Rockton preschool looks ahead to finally being re-open

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — A local preschool looks back on nearly a year of having to keep their doors closed.

We caught up with the owner who reflects on the moment she thought she’d have to shut down for good.

“I’ll tell you it has been a roller coaster ride for us,” said Donna Benjamin, a teacher, and owner of Old Stone Preschool.

Old Stone Preschool in Rockton has been open for over 20 years. COVID-19 forced them to close their doors last spring.

“One day when we thought we had to close was that first of March and we thought ‘Oh my gosh. What are we going to do?’ We made plans after plans and numbers got higher and we said ‘We can’t do it this way because it’s not safe,” she explained.

Being closed for that long took a financial toll on the preschool to the point Benjamin wasn’t sure if they’d reopen.

“I’m sure it’s crossed my mind but I wasn’t going to give it any chance to happen. We’ve been here for too long. We love our jobs and this community and we would anything to keep it open, some way or another,” Benjamin added.

Annie Stephens says all three of her children have attended Old Stone.

“We would be very sad because it’s our last year before our baby starts public school, so he would be very far behind and very sad. It would be hard for us to catch him up to get him ready for kindergarten,” Stephens said.

It was also devastating for the teachers.

“We were all devastated on different levels the parents for bringing their kids and knowing what we can do for the kids not only academic but mainly socialization and just that nurturing peace and us as teachers wanting to be doing this job,” explained one teacher at Old Stone, Corene Combs.

With registration starting in April, they’re holding onto hope of welcoming students back in.

“We are looking forward to it we’re opening next fall so we’re excited about that,” added Benjamin.

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