The Wallingford Cooperative Play Group was founded in January of 1955. Five mothers were seeking playmates for their pre-school children in this almost rural community of retired people.
Helen Rowland, who was our supervisor and teacher until 1971, was one of the original mothers. The Wallingford Presbyterian Church offered a room for the playgroup. During the first two years the group expanded, and the mothers decided on a written activity program and weekly duties for mothers.
After three years, a teacher was hired. Next, age groups were formed and the playgroup hired more teachers. As a real school existed at this stage, it was necessary to elect officers and to open a bank account.
Katherine Whiteside Taylor's book, Parents' Cooperative Nursery Schools, came to the group's attention and was used as a guide in developing the philosophy and activities of our school. Other cooperatives were contacted and experiences were shared.
Fathers had a definitive role in the early playgroup. They helped construct most of the original large equipment and playthings. All kinds of fundraising activities and sales helped early members buy basic material needs, and mothers also donated supplies. Work days were common, with parents helping to paint and build whatever was needed. However, most of the playground equipment has been updated since the year 2000. Fund-raising activities largely contributed to the purchase of the new equipment.
In 1968, a lawyer further helped the playgroup incorporate. The advantages were in our favor. Incorporation made it possible for the group to own property if ever necessary, and to take out insurance. Tax exemption was another advantage.
By 1986, the insurance system within Pennsylvania had changed dramatically in response to the increase in childcare centers and the frequency of lawsuits statewide. In order to lower premium costs, yet maintain full coverage and our tax-exempt status, the Co-op officially joined the organization of the Wallingford Presbyterian Church. Though we work autonomously, we maintain a close relationship with the church and its staff.
In 2002, our Board of Directors appointed a Task Force to work with the Church Elders to create two new entities; a Board of Governance and an Executive Committee. The new Executive Committee replaced the Board of Directors. These new entities are intended to provide the Co-op with greater stability and continuity in its leadership.
110 East Brookhaven Road
Wallingford, PA 19086