Wesley Learning Center is celebrating its 20th year of offering church-affiliated educational programs this year, and Director Rahnna Peck has been there from the start.
Since opening in 1993, Ms Peck said she has seen the enrollment grow and decline in association with the town’s population.
Now Wesley Learning Center offers National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited programs for children between the ages of 2 and 6. When it started it served a smaller age range of students.
After Newtown United Methodist Church completed construction on the building that would house the church’s Sunday School, Ms Peck said she suggested it also be used for a preschool. The first class had 32 students in one room, “and quickly grew,” said Ms Peck.
Within its first three to five years of being open, Ms Peck said Wesley Learning Center grew to an enrollment of roughly 150 students. Eventually the programs offered at Wesley Learning Center also began to expand, like the addition of a 2-year-old program and a kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds.
While Ms Peck said at times her job has been challenging, she still has the same passion for what she does that she had in 1993.
“I’ve loved being here,” said the Newtown native, who now lives out of town. “It’s been a positive experience for me. I love it.”
Wesley Learning Center has a great staff, said Ms Peck, and one of her favorite parts of her job has been working with the staff to identify each student’s individual needs.
Ms Peck said she has had alumni for Wesley Learning Center’s earlier years return to bring their children to the center, and one alumni now works there.
Throughout this year, Ms Peck said the anniversary may be marked with different celebrations. To make orientation special this year, she said, each student who attended received a Beanie Baby.
For further information about Wesley Learning Center and its programs see its website www.wesleylearningcenter.org.