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Cooperative Play Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Through the Cooperative Play Program (Co-op), young children ages 18 months through 4 years old are introduced to a structured play setting with activities that engage the whole child - mentally, socially, physically, and emotionally - in preparation for entering the formal education system. Emphasis is placed on socialization such as learning to take turns; cognitive growth through music, painting, and cutting; and gross motor development by running and jumping.

Please feel free to visit the main Cooperative Play website page to learn about enrollment & eligibility, day schedule, 2016/2017 locations, open houses, fees, forms and more.  

Also, please be sure to download the 2016-2017 Cooperative Play Parent Handbook.


Q: What is the duration of the program?

The 2016/2017 Cooperative Play program will take place from Tuesday, September 6, 2016 through Friday, May 26, 2017.  Co-op takes place Monday through Friday from 9 am - 12 pm.

Q. How is a typical day structured for the program?

A. Please visit the Cooperative Play day schedule page.  Please note that daily schedules may vary by sites.

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.

Q. My child turns 2 ½ in November, should I sign him/her up for the 2 ½ - 4 year old group?

A. No, all children must be of age by September 30th. In this case, your child will be 2 ½ after September 30 and therefore should be enrolled in the 18-29 months old 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 children 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 Co-op 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 relocated to another site.  In the event of relocation, parents 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 $428 (residents) or $570 (non-resident) seat deposit are refundable.

Q. Is the seat deposit due all at once?

A. The deposit may be broken into two payments of $214 (residents) or $285 (non-residents) due July 1st and $214 (residents) or $285 (non-residents) due August 1st. Seat deposits must be paid in full by August 1st.

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 $1,492 (residents) or $1,990 (non-residents) to remit from November - May. Due to the seat deposit payment, no payments are due for the months of September and October.

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 be paid.)

Q. When are the payments due?

A. Program fees are due on the 1st of each month.  There is a grace period given until the 5th of each month.

Q. How (by what payment methods) can I make my monthly payment?

A. Payments can be made online via credit or debit card; or in person via credit or debit card, cashier’s check or money order payable to "DC Treasurer."  There are three (3) payment method options: online via your DPR account, via phone with a Co-op Team Member at 202-671-0421, or in-person at 1480 Girard St., NW - 4th Floor - Washington, DC 20010.  In person payments are accepted Monday - Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm.  

Q. I accidently made the full payment while trying to make a partial payment, can my money be refunded?

A. In the event that you accidently process the full payment, while trying to make a partial payment, please contact the Co-op office immediately so that we can contact the finance department to attempt to have the charges reversed.

Q. Will the program fee be prorated if a child is enrolled after the start date?

A. Yes, the program will be pro-rated based on when 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 2017, 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.

Q. Should I RSVP for the Open House?

A. RSVP's are not needed to attend during the Open House period. When parents/guardians arrive, the facilitator and duty participants will be there to answer any pertinent questions regarding the program.  Open House drop-ins are for adults only and should be limited to 20 minutes.

Q. I cannot make any of the Open Houses, is there another time available to do site visit?

A. Yes, please call or email the Cooperative Play office to schedule a meeting day and time. However, it is highly encouraged that parents/guardians make every effort to visit the site during the Open House Dates.  For Open House dates, times and locations please visit the Open House page.

Q. Can I bring my child with me to the Open House to see how they interact with the other children?

A. No. Open House is for ADULTS ONLY.

Q. When does the registration take place for the program?

A. Online registration for the 2016/2017 Cooperative Play year opened on Monday, March 21st at 12 pm (for residents) and on Monday, April 18th at 12 pm (for non-residents).  Please visit the Cooperative Play Program - Registration page.

Q. What forms are required for enrollment?

A. The required forms for children are: the Universal Health Certificate, Dental Assessment (only for children 3 years and older) and a Birth Certificate. In addition, all duty participants must complete a Staff Health Certificate and a MPD criminal and background check.  Please visit the Cooperative Play Program - Forms page to download the necessary forms and instructions.

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, parents duty day(s) must be completed.  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 do enrollment and the waitlist close?

A. Enrollment and waitlist movement, including switching locations, will close December 31, 2016.

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 Coop 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 waitlist.  

Q. I'm on the waitlist, how will I know if a space has becomes available for my child?

A. You will be notified via both phone and email if a waitlist space has become available. Please note, parents/applicants must respond to the voicemail/email within 48 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 two waitlists/locations.  If you are not registered nor enrolled in a Co-op program, you may be on a maximum of three waitlists/locations.

Q. How can I check my waitlist placement number?

A. To check your child’s waitlist placement number and status, please log into your DPR account.

Q. What is the role of the Duty Parent/Participant?

A.  Duty parents/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 parent 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 administerd 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. 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 a current tuberculosis shot.

Q. How many duty participants are allowed?

A. The maximum number of duty participants per child is 2.

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. Because 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 2012, 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 Volunteers Department to schedule a MPD criminal background check.

Q. Does each Co-op have a President?

A. Each Co-op has a Parent Advisory Board with members that are representatives of their group including but limited to President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Scheduler, Bulletin Board, Coordinator and Field Trip Coordinator.

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 list below, however please note that parking availability is on a first come, first served basis.

  • Parking Lot locations: Chevy Chase Community Center, Guy Mason, Kennedy, Raymond, Turkey Thicket and Volta Park
  • Street Parking: Chevy Chase Recreation Center, Columbia Heights, Harrison, Hears, Mitchell Park and Rose Park

Q. How often are the classroom and toys cleaned?

A. The classroom and the toys should be cleaned daily. The facilitator, with the assistance of the online duty person, are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the classroom and the toys daily. Many sites collect daily donations of cleaning wipes and supplies for the cleaning of the toys, changing areas, tables, etc., to prevent the spread of germs and to keep the area clean.

Q. What is the child-to-facilitator ratio?

A. The ratio varies from site to site based on each individual programs capacity. For a group of 10, the ratio is 1:2 and for a group of 16, the ratio is 1:3. 


Cooperative Play Division

DC Department of Parks and Recreation
Kids, Camps & Co-op Division
1480 Girard Street, NW - 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 671-0372
Fax: (202) 671-2796