What Does It Mean to Be a Part of a Cooperative Preschool?

July 11, 2021

A cooperative preschool (co-op) is owned/operated by the parents who currently have their children enrolled in the school. Those parents, who are taking an active interest in their child’s first educational experience, help the teachers in the classroom and are heavily involved in the decision-making process of the school primarily by serving as the members of the school’s board and committees. Those responsibilities are handed over each year to new families as the families who graduate depart the school community.

“Make no mistake, volunteering at your child’s school will bring many benefits and joys, everyone should do it — volunteering models involvement for your child and his or her peers. It brings much needed support. Co-oping brings it to a new level. It provides not just an open door to your child’s early experiences, it gives you a guided tour! Except as a co-oper, you are both the guided and the guide. You are both the recipient and the giver. All for one and one for all. That is the cooperative way.”

~Lesley Romanoff, “Co-oping Is Not the Same as Volunteering”, Summer 2014 (Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, PCPI article)

Cooperative Preschool (Co-op) Benefits for the Children

  • Children of similar ages with whom to play, develop friendships, share, and learn respect for the rights and differences of others
  • A broader world to explore, enjoy, and experience new adventures
  • Musical/dramatic/imaginative play, storytelling, occasional field trips, exercise to help develop gross motor skills, and activities to stimulate fine motor skills
  • Teachers at cooperative preschool who encourage their sense of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Parents in the classroom which ensures an above average adult to child ratio*
  • Play equipment, learning games, expressive materials, and art activities not generally available at home
  • A positive attitude toward future school attendance

Co-op Benefits for the Parents

  • A sense of community – mutual understanding and moral support from other parents with the same concerns, interests, and problems
  • A better understanding of their children’s individuality through observing them with peers the same age
  • Participation in their children’s education away from home
  • Memories of school activities shared with the children
  • A voice/vote in the cooperative preschool decisions and policy making

At Wilde Lake Children’s Nursery, Columbia’s oldest cooperative preschool, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive community where all members – children and adults alike – can learn from one another to grow and thrive. Come be a part of our community! 

For more information on our co-op preschool or to register for one of our classes, please visit our website: www.wlcn.net


Contribute to WLCN with Amazon SmileA word from Jessica Petree, WLCN Director