The first cohousing community was started in Denmark in the 1960s in part from the belief that “it takes a village to raise a child”. When Bodil Graae, Danish author and journalist, published an article in 1967 called “Children Should Have One Hundred Parents”, the benefit of cohousing became clear. Those benefits are all the more poignant today.
Many children today grow up in large cities far away from their extended family. Families are also generally smaller today than they used to be. Individuals and families benefit from the help, support and the feeling of “belonging” that a nearby extended family may give. Cohousing communities can act as that oft missing extended family in our increasingly isolated daily lives.
Children in a cohousing community grow up with many people of different ages and cultures around them. This is a unique advantage because these children will grow up to be open minded and social, and with an interest in and respect for people of all ages and cultures. These children will also have many role models who may teach, mentor and inspire them throughout their childhood and beyond.
A cohousing community also provides safe areas such as play rooms, craft rooms, gardens and outdoor play areas where children can interact with each other and learn at the same time. These facilities generally reduce the need for families to enrol in extra activities outside of the community during the week, which then allows more time for families to be together. When activities such as swimming classes and soccer practice do take the children outside the home, families can take turns transporting children.
As a parent, I’m really excited about the opportunities that cohousing and Prairie Spruce Commons will provide. For my little one: access to awesome shared spaces, in-community friends to play with and additional non-parent mentors. For myself, the shared parenting resources, babysitting and the additional quality time for myself and my family means less stress and a happier lifestyle. Win-win!