First Charlottesville Preschool to Integrate Must Move

Posted: Updated:
A Charlottesville church's plan for the future doesn't include a preschool housed in its basement for nearly half-a-century. Molly Michie preschool is preparing to pack up and move to a new location with the community's support.

Molly Michie can claim many firsts. It was the first integrated preschool in Charlottesville and the first parent-run cooperative preschool. Now, the school is moving for the first time in its 47-year history and it's hoping families follow.

Parent volunteers like Sheila Chrobak and Kiran Uppal support the preschool's two teachers to run the cooperative's classrooms.

“I wanted to really be actively involved in my children's educational experience,” Chrobak said.

Molly Michie founded the school in the basement of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church in 1967. Now, the church's future plan for the space is forcing the preschool to move out.

“The challenge is, of course, taking something that has been in one place for so long and using that as an opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate the program,” Chrobak said.

Parents of the nearly 40 students got to work to find a new home for Molly Michie. Uppal says closing was never an option.

“We feel this sense of responsibility to this school, and we were not going to just let it fizzle away because of a move,” Uppal said.

Molly Michie will move from Rugby Road to Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church on Thomson Road.

“We've had great support not only from our current families, but our alumni families, and from volunteers in the community,” Chrobak said.

Uppal's son will join his 4-year-old sister at the new preschool next fall. Chrobak's daughter will join her brother as Molly Michie makes history.

“Molly Michie is still Molly Michie Cooperative Preschool. We're just going to be in a new physical location. Everything else is going to be really great,” Chrobak said.

The preschool is asking alumni students and parents and volunteers to help with the move. Enrollment is also open for new students at the new space.

Statement from Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church 

Molly Michie Preschool's departure from Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church - Unitarian Universalist marks the end of an era. The space occupied by the preschool has needed major repairs and renovations for many years.

Our Board of Trustees voted to discontinue the preschool's lease in order to proceed with renovations so the space can better meet our congregation's meeting and Religious Education needs.

At this time we are working together with the preschool to find ways to honor our long relationship, its founders, and its important history as the first integrated preschool in Charlottesville.

Amy Wissekerke
President, TJMC-UU Board of Trustees

  • Sign Up for Email Alerts

    Sign up to receive news, weather, and breaking news emails from the NBC29 newsroom in your inbox daily.

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.