Great Oak Common House Children Supervision Policy

Common House 2009-03-16


Great Oak Common House Children Supervision Policy


Great Oak is a diverse community of 37 households. Represented in this mix are singles,families with small kids, teenagers, empty nesters and families without kids. We have a wide range of parenting styles and opinions about safety and respect. This diversity in styles has been both wonderful and challenging. Wonderful, because some of us are learning new ways to parent or delighting in seeing other people's children grow and thrive. Challenging, because we don't always agree with other peoples' expectations for our children, or we are worried about other children's behavior and safety.

When the Common House was built, we frequently talked about it as an extension of our own houses. We wanted it to be a place where everyone in the community, old and young alike, could come and play, relax, socialize, eat and feel safe and respected. For various reasons, we kept the policies to a minimum, and completely avoided setting any type of child supervision policy.

After 5 years of living together, it seems that the lack of policy is also problematic. The CH is truly an extension of everyone's house - it is a shared space. Each person has their own opinion about how old a child should be before being unsupervised. When adults come across an unsupervised child in the CH, the adult feels responsible for the child's safety and this can create tension, resentment and confusion. Children are also confused by the responses they get from different adults. Having a clear policy can help with this.

Two more important issues are safety and following of rules (including cleaning up). It seems unfair to everyone to expect a young child who has not yet developed impulse control to be able to follow the rules in the common house and be able to handle problems with other kids, or emergencies without help.

Therefore, we are establishing this policy to:

1. Increase the safety of the children at Great Oak.

2. Increase the care and cleanliness of our shared space - the CH

3. To have clarity among all of the adults, parents and non-parents, about children in the CH.

4. To decrease the tensions caused by different parenting styles in the shared space.

5. Begin to teach all of us that the CH is a privilege, and with that comes some responsibilities.

Process Comments:

Consensed on by the common house committee, presented at a community meeting on 3/16/2009.