Looking for a way to meet other families and enrich your child’s early learning through play? Children of the World Co-op might be exactly what you’re looking for!

Located at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (the Co-op has no religious affiliation) across the street from Johns Hopkins University Campus, the Co-op offers a gently structured, mixed-age playgroup program for families from Baltimore and around the world. Their “caregiver and child” format makes trying new things and making new friends easier for children without the anxiety of separation. Children can direct their own play and feel secure knowing their parent or caregiver is close by or collaborate with their adult partner in block building or creating messy artwork, for example.

Karen Rist joined the Co-op as a mom in the 1996 because she was excited by the international element of the group and the cultural interactions both she and her daughter would experience. Three years later she started working for the Co-op and then became Executive Director in 2002.

Children of the World Co-Op

“What I find most striking is that the struggles parents face are the same no matter where they are from,” said Karen. “Our similarities transcend our cultural differences.”

60-70 families participate in the Co-op each year, which meets weekdays from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM. Families come from all over the city and county. Due to the proximity to Johns Hopkins, many international families participate in the playgroup. Culture is embraced by the group. Circle time singing includes traditional American songs and rhymes, as well as songs from other countries. Connections extend beyond the playgroup and include Co-op outings, potlucks, and more.

Children of the World Co-Op

Unlike a more formal preschool setting, caregivers stay with their child throughout the playgroup morning. The toys and activities parallel those found in traditional drop-off preschools – indoor/outdoor play, art activities, circle time, and singing/movement. The difference is that there is an emphasis on open play and interaction among all the ages.

Want more information? Check out their website.


Children of the World Co-Op is a (cool) progeny partner. Find out more about them in our Preschool Directory.