The original Real Life Nursery School & Kindergarten
Jim and Mary Ellen Fraser
The Real Life Nursery School & Kindergarten is a family-owned and operated business.
Founded in 1957, the original Real Life Nursery School & Kindergarten was located on Ford Road in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, and was owned and operated by Jim and Mary Ellen Fraser until 1980.
In 1963, Jim Fraser (Farmer Don's father and Farmer Aaron's grandfather) purchased the land in Canton for the summer camp program.
After Jim's passing in 1986, Don and Mary Ann Fraser took over the Real Life Day Camp and Farm, operating school field trips, hayride parties, and the summer day camp.
For quite some time our family felt the need to expand our business to a year-round school. The surrounding development and access to sewer and water hookups made this dream a possibility. Ground was broken at the front of the farm property for the new Real Life Nursery School & Kindergarten in 2001.
Don and Mary Ann Fraser envisioned a state of the art facility that puts children and their families first, and the architects and builders made it a reality. The school opened on July 15, 2002, and was an immediate success as families throughout the Canton area recognized the value of our programs, facilities, unique outdoor experiences, and quality staff for their children's physical, cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and social development.
For years, our waiting list was so long that we realized we needed to add onto our school. In 2008, the second building was added, allowing for 4 more classrooms and an even larger activity area in the lower level.
Jim and Mary Ellen Fraser with schoolchildren
With Aaron Fraser ("Farmer Aaron") taking responsibility at the farm in 2017 and his sisters, Sara Maldonado and Robin Thomas, taking on more responsibilities at the school and farm as well, our family business is now in its third generation. It is a joy for our family to continue the legacy of providing quality child care and education in the Canton community.
Today, hundreds of families in and around Canton, Michigan, have benefitted from child care and early education in a home-like atmosphere here at Real Life Nursery School and Kindergarten.
It is our desire to make a significant difference in the lives of the children and the families we serve through our year-round school and summer camp. We maintain strong commitment to this goal and a genuine desire to serve our community. We are proud of our heritage and will strive to continue to provide high-quality and culturally-sensitive child care services.
We look forward to having you and your child join our family.