Lakewood Co-operative Preschool



Where Families and Friendships Grow

Co-Chair's Note

LCP Open House

Returning Student Enrollment

Board Meeting Minutes

New Year's Resolutions

Feed the Can Man, Man

Special Events for January

Keeping Our Children Safe

Editor's Note

Been There, Done That

Cute Kid Pix


Co-Chair's Note

Dear Lakewood Families:

Welcome back to school! As a kid, I remember dreading the end of the holidays and feeling nervous about starting school up again. How fun to see these little people expressing the opposite! The anticipation of seeing school friends again, of doing art projects and reading books—there was a lot of talk in our house about “When?” “No, not tomorrow, and not the next day, but the day after that—that’s when you get to go back to school!” “Well, I wish it was now.” Dare I say that on more than a few occasions over the last two weeks, I wished it was now too!

There are lots of routines starting up again, and fun and creative new things too. The Crickets have started a peace theme, and have a peace or problem-solving table in the room. The Bumblebees and Dragonflies are holding down the fort until their fearless teacher returns from a New Year’s trip. In the meantime, many thanks to all for the extra work families are putting in. And kudos to Aimee, our Dragonfly sub who has done such a tremendous job!

With the New Year comes preparation for next fall's enrollment at LCP. Returning families will get a visit from Melanie Fix or Jane Schmidt, our Enrollment Coordinators, at class meetings this month. Melanie and Jane will bring re-enrollment forms and are ready for any questions you might have. Returning families must re-enroll by Feb. 28.

New families will be visiting the school for an open house on Tuesday night, February 13, from 7-9 pm. Spread the word to friends and neighbors. You’ll also see parents and kids visiting the classes over several days during the months of February and March. You are all great resources to them—feel free to introduce yourselves and talk about your experiences. As part of our preparation for their visits, we are organizing a mid-year clean up on Sunday, Feb. 11 at 1pm. This will be a chance to clean up and beautify the school, for the new families as well as ourselves! Be on the lookout for more information on this and other ways you can help.

You will also want to check out our new webpage, Marc Pottier has been doing an amazing job enhancing the way we represent ourselves. Visit the site and send feedback or ideas to This site will be updated often, so if you see something missing, we can always get it up there.

We’re also working on a couple of new purchases for the classroom: a new table and chairs similar to the listening station to replace the worn out yellow table, and new flooring for the art room. Is anyone else tired of looking at the old, duct-taped linoleum we currently have?

And finally, we’ve made a few changes to the school for the year ahead. On the recommendation of Leanne Corcoran, our hard working treasurer, we have decided to raise tuition by approximately $5 per month, per class. It has been two years since we last raised it, and it’s necessary for us to do this to keep up with inflation and to be able to give our teachers a salary increase. We have agreed that doing this every 2 years keeps the increases small, and shares the burden among all families, rather than a big increase every 5 years. So, next year, Bumblebees will pay $110, Crickets will pay $150, and Dragonflies will pay $245. (This breaks down to approximately $5 per hour in school.)

The other change we made was to adjust the ages in each class. Bumblebees will stay the same: 19 months to 2 ½ years. Crickets will be 2 ½ to 3 ½ (instead of 3), and Dragonflies will be 3 ½ to 5 (instead of 3-5). We think this will help keep the class cohorts strong, and make it easier for parents to know which class their kids should be enrolled in.

Thanks for taking these steps with us. LCP is making great strides and these moves will help us to keep going in the right direction.

Hope the year is starting off well for everyone—and let’s hope the weather has settled down!

Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell is Co-Chair of LCP and mother of loyal Dragonfly Charlie Budd. ccamp [at-sign]

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LCP Open House

If you know someone who might be interested in joining LCP next year, tell them about the LCP Open House, February 13th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the school. Parents should attend without their children. Children are welcome at class tours, which are held a few weeks later. More information about our school can be found on our website (, or by speaking with a parent co-ordinator (Melanie Fix 722-3052, Jane Schmidt 722-3238).

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Returning Student Enrollment

Returning student enrollment begins February 21st and ends February 28th. Families must submit applications and payment at that time.

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Night School for Dragonflies

On January 18th we will be conducting our first ever Night School for Dragonflies. Class will be from 6:00 to 7:30 that night in lieu of that afternoon. The parent who doesn't typically work in the classroom should attend; this way, they will get a chance to see what school is like for their Dragonfly, to meet their friends, and to acquaint themselves with the teacher and school. Come prepared for a night of fun, including finger painting, Animal Action, and Beanbag Boogie! Please RSVP to erinmrobb [at-sign]

Mark your calendar: Night School for Bumblebees will be the second week of February. More details to come.

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“I never appreciated nap time when I had it.”

Nov 01 Board Meeting Minutes

Secretary: (Rochelle Brown)
October minutes were approved and will be posted in foyer.

Treasurer: (Leanne Corcoran)
Overall, we’re doing great. This year we’ll do a July through June budget so expenses are apparent in the correct year. Phones were switched to a $39.99 package with 1 free voicemail line to save money. At the end of this year, we’ll know the true cost of doing class documentation (this is the first year we have official class documenter jobs.) Next year, we can write this into budget. The monthly budget will be posted in the foyer with the treasurer minutes summary. People wanting more detail will be referred to Leanne.

Parent Coordinator: (Melanie Fix, Jane Schmidt)
Melanie, Jane, Christine, and Jim are meeting to revise the admissions policy before the  December meeting.

Fundraising: (Laura LaForte)
Laura would like to reserve The Rainier Club for Friday, May 4th. Serving 130 people with heavy hors de oeuvres will be approximately $4500. No work required for set up or take down. Approved. Tickets would be $35/head or $70/family this year (up $10/person from last year). Discussion of ticket purchase by all LCP families.

Scrip: (Rochelle Brown)
Rochelle is going to try attending class meetings with laptop to get more signups. Laura will ask fundraising committee if someone can take over scrip oversight.

Church Liaison: (Lauren Milan)
Cricket parents will continue to help with breakdown on Fridays. One week, Pastor Jeff said clean up lacking. Lauren will ask Pastor Jeff about church items left out in kitchen. Lauren will go to next church board meeting.

Teachers: (Erin Robb, Jennifer Birkner)
Both attended WAEYC conference last week. Very good presentations at this conference and lots to share with LCP families.

Class Chairs: (Jurate Audejaitiene, Kara Dowidar, Brian Buckner)
Discussion of cleanup done by each class and cleanup versus breakdown duties. Dragonfly class will need a new substitute as current family is moving.

Jobs: (Amy & Tim Zern)
Job coordinator will be checking in with families to assist in clarifying duties. This year's job assignments will happen before end of year, so next year should go more smoothly.

Rochelle Brown is LCP secretary and mother of Cricket Elise. jbandtheroche [at-sign]

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“He goes to a real party preschool.”

New Year's Resolutions

Dear Parents,

The last few years, I have not made any New Year's resolutions because it seems I always fail to live up to my resolutions. But this year, one of my colleagues at the SCCC Parent/Child Center shared a set of resolutions that seem very reasonable to live by. I will pass them on to you, because I think they are applicable to anyone (originally published in the Seattle PI, 2004):

  1. I will get outside more often
  2. I will love you with all my heart
  3. I will pay more attention to my body
  4. I will stop complaining
  5. I will get good at something I’ve forgotten I was good at
  6. I will keep it simple
  7. I will do something nice every day
  8. I will learn something new
  9. I will smile more

Happy New Year!

Brigitta Dahl is in her seventh year as the parent educator for LCP. Questions welcome at 206-328-0960 or bdahl [at-sign]

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Feed the Can Man, Man

Can Man want MORE pasta and rice! Not get enough last month. You people holding out on me?

Shove in the starch; I make room. Doctor say me need 10,000 calories a day to maintain my boxy figure. Don't want to waste away to shoebox size. Also have my three little envelopes at home to feed. They be fine big boxes like me some day.

So, what you think of Rachel Ray trying to muscle in on Martha Stewart turf? Me think bad idea. Martha done time in joint. She mess up Rachel bad.

The Can Man lives near the LCP entrance. He's a recognized expert on eating packaged cuisine still in the package. CanMan [at-sign]

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“By the time I develop a true understanding of sand, I'll probably be forced into some type of organized sports.”

Special Events for January

(Pardon me while I clear the water and tree limbs from my keyboard.) OK, that's better. Here are some things you can do with the kids this month. Don't squander that five hours of daily daylight wrestling blue tarps over your soggy possessions; they're lost causes by now. Get out there and have some fun. But avoid British Columbia for a while as they are a little irritated with Washingtonians after all these storms. They don't blame us for the storms; it's just that there are a hundred thousand garbage can lids up there they want us to come get.

Circus School

Over in Georgetown is the School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts. (Now with 30% fewer carny folk.) Running away to join the circus has never been more convenient. Classes for preschoolers include Baby & Me, Tot Circus, and Family Circus (not affiliated with Dolly, Jeffy, or PJ).

Puppet Show

The Northwest Puppet Center presents Crane & Turtle: Images of China, Jan 12-28. They are in the Maple Leaf neighborhood and take school groups on weekdays.

Find Your Own Fun

The Go City Kids website has an activity finder that let's you search for particular kinds of activities by child's age, neighborhood, and "kind of fun" (their term).

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“They got extinct because they didn't listen to their mommies.”

Keeping Our Children Safe

On any given day in the co-op, you’re likely to hear a child shout “KEEP ME SAFE” with their hand outstretched in a powerful stop signal. This is music to my ears because I realize it is the result of a communal effort on the part of parents, friends, and educators to equip our children with lifelong safety and social skills.

I have just finished reading a wonderful book titled Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe and Parents Sane, by Gavin De Becker. This book has allowed me to reflect on the many ways we can empower children and prevent them from becoming victims of violence.

Many parents worry incessantly in this day and age. Part of the worry is caused by sensationalist media and television. After a day spent watching TV you might walk away thinking that your toddler is in imminent danger of falling out a two story window, your current baby is actually someone else’s baby that got switched at the hospital at birth, your preschooler will be snatched by a stranger driving a white van, and your babysitter might be plotting to kill your children while you are out on your anniversary. (I must add a disclaimer that this article I’m writing is meant to empower, not fuel your worry.)

I have been working with children for years and have seen many cases of violence and abuse. I still send my kids to home day care. I still have a babysitter who drives them to and from school. I still go out at least once a week at night. I let my daughter speak for herself at restaurants and occasionally go to the bathroom alone in public places. I also live in Rainier Beach where there is a definite propensity for violence. I use things that happen to talk to my kids about safety and my political values. I’m not raising sheltered kids, because sheltered kids are not safe kids.

Part of our constant surface worry is that we think we don't know how to protect our children from the big bad world out there. Well, based on this field expert in the area of violence prevention, I’m writing to say that YOU DO KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN. We are all born with these instincts. The biggest danger for violence against our children is when we ignore these natural instincts. We ignore that voice inside our head saying “he's creepy” because we have been conditioned to “be nice” and “accepting.” We rationalize the apprehension in our stomach when we allow our child to sleep over at a friend's house whose parents you don't know very well, thinking “it's just my over-active imagination.” The most important point De Becker makes in this book is that we need to listen to our gut first and foremost because it’s the number one way to prevent violence. He is an expert in this field and he has heard countless stories of those who in retrospect wish they had listened.

Secondly, don't worry about every little thing. If you do, you will raise a child who is scared of everything, making him more vulnerable to harm. If a child is afraid to talk to all strangers, even when you're around, they might never get the chance to practice reading social cues in other people and listening to their gut. Model talking to strangers, whether it be a grocery checker or a person you pass on the street. Think aloud “that man made me feel uncomfortable; I didn't like the way he stared at me.” Solicit your child's feedback as they get older “What did you think of that man who tried to tell you a joke in the grocery store? Did he kind of give you the creeps? You never have to talk to someone who gives you an uncomfortable feeling. Listening to your feelings helps keep you safe.”

Also, a child who constantly hears “no, that's not safe” 24/7 will start to be desensitized to danger, catching on that you are not always accurate in your information giving. This child will not know real danger from imaginary danger, and this puts the child at greater risk.

Another thing about worrying, is that oftentimes people worry about things that are statistically not likely AT ALL to happen. A child is more likely to have a heart attack than to be kidnapped for instance, but I can’t remember the last parent who asked me advice on how to prevent heart attacks (because they are very very unlikely). De Becker states that in over seventy million children, less than 100 will be kidnapped. OK, take that one off your list.

Here's what you do need to worry about, in my opinion (and De Becker backs me up for sure): protecting your child from the risk of sexual molestation and abuse. One in three girls are molested. One in six boys are. These statistics have been true since I received my teaching training almost ten years ago. The most common perpetrators are heterosexual male family members or friends (including boyfriends, stepfathers). 20% are adolescent boys. Almost 100% are male. Here are a few things you can do that will make a difference:

  1. Always listen to your gut. Don't talk to the man who gives you the creeps. Don’t send your child to the daycare you don’t trust.
  2. Model assertiveness and encourage it in your children. This is for moms especially. If a man says something inappropriate at the grocery store or keeps wanting your attention after you have said no, get mad and be blunt. Tell him to get lost. Quit modeling “niceness” for your children at the expensive of your intuition. Also let children know it's OK to tell an adult you don't want a hug or you don’t want to kiss or touch them. It's okay to tell a friend you don't want to play that game. It's okay to tell an older kid or adult to “STOP” and put out your hand.
  3. Surround your children with caring adults you trust completely. Again, the co-op is a great model because the kids get to feel comfortable both trusting adults and arguing with them! They learn that there are many people in their lives they can communicate with besides their mom and dad (often children will tell an adult friend something uncomfortable they couldn't otherwise tell a parent—this becomes particularly important in the teens). Also, the parents at the co-op are incredible. We are providing our children with a framework from which to judge good character. You are sending a message to your child: this is what people we trust act like. They respect you. They talk to you at your level. They listen to your thoughts and opinions. They offer you challenges because they know you are strong and smart. They take no for an answer when it comes to your body (not hungry, don’t have to go potty, need my space). They come to school because they care about not only their own kids, but you as well. This is so powerful! Knowing your friend's parents makes all the difference!
  4. Be explicit: you need to model the language for your child. I'm not advocating one big conversation with your preschooler; I'm advocating hundreds of mini-conversations and day to day modeling. It's what we do at Lakewood Coop every day when we model conflict resolution skills, how to maintain personal space, how to talk to your friends in a powerful voice. These are all more explicit conversations I have with my daughter who is seven and am starting to tell my son who is 2 1/2:
    • If you ever get lost, go find a mom with a stroller or a chid. Say “My name is ____and I need help finding my mom/dad.” If you don't see a mom with a stroller, go to a mom without a stroller.
    • Your vagina/penis is your own special body part. No one needs to touch it except you. And you don't ever need to touch anybody else's penis or vagina either. Your body belongs to you only and their body belongs to them only.
    • Your body is your own. You don't ever have to give someone a kiss if you don't feel like it. You don't ever have to give someone a hug or a high five if you don't feel like it. If it's someone you like, you can say “Sorry, I'm all hugged out” or “not in the mood.” If it's someone who gives you the creeps, you can say “NO WAY” in the loudest meanest voice you can muster. Again, don't sacrifice your child's safety for raising a well-mannered, nice child.
    • Listen to what your body is telling you. Is it saying “I'm hungry?” Is it saying “I really need to let out some energy?” “Does your tummy get a funny feeling when you think about jumping off that tall structure? That's probably a sign you shouldn't do it.” “Is your body telling you you just need some alone time and don't feel like playing in a group? Tell your friend that.”
    • Speak out in your very powerful girl voice (or boy voice). Let's practice how you will tell Lindsey you don't want her to pinch you anymore. (I role play a lot in the car, at dinner, etc.)
    • It's OK to tell mommy or daddy things that are bothering you. There is nothing you tell us that will make us feel too overwhelmed or uncomfortable. Your feelings are not wrong or bad.
    There is a lot we can do DAILY, to help protect our children. When we truly know how powerful it is to follow our parental instincts (think mama bear, papa bear) we will worry a lot less. We have what it takes already in us. Sexual violence doesn't just happen without warning. There are warning signs almost always. So, my advice is to not sweat the small stuff, but to listen to your gut. In choosing a good preschool with a caring supportive community, you’ve already taken a huge step in our life-long journey of helping our children feel safe and be safe.

Erin Robb teaches the Bumblebees and Dragonflies classes, and is the mother of Bumblebee Xavier. erinmrobb [at-sign]

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“Honey, your head's through the arm hole again.”


Editor's Note

Wasn't that a good article by teacher Erin? In case you didn't read it, allow me to summarize:

  • Trust your instincts regarding safety. Millions of years of evolution have honed human emotions, but rational thought is the new tool in the toolbox. Thinking is great for logic and engineering, but feelings are more trustworthy for just about everything else. As Ted Williams put it: “If you don't think too good, don't think too much.”
  • There's a good chance you're worrying about too much, and/or the wrong things.

I'd also like to elaborate a bit on those points teacher Erin made.

Re trusting your instincts: Trusting your instincts doesn't work when your instincts stink. Not all of us are hardboiled streetwise students of the human animal who can size up a predator in the time it takes to turn up our trenchcoat collar. If you could use some help with your shrewd-itude, a book like Gavin De Becker's might help improve your judgments. Experience is a great teacher, but it's always pop quizzes and she grades very harshly.

Once you get your creep-o-meter tuned up, don't be afraid to use it. Maybe you don't want to be one of those people who judges a book by its cover, but the truth is, that's how all books are judged; nobody has time to read the whole book before deciding to purchase it. (That's why I'm no longer welcome at Barnes & Noble. Now I just grab anything sporting a shirtless Fabio and am never disappointed.) By all means, be ready to change your opinion after reading a few chapters, but if you don't like the author or the jacket blurbs, you probably won't like what's inside.

Re trusting other people: The sad truth is, you can't trust anyone completely, in the sense that a person can be stamped A-OK and not thought about anymore. If your child is preyed upon, it will almost certainly be by someone you trusted. Why? Because people you don't trust don't gain access. Whether you're a con man or a pedophile, job number one is gaining trust. The reason it ends up being the person you'd least suspect is because you never suspected them. Catholic priest scandal, anyone?

Which raises another disturbing truth: pedophiles put themselves in positions of contact with children: teacher, scout leader, youth coach, mall Santa, and that nice neighbor who's so good with children. Yes, 99% of these guys—and it is 99% guys—are not pedophiles, so don't keep your kids indoors until they're 18, just keep your antenna up. The FBI and CIA spend lots of time watching the agents who have the highest security clearances because they're the ones who can cause damage.

Re worrying about the wrong things: This gets back to rational thought being one of humanity's more recent developments. Critical thinking—not to mention risk evaluation—doesn't come naturally to everyone, but being scared does. Science is only 400 hundred years old, but superstitions, old wives tales, urban legends, and myths have been around forever, and, frankly, are more entertaining.

For example, despite only five recorded child deaths from peanut allergy in the past decade, most schools have become peanut-free zones. Dozens of kids die annually from jamming something into an electrical outlet, but I've never seen an  exposed-outlet-free zone.

This area seems ripe for a little research, separating myth from fact (and then putting them back together because they make such a cute couple), so I'll try to put together an article about the likelihoods of various preventable children's deaths. Sounds like a real mid-winter day-brightener, eh?

And as always, stuff from you is very welcome, especially from Bumblebees and Dragonflies. It doesn't have to be a full-blown article; it could just be a suggestion—about the newsletter, I hasten to add—field trip photos, or an idea; some examples:

  • Tips. Have a trick that works especially well? Share it in the hope that it could help another parent, or just to gloat.
  • Quotes. Sometimes a pithy child-rearing quote sticks in your head as a reminder of what to, or not to, do. I like “Seek the good and praise it,” and also “Childhood memories are the strongest, and your kids are the people who will choose your nursing home.”
  • Anecdotes. Children occasionally do something unintentionally humorous, I've been told. And according to the late Art Linkletter, some of the things children say can be the darnedest. Share yours. Or make something up and see if we can tell.

Bill Muse is the LCP newsletter editor and father of Cricket Veronica. LCP [at-sign]

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Cricket Phoebe McNair and the man
endangering her

Been There, Done That

Last month's Special Events column mentioned Winterfest at the Seattle Center and the ice-skating therein. I took Veronica, age 3, and her sister Jacqueline, age 8. You can rent skates there for a couple dollars.

I had been ice skating once before in my life, when I was Jacqueline's age, so I figured I'd have no problem. Turns out, I had several, starting with the ice: it was dangerously slippery. If ice skating weren't an ancient winter pastime, there is no way it would get past the lawyers today. Not only was the ice too slick to walk on, it was skull-crackingly hard and rutted like the Oregon Trail. Apparently, they didn't pay their Zamboni bill because there were moguls out there. Bad enough if you were alone, but there were a hundred people, all of them with foot-long knives on each foot. I didn't see any blood stains, but I'm guessing they had some kind of chemical in the ice to render them invisible. Actually, they could just dye the ice green and then the red stains would be festive instead of horrifying..

Fortunately, the rink supplies little aluminum cages for little skaters. They look like half-size walkers for the elderly, but with smooth aluminum rails that slide. Snagging one was a life-saver for me. If you go, definitely take a toddler so you can lean over them onto a walker, which will hold you up. Veronica just hooked her armpits over the bar and drug her feet while I skated around trying not to sever the fingers of walkerless tots sprawled on the ice. Of course, Veronica loved it. “Faster, daddy!”

Bill Muse has a big bruise on his bottom. LCP [at-sign]

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Do not overdose on cuteness.
Know your limits


Cute Kid Pix

Email your cute kid photos to the LCP newsletter, or even better, post them online at

  1. On, click Sign In (near upper right corner)
  2. Enter this email address:
  3. Enter this password: gobaby

You can look at photos, buy prints, or upload an album of you own.


Some Crickets went downtown to ride the carousel. Most Crickets enjoyed the bus ride even more than the plastic ponies, and why not? It was cheaper and lasted longer.

All of the following pictures and more are available on
 (see above).

Annabelle and Ramadan

Eden and Lauren (behind pole)

Madeline and the Verizon Wireless guy ("Can you hear me now?")

Hara and Kim, apparently after being offered kingdoms

Soloman, Kara, and Sam

Did not catch the name, but awfully cute

Happy New Year

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