Parent Responsibilities

NLA is a Parent participant program. Our Mixed-age programs often require a parent to stay and engage in the environment facilitating activities and problem solving. Our Parent Participant cooperative model is only successful with parent interaction and participation! It is expected that you will be present and engaged and take part in the clean-up rotation.

Remember we are here for the children. NLA is a place for us to support one another in the development of our kids. We should keep grown up socialization to a minimum and stay focused on providing a safe and nurturing space for the children. Please refrain from conversations that are not child centered. The world is full of topics that can be overwhelming to children. Let's keep NLA about play, art, nature, and self-exploration.


Our Parent Participant cooperative model is only successful with parent interaction! Come ready to “plug in” to and for the children without computers/cell phones. If you have an important phone call to make (it happens to us all) please pull another parent “in” and step “out” to the far backyard or front yard, so as not to disturb the children’s environment. No cellular or game devices for the children while at NLA please.

You know your child better than anyone and you can help us as teachers and parent helpers to know and understand your child’s unique needs. We are all unique and we have different ways of dealing with stress and conflict.

Approach each situation objectively.

See each and every child in the “highest light.” We are all learning and growing and we look at any conflict at NLA as a “learning opportunity” for us all. Model calm and respect for everyone while at NLA. We all have things going on in our lives and if you need extra help or if you or your child are “processing” something or are just not feeling 100% let us know :). We are all human ;).

Observe and Listen

We can learn so much about and from children by just “observing.” This doesn’t mean “hover” or “interrupt” their play, but staying around just in case you are needed. Yes, you can play too :). Get involved as long as it doesn’t change the child’s play or ideas.

Observe, listen and help guide when needed. This doesn’t mean solve their conflicts, this means guide when a child needs help (with the words, with not “hurting” someone, with helping someone they have hurt). Every situation and every child is different, so there is no “one-size fits all” here and no “magic wand” to solve each situation that may arise. Remember model “respect” for all children and adults and to “lead with your heart.” When you “need a little help from a friend” please ask.

Attending our Parent Toolbox sessions can shed some light on how to help guide conflict/ resolution during our time together as well as explain why we do what we do.

An example: We don’t force apologies at NLA, but yet try to help find a way to recognize a “hurt” that the child can understand (a wet paper towel, an ice pack, the NLA peace bird, a picture or a hug).

Other resources to check out: Janet Lansbury books, blog, soundcloud audio and articles, Teacher Tom blogs, Bev Bos (books, articles and youtube videos, Nancy Rosenow, Vivian Paley, Rae Pica.


Help facilitate activities without modeling. All of our activities are “open ended” and most are more about the “process” than the “product.” It is amazing how creative the children are and how they approach each activity differently. Be as excited and full of wonder as the children are and ask questions! If a child is engaged in an activity leave them be. No need to force story/song time. They are listening and will join us when they are ready.

Clean Up

During the day tidy up areas that the children have moved on from to make it more inviting for the next group of children. Please ask the Playworker facilitating the day if an area/station/activity can be cleaned up. At the end of the day everyone pitches in and helps clean-up and put away items. If you aren’t sure where something goes just ask. There are lists of cleaning duties posted in each area.

At least one parent-helper will need to assist in watching the children while the others are focusing on cleaning.


Let us know in advance and we will celebrate your child’s birthday with a beautiful candle and song. Treats on the healthier side are welcome (doesn’t have to be homemade) nor completely sugar-free ;). We do have some children with allergies, so let the group know what you are bringing so they can plan for their own child.