History of the Little School


Dear Parents: The History of the Little School

In the fall of 2004, founder Jennifer Adams began the search for quality childcare for her two young children as she began her plan to return to work as a school psychologist in a neighboring school district. It quickly became apparent that quality childcare was more difficult to find than anticipated, that high quality centers maintained extensive waiting lists, and that there was an obvious need for additional centers in the area.

After failing to find the center that was the best fit for her children, she decided to open her own school. At the same time all those ideas were churning in her head, Mary Swanson walked into her life. Mary had spent many years managing businesses and was ready to use those skills for a new adventure. Mary jumped right in and together they developed a blueprint for their new school. Through a series of very fortunate events, and lots of hard work, Jennifer opened her own school, with Mary as the first teacher. The first Little School opened in September 2005 in a beautiful wooded setting in southern Hillsborough with three classrooms, six teachers, and lots of plans and ideas.

After five years the school was bursting at the seams. With a desire and vision for a larger campus combined with the knowledge and experience gained from the first school, Jennifer and Mary made the decision to design and build their dream school. Mary and Jennifer found a third partner, Wendy Vavrousek to join in this next venture. Wendy's daughter had been in the very first pre-school class with Jennifer's son and they had remained connected as their children went on to kindergarten. Wendy was also a trained school psychologist and was working as Director of Exceptional Children's Services in a neighboring school district. She left this position to help develop and build the new school campus. The Little School at Waterstone opened in January 2010.

In 2011, The Little School contracted with Duke University to create The Little School at Duke. After a year of renovations to what was the former Duke School for Children campus, the newest Little School campus opened in September of 2012.

What began as a lofty dream has become a vibrant and successful school and business. The original intention for Jennifer to find the perfect place for her own children, drives Jennifer, Mary, and Wendy’s continued commitment to the highest quality early childhood experience for the children in our care. We hope that this beginning will always define us as such a place