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Meet The Tseng-Katzenbach Family of The Wetherill School

With three young children, find out why this local family chose The Wetherill School for all of them.

When their daughter, Marin, was ready for preschool, Laura Tseng and Trey Katzenbach wanted a place that was focused on children as individuals, and where their daughter could explore her creativity and imagination, while learning to be a good friend and considerate member of a group. They also sought a small, family-like community of parents who shared their values. They found all this close to home at the Wetherill School.


Marin is now a rising fourth-grader. Her brother Sy just completed kindergarten after three years at Wetherill, and her brother Griffin will begin his second year in a mixed-age preschool classroom this fall.  


“Over the past seven years at the Wetherill School, we have found that the parents share our philosophy and everyone wants the best for one another” says Laura.


The Wetherill School was founded in 1976 by two early childhood Montessori educators who wanted a unique, warm, and nurturing first school experience for young children. They valued the Montessori approach, but also saw the great potential of helping children learn through imaginative play and creative self-expression.


At Wetherill, children learn in mixed-age classrooms – something Laura and Trey were ambivalent about at the beginning, but now treasure. The younger children look up to the older ones, and are exposed to educational and social opportunities they might not have had in a same-age classroom. The older students gain confidence while guiding their younger peers. The school offers afternoon Pre-K and kindergarten, and an all-day kindergarten program, as well as several optional after school electives, offered by area franchises.


“Children are seen as individuals who each have something to contribute. They have the freedom to explore different things and develop their passions,” says Laura.


At Wetherill, the children remain with the same teachers as they age up in each class, allowing them to get to know each student very thoroughly, and focus on fostering their individual way of learning and particular interests.


“It gives you a good feeling knowing the teachers really understand your child and can give them the tools to improve the things they need to work on, and to pursue the things they enjoy,” Laura says.


Teachers have flexibility and the ability to structure their classroom days to respond to children’s interests and needs.


Laura and Trey say that being a part of Wetherill has benefitted them greatly as parents.


“I have become less stressed about milestones and more focused on helping my kids become good people who enjoy learning. I enjoy what the kids learn, and don’t worry about what they haven’t mastered yet. I see it all as a positive, instead of checking off boxes,” Laura says.  


“Wetherill fosters my children’s love of school.  Every day my kids are greeted by their teachers in the car dropoff line.  They hop out of the car and run into the building. Their joy of learning clearly started at Wetherill.”


Do you think The Wetherill School is a good fit for your child or do you have questions for Wetherill parents?

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Photograph by Abbe Foreman

The Wetherill School was founded in 1976 by two early childhood Montessori educators, Joell Taggart and Florence Schmidt, who wanted a unique, warm, nurturing first school experience for young children of the Main Line area. Joell and Florence were Montessori teachers, but they also saw the great potential of helping children learn through imaginative play and creative self-expression, as well as through the didactic Montessori materials. They were fortunate to find a lovely cozy setting in the Gladwyne Presbyterian Church property on a beautiful wooded lot that offers many opportunities for our children to also learn about nature and the beautiful outdoors. We have been welcoming children into our classrooms and outdoor space at this location for 42 years.