Our parents are responsible for running the Learning Co-operative. They play an integral role as co-educators and meet regularly to discuss and agree on all aspects of running the school. These decisions are made by consensus and everyone's voice is valued.
The role of parents includes attending fortnightly meetings on a Monday, coming in to help run activities with children once a week ('time-on'), helping with an area of running the school ('area to love') for example, gardening maintenance, art supplies, costume room, groceries. Parents also help with cleaning one weekend per term and attend working bees at the start of each term. All parents need to have a Working With Children Check.
As a parent, you get a unique opportunity to play a key role in your child's education. It is a significant commitment and one that can be difficult to juggle with other demands, however, it is incredibly rewarding and the support you get as part of a close knit, caring community is invaluable.
Parents often meet up socially. There are frequently pizza nights, holiday catch ups and bush walks that are attended by current and past Co-op parents. Once a year we have our annual family camp at Cape Patterson, which again is attended by past and present parents, and it is an important tradition that helps to keep our community strong.
"We wanted to come to Co-op because we'd heard it was small and the curriculum was organised around the children's interests. What stood out for me when I first visited, though, was seeing all the kids, aged from Prep to Grade 6, playing instruments together next to the magical library and reading tree. What I value most is the resilience of this community of parents and educators who have kept a vision of alternative schooling alive for nearly 50 years. We're so lucky that Co-op exists." -Fleur
"When we first to the Co-op in the late 1990s, we didn’t have family or friends in Melbourne and were new to the area. Co-op offered us a supportive community, which over time became like a second family. Fun family camps by the beach, sleep-overs, community celebrations, outdoor Shakespeare productions, permaculture blitz and bon-fires are some of the highlights of our time at the Co-op, not to mention enduring friendships with families and their children.
Co-op offered us the unique opportunity to take charge of our children’s education, by being fully involved in making decisions which impacted their learning, and participation in the day-to-day teaching and running of the school.
Looking back I can see that Co-op offers more than education in the narrow sense of the word. The democratic and child-centered philosophy of the Co-op, and its play-based and child-led approach to learning instilled a deep sense of curiosity and confidence in our children. Growing up in Co-op’s diverse community and rich environment created a deep sense of belonging and an attitude of tolerance and acceptance of difference." -Shiva
"Amazing place for children to learn and grow in a way that allows them to find their strengths, cultivate their own independence and sense of self, all whilst allowing parents to be a part of their learning environment. Joining the Co-op with our two children was a leap of faith that I am grateful we took.' -Myra
"We were at co-op for 9 years, and both our girls went there. I loved the ability to really engage in activities with the kids that I was passionate about and see them exploring new ideas with complete freedom. We went on an ethical shopping tour to our local supermarket, bought seconds fruits and preserved them, toured the local apple orchards and learned how to dry apples, created shadow puppet plays and had a whole school 'ginger-bread house construction day' every year - there were so
many more activities we did and it was such fun! Just hanging out with all the different ages of kids and seeing their creativity and delight in being there was always such a thrill. Being a part of the parent group who are responsible for making all those decisions about how co-op was run on a day to day basis was challenging but ultimately a huge period of growth for me.
Our kids have benefited hugely from the intense social interactions that happen at co-op. Both are really good at connecting with all walks and ages of people, and have had no trouble moving on to a large state high school." -Lucinda
"We were at Co-op for nearly 10 years, the best part for me was that the kids got to have a childhood that was blessed with freedom of expression in which they were allowed to develop at their own pace. As a family, we made some very good friends who we are still close to now and had some great social experiences, especially during concert term and working bees. We felt we connected with so many of the kids and made a difference in their lives with education and inspiration." -Sean