Inside this issue:  Growing a Kindergarten, Planning for San Francisco, and Help Wanted

November 1, 2017
Vol. 47 No.9

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend the morning with Rhian Evans Allvin, the CEO of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) at an Advocacy Summit held by our local NAEYC affiliate.  

Rhian was speaking about advocating for early childhood education.  She described advocacy as having 2 aspects: making early childhood education accessible and affordable for all children and families; and ensuring that early childhood educators are well-trained, well-compensated professionals. We discussed the fact that the voices of cooperatives need to be included as stakeholders in the advocacy discussion as we are already finding ways to make education more accessible and affordable.  She is interested in continuing the dialog, so expect to hear more on the subject in the next issue of Cooperatively Speaking.


Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Growing a Kindergarten

The lack of play in early childhood education, especially in kindergarten, is causing widespread concern throughout the US.  Carmel Cooperative Preschoollocated in Carmel, Indiana, a northern suburb of Indianapolis, is taking steps to offer an alternative in their community. They are making plans to add a kindergarten class to their program in the 2018-19 school year.

Filling a Need
According to Carmel Co-op Co-President Jazzy O'Brien, filling a need within the community is their primary inspiration for adding a kindergarten.  She describes a lack of play-based schools within the the Carmel Clay Schools district, and she says that within the curriculum for kindergarten and higher grades, play is non-existent. Carmel Clay Schools offers a video with scenes from a typical school day as an an introduction to their kindergarten program.  Play is not addressed nor are playful moments in view.

The parents and teachers at Carmel Co-op want to see play-based kindergarten as an option within their community. Carmel Co-op Co President Natasha Shallon reported that Carmel Clay Schools only provides 15 minutes of recess for all of its students, including kindergarteners. "There has been an outcry in the community against this which has been seen in newspaper articles, editorials, and the creation of a Facebook group called Carmel Recess Initiative, " says Shallon.

Shallon has heard from parents with students currently attending Carmel kindergarten programs that their kids come home tired and that they are under too much pressure. Parents are looking for some relief, and Carmel Co-Op would like to be able to provide it. 

Cooperative Kindergarten
Carmel Co-Op's plan is for their kindergarten to operate as a cooperative in the same way as their preschool.

Shallon says, "As a Cooperative we really value parental involvement. Parents will help a run the kindergarten in terms of marketing, fundraising, and volunteering in the classroom amongst other things. As in our preschool classrooms, there will be an experienced teacher who is paid to plan lessons and lead the class. As the kindergarteners will be older than our current students, our student to teacher ratio will be a bit higher which will mean Co-oping less often for the parents in this class." 

Community Support and Challenges
The concern expressed by families within Carmel Co-Op about the current kindergarten options, as well as stories about searching for an alternative kindergarten, was enough for Carmel Co-Op to start researching and planning. They sent out a survey via Facebook and posted in numerous local mom groups to see if the community outside of the preschool also felt the need to for an alternative.  The support was overwhelming.

Creating a new class within an existing school does not happen without challenges.  Shallon said, "One of our biggest hurdles right now is simply the cost. Our current space may not be big enough for us to continue as a preschool and add a kindergarten at the same location. We also need a licensed kindergarten teacher, which will be more expensive than what we are currently paying."

Space, supplies, furniture to accommodate the children's larger bodies and greater abilities, and ensuring that the curriculum will follow state guidelines while at the same time incorporating a play-based philosophy all need to be addressed as the program develops.

In the immediate future, Carmel Co-Op plans to continue to gather information from the parents in their community, which they will turn into a collection of questions that need to be answered and obstacles that need to be overcome. They will eventually seek advice and lessons-learned from other co-ops with kindergarten programs.   


Many thanks to Natasha Shallon and Jazzy O'Brien, Co-Presidents Carmel Cooperative Preschool, for their contribution to this story.

Planning for San Francisco
The 2018 PCPI Annual meeting will be held in conjunction with the California Council Of Parent Participation Nursery Schools 2018 Convention  March 8-11, 2018 . While still in the planning stages, it is anticipated that  there will not be a separate registration fee for PCPI, but attendees will register for the CCPPNS Convention, which will allow everyone to attend workshops and go on school tours, as well as to use the facilities of the conference for meetings.  The PCPI Awards celebration will happen during the CCPPNS Awards banquet.
CCPPNS Convention details will be available soon.  In the mean time, you can follow their Facebook page to stay up to date with announcements and get a preview of convention activities.  Hotel booking is open.

CCPPNS Convention 2018 Keynote Presenter Susan Linn, Ed.D. 

Saturday Keynote Presentation Title: The Case for Make Believe: Saving play in a commercialized world
CCPPNS Convention 2018 Keynote Presenter Dr. Shauna Shapiro, Phd. 

Friday Keynote Presentation Title: Why Mindfulness Matters for Parents and Teachers

Applying for Financial Assistance for Travel
Are you ready to spend a fun, co-op centered weekend in San Francisco?   

PCPI wants YOU to participate in the 2018 Annual Meeting to be held in late Thursday, March 8th until midday Sunday, March 11th. Applying for assistance with travel expenses to get to the PCPI annual meeting could make the trip even easier!   The 2018 Marika Townshend Travel Grant provides g rant funds to help defer your travel expenses. 

Apply for the travel grant by Monday, January 8, 2018 at noon Pacific Standard Time (3:00pm EST).  This deadline will be firmly adhered to and incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Travel grant determinations will be made quickly. 

Annual Meeting activities will include:

  - Professional Development opportunities
  - Awards presentation event
  - Networking

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.
Questions should be directed to PCPI Advisors Vaughn Hatch AND Natalie Hall.

Help Wanted
Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery School in Washington, DC is seeking a long-term sub on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 8:30am - 1:30pm.  If you or someone you know is interested in helping out, please contact the current Parent-President  Stephane Ramet or past Parent-President Katy Thomas.

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