A Brief History of the Golden Gate Kindergarten Association
The Golden Gate Kindergarten Association was founded in 1879 by San Francisco philanthropists Phoebe A. Hearst and Mrs. Leland Stanford. These free kindergartens, in the heart of the Barbary Coast, were the cornerstones of early childhood education in the Western United States.
Under the leadership of Sarah B. Cooper and with the blessings of pioneering educators such as Kate Douglas Wiggins, Elizabeth Peabody, and John Swett, the GGKA thrived. By 1895, the Association operated 40 kindergartens that served 3,588 children.
The 1906 earthquake and fire forced the schools to consolidate and address a dramatically restructured community. After World War I, public schools began to provide kindergarten education and many GGKA schools closed. By the end of World War II, Phoebe A. Hearst and Jane Lathrop Sanford Schools were the only remaining programs under the GGKA.
In 1996, the two schools merged, forming the Phoebe A. Hearst Preschool Learning Center and the Leland Stanford Jr. Memorial Pre-Kindergarten. Through the efforts of director Rhoda Kellogg, we built our current home on the corner of Laguna and Ellis streets. Today, the Phoebe A. Hearst Preschool Learning Center is considered a model preschool facility and a leader in early childhood education.