In 2001 Mary Coppola and Susan Burns met at an open preschool in South Charlotte where their children were students. It was a long drive, and the two of them talked together about a dream for a similar preschool closer to home. They decided to start a non-profit progressive preschool in the University area. They based the school on the philosophy developed by Sue Riley, a highly respected early-childhood educator in Charlotte, who offered her wisdom and guidance as the school got off the ground. The vision for the preschool was that it be neither for-profit nor religious, and that it promote freedom of thought and action for young children, and embrace a strong sense of visual aesthetics. Mary and Susan selected the Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church because of its convenient location, wooded grounds, attractive classrooms, and reasonable rent (Susan being on the PUUC Board at the time). The preschool is separate and independent from the church, but close in spirit. The doors opened on October 16, 2001 with one multi-age classroom of three-to- five year olds. In January of 2003, a two-year- old class was added, and then in the school’s third year the four/five-year old class was inaugurated, with great success.
With each passing year the challenges have grown but the spirit of the preschool is strengthened with new families and a dedicated teaching staff, some who have been with the school since the early years, preserving the original philosophical approach and goals of early childhood education. Nowhere else is there a non-profit, non-sectarian school where the children are encouraged to be creative, free-thinking, independent individuals.
In 2005 Mary and Susan transferred leadership and governance over to a Parent Council model used at Open Door School in the early years, in order to spend more time with their
own children that had aged out of the program. The parents and teachers decided that they
would all pull together to help preserve this vital part of the community and ensure it would be available for future children. A PPP parent, Sharon King stepped up to become the chair of the newly formed parent council and later Director. Parents serving on the council each year put their hearts and their time into support of this nurturing environment for their children and future children of PPP. In 2012 Michele Deese, lead teacher, stepped into the role of director as well as continuing her role as 4-5’s teacher with her co-teacher Susan Siebert. It is through the partnership between parents and teachers that this wonderful school continues to thrive and provide a place where the individuality of each child is respected.
Be the change you want to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi
Play is Powerful" - the PPP
©2017 Piedmont Progressive Preschool | 9704 Mallard Creek Road, Charlotte, NC 28262 | 704-510-1022