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Child in toy carCooperatives in the childcare sector take shape in a variety of ways depending on ownership. Here are some examples of how childcare cooperatives can be structured:

Parent-led Childcare Cooperatives are the most common model of childcare cooperatives. This type of cooperative is comprised of parents who have formed a cooperative to provide quality care for their children.

Childcare Worker Cooperatives are when a group of care providers operate their own childcare center. Through employee ownership, workers benefit from increased wages, decision making power, and a share in business profits.

Employer Assisted Cooperatives are used by employers to include childcare as part of their benefit package. By establishing on-site facilities as cooperatives, businesses may provide space, initial financing and assistance to child care programs, but are able to leave operation and ownership to the employees who use the center.

Examples of Childcare Cooperatives

University Houses Preschool

University Houses Preschool (UHP) was founded by local Madison residents in 1968 as a part-day parent cooperative preschool, and it continues with this model of operation today. Parental involvement and participation is incorporated into the daily structure and curriculum of UHP. Alongside two certified preschool teachers, at least one parent helper assists in the classroom every day. In addition, the parent board directly supports and works with the director and teaching staff.

The parent co-op model not only keeps tuition costs low, but parents and students mutually benefit from the parents’ involvement in the classroom. In addition, the democratic leadership from the parent board means parents contribute significantly in policy and planning, and in making important decisions to ensure the preschool’s continued success.

Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative

Beyond Care Childcare Cooperative was launched in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in June 2008. With the support of the Center for Family Life, 17 immigrant women came together as founding members to conceptualize, plan and launch a membership cooperative business. The business plan was based on models of immigrant-owned cooperatives that have been successful in helping immigrant men and women increase income, build internal leadership and provide mutual support.

Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care

Founded in 2017, Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care is an employer-assisted cooperative that provides quality child care in North Dakota. The parents are members of the cooperative and can serve as board members who supervise the director and decide on strategy and education.

Resources for Cooperatives in the Childcare Sector

Cooperative Solutions for Community Care Needs (Webinar Recording). UW Center for Cooperatives, 2018.

Cooperative Solutions for Community Care Needs (Powerpoint). UW Center for Cooperatives, 2018.

Preschool Cooperatives 101 (Powerpoint). Parent Cooperative Preschools International, 2009.

Childcare Cooperative document templates