In 1915, faculty wives at the University of Chicago started the first parent participation nursery school to provide a social experience for their children and parent education for themselves.

The first parent participation nursery school in California was organized in 1929 in Berkeley and is still in operation today. In order to communicate with similar schools, they formed regional councils and then joined to form CCPPNS.  

The organization is financed through dues paid by member schools and is run by parents and professional teachers. CCPPNS is affiliated with Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI).