Find child care you can trust.

Answer a few questions and create a plan that can grow as your child grows.


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. 



Was this article helpful?

Last updated on July 10, 2020
Similar Resources
Families' Rights
Families’ Rights in Choosing Child Care
In California, parents have the right to make the best child care choices for their family.  Parents have many options:...
View Article
Resource & Referral
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs)
What is a CCR&R? Child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) serve families, child care providers and the...
View Article
Licensing & Safety
Licensing and Monitoring for Child Care Facilities in California
Community Care Licensing Information The Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (CCL) licenses and moni...
View Article
Local R&R
Connect with local child care specialists
Wu Yee Children's Services
San Francisco | (844) 644-4300
  • Child Care Initiative Project
  • Child Care Referrals
See More
Children's Council of San Francisco
San Francisco | (415) 343-3300
  • Child Care Initiative Project
  • Child Care Referrals
See More