In 2001, Eileen Johnson became Director of Little Missionary Day Nursery, or ”Little Mish,” as it is affectionately called. This 110 year-old institution was reduced to a population of 8 children, with only a Twos and a Threes class. Only one floor of this generously donated building was occupied, the rest being rented out to generate income. The finances were at an all-time low, and the school’s reputation was poor.
The Board of Directors placed its trust in Eileen to bring her philosophy of Emotional Education to the school. In the intervening years, the school has become not only successful, but in great demand, and an important part of the community. Parents know Little Mish as a place where their child will feel safe and nurtured, and will grow in emotional and cognitive strength.
In 2014, the school expanded to return the whole building to its original use as a school. Currently there are 95 children enrolled, with two Twos programs, two Threes programs, and a Pre-K program, After School, and Summer School.
The school’s finances have stabilized, and the time has come to grow once again.In September 2017, Sara Curry Day School opens. Eileen’s vision for an elementary school where children learn self-reflective and analytical habits, while taking on academic pursuits that relate to the children’s own talents and interests will admit kindergarteners and 1st graders.
Children spend almost half their young lives in school – where better to teach them real life skills? We have the potential to prepare them to create a world where people can communicate constructively with each other, where negative feelings will not be acted out, but will be shared and discussed.
Emotional Education is a way of teaching children to think about their own feelings, to process, understand them and communicate them in a healthy way. The goal is to teach children to reflect rather than act, to communicate rather than compete, and to face problems and find solutions. In this way we can change the world by building collaborative and positive communities where creative ideas can grow and conflicts can be resolved.
The Sara Curry Day School will occupy the Third Floor of the building during its first year, and Kindergarten/First Grade will be the first stage of the school’s progress, beginning with enrollment in 2017-2018.
In 2018-2019, the school will add Second Grade. By 2020, the school will need to locate another space to satisfy the demand it will undoubtedly experience.
The school is currently exploring options for a new space, and is starting an Expansion Fund in order to finance this endeavor. We are in serious discussion about potentially adding a middle school to our plans for the future.
Eileen is the author of The Children’s Bill of Emotional Rights, published by Jason Aronson, 2012 and she is the co-author of: What Happens When You Die: Three and Four-Year-Olds Talking about Death published by Jason Aronson 2011.
Her upcoming book documenting her work at Little Mish is entitled: Emotional Education and will be published in 2017