About Us

Central Branch Preschool was founded in 1968 by Pat Melgard and Marge Johnson. These two teachers from The Little School (now in Bellevue) wanted to start a Seattle branch to provide quality early education for urban children. Our original name, The Central Branch of The Little School, came from these roots.


Pat and Marge shared a common vision of wanting to reach out to children from a variety of backgrounds. 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.

Pat Melgard (above)                Marge Johnson (above on left)


In September 1980, the school opened in its current home in the Mt. Baker Community Clubhouse. Its neighborhood is an attractive multiracial community with many young families. The building faces a tree-lined boulevard. Its yard allows climbing, running, and digging in sand and dirt. The Mt. Baker Park and beach offer wonderful opportunities to explore the natural world.

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Thank you Marge and Pat for your vision. We are so grateful to you for founding Central Branch!