“As we well know, the appreciation & the love for the beautiful, the good, & the true in nature, in art, and in music should have their beginnings in the early years.” (Gertrude Coursen, Waverly Community House 1924)
In 1921, the Waverly Community House began conducting kindergarten classes for local children. This sentiment is especially significant considering the historical atmosphere in place at the time. There were advances during the early 20th century regarding children & their place in society; child labor laws were being implemented & there was a growing focus on education. The Waverly Community House’s kindergarten solidified the notion that the educational landscape was changing; it was also one of the first kindergarten programs in the local area.
As mentioned above, the WCH began hosting kindergarten classes in 1921; initially, class sessions were moved around throughout different rooms at the Comm until the addition of the two wings allowed a designation solely for kindergarten in the building’s South Wing. Early class activities during this time included: story hour, handwork class, music & dance, recess, field trips, and much more. Although classes were formulated with the intent to educate, Comm Staff also recognized the importance of recreation & leisure to a child’s development. When speaking on the matter, President of the Board of Trustees Paul Belin stated: “Much could be accomplished if we keep in mind that we want to educate through recreation.”
The WCH Fairies group was also developed during this time & was a recreational club created for children to learn how to help their local community by engaging in various activities, one of which included raising funds to sustain the Comm. Staff members thought that these significant conceptual ideas would encourage children to become well rounded, civic minded, community members. Ultimately, the WCH kindergarten remained an innovative, creative development in the Comm’s formulation & the notion of education through recreation has remained at the forefront of the current mission statement.
The Waverly Community House’s kindergarten program lasted through the 1940’s, however, its memory lives on through current educational programs offered at the Comm such as: the After School Program, Comm Classroom Project, Comm Camp, and the newly developed CommKids Interactive & Learning Center which is scheduled to make its debut in the near future. Check back here for updates regarding these programs or visit our website at: waverlycomm.org.