After 43 years, Green Acres Preschool and Child Care in Odessa will be closing, and a GoFundMe page has been started to raise money for a scholarship in honor of the preschool's founder, Marlene Green, to be awarded to a Middletown High School senior.
After more than 40 years in business, Green Acres Preschool and Childcare will be closing, but friends of founder Marlene Green are raising funds for a scholarship in her honor to be awarded to a Middletown High School senior.
Green started the business in her home in Middletown and opened the current location on U.S. Route 13 in Odessa in 1988.
In February, Green announced the business will be closing in this letter:
This is a very emotional letter for me to write but I must inform you that as of June 14, 2019, Green Acres Preschool will be closing after 43 years in the MOT area. Our landlord has decided to put the property up for sale and it could go quickly or take some time.
A lot of heart wrenching decisions had to be made at this point. The building has served us well and I have great attachment to it. Since we can't predict how long we would have, I could not justify accepting applications for another school year, so at this time I am stating "retirement" with a very heavy heart.
It will take a lot of adjustment not coming in every day and getting my hugs and smiles from my "little friends" and planning fun activities for our preschool children. Most of all I want to thank all of our families for their incredible support over the years. I will always carry wonderful memories of my many years of teaching and the children we have served.
GOFUNDME PAGE FOR SCHOLARSHIP
Friends of Marlene Green have started a GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/green-acres-tribute to honor her by funding a scholarship for a Middletown High School student in her name.
As of April 11, the effort has raised $1,742 of the $3,000 goal.
HISTORY OF GREEN ACRES PRESCHOOL AND CHILD CARE
The following story from the Middletown Transcript Nov. 23, 2015 is about Green Acres celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Green Acres Preschool and Childcare owner Marlene Green has come a long way since she started her own business in 1975.
Back then, Green was a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom of four children living in Middletown. One day, her two oldest sons told her and her husband that after finishing middle school they wanted to attend Salesianum School – a private high school in Wilmington.
Green recalls thinking that there was no way that she and her husband, a teacher in the Appoquinimink School District at the time, could afford paying the high tuition at the private high school for their sons.
“We knew that they weren’t going to go to [Salesianum] on a teacher’s salary so I decided that I would look into something that I could do for work,” Green recalled. “I had my experience and degree [from the University of Delaware] in doing early childhood education and thought, ‘I’m going to use this.’”
Green secured her license from the state and started the business at home and called it Green Acres Playschool on Main Street in Middletown.
“I started with absolutely not one penny. It was just my kitchen table and my dining room. Every Sunday night we carried the tables into the living room where the kids could do their work and our braided rug was our circle,” Green recalled. “And we had a little back porch and that’s where the kids played with their toys.”
Two months later, Green was able to use the money she earned to buy two small folding tables and small plastic chairs.
“We cut off the legs of the table and with the chairs. Those were the first pieces of furniture,” Green said. “Each month, when I accumulated a little bit of money, I would buy more things to use.”
Green recalls that when she started the business there were no other private childcare centers in the MOT area -- and that allowed her business to grow.
In 1988, Green Acres outgrew the house, and a second location was opened on U.S. Route 13 in Odessa – where the business is located now. She closed the Middletown location a year later so she could focus her attention on just having one site, she said.
Green’s preschool and childcare center in Odessa had once been the site of an antique mall and a restaurant. Over the years however, the childcare center expanded and eventually took up all 10,000 square feet of the building.
“And here we are today! I was just going to have this business until my two older sons got to go to Salesianum School, but then I also had another son and a daughter and they also got to go to private school,” Green said. “This business also got them all through college.”
These days, about 176 children between ages two through fifth grade attend the childcare center and the preschool and there are 19 teachers on staff.
Green said that she continues to oversee every aspect of the business.
“It’s been great, but we’ve also had our ups and downs over the years with the preschool for example, the school district kept changing the boundaries, but this year we’re fine – we’re packed,” Green said. “We also have lots of daycare children that come here from Glasgow, Dover and all over.”
Among some of interesting things that Green has gotten to experience and enjoy in the last 40 years, it’s having many second generation children now attend Green Acres.
“We have 21 children now who are children of the children from our first class – the children who started with us. We’ve come around full circle,” Green said. “We have wonderful parents that bring their kids here. We’re all a big family.”
When asked what’s in the future for Green Acres, Green smiled and shook her head a few times.
“I don’t know. I really don’t. I haven’t made any decision,” she said. “I’m just grateful – very, very grateful.”