The babies are nestled in Magic Sleepsuits during naps while the toddlers play outside at splash time. When you’re a parent employed at The Hockaday School, you know your kids are nurtured at the Ann Graves Child Development Center. 

The new center, which is 8,000 square feet, can accommodate up to 64 children from 6 weeks old to preschool in six classrooms. The building, named after Hockaday grandparent Ann Graves, opened July 1, but the official grand opening is Sept. 15. Expect face painting and balloons. 

The child development center flourished in portable buildings since 1998, but the new facility is an upgrade. It is accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs. The center’s director, Angel Duncan, provides a tour. The interior opens with a sea motif, including a reading room with blue benches that look like ocean waves. Travel along the hallway, past hand-painted crabs and lily pads, to pastoral green. “Chim Chimney” is piped in, and the scent is fresh. Mini tables and chairs pepper the play areas, and there’s super soft turf on the playgrounds. The toddlers, bundled in towels, ride in large strollers waving and beaming. Hockaday students formed a club to play with the children, and the Class of 1979 donated tricycles in 1999. Graves’ daughter, Rachael Dedman, is mother to Catherine, Hockaday Class of 2019, and Nancy, Class of 2021. 


Former corporate executive Larry Dykstra comes to play guitar twice a month and makes up songs about kids’ names.


  • Two infant rooms with 12 cribs
  • One nursing room
  • Six outside covered play areas
  • One sick room
  • One laundry room
  • A breakroom for staff
  • A 2,000-square-foot playground with   swings, a geo dome and climbing walls.

“The child development center not only helps Hockaday recruit and retain extraordinary teachers, it provides critically important support for working parents,” says Susan Brower, director of communications. “Knowing their children are well taken care of just down the hall from their own classrooms has been a great help to the over 130 families we have served since the center was opened.”

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