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The Cooperative Nursery school believes a child's first school experience is an important one.  Our staff believes that children come first.  Our program is a play-based curriculum, creating an environment in which all children develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in school and beyond. Our extremely talented teachers implement the educational program of the school, with the guidance of the school director and the parent board.  

Michelle Bauman – Director
This is Michelle's second year as director of The Co-Op Preschool. She has her Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education and has been teaching since 1998. She held the position of Associate Director for the Triton College Toddler Program, and prior to that taught children ages 15 months-3 years old for ten years at Triton College. Before coming to the Co-Op, Michelle had taken some time off to raise her three daughters, the youngest of whom attended The Co-Op Preschool.

"My favorite part of teaching is seeing the growth in each child from the first day of school to the last."

Jennifer Gill 
Jennifer has been part of the Co-Op since 2006, first as a parent and board member, and now as a staff member since 2012. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education with a special interest in language acquisition and development, and also earned a Master’s degree in Reading. Jennifer taught in the public schools for 14 years before taking some time off to raise her children. All three of her children attended the Co-Op, getting a great education and developing friendships that have continued well past preschool. Outside of the

Co-Op, Jennifer stays very busy raising her daughter and sons.

"My favorite part of teaching is that I get to experience something new every day! Each day is an opportunity to learn something about a child that I didn't know already. We ALL grow and learn together."

Sara Petiprin 
Sara has been a part of the Co-Op since 2008, first as a parent and board member, and as a teacher since 2012. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Training and Development from Western Michigan University, and she is currently taking classes in Early Childhood Education. Sara lives in Lombard with her husband and their two daughters.

“My favorite part of teaching is watching the kids get excited to learn and play with something new, their enthusiasm is so invigorating!”

Wendy Ihms 
Wendy has been teaching at the Co-Op since 2015. Wendy received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Elmhurst College and taught at Bryan Middle School in Elmhurst for 10 years. Wendy and her husband both grew up in Elmhurst and now live in Lombard with their three children.

"My favorite part of teaching is watching a concept that is talked about become a realization. When that connection is made that 1+1 really does equal 2 the excitement on their faces is priceless.” 

Rachel Foltyniewicz  
Rachel has been involved with the Co-Op for five years, first as a parent and now as a teacher for the last 4 years. Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Elmhurst College. She lives in Lombard with her husband and their two sons. They like to keep busy by playing games, watching their boys play soccer and trying new places to eat around Lombard.

Rachel says the best part of her job is learning something new from her students every day. She enjoys watching them grow and change. 

Debbie Fairbairn-White 
Debbie has been teaching at The Co-Op since 2016, and currently has one daughter enrolled as well. She lives in Lombard with her son and three daughters.

Sarah Stevenson

This is Sarah's first year teaching at The Co-Op Preschool! Sarah graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She also received a masters degree in Elementary Reading Education and has her ESL endorsement. She has taught for 11 years, and last year was a preschool substitute. Sarah is married and has two daughters, and in her free time loves to read.

"I absolutely love teaching! I love seeing children excited to learn. My goal is to always make learning fun."

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