The History of the South Whidbey Children’s Center

The South Whidbey Children’s Center was originally founded in 1978 by a small group of families in need of preschool and childcare.  In the beginning we were located in a set of offices at the Senior Center.  By 1980 the families were looking for more direction and so they convinced Barbara Demuth-Mullally (fondly known as Mully) to come aboard. Mully ran the Center until she retired in 2005.

Along the way there were many changes and accomplishments!

In 1980, Mully quickly got the Center registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. In 1985, with a generous gift from the Waterman family, SWCC purchased the home that is our current location. One of the best things about our school is that it was once the home to one of South Whidbey’s most beloved kindergarten teachers, Doris Wills-Kienholz.  We became a United Way agency and in 1996 we also started receiving funds from the Arise Charitable Trust.  Together with the United Way those funds enable us to offer tuition assistance to our families and free childcare to our teachers. We have grown so much since moving into our school house.

By 1989 we had adopted HighScope curriculum and many of our teachers and staff have been HighScope trained along the way.  Many other educators/professionals have influenced our educational philosophy including Magda Gerber and RIE and Jean Illsley Clark author or Self Esteem a Family Affair.

In 2006 we became accredited with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We just completed our 3rd renewal!  In 2015 we began our participation with the Department of Early Learning’s Early Achievers rating system.

The Children’s Center partners with many local agencies.  We work with our South Whidbey Parks and Recreation to host the annual Children’s Day in the park.  We work with our local Sno-Isle library system by attending preschool story time, a book exchange and attending children’s workshops.  Our staff often takes continuing education courses through our local library as well.  We have partnered with our local school district around literacy development, alignment and Kindergarten transitions.  We attend Partners for Young Children meetings and are involved at a state level on addressing issues around early childhood education.

Over the years we continue to offer excellent parent education opportunities and time for our families  to get to know each other.  Annually we hold a Back to School Night, a wonderful Maypole celebration and our End of the Year Ceremony.  Each classroom also hosts pot lucks and gatherings.  Bringing families together is one of our most important roles.  Living in our small community allows for lifelong friendships between children and parents as well.  We are honored to be a part of the lives of our children and families, a part of their personal history.

On the top, Sonya Richards in the Honey Bear room…on the bottom her daughter in the same room!