Here We Grow Preschool opens

Here We Grow Preschool co-owner Jenni Butner stands outside her new business.

NORTH BEND — In a yellow building off Broadway Avenue, a new preschool has opened its doors.

Jenni and Brian Butner opened Here We Grow Preschool in October after receiving their license and is now working with its cohort Care Connections. For Jenni Butner, this is a dream come true. She has spent 20 years of her life in early education as a teacher and wanted to open her own preschool as a way to help the community.

“I originally wanted to be a social worker and my church had a preschool with children in the system,” Butner said. “My Sunday School teacher invited me to see what happens on the other side of the fence, what teaching looks like, and I fell in love with it.”

For the past two years, Butner has worked with special needs children, particularly emotionally needy. After opening Here We Grow Preschool, she made sure it was all-inclusive, meaning it could take children with disabilities as well as low income.

“None of that will stop you from coming here,” she said. “All walks of life are welcome.”

As a longtime teacher in the community, Butner has seen the need for preschools. She is also considering opening an infant center in the summer because need for proper daycare is so high in the area.

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“This is rewarding,” Butner said. “I was working at a Christ Lutheran School for 13 hours a day and I told my husband that I can do this on my own. He told me to prove it and here we are. Having it open now makes me feel accomplished, like I’m helping the community.”

Here We Grow Preschool currently has 20 children enrolled, but has 10 more available spots and accepts kids aged three to six.

“We do a lot of kindergarten readiness,” she said. “I work with them to get them ready for kindergarten, which is more emotional and social development than anything. I don’t push curriculum, but some children are already reading sight words.”

For Brian Butner, he walked into helping his wife run the preschool after a career in construction. Though his job is to run the business portion of the school, he said it is rewarding.

“You feel good about what you’re doing, but it is stressful, especially coming from the construction industry, but I’ve heard a lot about daycares and preschools in the area and we need to improve our education, so here we are,” he said. “Starting a new business means the money isn’t always there. I’ve taken every last penny of my retirement and haven’t had money in our household for six months, so we made a huge sacrifice to open this business for the community.”

For more information about the school or how to enroll, email herewegrownb@gmail.com or call 541-808-0363 or 541-217-4163.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.