Students at Mary Randall Preschool participate in Pledge of Allegiance

Mary Proctor Randall Preschool


A Model for the Nation

Mary Proctor Randall Preschool is a tuition school that has been in operation since 1929. The current building was completed in 1967 and funded by the Hillsdale College Board of Women Commissioners, of which Mary Proctor Randall, a 1906 alumna, was a member. At the dedication ceremony, Hillsdale College President J. Donald Phillips called the preschool a “model for the nation.” It has study rooms, playrooms, a kitchen, an observation balcony, and an outdoor playhouse. Children are taught by members of the Hillsdale College Education Department. Qualified college students can obtain course credit for supervised instruction at the preschool.

Teacher reading to Mary Randall Preschool students

History

The Hillsdale College Nursery School was established in 1929 by the Women Commissioners and Psychology Professor Dr. David Trout and originally located in the basement of Mauck Hall.

The pioneering program, the first of its kind at a Michigan college, not only provided a place of learning for the very young, but also served as a situation in which College students interested in education, psychology, sociology, and home economics could observe small children. Hillsdale’s program was the only one chosen among Michigan colleges for affiliation with the Merrill-Palmer School in Detroit, known for its groundbreaking research in child development.

Elizabeth Dickinson, fondly known to generations of youngsters as “Miss D,” led the nursery school for nearly forty years, starting in 1946. In 1999 the Women Commissioners dedicated a playhouse on the grounds of Mary Proctor Randall Preschool to the memory of “Miss D” for her kind influence on hundreds of young children.

Faculty

Mary Proctor Randall Preschool is operated by Hillsdale College through its education department. The preschool’s director as well as the head teachers of the preschool’s morning and afternoon sessions teach early childhood education courses. College students enrolled in these courses meet course requirements by working with preschool children under the immediate supervision of their college instructors.

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