|Mountain's preschool aims for full return this fall posted on 02/01/2023|
Alicia Sperr, board president of the Mt. Hood Learning
Center, noted that before the coronavirus pandemic, the program served more
than 50 kids on a daily basis, offering preschool programs for kids five and
younger, along with preschool and afterschool programs. The center even needed
to expand by adding a second room to accommodate the demand.
“It was just such a hit; everybody loved the program,” Sperr
said. “Then COVID hit and obviously that changed a lot.”
Even when the pandemic started to recede, the center held
off from opening while other aspects of the community did, including the
school. As Sperr noted, getting three- and four-year old kids to wear masks was
Last fall, the center, a nonprofit organization that opened
in 2014 at the Welches School, reopened with smaller enrollment, but the center
now hopes to be back to full capacity for this coming fall. Interested families
can go to an open house from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, at the school, 24901
Salmon River Road in Welches, where they can also enroll their children for the
“We’re really wanting to get the word out this year back in
full swing and open in fall,” Sperr said.
Heather Purnick, the center’s Director and Lead Preschool
Teacher, noted that there will be up to 28 spots available, with one classroom
for three-year olds to provide social and emotional growth and the other for
four- and five-year olds as they prepare for kindergarten. Preschool days last
for four hours and families can enroll for two, three or four days per week.
“Compared to most preschools, that is actually a long
session,” Purnick said.
The open house will give a chance for parents and kids to
meet the staff, visit classrooms and get an introduction to what the kids will
“Our main way of learning in our classroom is learning
through play,” Purnick said. “It’s not just a cookie cutter type of program.
Each child has their own plan and they succeed because of that.”
Purnick has been with the center from its start, while
spending a total of 25 years in preschool education. She noted that her
teaching assistant was once one of her preschoolers, and she also enjoys seeing
her former pupils in the community, including being “bombarded by three teens
giving hugs” during a recent trip to the Thriftway.
Spots in the program are expected to fill quickly and in the
past the center has employed a lottery system for enrollment, with a waiting
list also available.
For more information, visit https://mthoodlc.com/, call
503-668-3868 or find the center on Facebook.
By Garth Guibord/MT