Inside this issue:  
Virginia Legislation Update   Travel Grants Available  |  Call for Award Nominations  |  Grants Awarded  |   Welcome to New Members

January/February 2019
Vol. 49 No.1

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI
Hello!

I know many of us have been trapped in a deep freeze for too many days.  I hope reading this newsletter provides a distraction from the weather.  I'm sure that children, parents, teachers, and directors are all looking forward to getting back to school and to playing outdoors.

For those unaffected by the polar vortex, celebrate your good fortune by playing outside and spending some quiet time reading after school. 

Cooperatively yours,

Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking



Legislative Action In The Works in Virginia
by Dianne Rose
 
The March and July 2018 editions of  Cooperatively Speaking covered an ongoing story about the detrimental impact that proposed changes to licensing regulations could have on cooperative preschools in Virginia. Specifically, the regulations required that parent volunteers in the classroom meet the same training requirements as paid staff, which would be an impossibly high bar for most parents to reach.  

Led by Nancy Renner, Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council (VCPC) President and Director at Fort Hunt Preschool, many devoted representatives from co-op preschools across the state spent numerous hours strategizing and meeting with representatives from the Virginia Department of Social Services and the State Board of Social Services (SBSS) in an effort to come to an agreeable resolution. Despite their great effort, and the support of 4,000+ signers on a Change.org petition, the problematic regulations were approved by the SBSS and are currently awaiting signature by the Governor.

When exchanges with the social services representatives proved disappointing, VCPC formed a new strategy to seek a legislative solution. Luckily, Andrew Pennock, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Virginia, parent of twins at Chancellor Street Preschool Co-operative, and dedicated co-op advocate (as evidenced by this op-ed piece he wrote for the Richmond Times-Dispatch), was on board to help as were Stafford Ward, a parent at Fort Hunt Preschool and Ashley Heacock, a parent at Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool, who also brought their legislative knowledge to bear to guide VCPC through the lawmaking process.

Heacock worked with Delegate Brenda Pogge and her legislative aid to draft a bill. Once in process, proponents of cooperative preschools across the state were asked to contact their representatives in anticipation of the January Virginia General Assembly session to show their support for House Bill 2258.  They were also asked to register their comments in Richmond Sunlight , " a non-partisan website that aggregates information about the General Assembly, the lawmaking body that go verns the state of Virginia." The hundreds of comments
demonstrated once again that there is broad and devoted support of cooperatives in the state.

At the time of this writing, HB2258 has received unanimous support from the  Virginia House of Delegates.   The next step is for the bill to "crossover" to the Senate on February 5. You can track the progress of the bill in Virginia's Legislative Information System

VCPC has high hopes that HB2258 will receive the same high level of support from the Senate that it did from the House, and that soon the bill will be signed into law and will ensure that cooperative preschools can continue to thrive in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



Get Yourself to Ann Arbor!
Apply Now For The Marika Townshend Travel Grant
 
The Marika Townshend Travel Grant program helps our members attend the PCPI annual meeting. The 2019 meeting will be held  in Ann Arbor, Michigan,  Thursday, March 9th until midday Sunday, March 12th. Applying for assistance with travel expenses to get to the PCPI annual meeting could make the trip even easier! 
 
Parents, teachers, directors and board members of cooperative preschools are all invited to join in this weekend of camaraderie and focus on our cooperative mission.  PCPI needs your talent and contributions, and you will take back many great ideas and renewed enthusiasm from this wonderful networking opportunity. 

Apply for the travel grant  by  Monday, March 11th, 2019  at noon Pacific Standard Time (3:00pm EST). See you in Ann Arbor!



Call for Nominations! 
Honor Outstanding Service Wherever You Are
 
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 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 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 pcpi.awards@gmail.com.
 


Cooperative Spirit Grants Awarded
by Mariah Battison, PCPI President
 
What an inspiring year of Cooperative Spirit grant applications!    There were so many amazing ideas that it reminded us of why we are here.   The cooperative movement is alive and strong.  

Our committee had a very difficult time selecting our Cooperative Spirit Grant recipients this year as we had 14 worthy applications.  That is outstanding and we are grateful to our cooperative community for coming together to share their ideas.   From expanding outdoor classrooms, to adding natural loose parts playground features, mud kitchens and community gardens, there was a great variety of ideas to choose from.  

Our first recipient was Community Cooperative Nursery School in Rowayton, CT with the idea of building a Monarch Waystation.  Their idea will not only benefit the current preschoolers, future preschoolers, their families, and the local community but also our environment as they provide a W aystation for these important pollinators.   

There is a great need for Monarch Waystations because each fall, hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to the United States.  The Monarch migration is one of the world's greatest natural wonders, yet it is threatened by habitat loss in North America.  By creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation, CCNS will be contributing to Monarch conservation, an effort that will help assure the preservation of the species and the continuation of the Monarch migration phenomenon.  

It is believed that b y having children "participate in the monitoring of Monarchs through citizen science programs, or simply experiencing the joy of raising a monarch at home or in school, children get direct experience with nature and develop the strong connection with nature that will lead to their development as conservationists of the future"(monarchjointventure.org). 
 
The project will require a habitat that provides a shelter for the butterflies, host plants to attract the butterflies and provide a breeding area, as well as nectar plants for food and sustainability for the butterflies.  They will also want to create a viewing area for children and families or community members to be able to comfortably watch the butterflies.  A water feature will also be included to ensure the plants and butterflies are able to drink water.  The project, by design, will increase parental involvement as well as involvement of the whole school community.  Families will be a part of the creation of the environment by planting and building what a Waystation needs.  Families would be responsible for maintaining this e nvironment as well as visiting it often to watch the visitors arrive and spending time there.  

The essence of the Monarch Waystation project will not only a ffect the school in a positive way but also leave a lasting legacy.   Year after year this will be a time for the community to gather together to prepare the Waystation and then watch the butterflies return each year.   The project will provide a safe place for the butterflies to migrate to every spring and the children and families of the school will be a part of that and make an impact.   This project could be a model for other schools and easily replicated.   PCPI contributed $800 towards the completion of this project and we look forward to hearing about the details of its implementation and seeing the photographs of all those butterflies!

Our second recipient was Stone School Cooperative Preschool in Ann Arbor, MI with an idea that was shared by a number of applicants, a community garden.  All the community garden ideas were well thought out and had great merit from each of the schools, however what made Stone School's idea stand out for the committee was having the ambition to be certified as a Heart Healthy School in the State of Michigan through the American Heart Association.  Stone School's garden will create a learning experience of healthy eating habits and what a healthy garden is composed of.  The emphasis will be on parent involvement as well as the importance of introducing healthy living starting at a young age and hopefully their entire lives.  

Once the garden is built and planted, it will be sustained by the future generations of the preschool and will maintain the Heart Healthy status creating a lasting legacy in the process.  Stone School  is working hard to fundraise a good portion of the funds needed for the project and has accepted a grant of $400 from PCPI to help them with the initial implementation of the garden.  

Congratulations to our winners and a big heartfelt thank-you to all our applicants. We wish you all great success with your projects and hope to see you all apply again in future years when the grant is available. 

Cooperatively Yours, 
CS Grant Committee 



Two Becky Allen Grants Awarded

Two schools received awards from the The Becky Allen fund to support parent education programs within their schools.

Mayfair Co-op Preschool in Farmington Hills, MI
is  receiving support for a parent education session on the benefits of play in early learning. The workshop will be facilitated by an ECE professor from a local university.

Athens Forest Kindergarten in Bogart, GA is planning an event hosted by a local play therapist, Jessica Sigur of IN PLAY Family Counseling and Resource Center. Sigur will bring a four-hour workshop for families to learn together about an approach called Child-Parent Relationship Training (CPRT). Caregivers "learn how to connect with their child through their natural language-PLAY!". AFK plans to offer their event to the wider community as well.

Congratulations!

____________________________________

Thank you to those of you who have made contributions in memory of Becky Allen, who devoted her life to early childhood education and the importance of parent involvement.  If you would like to contribute, please send your check (payable to PCPI with a notation that it is for the Becky Allen Fund) to:

Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI)
PO Box 230327 
Portland, OR 97281-0327  
 
Donations are tax deductible.



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!



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