The privately-operated "Homestead Schoolhouse" across from Otto's in Woodstock is expanding.
Kiley and Keli Cronen, owners of the school and pre-school, are creating a school annex inside All Saints' Episcopal Church, just five hundred feet away from the main school.
"Every year at the tree lot [where Kiley sells Christmas trees] young families would tell us they're on the wait list for our school. It is kind of a bummer to have to turn people away. Not now," says Kiley.
The Cronens have improved the southeast room of the church at street level by adding new oak floors and cabinets, children's sinks, and kitchen appliances. Large windows flood the room with natural light. A room down the hall in the basement will be refurbished to become a theater for children's plays.
"We want to give families more time and day options," observes Keli, who is pre-school director. "In the Annex we'll have a morning class of sixteen two and three year olds with three teachers, and also a class in the afternoon [for sixteen different children]."
The Annex will have a fenced-in grass area west of the church entrance, which had been fenced years ago before removal for rust rot; and the younger children will occasionally make "field trips" to the large garden and play area behind the Schoolhouse along S.E. 42nd Avenue.
The annual "Stone Soup" events, where children make soup and share it with their families, will be held in the church's Parish Hall.
The Cronens are excited to expand the school community, with a transition year beginning this fall. "The classes of sixteen kids start together, and become very close over the three years until they are five years old. Parents become best friends together," comments Keli.
The Homestead Annex will have an open house on Saturday, June 10th, 2-4 p.m. It will be open to the public, and for families with enrolled children, it will be the first time to see the new space.
For more information, go online – www.homesteadschoolhouse.com