Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the duration of the program?
The 2022-23 program year runs from Tuesday, September 6, 2022 – Friday, May 19, 2023, Monday-Friday from 9:00am-12:00pm.
The 2023-24 program year runs from September 5, 2023, and ending May 17, 2024.
Q. How is a typical day structured for the program?
A. Sample Daily Routine
9:00 am – 9:30 am
Free Play & Welcome
9:30 am – 9:45 am
Clean up Time
9:45 am – 10:15 am
10:15 am – 10:30 am
10:30 am – 11:00 am
11:00 am – 11:30 am
11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Outside/Free Play/Story Time
Q. Where are the Co-Op groups located and which location serves my child’s age group?
A. Co-Op locations can be found on our website here.
Q. Are naps required?
A. Due to the half day program schedule, children do not take naps.
Q. What age must my child be to participate in the program?
A. To participate in the program, all children must be between 18 months and 4 years old, by September 30th of the program year.
Q. My child turns 2 ½ in November, should I sign him/her up for the 2 ½ - 4 year old group?
A. No, you should not. All children must be of age by September 30th of the program year. In this case, your child will be 2 ½ after September 30th and therefore should be enrolled in the 18-29 months old group and you have the option to waitlist him for one of the older sites. You are free to inquire about a space in the older group and if it becomes available, we can potentially extend the invitation to have your child join the group.
Q. If my child ages out of the 18 - 29 months group during the program year, will they be transferred to the older group?
A. No, your child will remain in their current age group until the end of the program in May.
Q. What credentials/trainings are there for the Facilitators?
A. Co-Op is a recreation program and not an educational program; therefore, DPR refers to staff as Facilitators and not teachers. Due to the fact that this is not an educational program, DPR does not require any special certifications; however, it is required that all Facilitators have a significant amount of experience in working in an early childhood environment.
Q. I know that some facilitators speak Spanish; can I sign my child up for their site to learn Spanish?
A. DPR is an equal opportunity employer and we do employ facilitators of Latin and Hispanic descent; however, the participants are not taught Spanish, nor is Spanish a part of the Cooperative Play curriculum.
Q. What are the policies regarding Co-Op closures?
A. The Cooperative Play program follows the DC Public School (DCPS) calendar and closures. Any scheduled holidays, winter and spring breaks, and vacations (with the exception of Professional Development days), the Co-Op program will be closed. Occasionally, Co-Op Facilitators will attend DPR Professional Developments trainings; when this happens dates and times will be communicated in advance. In the case of snow delays or closings, Co-Op follows DCPS' policy (not DPR). If DCPS closes or has a two-hour delayed opening due to inclement weather, the Co-Op program will be closed for the day. In the event that a site has to close due to heat or a maintenance issue, the Co-Op will most likely be closed. In the event of relocation, families will be notified by the Co-Op office.
Q. Are the registration and/or seat deposit refundable?
A. No, neither the $75 registration fee nor the $192 (residents) or $256 (non-resident) seat deposit are refundable.
Q. Is the seat deposit due all at once?
A. The deposit of $192 (residents) or $256 (non-residents) will be invoiced on August 1st. Seat deposits must be paid in full by August 10th.
Q. Is the seat deposit deducted from the program fee?
A. The seat deposit amount is subtracted from the annual program fee amount of $1,920 (residents) or $2,560 (non-residents), leaving $1,728 (residents) or $2,304 (nonresidents) to remit from September - May. However, families that join the program after September 1st, are not required to pay the seat deposit.
Q. Is there a sibling discount?
A. DPR does not offer a sibling discount. If you have two children, the total fees for both children are $3,840 ($1,920 per child) residents and $5,120 ($2,560 per child) non-residents.
Q. I am unable to register my child for another DPR program because I still have an unpaid balance on my account; however, I withdrew from the program mid-year. What should I do?
A. Please contact the Cooperative Play office and we will contact DPR's finance department to review and adjust the program fee on your account. (Please note that if there is an outstanding balance from another program or permit, that balance must first be paid.)
Q. When are the payments due?
A. Monthly payments are sent the 1st of each month. There is a grace period given until the 10th of each month.
Q. How (by what payment methods) can I make my monthly payment?
A. Payments can be made in the following ways:
1) by setting up automatic deduction your WebTrac account (payments will be deducted on the 1st of each month from the card you place on file)
2) online through your WebTrac account via credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express);
3) with a cashier’s check or money order payable to "DC Treasurer". If paying by a cashier’s check or money order, please mail to: DC Department of Parks & Recreation, 1275 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002 Attention: Cooperative Play Program. Payment must be mailed in enough time for us to receive and process this payment before the upcoming month. NO PERSONAL CHECKS ARE ACCEPTED.
Q. Will the program fee be prorated if a child is enrolled after the start date?
A. Yes, the program fee will be pro-rated based on the month your child is enrolled in the program. You will not be required to pay the full $1,920 (residents) or $2,560 (non-resident) program fee, if your child enrolls into the program after September.
Q. If I have paid the program fee in full and decide to withdraw from the program before May 2022, am I eligible to receive a refund?
A. Yes, you are eligible to receive a refund for the months of the program that your child does not participate if you have paid the program fee in full. For example, if you decided to withdraw in November, DPR will provide a refund for the months of November - May. Please note, there is a 10% non-refundable processing fee assessed for all refunds requested by the customer.
Q. Please tell me more about the Open Houses?
A. Please refer to this link for Open Houses.
Q. What is required for enrollment?
A. The following items are mandatory for enrollment: the Universal Health Certificate; Dental Assessment (only for children 3 years and older); and age verification (Birth Certificate or Passport). All duty participants must complete a Staff Health Certificate and a MPD criminal and background check. In addition, all families must show proof of residency by providing two of the following documents:
- Valid government issued photo ID
- Pay stubs (issued within the last 45 days)
- Utility bill (gas, electric, or water within the past 2 months)
- Valid motor vehicle registration
- Valid lease or rental agreement.
- A notarized letter signed by the person(s) with whom you reside. The letter must include your name, your child(ren), and address. Additionally, two pieces of mail with your current name, address, and date, must accompany the notarized letter, such as: valid government issued photo ID; pay stubs (issued within the last 45 days); utility bill (gas, electric, or water within the past 2 months); valid motor vehicle registration; valid lease or rental agreement.
Q. Am I obligated to send my child(ren) every day?
A. No, parents are not required to send your child(ren) to the program every day, as we understand that this program may be the first time that many toddlers are away from their parents/guardians. However, duty day(s) must be completed whether your child attends daily or not. Please note that DPR will not pro-rate the monthly fee based on the number of days your child attends the program. It is highly suggested that you communicate your decision with your Facilitator; however, please note that the fees will not be adjusted and duty day(s) must be completed.
Q. I am only planning to send my child on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Can my neighbor to send their child, in place of my child, on Wednesdays and Fridays?
A. No, each child must individually be enrolled into the program. Multiple children cannot share one enrollment space.
Q. When does enrollment and the waitlist close?
A. ALL movement including switching locations, new enrollments and waitlist placement and will close December 31, 2021. However, the final decision, made by the Kids, Camps & Co-Op Manager, will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Q. My family and I will be relocating in December, is it okay if my friend’s child takes my child’s place in the program?
A. No, in this circumstance, DPR adheres strictly to the Co-Op waitlist. If you withdraw your child from the program, DPR will offer the space to the next family on the waitlist. If you know someone that’s interested in the program, please encourage them to create a DPR account, enroll and select the desired sites waitlist(s); or they can contact the Cooperative Play Office to enroll on the desired waitlist.
Q. I'm on the waitlist, how will I know if a space becomes available for my child?
A. You will be notified via phone and email if a space has become available. Please note, parents/applicants must respond to the voicemail/email within 24 hours of receiving it.
Q. Is it possible to sign up for more than one Co-Op location?
A. Yes. If you are registered and enrolled in one Co-Op, you may be added to a maximum of three waitlists/locations. If you are neither registered nor enrolled in a Co-Op program, you may be on a maximum of four waitlists/locations.
Q. How can I check my waitlist placement number?
A. By logging onto your DPR account or contacting the Kids, Camps & Co-Op Office at 202-671-0421 or via KCC email. Also your receipt will reflect your waitlist position.
Q. How quickly does the waitlist move?
A. The waitlist movement is sporadic and unpredictable. Movement happens due to many factors, including but not limited to job relocation, moving, site transfers, family's change of heart, etc. There is no direct answer on how long it will take a child to get called off the waitlist.
Q. What is the role of the Duty Participant?
A. Duty Participants are an integral part of DPR's Cooperative Play Program, as well as an essential component of maintaining the proper adult-to-child ratio. All participating families are required to have one duty participant volunteer at least one day a week, per child.
Q. In the event that I cannot complete my duty day, can another family member/caregiver/nanny complete my days for me?
A. In an effort to make Co-Op available to all families, DPR's policy is to allow nannies or other primary caregivers (such as grandparents) to perform Co-Op participant duties. All caregivers must complete a DPR volunteer application form and pass the DPR-sanctioned DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) criminal and background check before serving duty days. (Please note that DPR must initiate the process for the MPD background/criminal check. Duty participants should not attempt to secure a background/criminal check on their own.)
Q. What are the requirements for being a duty participant?
A. All persons in a family that will be serving duty days are required to complete a DPR volunteer application form and a MPD criminal and background check. Before serving duty days, your background check must have returned with no issues. For this reason, it is imperative to get your background check completed as soon as possible. All parents or caretakers who will be volunteering for duty days must also submit a current Staff Health Certificate, complete a Physical Exam and have current tuberculosis shot.
Q. How many duty participants are allowed per family?
A. Yes, there is maximum of two duty participants per family.
Q. How often will I be required to perform duty days?
A. Please check with your Facilitator, as duty days tend to vary from site to site; however it is typically between one to four times per month, per child. Please note that the schedule will be created between the elected Scheduler and the other duty participants.
Q. If I have twins, how many duty days will I have to complete?
A. Since schedules vary from site to site, please discuss this with the site facilitator and the Scheduler.
Q. While I’m on duty, can I bring my other, non-enrolled child with me?
A. No. Duty participants are NOT allowed to bring non-enrolled siblings, infants, relatives or any other child to the program on duty day. Duty participants are expected to provide alternate childcare arrangements for all siblings/children not enrolled in the program.
Q. I have a MPD clearance from 2019, is it still valid?
A. No, MPD background clearances are only valid for 2 years. (Please note that DPR must initiate the process for the MPD background/criminal check. Duty participants should not attempt to secure a background/criminal check on their own.)
Q. I obtained a criminal and background clearance from my job, can I provide DPR with a copy of it?
A. No. All DPR volunteers, including Co-Op duty parents/guardians, must go through DPR's Volunteer Department to schedule a MPD criminal background check.
Q. Does each Co-Op have a Parent Advisory Board President (PAB President)?
A. Each Co-Op has a Parent Advisory Board with members that are representative of their group including but not limited to President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Scheduler and Bulletin Board Guru.
Q. My child uses a stroller. Is there a place for my stroller while my child is in the program?
A. Yes. You may park your child’s stroller inside of the recreation center near the Co-Op play room.
Q. Is there designated parking for duty participants?
A. While some DPR locations do have parking lots, other locations only have street parking; however, there is no designated parking for Co-Op duty parents. Please see the table below; however please note that parking availability is on a first come, first served basis.
Chevy Chase Community Center, Guy Mason, Raymond, Turkey Thicket, Volta Park (small)
Chevy Chase Playground, Columbia Heights, Friendship, Ridge Road, Rose Park
Q. How often are the classroom and toys cleaned?
A. The classroom and the toys are cleaned daily. The Facilitator, with the assistance of the duty participants, are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the classroom and the toys daily.
Q. What is the child-to-facilitator ratio?
A. The ratio varies from site to site based on each individual program’s capacity. For younger groups, the ratio is 1:3 and for older groups, the ratio is 1:4.
If you have additional questions that were not answered here, please contact [email protected].