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Jan’s Corner

January 2, 2020
Dear Families of Shorenorth Cooperative Preschool, Happy 2020!
I hope all of you made it through the season of whatever you may have celebrated with flying colors and the will to do it again next year perhaps with a few changes. When I was a young mother, I wanted my young family to “do it all!” and not miss out on any fun tradition, outing or event this time of year. Yet each year, we’d drop certain activities due to their lack of …substance. If you did too much or not enough, believe that you’ll be able to have a “do over” if you’d like. Children also have a way of casting their votes when it comes to extra special
celebrations. In hindsight which is always 2020, I knew that if my children were naturally having a good time and my husband and I were simultaneously, then that activity was most likely a “keeper.”

Speaking of “2020,” it is a time as the song Auld Lang Syne says to look back and be happy for the year that has passed. I really love to see photos of children that have been taken in 1 years’ time. Their growth in many ways is miraculous. They are time keepers and give us something to continually to realize how quickly a year can go. Parenting is one of the best, hardest jobs we’ll ever do, and I commend you for your daily work. It’s a job we may come into with little training but as we participate in the on the job training, we grow too as people and that is what I miss most about not teaching anymore. The privilege to work with and be around parents and children was indeed always an honor.

At school, many exciting, fun things await us in the new year. We’ll get together for more parent ed, celebrate Grandparents, boogie in our PJs at our Pajama Jam and work hard but have such fun at our Carnival. If you haven’t heard it already, we have a saying that what we put into Co-op we get out of it and that’s very true. Beginning in this new year, I hope you all turn to another hard-working parent, be your teacher’s partner for your child and connect with all the precious children in your class. When this happens in your class, your school, the co-op magic happens!

I wish the best health, happiness and friendship ever for you and your family. Thank you for being a part of your child’s first precious education as they learn and practice how to make friends, ask others for help and be kind to another. (This is otherwise known as DAP=Developmentally Appropriate Practice-the optimal framework for Early Education)

Jan Burnham
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.


Sept 2019

Dear Families of Shorenorth,
Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We are so glad you joined and know that we’ll have a great year with the children and with each other.

We have many new friends and returning friends this year so that will be fun to blend and grow together. Shorenorth has developed some rich traditions such as Fall Fest, Pajama Jam and Spring Fest. You’ll be hearing all about these at Orientation and throughout the year but it’s exciting to me to think that this will be a first for some and for others, it may be their 9th ! We agree that it takes a village to raise a child, welcome to your new village.

Our non profit board, made up of parent volunteers such as yourself has already been working hard to make the lift off for school happen. We spent a whole day at our annual Board Retreat, forming, storming and all of that good stuff. They are a wonderful, passionate about our school group and that’s so good for all of us.
I hope you had an enjoyable summer, we can’t wait to play and learn with you!

Yours Truly,
Jan Burnham


June 1, 2019

Dear 2018-2019 Families of Shorenorth,

We have made it to another end.  This is the end of our school year but the beginning of summer, playing in the park, lounging in jammies and hopefully more sun ahead.  Sometimes the end of things are challenging and we grieve about them, but when I personally start feeling like this (and I do) I remember my favorite Dr Seuss quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.” The memories I will always carry for this year will always be full of memories to smile about and I thank all of you for that.

Retiring from the teaching field is not like carrying out a cardboard box of items.  It’s more like a reflective time on thousands of memories and people that changed my life for the better.  Currently when I think back to our Spring Fest/Retirement party tears of joy keep leaking out. Thank you for your attendance on that special day, thank you Spring Fest committee (hard working members of the board) and all of you who donated to an amazing Greenwood Neighborhood gift basket!  My husband and Monte will begin enjoying that so much…after our youngest daughter’s wedding June 8th.

Last night we held our Out Going/Incoming Board Meeting Dinner and I was struck again by the dedication and positive professionalism of the people that run our school.  I’m excited to be the Director next year and work with our new board and would like to thank this year’s board for another job well done! One reason I’ve loved to come to work every day as a teacher is because of our special families where I feel like I really fit in and belong.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking of not having that community and pursuing other places in which to belong. I know I’ll be successful at that since it is part of my belief system but if you are graduating or moving on this year please strive to belong in your new community too. Belonging is one of the things that will carry us through life gracefully.  Belonging and the belief that change is the true North. If we keep our hearts open to change then when it comes, we’ll be able to say, “Oh, yes, change is a constant and I’m going to strive to embrace and accept it.”

One thing that startles me and my husband is the change we’ve experienced as parents in our children.  With our youngest getting married next Saturday it’s really hitting us how quickly the journey has been-and we have savored every step so far!  Since I don’t like to cry alone, can you please get a tissue and watch one of my favorite parenting songs by Darius Rucker(Hootie and the Blowfish😉 ) It’s my last Parent Ed moment for you all- about Developmental Stages and hanging on as a parent.


Thank you all for your hard work at our school this year, with each other and each other’s children and may your summer be filled with many sunny memories!  

With Gratitude and Love,

Jan Burnham   


February 10, 2019

Dear Families of Shorenorth,

Firstly, I just have to say, “Where do we live???” I’m personally enjoying the snow but think of all of you and hope you remember, this is not going to last and “they” are only little once!  😉 My wonderful neighbors just told me that there isn’t a dry boot, sock, mitten, or hat in the house and that brought back such good memories of when our two were little.  

This letter is actually of a serious nature to tell you that in May I will be turning in my teaching hat after 30 years!  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to survive the identity crisis, but because of my husband’s health prognosis with his heart and his desire to just “keep working” until I retire, I’m going to make that happen.  

I’ve heard of people leaving a career on a high note and I suppose that would now describe me.  I love every second of my job and realistically know that there will never be the “right” time to step down.  I have recommended to our current board to keep me on as the Director of Shorenorth for a year to help with the transition of my retirement.  One of my main objectives is to leave our school in a healthy, thriving state after 48 years. Since this decision has been made personally for me, I have been working very hard to make that happen.  

We have had the pleasure and extreme fortune to find two teachers last summer who are ready, willing and able to make this transition happen as seamlessly as possible.   They didn’t know when they were hired that I would be leaving the teaching field this year, but feel confident to step up. As of next Fall of 2019, Erin Middleton will be teaching the Baby N Me Class, Explorer’s Class and the Mover’s Class.  Melissa Cornwell will teach the Toddler’s Class and Groover’s Class. They both have so much passion for the Early Childhood profession and families in a Cooperative Preschool. Erin comes from teaching Outdoor Preschool for many years and being in her 4th year here at Shorenorth she is “one of us.”  Missy is a local gal who brings the kind passion when one makes a career transformation for the right reasons.  They are caring teachers, mothers and dedicated to Shorenorth.

That attitude is what makes an amazing cooperative preschool teacher=someone who loves children, AND their whole families, and knows that parenting should be done more in a village style, rather than alone.  When our school moved to our current site, I graciously learned again that co op preschool is not about a place or a class or a certain teacher/member, but it was about the support that all members give to each other in this journey called, “Parenting.”  I can feel that love, and I hope you do too. Along the way, you can make life long friends for yourselves and your children. I am counting on next year’s members to continue this legacy that has been called: Shorenorth Cooperative Preschool.

I look forward to having fun working, playing and learning with you all for the rest of the year!


Jan Burnham


Dear Families of Shorenorth,

Welcome to Winter Quarter.  As the days grow seconds longer, the end of Fall Quarter to me means we are 1/3 through our school year.  All classes seem to be going wonderfully strong and we are happy to see many connections with children, parents and the teachers.  Our Fall Fundraiser which supports many of our programs was tremendously successful because of all our work.

Some of you have many family members that live close by, but some have no family in town.  The amazing thing I have been privileged to observe and participate in is when members of a class pull together to form their own kind of family.  One of our mottos at Shorenorth has always been, “Family First.”  We did not invent this saying, but we work to live by it.  As I personally say goodbye to the year 2018, I realize it is always easier to tell others to put family first.  But this year I was forced to practice it too with the heart attack of my husband and the passing of my hero brother in law.  For me, work is a joyful, comfortable place where I can be myself, give love and receive it.  Let me tell you, I know how fortunate I am.  Our school allowed me to practice “Family First,” by supporting absences I have never needed to take before and the gift of hugs and kind words when I returned.  Thank you to all and I hope you’ll know that this motto you can take with you even when you leave Shorenorth and it will guide you in your future family life.

If family life guides us in our development, our time together at Shorenorth should be part of that.  According to a study by researchers DeFrain and Stinnett, there are 6 qualities which characterize strong families.  As I read the study, there seemed to be connections to the way we function at our school that I believe makes us feel we want to belong to this family we call Shorenorth.

  1. Appreciation and Affection:  We hear parents tell each other how much they appreciate each other and try hard to recognize those that go above and beyond their “co op job” for the greater good.  I witness and am part of a lot of affection between adults and children whether it’s a warm smile or a big hug.
  2. Commitment: As a co op member, when you sign your membership agreement, you commit to support your class and school and that’s no small thing.
  3. Positive Communication:  Greeting each other, learning and practicing ways to positively talk to children are one of many things I call “Co op magic.” You’re teaching your child to share and then everyone in your class is using common, respectful language such as, “If it’s in their hands, they’re still having a turn with it…” We all appreciate calm, clear and consistent messages.
  4. Enjoyable Time Together:  Have you ever had a tough morning and then come to school and feel yourself smiling or laughing at something a child says or does?  We come together to enjoy each other and feel the support given authentically by others.
  5. Spiritual Well Being:  For some families this may be a strong sense of religious beliefs that create the community that they belong to.  At Shorenorth it is our strong belief in the sacredness of childhood, family and parenting that promote sharing, love and compassion.  Some of you may have heard me say something like, “Parenting makes us into better people.”  We are models and are being observed by a new generation, so we want to be our best selves.
  6. Successful Management of Stress and Crisis:  No one is immune to stress or having crises but being part of a family or family first organization can teach you to be more resilient or provide help during a hard time so you are not alone.  So many times when people reach out for help at school amazing support follows.

Thank you for being a part of my family; I am proud to be part of yours,

Jan L Burnham



September 27th, 2018

Dear Families of Shorenorth,

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!  We are about to enter our first “whole” month and it promises to be a fun and full one for our classes, family get togethers (don’t miss the Fall Fest! 😉) and Parent Ed at the college.

Most of our school population(families) are returning and we hope to spread the feeling to all first-year members of belonging.  I’ve been ruminating on that topic and came up with a strange play on the word Belong.  I saw it as “long to Be.”  When we have a longing, it’s best to act on it.  I guess this adage goes along with one I hear that goes, “You get out of Co-op what you put into it.”  You sign up for class, come to class, chat with parents, work hard with the children, participate in discussion, perhaps participate in a luxurious “parents’ night out….” these are all part of belonging to our school.

How much do we want to enjoy our short time in this setting and with each other?

This tiny mushroom was found by my 27 yr old daughter and me.  It’s as big as my pinky finger-so fragile and delicate.  It’s fleeting time here reminded me of my precious time with my daughter and how fast that mushroomtime has gone; the overwhelming feeling of appreciating the moment that families and friends pull together in good times and in bad because they belong together and have the important things in common.  I feel like we carry this into Shorenorth and I am proud to call you family and be part of yours.

This year we welcome two new teachers:  Erin Middleton and Missy Cornwell.  They come to us with my motto of:  Family First.  They not only are special people, but amazing, hard working parents and I am excited to work with them this year.  Not only are they learning the classroom/school teachings, but I am doing my best to help them learn what it means to be faculty at Shoreline Community College.  #1 The faculty consists of all the co-op teacher/directors in our 7 sister co-ops.  #2: No, we don’t get paid to go to faculty mtgs/retreats…. 😉

Personally, I am finding relief at being back to school with all our families because my two top men heroes in my life could be better health wise.  My dearest, X Bering Sea Fisherman, top halibut highliner, brother in law of 36 yrs. is fighting Mesothelioma-and it’s not a battle he will win.  They live in Newport OR, so if you see me with bags under my eyes, it probably means I did a “turn and burn” of 5 hours (if you don’t stop and you go late at night!)#don’t do it! 😉 down to Newport and back.  Again, I am swamped with the amazing memories of all the times we had!

My husband who survived a major cardiac arrest last year and just recently(a week before school started)went through a 6 day emergency stay for a Pace/Defibrillator implant(I 😍Providence Hospital) is trying hard to learn a different way of life—slowing down/working less/taking meds, has never been a part of his vocabulary.  We’ve spent a full 32 years together so far and currently, we treasure every day/moment more than ever before.  Today is the day—one of my many mottos you may hear me say as I stay afloat.

Thank you for joining, thank you for staying and adding so much richness to our school.  If it takes a village to raise a child, welcome to yours that is called Shorenorth.

Yours Truly,

Jan Burnham