A Look Back at 50 Years in the Preschool

A Look Back at 50 Years in the Preschool

by Stacey Duggar, Preschool Director

Trinity United Methodist Preschool (TUMP) first opened its doors in the fall of 1973. Mary Blackburn and Claire Nash were our co-founders and classroom teachers. We began with seventeen children aged three and four and met three times per week for three hours each day. In 1975, Mary Blackburn assumed full director duties, as well as teaching the four-year-olds.

Through the years, we have added a two-year-old program, Mother’s Morning Out, infant and toddler care, lunch hours, early morning drop off, afternoon care, and finally, a summer program. All of these changes resulted in us providing care for children aged three months to five years of age; we continue to offer both part-time and full-time care.

When Mary Blackburn retired in 1996, Nancy Duncan became the director and led the school for 8 years. (She had also been a teacher here for a number of years.)

In 2004, our current director, Stacey Duggar took over director responsibilities after having taught the two and three year olds classes at TUMP for six years.

In August of 2005, the Preschool took over the Mother’s Morning Out program; we merged and now operate together as one unit.

In June of 2005, Trinity United Methodist Preschool was awarded the Gold Seal for Quality Care for the first time. This Gold Seal is recognized nationwide and symbolizes Trinity’s commitment and dedication to quality care. We have been re-accredited every three years since that time.

In August of 2005, Trinity joined with other schools across the state by becoming a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Provider during the inaugural year of the program.

During the calendar year of 2009, many changes took place that made a great impact on the school. Improvements included:

  • The bathrooms in-between rooms 106/107 and 103/104 were renovated and now include two toilets in each room. What a big change! The school went from four toilets to six. Did we have fewer accidents? You bet!
  • What was a supply closet inside the preschool for 35 years became the Director’s office. (The Director’s office had previously been a shared space in the Resource Room.)
  • The newest playground was installed and with it, new ground cover. This ambitious project was two years in the making and was made possible by a donation from the estate of Gwen V. Roberts. We are very grateful to her and her family and have renamed the playground, the Gwen V. Roberts Playground at Trinity United Methodist Church.

In May of 2013, we celebrated our 40th anniversary with a party! Over 250 current and former students and staff came together to reminisce and reconnect. We had a bounce house and face painters for the littlest preschoolers, and tables with memorabilia for the older alumni and their families.

In 2017, we enhanced the playground by replacing all of the sand/dirt with a pour-in-place rubber product that is designed to be attractive and gentle on falling preschoolers.

In 2020, we closed the school for four months due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Upon reopening, the staff implemented new procedures and policies that included the wearing of masks, physical distancing, and prohibiting parents from entering the building. By the start of the 2022-2023 school year, most of these protocols were relaxed.

Present day: We celebrate our 50th anniversary with great anticipation and know that God continues to work wonders in and through the children who attend, their families, and the staff that work here. God is good!