Monday, October 24, 2016

Rainbow Experience Preschool


by Kevin Surbaugh

Baldwin City - Rainbow Experience Preschool located at  115 Sixth Street here in Baldwin City held it's ribbon cutting October 20, 2016. In operation since 1962, Rainbow is a private, licensed, not-for-profit full day childcare preschool serving Baldwin City and the surrounding community. Board President, Stacy Smith said that the organization was started by a group of women at the First United Methodist Church in Baldwin City wanted to create a preschool. Fifty-four years later, the non-profit is governed by a board of directors made up of Smith; Vice-President Kaley Maley; Treasurer Kaci Kessinger; and co-Secretaries Andrea Howell and Heather Macan.
Over the years they have only had locations that they had occupied rented or donated space. Now for the first time they have purchased their own building, allowing them to have a building that they can modify as they may need to. Some of their previous locations included the church and the old school district, before they moved into it's current location three years ago, this coming January.  
According to Smith and  the schools director Chelsea Bradbury, there isn't really any competitors per se, however they do offer more opportunities then the 4 to kindergarten program at the school, offering more play based learning, taking them to the library and other field trip like excursions, offering "handwriting without tears" curriculum; a curriculum that is a developmentally-based program based on the developmental needs of students learning how to write, making it easier for them to learn to write, and offering bi-lingual teaching and sign language.
 Their biggest opportunity, according to Smith and Bradbury was the chance to get a grant from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to create an all day program and eventually purchase the building so they can focus on the day care and offer more parents and their children the opportunity to attend. Without the grant they would not have been able to expand  to an all day preschool. The grant will also help get tuition costs down, which is $100-$150 cheaper then other preschools.
They consider their biggest risk as having bought the buying the building for their school. Having done so, they can now modify the building as needed, but if the furnace goes out or the roof leaks, it is now their responsibility to fix it.  However, it is a co-op, which means the parents do help out in some situations, which help keep many of their costs down. 
The school is licensed for 45 students and currently has 37 enrolled in it's programs to some extent.

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