Inside this issue:  
Proposed Regulatory Changes  |  Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant  | NCBA Co-Op Festival  

March 1, 2018
Vol. 48 No.3

Cooperatively Speaking
The Latest News from PCPI
Hello All,

I'm excited to be heading to San Francisco next week to join in the PCPI Annual Meeting.  We'll be putting together plans and priorities for the next year, and it would be great to know what you would like to see from your organization.  Feel free to send thoughts, suggestions, improvements, and ideas my way and I'll take them to the board room.


Dianne Rose, M.Ed.
Editor, Cooperatively Speaking

Proposed Changes to Licensing Regulations Could Negatively Impact Cooperative Preschools
Changes that the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) has proposed to their licensing requirements for preschools has many people across the state worried about the future of cooperative preschools.  

Currently, Virginia requires parents at cooperatives to complete 4 hours of training per year.  Proposed new language would require parents "who are counted in staff ratios" to complete an annual 20 hours of training as if they were staff. This small change in wording could have a devastating impact.

Suzanne Updike, the director of Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church, VA, commented that, "Asking parents to complete this amount of training is untenable -- it would be the demise of the traditional cooperative preschool model."

The intent of the revision to the VDSS regulation is to meet the requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, which requires states to impose stricter health and safety requirements for child care providers, including conducting criminal background checks on anyone in contact with children. The CCDBG staff training requirements are intended to improve the quality and stability of the childcare workforce.  But parents are not part of the "workforce" and should not have to meet the same training requirements as paid staff.

The CCDBG describes an intention "to promote involvement by parents and family members in the development of their children in child care settings" (section 658A.b.3) and to "accommodate a variety of distinctive approaches to early childhood education and care, including but not limited to, those practiced in faith-based settings, community-based settings, child-centered settings, or similar settings that offer a distinctive approach to early childhood development" (section 658G.3.g).  Cooperative preschools do both, but the crushing impact of over-regulating parent involvement could bring an end to the model.

Updike argues that it is unreasonable to impose a requirement for parents to train 20 hours annually because most would be unwilling and/or unable to devote their time.  As a result, co-ops would have to hire additional staff so parents are no longer counted in adult/child ratios. This would raise tuition unnecessarily and would reduce the parental role in the classroom. By placing an overwhelming training burden on parents, which is costly in terms of time and money, co-ops may not continue to be a viable option for families in Virginia. 

Nancy Renner is spearheading a group representing schools within the Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council to quickly work toward educating lawmakers about the cooperative model and the detrimental effects the proposed regulation changes could have. The Virginia Regulatory Town Hall 
is accepting comments on the proposed changes until April 6th.  


Many thanks to Nancy Renner and Suzanne Updike for their contribution to this article.  Are you seeing similar changes in your state?  I'd like to hear from you if you are - email

Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant
Apply by March 15th
The Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant is named in honor of Dr. Katharine Whiteside Taylor, as a founding member of the Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI). 

One or more Canadian parent cooperative preschools or councils can receive funding of up to $500 for a parent education project or other activity that helps members improve in their role as parents.  Applications for the Katharine Whiteside Taylor Grant are due March 15 .  

Canadian parent cooperative preschools and councils with direct membership in PCPI are eligible. Detailed grant requirements can be found in the Awards and Grants area on the PCPI website .  Questions can be directed to

Co-op Festival Coming Soon
The National Cooperative Business Association's planning for the second annual National Co-Op Festival is underway.  The Festival will to take place on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Oct 6-7 as an effort to show how co-ops build a better world.

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