Close to Home: The Day Nursery

In the early 1900s, Oak Park Illinois was seeing an influx of immigrants. Elizabeth Charlton (1861-1912) was a philanthropist who sought to provide affordable, full-time, quality care for the young children of immigrant mothers who needed to support their families financially. "Close to Home: The Day Nursery" details the past, present and future of the oldest early childhood education center in the United States. It is a timely reflection on how a community responded over 100 years ago to immigrants entering the city.

  • Molly Arenberg
  • Katherine Dunn
  • Melissa Elsmo
    Executive Producer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 18, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    1,046 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • "Close to Home: The Day Nursery" Premiere at the 19th Century Club
    Oak Park
    United States
    February 18, 2018
    North American Premiere
    Rocking Horse Award
Director Biography - Molly Arenberg

Molly learned the art of story-telling from spinal cord injured war veterans, advocates fighting sexual assault on college campuses, and high school student athletes trying to achieve their dreams.

She worked for Blue State Digital and then The Biscuit Factory in Washington, D.C. before she decided to take a leap and move to Colorado to freelance full-time.

Molly has a Bachelors from Marquette University, a Masters from the University of Oxford, and professional-level training in film production. She enjoys creating visual stories for brands, politicians, and advocacy organizations. A former three-sport Division I athlete, she also loves working with fitness groups and outdoor adventurers.

She now lives in Milwaukee, WI with her better half, Katie, and their superheroes (cats), Batman & Robin. She loves being a Renaissance Woman of film as a full-time Cinematographer/Editor, Voiceover Talent, and Actor.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The production of the film was a true team effort. The film came to life because of Melissa Elsmo, VP of the The Day Nursery board. When someone as giving as Melissa Elsmo asks for a favor, the first thing you say is "Of course" and the second thing you ask is "What is the favor?" She was a key teacher in my own early childhood education, so it was beyond fitting to be able to pay it forward to The Day Nursery. Thank you to all the volunteers who transcribed interviews, carried equipment, and helped when our car broke down (thanks Lief!). My hope is that this short film does justice to the magic of The Day Nursery: its essential services, devoted staff, grateful families, and beautiful history.