Open Arms is open againPublished 7:51pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — Open Arms is open again.
St. Paul Lutheran Church’s Child Development Center, 305 W. State St. (Pokagon Highway) at the north end of Stone Lake is licensed to enroll 70 children after a three-year pause.
New director and lead teacher Terri Steiner lives in Jones on Bair Lake. She and her husband graduated from Constantine High School.
“Open Arms Child Development Center is dedicated to providing first-rate preschool and child care solutions to the families of Cassopolis and the surrounding areas,” Steiner said Wednesday. “We strive to create a loving, Christian environment where your child will be encouraged to learn through hands-on experiences. We understand the importance of these early years and our staff is focused on the miracle of each child. Open Arms will provide a developmental approach using The Creative Curriculum that will enrich the spiritual, personal, social, academic, creative and physical development of young children.”
The center provides care for children 33 months to 12 years old.
Open Arms will be open year-around, Monday-Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for major holidays.
“We’ll have fulltime kids, part-time kids and before- and after-school kids,” Steiner said. “The preschool program runs from 8 to 11:30 five days a week for $50. Fulltime, up to 45 hours, is $100.”
Pastor Paul Doellinger is pleased to announce this reopening after closing in January 2010 due to “economic circumstances. They lost parents because they had lost work. We’ve wanted to reopen ever since I arrived” that August.
“The church is subsidizing getting it started,” Doellinger said. “After that it should be self-sustaining. There will be daily Bible lessons and weekly chapel services up in the sanctuary.”
The spacious space had been occupied in the interim by the Edwardsburg Great Start school readiness program.
Steiner has been a certified teacher since 2007.
She graduated from Western Michigan University and has a master’s degree in early childhood development.
Steiner taught at-risk children at KRESA, the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, and third grade in Three Rivers and fourth grade in Constantine as a long-term substitute teacher.
“For the last two years, I’ve also taught at Decatur Head Start,” she said.
“Because it is a low economic area, we participate in the state child care financial assistance program,” Steiner said.
For those who qualify, 90 percent of the cost could be covered.
“We have a buzz-in system” for security, she said. “Parents have a picture ID.”
This summer there will be weekly themed camps for preschool and elementary-aged children.