Memories of the best childcare around | AspenTimes.com

Memories of the best childcare around

Dear Editor:Last week there was an article in the paper regarding the preschool in Basalt, Columbine Kids, of which my mother is the owner/director (“Where will the children go?” July 18).I, among others, was in the first class that my mother and Donny ever taught 17 years ago at Growing Years Preschool. Since then, as a team, Donny and my mother have provided, in my opinion, the best preschool system available in the valley.I have never seen another preschool teacher able to connect with children the way Donny Bluekamp does. At any given time you can find Donny either laying on the floor letting the girls comb his hair, or the boys crawl all over him, or out in the playground playing hide-n-seek, doing magic shows, or telling one of the many stories he has brought to the school … “Going on a Bear Hunt,” “Jelly Kelly” (which is my most fond story – of course about me!), “The Green Pants”, the list could go on! I can say that it is because of Donny that so many children love to come to school.There were a few other teachers, like Cathy Spence, who made the tough decision nine years ago to move with my mom and leave Growing Years behind. Cathy just recently left Columbine Kids in 2005 to teach kindergarten at the Glenwood Springs Elementary School. She was the pre-K teacher at Columbine Kids, and without her, the school wouldn’t have had such a high demand and high success rate in the Pre-K system.My mom has always put the school first in her life. It was her dream to create a safe, structured, fun environment to teach children, and she did it. I’m so proud of my mom and all the hard work that she has put into the school for the past nine years. I will be sad to see the school close, but as the saying goes, “when one door closes, another door opens”.For 17 years my mom and Donny have held strong to what they believed in: to give the best early education possible to every child that walked into Columbine Kids, with a structured environment. While I’m sure many families are distraught at hearing the news, always keep in mind that you had the best early childhood teachers working with your children while the preschool was there.So, congratulations Mom and Donny, on the best preschool in the valley! We all enjoyed the years you have provided, teaching the children while having a blast, the laughs, the Earth Day parades, summer camps, field trips, all the crazy projects, and awesome graduation performances. In a way, this is your graduation, Mom and Donny, after 17 wonderful years. This is your time to stand up and be applauded for all your hard work, dedicated time, and amazing skills.Thank you for all you have shown to the younger generations. (And to me.)I love you both very much.Kelly HayesBasalt