Community building takes time and loads of talking and interacting — and some eating. 🙂
I think over the last 4 weeks we’ve all come to understand that we’re developing something way more than a preschool co-op. I don’t even think of it as having anything to do with preschool anymore. We have children from 9ish to newbornish and there is so many different things going on. Children in respectful, fluid, multi-age groups seem to do so well. They seem to navigate so well, even when some of the participants are primarily pre-verbal.
So the children come together and play. They interact. They create. They wander off and do whatever it is they do in their quiet moments alone.
And we mamas talk and negotiate wording and talk about passions and dreams for our children — and at times for ourselves. We connect. We communicate and sometimes misunderstand and work to come to something more consensus-building.
And yet, the children play.
So, school has been in session, but it may be the parents that have been doing the learning. We’ve been learning by watching them. We learn when we do not get in their way too much, and watch the ebb and flow of their interactions and their tribe-building. It is serious work to them. They don’t have the sense of tomorrow and yesterday that grown-ups do, so they tend to live very much in the moment. That means that ‘right now’ is extremely important to them and they do not want to waste it. Children can be extremely zen-like. Their rationality always has to do with the moment and the need of the moment and the passionate drive to get ‘there’ at any cost.
I hope that what we mamas are doing, with all this talking, is stripping away that which complicates life. I hope that we are building a foundation of understanding and acceptance. Each of us, I believe, is bettered by revealing, step-by-step, more of that which makes us deeply imperfect — as people and as mamas. And then we see the acceptance — and more importantly, the deep BTDT understanding — we each feel a little bit more understood and truly, deeply accepted, imperfections and all.
These grand and glorious women are sharing their energy with us every week. They are becoming people that I unhesitatingly trust around my children. And this is a huge deal for me. My children are rarely cared for by anyone other than myself or my husband. There has been no decision or grand design that has made it thus, it’s just the way we’ve always lived. But these ladies are getting to know my children — quirks, strengths and struggles — and can be trusted adults that they can turn to to navigate rough waters, and that can help lead them to better, more consensus-building behaviors.
So, ultimately, what are we building. It’s not a preschool co-op anymore — not really.
It is a homeschool co-op in the making maybe.
It is a homeschool community by default.
It is a family —– or at least it is becoming one.