Kensington Nursery School
Kensington Nursery School was the first cooperative nursery school in the Washington metropolitan area and was a founding member of the Council of Co-op Schools. In 1939, when the nursery school idea was still not widely known, a group of Kensington parents formed a cooperative nursery school, the Kensington Play Group. Later, the school’s name was changed to The Kensington Cooperative Nursery School.
With the backing of the Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools, who felt that the project would benefit the whole community, the school obtained its first home in the new Kensington Junior High School. In 1940, the school was forced to vacate its quarters in the junior high school and seek housing elsewhere. Until 1957 classes met in a variety of places in and around Kensington. From the first, it was apparent that temporary quarters were costly and uncertain and cut down the usefulness of the school. In 1940, its second year, the school began to discuss acquiring permanent housing to suit its special needs. The parents began raising funds and putting them aside. In 1955, the school bought outright a 3/4 acre lot in Kensington Heights, to serve as a building site.
After raising funds through bonds, ground was broken April 1st, 1957, for a modern cinder block structure designed by Alexander Richter, A.I.A., a former member of the school. The building, which was ready for occupancy in September 1957, is particularly well suited to the needs of our cooperative nursery program. The building remained unchanged until the spring of 1968, when a new storage shed was added on the right side of the building. In 1985, parents rolled up their sleeves again to raise the funds needed to replace the large playhouse in the school’s yard. A contemporary, four level, 16-foot long timber structure was designed and built over the summer by a group of hardworking KNS families. Enrollment in Kensington Nursery School has varied from 16 to 68, depending on the size of the facilities available. Altogether, more than 1,000 families have been served.
In 1985, parents rolled up their sleeves again to raise the funds needed to replace the large playhouse in the school's yard. A four level, 16-foot long timber structure was designed and built over the summer by a group of hardworking KNS families. A generation of students played on this structure before being replaced in 2017 with an even larger playground climber.
Kensington Nursery School is dedicated to providing a nurturing and enriching environment for preschool children and their families. Play is the major activity through which children develop social skills, work out difficulties and exercise their physical, sensory, emotional and cognitive abilities. We accept each child as a person, encouraging individual strengths and fostering a positive self-image.
Daily experiences are structured to broaden the child’s understanding of the world. The wide variety of materials is used selectively to give children many opportunities for exploration. The atmosphere of the classroom encourages freedom of expression, while respecting the rights and feelings of others. Specially-trained teachers guide a thematically based program and work with cooperating parents to ensure that each child is attended to as part of a group and as an individual. Children are able to expand their appreciation of their community, the environment and the natural world.
Parent perspective is broadened through participation in the classroom and the Parent Education Program. Skills and insights learned at school can be used at home. Children value parents’ participation and they begin to learn the meaning of community involvement. Teachers, parents and children alike benefit from the exchange of ideas inherent in the cooperative structure.
Kensington Cooperative Nursery School Board of Directors 2019–2020
President - Robert Kohlmeyer
Vice President - Reneé Lahr
Treasurer - Dustin Kennedy
Secretary - Vacant
Fundraising Co-chairs - Tanisha Ferguson and Jocelyn Taylor
Membership Co-chairs - Neal Hoage and Ana Lincoln
Communications Chair - Narissa Johnson
Maintenance Chair - Aurelio Baca-Asher
Participation Chair - Kelly Thelin
Kensington Nursery School
3202 Decatur Avenue
Kensington, Maryland 20895
Kensington Nursery School is located approximately 1/2 mile from the intersection of St. Paul Street and University Avenue. To reach KNS, drive north on Connecticut Avenue from the Capital Beltway. Go 2 miles and when you reach the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and University Boulevard, veer right toward University Boulevard. Go 0.3 mile and turn right on to St. Paul Street. Go to the first stop sign and turn left onto McComas Avenue. Go to the first stop sign and turn left on to Pearson Street. Go until you reach a dead end and turn left onto Decatur Avenue. You will see KNS immediately on the left.
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