Families: Look to the Kings Beach Coop for multi-age classroom | SierraSun.com

Families: Look to the Kings Beach Coop for multi-age classroom

The King’s Beach Parents’ Cooperative (Co-op) is actively recruiting families to share their vision for the first multi-age classroom, kindergarten through fifth grade, in the Lake Tahoe area. Board members are meeting with families in the community holding round table discussions about the future of the Co-op.

Originally, the Co-op was placed into action by a group of energetic, enthusiastic and teacher-educated parents looking for more salient learning experiences for their pre-school age children. In the past five years, the Co-op has grown to serve the needs of children from pre-school to first grade. The 2010-2011 school year will mark the onset of a single, multi-age classroom for families seeking alternatives to mainstream education.

Board members and parents share their successes with the Co-op style approach for education, dispelling myths surrounding the Co-op and offering families an active role in their child’s education The Co-op embraces the multi-age classroom, allowing children ownership for their learning, by placing them in leadership roles.

This is not to assume older students will always teach the younger, rather, it allows for each student to be a leader and a learner at varying times during the school year. Such a process is called a student-driven curriculum, where the teacher is the guide who fosters salient explorative opportunities to develop concepts and language across the curriculum. Such an approach utilizes Lake Tahoe to explore local industry, sustainability and preservation needs. While the curriculum emphasizes immediate surroundings, connecting self with community, it further develops concepts to promote broader objectives addressed as students grow to understand their community, nation and eventually the world.

Successes of the program are clearly stated by families, all of whom are board members. Rebecca Roxburgh speaks about the needs of her son Kai, a first grader at the Co-op: and#8220;Because the classroom is small, it gives my son the chance to think longer about what he’s learning. Where in the public school, everything seemed so rushed for him and he spent a lot of time frustrated.and#8221; Essentially, individualized student education is realized at the Co-op. Coralee Walther, president states: and#8220;I feel empowered because I can take part in my daughter’s education since I can be in the classroom as a teacher, not just a helper or an aide.and#8221; Like many parents at the Co-op, Walther is active in providing lessons, embracing the idea and#8220;it takes a village to raise a child.and#8221;

The Co-op will continue to hold community talks to share a viable, cost effective option for educating children. Please call Lorelei VanPeborgh or Sabrina Albrecht at (530) 546-7519 or http://www.kingsbeachparentscoop.org. Community vision talks are posted on-line and in the community calendars with the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and the Sierra Sun.

and#8212; Submitted to the Sun via e-mail at aedgett@sierrasun.com