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Jan’s Corner

May 30, 2020

Dear Families of Shorenorth,

There are many things I’d like to address and cover in this End of the Year letter but I want to start with a “WAY TO GO WONDERFUL PARENTS AND ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR CHILDREN’S LIVES WHO ARE BRINGING UP A LOVING, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING!”  The work as a family you are doing right now as hard as it is, will make a difference in the next generation and the world needs more of the kind of children you are raising.  Thank you, l have always felt pride and honor to be surrounded by families such as yourselves.

No-one is alone if you feel cheated out of your last months of preschool, we’re all in this together and that’s an important thing to hold close.  Shorenorth has many wonderful traditions and rituals we do yearly because they work and feel good about the closure of each rich, memory filled year.  Yes, the memories are making history this year and we don’t get to practice the hugs and heartfelt emotions face to face.  We cannot let this year go though without mentioning some important Good byes(which Jan calls, “See you laters…”) and appreciations.

I’d like to start with all of you who carried out your Co op Job and knew you were a part of a whole.  Thank you if you got to do your cleaning for our school.  Lucky you if you signed up for March…. 😉 l know you would’ve done a great job.

Thank you to our wonderful teachers Missy Cornwell and Erin Middleton-Stumpf!  May this year go down in your teaching history and never repeat itself.  😉We are very thankful to have you and that you are returning next year.

Thank you to our Outgoing Board of Directors that met monthly face to face until we had to continue on Zoom Meetings.  Their dedication was unwavering when it came to making every situation positive and they did it with a “Yes we can!” attitude. Some Outgoing board members are graduating, some are exiting and some are going to be “Civilians” at our school next year.

I’d like to introduce our Incoming Board of Directors 2020-21. (Please look at the open positions!!! One of them would be perfect for you!) Friday night we had an In/Out Board Zoom Meeting and I am very excited to “see” the Incoming people that will work together next year on the board.

I’d like to thank and congratulate all of our members that celebrated their 5th year this Spring.  We honor them by adding their names to our Wall of Fame Plaque and cherish all the memories they’ve added.  These people are:  Emily Ward, Lisa Akerlund, Charity Johnson, Courtney Moscariello, Jaimee Sulzmann-Hromada, Erin Middleton-Stumpf, KaraAnne Grodin and Lorraine Harpole.  Thank you All!

Last but not least, we’d like to say thank you and good bye to members who are exiting our school next year.  We thank you for being a part of our school and you’ll always be a part of the Shorenorth Family:  Kim Bishop, Amanda Chigbro, Dianna Rist, Aaron Robinson, Naznin Uddin-Adler and Laura Harbert.  Best wishes and care to all of you.

Some graduating/exiting members that have served on Shorenorth’s board through the years and have helped make Shorenorth family strong for so long are:

Jena Boone and family always there and working hard for auctions with Stanley and her two sons=best huggers ever, being the Chair of the Board

Charissa Buxton serving on the board as Groover’s PC and on the Board Retreat committee

Carly Lee leading the way financially as our Treasurer and spreading love to all, using her truck and muscles to load up and clean all refuse and “extra” Yard Waste at our school

KaraAnne Grodin serving as Executive Secretary on the board, leading us in Brain Dance, masterfully leading the food for the Carnival

Emily Ward stepping up to Marketing this year and creating a new strategy last summer with the rest/nursing station at Celebrate Shoreline Days, recruiting an alumni this year to spruce up our gardens for Open House!(no, she wasn’t the Plant and Garden person)  

Sarah Schell and her husband Craig, serving on the board in Communications, making Pajama Jam the magical event it is by professionally DJing it with the best dance music! Offering solid, calm medical opinions of common childhood illnesses through the years that helped a lot.

Shama Moktan a wonderful job of being on the Board as Registrar, and attending all events with her whole family—we’ll all miss Mama Shama.

Monica Hunter Executive Secretary this year adding so much humor and health to meetings and her classes she’s been in through the years.  Bringing her sweet Mom Terry two years in a row to help with Fall Fest.

 Stina Miller graduating her 3rd child here at Shorenorth and fearlessly, cheerfully leading the way with Wreaths year after year!  Bringing in your whole family to school events and making us part of your family.  Privileged. 

There’s no way I could include ALL that these people have done-these are just highlights but once again, Thank you for being a part of the Shorenorth Family, you always will be and we know your next school will be blessed to have your family become a part of it too.

The very last thing I’d like to share is that next year 2020-2021 will be our last year in our current location.  Our lease is ending in the summer and we are moving forward to look for a new lease beginning the school year of 2021.  This makes me really hope that “school as we knew it” can happen as close as possible so that we can enjoy our especially beautiful Outdoor Playscape that I can just see children frolicking, running, sliding down and climbing on. The teachers and I await information from Shoreline Community College, specifically our Coordinator and our Division Dean who will lay out best  guidelines for our program that will shape our Fall.  It will be the best year we possibly can make it to be with your help and know that all will join in for the search for a new home for our school.  We have a full 15 months to work on this which is twice the amount of time as we were given our last move.  We are thankful to gain the information now.

My deepest gratitude and love goes out to all of you. Please continue to just do your best in these uncharted waters.  You’re not alone and whether you are moving on or staying with us next year, you’re a part of a large 48-year-old family called: Shorenorth Cooperative Preschool.  Don’t hesitate to reach out for any kind of help from your family members.  I can promise that Alums that stay connected also carry us in their hearts, daily interactions and future, as we do theirs.

Yours Truly,

Jan Burnham




May 11, 2020

Dear Spring Quarter Families of Shorenorth,

If you are reading this note, it means you stayed with your school until the end!!  This has been quite a finish line to get to and I hope you all sent some appreciations to our teachers that are still teaching with children and husbands “at home.”  (It’s never too late to send an appreciation.) 😉  Spring Quarter used to be so bittersweet to me as a teacher because everybody was like a big family, the children had grown and learned so much along with the parents and myself, and then it was time for goodbyes.  This spring quarter we had to cut the Spring Clean Up and we optimistically look so forward to the time next Fall (fingers crossed!!) where we sanitize/freshen up and set up our school.  We will be following the protocol not yet set by Shoreline Community College, and the teachers and I have gone to weekly Zoom Faculty meetings where that is a popular, prioritized topic.  All 7 Co-ops are comforted that we will not have to come up with our own plan but do what is best for all.

As I was having a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday, I was thinking about all the amazing Mothers (and their partners!!!) that we’ve had through the years.  I hope your day of “more togetherness” was enjoyable.  That is the best part of working for a Co-op:  the exceptional, cream of the crop families we are usually immersed in.  I have heard the teachers say they also miss you and all the children so much.  [Co-op Soapbox]:  Cooperative preschool begins the first formal educational experience.  Parents have been their children’s first teachers and that gives the children a giant leap in this world.  Having parents that devote themselves to their children, want them to learn developmentally and socialize in a safe cohesive place says so much about life priorities.  I’ve had the privilege of knowing hundreds of co-op families now and still hear about the wonderful things the “children” are involved in up through high school.  That’s because of you dear parents. We acknowledge and thank you for this selfless job. (I also believe we have two exceptional board members that were co-op kids!)

I know all of you are hard at work at shopping for, buying, putting it away, preparing it, serving it and then cleaning the dishes daily right now, so you may be a little “fooded” out.  But I really hope you pop into our last speaker of the year, Cynthia Lair on Wednesday. She is a wonderful, inspirational teacher when it comes to feeding the whole family.  We have her cookbooks at school and personally I’ve borrowed them a few times for the healthy, WHOLEsome, recipes.  I hope to see you Zooming in that night with your partner or watching the recorded version afterwards.  (It is fun to “see” all who come and you can personally Chat with friends if you see them.  If you don’t see a class member, please text them and invite them too.)

Once again, I thank you for your dedication of supporting your child and our school during this time.  Let’s hang on tightly, stay healthy and know we’re all in this together.

Love and Hugs,

Jan L Burnham



March 8, 2020

Dear Families of Shorenorth, 

I know these are stressful times due to our own Emerald Green city being the leader in the news with COVID-19.  We’ve all been glued to school, city, state and worldwide news and it can be exhausting.  Remember to exhale, get outside and take a break every once in a while from the “screen.”   

At a Faculty Mtg where I represented our school on Friday, all our sister co-ops were there, and we had a very positive planning meeting.  Some of them must close due to the school district that they are in but as I write this letter, Shoreline School District is still hanging in there and so we have the luxury of doing the same.  Classes will continue as long as we have enough parents in the multi day classes to run them.  The exciting thing that will arise from this situation if need be, will be the teachers working towards delivering class remotely!  Our college is going remote at the latest on Tuesday morning and I know you’ve probably heard UW has gone remote and I imagine any will follow if need be.  The tool we get to use is Zoom and you’ll receive an invitation from your instructor to join in and within it you’ll be able to chat with classmates, the teacher, if you are staying home, you’ll receive fun homework(find something that starts with the letter B…something yellow…take a photo and share), get the planned art/craft idea, receive songs and books that have been planned for class already.  It also might look like a hybrid class where those that can come to class will come but also video Circle Time, Parent Ed… The time frame would be in your regular class time(s).  It already sounds like our Toddler class will be beginning this on Tuesday.  It does take preparation and extra work on the Teacher’s parts, but they are excited to continue delivering school in any way they can.  They may need help videotaping things in class too.   

As we prepare to go remote if need arises, please keep coming to class as we continue to take all necessary precautions to keep you, our teachers and children safe.  Because the Executive Board made some major decisions regarding our Open House this last Saturday continuing in some way, Courtney, our Registrar, Teacher Missy and I were there for an outdoor only tour(they peeked in the windows). The cleanliness of our school and safety to all members was the driver behind that decision and the time was well spent.  8 new families joined, one an Explorer that’s starting this week!  

The other positive news I gained from the faculty meeting was that as a program at Shoreline Community College we are out of danger.  There will be program and faculty cuts, but it won’t be us and next year we will be starting new strategies to up our enrollment without changing class size.  This is a huge relief for us!   

So, dear families, I know you are dealing with so much now, but please find small ways to take care of yourselves, the most hardworking caretakers of all, so you can enjoy and continue your most important job of all:  Parenting.   

If you have any questions, concerns or comments or not able to come to class, please share these with your Parent Coordinator so that we may help you the best we can. 


Jan Burnham 



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