Co-op "Lite"

Hello Tin Can Kids Families,

A new season is upon us and I wanted to reach out and touch base. As you know the marvelous Emily has taken a step away from Tin Can Kids in order to focus on her museum consultations. I am thrilled for her and am excited to see all that comes from her collaborations. Communities are bound to benefit from her gifts as we have.

My family of first graders here in North Carolina have signed up for remote learning this year and my wheels are already spinning, reimagining community for us. Horror, sorrow, and joy are just a few emotions that I have gone through. I have watched families “podding” up to embrace this new challenge and to be able to straddle all of their responsibilities. I have mourned the loss of being able to gather.

My personal process of approaching problems is to attack it with a positive solution, and so Tin Can Kids continues! I imagine Tin Can Kids as an extension of our community, an intentional model that although we are separate can keep us together. A place where we can stoke real life relationships with real life follow-up. A place that houses all of our resources and expertise so that we aren’t all recreating the wheel, an umbrella for all the pods. Tin Can Kids exist, as it always has, to instigate curiosity, stoke collaboration, excite minds, foster community, and celebrate and support each other. We wish to prepare an environment and space that encourages problem solvers, critical thinking, innovation, and communication. We celebrate differences, protect each other's ideas, lift each other up, and take responsibility for our learning.

This is not school, this is exposure to the broader range of relationships and experiences that our kiddos would be having in a non COVID world. This hopes to fill a gap that exists within remote learning and those that remain safe at home.

I want this to be a place for families to come for support, encouragement, humor, and ideas. I am currently reading Brave Learner by Julie Bogart and realizing how much this pandemic is reshaping my ideas about education and life in general. I want to help stoke the flames of my own curiosity on how to instill magic in everyday discovery.

I want Tin Can Kids to be a visual interpretation of this journey. Learning from experts, learning from each other, sharing our struggles, sharing our successes, supporting local organizations, and giving our kids a sense of belonging. Fostering community within COVID.

Imagine Tin Can Kids as a “lite” homeschool virtual co-op, a place to support kids and their families. This is a community supported model and a model where I want your participation and feedback. This is not an exclusive community but an inclusive one. What will this look like? This will not be daily virtual field trips as it was once before, but will transform into a variety of experiences. It may be a call to action to cover Fred Fletcher Park in homemade natural fairy houses on a certain day, it could be a trail someone loved and we all go out on separate occasions and leave rock cairns to know we have all walked the same path, it could be a deep dive into an artist profile with our artist sketchbooks, or an exciting SPARK project with Kid Lab, a yoga for mom or kids, a virtual field trip with a beekeeper. We have a lot up our sleeve this year.

If you are interested, please sign up for access to the forum and our free membership here. In the top right hand corner you can sign in. Here we will have a private place to share our ideas and responses to our call to actions.

Hope all is well with you and yours and looking forward to connecting.

Jean Gray

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