Independent co-operative childcare has been around for years, either owned collectively by the staff, or by the parents. ACE Nursery in Cambridge is a co-operative nursery started in 1966 with places for 40 children at a time, whose parents own and run the show.
Head teacher Lisa Tuohy has been at the nursery for five years, having been appointed by the committee of parents who are responsible for overseeing things, including setting staff salaries and fee levels.
Parents serving on the committee are elected annually, but they aren’t the only ones helping out. A condition of having their children accepted is that parents commit to doing five hours per month volunteer work, from getting the shopping for meals, washing the laundry, painting the facility or even conveyance for a new lease with the landlord.