Southwest Columbia Play School Closing After 54 Years

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COLUMBIA - Southwest Play School will close its doors after more than 54 years in business, acting as Columbia's oldest parent co-op preschool.

Teacher Sharen Garrett planned to go into retirement before announcing Southwest's closure, and said the need for co-ops have changed. Garrett cited funding and more parents in the workforce as reasons for the closure of Southwest.

Southwest operates daily from 9-11:30 am with one employed teacher and two volunteer parents. The business model allows for cheaper tuition and provides an environment for children to learn interaction skills.

The last day for Southwest Play School is May 15. Southwest rented the building from Unity Church of Columbia, and the church will decide what to do with the school.

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