daily duties


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A young artist makes good use of negative space.

Our activity today was to make real art! The kids painted canvases large and small, so that we could have some of their fine art hanging on our walls at home. (And bonus! we made the mess of painting at co-op, which is well equipped with dropcloths, smocks, and an an array of paintbrushes.) We have a new family on our day, a fun addition to our group of friends!


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Teacher Gail stands at the slide to help the kids up the ladder. We love the romper room!

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.

Clean up/ Penance

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A plastic croissant! And very realistic fruit.

The co-op has business meetings and a seminar one night a month. I missed the one last month due to a vacation, so Gail gave me a little homework to make up for it: cleaning all of the play food and dishes. My son was delighted to have three bags of toys arrive at our house!

Also on the topic of cleaning, one of the duties that someone does each day is straightening up after our session, taking out the garbage if necessary, running the vacuum over the carpet, etc. It seems like things get cleaned up pretty well after the snack, and the older kids know how to put things away, so it does not take more than ten minutes. This way, the class that follows starts in a tidy place.

Our duties

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One of the boys in the parachute.
Photo by Gail Lampert.

Each month, co-op members receive a calendar that notes each week’s theme (this coming week’s is wearing red or green; last week’s was bringing a holiday decoration to show) and assigns us all different tasks, like getting the classroom set up for the day, planning activities for toddlers and preschool-age kids, bringing a snack for everyone, and cleaning up at the end of our class. Last week, I was in charge of the toddler activity. In PEPS we had played with the parachute a couple of times, so I checked with Gail to see if we could do that again. It was really fun! The kids took turns sitting on it while the rest of us shook the fabric around them, and we raised it up over our heads and they all scrambled under as it floated back down. Finally, the kids took turns laying in the parachute while we popped it up and down, and that was a big hit! Remy took two turns, and by the time he was done, his hair was standing on end from the static.

Some of the other activities that we’ve done include playing in the water table (Gail has plastic smocks to help with the mess!), making art with colorful leaves, and singing songs. Everyone’s favorite seems to be going in the romper room, which has two slides, a big inner tube to jump on, a tunnel to crawl through, and some trucks to push around.