Is Berea Creekside an academic or social based co-op?
- Berea Creekside is a social based co-op, that is enthusiastic about learning. We hire teachers in for our first hour to teach classes that complement the needs of the children at home. In the past, we've brought in teachers for art, sewing, yoga, music, foreign language, etc. Our second hour is made up of child led workshops, facilitated by the parents.
How much does co-op cost?
The membership fee for a family for the year is $300, due at the Welcome Potluck. For new families, the fee may be paid one semester at a time, with $150 due at orientation. Fees cover the cost of rent, teachers, supplies, publicity and parties for the co-op. There are scholarship funds available to any members.
Fees are not refundable except in extraordinary circumstances as agreed upon by the Co-op Council. We create a budget and enter into contracts at the beginning of the year based on the needs of the members and the fees we have collected. When members drop out, a withdrawal of fees make meeting the co-op’s financial commitments difficult.
How do we handle play with a violent theme?
We are mindful of the proliferation of violence in our world and teach both the reality of weapons as well as nonviolent alternatives to conflict resolution. We also recognize the role of children physically engaging each other in play—as age appropriate—which can potentially help children become more aware of others’ boundaries and their own, as well as to channel exuberant energy.
Physical Weapons. Berea Creekside does not own any weapons, real or pretend. No real weapons are allowed at our co-op space. If weapon toys are brought from home, they should be put away or left in vehicles until the appropriate use time.
Tools. Tools such as knives, bows and arrows, and hammers are used only for appropriate constructive purposes.
Preschool Age. No weapon play. Toys or other objects that are turned into weapons, pretend or real, need to be returned to a constructive purpose or put away for a while. We use such phrases as “No weapons are needed in a safe place” and “We are all friends here.”
Older Children. No weapon play when preschool children are present unless it’s a part of a pre-approved dramatic play. Physically engaging play among older children (such as dueling or wrestling) is acceptable under the following conditions: Outside only, and with an adult present who agrees to advise and monitor the play. As needed, the children and adult should work out mutually acceptable guidelines around physical play before they begin, as levels of acceptable roughness vary from child to child.
How do I join Berea Creekside Co-op?
We invite all potential members to visit, get to know us, and explore if we are a good fit. You are welcome to drop in on a Tuesday afternoon after 12:15 during our homeschooling year to see the facility, hang out and chat, or make an appointment to visit during our more structured mornings. New members can join co-op at the beginning of the semesters (August and January). Please see our Enrollment page.
As a Member…
What will be expected of me?
- All adult members do at least one job to facilitate the work of co-op. New members sign up for a job upon joining.
- Members are expected to attend all age-group meetings for their child(ren). This time is for planning workshops and projects, including volunteering to lead specific projects. Also at meetings, parents address any problem-solving as needed.
This is a cooperative, so each member holds equal responsibility for how co-op is going, and for getting co-op work done.
How are decisions made?
- Decisions about age groups are made by members of each age group. Simple decisions that affect all of co-op can be decided at Pause or via the members only Facebook group. Bigger issues are decided at co-op council meetings after getting input from other co-op members. Input is usually gathered via Pause, the Facebook group, or one-on-one.
- Instead of having lots of required all-member meetings, we have established a Council to handle organizational decision making and administrative work. The council consists of parent representatives from each age group of kids, and membership changes year to year. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in council meetings as they are interested. If you can’t attend a meeting, but would like to have your ideas represented, please give input to a council member. It is a requirement to have one year of co-op experience before joining Council.
What is expected of my child?
- Children are active members in this co-op and along with the freedoms they have, we expect a healthy dose of responsibility. We teach them consensus building skills and encourage their participation in decisions that most affect them including learning activity selection and rules of the co-op. They are then expected to follow through on agreements they have made. Each child will be responsible for completing a daily clean-up chore before leaving co-op.
How do new members get “in the loop”?
- There is a learning curve in joining any new organization. New members should consider their first semester as a time to listen, watch, ask questions, and get to know people to fully experience life in this learning community. The key to staying “in the loop” is simply hanging out enough at co-op, asking questions, and being an active member on the members only Facebook group.
Can I drop my child(ren) off at co-op and leave?
- We are a social co-op, that is enthusiastic about learning. We ask parents to be engaged in the co-op, setting an example for the children, as well as providing a community cooperative feel.
- A parent is expected to be with his or her child unless other arrangements have been made. Parents should only leave co-op after making sure their child will continuously be under another adult’s care. For instance, if you leave your child with a tutor or parent project leader, you should return by the end of the session unless you have made previous arrangements for supervision of your child after the structured time is over.
What if I cannot make it to co-op?
- If a parent project leader will unexpectedly be unavailable, first contact would be any co-leader in your project. If you don’t have a co-leader, then you should start with parents of the children in the project group you are leading. If a child needs to miss a tutoring session, project or club meeting, notice should be given to the leaders of any tutoring/projects/clubs that will be missed.
What is Pause?
- Our daily gathering that we call Pause is like a big kids’ version of circle time with sharing about accomplishments and personal events, like birthdays! It also serves our cooperative lives as a venue for addressing concerns and minor problems that arise.
- We also take care of some business at Pause, such as announcements about schedule changes and upcoming events. We model and practice and encourage respectful speaking and listening at Pause.
What do we do for lunch?
- We eat together in the lunchroom (or outside on picnic kinds of days) with each family bringing their own lunches. There are plates, cups and cutlery available for our use, as well as a microwave and a stove/oven. Everyone, including kids, is responsible to wash their own dishes, clean and wash off their place at the table and clean up any out of the ordinary floor crumbs.