During World War II, Gateway served as a nursery school for the children of defense workers on the Main Line. It was housed in the family home of Thacher Longstreth, an eighth generation Philadelphian and long-time Philadelphia councilman. After the war ended, the school was privatized, and in 1966, Longstreth converted it to a nonprofit, private independent preschool.
Soon after this, a young, dynamic teacher named Ruth Williams came to Gateway. In 1977, she was appointed director. Williams raised the academic standards of Gateway, instituting “team teaching” and bringing more creativity into the classroom. In 1987, Williams, and then assistant director, Patricia Isakov, spearheaded an initiative to acquire and renovate a 1790 historic millhouse on Old Gulph Road. Their efforts resulted in the wonderful facility where Gateway welcomes students today. The building has all of the charm of a one-room schoolhouse outside, and all the possibilities of a modern educational facility inside.
Since the beginning, Gateway has limited its enrollment to under 90 children. Our small size is a big part of who we are. We’re very proud of the fact that Gateway continues to be a mainstay of the Main Line, and attracts experienced, dedicated teachers who often stay for many years.