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The Susan Gray School

Where Knowledge Meets Nurture

Susan Gray School now enrolling students

The Susan Gray School, originally named the Peabody Experimental School, opened in 1968 as an on-campus research-oriented school devoted to educational research involving young children with developmental disabilities and children whose future development was at risk because of conditions such as poverty. In 1986 the School was renamed the Susan Gray School in recognition of Dr. Susan Gray (1913-1992), a Peabody faculty member and national authority on the early education of "disadvantaged" children.

The pioneering work of Dr. Gray was recognized nationally and Sargent Shriver, founding director of the Peace Corps and architect of the Head Start program, credited her with the inspiration for founding Head Start: "Dr. Gray's pioneering experiments showed us what could be accomplished and how to go about it. Through Head Start and through the even more massive programs for child development which have flowed from the Head Start experiment, Susan Gray has made an enduring contribution to the nation's welfare."

Throughout its history the school has served young children with developmental disabilities, young children who are at risk for developmental delay, and - most importantly - typically developing children.The school has the distinction of being the first nationally recognized inclusive preschool where typically developing children learn alongside children with disabilities in an educational setting.

Today the school's mission to service, training, research, and demonstration continues. Susan Gray School is approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and licensed by the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

The SGS playground is accessible to all children and includes a central fort structure with wheel chair accessibility and novel play panels, a variety of swing types, and an outdoor classroom area.

For further information please contact the SGS Office at or by phone (615) 322-8200.

Many Vanderbilt Faculty and Staff have chosen the Susan Gray School for their child’s first educational experience. Here’s what they had to say – please contact them if you would like to know more!

“As a new faculty member moving to Nashville, Susan Gray School offered a caring and supportive environment for meeting our child's and family's unique needs. Our son experienced several moves and as an only child found friendship and community with peers. The educators engaged our son in thoughtful and thought provoking tasks to support his learning and social emotional growth. He brings home and shares ideas about the world, nature, science, numbers, letters, and friendship every day. This is because of Susan Gray School.”
Andrew Hostetler, Assistant Professor In The Practice, Teaching and Learning Department

“We cherish our memories of The Susan Gray School. Our son experienced a nurturing environment, a dedicated staff, and a fresh, inviting facility where he was always happy and engaged. We believe the inclusive classroom greatly contributed to our son’s educational and emotional needs, and was integral to his learning respect for others and for himself. Susan Gray helped us cultivate a joy for learning for our son!”
Carol Dunne, Office of Academic Services, Blair School of Music

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