After 45 years in Lacombe, the city’s longest-running non-profit playschool is needing to find a new home.
Mother Goose Playschool (MGPS) has served generations of Lacombians from their location in the basement of the former Trinity Lutheran Church on C&E Trail, which is now owned and operated by the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre (LPAC).
Recently, a decision was made by the LPAC Board of Directors to terminate MGPS lease effective July 31st of this year in order to accommodate their growth and vision, and the playschool is now in an accelerated search to find a suitable location to continue programming while finishing up the remainder of the school year.
“Mother Goose Playschool is near and dear to many in our community,” says Twila Langille, executive director and program administrator who has been teaching at the playschool for the past 18 years. “You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have fond memories of themselves or their children sitting on our stuffed goose, Miss Suzie, or the countless special crafts that still adorn family Christmas trees or are tucked safely away in keepsake boxes.”
Founded in 1978 by a group of local mothers, the MGPS preschool program is aimed at providing young children with the opportunity to engage in learning activities at their own pace and prepare them for their early years of education. Themed months, community visitors, field trips classroom socialization and imagination play all help to create a positive atmosphere of growth ahead of entering the school system.
“Though it’s tough to imagine a new space for our playschool program, we have a dedicated board of directors and parent group that are canvassing our community in search of alternative locations” says Langille, who adds that certain licensing requirements do present a hurdle in the effort.
“Our needs are not complicated, but finding a space that ticks all the requirement boxes is providing a challenge” says Meaghan Maskowitz, president of the MGPS Board of Directors.
The MGPS program runs half-days Monday through Friday from September to June. Required is a minimum of 500 square feet of classroom space and a dedicated washroom for student-only use during programming in addition to adherence to applicable municipal zoning considerations.
Ideally the space would be dedicated primarily to the use of MGPS so that themed components, toys, resources and furniture are not constantly being set up, taken down and stored.
“We’ve paid rent for the past four decades and do plan to continue doing so in our new location” says Langille, “Hopefully we’ll be able to find a space in a building that could benefit from a long-term renter and has a strong sense of community.”
Though the MGPS Board of Directors has begun meeting and planning for a number of scenarios, there are still a number of options to be researched and conversations to be had.
“We are now reaching out directly to our community to see if there are any spaces, community rooms, underutilized church areas, small commercial bays, community halls – you name it – that may be able to accommodate our playschool” says Jessica Stingel, Board Member of MGPS. “The search is ongoing, and there may be potential solutions we’re not aware of yet.”
2023-24 registrations are open and applications are still being accepted with the anticipation that MGPS will be relocated and prepared for a September start date.
“Hopefully our next big announcement will be about our new location” says Langille, who adds that the program may face a temporary pause or outright closure should a suitable location not be found. “We hope it doesn’t come to that, but we will be making the most of our time to ensure Mother Goose Playschool continues to serve Lacombe for another 40 plus years!”
MGPS asks that anyone with a lead on a potential space within the City of Lacombe reach out as soon as possible to alert the Board of any opportunity, and wishes to extend their appreciation to everyone who has reached out already.
Information supplied by Mother Goose Playschool.