Eclipse preschool approved

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new preschool in North Suffolk is officially in the works after the Planning Commission recommended approval of the project Tuesday.

Ebenezer United Methodist Church sought approval to operate Ebenezer Christian Academy, a preschool program for children ages 2 and a half to 5 years old. The program will operate out of seven classrooms already in the existing building in the Eclipse area off Bridge Road.

“We’ve found there is a need for a preschool,” said Connie Schau, the Christian education director at the church. “This seems to be a great opportunity.”

Email newsletter signup

The Planning Commission approved the new school unanimously after a public hearing Tuesday. The request now will go to City Council at its April 20 meeting.

“We do a lot with kids,” Pastor Carl LeMon said Tuesday. “This makes sense to us. We realize the earlier we can be involved in a child’s education and spiritual nurturing, the better the process is for the child.”

The church has Upward basketball, cheerleading and soccer programs, with more than 200 children involved in basketball and cheerleading and about 180 in soccer. The church also conducts numerous camps for children during the summer, including Vacation Bible School, art and sports camps.

The church has been working toward opening the preschool for several years.

“It’s a step forward in our discipling process,” LeMon said.

The center would serve about 20 to 30 children daily in a half-day program for the younger children and a full-day program for the older children. The church also will construct a play area outside for the students.

Schau said almost every preschool in the area is full, and many have lengthy waiting lists.

“There’s a need up there,” she said. “I just want the children to come to us.”

The church will hold some “pilot weeks” later in the year to see how the process works, LeMon said. He hopes for full operation by January.