A Brief History


  • Open Door School was founded in 1966 by Sue Spayth Riley, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte, a revolutionary educator,  author of the book “How to Generate Values in Young Children” and numerous educational articles.
  • At the time, there were few public kindergartens in North Carolina (this was the case until 1977 when NC mandated all public school systems add kindergarten).
  • Open Door School was the first racially integrated kindergarten in Charlotte.
  • When public schools added kindergarten classes, Open Door phased out most of its classes for this age group.
  • In 1989 The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited Open Door School, the 1st preschool in Mecklenburg County to receive such distinction.
  • In 1999, the Division of Child Development of the State of North Carolina awarded Open Door’s Full Day program a Five Star Rating, the highest rating given by the state.
  • Today, Open Door School still follows the same Progressive philosophy on which it was founded. ODS currently has six Half Day preschool classes, serving ages 2-5, and one mixed- age Full Day preschool class for ages 3-5.