Learning center opens

Friday, May 30, 2008
Children help with the ribbon cutting at Chapel Hill Christian Learning Center during the center's recently Chamber Coffee.

The Chapel Hill Christian Learning Center opened for business at 206 Depot Street on Monday, March 10. The next day, they hosted a Chamber of Commerce coffee, during which there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting by director Stephanie Huff, assisted by some of the children.

Local real estate professional Kim Zimmerle had owned the former church at 206 Depot Street for several years.

"I was coming down the road one day and the Lord told me to buy this building," she said.

Zimmerle let several congregations use the building until last fall, when her niece Emily, 4, moved to Chapel Hill and was complaining there was no "school" for her to go to as there had been at her old home.

Zimmerle did some checking and found that Chapel Hill did not have an all-day preschool, so she decided to turn her church building into one.

"It was a little bit of a challenge trying to learn all that" -- meaning all the state rules that have to be followed and permits obtained, she said.

Huff and Zimmerle worked closely together to get everything done right, and finally the paperwork was finished and the building was ready, brought up to codes and decorated in a "kid friendly" style.

It is the Christian Learning Center's purpose to prepare children for kindergarten. They accept children from three to five years old. They also have an after-school program for children up to 12 years old. They will not only be teaching 1-2-3's and A-B-C's, they will also teach Bible stories, manners, appropriate group behavior, self confidence and independence. They plan to use many different teaching approaches with as much hands-on learning as possible.

The hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. They serve breakfast, lunch and two snacks. In the course of her research, Zimmerle learned that these long hours are essential to accommodate the schedules of parents who work full time.

Right now they have 13 children enrolled, but when the final paperwork comes back from the state, they will be licensed for a total of 78.

The Christian Learning Center would like everyone to stop in and say "hello." If you have a special talent you would like to share with the children, please call 364-4232 to schedule a time for a visit.

The center intends to provide a safe, loving, Christian environment for children to learn in. Their motto is "by loving them, we serve Him."