Carbondale childcare center continues with construction despite budget challenges from COVID-19
Little Blue Preschool plans to finish construction on their new location in Carbondale with the hopes of being a permanent support system for families in the community.
School Director Michelle Oger said it’s an important part of the school’s curriculum to get the kids out and about in the community, including outdoor activities in the valley. The majority of the families work full-time and Oger said adding these extra elements to the school day helps the children to appreciate everything the valley has to offer.
Catherine Christoff is a mother of two children, one 5-month old and another almost 2.5-year-old. She is also a member of the board of Little Blue Preschool where her 2.5-year-old attended prior to the pandemic and her second pregnancy. Although her older son isn’t yet at the level of putting sentences together, Christoff said she appreciates the incorporation of Spanish into the school’s curriculum and that he strictly refers to water as “agua.”
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful the teachers are able to work with him…and the other toddlers in both languages,” Christoff said.
While the new school is on track, the project did not factor in unforeseen costs from the pandemic, Oger said. Plans to rely on volunteer work and labor had to be adjusted because of restrictions on how many people can work on the site. School leaders will continue to seek support where possible from the community, she said.
“Our budget is obviously not where we want it to be,” Oger added. “ …but we just felt like we already had so much time, money already invested into the program when Covid started that we just couldn’t see stopping and not seeing the project through.”
With hopes of opening the new school come May, Christoff said the new facility should help provide a stable future for the school and its students.
“The fact that the school is going to be able to own a property is just going to further our permanence in the community, and to support families on a more secure long-term basis. Now that we’ll have ownership of this property and won’t be at the whim of the development community in a rental property,” Christoff said.
Oger said the school’s ultimate goal is to have the construction completed this spring and to establish a reliable source of childcare local families can count on.
“We’re just trying to help the community, help families and help children,” she said.
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