RCK Preschool in Ridgefield to move into church after losing lease at Lounsbury House

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox
RCK Preschool

RCK Preschool


RIDGEFIELD  — A private preschool that was asked to vacate a town-owned historic building has found a new home for its students. 

Ridgefield Community Kindergarten, better known as RCK Preschool, will move to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, at 357A Main St., on St. Stephen's campus beginning in September 2023. 

The preschool has occupied space for 63 years at The Lounsbury House, a nonprofit landmark at 316 Main St. that's owned by the town, but had been asked last spring to find a new location by June 30, 2023. The ousting of the preschool sparked outrage in the community, with parents and the Board of Selectmen urging Lounsbury House to reconsider. 

RCK is "indebted to its executive board of directors, an incredible group of parent volunteers who have worked tirelessly and with sheer determination to identify this special space which allows RCK to continue its mission of nurturing Ridgefield’s youngest learners," RCK Preschool Director Jennifer Cade said. "Together with our supportive staff, they have ensured that RCK will remain a vital part of our community.  We are grateful for the outpouring of assistance, caring, and support shown by members of town government, the Ridgefield community, and most dearly, our RCK families past and present as we searched to identify our new home."

The new space

Cade said she chose the new location because it enabled the school to maintain an open floor plan that's similar to its current space, for cross-classroom activities.

Additionally, said she's very happy to remain in the heart of the town of Ridgefield.  

In the new space, she said the school can continue all its existing programs and also introduce new programming. 

"We are currently reimagining our programming in our new space as we listen to the wishes and needs of our RCK families," Cade said. "We look forward to announcing all of our offerings in the upcoming months."

Additionally, she wrote the past few years and the especially the past year "has shown the community that we are resilient."

She said the preschool is grateful to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for providing them with the new space. 

"In the next couple of months, we will gain regulatory approval at state and local levels, and with the Episcopal Church (in Connecticut)," she said. "As we take a collective exhale, the teachers, board and I look forward to continuing to nourish and enjoy RCK's current students while designing our plans for next year."

The Rev. Whitney Altopp of St. Stephen's said the church is "really looking forward to teaming with (RCK Preschool) in attending to their littlest and how our missions might align. It seems full of possibilities since we're two long-standing institutions in Ridgefield and I'm really looking forward to that."

Suzanne Brennan, executive director of the Lounsbury House, said she's "delighted at this new beginning" for both their organizations, "knowing RCK students will thrive under the direction of Jennifer Cade in a more suitable preschool setting."

She added the Lounsbury House is actively working on a "reimagined 2023 with early plans for a four-concert schedule with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra."

The search for a new home

For more than 60 years, the preschool has been housed in The Lounsbury House; however, last spring, management at the Lounsbury House chose not to renew the preschool's license.

In a statement at the time, Brennan said the facility is reimagining its future as a “greater central hub” for community meetings, concerts, local events and recreation. In the statement, she added that there are “significant challenges” in hosting young children in a preschool setting on “busy Lounsbury House grounds — and within a historic 126-year old building.”

The school appealed to the community for support in extending their lease and finding a new location and encouraged the public to join its "New Home" task force or fundraising committee. 

Over the last few months, a "comprehensive search for our new home in Ridgefield was conducted," said Cade, on the preschool's website.  

RCK Preschool will open in its new location in September 2023.  Enrollment for the 2023/24 school year will open for current RCK families on Tuesday, Nov. 1. New families may enroll beginning Nov. 15.