Shorenorth Cooperative Preschool Carnival expresses Caring Community Spirit

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Lorraine Harpole mans the popular Date with a Book

Text and Photos by Luanne Brown

If you were lucky enough to have attended the Shorenorth Cooperative Preschool Carnival on Saturday, April 28, the first thing you would have noticed was the caring spirit and sense of fun that floated through the crowd.

Familes check out everything


From banners to balloons, Shoreline Community Colleges Pagoda Union Building was festooned for the occasion. Children played age-appropriate games, with fun prizes they could trade up for toys, while parents strolled up and down rows of tables laden with silent auction items. There was something for everyone, no matter what their age.

The event is planned several months in advance. “Every family has a job,” said Andi Tosch, fundraising coordinator.

“It’s a labor of love and everyone works so hard. Our financial goal is less important to us than working as a community. That is the real reward,” teacher Susie LaClergue said, “The incredible energy and various talents of all our members really shine through.”

“And it’s our chance to celebrate our school while reaching out to the community,” Tosch added.


Aleena Doane, 6, goes fishing with help
from Shorecrest volunteer Sylvia Salazar


Many former students and their families return every year to either attend the fundraiser or volunteer to help. There were also students from Shorecrest and Shorewood high schools who were recruited to help with the many games for children such as Outer Space Bean Bag Toss, Deep Sea Fishing, and Lasso the Unicorn that helped to create the carnival atmosphere.

“I like to see all my friends from when I was younger, and I like to volunteer to help with the games. It’s also fun just to watch everything happen,” said Lili MacBriar-Hernandez who attended Shorenorth before entering Cascade K-8 Community School.

The Silent Auction had 300 items


The Silent Auction had over three hundred items available for silent bids. Auction items included tickets for family-oriented activities such as movie and live-theater performances, sports events such as tickets to Seattle Storm home games. Also on offer were beautiful handmade items such as a crocheted baby blanket and a Chillax Box based on Shorenorth's own 'Calm Down Box,' which features items that help kids regroup, calm down and focus.

Devi Elliott coordinated the bake sale
Here, Erin Middleton replenishes home-baked goods

The bake sale was coordinated by Devi Elliott who explained that every family contributes homemade baked goods, including some with gluten-, dairy-, and nut-free options. There were also prepared snacks — all sold for reasonable price and a good cause.

According to Jen Belcourt, volunteer marketing coordinator, funds raised through the carnival will be used to help keep tuition affordable, provide fieldtrips for students, subsidize tuition for families in need of financial help, and to purchase new toys and supplies. 

Toni Noll and son Mace (Shorenorth Explorer student) trade up game tokens for toys


The motto of Shorenorth Preschool, which was found in 1972, is “Where learning and play go hand in hand”. Faculty consists of Director Jan Burnham, who has been with the school for 14 years. Her loving, generous, and inclusive spirit sets the tone for the school and attracts both parents and kids to her side whenever she’s in the classroom or the community-at-large.

Teacher Susie LaClergue started out at the school as parent-teacher and transitioned to staff four years ago. “Our program is not just about the child who goes to the school. It’s also about their parents,” she said. The school practices child-led learning, which empowers children to pursue activities and experiences which are interesting to them. Because the school is a cooperative, parents from each family are required to participate in classroom or other activities on a regular basis. 

Lili MacBriar-Hernandez, right, age 11 and Kaia Noll, age 6
with Hopelink Food Drive


Parents are enrolled in Shoreline Community College parenting classes and receive community college credits for weekly in-class parent-learning opportunities and a monthly lecture. “It’s a great place for parents to grow into their parenting roles in a fun, safe community,” said LaClergue

For over 75 years Washington state has supported co-op preschools. “We’re proud to say that for 45 years Shorenorth has been a part of that important, family-focused history,” LaClergue said.



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