Latest Event Updates
Our October seminar had, naturally, a Halloween theme. Of course, there were lots of fairies and princesses, but also a dragon slayer and (gulp!) two dragons, some owls, two Minnie Mouses, at least one cowboy, a pumpkin, and a good witch (Gail!), among others.
We enjoyed snacking on clever little ‘pumpkins’ (peeled clementines with celery stems) and apple cider and learned about the phases of the moon and nocturnal animals. After songs and high fives, we headed home. It was fun to see our good friends!
Our first field trip of the year was to the Spokane Interstate Fair, which was held the week before Labor Day. This is a fun field trip because there is so much to see and do, plus it happens the week before Co-op officially starts, so it’s a great chance to see friends we haven’t seen much of during the busy summer.
This year, a group of about 10 families met at the front gate, right as it opened for the day, to avoid the crowds, heat, and nap time! The kids were pretty excited to see the animals and tractors, and the parents were even more excited that the games and rides weren’t operating yet to distract the kids! We started out at the mini tractor exhibit and then moved on to the petting zoo. Most of the kids were really excited to see the animals they read about up close and personal. My son was pretty excited to try and communicate with the animals, saying things like “moo” to the cows and “baa” to the sheep. From the petting zoo, we ventured over to the large barns where the animals were grouped for judging. First up were the steers, followed by the goat barn, draft horses, pigs, and small animals like bunnies and chickens. The highlight for many of the kids was seeing a real camel in person. Dolly, the camel, was even willing to let the kids hand her a carrot to eat!
After a big time of seeing all of the animals, it was time for lunch. Everyone gathered at the central park area and had some food before departing for nap time. This was the first of a number of fun field trips this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what else our field trip coordinator has in store!
Last week, the co-op took a field trip to Greenbluff to celebrate the apple harvest, so for our class sessions, Gail brought in her apple peeler. The peel came off in a loooong string, and the apple was cut in a beautiful spiral. Everyone sat around munching on the different kinds of apples and talking about what parts of fall they’re looking forward to–so many things will seem new to our kids, even though they might have experienced them last year, like playing in leaves and picking out a pumpkin. What a great class!
Our first class this year was great! As we trailed in yesterday morning, we washed hands and checked out our cubbies. Everyone put on nametags and got down to business with Gail’s activity for the first half of the morning: painting! She has smocks that keep clothes (mostly) protected, and the kids took turns stamping, brushing, and rolling the blue, green, and yellow paint onto their canvases (paper plates). We also had a delicious snack of zucchini bread, cheddar cheese, and apples, and then went outside to play on the slides and run in the sun.
We had orientation last night for the upcoming school year. It was great to see old friends from last year and also to meet the new families who we’ll be spending our mornings with.
Our fearless treasurer, Lisa, met us each at the door with binders containing the calendar for the year, schedules, standing rules, and contact info, the result of a hard summer’s work by our board. They are very organized, which I find helpful! We met our new preschool teacher, Erin, and learned about changes that the board made over the summer.
The biggest change is a new approach to monthly meetings, with one business meeting and one education-oriented seminar per quarter. The seminars will be topics pertaining to kids, who are welcome at these meetings. So we’re still meeting once a month, but there will be fewer nights where we have to make sure there is someone at home to watch over our kids.
I’m looking forward to a super year!
We usually have a seminar the same night as our business meeting, but this month, all of the co-ops in the city had one big meeting at Spokane Community College. (SCC is in charge of all of the co-ops. Parents pay a fee to them each quarter.) Kent Hoffman was the speaker, and he was magnificent! I’d already learned the general idea of his theory–called the Circle of Security–from Teacher Gail last year, but his ninety-minute presentation was very beneficial and inspiring. (For more information on Circle of Security, see here and here.) I left the talk last night thinking hard about how I can be a better parent and looking forward to reading his book, The Circle of Security Intervention: Enhancing Attachment in Early Parent-Child Relationships. I foresee coming back to it often, to remind myself of the goal of creating a well-rounded attachment with my son.
As I mentioned, every month we have a seminar, some kind of parenting-related topic. So far, ours have included green cleaning methods, First Aid, and how to plan ahead to pay for college. To be honest, I thought I would dread these meetings, but the discussions have been thought-provoking and it is actually fun to get together with the parents who go on different days. (Also, there are always really, really good brownies. I don’t know if it is the same person who brings them every time, or if we are just lucky to have many excellent brownie-bakers in our group. But it’s a great enticement, for me, anyway.)
Another one of the duties that someone is assigned for each class is bringing a snack for everyone. This week our friends brought some apples (thinly sliced, which I appreciated for my son, since he still doesn’t have a ton of teeth!), cheeses (Babybels, which seem pretty popular, with that bright red wax coating), and granola-ish bars. Everyone generally follows a similar formula, and some other foods that have been served include clementines, carrots, rice cakes, crackers, banana cake (also popular with the parents), salami (ditto), and pumpkin bread or muffins.
The snack parent is in charge of getting the table set, but everyone pitches in–half of us are helping to clean up the toys, and the other half helps with arranging the chairs. Then all of the kids sit down at the table with a little cup of water and fill up their plates, and munch of the delicious goodies. Sometimes Gail asks us to share our thoughts about a topic, like our holiday traditions or if we have had a hard time with sleep habits. Mealtime is really important in our house, and that convivial feeling of enjoying food together is definitely part of our co-op snack time, too.