Beverly Glen Playgroup has a long and vibrant history as a small, family-centered community school emphasizing a play-based approach to early childhood education. “Playgroup,” as it is often called, began in 1946 when a group of friends and neighbors got together with the idea of providing an informal play experience for their pre-school age children. One of the families offered the yard and bathroom of their home on the corner of Seabury Lane and Beverly Glen Place, just a block away Playgroup’s eventual permanent home. Participation was free, and parents shared responsibility for supervising the children on a rotating basis. This is how Playgroup remained for many years.
Over time, Playgroup grew and matured. In the 1960s a Board of Directors was formed. The Board hired a teacher and later a school Director. As the years went on, Playgroup expanded to include families from neighborhoods outside Beverly Glen canyon. Playgroup’s professional staff formalized the program and curriculum.
Playgroup moved locations within the Glen several times until 1979, when the newly created Les and Dorothy River Community Center became Playgroup’s permanent home. Playgroup shares the Center with the residents of the Beverly Glen community, who use it for voting, residents’ meetings and other community functions.
While Beverly Glen Playgroup has changed and evolved over the years, it remains true to its roots as a family haven nestled in Beverly Glen canyon where children learn through play and dedicated parents work cooperatively to make it all possible.
Playgroup Through the Years
1980s - 90s
2000s - present
Martha Mekjian and a group of neighbors started Playgroup to provide an informal play experience for their toddlers. Martha offered her yard and the parents shared the responsibility for snacks and supervision. The only fees they had were to cover the snacks.
Playgroup continued to grow and everyone agreed it provided a unique and invaluable experience for the community.
Playgroup moved several times in what would become a nomadic period in its history, but matured along the way. It expanded to include families from beyond the Glen and formed an official Board which first hired a teacher and a director.
A legendary period in Playgroup history, as Glen resident Susie Evans became director for the next 19 years. She and the parents worked on many projects together. Expenses and tuition went up as Playgroup became more professional and competitive in its programming and staffing.
Playgroup finally found a forever home in the newly created Les River Community Center.
Playgroup continues to remain true to its roots, while responding to the needs and demands of the community. Since it began in 1946, Playgroup has provided a safe, nurturing environment amongst the trees, where both the teachers and parents partake in the enrichment of the children.