Last newsletter we talked a bit about the importance of non-parental adults in kids’ lives. But equally important in Cohousing is the mixed-age pack of kids that children will have to run around with, and last month the parents and kids of Cohousing ABQ got a sweet little taste of what this is like during our three day winter retreat in Colorado.
Ariel, who just turned three, and Oona (5), played in these little red baskets for hours, rolling up and down, cracking each other up. And then, inside the baskets, Oona play-read Ariel books surrounded by an elaborate set up with giant candle holders and other props, the meaning of which only the two of them knew. The older kids took special care of the toddling one year-olds, sitting at their level to talk to them in baby-talk, and gently guiding them into gamee pack of kids ranging in age from 1 to 10, discovered every nook and cranny of the large house we rented, inventing games and playing make-believe. And they'd go out to the snow to explore icy rivers, and frozen lakes. The younger kids were stretched to play more complexly and flourished under the attention and care of the older ones. And the older ones got to develop leadership skills and practice empathy.
And they did all this while having the time of their lives. The second they woke up in the morning, the kids ran off to play. They checked in with adults from time to time when they got hungry and then right back to it - until it was way past their bedtimes.
And the parents and grandparents at the retreat? We had a truly amazing time. We got to talk, read, knit, play dominoes and cards, go snowshoeing and skiing, sit in the hot tub, and…relax. And it’s a rare kind of feeling, really relaxing without any guilt or worry, knowing your kids are happy as can be, doing exactly what kids are meant to do, building relationships, growing and learning through play. But in Cohousing, it won’t be rare at all. The kids will play like this every day, and that will make for very happy parents.