Inside this issue:  
PCPI Annual Award Nominations  |  Grant Opportunities and Awards | Play | Annual Meeting in San Francisco

February 1, 2018
Vol. 48 No.2

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI
Happy Enrollment Season to all of you!

While we're only halfway through this school year, many of us are already deep into planning the next one.  Open houses, school tours, meeting new people, answering questions, phones and emails, and processing paperwork are all part of keeping our schools running smoothly year after year.  During this busy time, remember to take a deep breath and take time out to play!


Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Call for Nominations!
Who do you know who deserves an award?
The deadline for nominations for PCPI awards is coming up on February 16th. 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 will be considered for the Robin Bunster Award for Teaching Excellence.  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 award criteria and nomination forms can be found on the  PCPI website. Nominations are due February 16 along with a $20 application fee.  A $35 pin is also available to give to award recipients.

Questions should be sent to Kathy Ems at

Parent Ed Grant Opportunity for Canadian Schools
Among the many benefits of membership in PCPI is the opportunity to apply for the Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant. The grant will offer annual funds to one or more parent cooperative preschools or councils to help fund a parent education project or other activity that helps members improve in their role as parents. 

Over the years cooperative preschools and their communities have offered a wide range of parent education programs and the Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant will support that vital member benefit.  The total grant amount is up to $500 to fund one or more programs. Canadian parent cooperative preschools with direct membership in PCPI are eligible. Canadian member councils may apply for a grant to fund a council parent education program. 

Grant applications are due March 15.  Detailed grant requirements can be found in the Awards and Grants area on the PCPI website.  Questions can be directed to


The Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant is named in honor of Dr. Katharine Whiteside Taylor, as a founding member of the Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI). 

Multiple Grants Awarded
The inaugural  Cooperative Spirit Grant was a huge success.  Ten excellent applications were received, as well as one additional donation to support the grant.  Two Cooperative Spirit Grants were awarded:

Butterfly Co-Op Preschool in Homestead, FL received  $1,225 to buy new and much needed play equipment after their playground was extensively damaged by Hurricane Irma. Because their playground is no longer safe,  the children are currently playing in an empty parking lot with some balls, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk.  Their plan is for 15 - 20 parents to come together to clean up the debris left from the hurricane, and to construct a new, wooden play structure.  They will also work to revitalize any salvageable pieces of their existing plastic play structures.

Before Hurricane Irma
After Hurricane Irma


Nature's Pointe Cooperative Preschool in  Noblesville , IN received $300 to aid in the transformation of an outdoor gazebo into "Nature's Playhouse". They anticipate that about 30 parents will come together to plan and construct a nurturing outdoor play space - a covered, partially-enclosed, three-walled structure that will allow students to freely move around and explore the components. The playhouse project will expand the school's outdoor classroom area and provide more space for children to gather, play, and socialize.

The Becky Allen Parent Education Grant was also awarded in January.  The annual grant is available to member schools and councils to support parent education programs and/or projects within their community. 

Silver Spring Nursery School in Silver Spring, MD received $200 for a parent ed program and parent library updating.

Congratulations to all of the grant recipients!  We look forward to hearing more about your projects once they are completed.

Playing Isn't Only For Children
By Dianne Rose
When we start our enrollment for the next school year, I always find it exciting to meet new parents in our community who want to jump in and become a part of our program.  But, especially with first-time parents, there are times when I sense their hesitation when we talk about play-based education.  I can tell they are unsure whether spending time playing in preschool is going to help their children prepare for kindergarten.

I recently attended a professional development workshop about play, which I hoped would reinforce my ability to talk with new parents.  I was expecting a lecture, but instead I walked into a room with a big open floor space and giant bins full of loose parts.  Attendees were directed to pick up some stuff and start playing.  Eye roll.  I spend my days playing with kids, I thought.  I don't need to do this on a Saturday morning, too.

But, I did what I was told and grabbed one bag that contained random decks of cards and another full of corks, and I sat down on the floor and started to build.  First, I found that some corks were more stable than others, so I had to look for particular shapes and sizes that "worked".  Once I had a stable cork foundation (for whatever unknown was coming next) I started to arrange the cards on top to make a layered structure. Then some cards became ramps.  Then I added more corks and cards to make boardwalk-like pathway. The shape of the cards and the pictures on the backs created patterns that dictated where they could be placed. The structure continued to grow up and out, increasing in complexity.   Before I knew it, 30 minutes had passed and we had to stop playing and reflect on what we had learned.  

I realized that this short exercise wasn't at all about me playing, but was exactly about what children are thinking about and learning during solo play. I thought about size, shape, height, balance, stability, pattern, structure, addition, subtraction, problem solving, and a long list of other things in that amazingly relaxing, uninterrupted 30 minutes. I left more convinced than ever that unstructured, imaginative play is the heart of learning, and that it is my job to ensure that time and space for play is protected and nurtured.  I was also reminded that play is good for adults, too.

PCPI Annual Meeting in March
There's Still Time to Join Us!

The 2018 PCPI Annual meeting will be held March 8-11, 2018 in conjunctio with the  California Council Of Parent Participation Nursery Schools  convention.  
The annual meeting goals are to connect US and Canadian PCPI members; to provide professional development; to conduct the annual Awards Ceremony; and of course, to have fun!   Parents, teachers, directors, board members in cooperative schools are are welcome to attend.

CCPPNS Convention details are available now and registration is open .  Follow the convention  Facebook page to stay up to date with announce ments and get a preview of planned activities.  Hotel booking  at the Hotel Kabuki in San Fransisco is also open.

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