Edgebrook Community Church preschool to close


The pre-school program for 2- to 5-year-olds at Edgebrook Community Church, 6736 N. Loleta Ave., is closing this June due in part to changes in the work habits of parents and competition from similar programs at elementary schools.

“This was a very difficult decision to make,” the Reverend Gregory Sabetta said. “With the economic downturn a number of years ago, we had to tap into our reserves to keep the school going.”

At its peak the school had 60 children, but in recent years enrollment has been about 30. “At one time we had waiting lists, in our glory days 10, 15 years ago,” Sabetta said.

When the school opened 20 years ago, the area had more “stay-at-home moms,” and the pre-school, which is open a couple hours each day, fitted their schedule, Sabetta said. However, since the recession, more families have two working parents, and they need a pre-school that is part of a daycare or grammar school which is open all day, he said.

“Stand-alone pre-schools are a thing on the past,” Sabetta said.

It would not be cost-effective for the church to establish a full-time, licensed daycare facility due to compliance issues, including food preparation requirements, Sabetta said. “We’re a small church. We have 70 members, and we get 40 on Sundays,” he said.

In addition, more families are registering their child in a preschool program at a selective public or private elementary school in order to help secure admittance to that school’s kindergarten, Sabetta said. “It’s very serious business. They’re waiting lists,” he said.

A parent who contacted Nadig Newspapers praised the school’s director Laurie Mauga and said that that the families in the program were very welcoming when she moved to the area. She said that the school represented a cross-section of the neighborhood, welcoming all faiths.