When I signed on to help set up my town’s first cooperative preschool, I knew that it was a huge undertaking. Gargantuan.

I knew that would be lots of stress, sweat, sleepless nights and maybe even tears involved. After all, what did I know about building a school, much less an American school? All I’d wanted was to help, do my part as a member of our small community, and mainly to recreate the positive environment where my older child and I had spent our first 1.5 years in the US, so that my younger child, and those of other parents today and in the future, could reap the same rewards closer to home.

As rhetorical and over the top as it may sound, this was exactly what I had set out to do. I may not know much, but I am a responsible, trustworthy person and I will go to the ends of the earth with you, if you offer the same commitment to me.

Now I accept that different people have different priorities and what may seem to be great to me may not be the same to them. With so many choices out there for your child’s education, you just go with what your experience and instinct tells you is right. There is no science to it, sorry to say. You can do all the research you want and say you want to do what’s best for your child, but we are human and we have very real limitations. What’s best for your child is really what’s best for your child AND you.

Being a cooperative, more than half the success of the preschool depends on the parents, which, I would say, is the same anywhere if you want your child’s education to be a positive experience. Those of us who have too much on our plates elect to go with something that require less participation. That does not mean you’re not as good a parent as me. Parents who elect to enroll in a cooperative do so for various reasons. Mine is because my finances are limited. Since a cooperative charges less, this works for me.

The task, as I said, is a daunting one. When we had our first meeting, around eight parents turned up. At the second, we were left with only three. But we gritted our teeth and trudged on. Today, we have a site, a team of 14 dedicated parents, 16 students and two teachers. In over a month, we will be open for business, come what may.

If this experience has taught me anything, it is that a business, any business, even (or especially) nascent non-profit ones, has its challenges and its politics, particularly in a small town where word travels fast – and bad news (true or not) even faster.

My only hope is that as adults, and parents, we know enough to sift through the noise, find the grains of truth and resist the draw of the mob.