Need a reason to golf? Nursery school has a few little ones

Grand Bend Nursery School needs money to cover funding cut

Grand Bend Nursery School Golf Tournament
May 30, 2008 – Bayview Golf Club
$75 – golf and dinner; $30 dinner only
Register by May 15; sponsorships wanted
Call (519) 238-2199 [Julia]

Story and Photos by Casey Lessard

Stretched to the limit of what they feel they can ask parents to subsidize, the teachers at the Grand Bend Nursery School are hoping the community will fill in the blanks left by a government funding withdrawal.
“If you have nine families and they’re paying $300 each, we’re still $6,000 in the hole,” says teacher Jean Irvin. The shortfall comes after the province took away $7,500 or 2/3rds of their grant money, which had been used to cover wages.
The hope is that by doing a big fundraiser – this year a golf tournament at the Bayview Golf Club – the parents won’t have to do smaller fundraisers to make up the difference.
“We have done pizza sales, etc.,” says teacher Carrie Grainger. “You don’t make a lot of money when the numbers are low. This way, doing something big, that will be the one thing we have to do each year.”
The program started about 34 years ago, and moved to the Grand Bend Public School after it was built. The setting is a natural fit for the nursery school.
“I think it’s important for kids to follow the natural path from being at home with their parents to starting kindergarten,” says Deana Dinel, who moved here from Vancouver with her husband Ken last year. Their two-year-old daughter Jewel is a student at the Nursery School. “I think it’s important to get away from being at home with their parents, and to be around other kids and teachers.”
Marion Taylor’s daughter Mariah Gilmar, 3, is also in the class.
“It’s neat when you go to pick her up and she sees you and comes running saying, Mommy, mommy! She’s excited to show you what they made, and it’s heartwarming to see the smile on her face and see her skills improving. She’s colouring better and singing better because she’s getting direction at school.
“She’s learning and doing crafts. They sang a mother’s day song to us and we’re standing there with tears flying down our cheeks because it touches your heart. I know it’s a good learning experience – it’s not a babysitter.”
“It’s a benefit for children to be with their peers and learn how to socialize and learn the pre-school activities that are a start to get ready for JK,” teacher Jean Irvin explains. “They do fine motor skills so they can hold pencils and cut with scissors. We get them to line up, and as silly as it is, it’s very hard on little people because they’re not used to having to wait.”
Parents, like Marion Taylor, benefit from having time to themselves.
“I know I have Tuesday mornings and Thursday mornings if I need to make a dentist’s appointment or I need to get my hair cut without trying to have her occupied while dad’s at work.
“It gives me time to myself so I can go to the grocery store or have an appointment,” Taylor adds. “She only has one set of grandparents and they’re about an hour away, so it’s not easy to drop her off with them. For me it’s more about getting things done and time for myself and making life easier. Then when she comes home I have time to sit and play with her because I had time to get things done that would take twice as long as if she were home.”
Deana Dinel finds the value in having time off from being a mom, if only for a few hours.
“For my husband and I, working at home, it gives us some time together. A lot of parents don’t get that because they’re working. We get our time back, which we haven’t had since before she was born. We go golfing and get nine holes in.”
Get in 18 holes on May 30 and help the nursery school stay open. For more information, contact Julia at ELS and Company at (519) 238-2199.