Small Faces history as a non-profit child care center starts with a privately owned day care in Queen Anne.
1969, Sheila Lyon, started a day care center calling it Henny Penny and later Kiddy Carnival. A few years later the center moved to Ballard. Nancy and Sheila Lyon, who had joined the administration, decided to rename the school. They were looking for a name that was respectful of children and while looking through records one night pulled out an LP by the Small Faces. Eureka!
1975 the school was purchased by a group of parents and incorporated as a non-profit and Sheila was hired as the executive director. She hired Pat Dewey to be the education director for the school at that time. Pat became the executive director after Sheila.
1979 Pat hired two young ladies, Lynn B. Wirta and Kathy Brockman. Lynn was the Big Kids teacher (K-6). Kathy taught in one of the three preschool classrooms.
1980 the center moved into its current home, the Crown Hill Elementary School building. The school had eight staff members and 55 kids. Small Faces was just leasing classroom space in the building at the time. Food was served in the auditorium (currently in use by ARC ballet). For a while the kitchen was located in the office where Johnny, Kathy and Mikelle now keep this place running smoothly. Big Kids and Lynn hung out in the current Mountain Room with Kathy across the way in what is now Kangaroo Room.
1985 Lynn moved into the Director’s chair at a point when Small Faces was facing being closed. In just two short years Lynn and the staff moved from being near closure to achieving NAEYC accreditation for the first time. Lynn also began the tradition of the annual Small Faces barbecues, starting with just one in the summer of 1985. That same year Small Faces began one of its longest running partnerships. Local artist Scott Summers painted his first mural for the school. While this first effort has been painted over, Scott continued to paint murals for every classroom and in the hallways of the building. His most recent piece is the second half of our Lifecycle of the Salmon mural that graces the main hallway.
1989, after much jack-hammering and hard work, the kitchen was moved downstairs to its current location, a room which once housed the coal fired boiler for the part of the school built in 1919 (with a careful eye you can still locate the coal chute).
1991 Lynn hired Ron Hilbert, a Native American storyteller and artist, whose art is showcased in our hallway. Ron worked at Small Faces for many years and passed away in 2006.
1998 Small Faces became master tenant of the school and took over maintenance and rental space for the building on behalf of Seattle Public Schools.
2000, the murals inspired a teacher to ask that the classrooms be renamed, with the Tree Frogs being the first.
2001, Dale White started his time as Head of Maintenance for the center. His love of Small Faces and all of the children will be remembered for years to come. Dale passed away in the summer of 2008.
2007 a change of policy by the Seattle School District pushed Small Faces to consider purchasing the Crown Hill Elementary School building. After many letters, fundraisers, grant writing, advocacy and late nights Small Faces finalized the purchase of the building in 2008.
2009 Lynn announced her intention to retire, ending an almost three decade run as the center’s director. The search for a new director concluded with the selection of current Johnny Otto, then a classroom teacher and part time office manager as the next Executive Director for Small Faces.
2009 The children, teachers and parents engaged in a year long redesign of the playground including two new climbers, tricycle paths, sand area, mud pit and a new perimeter fence.
2012 Small Faces first Preschool Prom dance.
2012 The long promised Crown Hill Park opens adjacent to Small Faces.
2015 Small Faces first fundraiser auction dinner is held.
2015 Small Faces is awarded $700,000 in grants to replace the roofs of both the original a 1949 wings of the building, fully upgrade the gymnasium, build a delivery ramp from the parking lot to the kitchen and build a teacher work office in an unused portion of stairwell.
2016 Funds from the auction pay for the installation of 3 new bathrooms adjacent to preschool classrooms.
2016 The Susan Eagle Children’s Garden is added to the playground, named in honor of the long time Tree Frogs teacher who passed away that year.
2017 Small Faces adds a third after school room, the Voyager room.