Welcome 2023!!!!
Empathy is Not Extinct

Have you read the book What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night? No one is surprised when 4-5 year olds are inspired to bring naughty nighttime dino chaos from the book into their preschool play. Soon enough child dinosaur hunters emerge to capture the naughty ones with traps and baits described in the book. As dinos get more and more out of control the preschool hunters respond in more creative, complicated, powerful and rather punitive ways. 
Teacher Karen Vegors, who joined SSCCP in September after many years in a different program, brought this fun curriculum piece to Alki Co-op and was so surprised to find DiNovember going in a whole new direction! Alki Pre-K’s, when given the opportunity at circle time to discuss together and make a plan, were more interested in finding out WHY the dinos made the naughty mess so they would know how to solve the problem. Ideas started popping up. If they are hungry, we could give them a snack. If they are afraid of the dark at night, we could leave a flashlight. We could write a note asking them to treat our classroom differently. Sure enough…the next morning the dinos were found in the kitchen with the snacks, the light and a disco ball, having a party! Problem solved!

What is different about this year from past years of DiNovember with Teacher Karen? Children are not born with the ability to problem-solve in this way. They learn this approach to problem-solving by watching the other people in their lives, especially their grown-ups. Role-modeling is a powerful parenting tool. The children brought the silent, counterculture values that are the foundation of Co-op into their play:

  • Dinosaurs do better when they feel better.
  • Dinosaurs aren’t bad. Mistakes are opportunities to learn.
  • Seeing what is deep beneath a behavior leads to more lasting, helpful solutions.
  • Celebrations build stronger relationships than consequences!

Being surrounded by other children, teachers, parents (their own and others!) who put these Co-op values to work, we see that even young children learn and behave differently when faced with challenges. What would a world look like where everyone solves problems with these understandings and values?? Dinosaurs may be extinct, but empathy and kindness need not be. Long live DiNovember month at Co-op!
2023 Registration Begins!
How can it be time to think about the 2023-24 school year already?!
As in years past, the schedule will be:
  • Priority Registration (currently enrolled students) January 15-31
  • Open Registration (siblings of enrolled students and new families) - February 1-28
  • Ongoing Registration (new or returning families as space allows) - March 1st onward

You will receive lots of information via email, both from your parenting educator and from registrar Fiona Preedy with all the pertinent details!
Parent Education Seminars
While reading books and listening to podcasts can certainly be a useful part of one's parenting journey, the input of information is only part of the equation. Connection to a dedicated parenting educator to check in, brainstorm, work through rough patches, try to new things, and have the chance to return to the drawing board means that parents have concrete support as they step into new skills as both they and their preschooler learn and grow. This wonderful team of educators has a slate of parent education seminars ready for our community this quarter. Some highlights:

Will My Child Be Ready For Kindergarten - come spend the evening learning how co-op prepares children for elementary school success using developmentally appropriate practice, play-based curriculum, and a deep focus on social emotional skill-building

Documentary Screening: The Mask You Live In - This film follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. The gender stereotypes they battle interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

Disability is Diversity - Our Social Justice Spotlight for winter quarter, the Arc of King County will present this critically important workshop for anyone who has disability in their life and, equally important, all of us who would like to be better allies for folks with disabilities.

... and there are many more! You can attend as many as you like and you are welcome to invite friends, family, and anyone else who might benefit.
Updates from Preschools
The PreK class at White Center is building a fairy garden! Through working on fine motor skills tying garden flags and developing their ability to ask questions through planting and tending to radish seeds, these students are growing something that will last beyond their time at preschool.  

They began by clearing out a bit of garden space and amending the soil; what could be better than digging in the dirt?? Then they planted some seeds and tenderly watered them each day, waiting for the first sprouts (met by squeals of delight!) to reveal themselves. At this point it was time to spruce up an old horse barn with paint and glitter and wood glue, making it habitable for the fairies. Now the fairies had a place to shelter and food was growing, but something was still missing, so the students rolled up their sleeves and gathered around the picnic table to practice tying bits of fabric on the twine. Working collaboratively the kids have tied well over 30 feet of garden flags, bringing so much color and whimsy to the outdoor space. 

The kids feel a powerful ownership over the fairy garden they are building, bringing in shells they collected at the beach over the weekend, or special sticks, rocks and lichen they found in their backyards before school. Daily they show the adults around them the joy of wonder while they build their magical space. 
One of the most exciting things about welcoming new staff to our program is to see the creative and exciting curriculum ideas they bring with them. From Teacher Karen Vegors, Threes/PreK Children's Teacher at Alki Co-op:

"The last full week of October, before Halloween, I like to do Glow Week for my class. I have black lights in the classroom and all sorts of glowing activities. 

There are lots of things that can be made to fluoresce by adding highlighter water or fluorescent paint: play dough, baking soda and vinegar, glue, etc. It’s a fun week, everyone is encouraged to dress in things that might glow under black light. 

All of the lights in the classroom are shut off which allows us to use flashlights, glow sticks and the light table in a different way.

I do this curriculum every year at this time because I want the children to see that the dark is not scary. No matter how the families treat Halloween, the children see representations of monsters, ghosts, and scary things all over. Think about the ads on TV from the perspective of a three-year-old, some of them can be frightening. Look at the displays at Home Depot, Target, even the grocery stores!  

Glow week is a time for kids to have fun in the dark in a safe setting that they know. "

Are you looking for a great PreK experience for your child? We have a couple of immediate openings for 4 / 5 year olds and their families at Lincoln Park Cooperative Preschool located within the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse!
Teacher Tami and her class have been having a ton of fun learning through play. This fall they have been spending more time outside on the lower fields at the Schoolhouse, establishing an outdoor playspace with tree stumps, garden fairies, and geodes donated by current PreK families. This extended classroom space has already provided new learning opportunities; on one of our first days out there, the children were so excited to see a bunny hop by, and we were able to talk about being good guests in this habitat. We have also enjoyed using magnifying glasses to explore the minute world of plants and insects. We can’t wait for more adventures in this space as we continue to shape it throughout the year! 

For more information, contact or visit the LPCP website here. . 

Admiral’s Walkabout

After snack each day, the children in Admiral’s 3/4s Class bundle up and go on a walkabout around the neighborhood.

The line of students trails Teacher Jennifer, who always finds a theme to watch for: faces in trees, holiday decorations, or the surprising number of decorative fish around the preschool. In turn, the little ones delight in their own discoveries. They spot cats, flags, and squirrels. They notice flower husks that look like fireworks. They take turns feeling rocks warmed in the sun. The troupe of kids – hand in hand with grown-ups – always brings smiles to the faces of people in their yards or walking their dogs along the way.

If you know any 3- or 4-year-olds who’d like to join Teacher Jennifer’s class and our walkabouts, there are a few grown-up hands free.

Contact registration here for more information!
SSC on Social Media!
Co-op Butterflies
Do you have a child who is a little 'more'? Maybe they have higher sensitivities, bigger emotions, deeper needs? Join our monthly discussion group and find camaraderie and understanding, support and information from other families! Email Teacher Jen for more information.
Parent Education
Even though our parenting education seminars will take place remotely, they are still an amazing way to build your own skills during this busy and anxious time. You can find upcoming seminar listings on our website calendar.
Questions about co-op?