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Our History

Rooted in Tradition. Focused on the Future.


Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool began in 1948 as a small, co-op nursery school located in the original Belmont City Hall. As enrollment grew, so did the need for early childhood curriculum. Founder Janet Graetz turned to San Francisco State to create the first-ever early child education class, taught at Merry Moppet. This class was the beginning of early childhood education that we know today.

Janet Graetz also realized that women needed a support system in this new field of education, and so she helped to establish the Professional Association for Childhood Education (PACE).

As families continued to join Merry Moppet, the school moved to a beautiful estate where our two- and three-year-old classrooms are located today. Shortly after, Janet Graetz was invited to purchase the land and buildings adjacent to the school where Charles Howard Foundation children’s hospital had been located. There was only one stipulation – that the property would continue to be used for children. The doctors’ wishes were fulfilled when the much requested elementary school, Belmont Oaks Academy, opened its doors in 1955.

Jennifer C. Khoury, Executive Director and Pamela G. Clarke, Owner

In 1969, Pamela Clarke joined with her mother Janet Graetz, working side by side until she became the Executive Director in 1990. Under her guidance, Belmont Oaks Academy and Merry Moppet Preschool grew in size and reputation. From 10 students in 1948 to 365 students today, our school’s educational traditions are still going strong, with the honor passed down to Jennifer Khoury, Pamela Clarke’s daughter. As the third generation, Jennifer Khoury is proud to carry out the vision, mission and values of her grandmother by ensuring that each and every student has the opportunity to build a strong foundation for the future and develop a lifelong love of learning.