Skip Navigation

50th Anniversary

Oct 20, 2008

On Sunday, Oct. 19, generations of young children who got their first taste of “school” and special friendships at First United Church Nursery School are invited to celebrate the school’s 50 years of excellence. Students, parents and teachers are invited to a special worship service at First United Church on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m. to celebrate the school which has impacted the lives of thousands of young children in Oak Park and neighboring communities over the past 50 years. Recent grads and current students are invited to wear their school shirts. Everyone is invited to a public reception following the service to re-connect with friends and teachers. Tours of the school rooms will bring back fond memories.

The nursery school began as First Presbyterian Cooperative Nursery School in the fall of 1958 with 15 students. Parents shared turns as volunteers to the one teacher on staff. The next year a second teacher was added, and the name changed to First Presbyterian Church Nursery School. In 1961, Pat Lane became director of the school and in 1964, the school expanded to two classrooms.

In 1977, Joan White took over as director when Pat Lane retired. That same year, following the coming together of First Presbyterian Church and First Congregation Church and becoming First United Church of Oak Park, the nursery school moved to the current site at 848 Lake Street from the former Presbyterian Church at 931 Lake Street. Within its first three years as First United Church Nursery School, the student population expanded to 82 children per session and 12 classrooms (six in the morning and six in the afternoon).

Today First United Church Nursery School’s highly qualified staff of 19 teachers guide the development of more than 140 students. Curiosity, creativity, confidence and initiative are encouraged and supported in an atmosphere of warmth and respect. The curriculum is rich in literacy, math, science, music, motor and art experiences – all age and developmentally appropriate.

Current Board Chair Megan Hutchinson Lewis began her career at First United Nursery School in 1975 when she was three. At the time, her mother, Linda Hutchinson, served on the board. Megan’s son Jack is a graduate of the school, now a 5-year-old kindergarten student at Irving School and daughter Kate is poised to start her First United experience next year.

“The friends I made in nursery school like Amber Stitziel Pareja (another current board member) continued being my friends at Oak Park-River Forest High School,” remembers Megan. “Today we are all parents ourselves and our own children are getting their first real world experiences outside of our homes at First United Nursery School. We’ve really come full circle. Today I enjoy being on the Board. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the school and pass on these nurturing experiences to my own children.”

For more information on the 50th anniversary celebration, call First United Nursery School at (708) 848-4910.

View news archive