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May 3, 2017 
Vol. 47 No. 4
Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI

What a fantastic visit to Indianapolis!  I can't tell you how fun it was to meet such a great group of interesting, dynamic individuals who are all so dedicated to supporting co-operative early childhood education.  

I left the meeting feeling energized and excited about all that is coming for PCPI this year, and I hope that you'll feel the same after reading this edition of Cooperatively Speaking!

Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Highlights from the Annual Meeting
The agenda for the annual meeting was packed full of events.  Below are highlights of what was learned and decided during visits, discussions, lunches, dinners, and planning sessions that happened in Indianapolis.

Preschool Visits
The annual meeting always takes place in an area with a concentrated member base, which makes it possible to visit several schools and get to know the people that make them tick.  The visits give everyone a chance to share great ideas as well as to brainstorm about shared challenges.

Meridian Hills Co-op is developing a  Certified Nature Explore Classroom in honor of the late Shari Robinson, beloved teacher and director of the school from 1974-2001.  This is an amazing undertaking that others might want to "explore."  The school has also recently incorporated a forest school as part of their kindergarten.

Speedway Co-op showed off their wonderful environment encompassing a Reggio-inspired approach with younger students and a more traditional approach as they prepare for kindergarten.  Visitors were intrigued by the school's use of the  Seesaw app for communication with parents.

Carmel Co-op is a recent addition to the Indiana Cooperatives having opened their doors in 2015.  School families and staff collectively believe in the power of play, and they have created a place where children can learn the way  they learn best.

Awards and Recognitions
Recognizing the achievements of the people that make cooperatives work is primary to PCPI's mission.  

PCPI Awards were presented to six well-deserving cooperative champions (see separate article below).

This fall PCPI will launch a new "Cooperative Spirit" Award for schools, which is intended to encourage parent involvement.  Criteria is under development and will be available in September, and $1,500 was set aside to fund the new award.

The Katharine Whiteside Taylor Bursary was updated to meet the changing needs of our members.  Now called The Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant, the parent education grant program for Canadian schools and councils will be similar to the Becky Allen Grants in the U.S.

Growth and Change
As the world changes, so do the needs of PCPI members.  The Board is working to make sure that our organization is doing all it can to be supportive of our cooperative community, and as a result, many changes are on the horizon.

Development of a new PCPI website is well underway with plans to finish and launch by the end of summer, so watch for the rollout later this year. With the new site,  PCPI resources will be more accessible to members, and finding cooperative schools will be easier for those who are shopping around.  The new site will feature photos contributed by member schools to highlight what it means to be a co-op, so be on the lookout for a photo request some time soon.

A Social Media committee is being formed. Social Media can be a powerful tool for promoting the virtues of cooperative education and for creating a sense of community among members.  

All positions on the Executive Board are filled:  
President Mariah Battiston (British Columbia)
VP Admin Megan Hoppes (California)
VP Finance Kathy Ems (Oregon)
VP Membership Roberta Stuart (British Columbia)
VP Resources Leta Mach (Maryland)
Secretary Nicole Hester (Indiana)
Past President Lesley Romanoff (Maryland)  

Most committee chair positions were also filled.

Fundraising ideas were collected and shared with a school that requested that info in their annual report.  Sharing fundraising ideas might be of interest to other schools, so we'll discuss the best way to go about that.  More in an upcoming newsletter...

Meeting attendees left Indianapolis with a renewed enthusiasm for the co-op model, and much gratitude for great hosts and great communication.  All are looking forward to meeting again next year!

2018 Annual Meeting
March 8-10

Save the Date!
The 2018 PCPI Annual Meeting will be held in San Francisco March 8 - 10 in conjunction with the California Council of Parent Participation Preschool's Annual Conference. 

Mark your calendar now - we can't wait to see you there!

And the Award Goes To...

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 PCPI awards, and thanks to each and every one of you for being champions of cooperative education!  Award winners are (pictured from left to right):

Mary Rose Simons
Carmel Cooperative Preschool
District  Award and Recipient of the Robin Garthright Bunster Award for Excellence in Teaching

Mary Rose Simons brought cooperative education to the Carmel community when she founded Carmel Cooperative Preschool in 2015.  Mary works tirelessly to do whatever it takes to bring her vision to fruition. From setting up classrooms to providing childcare, from solving tax problems to filling in for ailing teachers, Mary has done it all.  She taught Carmel's teachers, parents and students about the "Power of Play" and has made them all true believers in play-based education. In an academic-focused city where secular preschools are hard to find, Carmel Cooperative is a beacon of hope for parents seeking an alternative preschool education.

Malkah Bird
Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School and Kindergarten
District  Award

Teacher and mentor...Malkah Bird is all of these things to her kindergarteners at Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School & Kindergarten. Her excitement for open-ended, child-led learning inspires her class daily, and she strives to help her children become confident, capable problem-solvers. In Bird's class, her students learn about reading and math, but they also learn how to be compassionate " bucket fillers"-citizens who care deeply about their world.
Bird spearheaded the creation of an outdoor "Forest Kindergarten" program for her school-the first in the Indianapolis area. In partnership with parents, an Eagle Scout group and the host church, she reclaimed a neglected ravine area where she now conducts class for two hours every Thursday afternoon, rain, shine, snow or cold. Her goal is to help her students become passionate stewards of the natural world.

Linda Foley
Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School and Kindergarten
District  Award (Second Time)

Linda Foley IS Meridian Hills Co-op. Her lively spirit and positive attitude lives in the very foundation of the school. Foley started at Meridian Hills Co-op decades ago as a student and subsequently student taught at the school. She then enrolled her two children, and her daughter was in the very first kindergarten class at Meridian Hills Co-op. Now, Foley brings her masters level of teaching to the 3- and 4-year-old classes, playing and learning right along side her students.
Foley treats everyone without judgement, and welcomes each person she meets into her life and classroom with her whole heart.

Christine Wise
Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School and Kindergarten 
District  Award

Chris Wise is a shining example of an involved co-op parent as her welcoming, inclusive nature puts people at ease. She is very committed to helping her school flourish, as well as to furthering the cooperative movement in Indiana.  During the last seven years, Wise has served Meridian Hills as a co-president, vice president of membership, vice president of parent education and as a group chair. She is currently serving a three year term as president of the Indiana Council of Preschool Cooperatives.  Wise has an unfailing commitment to sharing her love of co-op education, and this award is well-deserved. 

Heather Amon
Apple House Preschool Cooperative 
District  Award

Over the past seven years the amount of time, service and dedication Heather Amon has put into Apple House Preschool is incomparable. Heather has served on the board as the Marketing Chair as well as four years as Vice President. She has organized parent training, given countless school tours, assembled back to school packets, and has completed numerous acts of quiet service. Heather lifts a hand without complaint whether that's giving a ride to a child to school, or substituting in the classroom. She is the glue that makes Apple House strong. On top of all of that,  Heather is also currently serving as ICPC's Vice President.   Heather is a true class act who embodies all that is good with the cooperative spirit. 

Apryl Swynenburg
Apple House Preschool Cooperative
District  Award

Three years ago Apryl went from co-op Mom to teacher at Apple House Preschool, and the brilliant transformation happened almost over night.  Apryl has demonstrated amazing growth, adaptability, humility, and patience as she has grown into a gifted teacher who is simultaneously a calming and magnetic force that preschoolers gravitate to. She has come into her own teaching style while providing new and exciting play-based activities for her different classes and ages, and Apryl's willingness to grow and to try new things has helped Apple House continue to be a top-notch program. Apryl  has embraced the cooperative spirit and it shows as Apple House continues to thrive and enrollment fills faster and faster each year. 

Cooperatively Speaking with friends!

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Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI)