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Preschool option is run by the parents

Busy schedules may limit ability to participate

THIS morning when I visited Facebook I saw a post from a parent praising her children's parent participation preschool.

I was thrilled. Not only was I about to write a column about preschools, I wanted to focus on the parent participation preschool movement. I am a huge fan. My children attended, and I know your children would love these schools.

There are 34 preschools that are members of the parent participation preschool teachers' association in the province, so you will be able to find one near you.

When choosing a preschool you want to consider location, cost and a good fit for your child. Talk to your friends and neighbours who have children in preschool. What is their recommendation?

When they describe the school think about your child. Does the description sound like a good fit?

There are many choices of preschools and many offer a great experience for preschoolers. I'm a great supporter of parent participation preschools because they're good for both preschoolers and their parents.

With our busy schedules, finding other parents to talk to about our kids can be a challenge.

When your child is in a parent participation preschool, making friends who share your parenting philosophy is easy. And being connected with other parents doesn't end when your children start elementary school.

I can remember the days when my friends and I talked about our young children, sharing stories about toilet training, first days of school and birthday parties. That was more than 30 years ago.

Now we talk about weddings, grandchildren and our children's careers; different stories, but the same friends. I met many of my current friends while my children were in preschool, a parent participation preschool to be exact. Busy parents often find the concept of participating in their child's preschool to be overwhelming and don't even consider the option. Let me talk to you about the benefits.

Parent participation preschools are run by the parents. The 34 schools are mainly located in the Lower Mainland. The association has been in existence since 1946.

In these schools parents are involved in the administration of the school; they are with their child at preschool for a half-day once or twice a month, and also attend monthly meetings with other parents.

In my experience parents who start participating with their children at the preschool or daycare level continue to do so throughout elementary and high school. Research shows that parent involvement is a major factor in child success. The children really do benefit.

The preschoolers are engaged in a quality program with a qualified teacher.

Teachers who choose to teach in a parent participation school bring an appreciation for the role of parents into the school situation.

They are not only committed to quality early childhood education, they are committed to partnering with parents to make the experience for all parties the best it can be.

Your involvement in the school will take into account your schedule and abilities. You'll meet other parents who share many of your values about the importance of quality parenting, learn more about child-raising, and work with like-minded and usually nice people toward joint goals. And, you will make friends for life.

The advantages are:

- You have direct input into the operation and philosophy of the preschool.

- You can watch your child with others of the same age and see how he or she fits with his or her age group.

- It's less expensive. - You'll meet other parents, which reduces the isolation and loneliness often experienced by parents of preschoolers.

- You'll work with parents who share your basic philosophy of involvement with your child.

- You'll make lifetime friendships.

- Some parents arrange car pools to get the kids to and from preschool.

- You'll participate in free monthly parenting education experiences.

- The teacher is readily available for advice and information about your child.

For more information and to find a school near you, call the Council of Parent Participation Preschools in

Burnaby at 604-435-4430, or visit www.cpppreschools.

Kathy Lynn is a professional speaker and author of Who's

In Charge Anyway? and But Nobody Told Me I'd Ever Have to Leave Home. If you want to read more, sign up for her informational newsletter at