Inside this issue:  
Annual Meeting Highlights  |  Thanks from Butterfly Co-op  | Jovial Preschool Management Software    |  Welcome to New Members

April 2, 2018
Vol. 48 No.4

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI
Hello Everyone,

I'm continually amazed by the dedication, creativity, and enthusiasm among fellow co-opers. 

I had the privilege to meet so many wonderful people at this year's Annual Meeting in San Francisco. From young parents who attended with small babies in tow, to teachers of all ages, to grandparents who continue to be involved in cooperatives with their grandchildren, everyone shared the belief that family involvement in early childhood education is essential and play is where it's at.

Grateful for the experience,

Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Highlights from the 2018 Annual Meeting  
PCPI representatives at the CCPPNS awards luncheon
The 2018 PCPI Annual Meeting was held in in San Francisco in mid-May in conjunction with the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools (CCPPNS) Convention. PCPI meeting attendees spent time together taking care of PCPI business and planning for the coming year, but were able to join with CCPPNS for two workshop sessions, evening preschool tours, and their annual awards luncheon. 

The parents, teachers, and administrators representing schools from all over the state of California were a lively group, and their enthusiasm for cooperative education was energizing. The conference provided a unique opportunity for fellowship with other folks who value parent involvement in early childhood education, and who were excited to learn from the experiences and examples of others. Preschool visits provided a chance for participants to socialize while getting a glimpse into life at another school.

Taking in the sensory table in the outdoor play space at Sunset Co-op Nursery School
Socializing around the sand table at Rocky Mountain Nursery School.

Parents doubled as tour guides providing a history of San Francisco and their preschool during the bus ride.

Two Honorary Life Memberships Bestowed
PCPI President Mariah Battison was proud to present well-deserved Honorary Life Memberships to Kathy Ems and Susie Stone during the Annual Meeting. Each has devoted themselves to supporting cooperative preschools on the local, district, and national level.

The Honorary Life Membership is reserved as a special honor citing an exceptional contribution or unique involvement in the parent cooperative movement.  This award is not necessarily given each year; it is not based on years of continuing service nor is it given as part of an automatic progression of awards. Congratulations, Kathy and Susie!  

Kathy Ems (Oregon) and Susie Stone (California) were awarded Honorary Life Membership in PCPI for their extraordinary service to the cooperative preschool movement.

Looking Ahead
Much of the discussion at the Annual Meeting was focused on short- and long-term plans for PCPI. Communication is at the center of it all.  In 2017, the organization launched a new website which will continue to evolve along with an increased social media presence.  In addition, the following plans were made:  
  • PCPI will participate in the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) Co-Op Festival in Washington, DC in October in order to educate the general public about the advantages of cooperative education;
  • Deadlines for PCPI grants will be aligned and the grant opportunities will be more widely advertised to encourage more members to apply;
  • The benefits of school membership and sponsorship will be more widely communicated;
  • A committee was formed to develop a Co-Op Start Up grant opportunity to encourage the creation of new cooperative preschools.
The 2019 Annual Meeting will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Dates will be announced soon.


Thanks From Butterfly Cooperative Preschool

Families at Butterfly Cooperative Preschool enjoying their new playground.

The families of Butterfly Cooperative Preschool in Homestead, Florida, the recipient of a 2018 Cooperative Spirit Grant, are deeply grateful for their new playground.

Butterfly President Jennifer Arrington said that despite the fact that their school year had a stressful start due to the devastation that came from Hurricane Irma, it "will be ending on a note of joy and appreciation."  Through the generous help of PCPI, family and friends, they have been able to rebuild their playground and "make it suitable for generations to come." 

The Butterfly community came together to rebuild their playground, which includes a new solid-wood playground structure, a new playhouse, a teeter totter, new mulch, an outdoor storage box for toys, and a sand table. They children no longer have to play in the parking lot, and the happiness shows on everyone's faces. 

Children once again have a safe place to play at Butterfly Co-op.
Parents came together to rebuild the playground at Butterfly Co-op.

It took  12 hours to construct the new wooden play structure.
Jovial Management Software for Co-Ops
T he buzz among attendees at CCPPNS was that everyone needed to check out Jovial, a software program created to help with cooperative preschool management.  Hermann and Helen Calabria, the developers of Jovial, were attending the convention to spread the word, and they were happy to share their story.

A few years back the couple joined a co-op preschool in Seattle. As a former teacher, Helen knew the value of parental involvement in education and she loved spending time in the classroom, so a co-op was a natural choice.  

When Hermann became the treasurer at their school, he immediately saw that some management software could be helpful as parents turned over roles from year to year, and it could offer huge time-savings for volunteers (especially the treasurer).  He did some searching but found that nothing on the market was a good fit for their co-op. Being a software engineer, he decided to create a program for his own use, and the first version of Jovial was born. 

Word about his program quickly spread to other schools in the area. In the spirit of cooperation, Hermann shared what he had created and his work was received with great enthusiasm. He and Helen quickly realized that Jovial could fill a need in the larger cooperative community. The parents became business partners and Jovial grew.

Jovial is currently being used in 100+ US schools and is available at no charge for any interested co-op.  Jovial is not yet available in Canada because of privacy concerns, but that is an option Hermann and Helen will be pursuing if there is interest from Canadian schools.   

As Hermann put it, he and Helen are "committed to doing the right thing." While they have been approached by various organizations that are interested in using their product, they have stayed true to the idea that Jovial will only be available to non-profit cooperatives, and it will be free forever.  Their goals are to make it easier for parents to work together, to make co-ops run a little more professionally, and especially to help with transitions from year to year which will make cooperatives more sustainable.   They anticipate eventually adding functionality to help with fundraising, though right now they are focused on perfecting the core elements of Jovial.  

We'd like to offer a warm welcome to Jovial, our newest PCPI sponsor. More information about Jovial can be found at, or you can contact  Helen or Hermann via email.         

New Member Shout Out!
Welcome to our newest member schools! We're happy you're part of the PCPI community, and we look forward to getting to know you better.

Dulin Cooperative Preschool
Falls Church, VA

Sudbury Cooperative Preschool
Sudbury MA

Roseville Parent Education Preschool
Roseville, CA

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