Summer 2021
Childhood: Unmasked
Could this pandemic have been the best possible course in Child Development?  Better than reading a book, listening to a podcast, or even listening to your Children’s Teacher or Parent Educator? 

We have spent more “facetime” with our children than we ever thought possible. Every. Single. Day. We have been social scientists observing the changes that take place in a child during an 18 month span.  We have seen (and felt) them move on that equilibrium/disequilibrium spiral. We have seen (and heard) an explosion in their ability to express their needs (and wants). We are amazed at their physical growth because their clothes no longer fit (and our Oreo stash has to be put up much higher). We are certain now (if ever we doubted it) of their attachment to us.
Oddly, this pandemic has brought about a role reversal when at times we felt like a child with an authoritarian parent. Even though we know the rules are there to protect us, they don’t seem fair or even logical. And how much we really want to push back. Our frustration at the ever-changing guidelines has shown us the importance of predictability…and how much more cooperative we feel when the rules are stated with that balance of "kind and firm". We have experienced ourselves how a routine abandoned makes us miserable. Or how disappointment and frustration can quickly turn into anger. 
Maybe this pandemic will turn out to be the best possible course in Parent Development. Remembering our own experience during quarantine can give us deep empathy when our children have rough days. We can work a little harder at keeping rituals and routines. And we can toss them out when it’s time for fun. We can remember that we are on the same team and that the best teams have a coach and not a despot. We hope we have modeled, not perfection, but resilience and making amends…and the knowledge that life, health, community and family are precious and worth prioritizing.
Help Wanted: Monster Dash Reps!

As we look to fall, our annual Monster Dash (5K and Kids' Dash) will be a hybrid event, with virtual and in-person elements. Instructor Dawn Franklin will again be leading the planning for this fun family event and will need a few co-op members to assist her. If you:
  • love running
  • hate running
  • are planning to be in the area this summer
  • want to support co-op
  • love the idea of having your preschool job for the year DONE by early November
... then this is a perfect job for you!
New Classes, Registration Update!
Update from Fiona Preedy, Registrar:

"Enrollment for the 21-22 school year is looking robust! While many of our classes are full or nearly full, we do have scattered openings for Twos and Threes, and plenty of openings in our one day Toddler classes. Most parents of Infants and Toddlers, so isolated in quarantine this year, are not aware our program starts so young—spread the word!"

Infants Class
Speaking of Infants - we have crafted a new model for the under-one set: an Infants class for families with children who are Birth-12 months old as of August 31. Families will meet weekly over lunchtime on Zoom, where they will start building their community, learn what the latest research says about child development, and enjoy special time with their littlest humans. The class will also include a monthly outdoor meet-up for in person connection building. The time and 'location' change will hopefully make things more convenient for parents, whether they have midday nappers, are at work, or are home with an energetic baby!

Multi-age - Outdoors
And, one more exciting change - our Friday Multi-age class will shift to outdoors! The amazing Teacher Linda became the outdoor expert this year, working with almost every age group. She will bring so much skill and warmth to this new class format. Whether you are not quite ready to venture inside for class, you would like to supplement your current co-op class with an extra outdoor option, or you can't quite make our regular co-op classes work but you love having community and parent support, this class will be just the thing!
Updates from Preschools
Renewing a Tradition
The Admiral Pre-K took their annual field trip to release salmon fry into Fauntleroy Creek. In class they learned the life cycle from egg to fry to smolts to salmon. Because schools were not in session to raise the fry, this year’s release was especially important. And they played a big part in keeping our Puget Sound salmon population strong.

Preschoolers, parents, younger and older siblings all took turns kneeling on a mat, carefully lowering a cup of a salmon fry into the creek, and gently releasing them. We wore polarized glasses to help see the fry swim away. We saw a few but they are very fast! Off to more adventures and the rest of their lives! Many thanks to Judy Pickens, Dennis Hinton, and Pete Draughon who coordinated and facilitated the event. We missed you last year. It was so good to be back!
From Twos to PreK
( Brianna B. - Alki PreK)

As the year is coming to a close and I reflect on our time at Alki Co-op, so many sweet memories surface. From lying under the twinkly lights in the 2s as we sang 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", to playing dress up in the 3s, to jumping in mud puddles in this unique year in Pre-K.

Our time at co-op started with teary first drop-offs and is coming to a close by running to friends without turning back. It has been wonderful to watch the preschoolers grow as young children with a supportive community of peers, siblings, parents, teachers and friends. It’s been an amazing experience to watch the kids grow right alongside the parents in this special co-op community.

This is a bittersweet time as we move on from co-op, but welcome new adventures!
In Support of LPCP!
(Stephanie L.M. - LP PreK)

I enrolled my 4 yr-old, Zoe, in Lincoln Park Coop Preschool’s bilingual Pre-K class just as the world began to shut down due to the novel coronavirus. The day that Zoe first visited turned out to be one of the last in-person classes for the rest of that school year and the next. 

At first, Zoe was timid in her new Zoom class full of students she had only ever met one time. However, the warmth of both her instructors and their engaging teaching strategies pulled her into the group in no time at all. Soon, “the other kids” became “my friends” and her stay-at-home world didn’t seem so small. For Zoe, exciting Art and STEAM projects, lively songs and games, and laughter filled that time when so many of us felt anxious.

Before this class, it was very hard for me to motivate my Latina daughter to speak Spanish. In her Spanish class, Zoe saw the language upheld as beautiful, valued, and alive. I noticed a shift in her use of the language almost immediately. She spoke her second language with pride and her cultural identity blossomed. The light-hearted yet challenging class offered her invaluable self-affirmation and confidence. I-Spy in Spanish is now her favorite game to play with our family. 
Finishing Co-op - A Reflection
(Portia R. - WCCP PreK)

I first heard about co-op from a former colleague in the SSC Infant class. She told me how valuable the parenting seminars were, so as soon as my schedule permitted I joined my first co-op class in 2015. Since then my family with two kids has been in co-op classes at Arbor Heights, Alki, and White Center. We did Burien co-op for a year when I forgot to register during priority registration (pro-tip: register early!). 

The dedicated staff and fellow parents supported me as I balanced my own work and family life while I held a variety of co-op jobs:  curriculum assistant, parent coordinator, class chair, interim board co-president, fundraising chair. Jobs aside, my most valuable work has been in the classroom “lab” where I could try, fail, and try again to practice positive discipline techniques and learn firsthand from our expert teachers. I knew that I would retain and apply so much more through practice and experiential learning than I ever would from the parenting books that I can never find the time to read. 

As I leave co-op I take with me: two alums of “Teacher Kylene’s School”, a successful transition to kindergarten for my older child, my younger is ready to start in the fall despite this surreal pandemic year of PreK, and the ongoing love and support of my co-op community across West Seattle. Oh, plus an hilarious mama text thread. 

Thank you WCCP and the entire co-op system!
Connect with us!
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.
Summer Parent Support
Summer brings an opportunity for our staff to rest, recharge, and then get to work planning for the 21-22 school year. Summer also tends to bring unique parenting challenges (bedtimes out the window? loss of structure?). Teacher Jen S. will be holding a weekly drop in Office Hours session, open to all co-op families. Contact her here to be added to the list!
Questions about co-op?