Children's House History
Celebrating more than 40 years!


Children's House was founded in 1972 by Sandra Starr. At the urging of her teaching friends at the public school, she set out to provide learning "through a creative curriculum rich in discovery and exploration,"  which still holds true today. Together with Becky Burns, the great-granddaughter of Robert Moran, and teacher Tricia Trainer, who helped select the name, they laid the early framework for the center, housed first in the Glenwood Inn (one of the cabins overlooking the bluffs,)  and relocating to various locations (Camp Orkilla's Arts & Crafts building, a small house on a sheep farm near Camp Orkilla, a small house on North Beach Road) before settling eventually into the current century-old farmhouse in 1976.

The farmhouse was built in 1900 on the George Sutherland farm. Surrounded by 1,000 fruit trees, the farmhouse eventually became home to three different large families and has always been "a house for children." In 1928 the Lavender family, with 7 children, purchased the property and grew peas, beans, and other crops. The surrounding acreage was farmed by Tom Lavender until the late 1990's.

Through community support, the farmhouse and surrounding acre of land were eventually purchased by the nonprofit organization. In 1996, the building which houses the Toddler center and offices was built.

Starr developed a Board of Directors by 1976 so parents and others could see first hand the components of an Early Childhood Education and understand the importance of parents' involvement in their children's most formative years. She eventually left the school in 1977 for a teaching position in the elementary school.

Over the years Children's House has have served nearly 1,000 students and their families. Many of these children still reside on Orcas today, and we've had the pleasure of enrolling their own children, as well. Starr's vision is still current.

36 Pea Patch Lane | Eastsound, Washington 98245 | 360.376.4744
Orcas Island Children's House is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, and all contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Content of this Web site © 2018 Orcas Island Children's House.