Inside this issue:  
Member Profile: Oswego Playschool   |  Grant Applications Due Dec 15th  |  Thanks Again to 2018 Sponsors   Welcome to New Members

December 2018
Vol. 48 No.11

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI

As membership applications and renewals have rolled in for 2019, our contact list is being updated frequently.  For many of you this will be the first issue of  Cooperatively Speaking that comes directly to your inbox. Welcome!

This newsletter is about our unique and vibrant cooperative community. If you have an idea for an article, a happening in your school that's worthy of sharing, or an interest that you think others might have in common, I welcome your suggestions, ideas, articles, and photos. Just send me a note at the email below and we'll get started.


Cooperatively yours,

Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

PCPI Member School Profile 
Oswego Playschool
Lake Oswego, OR
Oswego Playschool is tucked away in the quiet and charming First Addition residential neighborhood of Lake Oswego, Oregon. The school, which is in it's 65th year of operation, has provided the first educational experience for several generations of local families, which was the topic of an article recently published in the Lake Oswego Review.

Amber Batchelder, a parent at OP, answered questions about the school with help from  co-Presidents Kristina Johnson and Niki Crose, and 2-Day Teacher Phoebe Fillmore:

Q:  It appears that OP is located in a residential area.  Can you describe the setting?

A:  Oswego Playschool is in the historic First Addition neighborhood of downtown Lake Oswego, OR. We are fortunate to own our property from a generous alumni donation by John and Betty Gray in the 1950's. Betty was very involved in the early years of OP. Many families have helped renovate over the years to create such a welcoming and engaging learning environment. Walking into OP feels like you're going to someone's home. I think that's one reason some children have an easier transition. Also, it's very quaint and beautiful, lined with old trees, library and park nearby.  

Q:  What is it that you feel makes Oswego Playschool unique? 

A:  One of the most special aspects of Oswego Playschool is the community we have created over the years. Everyone is welcome, included, and loved at our school. It is such a special place because of the friendships and bonds we are able to create with each family, all of the students, and our wonderful teachers. It is a place where students can grow and learn but also where parents and children can build friendships that last well beyond the preschool years - we have a strong community with relationships that can last a lifetime! 

Much of the reason we are able to have such a tight-knit and strong community is because of our history. We are one of the oldest cooperative preschools in the state - 65 years is a huge accomplishment for a small, non-profit co-op playschool! Over 65 years we have been able to grow and improve but have also maintained our core values. For decades families in the local community have been able to trust Oswego Playschool to be an inclusive environment where children are free to be the creative, great thinkers we know they are. 

I would say OP is unique because it is such a tight-knit, inclusive community. Families join and have an instant "village." Working together in the classroom lets families really connect and get to know each other. Teacher Teenie has a saying "You come for your kids, but you stay for yourself and the friendships you create."

Q:  Both of your teachers have a background in cooperative education.  Why is that important?

A:  As a play based preschool, we believe children learn best through play. It's up to the teacher to set the environment in order for children to learn best on that stage. Play should not be something a teacher tells them to go and do, but an avenue to learn through play. Our teachers are masters at guiding children in learning and are often surprised at the outcome of what the children produce!  While volunteering in the classroom, there have been many smiles and laughs over the creativity and the alternate path the children lead us down. 

The teachers' cooperative education background gives them an understanding and deeper connection to parents because they've been in our shoes before. Their compassion and longevity teaching at our school strengthens our community. At our 65th anniversary party over the summer, many alumni families were so excited to see Teacher Teenie and Pheobe and share wonderful, heartfelt memories.

Q:  How do you go about attracting new families to the school?

A:  Many families are referred to us by word of mouth at library story times, baby and mom groups, and parks. We participate in many community activities like the Lake Oswego Festival for the Arts children's day, Fourth of July parade, and Lake Oswego Moms Club Preschool Forum. Also, many families try out the Parent and Tot class and continue until they graduate OP.

Q:  How has your school evolved over the 65 years you've been in operation?  

A:  One of the most wonderful things about OP is that it has grown over the past 65 years but has not changed. We are still operating out of the building that was donated and built to be our playschool. We have kept history books, photographs, and memories from the 1950's up until today and we have put a lot of emphasis on staying true to the values and mission set forth by the founding families of our school. 

We have evolved to be an inclusive environment for our community and always strive to be a strong representative of our local community population. We have made improvements to our building to accommodate more families, we have updated our landscaping with loving care and consideration from past members, we have introduced new programs such as music and yoga to our classroom, and this past summer we completed a complete backyard play space renovation. Our first priority and constant consideration is in creating the best and most developmentally appropriate environment for our students - we strive to evolve and grow while always keeping in mind the best ways we can encourage students to learn through exploration, creativity, cooperation, and play. 

The school has changed in so many ways over the years, but is still exactly the same!  Students come back to visit 20, 30, or 40 years later and say it's just like they remember it.  I believe that is because we still live by the same philosophy the school was founded on.  Yet, we are constantly updating, tweaking, and improving how we do things.  Any changes we make, we do with the spirit of OP in mind.  It's important to me to remember where we came from while we are moving forward. It's how we honor those who created this place for us to still be using today.  

Q:  Do you run a summer program?

A:  We don't currently run a summer program, but the 2- and 3- day classes get together for a weekly  park playdate over the summer. The teachers use this time to hold at home visits with families to get to know them before school starting. Also, it strengthens our community and allows families to get to know each other better.

Q:  What are the most significant challenges your school has faced, and how have you overcome them?

A:  The biggest challenges the school has faced over the years are membership and fundraising. Because we own our building and property, we have a huge responsibility to physically maintain it.  In years past this has been a huge sacrifice for parents to make sure we have a new roof and that the furnace is working. We try to be fiscally responsible and plan ahead for any capital improvements so that we are prepared when they come up.  And we are continually working to build and strengthen our school community. We offer many opportunities for parents to get together once a month without kids (brunch, movie, trivia night), parent development workshops throughout the year, play dates one day a week on off school days (zoo, park, library). We fundraise throughout the year with restaurant nights, pie sales, yard sales, and an auction in the spring.

Financial Support to Help Build Your Community

PCPI NEEDS YOU to apply for the 2018 Cooperative Spirit Grant of up to $1,200.

The Cooperative Spirit Grant is money given to a PCPI member school for a project that involves building community among its members and leaving a legacy of some type for future families.  Last year we had a multitude of applicants, with 2 schools awarded grants - one to restore a playground severely damaged by a hurricane and one to begin a project to convert a gazebo to a multi-sensory play area.  Playgrounds, however, are just one possibility.   Be creative and think about what your school needs.

This year we are seeking applicants so that one or more schools can benefit.  If you applied last year, please consider making sure your application has a strong parental involvement component and submitting it again.  It was difficult to compete against hurricane damage!

The application is not difficult and answers do not need to be lengthy.  Simply answer the following questions:
  • School name and address
  • Contact person's name, phone and email.
  • How will this specific project increase parental involvement and a sense of community
  • How will this project improve your school and leave a legacy
  • Describe your project
  • Estimated number of participants
  • The length of the project and timelines
  • Your project budget
  • Amount you are requesting from PCPI grant ($100 to $1200)
The deadline for submission is Dec. 15, 2018.  Email to Kathy Ems, PCPI treasurer, at   This is also the deadline for our 2 parent education grants.   G o to for more information on all grants.

PCPI would love to send this grant money to your school for its community building project.

Act NOW!  Grant Applications Due December 15th
U.S. and Canadian preschools with direct membership in PCPI are eligible for grants. Member councils may apply for a grant to fund a council cooperative project. Membership materials are available on our website .

Applications for all grants are due by midnight December 15th, 2018. Grant award decisions will be made by January 15, 2019.  Be sure to send in your applications soon! 

Here's a summary of current grant opportunities:

Cooperative Spirit Grant
Becky Allen Fund Grant
(United States)

Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant (Canada)
Grant provides financial support for increasing parent involvement by initiating a school improvement project that 

Total grant up to $1,200 
Helps fund a parent education project for US based member schools and councils.

Total grant up to $500

Helps fund a parent education project or other activity to help members improve in their role as parents for Canadian based member schools and councils. 

Total grant up to $500 

Cooperative Spirit Grant Application 
Becky Allen Fund Grant Application 
Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant Application

Thanks to Our Sponsors!
We would like to take time to say thank you once again to our 2018 sponsors.  With your help we are better able to support cooperative early childhood education around the world!

Jovial supports parent-involved early childhood education, 
by providing professional software specifically designed
for running a co-operative preschool.  Enrollment management, tuition accounting, and requirements tracking can all be done through Jovial.

Jovial is offered to non-profit cooperative preschools at no charge.

Pacific Kid handcrafts the finest quality interactive soft books, felt sets and play walls designed to encourage self-expression, language and literacy development, and dramatic play. They are remarkable tools for therapy, speech development, and special needs. 

PCPI members receive a 15% discount on orders.

Each week in Music Together classrooms around the world, babies, toddlers, preschoolers, big kids-and the grownups who love them!-gather to make music as a community. Music Together's early childhood music classes give families with children from birth through age 8 the chance to get in touch with their inner musician and connect with other families.

Hello, New Members!
We'd like to offer a warm welcome to our newest member schools.  We look forward to getting to know you better!

Share Cooperatively Speaking with Friends
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