About Children First

The Basics: Hours, Tuition, Location


Monday through Thursday 8:30 to 1:00


Children First operates on a calendar similar to that of the Durham Public Schools.


Children First serves 12 children ages 2 ¾ to 5, in one mixed age group.



Children First is staffed by two full-time co-teachers. Donna King, the founding teacher at Children First, has an M.Ed. in early childhood development and thirty-eight years of experience teaching young children. Each of Donna’s three children — Cara, 31; Anna-Grace, 29; and Josh, 26 — graduated from Children First. Sarah Meyer is an award-winning teacher with a M.Ed. in Elementary Education, and over twenty-two years of experience teaching children of many different ages. Her daughter Izzy, 22, and son Theo, 18, are also Children First graduates.



Children First is a tax-exempt non-profit (501c3) organization.  Tuition is set at the point where income offsets monthly expenses for teacher salaries, space, equipment, supplies and so on.  We also work together as a community to raise at at least $10,000 each year through donations and various fundraising events.  Annual tuition for the 2022-2023 school year is $8300, or $830/month.


Children First is licensed by the State of North Carolina. License #3206032.  At this time, we have elected to accept a “three star” (as opposed to a five star) license so that we can continue our commitment to creating curriculum focused on the emerging interests, passions, and needs of the particular learners who make up Children First in any given year (as opposed to adopting one of the specific state-approved curricula).


Children First is a 501c3 non-profit organization governed by a board of directors consisting of current parents, teachers and alumni parents. Our federal tax identification number is 56-1706105.


Children First is located at 1211 Carroll Street, on the first floor of the King-McClain’s solar house in the Morehead Hill neighborhood of Durham.