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The History of Wesley Education Center

Wesley Child Care Center has its roots in the Methodist Episcopal Church and in the West Fourth Street Friendship Home for Negro Girls operated by the Woman's Home Missionary Society. During World War I, many women went to work and continued working after their husbands returned. Friendship Home was besieged by requests for help from women who needed safe care for their children.

The 1920s

The need was further documented by a survey conducted by Miss Louise Penn, a then-recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati's Kindergarten Training School. She found appalling conditions, including children locked in their homes until mothers returned from work, and children left in the care of unreliable people. The National Woman's Home Missionary Society met the challenge of the survey results, opening a kindergarten in the Friendship Home building in January, 1920. Miss Penn was the first teacher for the 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. class.

By 1923, the program had expanded its hours, serving children from 6 months to 14 years of age with preschool and day care services. This was the first program in the Cincinnati area to provide infant/toddler care for all families.

Lucile Holliday

The following year, Miss Lucile Holliday, a graduate of the Iowa National Training School, enlisted as a teacher and went on to serve as director, advisor, and friend. In her 41 years at the Center, she oversaw many innovations, including the first latch-key program in the city. With the move to Seventh Street in 1920, the Center's name changed to Mother's Memorial Center, in part to encourage older children to attend and participate in the clubs and activities.


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