthwhile, and facilitates each individual’s cognitive, academic, social-emotional, and motor development.

A Typical Day

The Niskayuna Co-op is a carefully planned setting. The physical environment is safe and the teacher gives children clear boundaries to ensure safety and encourage respect for others. Each day follows a simple routine. The children start with about an hour to choose their own activities from a variety of equipment and materials. Following clean up and a nutritious snack, the teacher directs large group activities, including stories, music, and group play. Weather permitting, the children then go out to a well-equipped playground. This daily routine is augmented by special projects, events, and occasional field trips. After each day’s learning, our teacher emails parents about the children’s activities, including book titles, song lyrics, and other highlights.


The Co-op has many traditions. These include summer playdates, home visits, and phase-in days that support children’s transition into the school year. Other traditions like apple picking, nature hikes, celebrating holidays, and hatching baby chicks extend learning. The traditional pot-luck picnic, family dinner, and working together on school committees bring the Co-op families together. And these are just a sampling of the fun traditions Co-op families enjoy.


Why don’t you have the alphabet, numbers, and the calendar decorating the walls of this classroom?

Children learn best when they are learning in context. Teaching children to recite the alphabet, for example, does not encourage their literacy nearly as much as reading them a good story. As preschoolers mature, they become interested in letters, and they are encouraged to write their names, sculpt letters in clay, or form letters with rhythm sticks as they become interested in doing so. This provides them with the opportunity to learn in context, rather than passively observing letters on the walls. Similarly, children are counting while playing games and using one-to-one correspondence to share snacks with their friends, which will help them to understand math concepts. For three- and four-year-olds, keeping track of the dates, days of the week, and various months on a printed calendar is a tall order! Trying to use and discuss a printed calendar is simply not concrete enough for them and can lead to frustration. Instead, children learn about the calendar as they discuss seasons, weather, and celebrations and participate in fun activities like singing the days-ofthe-week song.

No offense, but why do these kids’ crafts look so sloppy?

Because they truly are the kids’ crafts. At many schools you may see adorable matching crafts on the walls. These are cute, but they represent the product of a child who has been carefully directed by an adult to put eyes in the correct place and color items in a realistic way. Very occasionally, our students will receive specific guidance to help them follow a list of instructions, and children are encouraged to finish their project to feel a sense of success. But for the most part, children here encounter a variety of media and the opportunity to use them in different ways (adding glitter to clay, or driving trucks through paint to make tracks). Developmentally appropriate art focuses on process, not product.

Why should I enroll my child in your program if you’ve told me that children learn best through play instead of direct instruction?

The most crucial development in nursery school is emotional and social maturity learning to deal with other people, to use words instead of actions to articulate emotions, to negotiate, and to take turns. It is also important for children to become comfortable with the idea of school in a relaxed atmosphere with caring adults, your child will learn that school is wonderful. In a busy classroom filled with colorful toys and sometimes-boisterous playmates, children also begin to learn how to focus and concentrate in spite of distractions. Finally, play teaches children most effectively when facilitated and guided to a higher level with the help of an early childhood education expert, who can prompt children to recognize their own achievements and apply them to a wider context. This is a highly individualized process because children develop at different rates and they have different fears, likes, and dislikes. We don’t want our children to be bored or frustrated. At Niskayuna Co-op, we value and respect each child, and that’s why we continue to promote a developmentally appropriate program that allows children to explore and grow while gaining crucial social skills and the confidence that they will succeed in any setting

Why a co-op?

A cooperative nursery school is a school in which parents have the unique opportunity to participate in their child’s first experience with school. Through our “helping days,” parents enjoy the privilege of assisting the teacher in the classroom. It is tremendous fun to spend time with our children and their friends, and of course this allows us to see how they interact with others. The immediate appeal of the co-op is the hominess of the setting. Any trepidation about enrolling a 3, 4, or 5 year old in “school” is easily dispelled by the sight of busy, happy children engaging in both individual and spontaneous groups, in a wide variety of play ventures.

Is the preschool allergy-friendly?

The preschool building is a nut-free and tree-nut free zone. In addition, the class will meet at the beginning of the year to discuss any additional child's allergies and ensure all snacks brought into class are safe for all children to eat.

Our Traditions

Summer Play Dates and Picnic

Parents coordinate their schedules to get together over the summer so that parents and children can become familiar with each other. Many pack a lunch every time, and traditionally, the final play date is joined by the teacher, who brings along dessert to share.

Summer Home Visits

The teacher makes a quick visit (10 minutes or so) to each child’s home. This is an opportunity for each child to ask about school and to become more familiar with the teacher.

Phase-in Days

A short school day in the class is a gentle way to begin the school year. The two-day class will be divided into two sessions.

Apple Picking

While the new 3-year-olds continue to adjust to the classroom, our adventurous four-year-olds take a trip to the apple orchard, with stories and cooking in class with their bounty.

Garage Sale

A major fundraiser and well-known annual event in the community, all families participate in the garage sale.

Halloween Party

The children scoop out pumpkin seeds and toast them and enjoy other spooky activities like creating finger ghosts at circle time. Parents send along tricks or treats for their children to distribute to their friends.

Family Dinner

Students and their families come together to share pizza or potluck. With music and dancing and special crafts, this event is fun for everyone.

Valentine’s Day

Students address Valentines to each of their classmates and deliver them to homemade mailboxes.

Original Works

Students’ special artwork is reproduced for t-shirts, mouse pads, mugs, etc. . . . This great fundraiser is generally timed so that you can take care of your Mother’s Day shopping for Grandma.

School Pictures (Spring)

Individual and group class portraits take place during a normal school day. You can bring along siblings and have them pose for their own portraits or with their preschool brother or sister.

Dessert Night

Students share a special night with dad (or a special someone) enjoying desserts that they’ve prepared in school.

I Love You Tea

Students share a morning with mom (or a special someone), entertaining her and presenting her with a handmade gift.

Parent-Teacher Conferences (Spring)

This is an opportunity for the teacher to cover basic information about how your child has been evolving in school. Of course, if you have specific concerns you can always ask the teacher. You’ll also have the opportunity to see all of the children learning and growing during helping parent days.

Silent Auction

This fundraiser is a night out for grown ups. Bargains for you and income for the school.

Latest News


Open house Aug. 1, 6-8 p.m.! Sign up before the school year starts in September!

Spread the word to all parents who want their 3-year-olds in a part-time preschool where they will explore the world, build, paint, create and imagine! Instead of sitting at a desk, filling out worksheets. Send us the children who will gasp and say, “Look at this ant!” Because our teacher will stop and truly LOOK at it with them. Our school teaches children - not short adults. Our school teaches them how to communicate, manage disagreements, wait, share, and delay gratification - the skills you really need for kindergarten.

Read more

Is play-based preschool right for your 3-year-old? We're holding a tour on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Is play-based preschool right for your 3-year-old? We’re holding a tour on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Bring your child, meet the teacher, and see what play-based school is all about! Potty-training is NOT required. Friday doesn’t work for you? Call us at (518) 370-5705 to schedule a tour! The co-op rents space at 852 Ashmore Ave., Niskayuna. For 3-year-olds, preschool is on Tuesdays and Thursdays, September to June, from 9 a.

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2019 Silent Auction

A Night Under the Big Top. Come join us for the 16th Annual Niskayuna Co-op Nursery school Silent Auction Gala. Dinner, Dancing, Silent Auction, Live Auction, Amazing Deals, Raffle prizes, including great deals on the hottest kids’ spots, photography sessions,romantic getaways and more!

Read more
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Our Board

Spring Fundraiser Chair

Christina Keith and Sandra Quigley


Rebecca Yates and Megan Rose

Vice Chair

Kristen Wagner


Jennie Heck


Cindy DeFiore


Open Position


Kathleen Quigley

Silent Auction

Laura Lyons

Fall Fundraising Chair

Contact Co-Chairs

Two Day Class Chair

Ashley Malone

Three Day Class Chair

Joelle Flores

We loved being helpers and seeing the kids grow and learn together…The Niskayuna Co-op Nursery School was a great experience for us and the kids.


The summer playdates were a great way to meet the families before the school year started. I also appreciated the home visit before the start of school from our teacher Ms. Ober. Her visit got my daughter so excited for her first day.


Our new teacher, Ms. Pam Ober, has been a model of patience, kindness, and enthusiasm for our children. Fall has been so much fun in Mrs. Ober's class. We went apple picking, tasted the apples for snack, then the children made a felt board model of the different types of apples. We had a frighteningly cute Halloween parade and Party where the kids, parents, and Ms. Ober got in the spirit. Most recently, we made a Sharing Soup that each child brought in an ingredient. What a great hands-on way to taste the benefit of sharing! We are looking forward to a terrific 2015 with Ms. Ober.


My daughters have attended the Co-Op for 2yrs. From the moment we toured the school, the teacher, Ms. Ober, engaged my children’s curiosity and creativity. I am amazed by how they have developed a deep love of learning and by how much they actually know, before even entering kindergarten! My daughters can read some words, have an understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions, and can count in multiple languages- all without workbooks and exercises. Play-based learning is amazing, and so is the Co-Op!


Anna gets so excited for her helper days. She enjoys the task of coloring the water table and getting the paint brushes and paint set up for the day. All of the little responsibilities she has learned is amazing. She’s grown so much and I am so happy with my decision to send her to the Co-Op. It was the perfect stepping stone to ready her for kindergarten.


Get In Touch

Contact Details

852 Ashmore Avenue, Niskayuna, NY 12309
Phone: 518-370-5705