Challenges ahead for Cabrini’s Children School

By Leigha Sepers
November 13, 2023

Children's School students receiving instruction. Photo by Leigha Sepers.
Children's School students receiving instruction. Photo by Leigha Sepers.

The news of Cabrini’s impending closure brought shock over the loss of such a beloved institution. The university isn’t the only school facing an uncertain future, however. 

In 1974, Cabrini College opened a center for early education, operating from the Dixon Center, and led by the early education department. This became the Cabrini Children’s School and was to be an asset to early education majors, helping them gain field experience. 

Dixon was remodeled, and with that came the first big change to the Children’s School. Instead of operating on campus, they would rent space at the United Church of Christ Valley Forge, where they would continue teaching.

The same day students, staff, and alumni were informed of the university’s closure, was the same day that the Children’s School heard the news of its future.

Nicole Whiteman, director of the Children’s School, said, “We were told that the Children’s School would close as well.”

“We found out when the entire university found out, and I think that I was maybe thinking of a partnership or merger, I had no idea this was going on behind the scenes,” said Whiteman. 

The end of this school year will bring sadness not only to the staff but to many students who went through the program. Many prior students still return, whether they have a sibling in the school, or just to reminisce.

Early education

The Children’s School houses students from ages 2 to 7 years old and offers a full-day kindergarten. All teachers at the school follow the guidelines for the National Association of Education for Young Children, NAEYC, which is the school’s accreditation. 

Children engage in different activities every day. Photo by Leigha Sepers.

The teachers follow the state curriculum and are guided by the early education department as well. The school focuses on not only core curriculum, but also other engaging activities for the children. There is outdoor playtime every day, and they have a large playroom. 

Teachers also don’t limit their education to one religion or nationality, teaching about multiple holidays and traditions around the world. 

Impact on the teachers

Currently there are eight teachers at the Children’s School, all facing an uncertain future. One of those teachers is Sandy Mulroy, who has been a part of the school for almost 10 years. 

“I think it’s really quite sad and disappointing,” Mulroy said about the closing. 

Mulroy was offered a job at the Children’s School after offering childcare out of her own home. She did a 10-year stint at that; before she decided to switch over to public school. For nine years she focused on teaching special education to middle schoolers, high school skills to students with multiple disabilities, and at-risk high school students. This past year she decided to come back to the children’s school, teaching kindergarten, making it her 11th year with the school. 

“This year has definitely been different. We used to have the athletes come and do community service, the science department used to do lessons, so we had an opportunity to interact with the college on a huge level, but lately that has fallen off,” Mulroy said.

Kindergarten students having play time. Photo by Leigha Sepers.

 “I think the children’s school has served the education school and community at Cabrini really well for a long time,” she added.

She believes the Children’s School was a huge asset to the education department, as it gave them real-life experience, instead of just working with their peers. 

“It was quite startling to hear the news, so it was a blow,” Mulroy said. 

The school hopes their years of work in the community will prevail and that Villanova will be willing to sign a deal with them, but they are not optimistic and are treating this year as their last. 

“I think at the end of the school year it’s going to be a sad peace; I hope that past students will still remember their time here fondly,” Whiteman said. 


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Leigha Sepers

Hello, my name is Leigha Sepers and I am currently a sophomore at Cabrini University. I am studying digital communications and social media with a minor in sports communication. I am originally from South Jersey, where, as a swimmer, I developed my love for sports media. In the future, I hope to work with a professional sports team, running their social media page. This year I am very lucky to have obtained an internship with Eastern University's football program doing media for the team. I am very passionate not only about the world of sports, but on raising awareness of athletes' mental health issues. I am very excited to be writing for the Loquitur and getting to work with such a great group of people.

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