Franklin Park Preschool had its beginning over 60 years ago in 1954. Four neighborhood mothers, each with a three year old saw the need for a supervised outlet for their active and creative children. The center, which started with four children in 1954, met once a week in the Franklin Park Clubhouse for two hours, from 10 A.M. until noon. This group grew in two years to an amazing organization of 16 preschool children and their families. There was no question in anyone’s mind as to the advantages derived from supervised play and creative activities.
By the beginning of the third year it was decided to form a parents club, which would meet once a month to talk over the vital interests of the preschool. It was during these meetings that the idea of scheduled mothers to assist in the center was started. Prior to this decision mothers took turns in volunteering their help. Now, however the school was running on a program of four mornings a week and the need for consistent scheduling was apparent. Materials and equipment were purchased from the dues, which started in the first year at the rate of 25 cents a morning for each child.
For five years the school was at the Franklin Park Clubhouse from 10 A.M. until noon with the groups divided according to age. Mothers took turns serving hot soup and crackers to the children so that they might learn the pleasure of eating and socializing together.
These first “graduates” thrived and went on to kindergarten with a minimum of problems, and the parents were pleased knowing their children’s first experience in school had been successful.
From the first five years of experimentation came the organization such as in the present school, with its elected officers and regular business meetings. A permanent director-teacher was employed.
As the enrollment grew the need for a permanent building also grew. Donated time and materials made the present building possible with both family and friends of the center contributing. These people definitely believed that young children needed a school of their own to freely learn to use their natural talents and to mingle with other children before entering the formal school program.
The new building was completed in 1959 and the school opened with a five-morning schedule and an enrollment of 35 children divided into age groups. The purpose of establishing the school remained the same; a supervised preschool, giving children an opportunity to express themselves as individuals. Tuition was set at $4 per month for the older class, and $3 for the younger class. The afternoon session was added in 1996 to provide twice as many children the opportunity to attend and enjoy the school.
The original school grew out of the neighborhood families, almost a “walkin”. Now we are from all sections of Santa Rosa, and that which started with four outward looking mothers is now almost a legend.