Inside this issue:
Member School Profile:  St. Giles PPP  |  Annual Meeting Registration   Award Nominations Due April 10 

April 2019
Vol. 49 No.3

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI
Happy spring!

As enrollment season progresses, I've heard many success stories, but I've also heard of challenges co-ops are facing in finding new students to fill their rosters. Busy parents with busy families can have a hard time committing to spending time being involved in their child's early education.

As time goes on and the world changes around us, it's up to us to keep our schools and programs growing and changing to meet the unique needs of our communities.  As champions of the parent cooperative model, it is up to us to teach our neighbors about the value, joy, community, and learning that comes from joining together during this special and very-short time in our children's lives.  

The Annual Meeting is a great chance to gain new ideas from cooperatives all over North America, and we'd love to have you there.  If you can't make the meeting, but you have ideas, successes, or challenges that you want to share or want input on, just send me a note and we'll find a way to make it happen.

Cooperatively yours,

Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Member Profile: 
St. Giles Parent Participation Preschool
St Giles PPP
St. Giles playground in the winter
St. Giles PPP is one of only two parent participation preschools in East Vancouver, BC. The school is centrally located in a neighborhood that's attracting more young families and is close to public transit.

In 2016, after 60 years in the same location, St. Giles was forced to move when the church that housed the school was sold with plans to redevelop the building into condominiums. The new building would have a smaller community space with no room for a preschool. 

Currently, St. Giles is renting space in the basement of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. (There is no religious affiliation.) Families and staff love the school's small, cozy space, and they have loved watching the children take ownership of the new school as the year has progressed. Finding a suitable space will continue to be St. Giles' biggest challenge; their new building is for sale and will likely be redeveloped in the next few years. 

St Giles PPP
Teachers and Programs
St. Giles is fortunate to have Carole and Tracy, two amazing, long-term teachers who bring to the classroom their qualifications as Early Childhood Educators, and, equally importantly, enormous caring and imagination. 

Tracy and Carole met working in daycare at the Vancouver YWCA. In 1999, they began fostering sibling groups in the city. A parent participation preschool was a natural choice when looking for a program for their first preschooler. They liked the idea of being able to spend time in the classroom, and they had heard really great things about the model. 

Carole and Tracy started at St. Giles as parents in 2001 and became assistants in 2006.  As parents, they held a number of jobs in the school from enrollment to laundry to excursions to teacher-sub. When the long-time, much loved teacher at St. Giles retired, they became the teachers, each taking on a class of their own. 

St Giles PPP

St. Giles offers a  3-year old program that operates three mornings a week, and a 4-year old program that runs four afternoons a week. The teachers work with a group of children and their families for 2 years, so they are with the children that start as 3's until they go to kindergarten. Parents in the school serve as classroom assistants. 

Because they have experienced the school as both parents and teachers, Carole and Tracy have a unique understanding of the joy and challenges that come with parenting preschoolers. They know how hard it is to juggle preschool commitments, a new born, work, school-aged children, and family life. Because they work at opposing times, one of them is always available for their own kids during the day. They have seen all side of PPP and strongly believe that being involved in your child's education is a worthwhile investment of time for the whole family.  They have had 5 children attend St. Giles over the years, and a 6th will be joining the new 3's in September. 

Parent Education
St Giles PPP
St. Giles families are required to attend monthly parent education sessions. For those sharing classroom duty, both are encouraged to attend, but that's not always possible. The non-attending parent is required to make up the missed learning time by doing something on their own, such as attending another PPP parent ed session, reading a chapter in a parenting book, listening to a TED talk or a parenting podcast, and filling in a form to let the school know what they learned.  

The school advertises their parent education sessions through social media and their website, and they invite alumni families to attend. They also encourage current families to invite friends and spread the word. This has become a small source of fundraising and the school is happy to see people coming to the presentations. 

St. Giles has a parent education coordinator who collects information at the end of the year from families about the speakers they've had and who/what they might be interested in learning about in the future. They also provide a questionnaire to new families about topics they might be interested in learning about. There is a list of speakers the school can draw from, but they also get information about great speakers from other teachers. Tracy and Carole work with the parent ed coordinator to choose the speakers based on families interest and topics that are relevant in the classr oom.  

Enrolling New Families
Spreading the news about St. Giles is still mostly done by word of mouth. They advertise on social media, maintain an informational website, and there are a few preschool signs on lawns in some neighborhoods. But most of the interest in joining the school comes from peop le with friends who have attended the school. Every once in a while, a parent who attended St. Giles comes back with their own children.  Occasionally, parents who attended other PPP's and who have a history with family involvement want to be a part of the school. 

St Giles PPP

Last summer, St. Giles ran a summer camp, but the program is currently on the back burner. Summer camp had no participating parents and was a mixed-age group of children. Campers made lunch together everyday and worked on small art projects over the course of the week. Camp provided another opportunity for children to be in the classroom doing the things they love to do, together.  
Camp was fun for the few children who participated, but increased enrollment would be needed to make it a regular occurrence

Looking to the Future
The teachers at St. Giles recognize that the rise in the number of junior kindergarten and Montessori programs in their area create competition for their school. As they face yet another search for a new location, staying relevant and keeping the play-based PPP model alive and thriving will be an ongoing challenge. But they're up to the task.

St Giles PPP
e idea of community and a commitment to play based philosophy is what brought Tracy and Carole to St. Giles, and they have stayed because they believe in the PPP model and are committed to creating a nurturing environment for children and their families to grow and connect. They want everyone to feel supported and accepted. 


Big thanks to Carole Cordle for contributing to this article!

Register NOW for the 
PCPI Annual Meeting in Ann Arbor, MI
The PCPI Annual Meetings are held each spring, and provide the ideal venue for attendees and delegates to share their successes and concerns, to receive support and direction, and to exercise their vote. This year, the meetings will be held in the Michigan League on the central campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Arrive in Ann Arbor on Thursday evening, May 9th, with meetings starting on Friday morning, May 10th, and continuing on Saturday morning, May 11th, at 8 am. These days will feature:
  • Meeting time for strategic planning and goal setting
  • Networking and sharing among delegates
  • Visits to some of Michigan's oldest and most established cooperative preschools. 
  • Awards Ceremony and Dinner (Saturday, May 11th, at 5:30 pm)
  • Annual General Membership meeting (morning of Sunday, May 12th)
This year we will once again have our mini-fundraiser in the form of a bag raffle at the Awards evening. Donate an item to our raffle (this is, of course, optional!) and we will explain how it works. How about a small object of art, a scarf, a child's toy, some fragrant soap, a jigsaw puzzle, or some stationery?

All Are Welcome
We welcome new and returning members to our board meetings, and are always looking for new board members to take on the tasks necessary to run a successful non-profit. We learn a lot, and work a lot, and have a lot of fun! Join us!

Registration is Open Through April 5
The fee for registration is US or Canadian $100, which includes the Awards Ceremony and Dinner. To help PCPI members attend the annual meetings, every effort has been made to keep all expenses as low as possible. 

Accommodation will be at the Inn at the League. Parking passes and meal coupons will be provided. All details are in the registration information at

Please register online OR scan and return the completed registration form  to by  Friday, April 5, 2019

Payment can be made online via PayPal for a small additional charge to offset fees, OR you can mail a check made payable to PCPI to:
Parent Cooperative Preschools International
P.O. Box 230327
Portland, OR 97281-0327

Contact Meg Kennedy Shaw by email or at (734) 665-2285 (h) or (734) 552-2315 (c). 

Award Nominations Due April 10
Honor Outstanding Service In Your Community
Our co-ops keep going because of the dedicated individuals that work hard to keep them relevant and vital to our unique communities.  Each year PCPI takes time to honor those individuals who have  demonstrated  outstanding service to the cooperative preschool movement.

The PCPI Awards Committee is depending on you to nominate the people in your cooperative circle who deserve special recognition. Award categories include:

District Award  for demonstrated commitment and leadership at the local, council or regional level.

National Award for Demonstrated Leadership  for an activity that has had a favorable impact on parent cooperatives at more than a local, council, or regional level.

Outstanding Achievement Award  to recognize an exceptional contribution to, or involvement in, the parent cooperative movement (nominee does not need to be a PCPI member).

Honorary Life Membership  for an exceptional contribution to, or unique involvement in, the parent cooperative movement (beyond years of service).

Robin Garthright Bunster Award for Excellence in Teaching  to recognize excellence in teaching.  Nominee should be active as a teacher in some capacity. (See below for details.)

Certificates of Appreciation to recognize important member contributions to the Parent Cooperative Preschool movement.

Any teacher nominated for a PCPI award may be considered for the Robin Bunster Award for Teaching Excellence (see nomination form for details).  Robin was an outstanding teacher in Oregon and a board member of PCPI when she passed away from cancer.  Her husband has funded this award in her memory and a $500 honorarium for the teacher's personal use is part of the award.  Mr. Bunster recognized how much of their own time and resources co-op preschool teachers invest in their schools.

Detailed awards criteria and nomination forms can be found on the  PCPI website. Nominations are due April 10 along with a $20 application fee.  A $35 pin is also available to give to award recipients.

Questions should be sent to Carole Cordle at

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