As the first five years of life are an unusually important and challenging stage for both parents and children, it is important to us to offer additional support to families with children who are in this stage. We feel that the needs of children for their parents are especially high during these years, as the child becomes gradually more independent.

As such, we agree that parents of children up to approximately five years old will have a reduced work requirement or "nurturing abatement", as follows: At the child's birth the family's work requirement will be reduced by up to one full work requirement, provided each parent is working a full work requirement at that time. If a parent is working less than a full work requirement, the community will determine what nurturing abatement, if any, applies to the family.

By abating the parents' work requirement we also wish to underscore our commitment to protecting, supporting, and nurturing the family -- not only to help the youngest child, but also to support the parents, to nourish the marriage (if there is one), and to help out older children whose lives also are changed when they have a newborn sibling.

The reduction in work requirement may be applied to one parent or spread out across both in any proportion. For example, one parent might have no work requirement, each of two parents might have half a work requirement, etc. A single parent will have no work requirement; the abatement applies to the family as a whole regardless of how many parents are in it.

The percentage of the abatement will reduce 5% for every three months dating from the child's birth. Therefore at three months the abatement is equal to 95% of a full work requirement; at two years the abatement is equal to 60% of a full work requirement, etc. When the child is five years old the abatement ends.

The percentage abatement applies equally to families who give birth to a child or adopt a newborn while living in the community as to families who move in with children under five years of age. Thus a family with a two year old child has a 60% abatement regardless of whether the child was born at Meadowdance or moved to Meadowdance with her/his family.

The abatement shall be calculated only based on the youngest child in the family; two such abatements may not be applied to the same family.

If a family feels that they need the decrease in the abatement to be slowed as the child grows older, they may apply to the community as a whole for such a slow-down by speaking to an Infants and Toddlers caretaker. The end of the abatement at five years of age is not intended to be inflexible, but to roughly represent a time at which a child has generally become more independent, more self-expressive, and more cognizant of how to ensure his or her own safety.

Families are welcome to work more than their abated work requirement if they feel able.

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