Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome to Our Little Co-op

A co-op is all about cooperation.  For us, this means cooperation between moms and children to come up with ideas for themes, activities, lessons, extensions, and field trips.  Generally speaking, I am a leader type so I have no problem guiding the ship when need be, but this is not my goal.  As time passes, I hope to see a real balance of ideas, teaching styles, and information from a variety of perspectives.  We ALL have a gift and we all have something to bring to the table to teach our children something new.

To get things rolling, I took the liberty of setting up an initial schedule and theme along with a plethora of ideas on what to do with this theme.  My vision is to let the children be our guides in all of this meaning that we watch and listen to find out what themes seem appropriate for the time.  What will excite them?  What do they want to know?  What do they want to do?  For our first theme to get the ball rolling, I have chosen "Things That Grow".  It is broad enough to allow plenty of wiggle room, but does give us enough direction to do something cohesive.  Given the season and interests of my own son, this seemed like a good place to start.  After two months with this theme, we can decide together whether we need more time with this theme, whether or not it might need to be more focused, or if it's time to get a new theme all together.

As discussed, our meeting times for now will be every other Friday beginning in April. Times are from 10:30am-2pm, but this is not set in stone.  Please let's discuss if a better time will work for you.  I chose this time because Casey will be napping during most of it.

April 1st
April 15th
April 29th
May 13th
May 27th

So there are 5 commitments here and hopefully that won't be too difficult to do.  As time goes on, we can discuss whether we would like to meet each week or every other week.  As it stands now, I know I might prefer to meet each week for consistency sake, taking a week off after every 3 or 4 weeks so as not to burn out.

Here is a list of ideas I came up with along with some links and references.  PLEASE do not hesitate to send me more ideas.  We certainly do not need this huge list, but hopefully it will be a good place to look to find an idea that you feel comfortable doing with the children and that you think will resonate with them.

I expect that the first few times we meet might feel a little weird because we haven't done this before.  I think it's imporant to know this ahead of time so that we don't throw in the towel after one or two dates.  That being said...I am really excited to do this and I really think the kids will enjoy themselves.

Suggestions for Co-op time:
make mini worm bins
dig in the garden
grow seeds in pots
grow seeds in a bag
“dissect” the soil..scavenger hunt in the soil
use seeds to make a mosaic
cook with veggies
fruit salad
embroider a fruit or veggie
obstacle course (to kee your body healthy and help YOU grow)
plant a tree
dissect a flower (vocabulary: stem, leaf, petal, stamen, pistil, pollen, etc)
leaf prints
earthworm hunt
hatch ladybugs
hatch butterflies
insect idendification...helpful bugs and harmful bugs
blind taste game to identify fruits and veggies
check out related books from library to share
tie dye using plant dyes
make paper using things from the garden
visit the botanical garden in Grapevine
go on a nature walk and see how many trees we can identify or flowers, etc.
some links to a few of the hundreds of lesson plans that apply to this theme ( I do have a membership here so we can use this!)

Below is a link to the Conneticut Framework and Standards for preschool.  This is helpful to look at and see how much your kids have mastered already and which things they have not.  It might help us narrow down the types of activities we do or atleast give us more focus within any activity.  Please let me know what items you think your children need to focus on.   I have one with notes about Indi here at my house.

Hopefully this will help you feel confident in getting started with something.  I will be happy to lead on April1st.  After the first day you can let me know if you would like me to lead a few more before you give it a go or if you feel ready to lead the next go around.

Just a note about activities....I think for now, whatever activity we choose to do as a leader that week, it needs to be our individual responsibility to make arrangements or get supplies etc.  Certainly if you don't have a certain item that you need for an activity...ask me if I have it first before going to hunt one down, but in the end, it will be your (or my) responsibility to make sure everything is ready and supplies are available for the activity you have planned.  Likewise, if there are tasks that you need the other person to do or assist with during our meeting time, them this should be talked about ahead so the other person can plan ahead.

We can have lunch together of course and I haven't thought about how this should happen yet, but I am sure we can figure it out.


  1. I will look into some literature books to go with these activities!

  2. Indiana is enrolled in Sing, Wiggle, and Giggle in April which meets at the school across the street until 10:30am on the time should be okay, but Indi will probably walk through the door at like 10:35 or so.