Cooperative Preschool at Caltech

The Child Educational Center’s (CEC) Cooperative Preschool at Caltech, previously available only to families with Caltech or JPL affiliations, is now opening its enrollment to all community families. The Cooperative Preschool operates a morning (8:30-11:30am) program for 9 months each year, beginning in September and running through May.

This program utilizes curriculum that is stimulating and challenging, as well as nurturing and supportive of each child's learning style. Outdoor play and exploration is an integral component of each day, encouraging children to develop knowledge and love of the natural world. The daily schedule provides for activities specifically geared to the various developmental levels of children in the program, as well as opportunities for children to interact, teach, and learn from one another.

As a cooperative, parents take turns participating as assistant teachers under the guidance of professional CEC staff. This combination of professional teachers and parent volunteers creates a ratio of 1 adult to every 4 children or better. The Cooperative Preschool at Caltech embodies the same philosophical approach and mission as the CEC. Enrollment is open throughout the year on a space-available basis.

Program Location: 250 and 256 South Michigan St, 1 block from the Caltech campus

Ages: 2 ½ to 5 years

Program Schedules: Mornings 8:30 - 11:30am

  • 5 days per week: Monday - Friday
  • 3 days per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • 2 days per week: Tuesday and Thursday

Tuition: Pricing per month

JPL & Caltech Families Community Families
5 days $548 $576
3 days $329 $346
2 days $219 $230

Parent Participation: In choosing a cooperative preschool experience for their family, parents agree to become active members of the program and community while working alongside professional early childhood teachers.

  • Each family is required to have 1 parent work in the preschool program at least twice per month, from 8:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

  • As members of the CEC community, families will also contribute a minimum of 7 hours each year to help with facility improvement and fundraising support.

  • Parent volunteers will regularly attend a group discussion time with the Site Director on the days they work.

How to Enroll: Submit an enrollment application to Helen Ruppel at the CEC office or via email. For questions, contact Helen or the CEC at 818-354-3418.

Note: Priority enrollment given to Caltech postdoctoral and graduate students, faculty and staff, and JPL employees.

Learn more about our full-time programs.

A Cooperative Preschool Parent Handbook will soon be available as an additional reference.