Sitting on the back deck, summer evening, listening to the birds in the swale, kids in the pool, sunlight fading…
It seems to me that living in cohousing is pretty much kid paradise.
“Our” kids at Nevada City Cohousing, like most American kids, go off to a variety of schools (local public, charter, home school), but when they are home in cohousing, they enjoy a level of freedom and safety few Americans do today. We have about 35 kids, ranging in age from one-year-old’s to the occasional returning college student. The “kid culture” is one of acceptance and inclusion of all ages. That didn’t “just happen;” that happened because we have a lot of very pro-active parents who helped establish a healthy kid culture from the beginning.
When “our kids” get home, all they have to do to find entertainment is walk around the community. Who’s out? Any kids playing on the central walkway? Anyone in the common house? No kids, but neighbor Joannie asks me to help her set the tables for the community meal. She generally has good cookies at her house; good to keep her happy. Then back to the central walkway where now a kickball game is starting…
My fondest memories of childhood often started as one of those really booorrrriinnng days when a couple of us hung out under the willow trees and made mud huts in the swale bottom, staying cool on a hot summer day. I suspect our cohousing kids will be some of the few modern American kids that will have memories like that too.
Growing up in cohousing offers so many great opportunities for kids, just to name a few…
- Other kids of all different ages around…like the big old fashion family.
- Other trusted adults with different interest easily accessible…for example, George is glad to show interested kids how to use tools in the workshop to build something, and Julie can help with Spanish homework.
- No need for pre-arranged “play dates” requiring driving to get to them.
- Growing up in a culture that emphasizes inclusion and treating people with respect.
- Feeling “safe” because you are surrounded by people that know and care about you.
- Greater freedom because we live in a “safe place,” so even small kids can roam the community safely and teenagers aren’t totally isolated when they’re home alone.
Who wouldn’t want to have this kind of environment for their kids? I’m grateful I did!