1. The participation requirements of a co-op school are high. What are the benefits?
It’s true, being part of a co-op means a significant investment of time and effort. At our school nothing “just happens,” it happens because we all work together to make it happen. It’s somebody’s job to fill the paints. It’s somebody’s job to make sure the puzzles have all their pieces. It’s somebody’s job to change burnt-out light bulbs and keep the paper towels stocked. We are all responsible for the hundred small (and not-so-small) things that go into making a joyful, enriching experience for the children each school day.
In return, we are able to keep costs affordable. Our low tuition reflects the investment of our time and energy. In addition, we believe that our deep involvement in the school is a benefit of its own. At Peter Pan, each parent knows exactly how their child is spending the day—we get to see our kids’ developmental progress, we get to know all of their friends, we build strong relationships with other parents. We have an amazing community that’s based on these shared experiences. And our kids benefit from the web of connections between family, school, and community.
2. The Peter Pan school day runs from 9 AM to noon, with an optional PM program that extends to 2:45. What if I need childcare before or after those hours?
Many of our families rely on secondary childcare options. A number of us are working to develop a list of local childcare providers as a resource for other parents. It’s also common for parents to work out swaps and playgroups with other families.
3. Is your community diverse?
Diversity is one of our core values. Our community includes, and welcomes, families from a variety of backgrounds. This year Peter Pan is made up of 35 families, sixteen of which include at least one parent of color. We also include LGBT families, families with parents in two homes, families that speak languages other than English at home, families that include people with disabilities and non-neurotypical children…each of these axes of diversity enrich our community and make us wiser. Our ongoing parent education includes training in how to acknowledge race and difference and talk about social issues in age-appropriate ways. One of the great benefits of a co-op is that our school is shaped by all of our families.