It happened without warning, without any hint that the end was at hand. Suddenly, there it was: May 27th, the day after the last day of the preschool year, the announcement that St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church would close the Preschool that was born, lived and thrived within and around its walls over the past 40 years.
Death often comes that way, unbidden, suddenly. But we expected more from a church that had until that date, served as a caring site for an educational community that nurtured generations of young State College students.
Both of our daughters began their lives of formal education in the nurturing environment of the St. Andrew’s Preschool. There they first learned to trust adults outside their family; there they were encouraged to express themselves artistically and intellectually; there they found friends and loving teachers and a sense of wonder for all the world has to offer.
The spirit of the place is what drew us to it; for the teachers are dedicated, conscientious and caring; they developed a curriculum that struck just the right balance between guidance and play, structure and exploration. And this spirit has taken root in our daughters as they move out into the world, as it has for generations of students who attended the St. Andrew’s Preschool over the years.
That spirit will set no future generation of thoughtful, caring young people onto the path of lifelong learning.
And what makes it worse, even tragic, is that the church handled the demise of the school without even a modicum of the grace, care and sensitivity the Preschool and its teachers embodied over the course of its 40 year life.