Red Bridge United Methodist Church Early Childhood Center replaced the carpeted floor with laminated wood in the gym. Photo by Sue Reames
Red Bridge UMC Early Childhood Center makes improvements
By Sue Reames
Her eyes light up when asked to show the latest upgrades. “Let’s start outside,” advises Leslie Shaw, Director of the Red Bridge United Methodist Early Childhood Center (ECC). On a quick tour of the south side of Red Bridge United Methodist Church, she points to windows and doors replaced because holes had rusted through frames and broken seals around the glass. “Replacing these has increased the heating and cooling efficiency.” The new entry doors are keypad and password controlled.
Red Bridge ECC has been in operation for 40 years, with a four-hour preschool program for ages two years through five years. Shaw, Director for 15 years, has seen the ECC through both ups and downs. Today she is obviously proud of the 20 teachers who devote their days to a diverse population of 150 children from all neighborhoods and backgrounds. “We couldn’t have achieved this without the support and dedication of the church and Pastor Trista.” Both Reverend Trista Soendker Nicholson and (Associate) Pastor Terry Clark are actively involved with every aspect of ECC, its children and their parents.
Shaw points to a mural located between the classroom area and the all-purpose gym entrance. It shows two large hearts, one marked ECC and one marked RBUMC, connected by a cross. Surrounding the two hearts are 40 smaller hearts, one for each year of operation. “This perfectly illustrates the loving connection and support the church gives the ECC,” Shaw explains.
The tour ends at the most obvious improvement: the gym floor. Once totally covered in blue and grey carpet extending ten feet up the gym walls, it now sparkles with a new wood laminate floor marked for basketball and volleyball. Charcoal carpeting on the lower part of the walls adds a safety and sound barrier. Overhead lighting has been changed to more efficient LED floods. The gym is used by the ECC, local sports groups, mission teams and for church-wide events.
The Early Childhood Center is located at 636 E. 117th Street, on the lower level of Red Bridge United Methodist Church. Registration is still open for the 2019-2020 school year. Summer Camp ECC is currently underway.