What makes Medaryville Nursery School such an asset to the community is their continued dedication and passion for providing a well-rounded, quality education to children in our area for over 30 years. Their mission is to provide an education that will “accelerate the educational, emotional, and social development of the pre-elementary children in the surrounding counties through educational games, songs, and social play.” Medaryville Nursery School goes above and beyond to ensure that they are fully caring and providing for the children and families that they serve.
“At Medaryville Nursery School we strive to provide a high quality education to the kids of Medaryville and in the surrounding areas. We recognize that in this area we are missing an element of quality education for our young people, so our goal is to fill that gap by providing a great education through our highly trained, licensed teachers. We want nothing but the best for our kids,” stated Medaryville Nursery School President Derrick Stalbaum.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many unforeseeable challenges for the school, including
financial strains and dropping enrollment for the 2020 - 2021 school year.
“In a typical year we have a waiting list, but this year we have a lot of students dropping. Some students didn’t sign up at all. Enrollment for this year was way down due to concerns about the pandemic. We were also not able to have our two major fundraisers this year, which really caused some issues financially,” Stalbaum stated.
Dipping enrollment and financial strain was brought on by concerns around social distancing and other safety protocols - issues that Medaryville Nursery quickly addressed.
“One of the main concerns we faced was how we would ensure social distancing in the classroom. In response to that we put up table dividers and enacted other general protocols to make sure both students and teachers would be safe. Safety is very important to us,” said Stalbaum.
However, there was also a concern that increased safety measures would affect the quality education that Medaryville Nursery always provides.
“Social distancing doesn’t really allow for the kids to have that super hands on experience that we have previously enforced in our classrooms. However, we are trying our best to make sure that the same quality experience can still happen. We want to keep the same kind of experience while still ensuring safety,” Stalbaum stated.
In order to respond to these concerns, Medaryville Nursery School knew that they would need to acquire financial assistance from an outside source to be able to fund and purchase the various positions and items necessary.
“We knew that we would need to find a way to get more money if we wanted to continue to make sure that the same safe, high quality experience was available to our kids,” said Stalbaum.
Thankfully, non-profit community advocates like the White County United Way exist to help organizations in difficult times such as this. Funding is made possible through the Economic Relief Initiative Grant, sponsored by Indiana United Ways, partnering with Lilly Endowment, Inc. The Community Relief Fund is managed through the White County United Way in partnership with the Community Foundation of White County, the Jasper Newton Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Pulaski County.
The fund allows money to be distributed to various non-profit organizations in White, Pulaski, and Jasper counties that need additional financial assistance for programming during the pandemic.
Thanks to the assistance provided by the Community Relief Fund, Medaryville Nursery School was provided with additional money to make up for lost revenue and to allow increased social distancing among children while still providing an effective education.
“Thanks to the money we acquired through the Community Relief Fund, we are now able to fund and maintain a safe and effective student to teacher ratio while not having to make any cuts to other places in our budget. The board was so relieved and grateful to have gotten this grant through the White County United Way. When they heard the news they were filled with nothing but joy and excitement,” noted Stalbaum.
Although Medaryville Nursery School has faced many challenges during this pandemic, they have proven that they will always find a way to provide the best education possible to the children in our local community in an effective and safe manner.
“This grant truly put us in a position to provide that quality education that we want and need to give to so many of our students in our community,” Stalbaum stated.
Jordan Day has been with the United Way since May 2020, and is currently working as a Social Media Consultant for WCUW.