Community School was founded in 1914 by a group of young entrepreneurial mothers living in the same neighborhood who had a dream of a more progressive school than existed at that time in St. Louis.
They felt that the “rigid, formal approach” to education could and should be changed into an exciting adventure. A major purpose of the school was to foster a spirit of intelligent cooperation among parents, children, and teachers, and they wrote ten Guiding Principles as a model.
The school was originally called the Grace Church Kindergarten and started with just one class in the basement of the Grace Methodist Church on Skinker and Waterman. In its second year, it was called the Hosmer Hall Kindergarten and Primary and was located in a store on Delmar.
In 1916, a four-room building was erected on DeMun Avenue in Clayton and the name Community School was chosen. Also, a formal parents association was organized. In 1919, a wing was added and more land was purchased. In 1920, a large central room and additional classrooms were built.
In 1931, 16 acres of land were acquired on Lay Road in Ladue and what is now the South Wing was built in order to accommodate a kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. This structure was built to look like an English country house so it could be resold as a home if necessary. In 1932, a second building (the current North Wing) was built for grades 3 through 6.
In 1943, the two schools began to unify and in 1948, the “City School” was sold, and the “Country School” on Lay Road was completed with more classrooms, a kitchen, and a central assembly room.
More additions were completed in 1974 (Buder Wing), 1981 (Fine Arts Wing), 1994 (Early Childhood Center), 1995 (new wing on the main building with Discovery Center, computer lab, and additional classrooms), 2010 (Leadership wing, new office space, and updated kitchen), 2014 (Centennial Arts Center), and 2020 (outdoor Treehouse classroom).
A full-color history book of Community School, published in 2014, is available for $30 in our Advancement Office.