Parents head back to school, as teachers | SierraSun.com

Parents head back to school, as teachers

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

A handful of North Shore parents have become proactive in their children’s education by enrolling toddlers and preschool-aged children in a new cooperative program for both parents and tots.

The Kings Beach Parents’ Cooperative, which opened in September, offers early childhood programming for youngsters ages 2 to 5, in addition to weekend parenting classes for adults.

“We wanted a different approach to how we were going to teach our children, and we also wanted to see something spring up in Kings Beach, as there isn’t much available,” said co-op co-founder Lorelei van Peborgh. “We wanted a co-op with parents teaching in the classroom. Parents are involved 100 percent ” they make up the board of directors and they are in charge of making policies.”

Children who attend the co-op are exposed to math, science, music, health and creative play, and, to keep things fresh and understandable to little minds, are linked to monthly themes.

“Every month has a theme which lessons are set around, such as being thankful in November and winter wonder in December,” said parent Sam Loudon.

Loudon got involved with the co-op because the larger group settings of other preschools seemed to be too much for her 4-year-old son Nigel.

“My son is a little more of a quiet kid and some larger groups we tried didn’t work out,” Loudon said. “This is more intimate and all the kids know all the parents.”

Kings Beach co-op parents are required to give at least three hours of their time, one day each week, said co-founding director Amy Kelley of Crystal Bay. In that way, parents are able to help run the program in exchange for a few hours a week away from their child.

“Part of the co-op model is supporting the development of the child, but its also supporting their families,” Kelley said. “Tahoe can be an isolated place for parents, and when you have smaller children up here, there just isn’t much available.”

By accepting toddlers that are still too young to attend traditional preschools, Kelley said that co-op parents are provided with educational childcare that is more affordable than baby-sitters.

“Having a 2-year-old is a busy time and sometimes we need a little space. We are really making an effort to be on the same page as parents,” Kelley said.