Our History

Wilder Nursery School is rich in history and unique in its traditions. It has served generations of families since 1924 and is considered to be the oldest cooperative preschool in the United States and the very first preschool to teach three year olds! 

Wilder 1898 picture copy 2.jpg

Our Building 

Education. Art. Charity. Those are the three words that are displayed in the upstairs of Wilder Memorial Hall. These words were a testament to the building's benefactor, Martin Wilder. Martin was a resident of South Hingham and in his last will and testament, set up a trust in his name specifically for a school and charitable fund. In order to fulfill Martin Wilder's mission, the trustees oversaw and completed the building of Wilder Memorial Hall in 1879. 



In 1922, a group of Hingham mothers heard a lecture about the benefits of educating younger children and the development of preschools. They decided to collaborate and establish their own preschool, with the perfect spot in mind. They approached the trustees of Wilder Memorial Hall with this idea and the trustees agreed. In 1924 Wilder Memorial Nursery School opened its doors to its very first students! 

In 1922, the idea of a nursery school was quite novel to most young mothers in Hingham.
— Marion S. Terry, a teacher from Hingham who was instrumental in the founding of Wilder Memorial Nursery School
I have often marveled that the little school that started so unpretentiously...kept on growing and proved to be so successful!
— A Founding Mother of Wilder Memorial Nursery School