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Co-Op Education

Have you heard of co-op preschools, but you’re not quite sure what the term entails? Cooperative, or co-op, preschools follow traditional early education guidelines, but parents play an active role in the school’s planning, curriculum and classroom support. 

Kathy Delsanter, director of Northaven Co-Op Preschool in Dallas, explains that co-ops rely on parent assistance in the school; Northaven is run by a parent group (which hires school directors and accredited teachers) and all parents must volunteer monthly as a teacher’s aide. Parental involvement typically equates to lower enrollment costs, says Delsanter.

Don’t have time to dedicate as a school volunteer? There are several benefits of co-op settings that can be integrated into your family’s life, says Stacy Cochran with ChildCareGroup (a nonprofit childcare placement agency). For instance, co-ops offer a strong network of parents who witness their child’s socialization at school—similar to the environment of a neighborhood playgroup, she says. To learn more about cooperative preschools, visit Parent Cooperatives Preschools International (www.preschools.coop).