When I was in high school, I volunteered at the local hospital as a candy striper. This gave me a lot of varied experiences, and I loved to tell stories about my time there. One day I was hanging out with my mom and grandma and describing an afternoon when I’d gotten lost delivering something to the prenatal ward and running into the locked door of the psych ward instead. My mother said, “wait, the nursery and the psych ward are right next to each other?” And my grandmother, who had raised four boys as a stay at home mom, said almost absent mindedly, “well, one thing does lead to another.”
That was years before I learned how much becoming a parent can stretch a person, including their sanity, what with the famously late hours, the uncertainty and worry, the rapid shifts from totally adorable moments of love and connection to bewildering moments expressing toddler and preschooler frustration and outrage.
The only thing that made all of these sanity-stretching childhood challenges worse for a parent, I have found, is isolation.
I moved with my family to Seattle for my partner’s job when my older son was 9 months old, and we didn’t know anyone in the area. In finding Queen Anne Cooperative Preschool I found a community my son and I desperately needed. Not everyone who comes to coop is as isolated as we were, but ours is a very open and laid-back community in which it is easy for both children and parents to find friends and community.
I think it’s easy to take our community for granted, and forget how great it is to work with such dedicated teachers, such engaged parents and caregivers, and with parent educators with so much experience and passion. Our school is a great place to learn to be a better parent, to learn about how kids learn, and to learn about ourselves and our own children as well. I can’t be the first parent who discovered their child behaved quite differently in a classroom than the way they behaved at home. For everything my sons learn at coop, I learn too, and the things I have learned have saved my sanity in some challenging moments.
This community runs on volunteers, it is fed and watered by people who have the time and the expertise to contribute in various ways to keep things going. Not every member takes on a lot of responsibility, but every member has a vote and has certain obligations in order to keep things running smoothly. The main purpose of this blog is to keep members up to date with events going on in the coop and to notify members of any changes or announcements the coop board might make.
This post, in addition to introducing the blog, is also an open call for anyone else who would like to share their writing with the community, be it a recipe or craft, an original article, a link, or anything else. We will occasionally post updates from our various classes and announcements from our board, and any member of the coop who would like to add something is welcome to do so. Any community or group is effected and enhanced by what you’re willing to put into it, so feel free to contact Kate Friend at firstname.lastname@example.org.