What is a Co-op?

Washington Park Early Learning Center is a parent cooperative school — a co-op — where children, parents, and teachers come together to play, explore, and learn in a joyful, stimulating, and safe environment.  Many parents outside our community may wonder what a cooperative preschool is and what their role is in the co-op.

Parent Participation

Parent participation is the hallmark of a cooperative preschool.  We treasure the unique talents, interests, and resources that each family brings to our school.  The enthusiastic participation of all of the parents makes the successful operation of WPELC possible.

Parent volunteers having fun while setting up for the Carnival

Parent volunteers having fun while setting up for the Carnival

Parent Responsibilities Include

  • Being an active member of a standing committee, or a board officer, or a class representative
  • Participating as a helping parent (see description below) on a rotating basis throughout the school year
  • Participating in all fundraising efforts or participating in the buy-out options
  • Attending school meetings and parent/teacher conferences
  • Participating in school-wide events, including annual classroom cleaning and open house

What does a helping parent do?

Helping parents act as classroom assistants and they interact with the children to facilitate learning and play. They help the teacher set up the classroom, supply the snack and clean the classroom after school. This is a wonderful opportunity to observe your child in the classroom while learning more about early childhood education alongside an experienced teacher. This duty occurs about once every six weeks.

Why do we need to fundraise?

Fundraising provides for a more affordable and accessible school.  Fundraising activities organized by a committee of parents provides a wonderful opportunity to interact and build community together.

Tuition mainly pays rent, insurance, teachers’ salaries and benefits. Other expenses like classroom supplies, maintenance, telephone, etc. are generally covered by fundraising activities, which are organized by a committee of parents.


Past fundraising activities have included an annual silent auction and party, holiday greenery sales, grocery certificates, and a spring social.  A minimum level of participation is set for each fundraising effort.  This may also be satisfied by a set cash buy-out in lieu of participating.