Central Branch Preschool was founded in 1968 by Marge Johnson and Pat Melgard. These two teachers from The Little School (now in Bellevue) wanted to start a Seattle branch to provide quality early education for children from varying backgrounds and races and ethnicities. Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated and they believed that learning about others who may look or seem different from you was a gift and a way to help set the foundation for a more just world. Our original name, The Central Branch of The Little School, came from these roots.
They rented a large turn-of-the century house on Capitol Hill. With money from three family foundation grants, they set about converting the house into a place where children would play, grow, and learn together.
In September 1980, the school opened in its current home in the Mt. Baker Community Clubhouse. The building includes a small, fenced, side-yard, faces a tree-lined, grassy boulevard, and is adjacent to Mt. Baker Park and beach. Our location allows for wonderful opportunities to explore the natural world.
Central Branch carries the philosophy and heart that Marge and Pat first brought to the school as evidenced in our mission:
Our mission is to provide a play-based preschool experience that encourages children to develop meaningful and deep relationships with self and others, within a community where children of all races, ethnicities and economic levels learn together and where families of color thrive.
Clockwise from top left: Director Wendy Simmons, Asst Director Lesli Franklin, Teacher Levell Turner, Teacher Abeer Al Jallad, Teacher Henry Kiner, Teacher Rosalinda Stanberry