With women entering the American work force in increasing numbers, locating high quality child care has become a serious problem for many families. The pressing need for child care facilities has prompted parents, educators, employers and communities to create new structures and methods for the development of child care programs.
The cooperative structure provides parents value that other child care centers are not able to provide given their structure:
A voice in the operation of the child care program
As co-owners of the cooperative, parents are well informed and actively involved in their child's care
Parental participation goes beyond policymaking and might include sharing special activities or hobbies with children at the center
Parents work closely with a professional staff to ensure that their children receive care and education of the highest quality.
Flexibility to satisfy the child care needs of both employers and parents
There are three primary forms of child care/preschool cooperative.
The most common of the child care models, this type of cooperative is comprised of parents who have formed a cooperative to provide quality care for their children. As with all cooperatives, members contribute an initial membership fee towards the capitalization of the center and elect a board of directors on a one member/one vote basis. The board sets long-range policy and oversees the center's professional management.
California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools is a community of parents and educators committed to teaching and inspiring families through parent involvement and mutual support. Currently, it has more than 320 member schools statewide.
Parent Child Preschools of Oregon is a non-profit organization of more than 60 cooperative preschools and kindergartens’ with a membership of approximately 2,500 families and teachers.
Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI) is a non-profit, service organization dedicated to the family and the community. Membership is open to schools, councils, libraries and individuals who support the cooperative movement in child care. The organization was founded in 1960 on the initiative of Katharine Whiteside Taylor who was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 1996. Its membership includes schools in the U.S. and Canada representing more than 50,000 families and teachers, as well as several state and provincial councils.