Country Day was founded in 1929 by a group of families who wanted an alternative to the traditional public, private and parochial schooling available in the New Orleans area. Several of the founding families have grandchildren at the School today, and the Stern family - also credited with the founding or advancement of Newcomb Nursery School and Dillard University - was instrumental in luring the founding head, Ralph Boothby from Hudson, Ohio, where he had briefly headed a school and begun to apply (as he had as head of the Department of Education at Antioch College) the progressive principles that were to be a hallmark of his new school.
The first young classes assembled in the current administration building, completed just in time to open for the academic year. Since that time the school has evolved into a PreK-12 institution of 713 students and 88 full- and part-time faculty, with an early childhood program added in 1986. Until the 1950s, it also had a small boarding department. Its founding educational philosophy - defined in the current Mission statement- is probably captured as well as anywhere in Mr. Boothby's original conversation with prospective parents at the founding of the school:
“Study of the individual child, and effort to satisfy his or her needs; Freedom to develop naturally, which does not mean license to invade other people's rights; Attention to play and physical development for every child; The utilization of children's interests for educational ends; A large place for beauty in nature, in art, in music; Friendly relationship between pupils and teachers, with teachers functioning as guides rather than taskmasters; Such cooperation between school and home as will make the two, supplementing each other, provide for the whole development of the child.”
As was the case with many Country Day Schools, over time Metairie Park Country Day School incorporated much of the traditional college preparatory model (including AP courses) as its student body sought college placement in an increasingly competitive college marketplace. Throughout its history, it has claimed among its graduates many of the more innovative leaders in the Greater New Orleans community. The strength of the bonds among its alumni and alumnae are almost legendary.
Through it all, Country Day has created a family, an extension of home for many and a safe place for learning, nurturing, and exploring the world in which we live.