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Rockwood opens new Early Childhood Center in Eureka

Cutting the ribbon on the new Eureka Early Childhood Center are [from left] Rockwood Board of Education members Thomas Dunn, Lynne Midyett, Randy Miller, Loralee Mondl [holding scissors] and Jaime Bayes with Dr. Suzanne Foshage [holding scissors], Tamara Jo Rhomberg. [Rockwood School District photo]

On Dec. 19 the Eureka Early Childhood Center held a ribbon cutting to celebrate its official opening. The Center moved into the former Eureka Elementary building, which moved its location earlier in 2019. 

The expansion has been in the making for years and is the result of a bond issue passed in 2017. The new facility can accommodate 200 students in full- or half-day preschool and has the ability to expand. It also gives teachers the opportunity to enjoy all of the Early Childhood resources the district has to offer under one roof since the Center replaces satellite centers located in Eureka, Blevins and Fairway elementaries.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to collaborate directly with administrators, teachers, therapists, parent educators, diagnostic and screening teams and our social workers,” said Eureka teacher Leslie Harper, who has worked for Rockwood Early Childhood Education for 17 years. 

Students and teachers attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with school board members and Rockwood staff. Dr. Suzanne Foshage, director of early childhood, offered welcoming remarks and noted, “Early childhood education sets the stage for a child’s life. This [the Center] provides a quality opportunity for the families in Eureka.”

The Eureka Early Childhood Center includes a new playground and a Rockwood Parents as Teachers [PAT] hub in the former elementary school’s library. 

Parents as Teachers, which provides free services to families in the Rockwood School District, now has 22 parent educators serving 100 students in over 5,000 home visits per year. The new Eureka Early Childhood Center provides PAT with space to offer more for families. The PAT Nest is a dedicated play space that the whole district can use and which will hopefully build community. PAT plans to hold events in the space, such as informative sessions on things like potty training and discipline. 

Dr. Foshage, who came on board this past July, said she has enjoyed watching this project unfold. “Rockwood has been amazingly supportive,” she said.

Superintendent Mark Miles also addressed the audience at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, saying, “This is an incredible place that will serve our children for years to come. Thanks to all those involved.” 

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