How Much Have We Lost?

Friday, December 11, 2009

67 Years of Tauxemont Preschool

This week's Mount Vernon Gazette featured an article about one of my favorite places - Tauxemont Preschool which is celebrating its 67th anniversary this year.

My grandparents were one of the first twenty families who moved into the farm fields around Fort Hunt during World War II with their two year old son Ed in 1941. Due to the lack of any community institutions or services in the rural countryside, the community was founded on a cooperative spirit - the houses were built collectively with no developer, trash was done collectively, and the community built its own water system which is the only community water system in operation in Fairfax County today. If you are a really history geek, you can read a much more thorough history of Tauxemont in the community's application for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The community was placed on the list in 2005 - one of the only communities to be listed in Fairfax County.

In 1945, my father had come into this world, the war was ending, war spending had the local job market booming, and there were twenty familes with over a 100 kids and a lot of people looking for education and daycare and no choices. My uncle tells me that Tauxemont Preschool "started" as cooperative daycare in a basement on Accotink Place. The article bears out the history a bit more. That cooperative spirit carries through today - parents are active participants in school on a daily basis.

Three generations of my family have gone to Tauxemont Preschool including ten people with the last name of Surovell (my father and his two siblings, me, my brother and sister, and my four children). My youngest two children - Mara & Colin - currently attend and my wife and I parent help there about 1-2 times per month. The more I talk about it, the more I run into people who were alumni. It is an incredible community institution that has educated many people.

In my campaign and on this blog, I've repeatedly called for better preschool and daycare solutions in the broader Mount Vernon community. There is significant access to daycare and preschool between U.S. 1 and the Potomac River, while on the west side of U.S. 1 in the communities of Woodlawn, Janna Lee, Hybla Valley, Groveton and Huntington, there are very few choices.

This lack of access has long-term impacts for children by creating serious readiness disparities among the children in our community and we need to do all we can so that all members of the broader Mount Vernon community have access to institutions like Tauxemont Preschool.

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