Christ United Methodist Church’s ELC Celebrates 50 Years
Christ United Methodist Church’s Early Learning Center (CUMC ELC) is celebrating its 50th year, and Lynn Coye has been a part of the preschool’s history as a parent, a teacher and now as the school director.
Lynn Coye is the new director at CUMC’s ELC, which re-opens June 7, 2021.
Coye attributes the longevity of the ELC to consistent care and teaching.
“We are unique because we consider ourselves as partners with the parent in the education of their children and consider each child as unique,” she says.
Over the years, CUMC ELC’s mission has remained the same – “to provide a safe, happy Christ-centered environment for the young child to thrive and learn.” The preschool currently is focusing on young children through a program called “Three and Me” for children ages 3 months to 3 years. They meet three days a week, Mon., Wed. and Fri. from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Coye’s own children attended the ELC years ago.
“My son Taylor is 30 years old and started going to the ELC when he was 4 years old,” she says. “Once our daughter Olivia turned 3, she started attending, and I started as a teacher at the same time. Olivia is now 28 years old.”
Coye says being a teacher at the ELC “has been the most fun job I’ve ever had. There’s nothing like looking at life through the eyes of a young child as you watch them learn. Last year, my grandson Benjamin attended until we were forced to close due to Covid-19,” she added.
Many families have similar stories about generations of association with the preschool. One of the teachers at the ELC was a student in Coye’s 4-year-old class.
While the school’s mission to care for and educate children has remained the same, Coye has observed changes in families’ situations over the years, especially regarding working parents and single parents.
“With the cost of living continuing to rise, there are more families with both parents working, as well as many single parents,” Coye says. “Finding the right preschool, especially for the first time, is of the utmost importance. A parent should feel at ease knowing their child is being loved and cared for as well as learning something each day.”
Coye offers some tips for parents as they search for a preschool for their child. She says friends and family may have recommendations. But parents also should look at how long the school has been open, the reputation, class environment and daily lesson plans. Parents should feel comfortable with the school environment and the teachers, including observing how they treat the children and how the staff and teachers have been trained.
When the pandemic hit, CUMC ELC, like many schools, was forced to close temporarily in Oct. 2020. At that point, the long-time director, Laurie Pearn, chose to retire after 36 years. As the school looked to reopen, Coye was offered the job and stepped in as the new director in March 2021.
“We reopen June 7,” Coye says, “and will continue through the summer and into the school year. As we have done in the past, we are offering a class for school-age children up to age 8.”
Coye says the church has used some of the downtime to paint and repair, and to make way for the new playground.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Coye says. “I loved teaching so much and getting to know the children and their families. Now as director, I’ll be working more closely with our teachers and will still be able to interact with the children and their families. I’m blessed all around.”