Rebecca Allen was a true cooperative pioneer. She discovered the parent participatory model quite as she drove her youngest daughter to a doctor's appointment. She tells how she was required to take a course taught by Katharine Whiteside Taylor before she could work in the classroom. From there she joined Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School and served as President of their Board.
She was a founder of Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI), an international organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing cooperative preschools and child care. She served PCPI in various capacities for 40 years and was committed to its success. She was also committed to the cooperative business model. As a respected speaker on early childhood education, she never failed to include cooperatives in her talks and consistently emphasized the importance of parent participation and administration of preschools.
Allen was also a leading consultant in early childhood education whose expertise was often sought in the field. In the 1960s, she helped develop the government’s Head Start program, and was responsible for including parents as decision makers and staff. To this day, parental involvement is a cornerstone of the Head Start program.
An accomplished editor and author, Allen wrote numerous articles for PCPI’s Parent Cooperative newsletter, as well as for national publications such as Child and Family and Children Today. She also co-edited the original preschool Bibliography of Resources, a comprehensive list of materials produced by U.S. and Canadian cooperative preschools and councils, that is still used in its revised form.
Check out the video of Rebecca Allen's induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.