Inside this issue:  
Summer Reading  |  Continuing the Fight   |  New Member Shout Out

July 1, 2018
Vol. 48 No.6

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI
Happy Canada Day!  And (almost) happy 4th of July!  Wherever you are, I hope you have an enjoyable celebration!

Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Summer Reading
by Dianne Rose

Summer is a good time to pick up a good book.  Sometimes that means a new one, sometimes a classic.  Once in a while you get lucky and a good read falls into your lap unexpectedly like it did for me recently.  

When I was in San Francisco for the PCPI Annual Meeting in March, Susie Stone arrived with a few copies to share of "It's the Camaraderie" A History of Parent Cooperative Preschools by Dorothy W. Hewes, Ph.D.  What a treasure this book is!

Known as "the mother of the history of early childhood education, " Dr. Hewes's lifelong interest in ECE inspired her to teach, research and write, as well as to become a co-founder of Bakersfield Play Center in 1952.    

Published in 1998, this book claims to be the "first comprehensive history of the parent cooperative preschool movement."  I would argue that it is the ONLY comprehensive history, at least that I have ever seen.  Not only does the text address the wide subject of the birth of the parent participation ideology, it also includes detailed nuances in character that differentiate specific schools, councils, and organizations across the US, Canada, and around the globe.

Though it has been 20 years since "It's the Camaraderie" was published, cooperative preschools continue to face many of the same challenges today, including changing family demographics and socioeconomics, and available time in the busy lives of parents. Hewes stressed that the value of co-ops is in their unique ability to satisfy parents "underlying need for camaraderie" as they raise their children.  She predicted that because they help to build community, cooperative preschools can continue to thrive, but they need to remain flexible and inclusive.  She also noted a trend toward becoming "more business-like," meaning less reliance on volunteers and more on paid staff to keep the school moving forward.

"It's the Camaraderie" is out of print, and while I found a few copies available on Amazon, at $300+ I would venture to say a library is the best bet if you're interested in reading it.  WorldCat, a library search service, found a few copies available for loan, one of which may be near you.   

Continuing the Fight to Keep Co-Ops Alive
In the March issue of Cooperatively Speaking we reported on proposed regulatory changes in Virginia that could cause cooperative preschools to close their doors across the state. 

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), the licensing agency for child day centers in the state, intends to implement a change that will require all parents in co-ops to meet the same training requirements as staff, which includes state mandated orientation training (10-16 hours), 20 hours per year of continuing education, and CPR and first aid certification. Under the regulation, parent volunteers who don't meet the training requirements can not be counted toward adult/child ratio requirements, and they would be required to be within site and sound of a paid staff at all times.  

Representatives from  the Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council (VCPC) have held several meetings with VDSS to educate the board on the value of cooperative preschools and the devastating impact this change could have to preschools across the state. The story was covered in the The Daily Progress, Charlottesville's local newspaper. At the most recent meeting, some members of the VDSS board indicated an understanding of the impact the change would have and a willingness to collaborate on a solution, while others adamantly insisted that the change would go through to provide "consistency of quality" across all early childhood programs in the state.

The VDSS board will meet next on August 15th.  The fight against this change continues, and VCPC could use your help.

Sign the petition  - At the time of this publication the petition created through had 3,500+ signatures. The more signatures and comments the better. 

Share information  - The changing regulations in Virginia are a response to the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, a federal initiative that could impact schools in every state. Virginia's approach to meeting the requirements of the Act seems to be out of synch with that of other states. What's happening where you live? If the CCDBG won't change the way cooperatives work in your state, that would be useful information to have, too.

Write a letter about your experiences in a cooperative preschool to help the board understand the impact of co-ops on families - and the magic that happens when teachers, parents and children are together in the classroom. Contact the State Board of Social Services before they vote on August. 15! Send emails to or letters to State Board of Social Services, 804 E. Main Street, Richmond VA 23219.

VCPC will continue to try to educate and inform the members of the state board about the value of cooperatives, while at the same time will explore legislative actions that may help to protect our preschools in the future.  

New Member Shout Out!
Welcome to our newest member school, Seattle's Progressive Preschool! Affiliated with Seattle Central Community College, the cooperative preschool teaches sustainable justice, emphasizing diversity, environmental learning, and social awareness.

We look forward to getting to know you better!

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