Gold Ridge will soon become a pre-school
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By Natalie Gray  December 6, 2013 12:00 am

After eight years of sitting in near vacancy, Gold Ridge Elementary School site will soon be used by the Community Child Care Council (4Cs) as the new site for their new preschool, scheduled to open this January.

According to 4Cs representative Jenny Juhl, the move to the Rohnert Park site is a relocation from a former home at the site of Bellevue Elementary School in southwest Santa Rosa. The former site is in the process of becoming a charter school, so the preschool turned its sights to Rohnert Park, where the program had originally hoped to open a few months earlier in order to have a full school year for students. The 4Cs preschool left its Bellevue site on July 30 and had scheduled to open at their new Gold Ridge location on Jan. 6.

“It’s been kind of a long journey with Rohnert Park, but everything is good to go,” said Juhl in a phone interview. “It’s nice they’re getting some use out of the building.”

The 4Cs program is a Sonoma County-based nonprofit agency designed with the intent of providing affordable and accessible childcare and education to students, their parents and education providers. The agency was created in 1972 and, according to its webpage, is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the county, housing at least 100 employees.

The program operates 11 other child development centers in Sonoma County. The opening of the Rohnert Park-location school will mark the center’s 12th preschool.

“(Our goal) is to teach students…to socialize them and prepare them for kindergarten,” said Juhl.  

According to Juhl, the preschool will offer students all fundamental prerequisites for their future elementary school years. Students will learn basic counting, the alphabet, focus and will familiarize children with a school-based routine.

The 4Cs’ preschool is to be a half-day, school-year long program, offering students and their parents an option of either morning or afternoon three-hour long classes. The morning class takes place between 8-11 a.m., and the afternoon classes pick up right after from noon-3:30 p.m. There’ll be four teachers active at the preschool, including a site supervisor and 48 students in total, divided evenly into 24 per class.

Gold Ridge Elementary School closed in 2008 because of a combination of low enrollment and the end of a lease between the school and the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District. The school site has sat empty since then, only recently becoming a site for recreational programs sponsored by the Community Center. According to Juhl, those programs, active for seven months now, will still exist and continue side-by-side with the new preschool. According to Juhl, the preschool will only occupy three of the school’s classrooms, newly renovated for such purpose, and will not affect current programs taking place on the campus site.

Any student of a low-income family in Sonoma County is eligible to attend the preschool and is open for consideration of childcare subsidies and a sliding-scale free system. To find out more information about 4Cs, the new preschool, how to enroll your child or for eligibility information, you can visit www.sonoma4cs.org. 

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