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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 a challenge.

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 fall.

“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 be learning.

“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





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