Small World was founded in 1968. It was the inspiration of a small group of forward-thinking women. All of the women had lived abroad while on sabbatical leave with their spouses. They knew how it felt to live in another country and not speak the language. They understood the need for companionship. Together the women worked to form a much-needed organization to serve international women in our community to foster friendship and understanding.
At first, Small World was a social program where women and their young children gathered twice a week. Later, when space was available the program expanded to include individual activities: such as cooking, sewing, knitting, quilting, crocheting and craft classes. Basic English classes were also taught. The children were divided by age into three separate classrooms. Children under 24 months were in the Nursery, children 2-3 years in the Toddler room and children 4-5 years in the Preschool class.
Although the First Presbyterian Church has graciously hosted our program since 1968, Small World is a private program for women. We are not affiliated with First Presbyterian Church (FPC) or any other church.
Over the years, Small World has made changes to accommodate the needs of our students. After twenty years, our students indicated that they were less interested in the domestic activities that Small World offered. They preferred a more academically focused program. Therefore in 1990 Small World restructured our program from a social organization to an academic program. The new emphasis was on English. To reflect the change, instead of paying dues, students paid tuition.
The new academic program proved to be the right path for Small World to pursue. In later years, Small World expanded our English classes to six levels. The number of classrooms that available for use limited the number of students accepted, and a waiting list was created.
For many years Small World offered children’s classes and nursery care for the children of women enrolled in our English classes. This service was made possible because the FPC church, where Small World meets, allowed the use of their children’s classrooms.
However, in 2015 the FPC decided to expand their FPC preschool. Therefore Small World was no longer able to use the FPC preschool classrooms for our children’s program. Effective fall 2015, Small World discontinued its children’s program.
The Program Today
When COVID quarantine precautions were introduced in 2020, Small World cancelled all of its classes indefinitely. Then, in the Fall of 2021, in-person classes resumed at the FPC church, though the women faced the extra challenge of learning and teaching a language while wearing a mask. The volunteers who run the program hope it will exist for another 50 years!