Our History

Mrs. Bessie Tartt Wilson arrived in Boston from Mobile, Alabama, to attend nursing school at the age of 19. Upon completing her degree, Mrs. Wilson practiced nursing in Boston area hospitals and as a private nurse. During this time, finding employment was challenging for African-American nurses. Mrs. Wilson’s entrepreneurial spirit became evident as she used this inspiration to establish her own nurses’ registry. After several years of operating the Nurses registry, she ventured into a career she had always dreamed about: caring for children.

In 1946, at the age of 23, Mrs. Wilson realized the rapidly changing needs of Boston area children and the potential of Boston’s strong childcare market.

TARTTs old photo
Bessie Tartt Wison at Tartt’s Nursery School – Circa 1946
Bessie Tartt Wilson nurse
Bessie Tartt Wison at Tartt’s Nursery School – Circa 1946

She founded a daycare and foster care facility, Tartt’s Nursery School, on 2 Holborn Terrace (now Kavanaugh Way) in Dorchester, MA. Tartt’s quickly became renowned throughout the Boston community for high-quality child care. Mrs. Wilson developed a teaching philosophy based on a well-rounded curriculum and a strong value system designed to instill a love of learning and encourage the development of happy, healthy, confident children.

As her focus began to narrow on academics, Mrs. Wilson renamed Tartt’s Nursery School, Tartt’s Day Care Center & Private Kindergarten. After she passed, and under the leadership of her daughter, Mary L. Reed, Tartt’s Day Care Center & Private Kindergarten has evolved into a multi-site infant, toddler, and preschool program (TARTTs Day Care Centers Inc.).

In 2008, a non-profit foundation, The Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC), was founded in Mrs. Wilson’s honor to further serve and advocate for children and families throughout Massachusetts. Closing in 2016, the foundation left a successful, well-documented legacy of advocacy work on behalf of low-income children in Massachusetts.

Bessie Tartt Wison Outside Tartt’s Transportation Van – Circa 1956

TARTTs in the News

Over the years TARTTs has continued to make the news by providing excellent childcare to Boston area families. Below you’ll find an archive of where we’ve been featured.

The Tartt’s Family, Tartt’s Day Care Centers

Chronicle – Tried and True

Generations of TARTTs Family discuss the origins, history, and longevity of a business lasting over 7 decades.

Play Video about happy kids

Mary L. Reed President, TARTTs Day Care Centers

Your Life Calling – Spotlight

Mary Reed leaves a successful career in Human Services to rejoin her mother’s long standing childcare business.

Play Video about Jane Pauley
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TARTTs at The Factory

ADDRESS: 56 Wareham Street, Boston, MA 02118
7:30 AM – 5:30 PM
AGES SERVED: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool (2 months – 4 years)
PHONE: (857) 214-4500

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ARTTs Day Care Centers is excited to introduce our newest location, TARTTs at The Factory, situated between Harrison Ave and Albany Street in Boston’s Historic South End.

This location offers families many amenities, such as:

  • Modern and unique classrooms designed to promote creativity & learning
  • Two exclusive outdoor play spaces 
  • An indoor play space 

The Factory building at 56 Wareham is at the junction of the Mass Pike and I93 exits. The location is also Silver Line accessible on the MBTA.


ADDRESS: 477 Harrison Avenue, Suite 1B, Boston, MA 02118
AGES SERVED: Infants (2 months to 14 Months)
PHONE:  (857) 214-4500

TARTTs SoWa is TARTTs Day Care Center’s 2nd South End location. This art-themed, boutique-style child care facility continues TARTTs unique brand of small, intimate child care locations specifically designed to meet the needs of its surrounding neighborhoods and communities.

Located in the Jordan Lofts building south of Washington Street (SoWa). TARTTs SoWa features:

  • A modern, artistic design 
  • Small classroom sizes 
  • An exclusive outdoor green space 

TARTTs South End​

ADDRESS: 495 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
AGES SERVED: Toddlers (15 months to 2.9 years)
PHONE: (857) 214-4500

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TARTTs Day Care Center, located at 495 Harrison Ave., lies in the heart of Boston’s Historic South End. This warm and bright facility is situated between Savoy Street and Randolph Street.

495 Harrison Ave. is MBTA accessible from Washington Street (silver line and bus connection). There are also nearby exits to Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. We have designated 10-minute parking spaces for parents for quick and easy drop-off and pickup.