Greendale — One day they could be doctors, lawyers, moms or dads, but right now they are just over knee-high.
They are the youngsters at Greendale Playschool, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Over the last half century, the preschool has lost track of most of the little ones it has helped launch into life.
But the preschool's Staci Meissner said, "Greendale Playschool is an institution within the Greendale community. We have generations of families who have attended the school."
Youngsters as young as 2½ are served there. The oldest have just turned 5.
A wee bit of history
Greendale Playschool was started by a group of moms who belonged to Greendale Community Church, 6015 Clover Lane, said Kathy Lange, who shares preschool director duties with Sara Dankle.
The preschool has always been located inside the the church. Though now only one of the eight teachers is a member of the church, the preschool continues to enjoy a good association with the church.
When Greendale Playschool was itself a youngster, back in the 1960-61 school year, there were hardly any preschools around, said Lange.
"I'm not aware of any other program in Greendale" at the time, Lange said, estimating that there are now at least 10 in the immediate area, both public and private.
Greendale Playschool is still thriving, with an enrollment this year of 122 students.
"With all the competition from public and private programs, we are able to maintain at 120 or more," Lange said.
Over the years, generations of youngsters in the same families have attended the preschool.
Indeed, Kristin Skoraczewski went to the preschool and now her 5-year-old son attends. Skoraczewski attributes her love of learning, at least in part to her experiences at the Greendale Playschool.
But she did her homework before sending her son.
She said she likes the Greendale Playschool, "This has a good sense of community and such a good continuity of the teaching staff."
Having so many veteran teachers, all with four-year degrees, is key to the preschool's success, Lange said.
Humorously, she was one of the preschool's two "new kids" - she has been there 18 years - until a more senior teacher recently retired.
Despite their experience, they are always updating the curriculum, Lange said. The goal is the same as it always has been: to prepare a solid foundation from which children can launch into school.
That means socialization as well as academics, she said.
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