Our History

Our Rich History: The Journey of SproutFive

SproutFive has a long and storied history of providing exceptional early childhood education in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1922, our organization has grown and evolved over the years, driven by our commitment to innovation, thought leadership, and community engagement.

A Grassroots Beginning (1921-1924)

The seeds for SproutFive were planted in 1921 when the Work and Pleasure Club, a South Side women's association, and the South Side Civic Association, a businessmen's club, joined forces to investigate the need for a nursery in their community. This grassroots movement recognized the importance of childcare in allowing women to participate in the workforce. In 1922, the South Side Day Nursery was founded under the leadership of Mrs. Lydia Pluekharp. The community quickly rallied behind the initiative, with memberships, donations, and pledges from local individuals and organizations. In 1924, the nursery officially opened, providing much-needed care and education for the children of working parents.

Early Expansion and Community Support (1925-1958)

Throughout the years, the South Side Day Nursery continued to grow and evolve, serving more children and their families. In 1927, a new facility at 255 Reeb Avenue was dedicated, thanks to the generous donation of Mrs. W.A. (Mary) Miller, a local philanthropist. The organization became a cornerstone of the community, receiving funds from the Community Fund for maintenance and serving multiple generations of local families.

Innovation and Growth (1959-2014)

As the organization expanded, it underwent several name changes and facility improvements. In 1959, the name changed to South Side Day Care Center, reflecting a more comprehensive approach to early childhood education. In the 1970s, enrollment increased, and the school began developing centralized weekly themes, emphasizing our commitment to innovation in early learning. In 1984, the name changed to South Side Learning & Development Center, highlighting our focus on early childhood development. The organization continued to expand, eventually serving up to 100 children at maximum capacity.

Modern Milestones (2015-Present)

In 2015, the organization moved to a new, state-of-the-art facility at 280 Reeb Ave, designed specifically with SSLDC's needs in mind. In 2018, the name changed to South Side Early Learning, further emphasizing our commitment to high-quality early education. The organization's growth and expansion continued into the 2020s, acquiring Hilltop Preschool in January 2021 and forming the Center for Early Childhood Innovation in July 2021. In May 2022, we rebranded to SproutFive, reflecting our focus on the crucial first five years of a child's life and aligning with our vision for the future. Throughout our history, SproutFive has remained dedicated to thought leadership, innovation, and community engagement. We have consistently been at the forefront of early childhood education, providing much-needed support for working families and fostering the next generation of learners. As we look to the future, we remain steadfast in our commitment to nurturing and empowering the children we serve, and we are excited to continue building on our rich legacy.

It takes a holistic approach!

We give littles the care they need to develop socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.

In their homes

By helping families who may need financial or behavioral assistance.

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Through research and development

Our staff attends conferences, sharing best practices and advocating for improved learning opportunities.

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With innovation inside the classroom and out

We put littles at the center of everything, surrounding them with the people, systems and programs that will help them become people who add real value to our world.

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Get Involved

When you support the SproutFive mission, you help us strengthen our communities and ensure every child has access to a holistic, high-quality early childhood education.

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