Little Bee’s Preschool has opened its doors at 101 South Railroad Street, Myerstown. It is located in a 715-square-foot space on the top floor of Myerstown’s Community Center. Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting Friday, Aug. 6.

“The chamber is thrilled to see a new business, especially an education-based business, open in Lebanon County,” said Brooke Mendoff, the chamber’s membership director.

“The youth are the future, and we need them to have a good education to continue building and growing our county,” she said. “We wish Little Bee’s Preschool the best of luck as they gear up for their first fall classes.”

Little Bee’s owner and director is Nicole Snyder. An ELCO graduate, dancer and former high school cheerleader, Snyder has also operated Dance-A-Licious Dance Studio in Myerstown for the past 12-years. It uses space at Friedens Lutheran Church, 301 West Washington Avenue, Myerstown. She said the community dance studio will continue to offer classes for students of all levels.

Little Bee’s Preschool owner Nicole Snyder (left) stands with Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce President Karen Groh (right) at the preschool’s grand opening ceremony.

Snyder has over 20 years of childcare experience and four children of her own ranging from 20 months to 13 years old. After her daughter’s Myerstown preschool closed due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order and did not reopen, Snyder felt a growing need for preschool options.

”There are other preschools in the area, but they’re on a waitlist, so there’s definitely a need,” Snyder explained. “I’ve operated an in-home daycare for a number of years. Several people including family members told me I should open a preschool. I looked into it and found it’s not a big step {licensing-wise} from operating an in-home daycare to becoming a preschool.”

The name for the preschool is from her a nickname for her youngest child, Fynn.

“I started calling him my ‘little bee’, so when I was thinking about a name for the preschool ‘little bee’ sounded like a good fit,” she said.

Snyder said Little Bee’s will offer a class for three-year-olds Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and a Kindergarten-ready (four- and five-year-olds) class Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Since there are currently only a few slots open for each class, she is planning to open a waitlist.

“Based on the waitlist, I’ll most likely offer a 1 to 3 p.m. class, but I’m not sure just what days it will be offered. I’ll look at the waitlist and see which age group there’s the most need for and will offer the classes the same day as the morning class for that age group,” she explained.

The first day of class at Little Bee’s Preschool will be Monday, Sept. 13. Snyder has served on elementary PTO’s for a number of years and will use that knowledge to plan some fun activities for the preschoolers.

“I’m planning to take the kids on a field trip to an apple orchard or do a hayride this fall. I’m also planning to arrange visits to the ELCO bookmobile,” Snyder said, adding that there will also be monthly activities for parents such as Muffins with Mom.

“This year will be the year of growth and grace,” said Snyder. “We’re growing rapidly, and I will need grace for the Oops [mistakes] I may make along the way.”

For further information about Little Bee’s Preschool, visit its website or the preschool’s Facebook page.

Myerstown Community Center

Little Bee’s Preschool joins Forte Piano Music Studio on the top floor of the Community Center. The building also houses Myerstown borough and Myerstown Vitality Partnership (MVP) offices. Michael McKenna, Myerstown Borough manager, said an IT company SMRTGUYS LLC, will be joining Little Bee’s and Forte Piano on the top floor of the building in the next month or two. All three of these small businesses are owned and operated by Myerstown residents.

The two-story nearly 50,000-square-foot community center was constructed in 1915 as Myerstown High School, and later became an elementary school. McKenna said after Jackson Elementary School was constructed, the building was shuttered in 2010. The borough purchased the building in 2016 using funds from the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Keystone Communities program. After some renovations, the borough moved into the building in 2017.

“The borough is excited to have Little Bee’s Preschool opening in the Community Center,” McKenna said, “It is a perfect fit to have an organization moving in that provides educational services for the local community in a building that used to do the same thing.”

In an interesting twist, Snyder attended elementary school in the building.

“It’s pretty neat that the place I went to elementary school is now the place where I’ll open a business,” she said.

In October 2020, the borough and MVP were seeking a developer to provide a plan for the possible re-use of the borough building as a community center.

Read More: Myerstown Vitality Partnership and Myerstown Borough seek developer for input on community center

“Unfortunately, the Borough did not receive any proposals that were consistent with the purpose of the project, “McKenna explained, “When that option didn’t pan out, we began marketing the vacant space at below-market-rate rents for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. These entrepreneurs might not be in a position to purchase a new building or rent a storefront on Main Avenue, but they have the ability to afford space in our building.

“Providing this resource helps these Myerstown businesses take the next step toward reaching their goals, which might allow them to one day rent space on Main Avenue or even purchase a building of their own.”

He said it’s exciting to see the building continue to serve the Myerstown community. “We hope it continues to promote entrepreneurship among Myerstown residents,” McKenna said, “Since we did not receive any interest from private developers, it is something the borough will have to work on over time with our community partners. Myerstown is a small borough with a small budget. Any project we tackle is done through partnerships with the incredible community organizations that serve the citizens of Myerstown.”

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Rochelle A. Shenk is a writer with over two decades experience. Her work appears in regional business publications and lifestyle magazines as well as area newspapers. She writes about business and municipal sectors as well as arts and entertainment, human interest features, and travel and tourism. Rochelle...