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Raging River Preschool moves to Fall City

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FALL CITY - It's hard to overestimate the importance of having enough space to make mud cakes in your sandbox restaurant.

Just ask Emma Lee Hunt, 4, of Raging River Preschool in Fall City, who was happily "cooking" up lunch in her preschool's newly-located play area. The preschool, formerly of Preston, relocated to the Fall City Masonic Hall, 4304 337th Pl. S.E., last September and among other amenities, children attending the preschool have been enjoying a spacious backyard that includes the essential sandbox.

"I like making friends and also, I like to play outside," said Hunt, serving up "hamburgers" and "Kool-Aid" from the sandbox inside Raging River's fenced play area.

"We're able to bring our play area outside with us," said Gail Halverson, head teacher at Raging River. "That's a big plus because some locations won't allow for outside play."

The preschool had been housed in the Preston Community Center on Preston-Fall City Road for more than 20 years until last summer when the community center's programming expanded too much to continue accommodating the preschool. The Fall City Masons came to the rescue just in time.

"They asked us to come here and we love it," Halverson said. "It's one big room. We were in two rooms [in Preston]."

Raging River is sponsored by Bellevue Community College and is a cooperative school, which means parents participate in the programming, serve on the board of directors and help out in the classroom.

Halverson taught at Bellevue Community College for 18 years and has been teaching at Raging River for the last three years. Bellevue Community College offers parent-education classes to Raging River parents once a month on various parenting topics such as child development.

Children ages 3 to 5 attend Raging River from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Fridays from September through May. Tuition is $105 per month.

Last week the class was studying rain and rainbows and even made their own rain with a science kit.

"I like the rainbows," said Chase Steiger, 4.

Ryan Johns, 5, agreed.

"I like my preschool because there's lots of artwork and that's all," he said.

Halverson said that learning through play is very beneficial to pupils at this age.

"It gives them really good social skills for school. It's good preparation for building emotional skills and cognitive skills, as well," she said. "All of those skills are being explored. It's also a chance to build friendships through play."

* The Raging River Preschool is now accepting enrollment applications. Call Melissa at (425) 831-5709 for information on enrollment and summer camp, which begins in July and runs six weeks through the second week of August.

Staff writer Melissa Kruse can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at: melissa.kruse@valleyrecord.com.

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