One of the benefits of a co-op is the education the parent receives in working within the school day, as well as additional learning via parent seminar. While many co-ops require twice monthly evening meetings to complete parent education in a large group setting, we have adopted a method which integrates the education component into the parent workday, with a small group (3 parents and the school director/child development educator) for a more personal and relevant conversation about how our children are developing.

This is a unique time that provides opportunities for parents to talk with the director about their child's development, either through direct questions or prompted by the assigned group reading material. The director is able to share her personal and professional experience and knowledge which helps explain why children do what they do, where they are developmentally (that is, how their brain is developmentally at each stage), and how it relates to motor skill development, behavior patterns, and our responses to these developmental patterns. In the midst of this critical age range (2-5 years), the more we understand the more effective we can be as parents and educators. The conversation is followed up with the director offering suggestions for parents to try at home with their child, engaging the other parents in the room as they share their experiences, and promoting discussion and rapport among the parents in the room.

Within this process parents have a place to share the collective joys and occasional frustrations of raising children, and an opportunity to recognize that we are all in the same boat, that we don't have to be along in this parenting journey.