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Hundreds drawn to preschool fair - Mercer Island Preschool Association

Parents with children in strollers and children toddling on their own circled around Island Park Elementary School's gym in search of the right preschool or daycare at Mercer Island Preschool Association's showcase Jan. 29. More than 20 preschools, daycare centers and enrichment programs hosted booths to share their program missions, curriculums and application deadlines. An estimated 175 families attended the MIPA fair.

``MIPA did a fantastic job of providing parents the chance to do `one-stop shopping' for preschools and setting up appointments,'' one participant said.

Information will be available at the school librarian's reference desk for parents who did not attend.

Applications and deadlines for preschools are in February and March, a full six months before the school year starts. Mercer Island has a number of options for parents to choose from, but almost all will fill their classrooms and wait lists are not uncommon. Being informed and getting applications to the school on time can make a difference.

The following preschools hosted at the fair: American Pre-Academy, Country Village Day School, Creative Learning Center, Early World Montessori, Emmanuel Day School, French-American School, Little Acorn Day School, Mercer Island School District Preschool, Mercer Island Learning Lab, Mercer Island Montessori, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church Preschool, Northwest Montessori School, Pixie Hill Preschool, Stroum Jewish Community Center and Sunnybeam School of Mercer Island.

The following daycare centers and enrichment programs also hosted: Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Lisa's Family Home Daycare, Mercer Island Pre-Toddlers, Mercer Island Toddlers, Patti's Play Center, Teddy Bear Summer Camp, YMCA Parent-Child Program (Bellevue) and Youth Theatre Northwest.

``MIPA has hosted this unique preschool fair for seven years, I am told, which means I have been here for Patti's for seven years, too,'' said Cathy Jankovich of Patti's Play Center. ``This is a very efficient way to get information to parents. It is one more reason to appreciate all what MIPA has done: this fair, their grants, building playgrounds for the Island.''

Although this is only the seventh year that the MIPA has hosted a full showcase fair of Mercer Island programs, it has actively promoted and hosted registration for preschools since the association was founded in 1937.

The MIPA is a private non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of young children on Mercer Island and the community at large. The Mercer Island Preschool Association has more than 220 members and is open to all parents of young children.

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