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School's Out Forever?

At the end of the 2010-2011 school year, the Children's Workshop preschool that was meeting at the Little Red Schoolhouse had to close down due to lack of enrollment and new state regulations.

Since 1867, the Little Red Schoolhouse has been part of North Kingstown's history. Following the 2010-2011 school year, however, the old schoolhouse joined the ranks of .

For years, a non-profit, co-op style preschool program (called the Children's Workshop) ran out of the building, but was forced to close down at the end of the last school year due to lack of enrollment.

According to Cynthia Turillo, director of the program, the state had also put out new regulations for preschools and day cares that would require more money for them to be up to code.

“They were asking us to have both a head teacher, an assistant teacher and that every person that was working there, have a degree in education,” Turillo said.

Up until that time, the preschool had been run in such a way that parents volunteered and helped out at the preschool (keeping tuition prices low) along with one head teacher who had previously taught kindergarten.

“It was really great to be apart of our children’s education and also to pay lower prices for preschool,” Turillo said. “If a parent volunteered, they would generally pay about a fourth of what a normal preschool might charge.”

Turillo says that a lot of parents haven’t put their kids into another preschool, and many of the parents decided to keep their kids at home instead of sending them to preschool after it closed down.

“My favorite part of working at the preschool was being apart of my son’s education and also feeling like I was apart of a community; both me and my son made lifelong friends,” Turillo said. “It was kind of like family a family and since we are a military family and don’t live near our immediate family, it was great.”

For now, the schoolhouse on School Street remains empty and quiet - its fate uncertain.

“There has been no decision made regarding it’s future disposition”, said Town Manager Michael Embury. “The town is having the property surveyed and once this information is in hand, we will discuss it’s future with the town council.”

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