Playful Co-op

Hi everyone!
A few of us have started an a new homelearners gathering called Playful Co-op for unschoolers /homeschoolers gathering in East Van and would like to open the invitation more widely to the community!

Over the summer Sarah and I  started talking about creating  a bi-weely gathering for several reasons. A few major reasons:

- our 9 years olds want more social time with friends (especially kids their age as many of them seem to be returning to formal school)
- we would like a great, fun, safe place to leave the kids so we could make appointments that we would prefer not to take the kids with; or even just a few hours to go for a walk or have a tea all on our own (!)
- we would like a format where the kids can come up with projects that they want to do with a grown-up available to help, (instead of adults creating activities for the kids), that could continue from week to week
- we wanted something regular, but every week felt like too much committment so settled on a bi-weekly format

What we envisioned was a place the kids can gather and socialize and come up with projects that can continue from week to week in a place that is totally kid centred. Here are a bunch of examples:
- Gatherings can have a theme like Show and Tell with a time set for those that want to participate, or Chess (where chess boards are set up for kids to use if they want), Halloween with craft stuff set-up to use. Perhaps the kids can take turns sharing and teaching about a passion they have to the others
- If the kids wanted to start an on-going project like a newspaper they could continue it week to week. (In my home we have wi-fi and the kids can use  computers or 'i' devices to write and research with a parent available to facilitate).
- Or the parent could be doing an activity that the kids can watch (there is so much to learn from watching!), and participate in if they want like for example: canning
- at a previous gathering the morning was set aside for finishing projects that are not finished and the afternoon was just social. Some of the kids just played the whole time, others brought stuff to work on and share with everyone else.

So far we have 2 places to gather, one is a co-op housing amenity room the other is a private home with a great kid space. SIze is a bit limited, but that is pretty much the only limiting factor.

This is how it works so far, but everything is open the change and flow for what works for those that are participating.

- Gatherings are largly social in nature, and activities are child led.
- open to all ages and abilities
 - Meet bi-weekly
- doors open at 10am, close at 4pm - feel free to come and go as you please
- parents do not have to stay as long as the children are confident on their own
- 2 parents 'host' the day ( anyone is welcome to stay, of course!)
-  if everyone takes turns hosting you will only be committed to stay once every couple of months, the other times it is up to you if you want to stay to socialize to help out.
- kids bring their own lunch and snacks
- the day of the week the  co-op runs on is picked by the parents hosting (that way it is not always the same day every week excluding people who have other activities on that day but would like to attend)
- how much structure is up to the parent hosting - or children who would like to co-host
The next one is at Sarah Park's house
16-1110 Odlum drive Van
Themes this week are board games and unfinished projects, bring your child's favorite game and any unfinished project you might want to work on.
Time: Wed Dec 7th 2011 10-3 drop in anytime
Bring a packed lunch

If you need for info call Madeleine: 778-371-8222 or email me at
Feel free to drop by and just check it out!