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March 10, 2014 
Vol. 44 No. 3   
Spring is almost here PCPI Members and Friends,
In this edition we're happy to let you know about PCPI's bursary and awards deadline of March 15 (apply now - a few days left!), and more details about the upcoming meetings in Washington, DC and Virginia in April. Read on for exciting news from our parent cooperative preschools community.
Cooperatively Speaking
Latest News from PCPI
2014 Annual Meetings - Register Now!
Share, Learn, & Network with Co-op Preschool Leaders  

PCPI Annual Meetings - April 24-26  Washington, DC and Virginia

The conference begins Friday morning at the headquarters of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) where you will have the chance to meet leaders of the cooperative movement. Three school visits are planned. We will visit the Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery in Washington, D.C. and in Virginia the Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool and Fort Hunt Preschool.

A special focus of the meeting is the chance to honor co-op volunteers. We will recognize this year's winners at a luncheon Saturday, April 26 at Landini Brothers in Alexandria, Virginia.

Participants will come away with new ideas including a collection of Team Building exercises that preschool leaders in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will demonstrate throughout the meetings.

The Annual Meeting Registration is available on the PCPI website: join us! Fill out the application 

Awards and Bursaries - March 15 deadline

PCPI Annual Awards - Nominate deserving teachers and volunteers! DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 15.

On April 26, 2014 PCPI will present awards to those who have rendered outstanding service to the cooperative preschool movement. It's not too late to nominate those deserving special recognition in your preschool community. Recipients unable to attend the ceremony will have their awards presented by their sponsors at their convenience. 

Katharine Whiteside Taylor Education Bursary for eligible Canadian members, Deadline March 15!

The Katharine Whiteside Taylor Bursary provides financial support for the continuing education of parents and teachers participating in a Canadian cooperative or parent participation preschool.

This year's bursary award of up to $500 is available to be used for professional development in the field of early childhood education or related leadership training.  Previous award winners have applied their award for tuition towards their ECE or other educational areas, to support attendance at conferences, and for specialized training for teachers or board members.

The application process is not complicated and we urge you to apply now by March 15 or contact Catherine Shaver by phone 519-621-1719 or email: shaver1337@gmail.com


Willa Burke retires as a PCPI Advisor - and we celebrate her 27 years of wonderful service!
Willa Burke of Victoria, BC has announced that she is retiring after 27 years as a PCPI Advisor.
Willa, a "treasury of history and good judgment," has given dedicated and effective service to her local Association and to PCPI for more than three decades. Willa received PCPI's highest honor, Honorary Life Membership, in Vancouver in 2009.

Willa was President of PCPI from 1984-86. She served as Past President and Chair of the Advisors from 1986-88. For many years Willa was the Executive Secretary of VICPA, the Vancouver Island Cooperative Preschool Association. Willa was known for her outstanding organizational skills, depth of knowledge, and ongoing support of coop preschools on Vancouver Island and beyond. One of her particular interests and strengths was leadership training. Her seriousness of purpose is accompanied by a wry sense of humor and fun. Her invitation to "have a cuppa" is always welcome.

Willa's greatest contribution may have been her mentoring of current and future leaders. Just as important, Willa continued to provide support to persons in their new roles. Her ability to look to the long term health and leadership needs of the organization has served PCPI well.
Thanks Willa and come have a cuppa at PCPI meetings anytime! 
Preparing teachers to work with parents in a cooperative school

When I was asked to write about our program for preparing teachers to work with parents in a classroom setting, I reflected on our process and realized that we do not spend a great deal of professional development time on this issue at our school.  We are a small co op in Fairfield County with once class each for children two, three and four.  In each classroom we have a head teacher, an assistant teacher and a parent each day on a rotating schedule.  Due to the nature of parents working in the classroom, we tend to attract a lot of current and former teachers who place high value on being a part of their child's education.  Currently, more than half of our staff started off as parents with children enrolled in the school.  Their children left the school and they loved it so much, they stayed.  Bringing the mindset of working closely with parents was innate for the people who began their career at our school in this role.  For those that have not, by watching the seasoned staff working with parents has worked well.  In the rare instances when a staff member needs more guidance working with parents we have discussions and provide more coaching as needed. 

What we do focus on more is educating our parents on the values and philosophy of our program and how this transfers to actually working with the students in the classroom.  We have several orientation meetings for parents before we start our school year.  Each class has a separate meeting to discuss the workings in the individual rooms during the first month of school and we continue with monthly group parent meetings as an entire school.  As Educational Director, I try to cover a topic each month relating to the classroom. For example, I recently spoke about the do's and don'ts of modeling during art experiences while working in the classroom.  Other topics have included how to say Yes! more in the classroom setting, rough and tumble play; its value and our role when it occurs, and conflict resolution.  We spend a great deal of time in the classrooms scaffolding conflict resolution with the children.  It is often handled very differently in the home setting, so this issue takes repeated discussions.  The topic for our next parent meeting will be on praise and the overuse of "Good Job!"  with young children.  We will be discussing alternatives when discussing a child's performance, accomplishments and products.  It is wonderful to watch the parents as the year evolves first deferring to the teacher when they are unsure of the best way to handle a situation gaining more and more confidence to handle situations over time.  Many parents tell us about how this "parent as assistant" education carries through to their parenting at home. 


Being asked to explain our process has given us good topics for discussion and reflection as a staff and with our board.  Are we doing enough in this area?  How could we improve this part of our program?  Being part of a group of other cooperative schools that share their ideas and processes is so helpful.  We are looking forward to hearing how other schools structure staff education regarding working with parents. 


by Dana Gorman

Educational Director

Community Cooperative Nursery School

Rowaton, CT



In Memoriam - Carolyn Hawkins 
Founding Member and PCPI's First President
PCPI members wish to commemorate Carolyn Hawkins from Michigan who passed away on June 5, 2013. Carolyn was one of the founding members of PCPI and was the first president beginning in 1960.

One of the last events she was able to attend was the 50th anniversary celebration for PCPI in Indianapolis in 2011.  Her daughter reported that she was so proud that she helped to establish this national organization which then grew to become international. 

At her memorial service her family displayed the article about PCPI's 50th anniversary in Cooperatively Speaking that featured a photograph of Carolyn cutting the cake.  The picture captured her delight at being able to join in the celebration. You can see the photos and read more about PCPI's history here.

All of us join together to celebrate Carolyn's life and her innumerable contributions to the cooperative preschool community!

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