Established in 1943, the Woods Hole Child Center is the oldest operating pre-school in Falmouth. It was founded by the wives of three WHOI scientists, who were looking for a community of support and care for their young families. The first class consisted of 8 children, who went to school 5 mornings a week for $2.50. The original group moved from place to place, using borrowed backyards and other spaces until 1949, when Mr. F.V. Lawrence donated land on Harbor Hill Road for a permanent home. The current building was completed in 1952 and renovated in 2007, with families contributing crucial fundraising, landscape and carpentry work.
The founders of the Woods Hole Child Center saw a need in their community for more than just a pre-school. They offered other services to families, like parent education, well-child clinics, a babysitting cooperative, housekeeping services, and Saturday morning playgroups. These important programs have been taken on by other local organizations over the years, allowing the Child Center to re-focus on its initial mission of early childhood education. The central lifeline of community that the Child Center provides to parents of young children remains unchanged.