“Co-op Class Potty Training Tales,” by QACP’s Newest Blogger – Parent Laura Marie Rivera

As a mother of two (2) two-year-olds, we are in the “thick of it” at our house.   Add two big kids and a puppy, and we are talking about poop ALL THE TIME.  Even though it is my New Year’s resolution to be more patient and remember to look at things from another point of view, I often forget.  That is why it was such a gift to be able to work with someone else’s child in class today.

I was stationed in the Dramatic Play area my first day at co-op and I didn’t really have many customers.  My little girl came over to do some shopping and have a baby tea party.  And I think my little guy only came by one time.  I had a few other sweet girls climbing to the top of the playhouse for a brief minute and that was it.

The excitement came further into the *open* play hour.  One of the little girls was “downstairs” in the house and looked at me really funny.  I knew she’d had an accident. What I didn’t know is that she was wearing her big girl underwear or how I was going to find what I would need to help her.  I took her hand and told her it was OK.  She followed me happily.

While asking where the clean supplies were, we discovered that she had a grown-up there that morning in class.  This kiddo also had an adult there that was now disappointed in herself that she had forgotten to bring some extra clothes.  With a little investigating though, we found some clean pants, socks, and underwear (pink monkeys!) in the closet.  Disaster, drama, and disappointment averted.  I handed the girl back to her grownup and went back to Dramatic Play.

Shortly after, another “perceptive parent” noticed that there was actually a little puddle in the playhouse.  As I grabbed a towel and started cleaning, I had to steer a little boy away from the mess.  The moment I took his hand though, I realized that he, too, had had a little accident.  So the original sharp-eyed mama got to work cleaning the playhouse puddle and I took our sweet little guy to the bathroom.

Luckily, this guy was in a pull-up.  I put him up on the QACP kiddo-bathroom changing table and got to work.  I removed his shoes first and what big feet he had for a tiny tyke!  Then I got to the pants and the dirty pull-up.  He did such a good job following directions, doing exactly as I asked of him.

Once we had the new pull-up and his pants and shoes back on, we went over to the sink.  We washed hands, blew his runny nose, and held hands on the way back to class.  Teacher Linda was *in-tune* to the two situations and apologized that I had to change another child’s diaper.  But it’s really no big deal.  As I mentioned, we have a lot of poop at my house and it’s just part of the job.

 I did exactly what I would hope another caregiver would do for my children in the same situation.  What I didn’t realize was what a bond I was forging with those kiddos!  As a new parent to the co-op class group, I am still learning some children’s names and hardly even recognize half of the adults at this stage in the class.

But, now I noticed a wonderful warmth from this boy and this girl for the rest of the day. Sweet smiles and a closeness that I truly hope continues.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your group and for reminding me to take the time to help them, all of them.  They are only little once!

This link is full of fun and easy potty training tips that I found for others to check out plus watch for a blog on encouraging fellow parents to not to be too frustrated with their little one’s potty training journey.  This chapter in our parenting can drive even the most patient grownup to lose their cool about toileting situations.  Stay tuned, QACP 🙂


QACP Winter 2017/18: News You Can Use


A PreK & QACP alumni parent forwarded the following link and corresponding article (“This is the one skill your child needs for the jobs of the future“) to QA Co-op’s Internal Communications Team and mentioned that it was potentially worth sharing with the membership.  We agreed and decided to feature it this month!

An excerpt from that September 2017 piece originally e-published in “World Economic Forum (WEF)” puts forth the idea that, “Every child begins their journey through life with an incredible potential: a creative mindset that approaches the world with curiosity, with questions, and with a desire to learn about the world and themselves through play.”


The on-line article goes on to address the question, “Where can your kids learn creativity and critical thinking?” and postulates that,  “The answer is simpler than you think…Different forms of play provide children with the opportunity to develop social, emotional, physical and creative skills in addition to cognitive ones.”

Many members of QACP cite a top reason for joining and continuing at a cooperative preschool site with their child is time spent each week on an assigned work day to interact with their child and his/her peers in a play-based environment.


“The natural ability of children to learn through play may be the best-kept, low-cost secret for addressing the skills agenda with potential to equip both our children and our economies to thrive,” is concluded at the end of WEF’s aforementioned article (15 Sep 2017, Schöning¹ & Witcomb²).



Because you are your child’s first teacher, you also…

  • desire to learn about child development first-hand in the classroom and at monthly parent meetings from highly-trained, supportive teachers and parent educators;
  • wish to demonstrate involvement in your child’s life and watch her/him discover the joy of learning in a classroom setting from the very beginning;
  • believe in the spirit of cooperation – for children, caregivers, and families;
  • hope to meet, learn from, and work with other parents of preschool-aged children;
  • enjoy the camaraderie and support of other parents, caregivers, and families;
  • embrace the unique opportunity to develop special relationships with your child’s preschool friends, caregivers, parents, and local neighborhood/community;
  • visualize meeting neighborhood families and making long-lasting friendships;
  • understand that nurturing the development of social skills is of greater importance than measuring academic progress in preparing children for future school success;
  • strive to be involved in the decisions that affect your child’s preschool experience;
  • possess special skills and attributes you would like to share with your child and your preschool community – both in and out of the physical classroom;
  • value hands-on learning for children, caregivers, and their families;
  • support a nurturing, activity-rich environment for your child to safely explore; and
  • realize that you don’t have all the answers to parenting concerns and questions.

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Serving children and their families for generations, QACP is among Seattle’s oldest cooperative preschools.  Parents and teachers work together to enable young minds in exploring the world in a safe, stimulating and nurturing environment.

QA Co-op’s philosophy emphasizes socialization and play-based learning.  Interaction with Parent Educators affiliated with Seattle Central College (SCC) offers parents an opportunity to gain further insights to meet their children’s physical, intellectual and social/emotional needs.

Parents are an integral part of the success of QACP.  Our co-op strives to create a community where both caregivers and children are supported through early childhood and beyond through the connections they have made with other co-op families.

Schedule 2017-2018 and 2018-2019


Below is a breakdown of the most commonly asked questions regarding enrollment:

1.) What do I pay at time of internal or external (open) registration?

You will need to budget for first and last months’ tuition plus and a non-refundable registration fee of $100/child (and $45 per sibling).

2.) What is due in the fall or when registering (if joining mid-year)?

Two  non-refundable auction night tickets at a total cost of $120 per family.  This event is our annual fundraiser and your fee covers a meal, refreshments, and entertainment for one couple (two adults).  Raffles and drawings will also take place that evening along with silent/live auctions.  Your balance of tuition via a monthly or yearly payment schedule will also need to be secured ASAP.

3.) Are there payment plans, discounts, and/or scholarship options available ?

QACP strives to include a financial aid fund in its annual budget and aid or payment plans may be requested at any time during the year.   Please review the on-line Scholarship Form for more information or contact the QA Co-Op Treasurer at treasurer@queenannecoop.org with any questions.

4.) What if I am interested in seeing the classroom, facilities, and touring your site?

Set up an appointment by emailing our Admissions Team at info@queenannecoop.org to attend one of the upcoming, interactive, and family-friendly guided tours we regularly offer prospective members.

5.) Are there upcoming registration deadlines?  How do I enroll my child for class?

We are excited that you are considering applying for admission to QACP!  Our school year runs mid-September through mid-June, but members also do join mid-year based on teacher discretion.  If you wish to review the class options further, please visit the classes page.  Open registration for the 2018-19 school year runs from February 5th to February 26th, 2018 and may be accessed via our on-line registration e-portal Jovial.

QACP Parent Review of, “Pick Your School Before Moving Day”


“Pick Your School Before Moving Day” by Alex Robbins of Safety Today was reviewed/edited by a QACP member parent during Winter 2018.  QA Co-op’s Internal Communications Team wanted to share what she had to say: “this is a helpful article to put in full view all the *advice* you are offered as parents, especially during preschool open-house season!  From what would be community expectations to ensuring safety, open communication, and implementation strategies, Mr. Robbins provides solid objectives.”

When it comes to moving to a new home, you will likely do a lot of research.  Everyone needs to find a good realtor, explore different communities, and wade through the paperwork that comes with buying or renting a new place to live with your family.

In all that effort, don’t forget about your new school district.  Your children will need a good place to develop academically and socially.  Going to a questionable facility could cause some lasting harm.  But what could you do from afar?  If you can find a new home despite not living there, then you can also find some great academic options.  Believe it or not, this process starts by first thoroughly examining your chosen school’s region.

Why The Surrounding Physical Area Is Important

As you check out places to live, you’re probably paying attention to the neighborhood. Living in a statistically high-crime region, for example, might provide low rent or mortgages, but those areas can also pose safety risks.  The same is true for a school’s district, which might not be the same neighborhood as where you find a residence.  Evidence suggests that problematic neighborhoods may potentially lead to elevated household/family member stress and risks .

If you do live close to where you are likely moving, take time during a school day to drive around the surrounding area.  But if you’re currently too far away to make that trip work, you can always check out a computer program like “Google Earth” online and take a virtual tour of the region.

Here’s what you’re potentially looking for:

  • Are there an abnormal number of kids out that should be in school?
  • Do houses and stores have physical damage and/or graffiti?
  • Do you suspect illegal activity regularly going on in the area?
  • Are there abandoned buildings and vacant homes or businesses?
  • Are the streets littered with trash and other non-residential items?

Many of these are signs that you might want to pick a different place for your children to attend school.

Speak To School Leadership Officials First

After looking around online, you found what looks like a great school.  Before enrolling your kids, you should speak to the administration and talk to them about their facility.

Here are some specific questions you may want to ask:

  1. Why should you enroll your infant, toddler, and/or child there?
  2. What does the school or program focus on the most daily?
  3. How will teachers adjust to your kids’ strengths and needs?
  4. What resources are present to ensure your children thrive?
  5. How does the place help kids feel safe, heard, and at home?

There are alternatives to traditional public schools these days, but as Time.com explains, be wary of making choices based solely a school’s name.  Charter, private, and magnet schools might sound like a perfect fit, but those can be just classifications. Schools free from “regulations” are also able to hire marginal teachers and/or skip essential curricula.

How To Switch Schools If Necessary

You did your research and found a school that should work.  Sometime later, you start to realize that this school is not a great fit for your child or family.  Possibly the classroom environment isn’t helpful to your kids, or maybe school officials weren’t quite as transparent as you personally needed them to be.  Can you do anything to change things?

Work with your current school first.  Explain your concerns and see if they might help.  If not, you could withdraw your child and go to a new one.  Remember, care-based programs may be easier to change versus elementary, middle, and/or high school ones.  However, the process of formal “school withdrawal” does vary from state to state.  The website HSLDA.org has an informative page where you can research your state’s particular laws and regulations about school choice, including cooperative or homeschooling options.

You Can Find A Great Place For Your Kids

You want the best for your children, which is why you would need to possibly pick your school before physically moving into a new region.  Check out the surrounding area and talk to officials there about your concerns and what they can potentially provide for your children’s education.  And, if you make a less-than-perfect choice, you can find a new school to send your kids with some extra research, conversations, and persistence.

Mr. Alex Robbins is the father of three lively boys.  He considers home safety to be a number one priority and is part of the wonderful team at Safety Today, a community of parents and professionals promoting safety in the home and the community.

“The Parent-Ed Connection between QACP/SCC,” by Jamie Cho & Kate Calhoun


The two parent educators assigned to Queen Anne Cooperative Preschool are Kate Calhoun and Jamie Cho. Kate and Jamie are faculty at Seattle Central College. They are hired and paid for by the college. Queen Anne is one of seven cooperative preschools affiliated with Seattle Central College.

There are many additional co-op preschools located throughout the state of Washington – with 1000’s of parents taking for Parent Education classes. The first programs started in the early 1940’s by the Seattle School District.


ALL adults at QACP are enrolled students in the Parent Education Department at SCC. All children at QACP are enrolled students at QACP.

There are three areas of focus for parent education: laboratory, lecture and logistical. Parent Educators are available to support and participate in all three areas of experience.


Laboratory: This occurs when the preschool is in session and the parents are active in the classroom as teacher assistants.

The parents will be planning and preparing snack, cleaning, helping the children follow the schedule of the day and supporting their play.


Lecture: This occurs at a parent meeting but may also occur in or outside of class when there is direct contact with the parent educator and there is any dissemination of information through discussion, reading material, or infrequently, lecture. The focus is to present parents with research and strategies for parenting young children.

The parent meeting is an important time to address classroom and at-home issues so that helpful information can be provided no only from the parent educator but from other parents as well.


Logistical: This refers to the class jobs or committee work that parents do outside of the class. This area of experience primarily includes the tasks done for the execution of the class job or committee task.

Members are expected to support the operation of the coop in some way through their class or committee job.


“2017-18 Holiday Wishes,” by QACP’s Parent Educators


Dear QA Co-Op Families,

I wish you all the happiest of holidays.  I am very much enjoying being at Queen Anne this year and would like to thank all of you for your warm welcome into your community!

This time can be difficult for kids as routines are not regular and people may be coming and going.  I’d like to encourage you all to acknowledge and identify the feelings your children are having and show them/tell them ways to channel it in productive ways.

Yuli Mask-IMG_1179.jpg

On another note, I am reading this book, Widening the Circle, and I’d like to offer a quote to remind us that acceptance in our families, school and community is vital for our children’s growth as human beings and individuals.

“To most people being “safe” refers to freedom from danger or the threat of harm.  But there are many kinds of safety.  Physical safety is clearly a requisite for being comfortable, but psychological or emotional safety is essential for us to thrive.  Part of feeling psychologically or emotionally safe means knowing that you will be accepted, that your personal characteristics or identities will not keep you from participating with others or being seen as a whole person.  Deep safety comes from knowing you are accepted no matter what.” (Sapon-Shevin, 2007).


I wish you all a happy winter break and look forward to seeing you in 2018!

As always if you have questions, concerns, needs please feel free to contact me.

QACP Parent Educator Jamie Cho, PhD 




(1.) Prep ingredient list: 3 cups white flour, 2 cups sugar, 4 tsp ground ginger, 1 T cinnamon, 1 cup butter, chilled, 2 eggs, well beaten, 6 T molasses, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 ½ tsp salt, 2 cups buttermilk (or instead, I use 1½ tsp vinegar stirred into 2 cups regular milk)

(2.) Optional add-on: whipped cream for serving

(3.) Preheat oven: 350 degrees

(4.) Spray: 9 x 13 inch baking pan

(5.) Combine: 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar; 4 teaspoons ground ginger; 1 T cinnamon

(6.) Add & mix ‘til crumbly: 1 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces

(7.) Remove & set aside: ½ cup of the crumbly mixture for later use as topping

(8.) Add to flour mixture: 2 eggs (well beaten), 6 T light molasses

(9.) Dissolve: 2 tsp baking soda & 1 ½ teaspoons salt into 2 cups buttermilk (or, use 1 tsp vinegar in 2 c regular milk)

(10.) Add: milk to the main mixture, beating ‘til smooth

(11.) Pour: batter into sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan

(12.) Sprinkle topping: evenly over batter

(13.) Bake: for about 30 minutes…use a toothpick to test for “done-ness”

(14.) Enjoy: with a fluffy dollop of whipped cream!

Happy Holidays from QACP Parent Educator Kate Calhoun  c. 2017 


“Yoga Muddle,” by QACP Alumna Nidhi Kirpal Jayadevan

Nidhi-YogaIt felt rather unsettling that yogic meditation should make me so antsy!  In the past, that’s what kept me centered.

Instead of relaxing in the deep-throated lilt of my ujjai breath, my mind was running in circles – my childcare is finite, and is quickly slipping away, and I have to do….the list seemed endless!  Guess, 2 kids and running a home does that to you.

After a few sun salutations, complex twists, an inversion, an hour flew by, and the quiet heaviness of shavasana was indeed welcome.  This time, the meditation and Oms were more than welcome.  And, left the class I did, with renewed energy!  I was ready to make the most of the humdrum that awaited me.

Every time I get to the yoga studio, it’s as if my mind, body and soul are all over the place.  They refuse to live the moment and “Just Be.”  When I leave the class, that’s exactly what my being is ready to do – enjoy, accept, and make the most of NOW.  It is perhaps, just for this that I drag myself to yoga whenever I can 😊

QACP Parent Review of, “Kids In The Kitchen: How To Have Fun & Stay Safe”


“Kids In The Kitchen: How To Have Fun And Stay Safe” by Alex Robbins of Safety Today was reviewed by a QACP member parent during Fall 2017.  QA Co-op’s Internal Communications Team wanted to share what she had to say…”this is an incredibly useful article to put in perspective all the *help* your kiddo may want to offer us as parents, especially during the holiday season!  From what would be appropriate expectations to ensuring food safety and household logistics, Mr. Robbins has provided a great plan.”

Working in the kitchen can be an invaluable experience for kids; not only does it help boost their self-confidence, it teaches them responsibility as well as skills they can apply in math and science. By making your time in the kitchen a fun way to learn, you’re allowing your children to use their creativity and gain real-world experience that will stick with them for a lifetime.

It’s important to be prepared before starting any projects behind the stove, however; your child will need to understand all safety rules and be well-practiced with the tools you’ll be using in order to prevent any accidents. You should also think about teaching your child what to do in the event of an emergency so they’ll be prepared. While no one likes to think about these things happening, it’s always a good idea to know how to handle anything that comes your way, and the same goes for kids.

Here’s how you can keep your family safe in the kitchen and have fun at the same time.

Practice fire safety

Fire safety should always be a priority, especially if you have a gas stove with an open flame. Keep at least one fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is and how to use it. Practice fire drills that include what to do if clothing ignites and where to exit the house in case of an emergency; designate a meeting spot, such as the mailbox, for all family members in case you’re separated. For some helpful tips on how to create a more kid-friendly kitchen, read on here.

Talk to your kids about never leaving pot holders or towels near the stove, tying long hair back, and keeping loose-fitting clothing away from hot areas (aprons can help with this). Practice the steps of cooking and baking and include turning off all appliances before leaving the kitchen.

Look for age-appropriate ideas

Kids as young as 3 years old can help out in the kitchen as long as safety precautions are taken. Look for age-appropriate recipes and give your little one a specific job, such as crushing homemade breadcrumbs or stirring batter. Talk to them about never touching knives or other sharp instruments and let them know that the stove/oven is off limits.

Be prepared

It’s always helpful to be prepared before beginning any project in the kitchen, and that means making sure your tools are clean and handy and that you have everything you’ll need within arm’s reach. Set out your ingredients, measuring cups, bowls, and anything else you’ll need and double check the recipe before you get started, just to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Teach your kids to do this, too, as being unprepared can lead to accidents or even a disastrous dish.

Talk about cleanliness

Keeping your hands and work station clean are very important parts of working in the kitchen, so teach your kids about keeping things tidy and making sure their hands are germ-free. Go over hand-washing rules (have them sing the alphabet while they’re scrubbing to make sure they’re doing it long enough) and stress the importance of cleaning up when the cooking or baking is done. Check out this checklist to make sure you’re covered.

Spending time in the kitchen is a wonderful way for kids to bond with their parents or grandparents, and one of the great things about it is that it can be done at any time of the year, doesn’t cost a lot of money, and will keep your little ones entertained for hours. With some safety precautions in place, you and your loved ones can make some lasting memories.

Mr. Alex Robbins is the father of three lively boys. He considers home safety to be a number one priority and is part of the wonderful team at Safety Today, a community of parents and professionals promoting safety in the home and the community.

Up-to-Date QACP Inclement Weather Policies & Safety Info


Was anyone else as surprised as we were to see snow falling in early November?

  • To find out if QACP is closed due to inclement weather, follow the news announcements for Seattle Public School District’s schedule.
  • Your class coordinator will also send updates via email and QACP’s Internal Communications Team will post on QA Co-Op’s Facebook page too.
  • For the safety of our co-op families, please remember that whether Seattle Public Schools announces a closure or a partial schedule change (e.g., 2 hour delay, early dismissal, or closure of only after-school programs) QACP is still completely closed for the day and will not hold any classes.

In order to prepare for potentially problematic weather this season in Seattle, please consider reviewing the following recommendations that your QACP Internal Communications (IC) Team has pulled from the Seattle Public Schools website:


Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Inclement Weather Information

(originally posted 02/27/17 in its entirety by SPS)

  • The home page of the Seattle Public Schools’ district and school websites will publish any schedule changes resulting from inclement weather.
  • SPS Twitter account will have updates: @seapubschools
  • Additionally, SPS’s Facebook page will also post notices: @SeattlePublicSchools
  • The Seattle Public School District will notify local media of any closures or delays.
  • Local television and radio stations will also broadcast this information (e.g., KOMO-4 TV, KOMO-1000 AM Radio, KING-5, KIRO-7 TV, &/or KIRO-97.3 FM Radio).


Winter Safety Tips for Students Walking to School or ​A Bus Stop

  • Students should allow extra time to get to their school or bus stop in the morning.  Arrival at the bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled pickup time is recommended.
  • Bright clothing will make students more visible for bus drivers and other motorists, especially in the early morning and late evening. Warm clothing is also recommended as transportation delays may occur.
  • Please walk with young children to their school or bus stop; older children should walk in groups. The location of a student’s bus stop may be different from their normal stop location if the district is operating on snow routes.
  • Pedestrian travel should be done on sidewalks or a safe walking path.
  • When there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
  • Walk across a street at corners, using crosswalks whenever possible.
  • When crossing a street: look left, right and left.
  • Listen for the sound of car motors, sirens, horns or emergency announcements before stepping into the street.

For those students who use King County’s Metro bus service for school transportation, please visit the Metro online guide for their emergency ice and snow schedule. 


Preparing for Inclement Weather

  • Seattle is unique in that snow may accumulate in one area and not in other areas.
  • As the decision is being considered to operate on snow routes or to close schools, circumstances in the entire city are carefully considered, as well as weather reports and any other pertinent information.
  • However, experience has proven that weather reports related to snow are typically inaccurate. With this in mind, your patience and understanding during these emergency conditions will be appreciated.
  • It is the responsibility of each family to have an inclement weather plan in place that can be put into action on short notice.
  • We ask that you make sure your children have an alternate place to stay if you must be at work on a day when school has been delayed or canceled.
  • Please ensure that a neighbor, family member or center is able to care for or receive students, and please instruct students to report directly home or to their established care center immediately on arrival in the evening.

“Parent Involvement in Education” by QACP Parent Educator, Jamie Cho, PhD

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Research studies have repeatedly shown the importance of parent involvement in a child’s education. These studies show that parents’ involvement in their child’s education results in better academic performance, student confidence and motivation (Hoover- Dempsey & Sandlar, 1997). Parental involvement can be defined as the allocation of resources for a child (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994).

According to Grolnick & Slowiaczek (1994), forms of involvement can involve behavioral, personal and intellectual/cognitive

  1. Behavioral involvement refers to the presence of parents at school meetings, open houses, conferences. These parental behaviors show the child that his/her parents value school and education. Furthermore, it allows for the parent and teacher to be on the same page when it comes to schooling, homework, goals, etc.
  2. Secondly, parents may also show a personal involvement which refers to the parents’ emotional experience with their child regarding school, showing the child positive feelings about going to school, encouraging and motivating children to do well and get along.
  3. Finally, the cognitive/intellectual category of involvement involves exposing the child to educational stimuli at home or in the community. This could include books and puzzles at home, trips to museums or providing practice for skills through tutoring or practice.

All three of these areas of parent involvement allow for parents to be active participants in their child’s education and form partnerships with their child’s school and teachers.


In the first avenue of involvement, the parent becomes an active member of the school community by attending school events, volunteering in the classroom, or helping out with the parent teacher associations. These behaviors help to reinforce the importance of school for the child but also build a relationship with teachers and administrators at the school. In my experience, public schools are very much in need of parent involvement to not only keep the school running through fundraising efforts, but also to provide help in the classroom and add cultural education to students through assemblies, field trips, etc.

The second category of parent involvement is a feeling or affective experience that the child absorbs. Through positive associations with school and a caring supportive stance from parents about education, the child can enter school with less trepidation and more confidence that school will be a fun and rewarding experience. Furthermore, an accepting and positive attitude from parents is more likely to engage teachers to not only develop a relationship with the parents but to engage with their child.

Lastly, in the third area of parent involvement the cognitive/intellectual category, parents are actively seeking and engaging their child in activities outside of school that strengthen their learning experience. Activities such as going to the library, museums, parks, zoos and theaters give children add to children’s knowledge and give them a chance to explore. Exposure to materials such as books, puzzles, blocks, pencils, crayons, etc. give children opportunities to practice and create outside of school. Home becomes an extension of school, where children alongside their parents can have multiple opportunities at new and repeated experiences.


Each parent has to decide what their level of involvement will be at their child’s school.  Not everyone can be the PTA president or volunteer every day in the classroom, but each parent can devote time to their children in many ways.  As you go through the school year, or get ready for the next one think of ways that you can or would like to be involved in your child’s education and school.

Jamie Cho, PhD


Grolnick, W. & Slowiaczek, M. (1994).  Parents’ involvement in children’s schooling: A multidimensional conceptualization and motivational model. Child Development, 65(1), 237-252.

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (1997).  Why do parents become involved in their children’s education?  Review of Educational Research, 67(1), 3-42.

“Intro to History of Parent Ed & Co-op Programs in WA State” by Pam Mcelmeel (2007)


In The Beginning:    A New Folk Movement in the United States

Katharine Whiteside Taylor was a pioneer and nationally known consultant for the parent education cooperative movement in the United States.  Ms. Taylor was contracted by the Seattle Public Schools in 1941 to develop parent cooperative playgroups in Washington State.   Following are quotes about the development of cooperative groups for parents and children in the United States from her book PARENT COOPERATIVE NURSERY SCHOOLS, published by the Teacher College, Columbia University, 1954 (pp.3-4).

The first cooperative nursery school in the United States was started in 1916 by a group of twelve faculty wives at the University of Chicago who wanted to secure social education for their children, parent education for themselves and a little free time to volunteer for the Red Cross.

During the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s cooperative nursery schools expanded to other states.   Many coops were affiliated with higher education institutions and public schools such as Smith College in New York, University of California in Lost Angeles, Berkeley Public Schools in California and Seattle Public Schools.

It is significant that cooperatives are not limited to any one socio-economic level.  True, in most localities the first groups started with college educated women (parents) of comfortable economic status.  But once a good example was established, it was usually followed by parent groups of varying backgrounds and earning capacity.

Further evidence of the value of cooperatives in meeting the needs of both children and parents is the way they carried on and grew with changing leadership, both lay and professional.  Their success has depended on the continual development of new leaders.

In her book Ms. Taylor estimated 500 parent cooperatives were operating in the United States in 1954.  Katharine Whiteside Taylor (1897-1989) was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 1996.  She devoted her life to cooperation, education, children, and peace.

The Parent Education Cooperative Model

 The Parent Education Cooperative Model in Washington State is based on the format describe in Katharine Whiteside Taylor’s books.   The enrolling parents operate and financially support a child development laboratory for their children. Since parents are responsible for the business and financial arrangements, they learn how to apply concepts of group development, group decision-making, and resource management.

The children’s program provides the experiential core for adult learning about early childhood education and child development.  The parents also attend adult education classes to supplement the laboratory experience as teacher assistants and to explore a range of issues related to family relations and home management.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s this original model was adapted to include other parent child programs such as campus child care, and grant funded programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start and school district early childhood programs. These program variations still follow the cooperative model that include parent-child interactions and parent decision-making.



Federal Vocational Education Funds for Parent Education

The rationale for parent education as a component of adult vocational education originated with the federal Smith-Hughes Act of 1917.  The Act supported education for farmers and their families through land grant colleges (such as WSU), county extension agencies, secondary public school education and adult vocational education programs.  Since the Smith-Hughes Act and all subsequent legislation for vocational education, homemaking, including parenting, has been defined as an occupation and therefore, clearly eligible to receive federal funds.

Since vocational training is skill oriented rather than academic, practicing skills with a trained instructor provided the foundation of the coursework. The cooperative preschools affiliated with school districts utilized an attendance based funding model.  When the programs moved into the community colleges, attendance requirements continued to be used as the basis for assigning credit, including lecture/discussion led by an instructor, laboratory experience as a teacher assistant, and clinical experience in school related activities.

Organization of Parent Education Programs (OPEP)

OPEP is a professional organization of program coordinators employed in Washington state community and technical colleges. The leadership group has changed titles over the years: Consumer and Homemaking Education Coordinators in 1976; Organization of Parent Education Coordinators (OPEC) in 1983; Organization of Parent Education Programs (OPEP) in Washington Technical and Community Colleges in 1994.

The Coordinator’s group meets quarterly to share information, curriculum development and content, personnel training and inter-agency collaboration. Since 1977 the fall quarter meetings have been scheduled in conjunction with the state WAEYC Conference.  Since 1990 the group has met each year at Rainbow Lodge in North Bend, Washington for a two day retreat.  The third yearly meeting of the group was held at various campus sites until the 2000 decade when they have been scheduled on the Interactive Video Conferencing (ITV) system at several college sites.   The OPEP leadership team holds an Executive Board meeting prior to each quarterly Coordinator’s meeting; plus the Executive Board also has a summer planning retreat.

Federal vocational monies from SBCTC allows OPEP to set standards that help maintain quality programs throughout the state system and plan professional in-service for Parent Education instructors and teachers.



The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC)

Since the Community College Act of 1967, the SBCTC provides overall policy governance for the two-year public colleges in Washington State. SBCTC is responsible for developing system wide budget requests for consideration by the governor and legislature and for disbursing state and federal resources to the colleges.  SBCTC has provided a State Board staff member to OPEP as well as support funds for inservice training through the Vocational Leadership monies

Washington Association for Education of Young Children (WAEYC)

WAEYC was established in 1977 as the Washington state affiliate of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  These national and state professional organizations have provided research based information about child development, early childhood education, and family support methods that continues to benefit parent education cooperative programs in the state.   Parent Education Cooperative Coordinators group held its fall quarter meeting in 1977 in conjunction with the first annual WAEYC conference in Issaquah.  The conference provided workshops for professional development of preschool teachers, parent instructors and program coordinators.  Vendors provided a variety of early childhood resources for review and purchase.  Because of these benefits OPEP continues to schedule the fall quarter meetings in conjunction the WAEYC state conference each fall.

Coordinators and instructors from college and VTI parent education programs were involved in leadership roles from the beginning of WAEYC.  The very first elected President of WAEYC in 1977-78 was Nancy Hutchins, who at that time was a parent instructor at North Seattle Community College.  In 1979-80 Carol Mooney, Coordinator of Home and Family Life Programs for Clover Park Technical Institute, served as WAEYC President.  Cynthia Calbick, Coordinator of Parent Education at Big Bend Community College was elected WAEYC President in 1982-83; Cynthia continued to serve on the state WAEYC Board, after she retired, until 2007.  Maralyn ThomasSchier, Coordinator of Parent Education at Seattle Central Community College served two terms as WAEYC President:  1987-88 and 1990-92.  Martha Scoville, Parent Education Coordinator at Green River Community College, 1984 to 1990 served as WAEYC President from 1992-94.

When WAEYC started offering Inclusion Grants in 1988 to Early Childhood Programs across the state, Cooperative Preschools were some of the first programs to apply.  The purpose of the grant is to promote inclusion of preschoolers with disabilities into classrooms with typically developing children.  These Inclusion Grants continue to benefit many cooperative preschool programs. The grant funds come to WAEYC from the Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) and require collaboration with school districts. Professional development for staff and parents about meeting the needs of a range of special needs children is provided.

Pam Mcelmeel PictureNow retired, author Pam J. Mcelmeel, M.Ed. had enjoyed working as one of the SCC parent educators assigned to QACP since 1987.  Before joining the SCC Parent Education Program staff, Pam was simultaneously completing her Master in Education at the University of Washington and parenting two preschoolers.