The Washington University Nursery School was founded in 1947 as a cooperative venture of faculty and Washington University in St. Louis. The primary purpose of the nursery school is to provide the highest quality preschool program for children 2 years and 7 months to 5 years of age. Today about 80 percent of the children are from families of Washington University in St. Louis faculty, staff and students, and the remaining are from families in the community.

Children come from a variety of countries, cultures and economic backgrounds. The school maintains the high standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), by which it is accredited. It is licensed by the State of Missouri.

The nursery school also serves as a site for research in child development and early childhood teacher training. Washington University undergraduate and graduate students are employed to assist in the classrooms. The classroom teachers, as well as the nursery school’s director, supervise them. The student workers’ presence enables children to receive additional individual attention.

The nursery school is located on the Washington University campus. It is composed of three classrooms which are designed to offer children a variety of choices in their play. Two additional all-purpose rooms are equipped with a library and a variety of indoor gross motor play materials. A large outdoor play area gives children the opportunity to run, bike, swing, climb, slide and play in the sand.