Why the Tree of Life?

6.01.2007

Enki Co-op: What's working. what's not

We have five weeks of Thursday morning co-op meetings under our belt. All in all, it's been a lot of fun, but there are definitely some kinks to work out. Everything starts out great. The kids love chopping up the vegetables and getting our soup going first thing. We've been using sharp, little paring knives, but I have my eye on some vegetable choppers from Montessori Services. We have had a couple of cuts, and D put the blade in his mouth just this morning when I stepped away to get a bandaid for another child. We are very good about supervising all the knives, but those moments happen. So, I think the choppers would work better.

Then, everyone goes off and plays; usually very well. Though, one of the kinks is that when we have co-op at our house, K becomes a wild child. Something is overwhelming him: excitement, jealousy, being four and a half years old, hunger, I don't know what. Perhaps a neutral location would work better, something homey, perhaps at a church? A place with a kitchenette would be nice.

We've also found that we need to have a snack before circle, so we have incorporated a fruit salad beforehand. Food we seem to be good at! The soup and bread turned out exceptionally good today, and the actual eating of the meal when smoothly for the most part. But circle was another story.

We need to memorize all the songs and verses and movements in circle. The Enki guides recommend this, but we thought we could get away with one of us reading/singing on the sideline and the other leading the movements. We just aren't holding their attention. They all begin to wander off as we're stumbling along, and we completely lost everyone today. Part of the problem, too, must be attributed to my oldest child who was lying in the middle of the floor for most of circle and trying to grab everyone's legs. But we plugged along anyway until it was just us moms. Happily, the six year old daughter of my friend came back into the room when we had reached the time for the nature story (King Summer- prose version), and she sat, apparently happy to listen, through the whole reading. Of course, then we had lunch (more food!), which went more smoothly.

Pickup/saying bye is also going well. I am picking out 'Simple Gifts' by ear on the recorder to signal pickup time, so that is coming along, but definitely still needs some work. Unfortunately, I can play it almost perfectly at home , but squeak horribly when it really matters. I've been playing 'Golden in the Garden' to call everyone to circle, and I have that down much better (though I bizarrely completely forgot one note today and had to give up on it, even though I really have it down pat). Sheesh. Then, after pickup, we have a fairy heart chime that the children can make a wish on after they have put their shoes on and right before they head out the door. This has really helped with that transition. They all love shaking 'her' to tickle her and make her laugh.

So, the most important part of the morning still needs lots of work. Perhaps the majority of our children are just too young? Though D was much more interested in circle this morning than K! Well, it's a work in progress...

1 comment:

  1. Ah, now i'm connecting names and faces to blogs! Sounds like you are accomplishing a huge amount in your co-op! We have also found that neutral territory is very important for the kids. Even meeting outside works better than at one person's home, though i'm looking into church spaces. The Friends house here is an option; maybe there too? With circle we've found that we should lower our expectations especially if we only meet once a week or less. We keep it short with no pressure on the kids to participate. I look forward to reading more about your journey : )

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