A small group of us has been working to start up a local co-op.  I’m not sure if our idea matches up exactly with the definition of a co-op, and I’m not even sure what that is.  Our idea is to get people together for some cooperative learning experiences.  If there’s a goal, it’s that we get together, learn something interesting and work together on projects.  We hope to include people of all ages, understanding that some projects are better suited to some than others.  We hope that a person of any age can find something in any experience that works for them.

Some guidelines or notes about the group:

There isn’t a fee to participate in the group, but there may be times when we each have to pay for supplies for a particular project.

Co-op isn’t a drop-off activity.  We need the support and participation of parents to make this work.  We understand that occasionally one parent may make arrangements with another to accompany their child, and that child will be the other person’s responsibility for the day – that’s no problem, but someone needs to be there to be available to that child during the activities.

People will need to RSVP for each session.  Whoever is leading the activity will be best able to prepare if they know the number of participants and their ages.  Ideally, we’d all make an effort to attend most of the sessions, but it’s not a requirement.  If your child isn’t interested in a particular topic, they don’t have to attend just because they’ve come to other sessions.  But we would like the kids to work as a group, and so there needs to be some cohesiveness and familiarity with others in the group, and it’s probably easiest to create that by having the kids participate regularly, if possible.

Co-op is currently scheduled to take place on Thursdays, every other week, beginning September 11.  Co-op will begin at 1:30 and we’ll use the Fox Room of the Rutland Free Library as a home base – but because of the nature of some of the activities, not all sessions will be held there.  I will keep the calendar updated with the times and dates we’re meeting, and as they are scheduled, the topics for each meeting.

We need to set a schedule so that we know what the topics for each co-op session will be.  This will make it easiest for people to sign up for activities so that both the facilitator and the participants can prepare ahead of time.  Hopefully we can make a lot of headway with this on 9/11 during the first session.  If you are planning to come, please bring your children, and please ask them to think about what they would like to see offered during co-op sessions.  They can also think of things they would like to lead – one of the goals of co-op might be to have some sessions led by children.

We are hoping that all the adults and some of the children will take at least one turn leading a session.  It’s not a requirement, but it will make it easier on all of us if more than one or two people are helping out.  That’s part of the definition of co-op, in my mind anyway!  🙂  So far we have an awesome group and it seems like everyone has an idea for something they’d like to share, which is great!

Some of the activities we’ve talked about include:

  • building and installing an earth loom
  • geocaching and letterboxing
  • orienteering and map skills
  • drama and music
  • games that require a group
  • e-textiles (combining sewing, crafting, and electronics)
  • first aid
  • creating a business
  • volunteering
  • art projects
  • science and engineering related topics
  • guest speakers or field trips
  • international projects and/or language learning
  • anything else we come up with!

Please feel free to comment with ideas you may have that we haven’t considered, suggestions, guidelines we talked about in meetings that I’ve forgotten, etc.  And please come join us at co-op!


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