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‘Last ditch effort’  for child care center

After having no success finding a new location in Peterborough for the child care center she has been managing at ConVal High School, Peggy Waterhouse is proposing to run the center from a home she owns on Forest Road in Greenfield.

On Monday, Waterhouse is scheduled to meet with the Greenfield Planning Board for a site plan review of her proposal to use a house at 608 Forest Road, just south of East Road, for a day-care center that would house children ranging from infants to preschoolers.

“A group of parents and teachers are trying to find a way to keep children cared for and our teachers employed,” Waterhouse said on Tuesday, speaking by phone from the Pine Hill Child Care Center at ConVal High School, which will be closing at that location at the end of June.

Waterhouse has looked into a number of places in Peterborough but has been unable to find a suitable or affordable location.

“It’s a last ditch effort,” Waterhouse said of the plan to move to the Greenfield house, which was once her family home. “It’s the only plan we have. Parents are starting to understand the difficulties of having a child care center. We don’t have a lot of capital behind us and there’s still a lack of awareness of what’s been happening.”

Last year, the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton — the parent organization for the childcare center — chose not to renew its contract with the ConVal School District to use the rooms at the high school. ConVal administrators then made plans to use the space to house students in ConVal’s alternative education program, moving them from modular units on the edge of the high school’s parking lot. The district is planning a new preschool program at Peterborough Elementary School, which would serve some children between the ages of 3 and 5. But parents of the infants, toddlers and many of the preschoolers currently being taken care of at the Pine Hill Child Care Center will need to make new arrangements for day care.

Waterhouse is organizing a new nonprofit, called A Child’s Nature, Care and Education, which has been attempting to raise money. “We have board meetings every week,” Waterhouse said. “They are doing their best to pull it together.”

Waterhouse said the Greenfield house would require extensive, and expensive, renovations in order to be used for child care. She’s urging people to consider making donations, which may be sent to A Child’s Nature, P.O. Box 112, Peterborough 03458.

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