My son was turning 3 when I put him in the 2’s program at Centerport United Methodist Preschool. I knew at that point that I would be holding him back (making him the oldest in his class), and I was certain I found the best program for both him and me. He had 3 wonderful years at this school. It was like a family. That’s why when I got a letter in the mail that the school would be closing, and that the church no longer wanted to run a preschool that I was left shocked and sad. What about my Tessa? I had gotten so used to being there! How could she go anywhere else?

When I was looking for a preschool for my son my first priority was a “feeling” that I would get when I walked. Academics, programs, or security were not on the top of my list. I wanted a program that would be warm, and nurturing and be the perfect spot for my baby boy. I found that at Centerport Methodist preschool. I knew it the moment I walked in. They spoke of their classroom and programs, and the selling point was the fact that it was a co op. It meant that I would be able to be in his classroom once a month (among other things), and being able to do so was a true blessing. I was worried about meeting local moms and they told me of the “class tea” that’s put on every year by a parent of each class so that the mom’s can mingle. I was also told that being in the classroom allows you to meet and get close to the kids in the class. Boy were they right!

I loved walking my son into school every day and saying hi to the teachers that would be teaching him that year, teachers that would teach him in the future as well as the director at the school. We became friends on facebook. I knew about their lives and they knew about mine. Best of all they were able to regularly share stories with me about my son. That is if I wasn’t in the classroom to see it for myself. I loved getting to know the kids that he would talk about. I loved watching them play, and I loved watching them grow and interact. I couldn’t have asked for a better spot for my son to go to preschool.

Now, we are told that the church no longer wants to run a preschool. They coldly shut down a school that was a huge part of the community for about 47 years. How could they do it with out warning, or even thinking of the families that do and have sent their children there? Of course it’s a business, but to many it was more than that, and there was a much better way to go about it. There is nothing to be done since they have already found another school to “rent” the space to. Mind you that they didn’t even bother asking the current school if they wanted to make a chance and rent the space. But it’s over….the school is closing.

Enrollment was down in the school and I am sad about that because it just shows the change of times too. Mom’s and dad’s are less able to spend the time in the classroom because of jobs. More parents need the before and after care that they couldn’t offer. It’s hard for me to realize that but it’s the way of the world. To me it was everything a pre school should be. Warm, and nurturing with a TON of parent involvement. Not saying the other schools don’t have it….but this one offered so much more.

I’m sad for so many reasons. Mainly because my daughter won’t get the same experience as my son. The experience of having her mom see her in her classroom once a month. Those teachers there were a part of my pregnancy, and have watched her grow. It was assumed that soon enough she would be wearing a back pack walking their halls.

I am thankful though that my son got to experience his first taste of education this way. The way I am seeing things they are thrown into school and learning so much quicker these days. I’m just happy he had such a safe and warm place to get started. So on graduation day this year my son will be the last class to graduate Centerport Methodist preschool. I’m not sure what the policy is on hysterical parents in the audience but I’m pretty positive I will embarrass myself. I cry about it when I think of it today.

Bye Bye Centerport Methodist… will be fondly remembered.