Kensington Co-Operative 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.

 The charming, hand-painted sign at the front door

The charming, hand-painted sign at the front door

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.

 Part of the play area in the rear of the school

Part of the play area in the rear of the school

After raising funds through bonds, ground was broken April 1, 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.

For more information, visit their website:  knscoop.org


Courtesy of Laura Kervitsky
Farragut Avenue