Evanston Day Nursery Association


The Association provides developmental, family-centered programs serving children ages 3-9, and operating on a sliding fee scale basis. They serve approximately 80 children annually. They also host summer camps and have an inter-generational program with the Presbyterian Homes.


The Evanston Day Nursery (EDN) was founded in 1912 by a group of women to meet the childcare needs of poor, working Evanston families. In 1915, the organization opened in the home of one of its founders and thus became the first day care center in Evanston and one of the first in Illinois. For many years the organization was run from a house at 1515 Wesley Avenue. In 1955, land was donated by the Visiting Nurse Association, and the organization moved the house from Wesley to 1835 Grant Street where there was room to expand and offer outdoor programming. In 1996, after-school programs were added and the building was expanded and made handicap accessible.


One of the earliest childcare centers in the state of Illinois, the Evanston Day Nursery was begun by Evanston women to offer support to working families. Its long history reveals the ongoing concern for the care of young children in the community and the commitment to offering programs for those in need.

Founded: 1912

Founders: Mrs. Edward J. Welsh, Director for more than 35 years.

Notes: In 1946, the Association merged with Stow House, which operated similar programs for children. They are committed to providing enhanced family support services to further the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of each child they serve. The EDN has collaborated on several fronts with the Child Care Network of Evanston for various teacher-trainings and support services offered to centers and the families they serve. They are also contracted with the District 65 Pre-K program, which offers early intervention screenings for development issues for people who cannot afford them. It offers work-study for Northwestern students and continues to be a training site for student teachers frm local colleges and a oft-visited location for observation of diversity in action; it is a microcosm of the Evanston community.

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