Tuesday School celebrates 40 years

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday School students visit Strawberry Hill Farm in 2010. (photo submitted by Olivia Whiteside)

Forty years ago this month, several mothers organized a cooperative playgroup at Tryon First Baptist Church for their preschool children, so those not looking after the children could attend an exercise class led by Dorothy Quest at the Congregational Church on Tuesday mornings. Soon the mothers wanted a more structured situation for the children, so they hired June Williams, and Tuesday School began. The mother’s group began meeting on Tuesdays, thus the name Tuesday School stuck.  The school eventually moved to the Congregational Church, where it has been for the last 30 years.
Tuesday School is one of the nation’s oldest parent cooperatives, with its longevity attributed to parent dedication, community involvement and the outstanding level of developmentally appropriate education children receive from the teachers. It is governed and led by parents sharing a common goal of providing the best education for their children and serving the community.  Hundreds of local children have attended the preschool over the years, and many former students now enroll their own children.
The school is now open five days a week and generally follows the Polk County Schools’ calendar. Children begin when they are 2 years old and meet Tuesdays and Thursdays. The 3-year-olds meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while the 4-year-olds attend all five days. This year Tuesday School has announced it will have a mixed-age classroom, giving parents the option of sending their 3-year-olds five days a week instead of three.
Influenced by Tryon’s rich cultural heritage, fine arts are an integral part of the Tuesday School curriculum, along with a major focus of children learning through play. Whether attending regular music class with Gaye Johnson, creating art to be exhibited at the yearly art show, acting in plays or writing their own books, the children are exposed to art daily. Various field trips also help expand their cultural awareness. Some places the children have visited over the years include the old Lee Dairy Farm, local apple and peach orchards, the Greenville Zoo, Buck’s Pizza, The Book Shelf and Hands On Children’s Museum.
Tuesday School welcomes diverse new families each year, and reinvents itself to meet the needs of the current families every year.  This past year, parents redesigned the Tuesday School logo and developed a vision statement. Parents’ perspective on their children’s education is encouraged.  The community has always been an integral part of the nonprofit school through participation in events and generous donations.
Twenty years ago, the current and former parents created an anniversary yearbook. This year, the parents plan to create another yearbook and are relying on former families, teachers and students to contribute photographs and information. The parents said they would like to create a list of all teachers and students who have attended and where their lives have led them. A reunion event is planned as well.
To contribute information, you may contact Olivia Whiteside at 828-859-0258, or email tuesdayschool.org@gmail.com. The website is www.tuesdayschool.org/.  Tuesday School is also on Facebook.
– article submitted by Olivia Whiteside

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