Marion M. Crampton (Tully), whose husband was a noted zoologist at Columbia University, begin a playgroup for young academic families with a $100 gift from Kate Butler (La Montagne), whose husband, Nicholas Murray Butler, was the President of Columbia University. The first playgroup had 10 children in attendance.
The parents hired Carrie Cheek, a recent graduate from NYU. She was a fierce advocate for early childhood education. She spoke of progressive ideals like “learning by doing” and providing opportunities for children to “solve their own problems.” These progressive tenants still live and breathe inside the walls of Greenhouse.
Greenhouse’s history of providing opportunities for grown-ups in our community to learn and connect reaches far back into our past. An article in The Columbia Spectator tells of an evening with Dr. Margaret Mead, Professor of Anthropology. The proceeds from her lecture “Marriage-Savage or Civilized?” benefited Columbia Greenhouse.
Through the years, our classrooms have been filled with furry and not-so-furry friends like guinea pigs, hamsters, bunnies, stick bugs, frogs and tarantulas! Frisky was a long-time favorite. Greenhouse children have engaged with the complete cycle of responsibility of taking care of another living creature.
Four teachers, Paula Doerfel, Lizzy Soriano, Margaret Williams and Arlene Carter attended a study group in Reggio Emilia, Italy where they learned about the Reggio approach and visited some of the iconic schools in the town. They returned inspired! And shared that inspiration with their colleagues, children and families.