The history of DIG Childhood Center dates back to the 1990s, when a group of like-minded parents began a collaboration with a local in-home daycare to provide a unique—at the time—child care program: healthy food and snacks for children in a daycare setting. As the children grew, so did the cooperative, and their knowledge as well. The teachers and families adopted a play-based, non-judgmental approach to caring for their children and soon formalized their approach, establishing the non-profit Venice Parents Daycare and Preschool. This school operated for many years as a home-based, licensed childcare in Venice and, later, Mar Vista. In addition to supporting children’s emotional and social growth and development, many parents discovered or re-discovered their love of teaching, and the co-op produced many talented teachers who now work throughout the community.

Eventually, the co-op struggled under the weight of hefty parent participation requirements at a time when more families had two salary earners, making it harder to manage the day-to-day of a strictly cooperative model. In order to still serve the community yet find a sustainable model for a cooperative preschool, a small group of families helped to negotiate a partnership to provide a new, licensed preschool at the YWCA, where the school was not completely dependent upon parent participation.

The new preschool thrived at the YWCA for many years until June 2016, when the YWCA ended most of its programs. Once again, a group of dedicated families dedicated themselves to saving the preschool and toddler programs and finding a new permanent home under sustainable leadership.

Today, DIG Childhood Center, operated by the non-profit Venice Parents Daycare & Preschool, has grown from that vision. With full- and part-time teachers receiving competitive benefits and salaries, and a cooperative model that reflects reasonable time commitments from families in various ways, the school will continue the cooperative spirit and provide caring, respectful, and enriching support to children and families.