Our Story

A History of Expanding Possibilities & Changing Futures

The concept for Ivybrook Academy was developed in 2005 by a first-grade teacher who recognized the absence of multidimensional learning opportunities for her students. Jennifer McWilliams knew they deserved better and was motivated to take action. She took her passion for shaping and teaching young minds and set out to create the optimal learning environment that recognized the strengths and needs of each child.

The first Ivybrook Academy opened in Weddington, North Carolina, in August 2007 with nearly full enrollment on day one. Since then, our flagship campus has continually been voted the #1 Preschool in the Charlotte area. Shortly thereafter, seeing the students flourishing, Jennifer’s husband, Drew, realized that this concept can and should be brought to communities throughout the country. He left his real estate career to focus on bringing Ivybrook to new communities, and under the leadership of Jennifer and Drew, Ivybrook Academy opened its second campus in Fort Mill, SC, in 2011. Once again, the Preschool was a success and became a beloved part of the community.

Seeing how valuable the Ivybrook experience was for young children in these two communities, Jennifer and Drew knew they needed to bring their innovative Preschool to children across greater North Carolina and throughout the country. They meticulously developed a company growth plan that allowed them to expand the Ivybrook brand and provide students throughout the country with this invaluable opportunity. Today, Ivybrook Academy has over 20 campuses and is continuing to expand into new communities throughout the United States.

Our Approach Cultivating Their Unique Potential
  • Observe & Customize

    Craft educational plans and opportunities based on each child's individual learning style

  • Explore & Discover

    Utilize the physical environment as a rich resource for exploration, inquiry, and thought

  • Respect & Collaborate

    Model and encourage respect and collaboration in every aspect of daily life

  • Honor & Document

    Value children's voices and showcase their importance through documentation

Family Testimonials

Enriching Your Child’s Foundation

  • The Khimji Family
    "The faculty is like family and ever so helpful for any question or concern along the way. There was never a doubt in our minds when we entrusted the school with our most valuable assets, our children." - The Khimji Family
  • The King Family
    "We truly feel like family. From the warm greetings to the compassion, we have always felt welcome and embraced. This is truly a special place and one that we are proud to be a part of." - The King Family
  • "We cannot say enough amazing things about this academy. Our daughter started Ivybrook during it's first year and they way it was ran and how organized their processes were, you would have no idea it was their first year open. We found some amazing teachers at Ivybrook. With their love for teaching and children our daughter grew so much in 1 year and left with wonderful memories she continues to talk to us about. We really enjoyed the community and how involved parents could be; PTA, volunteer in the class when needed and family events. I am forever grateful for this place and look forward to our younger daughters attending in the future." - The Brammer Family
  • "Our daughter attends Ivybrook Academy. Our hearts are so full knowing she is being poured into each day by a family of teachers/staff who genuinely want our little one to get all she can out of these formative preschool years (making friends, thriving away from mommy and daddy, keeping her safe, helping her learn while showing her all she’s already capable of) It’s been such a blessing to our family!" - -The Whitney Family
  • The Parker Family
    "It is an honor and a privilege for our family to attend Ivybrook Academy. It was clearly the best choice for our daughter 3 years ago and has continued to serve our family as the best private preschool possible." - The Parker Family

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Cary Full building

An Award-Winning Endeavor

Jennifer and Drew’s hard work and dedication have helped bring our Preschool into over 50 communities throughout the country and we are continuing to grow. Along the way, Ivybrook received some awards. Ivybrook Academy is recognized as a leader in early childhood learning.