Parents tell us they are drawn to the parent cooperative education model because they want to be with their child in a learning environment. Some parents tell us that they would like to learn alongside their child, modeling, not just through words, but through action a commitment to education and learning. A parent cooperative model definitely fits that bill. As educators, we know that the model is ideal for parents who want to experience early childhood learning and play, firsthand, while gaining insight into their child's view of the world. The cooperative classroom setting provides context and information that cannot be expressed as effectively any other way. The parents' understanding of their child moves beyond written reports to something more meaningful and fulfilling.
As an organization built through parent involvement these past 70 years, we know these benefits hold true.
The parents' focus is naturally and rightfully on their little one as they look for schools and care settings. Yet a formal childcare setting or school is made up of many children. In a parent cooperative, this means that the parent will not only be working with his or her child alone, but with many children gathered together. Children gathered in play are fabulously loud and rambunctious. They do not move in orderly fashion, but through leaps and bounds, rolls and stops. They cry, they laugh, they make mistakes, and they sometimes say things they don't really mean as well as things they really do mean. Understanding and accepting other people's children is the biggest and best take-away a parent cooperative will give to their member parents.
Deciding to become part of larger whole is a big commitment. Every parent must consider this before they take that leap to join a parent cooperative. Actively making that choice and deciding to trust that things could get very messy, knowing that there will be joys and triumphs that match the frustrations and hiccups along the way, will tumble out into the greatest benefit a parent cooperative education model offers . . . Community.