Since 1958… Learning Through Play for Over 60 Years!

Monona Grove Nursery School, Inc. (MGNS) was started in the spring of 1958 because of a neighborhood meeting (playgroup) of interested mothers who thought that for their needs, a cooperative nursery school was best. MGNS was then founded by Alice Schuller and DeLoris Vander Velde. It was decided early on to strive to meet all standards set forth by the State of Wisconsin for preschools to obtain licensing by that agency. As a result of these efforts, MGNS was granted a license during its first year of operation!

Today Monona Grove Nursery School continues to be licensed through the State Department of Children and Families (DCF). In 2006, MGNS underwent a voluntary, comprehensive process of internal self-study, and external professional review leading to accreditation by the City of Madison, Office of Community Services- Child Care Division. Every year we go through the accreditation process again. In addition, we have been awarded a 5-star rating from the State of WI YOUNGSTAR program, which is the highest rating available. 

Over the years, MGNS has continued to grow as the times and demands have needed us to—in 2003 we introduced our Toddler Time program to allow for a parent accompanied, gentle introduction to preschool.  In 2010 we added an optional lunch bunch program to address the feedback that parents gave us that lunchtime in full day kindergarten can be overwhelming, and the kids could use some practice. In 2011, the Madison School District adopted a free 4K education for all district 4-year olds, and our school applied and was accepted to be a 4K site. We continue to constantly evaluate our programs to respond to our community’s needs. 

In the 2018/19 school year, MGNS celebrated its sixtieth birthday! We marked this occasion with a party, participation in the Memorial Day Parade, and by kicking off our donor wall on which alumni and friends can get a block on the wall by making a significant donation to our school’s scholarship and future fund. Many alumni joined us for the celebration, and some of the feedback was great to hear! “Some of the same toys are here, the wooden toys,” said Karen Reuss, who taught at the school from 1968 to 1974. “The boat, the rocking horse, the doll house – they’ve been sanded down and painted again, but they’re the same toys.”