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June 26, 2014

Plaistow preschool to close after 39 years

Preschool closes its doors after 39 years

PLAISTOW — Rainbow Preschool and Kindercare ends every school year with a celebration of students’ transition to Pollard School.

This year, the celebration ended with final goodbyes.

The preschool program is closing its doors after operating out of First Baptist Church on Main Street for 39 years, the Rev. Aaron Goodro said.

The program always worked, although unofficially, in tandem with Pollard School, the kindergarten through grade 5 elementary school next door, Goodro said.

When Pollard added half-day kindergarten seven years ago, Rainbow switched its kindergarten program to “kindercare.” Kindercare students spent a half-day at Pollard and the rest of their day at Rainbow.

But with Pollard launching paid, full-day kindergarten next year, enrollment at Rainbow Preschool took a serious dive, Goodro said.

“At current student levels, we were not able to support staff salaries or materials,” Goodro said, “nor was it feasible to add enough students this summer to make up the difference.”

Pollard School principal Michelle Gaydos couldn’t be reached for comment.

Rainbow had 104 students enrolled at its peak, school director Andrea Lohnes said.

In the school year that just ended, there were 18 kindercare students. For the fall, just four students had enrolled, Goodro said.

“That just let the school and church know the community needs a change,” he said. “We have to be sensitive to that. As hard as it is to see Rainbow close, that’s what it has to be.”

That’s tough for the Lohnes to accept after working at the school for 28 years, 18 of them as its director, she said.

“I understand why it has happened and it’s not a surprise at all,” Lohnes said. “It’s a personal loss for me. You choose this type of career because you love what you do.”

The school’s attention to traditional, old-fashioned kindergarten is what made kindercare so popular, several parents said.

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