In May 2011, a group of women from the Women’s Co-op Business Program in New Brunswick decided to start a co-op for working parents – a place where parents could have a say in who takes care of their children and how. The result was the Downtown Daycare Co-operative, which opened its doors on March 19, 2012.

“The parents are the member-owners,” says Raissa Marks, president of the Downtown Daycare Co-operative. As a parent, she decided to join the co-op when she saw the value it offered to parents and children. “Parents have a say in the way their children are taken care of. This isn’t run like any other business. Here, parents can really be involved,” she says.

The Downtown Daycare Co-operative recognizes the vision and policies set out by parents. Parents make up the board of directors, and like other co-ops in Canada, every member has a say.

The vision for the Downtown Daycare Co-operative? A place where peace, co-operation and multiculturalism form the basis for every child’s care. The goal of the daycare co-op is to provide a safe and stimulating environment for children using these three values, as well as learning and creativity. It offers children a place to explore, discover, make friends and have fun.

And in keeping with the co-op spirit, all of the day-to-day operations are handled by a worker co-op of early childhood caregivers – the First Step Worker Co-operative.