The Cambridge School for Girls is established by Arthur and Stella Scott Gilman. This was the first private school in Cambridge. Also known as The Gilman School, the school’s mission is to prepare young girls for Radcliffe College.


The Cambridge School for Girls merges with the Haskell School (formerly on Marlborough St. Boston) and becomes the Cambridge-Haskell School, serving children aged 3 to 12.


By the late 1920’s the school added a program exclusively designed for younger children. This program was purchased by Lesley College (now Lesley University) when the high school (The Cambridge School of Weston) moved out of Cambridge.


This “Cambridge Lower School,” long used to demonstrate new methods of teaching and learning, was renamed Lesley Ellis School, after its longtime headmistress, Harriet Ames Ellis.

Lab School Era

Lesley Ellis School was first used as a demonstration school by Lesley College, where student teachers could be trained to write and practice curriculum within a creative and developmental model. The school was made up of small, diverse classes – much as we see in our classrooms today.


Cambridge-Ellis School was established as an independent non-profit school located at St. James Episcopal Church on Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. The initial program consisted of three classes: a toddler room, a pre-school room and a kindergarten.  Over the next few years the school grew, and soon we were on the lookout for a new, bigger and more permanent space.


The school found the building we now call home, at 80 Trowbridge Street, Cambridge. A successful capital campaign allowed the school to purchase and renovate the building.


Cambridge-Ellis School moved into its new home.  At the time of the move, the school consisted of one toddler class, three pre-school classes and a kindergarten. The larger space and classroom sizes allowed us to add a toddler class and increase the number of children in the older classes. We were licensed for 86 children.


Language Program begins: After extensive research and with the advice of a Professor of Foreign Languages and Linguistics at MIT we started our afternoon Chinese Immersion Program twice a week. The language program expanded the following year to French and Spanish. Currently we offer an afternoon Language Immersion Program in Mandarin, French, Spanish and English four times a week as well as in the summer program.


The Ann Murphy Artisan Program honors the life and work of Ann, a beloved CES teacher, assistant director, and friend. Endowed by Ann in 2003, the Program seeks to connect CES children to the community through the arts. Its mission is to support the engagement of qualified artisans with the community of children, faculty and parents at the Cambridge-Ellis School. The school engages one or more artist(s) in residence annually to work with children, faculty, and parents on a specific theme. Our first artist in residence, Caleb Neelon, helped create “The Friendship Mural” to the right of our entry way.


A new playground design incorporated our two beautiful oak trees into a wooden play structure that evokes images of a tree house. The large sand pit has a playhouse and water pump which provide ample space for imaginative play. Our small playground features the wooden structure of a boat and inspires children to venture out into the oceans and to far away fantasy lands.


Taiwan Sister School Partnership and Cultural Exchange Program for the summer formed with St. James Preschool, Taiwan. Each summer CES sends two teachers to St. James Preschool and they send two of their teachers to us for a cultural exchange program. In 2011, the partnership expanded from the summer into a yearlong program.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
–Dr. Seuss
"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up."
–Pablo Picasso
“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
–Vincent van Gogh
"Let us read and let us dance, two amusements that will never do any harm to the world."
“Sometimes, 'said Pooh,' the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
–A.A. Milne
"Every child is creative and full of potential and has the desire and right to make meaning within a context of rich relationships."
–Lella Gandini
"Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world."
–Malala Yousafzai
“Scientists, artists and children belong together because they are the best learners in the universe.”
–Gopnik, Meltzoff & Kuhn
"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you."
–B.B. King
"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
–A.A. Milne
“Learning makes you to stay forever young. Commit yourself to lifelong learning.”
–Lailah Gifty