How To Start a Co-op Preschool

How To Start a Co-op Preschool

Cooperative preschool: have you heard of it? Would it be a good fit for you and your little one? How do you go about starting one? Let me give you a quick run down.

A co-op preschool is run by a group of parents. Each week/month a different parent will host “preschool,” allowing all parents the opportunity to teach. Parents provide educational and play-based learning opportunities. This is a great option for parents who don't want to go the traditional preschool route. It allows them to be more involved, to save money, and have their kid in a smaller bubble/pod, which is especially attractive in today's COVID era.

How To Start a Co-op Preschool

  1. Decide to start. Once you have decided that this would be a good fit, just dive right in!
  2. Determine the ages you want to include and how many kids you want to be a part of your group. A group of four to five kids is a good number to start with so things don't get too chaotic. Choose what is best for you and the other parents.
  3. Find people who would like to participate. This can include relatives, friends, neighbors, members of your church community, even people from local Facebook groups. Just look for like-minded parents. 
  4. Schedule a meeting with all parents involved and figure out all the logistics. What will you teach? Will you follow a curriculum? How many days per week will kids meet, and for how many hours? Will parents rotate weekly or monthly?
  5. Create rules/guidelines of what is expected of parents. For example, you'll need a procedure for how to swap teaching weeks if something comes up. What will be the children's attendance policy? What happens when a kid gets sick? How will you handle bad behavior? Are screens okay to use in teaching? Be sure that all parents are on board with the rules/guidelines.

What Does a Typical Day Look Like?

The first thing to know about co-op preschool is that it doesn't have to be complicated--instead, keep things super simple. The host "teacher" usually will start out with a short story time, then it's lots of free-play and some simple educational activities. It should be fun, low-stress, and mainly child- led! Here is a rough schedule to help you plan:

  1. Child drop off
  2. Free play
  3. Story time 
  4. Lesson
  5. Snack
  6. Free play
  7. Activity (sensory, motor)
  8. Free play
  9. Clean up/Child pick up

If a co-op preschool sounds interesting to you, just dive right in! Make it into something you'll love, and get ready to watch your child thrive in a fun social and educational environment. Happy teaching!

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