The story of Constructive Playthings began in the living room of a small four-room apartment in 1953 where Frances Gershon was working as a young preschool teacher. Back in the 1950’s preschool was much closer to “babysitting” than actual early childhood education. Educational standards and formal curriculum were non-existent, so teachers had to rely on their own creativity to fill a classroom full of toys, supplies, and learning materials. Large appliance boxes and homemade play dough were more common than the wooden blocks, books, and dolls seen in most of today’s preschool classrooms.
As a teacher, Frances saw an opportunity to address the gap in quality, creative, and age-appropriate playthings that didn’t exist in her school or most others at the time. She evolved her passion for educating children into a business, launching Constructive Playthings from her apartment living room. Her vision was to provide a resource that would offer a vast selection of educational toys along with classroom materials and teaching supplies to educators. Constructive Playthings became one of the first companies to offer high-quality, age-appropriate toys direct to schools and teachers via a catalog. It went on to equip some of the first Head Start classrooms in the 1960s.