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New child care facility may come to Grand Lake

by Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

In response to the Grand Lake-area His Kids preschool closing its doors this fall, the Mountain Family Center nonprofit is stepping up to the plate.

This week, Mountain Family Center Executive Director Jill Korkowski and family educator Nicole Pippin met with parents of preschool-aged children to gauge interest in the community for a part-time school.

What they found, they said, was more support than they had anticipated. Six sets of parents with a total of nine children showed up to the informal meeting, and four more sets of parents had called with interest.

In a word, Korkowski said that parents appeared “frustrated” with the lack of child care choices in the Grand Lake area.

The parents’ enthusiasm about the prospect of having a small center within town was “overwhelming,” she said.

The town of Grand Lake is welcoming a proposal from the center to use the large room in the modular building adjacent to the Grand Lake Elementary School, which for a few years housed the High Mountain Early Education Center through the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District.

“The Mountain Family Center doesn’t want to be in the preschool business, but it will help to grow a facility if that is what the community needs,” Korkowski said.

The center’s board members have the goal of providing a place for children this year. Anything beyond that will depend on the support of the community and the success of the center.

“At the end of the year, the parents will be the decision makers on what we do next,” Korkowski said.

With experience directing a small center, a valid Colorado teaching license and a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary language arts, Pippin would be the preschool’s director.

“I want it to provide high quality education where children feel safe,” she said. “It would be a preschool designed to get kids ready for kindergarten, set up to give children the tools they need to really succeed in early education.”

Pippin plans to use the Best Practices early education curriculum. The Mountain Family Center would serve to administrate the center.

The nonprofit is seeking permission from the East Grand School District, since the district owns the property on which the facility sits. However, anticipating the center will be able to open, Korkowski and Pippin have already begun collecting toys and equipment and calling out for donations to get the room ready.

“I want it to be a friendly place where students’ creativity will blossom,” Pippin said.


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