Thursday, June 30, 2016

Define Your Structure

Okay momma, so now that you’ve found your tribe, it’s time to start planning! 

Now, this is the fun part. You’re going to need some time to chat with the other mommas sans kiddos. So figure out a time that works for everyone, order a pizza (so you don’t come home to a pile of dinner clean-up), have your hubby watch the kids (or hire a babysitter), and go out! Enjoy this time you need it!

Grab coffee, frozen yogurt, or even have dinner together. We always go to our local favorite a tea bar with the best salads, wraps, and beverages ever! In fact, I am sipping on one of their amazing Pomegranate Lemonades now (oh yeah, I even Instagramed it that’s how good it is!)    

But I’m getting off track..the point is you’ll need some time to talk without the constant interruption of your littles. So, GO OUT!

Once you’re all rounded up, introduce yourselves! What’s your name? How many kiddos and how old? Something fun? There may be people who don’t know each other so remember to smile! This can be totally intimidating for some people, and the last thing you want to do is make them feel out of place.

Then, you actually have to get down to business. I know, you’re a mom, you never get out alone with your friends but we do have to make progress.

First on the agenda is formally defining the structure of your group. How many days a week do you want to meet? For how long? Which day(s)? Where will you meet?

I know this isn’t exactly the fun stuff, but you have to cover it first because the actual logistics will determine who can and wants to commit to the group. For some, meeting every week would just be too much. For others, Wednesdays just won’t work because of dance class. It’s important to get these details figured out before you jump into the meat of the preschool.

Once you’ve got the structure in place, you get to dive into the fun stuff what you’re going to teach! We’ll talk about that more in Lesson 3.

As a side note, you’ll definitely need to have another mom’s night to plan the teaching. So, if getting out again in the near future seems overwhelming, you can plan on covering this lesson and lesson 3 in one meeting - but avoid trying to cover all 6 lessons at once - #informationoverload!

If you’re hitting lesson 2 and 3 in one mom’s night head to Lesson 3 now. If not, give yourself a pat on the back for getting out of the house and getting this preschool ball rolling. Savor the ice-cold lemonade and enjoy the rest of the time with your future best buddies!

If you have any questions or you feel a little nervous about getting started, please let me know. What are you wondering about? What are you struggling the most with? I'd love to help! Tell me what you're thinking in the comments below or email me at

Friday, June 24, 2016

Find Your Tribe

So now that you've decided, "Yes, I really can start my own preschool co-op," it's time to get started with lesson 1: Find Your Tribe. 

If you're anything like me (major introvert), step one may just be the hardest part of getting your own preschool co-op up and running. Why? Because you really have to put yourself out there!

But, you can't really have a co-op without anyone to cooperate with, right? So, this step is crucial! And as hard as it may be - it is sooooo worth it! I have a little story I'll share with you at the end, but for now, let's stay focused.

So, first step, keep your eyes open for people that just may be prime candidates for your group. The neighbor that has a toddler running around yard. The mom you see at church with a baby in one arm, and using the other arm to corral her other kids to their classes. The family that you always seem to run into at the park. Look around - you might just be pleasantly surprised by how many other moms are craving the connection that a preschool co-op would provide.

If you're already doing an activity with similarly aged kids - dance classes, sports teams, Sunday school classes - this is your "jackpot zone!" Then, all you have to do is ask.

Easier said than done, right?

Don't worry - you don't have to have it all together (I certainly didn't) - but just be honest. You can say something like, "Hey, I'd really like (insert your kiddo's name here) to have some more structured social time - and I just need to get out of the house every once in a while - so I was thinking of putting together a little preschool co-op. Nothing super formal, but I was wondering if you'd be interested. It seems like (insert your kiddo's name) already really enjoys playing with (insert their kiddo's name)."

There - done. And really, what's the worst that could happen? She says she's not interested. Oh well. But if you think about the best that could happen from those few sentences - ah, the possibilities are endless!

So, start asking, but my one caution is this - be mindful of just how large your group is getting. Remember, most likely, you will be hosting this in a home or other single-room location - so bigger isn't always better. 

We have found that a group of about 8 students (not including parents or siblings) is ideal. If you have less than 4, the kiddos don't seem to take the "preschool" aspect of it as seriously. If you get much bigger than 9, well, let's just say things can get a little crazy. 

So, now it's your turn. Think of 2 or 3 other moms that you'd love to have as a part of your co-op. Don't worry about starting small, because they may have 2 or 3 other moms in mind as well. Then, to borrow Nike's famous slogan, "Just Do It!" Meet them at the park, give them a call, you can even share this blog post and say, "Hey, I'm interested in doing this - you in?"

So, go for it ladies, Find Your Tribe! I know it will be so worth it! Then, check back next Friday, July 1st, for Lesson 2: Define Your Structure.

So..... I did promise you a story.

Almost exactly 4 years ago I went to a park playdate with a mom that I kinda knew from church. We had a few mutual friends, but had never really hung out. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by her - she seemed to have it all together. But we both had boys that were the exactly the same age and were both pregnant with our second boy. So, I sent what felt like a super random text, and we set up a playdate at the park.

The boys loved playing together and she and I pieced together a conversation, mostly revolving around our boys. Was it a perfect playdate? No. But she was really sweet, and I wanted to get to know her more. We got together a couple more times, Then, I invited her to the preschool co-op that was getting started. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward to today. My boys are absolutely best friends with hers. They adore playing together and treat each other more like brothers than friends. She is truly one of my best friends, and now we get up early one day a week to run together. So we can just have time to chat, without the constant interruption of kiddos. Honestly, she has blessed my life tremendously, and looking back, I am so thankful for that initially awkward park date. It has blossomed into a "better than I could ever ask" for friendship.   

That's a little bit of my story. What will yours be? So, go for it! You never know what friendships may grow from a simple question. 

See you next week!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Starting Your Own Preschool Co-Op

You might be thinking: Can I really start my own preschool co-op? Or, my little one is only 2 (or 3 or 4 or 5), do he really need this? Or, I can barely make it out of my house as it is, do I really have the time and energy to coordinate a preschool? The answer to all of these questions is YES, YES, and YES!

After teaching for 8 years, I transitioned to being a stay at home mommy. I was incredibly thankful to be home with my little ones - a newborn and almost 2 - but I was completely overwhelmed. To be honest, I just survived for about a year. While I loved being home to pour into these little lives, I was exhausted. I knew something needed to change. I knew I wanted to start incorporating some "instruction" into our day, especially for my then almost 3 year old. I knew we needed more structure. And I definitely knew we all needed to get out and connect with other families more regularly. How that was going to happen, I didn't know, but I started to ask.

The more moms I talked to, the more I found that so many moms were in the same boat. Being a stay at home mommy is HARD. Even when you have a wonderfully supportive hubby (like I have been blessed with), I truly believe it is one of the hardest but most important jobs in the world! So, we started talking...and meeting....and meeting at parks to talk some more. Slowly but surely our preschool co-op was born, and I could not be more thankful for this amazing opportunity.

Now, 3 years later, we are a part of two preschool co-ops, one for each of my boys, and the friendships that have grown out of these weekly meetings are some of our most treasured - for the kiddos and myself. They have both learned so much - not only academically, but socially, spiritually, and yes even physically. They've learned about listening to authorities (other than mom and dad). They've learned about conflict resolution - when that one special toys just seems to bring out the worst in them. We have all learned so much! 

It has truly been a blessing for our family, and I would love to pass it on to you! So, for the next six weeks, I am going to walk you through the steps we went through to get it all up and running. Don't worry, we will only take it one step at a time, so you have plenty of time to process and prepare. And hopefully, by the time fall hits, you will be ready to kick off your own preschool year! I am so excited for you to start this journey! Don't hesitate to ask questions- I am more than happy to help!

Ready to get started? Then, head to Lesson 1:Find Your Tribe HERE

Leave a comment below to ask your burning questions about starting your own preschool co-op. I'd love to answer them and would be thrilled to tailor this series specifically for you if you tell me what you really want to know.

Looking forward to seeing you next week!