Cooperative Education

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How is a cooperative preschool different from other preschools?

The Center for Families Cooperative Preschool is similar to other play-based preschools in many ways. The children learn through play, and are given many opportunities to choose how they interact with their environment. We provide a sensory table, play doh, blocks, puzzles, books, varied art and cooking activities, pre-literacy activities, circle time, outside play time, and a dramatic play area. The children respond by having both fun and by learning in this enriched environment.

However, Cooperative preschools, including ours, are different from other play-based preschools in some important ways. The main difference is parental involvement. The Center for Families Cooperative Preschool isn't just a preschool, but a community of involved families. Family members are assigned a workday in the classroom once a week during the preschool meeting time. Families are also asked to attend a mandatory monthly parent meeting the fourth Wednesday of the month, Sept. through May, at 6:30 in the evening. During this time, official co-op business is conducted, and parents participate in parenting education discussions.


When a family becomes a member of the cooperative, one adult in the family also becomes a student at Edmonds Community College. Parents receive three college credits for working in the classroom and regularly attending the parent meeting which includes their parent education. The parent education class is both supportive and interactive, and parents "pass" the class simply by attending and participating. There is no extra cost beyond their child's monthly tuition for being involved in parent education.

Because parents are so involved, each class is able to attend monthly field trips. The children get to know each other's families, and parents get to know their teachers and children's peers well. This often results in play dates, and even long-term friendships that far outlast the time spent in preschool.

Because of parental involvement, cooperative preschools are able to keep costs far below almost all other preschools making the experience more affordable for everyone. There are partial scholarships for families who qualify because the Center for Families Cooperative Preschool believes that every child has the right to attend preschool.

For more information on this, and all other aspects of cooperative pre-schooling, please contact the