History Of The School
When Molly Ingle Michie and two co-founders opened our school in 1967, they recognized that the preschool years have a deep and enduring effect on children's lives. The founders' legacy for the school is a basic belief that caring makes a difference in the lives of children. Our parents and teachers bring that caring into our classrooms every day.
The Unitarian Cooperative Preschool was founded in 1967 by three Unitarian women, Molly Michie, Ann Spurgin, and Gwyneth Mooney. It was designed to meet a community need for a semi-structured, multi-racial preschool. It was the first integrated preschool and the first parent cooperative preschool in Charlottesville.
In keeping with the Unitarian Universalist practice, no effort to proselytize specific theological beliefs was intended. Children from all religious orientations have been and are welcome, and their various religious and cultural backgrounds have been and are respected.
In 2014, Molly Michie Preschool relocated to the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church located at 1901 Thomson Road, Charlottesville. The Creative Curriculum and ideals of the preschool remain while the program has been enhanced with a new outdoor living and learning playground featuring a waterwall, mud kitchen, outdoor music along with other play areas.
Molly Ingle Michie
October 4, 1932 - July 2, 1979
The following memorial was written by Virginia Germino, a past preschool parent who knew Molly Michie well. For others who would like to understand or have a sense of having known Mrs. Michie, a copy of her article "A Splendid Day" is in the MMP library.
Our school is honored to bear the name of Molly Ingle Michie, whose life exemplified the kind of caring that makes a difference. As one of the founders of the Unitarian Co-operative Preschool, she helped create an environment for children in which they could grow and flourish as individuals and friends, learning to trust themselves and the people who cared for them.
After Molly's son finished kindergarten in the Co-op School, she continued to help and support the school in many ways. She served as registrar, offering a warm welcome to each person who inquired about the school. She headed the scholarship committee and spoke eloquently for the policies that made it possible for the school to serve children of all races, creeds, and economic levels. Whenever this mission of the school began to be forgotten, Molly came to the rescue, and for many years she was the person who brought to life the history and philosophy of the school and orientation for new Co-op parents.
Molly's concern for children was not confined within the protective walls of the Co-op School, but spread into the larger community. Serving on the boards of the Central Virginia Child Development Association and the Barrett Day Care Center, and on the United Way Scholarship Committee for Exceptional Children, Molly worked steadily and cheerfully to better the lot of many hundreds of children.
Years of research in the field of early childhood development spurred Molly's enthusiasm for changing the physical, intellectual, and emotional conditions in which young children live. Molly knew that the preschool years have the deepest and most enduring effects. In the Molly Michie Preschool we cherish her legacy and try to follow her example in the belief that caring does make a difference.