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The first Cooperative Preschool (Co-op) was established in 1916 in Chicago. Sometimes referred to as Parent Participation Nursery Schools (PPNS), Co-ops are centered on community and family involvement. Parents are very involved with their child’s early education. Usually, the preschool is administered and maintained by parents.
Co-op preschools are built with the community in mind. Parents are encouraged to give input and help plan the curriculum.
Parents assist with administrative support, cleanup, food prep, etc. Parents contribute time in exchange for lower tuition rates. This form of preschool is often more affordable than traditional preschools. For working parents with less flexibility, there are opportunities to volunteer after-hours or online. Some schools let family members or nannies step in to fulfil the volunteer duties.
Cooperative child care arrangements involve care between parents. No money can be exchanged, except for necessary materials such as food and materials. Parents rotate caring for the children, and there may be no more than 12 children in care.
Visit Parent Cooperative Preschools International to learn more about Co-op preschools.