GRAPEVINE — The Creative Learning Center at First United Methodist Church Grapevine has closed with no immediate plans to reopen, church officials said.The administrative board and the CLC board “voted to take this opportunity to suspend the preschool ministry and initiate a rebirthing process,” according to the Rev. John Mollet, senior pastor.“Although we are concerned with the possible loss of connection with our current CLC families and staff, we know that this difficult decision is the best one for future success,” he said.Mollet said the center, which was established in 1966 to provide quality Christian preschool education, was not closing due to financial reasons.“Although we have had some financial difficulties in the past, the CLC and church staffs have worked hard over the last couple of years to achieve solvency,” the pastor said. “The CLC is currently in good shape financially. These assets will remain designated to the preschool ministry as we move forward. Other assets such as supplies, furniture, curriculum, etc. will also remain intact. The CLC Board members will continue to serve as managers over these assets.”Mollet said there were several catalysts.As the school year came to a close, several center staff members including the director announced they were leaving for personal reasons. The assistant director also was leaving to relocate to Florida, Mollet said.“We knew it would be hard to get people in place in time,” Mollet said, adding that the center employed 22 staff members and had 105 students enrolled.Another factor was an issue with the accreditation process.“The accreditation process of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a year-long process that requires extensive work on the part of teachers and administrators,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to provide all of the documentation needed by NAEYC’s deadline in order to obtain accreditation for the coming year. Parents who enrolled their children in CLC did so with the understanding that the school was accredited. With the loss of NAEYC accreditation, we are currently unable to offer those families the accredited program they rightfully expect.”Mollet said it was a difficult time, especially because the ministry “has touched the lives of countless families over the past 47 years.”“We find ourselves at a crossroads in the life of this ministry,” Mollet said. “A series of changes have worked together to create an opportunity for us to pause, regroup and rebirth this vital ministry.”The CLC staff members were notified of the board’s decision in a June 5 meeting. All staff members had completed their contracts, and no new contracts had been issued or signed prior to this decision.
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367