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OUR HISTORY

OUR HISTORY

1960s

Our Founder, Ellen Happ Leffever Thomas, was a school teacher in the Central Bucks School District and Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  While working in various schools ranging from Titus Elementary School to Our Lady Mt. Carmel School, she recognized the need for quality early child education (not just babysitting) to accommodate the growing workforce of two income families. In the 1960s, a working person's only options were nursery schools that only offered 2 or 3 days a week from 9-11 am.  As a working parent, she understood that 2 or 3 hours, a few days a week, wouldn't allow for two full-time working parents. 

To fulfill this need, Ellen went to the Department of Education to apply for certification to create The Curiosity Shoppe. In 1963, The Curiosity Shoppe became officially licensed in its original location on Dogwood Lane, Doylestown, PA. The school started as a small preschool in her home. It began with 4 teachers, 1 teacher aide, 40 children, 4 rooms, and a greenhouse on 3 wooded acres.  

1978
Recently widowed, Ellen was offered a position as an Adjunct Professor at Lehigh University. She was faced with the decision to close her school to accept a collegiate position or to continue the small, private preschool.  While considering her options, a book titled The Toddler Center arrived. Deciding this was the answer to her prayers, she committed herself not only to keeping the school but expanding its programs to create a child care center for children under age 3 called the Toddler Center.  In her research, she was offered a facility to rent for the expansion possibly. 

1980
Ellen met William Thomas, and the two became friends first and business partners second.  The Toddler Center and Curiosity Shoppe were up and running at two different locations.  They began to search for a larger property to house both businesses, and in 1980, our current location on Landisville Road fits the bill.  The original property included 5 acres around the farmhouse, barn, and workshop. The new facility opened that year with an enrollment of 111 students. 

1981
Camp Curiosity began in the summer of 1981, offering a fun and educational experience for ages 7 through 17.  The younger ages already had the benefit of year-round activities and learning.  

1990s

Camp Curiosity expanded to offer sports Lessons, Farm classes, and Wilderness Classes.  Curiosity added 2 new swimming pools and 4 Tennis. Courts, a Roller Hockey Ring, and Upgraded their sports fields. 

2000s

Camp Curiosity is still a family-owned and run business.   In 2006, Ellen and William's son, Jeremiah Thomas, took a Director position at Camp Curiosity while teaching at a local middle school.

2010s

He completed his Master's Degree in 2011 in Educational Administration and accepted the long-term position of Director, heading school for The Curiosity Shoppe and Toddler Center and summer camp for Camp Curiosity. 

 

2020s

Jeremiah is honored to have the opportunity to continue the leadership of such a special place for young children to develop and grow. His goal is to provide an educational environment for children to learn in so many positive ways that will help shape the strong men and women they will become!