Present in a Rich Past: The History of SHED Children’s Campus

Posted July 26, 2018
By Linda Shottes Bouchard

Since its founding, SHED has been tightly connected with both Andover Public Schools and the Andover community. We began as a town program at Andover’s Shawsheen Elementary School, first offering Kindergarten and later after-school care programs.

In fact, SHED stands for Shawsheen Extended Day.

In 1986, SHED incorporated as a self-sustaining nonprofit, overseen by a Board of Directors, and licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. By 1991, we were serving a growing population with programs geared for kindergarten to fifth grade. To accommodate our increasing enrollment, we moved to the Korean Church on Route 133, which had room for 120 children.
But we still had another 80 children on our waiting list!

In 1997, in collaboration with Phillips Academy, we renovated and moved into a sturdy, old brick building that once provided laundry services to Abbot Academy — a former private girls school that merged with Phillips in 1973.
If you follow the well-worn path through Abbot Woods on the south side of our campus, you arrive at The Secret Garden and a plaque. Etched into the stone is a poem by famous poet T.S. Elliot, who had a relationship with Abbot Academy drama teacher Emily Hale. The plaque memorializes the school’s rich, 150-plus year history and all those who walked through its halls and trod the very same path that we do today to The Secret Garden.

SHED Children’s Campus Now

Today, we call the renovated Abbot laundry building the SHED building. It’s home to our administrative offices and preschool programs. Across the way, and a quick walk through one of our organic gardens is Kid’s Club, built in 1998 for our after school care programs. However, this building now serves a growing number of younger children.

Now children from across the town have a common playground.

Now our name is SHED Children’s Campus, a big umbrella of a name to capture our history — SHED, for the Shawsheen Extended Day program from which we began — and Children’s Campus to capture everything we offer today — our full range of Reggio Emilia inspired children’s programs, our buildings, The Secret Garden, Abbot Woods, our 15 organic gardens, our playgrounds, our open spaces, our stately Elm trees, and the changing lens of New England seasons through which our children see their world.

We hope you will enjoy looking around our site and taking a closer look into what’s possible here at the SHED Children’s Campus.

Keeping the Abbot Spirit Alive

We hope you enjoy the Abbot Academy video and the stories of women who spent impressionable years here in Andover.