A parenting co-op? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-04-2003, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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An acquaintance of mine has a daughter just older than DD, and her child was just blocked out of our preschool for the next year. We're also thinking of moving out of the preschool for our own reasons ($) ... so DH this morning suggested to me that I suggest to her that we "co-op."

As in, I guess, one of us takes them one day, the other takes them another day ... or some such thing ...

Anyway, has anyone here ever been involved in a parenting co-op? What were the logistics? How many parents is too many, or too few?

Any advice or stories very welcome ...
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#2 of 9 Old 03-05-2003, 02:20 AM
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I've never done anything like that (I work out of the home - full time) but it sounds great!
I'd be interested to hear what everyone else says.
Let us know how that works out.
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#3 of 9 Old 03-05-2003, 06:59 PM
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I was part of a group that started up our own pre-school teacher. We started havine meetings in July to gae interest, we held a yard sale to get a few hundrend dollars to cover photocopying, business registration ect... costs. Interest was HUGE, we had 70 people on our email list and others without email. In Sept. We hired a teacher and opened in Oct with 2 2-day classes of 8-10 kids each. By February we were full with 14 kids in each class. The Board just decided to add a summer program and a Friday class next year.

All of the co-ops in the area have very long wait lists. We were fairly certain there would be plenty of interest.

We got tons of help from an organization here in Oregon, PCPO, Parent Child Preschools of Oregon. They offer advice, insurance, and networking. If you are not in Oregon, you may have a similar organization in your state. Ask a local co-op. You can also poke around PCPO's website. PCPO

I encourage you to do it. My friend who spearheaded out co-op started with a core group of about 5 friends, and added new folks all the time. She did, though put in a lot of work. And she still is.
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#4 of 9 Old 03-05-2003, 09:33 PM
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Sounds brilliant to me! I know that not far from here there is a co-op pre-school. I think they have a couple of paid staff. You volunteer one day a month for every day of the week your child is in.
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#5 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Just starting to get interesteder and interesteder and interesteder ...

Like that word, huh? :LOL
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#6 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 05:09 AM
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hooh, I wish! i just don't know any mammas in San Francisco. i really don't! there must be some!

But I know someone who was part of a coop. There were five families, and what they did was they hired a nanny, and each day of the week a different parent would work alongside the nanny, and it would rotate houses. So each mom would do childcare with the nanny one day a week. I thought that sounded so brilliant!
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#7 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 11:37 AM
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la leche has a book on a coop preschool

i'm fairly certain that if you go to their website you can find the title in the catalog


i'd LOVE to find one near me!
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#8 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 01:37 PM
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A friend and I are planning to get a playgroup started, with the intention of growing into a co-op of sorts... We thought we'd start by just letting one mama take off each week (to run errands or sleep or whatever while the rest of us watched her child). I also have some friends who are in a co-op that allows them to have a date one Friday night a month - 6 families, I think, and each Friday two sets of parents watch all the kids. So, that means only twice a year you have kid duty but you get 12 dates!
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#9 of 9 Old 03-07-2003, 02:49 PM
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I posted some of the info below about our co-op when the topic came up previously. Hope the information is useful to you! The families who set up whole-day exchanges seem very happy with the arrangement. Keep in mind that this is a larger group and that our main activity is actually a play group. Another caveat: all of us knew each other at least in passing before this started (our focus is teaching our children our native language, so lots of our families know each other from the community here), so we are relatively informal.

I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have!


Our group does it like this. We printed out "kid dollars" - 1 dollar = 1 kid for 1 hour. Each family started out with I think 10 per kid or something like that. Yes, families with more kids end up "paying" more, but they also start out with more. It is more work to babysit 2-3 kids plus your own, so we thought this was fair. The "dollar" system eliminates the need for point tallying and takes into account how long/how many you babysit, too.

We have no bookkeeper because of the "currency" we use. Each person calls to arrange babysitting themselves and then pays the babysitter in "kid dollars." The other rules are that babysitting takes place at the babysitter's house (exceptions allowed, of course, if you can arrange it) and that you supply meals for your child (to avoid problems with allergies, food preferences, etc.)

We are a group of about 20 families scattered across a large urban area, so some people take advantage of this aspect of the group, while others don't, either because they have their own arrangements or because they live too far away to make this a practical option. Our main focus is a playgroup, so this is OK for us. If you want a dedicated babysitting group, you might want to limit the geographical area.

Incidentally, in our group a few people were able to arrange exchanges also. For instance, we trade an afternoon a week with our friends (their son comes here, our daughter goes there.) Another pair of moms do the same thing for a whole day so that they can work.

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (12) DH "M"

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