About Us

Little Friends at HAB is…

…a place where “just play” is serious work and is guided to produce important learning.

…a place, other than home, where a child finds love and security.

…a place where each child has the freedom to grow and to learn at his or her own pace.

…a place that affords the pre-schooler exciting new experiences through varied group activity.

…a place where a child is loved for who he or she is.


Our philosophy is to provide the best possible Early Education Program for young children in a Christian environment. Our program meets the needs of each child physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, depending on his/her physical level of development and growth.


Little Friends was founded by Mary Keith in 1988 at Lakewood United Methodist Church. It provided an early education program for children ages 2 – 4. Our first year we had three classes and six staff members. In 2003 after fifteen years at Lakewood Methodist our school had grown by leaps and bounds and relocated to Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church where we currently reside. We now have six classes, including a Toddler class, and a staff of twelve. In 2007 we began participating in the Florida Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program.


Mary Keith is the founder and Director of Little Friends Preschool. Mary is a native Floridian and has been a resident of Jacksonville since 1965. She grew up in the Arlington area and attended Terry Parker High School, FCCJ, and the University of Florida. Mary holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been an advocate of young children for many years and served as a Guardian Ad Litem working with children in crisis.

Mary has been married to her husband, Bob, for 40 years and they have two grown children.

Mary Keith