Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Expected of My Family as Part of SPARK?
As SPARK is a co-op, we rely on all families to share in the efforts to create an enriching and engaging learning environment for our children. You can find the specifics of expectations here Membership Info
2. What is The Role of Parents Within SPARK?
The role of co-op parents at SPARK is to help children find resources, provide appropriate materials, share knowledge we have acquired over the years, propose and help lead Offerings and activities, ask questions, inspire the kids and then get out of the way!
3. Can I Drop Off and Pick Up My Kids?
As SPARK is a co-op, we do not have paid staff to take responsibility for any family’s children. Each child in attendance must have an adult there taking responsibility for their safety and behavior. However, individual families have made arrangements between themselves to take responsibility for each others kids on certain days to provide some flexibility and free-time for parents. This is accepted as long as each family continues to contribute fairly to the co-op and meets their Member Expectations.
4. What Ages Does SPARK Allow?
We offer programming for children ages 3-18. Younger siblings are always welcome to come and play. We have found the mixing of ages often enhances the learning process for all.
5. Can I Bring My Younger Children With Me?
Many of our families have children of all ages from newborns up to high school age and beyond. We certainly accommodate and welcome children younger than 3 to come and join in on the play, but we do not have Offerings geared towards children under 3. Parents bringing younger children are still responsible to contribute fairly to the co-op and meet Member Expectations.
6. What Days and Hours is the Co-op Available?
Our current hours and schedule is available on our Calendar.
7. What Does a Typical Day at SPARK Look Like?
The best part of SPARK is the variety, the constant change and evolution of our days, weeks and months. New families come, older children grow up and move on, interests change, passions emerge…all of these lead to a beautifully fulfilling experience at SPARK. However, as an example, your day would probably begin with a morning circle where greetings are shared, activities are introduced, maybe a yoga pose or story shared. Then we move into our scheduled offerings and activities for that day (maybe Weaving or Silly Science or even Outdoor Games or Coding) and then a nice break for lunch and free play. Then another scheduled offering or two (like Nature Crafts, Boardgames, or Sewing). Sometimes we have a paid Mentor come lead an art or music class or workshop. Some children choose free play all day and often we notice new interests this way. As the day winds down, we all work together in the afternoon to do our clean up tasks before leaving.
8. What Classes or Curriculum Does SPARK Offer?
Families who attend SPARK craft their own learning experiences via a relaxed and self-directed approach; they exercise their rights and responsibilities as members of an active cooperative. SPARK respects all people equally and values freedom and choice as important aspects in the learning process. We believe children (and all people) learn best through play and engaging in topics that are meaningful to them. We meet this philosophy through our group learning experiences called “offerings”.
We offer a democratic process of determining what scheduled Offerings are provided. Learn more about our Offerings here.
9. What if My Kids Don’t Want to Participate in Scheduled Experiences?
All of our scheduled Offerings and offered daily activities are non-compulsory and child participation is never required. SPARK understands that learning happens in everything we do and all learning styles are different. We encourage our children and parents to collaborate together to find the right mix of participation and individually focused activities or play for each unique child.
10. What Does Being Secular Mean?
SPARK is a secular group meaning that we are open and welcoming to members of any belief system. We pride ourselves on being a secular, diverse, and collaborative co-op that provides a non-judgmental space for learning experiences and social interactions. We do not advocate or promote any particular belief systems as this is an area each family can focus on outside of the SPARK environment.
11. Are You a School? / Are You a Playgroup?
We are neither a school nor a playgroup. We do borrow concepts from each of these types of organizations in creating a learning environment where children (along with their parents) have the freedom to set their direction while having the opportunity to participate in experiences and collaborate with other students. Learn more about our Mission and Approach.
12. Can I Visit SPARK?
Yes! We encourage visitors and if you are interested in visiting, please Contact Us and a member of our Outreach Team will contact you to answer any questions and coordinate a visit to get a tour and see SPARK in action.
13. How Much Does SPARK Cost?
SPARK is a co-op model supported by the efforts of our member families. Each family pays a membership fee per year to join our co-op which covers operational costs and then we have a modest tuition to cover costs of leasing space, resources, and supplies. To learn more, view our Tuition Information.
14. What if I We Decide SPARK is Not Right For Our Family Any Longer?
Unfortunately, our membership fee and tuition fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. We plan our offerings and budget based on who is enrolled and have found we cannot afford to do refunds, but we are always open to feedback and offer lots of flexibility for different families to create the learning experiences they want.
15. Why Does SPARK Cost So Much Less Than Other Schools/Groups?
As we are a cooperative, we have no paid staff to oversee the administration of the program or full-time teachers. Our daily activities are coordinated by our parents. This model requires more effort and participation of our members which delivers a more connected and cohesive community as well as lower tuition costs.