Webster Elementary School has welcomed a new group of youngsters into its community with the unveiling of a preschool program in an already renovated space.
With the introduction of full-day kindergarten last September, Webster’s after-school care program for children five to 12 years old no longer needed its morning class slot and is now sharing the space with Warfield Preschool, run by the Village of Warfield.
Children were doing the hokey pokey, relaxing during story time and talking about the weather seen though the room’s windows Tuesday, when the Trail Times got a sneak peak on the newly situated preschool’s second day of operation.
“I think it’s wonderful, it’s been a longtime coming,” said Sherry Christensen, who runs the program with assistance from Krista-Lee Lafond and Tammy Hoffschild.
“It’s just a whole new appearance.”
Rather than continuing to run its original program out of the basement of the community hall, Warfield amalgamated its program into the one classroom after applying to Interior Health for a new license, which allows 20 children to attend rather than the original 10.
“I think it’s awesome, they get to learn about the school before they even go to this school,” said Amanda Dilling, who was picking up her four-year-old son Aidan Vass Tuesday.
Dilling is pleased to get her son in a program that’s close to her Trail home.
“He was going to Blueberry Preschool but this is a lot closer and he gets to meet people that he’ll actually go to school with for the rest of his life – it’s a bonus.”
The large classroom has plenty of natural light beaming through the windows and is seen as a way to invite local kids into the school prior to their elementary experience.
“It’s showing community involvement so that if somewhere down the line the school district goes that school
should be closed, they can say, ‘It’s a community school,’” said Hoffschild.
The preschool program now runs from Monday through Friday from 9-11:30 a.m., expanding from its original hours of operation thanks to the addition of qualified staff.
While the village says classroom spots are full until June, the program is accepting children for September.
The after-school program, a partnership between Trail and District Daycare Society (Sunshine Children’s Centre) and Webster Elementary School, continues to operate from 2:30-5 p.m. for older kids up to age 12.
After a School District 20 report highlighted declining enrolment and possible school closures, Warfield’s parents were determined to ensure their school was considered a “community-learning centre.”
A classroom was deemed suitable to house a daycare in 2010 and a cloakroom was renovated into a washroom to satisfy requirements.
The village donated free labour and gave over $10,000 toward the maintenance and both Sunshine Children’s Centre and the school’s parent advisory council split the approximate $5,000 cost for materials.
Registration to Warfield Preschool can be done through the village office: 368-8202.