City of Aspen’s closure of preschools a disgrace |

City of Aspen’s closure of preschools a disgrace

On Dec. 20, I received a letter from the director of Playgroup Aspen, a preschool for over 30 years. It said that the school would be closing at the end of the school year due to the city’s refusal to extend the school’s lease without unreasonable and unnecessary modifications. The local community wants and needs this preschool, which educates our children. All of our preschools that offer educational programs and prepare our children to read and write among other things are full and have waitlists.

All of the teachers are qualified educators. It is run by Kadi Kuhlenberg, who holds a master’s degree in early childhood education. The students learn about different topics, including space, the seasons, holidays, days of the week, numbers and counting, math, reading, music, art, earth science, the environment, dinosaurs, recycling, nature, health and the body, among many other things. With each weekly lesson, related stories are read, lessons are taught, art projects are completed, songs are learned and demonstrative materials are used. Biweekly music and art classes and seasonal ski and swim classes are also included. The teachers are outstanding. The programs are outstanding. The students are engaged and love being there. At what point do we prioritize the education of our children and insist on things that hold true meaning and value to our community and our town?

It would be an incalculable loss to the community to allow Playgroup Aspen (let alone force them!) to close.

I have many friends who are 50 right now, who went to Miss Mary’s as children and hold only the fondest memories. What are we trying to be? Aspen seems to have completely lost its identity and is merely striving to meet the supposed needs of an undefinable class, needs that are already being met.

We have all seen countless great local businesses fold in our town merely because of the greed of our commercial landlords. We have seen years of time with empty storefronts, and this time it is the city itself and Aspen Kids First, who are the greedy unforgiving landlord who recklessly and carelessly destroys the most valuable things that our community has to offer.

This is where we have to draw the line! We cannot permit the destruction of our educational system and the subsequent deterioration of our town, community, families and our children. I find it mind-boggling as an attorney that in a town where commercial leases heavily favor private landlords forcing businesses to close day after day and year after year, the city itself would become one of them and join to profit from watching and causing the demise of a great school.

Terri Kafrissen