Doing Co-op With Younger Sibs
When I first visited RPCP, I knew it was the perfect preschool for my 3-year-old! The space, the teachers, and the chance for me to be involved -- everything felt so right! Just one problem: What was I going to do with his little sister on my work day?
I've talked to quite a few people who want to do co-op, but can't enroll because they don't have childcare for little sibs. The most common solution is to find someone else in the class with a sib who can take turns with to babysit on alternating work days. But what if you don't know anyone in the class?
Introducing the RPCP Need-Sib-Care Facebook group! This group is a self-service group that you can join if you are interested in meeting other families who are looking to join co-op and need sibling care. You can join the group, post to it at your discretion or send private messages to other members to meet people/find a good fit, then leave the group once you've found folks who can help.
If there are multiple families enrolled or interested in a class, parents can also set up their own group daycare. Although this unfortunately cannot be set up or run by the preschool, parents can share the cost of insurance/background checks and organize or rent their own space where little sibs can go during a work day and take turns babysitting each week.
If you are interested in using this group, search for “RPCP Need-Sib-Care” on Facebook and request to join.
Alternatively to finding other co-op families for daycare, a few other things families have done in the past include:
Having a spouse work from home or work in the classroom The dad of one of the families in our class last year had flexible work hours and took an extended lunch break on his work day to either work in the classroom or stay with the little sibs. Mom and Dad alternated in the classroom, so they both got to participate in the experience.
Finding a friend or neighbor who can watch the sib Oftentimes people are blessed with family who can watch the siblings, but if you don't have anyone, sometimes neighbors and friends are willing to help in exchange for favors and goodwill.
Finding a drop-in daycare or hiring a babysitter If you have the resources, you can potentially find a drop-in daycare or babysitter for a few hours with a reasonable rate. Here are a few places some co-op parents have looked into in the past for drop-in care (Note: This list is just a starting point for research. We don’t know what these places are like and aren’t recommending them specifically; please research yourself to see if any of them are right for you):
Pro Club Discovery Bay (members only)
La Petite Academy
Adventure Kids Playcare
St. Peter’s United Methodist Church
The Nest-Adventure Kids Playcare
For me, I was lucky that my friend in the program had a baby, and I was able to join halfway through the year. Sib sharing was a great experience! We got an extra play date after every class, I got to hear about what happened in class when I was not there, and our families became great friends! We were also able to overlap with nap time, which made it even easier. Sure it’s more work on a non-work day, but it can be very fulfilling too. So if you want to join co-op but are worried about what to do with little ones, don't let it stop you; the community can help!
We are always looking for feedback, so if you have any comments or questions about the Facebook group or other suggestions, please let us know by sending mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!