Our History


Foundations Preschool began as Perry Nursery School in 1934 in the depth of the Great Depression.  Perry Nursery School was started by Edith Bader, Assistant Superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, as one of four WPA (Works Progress Administration) Nursery Schools founded to assist children from depression-ridden homes as well as give employment to low income mothers hired to staff the nurseries. It was named Perry Nursery School because it was housed in the Perry Elementary School.

As the Depression eased in the late 1930s, the three other WPA nurseries closed. Perry Nursery School survived and in 1942 became a Lanham Act Nursery. The Lanham Act, established by the US Congress, provided funding to establish child care centers so mothers of young children could work in the growing defense industry.

As World War II ended and mothers employed in defense industries again became full-time homemakers, a group of parents, administrators and community activists recognized there was still a need for full-time child care for young children. Many women were the sole or major supporters of their families. In addition to low-income and divorced mothers, there were war widows and wives who supported the family while their husbands went to college under the GI Bill.

  • In 1948 Perry Nursery School was incorporated by the state of Michigan as a non-profit organization.
  • In 1952 the Nursery was made a member agency of the United Way and it still is.
  • In 1967 the Perry School Building closed and Perry Nursery moved into a house on Washtenaw Rd. near Hill St.
  • In 1992 the Nursery School moved to its current location on Packard near Carpenter.
  • On October 4th, 2014, Perry Nursery School became FOUNDATIONS PRESCHOOL OF WASHTENAW COUNTY.
  • In January 2015, Foundations Preschool opens its first satellite classroom. Is located on Harris st. in Ypsilanti.

Even though Foundations Preschool has changed names, locations, students, teachers and directors over the years, the goal of providing quality, affordable child care for low-income families remains constant.