Coop Preschools and Play Groups on the Hill

Cooperative play groups are a great place for little ones to have fun and learn to socialize with others. Play sessions are held in the mornings and typically serve 2-year-olds (some go up to age 5). As part of a cooperative, parents volunteer to supervise children and perform other tasks. Some cooperatives are run by parents exclusively, while others have teachers/facilitators as well as parent involvement. The following is a list of cooperatives on the Hill. If I am missing a coop, email me now at

Capitol Hill Cooperative Play School

“The Capitol Hill Cooperative Play School (CHCPS) is a cooperative playgroup providing a fun, friendly play experience for families in the neighborhood and their 2-year-olds.”

  • Children age 2 by Dec. 31 of enrollment year
  • 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1-3 mornings per week, September-June
  • The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street NE

Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery School

“Since 1972, the Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery school has been serving Capitol Hill families with excellent, child-centered care for children 2.5-4 years old. As a parent-run cooperative, parents manage the operation of the school each year, including volunteering co-op days in the classroom as a teachers’ aide. Come explore with us!”

  • Children age 2.5 by Sept. 1 of enrollment year
  • 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-5 mornings per week, September-June
  • Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, 421 Seward Square SE

DCPR Cooperative Play Program

“The DPR Cooperative Play Program (Co-op) advances youth development using outcome based programming and developmentally appropriate practices in a creative and recreational play environment.”

Free Forest School

“We believe young people of all backgrounds, cultures, and abilities deserve and benefit from unstructured play in nature. We believe diversity brings invaluable richness and depth to our local groups and our organization. We welcome participants and leaders of all walks of life, and seek to foster an environment where all people are included, valued, heard, respected, and empowered.”

Note: The Free Forest School is a free drop-in activity, no registration required (one-time waiver). Parents accompany children at every session. See also: All the Free Things.

Gan Shalom Cooperative Preschool

“Gan Shalom Cooperative Preschool is a Jewish early childhood education program supported by Hill Havurah. Enrollment is open to both Jewish and non-Jewish students. At Gan Shalom we believe that children construct their own knowledge and develop the cognitive skills they will need throughout their lives through play and exploration.”

  • Children age 24 months-4 years
  • 9 a.m.-noon, 2-5 mornings per week, September-June
  • The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol Street NE

G Street Cooperative Play Group

“We want the children to love school, their friends, and their ‘teachers.’ We want them to develop positive self-esteem, gain independence, make friends, respect others, and feel respected. Our children do all of this through a combination of free play, stories, snacks, outside play, music and art projects. In a laid-back atmosphere our children develop an early love of school and each other.”

  • Children age 2 by Dec. 31 of enrollment year
  • 9 a.m.-noon, 2-3 mornings per week, September-June
  • Christ Church Capitol Hill, 620 G St SE

OATS Cooperative Play Group

“OATS meets in a sunny classroom at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Seward Square and uses the Marion Park playground for outdoor play. OATS is not religiously affiliated. The play group consists of eight 2-year-olds. Each session is supervised by one parent, with a hired facilitator present to plan and lead activities.”

  • Children age 2 by Sept. 30 of enrollment year
  • 9:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 3 mornings per week, September-May
  • Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 400 D St SE
  • Contact: 

River Park Nursery School

“For over 50 years, River Park Nursery School has provided an exceptional environment in which children ages 3 to 5 can play and learn. RPNS is committed to offering a program of developmentally appropriate activities for nursery-school aged children, under the guidance of highly qualified professional instructors.”