Lynn Macaulay, early childhood educator with Nanaimo Parent Participation Pre-school and Amanda Francis, president of NPPP, have some fun with Francis’s two children, George, 4, and Evelyn, 1. The preschool is searching for a new location with its current home at Brechin United Church poised for redevelopment. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Redevelopment plans push out preschool

Nanaimo Parent Participation Preschool scrambles to find new location

A Nanaimo preschool is scrambling to find a new play space.

Nanaimo Parent Participation Preschool has to leave the basement of Brechin United Church, its home for the past five years, by the end of April as the property undergoes redevelopment and so far it’s had no luck finding a different location.

The preschool will move its classes outdoors until its program ends in June, but it’s searching for a place to go in September. A call for help went out on social media last year and the group thought it had secured an alternative home at the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Club, but recently learned the building’s liquor licence prevents it from moving there.

“We are back to Square 1 again now,” said Lynn Macaulay, early childhood educator with the preschool, who told the News Bulletin there was desperate need before and the situation is worse now because the preschool can’t find anywhere to go.

Nanaimo Parent Participation Preschool, a not-for-profit that runs between September and June, was created in 1974 for three-and-four-year olds. Parents are assistants in the classroom, helping by reading stories, singing songs and doing class-activities with children.

The parent participation is what makes the preschool unique and parents can see their children grow and interact, says Macaulay, who’s been involved for 24 years. It’s also considered affordable for families, costing $250 a month for children to go three days a week.

“If we don’t find a home then the preschool is going to fold and it’s going to be very, very sad if that happens because it’s serviced so many families. It has impacted so many families in Nanaimo,” Macaulay said.

Amanda Francis, the preschool’s president, said it’s looking to put everything it has in a storage unit and hopes that’s a short-term thing.

“We’ve called everywhere. We’ve called churches, we’ve called the MLA, just called around to everybody we know to see if we can access space,” she said, adding the unfortunate thing is a lot of places already have a pre-school and are not necessarily willing to make space for another. The non-profit is also challenged by what it can afford and what’s available.

“We just keep looking. We keep hoping that if we put the word out to enough people, somebody is going to go, “I know of a space.”

The preschool has a list of what it’s searching for on its Facebook Page. Anyone who knows of a potential location can contact Macaulay at pendragons@shaw.ca, or 250-756-9768.



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