History

In 1949, the Women’s Alliance of the First Unitarian Society (located at 900 University Bay Drive in Madison, WI) created what would ultimately become MHNS. Referred to as “The Playhouse,” the nursery school was located in the garage of the minister’s house because the church itself was not finished being built. The Women’s Alliance firmly believed that children needed regular opportunities to come together to simply play, which at the time was a rather progressive approach to child development.

The Playhouse became the first licensed day care in the city of Madison, and it later relocated to the Gaebler Living Room of the church – the very room where our current students have Music & Movement! In 1953, the concept of the nursery school was reformulated, and MHNS as we know it today was born. In 1967, the lower west wing was built to meet the special space needs of the school, and in 1975, the school legally separated from the First Unitarian Society and was re-organized as its own secular, tax-exempt, non-profit corporation.

Throughout its long and proven history, MHNS has not wavered from its philosophy of learning through play, established by the Women’s Alliance so many years ago. MHNS Executive Director Sarah Dill says, “Educational pendulums swing back and forth, but we’ve never deviated from our core philosophy that kids need to play. That’s how they learn and grow.”