By James Niedzinski
---- — ROCKPORT — Christine Moore and other parents wanted something more than day care in a preschool four decades ago.
They wanted their children to learn and flourish as students.
With that mission in mind, Moore and others started the Sandy Bay Preschool which operates out of the First Congregational Church on School Street.
Now, 40 years later, employees, volunteers and alumni all gathered Saturday at the Rockport Community House to celebrate the still-flourishing preschools anniversary.
Saturday’s activities included face painting, food, and percormances by children’s musician Wayne from Maine.
Moore recalled some of the arts and crafts she worked on at the school for her son, David.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day one year, she recalled making heart shaped-cookies with a hole cut out, so they could be worn as a necklace.
The nonprofit school, which has remained opened since 1972, employs two teachers and also operates as a parent co-op, meaning once a month parents must volunteer to help out at the school. That can involve anything from helping cook a meal to organizing supplies for arts and crafts.
Parents and alumni said the bonds formed at the school and the level of parent involvement are reasons the school has been able to carry on its mission for so long.
”My best friends are parents there, and my children met their best friends at the school,” said parent and volunteer Becca Campbell. “These bonds will not be broken.”
While Campbell did not attend the school herself when she was a child, the mother of four said volunteering with children continues to be an integral part of her life; she has volunteered since 2002 and will continue to do so after her kids leave the school.
Amy Rose, meanwhile, attended the multi-age school in 1984 and 1985 when she was about 3 years old. While her memory was fuzzy, she said she remembers her time there fondly. Alum Rebekah Morris, 28, who also had children in the program, said she remembered when emergency medical staff came into demonstrate how equipment is used.
“I had fun riding around the halls in the wheelchair,” she said.
Rose, now in her 30s, is a guidance counselor working at the Rockport Middle High School — and has a daughter attending the preschool today.
Rose said the close atmosphere and level of parent involvement make student transition into kindergarten very easy.
Sandy Bay preschool will also host an open house at the school on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.