open-door-early-children-on-prarie-300x212Following a 1965 childcare survey in Northfield, Open Door Nursery School (now Open Door Preschool) was formed as a non-profit corporation. The Congregational Parish House was selected as the school’s first site, and Mrs. Ginny Butler and Mrs. Dorothy Pfoutz were hired as teachers. Classes began on September 12, 1966.

Open Door’s founders believed that preschool should be accessible to all children. The Board of Directors asked the local community to contribute funds for scholarships, and eleven Head Start children were able to attend classes. Since 1967, United Way has provided scholarship monies each year. Children with special needs are also included in the program. The admission policies do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, sex or national origin.

Locations of Open Door:

  • 1967 – Home Management House at St. Olaf College
  • 1972 – Bethel Lutheran Church
  • 1973 – St. John’s Lutheran Church
  • 1981 – Oddfellows Home
  • 1987 – back to St. John’s Lutheran Church

The school founders also believed that Open Door should be an extension of the home. As a result, parents have always shared interests, time, and abilities. This procession of parents through the school’s open door is but one more extension of its name and intended spirit.