Bobbie Noonan’s Child Care Preschool which has been in Joliet for over 40 years will soon close and be replaced by an Easter Seals program.
There are plenty of children for preschool but not enough teachers, said Ruth Tyrrell, director of the Joliet site.
“We can’t find qualified teachers,” Tyrrell said. “It’s a problem everywhere.”
The last day of kindergarten is June 3, although Bobbie Noonan will be in the building for another week before Easter Seals takes over.
Bobbie Noonan locations in other areas will continue to operate, including one in Lockport where some Joliet parents will be taking children.
Tyrrell said the decision was made in February to close the preschool, which has operated on the corner of Barney Drive and Fairway Drive for more than 40 years.
Easter Seals is located across Barney Drive from Bobbie Noonan’s building.
On May 19, the Joliet Zoning Appeal Board approved a special use permit for adult day services in the building. This was the final town approval needed for the Easter Seals Plan.
Easter Seals president and CEO Deb Condotti told the zoning board that Easter Seals will provide services to young adults with disabilities who need help developing skills to live more independently.
“It’s a place where people can really add to their independent living skills,” Condotti said. “Their parents fear that over time they will have as much independence as possible.”
Clients will likely be at least 22 years old, the age at which students with developmental disabilities can no longer stay in high school, she said. Two areas of focus will be the development of social and intellectual skills, but a kitchen in the building will also be useful for the development of professional skills, she said.
“We really want to focus on students who are now at home and want to transition into a more independent lifestyle,” Condotti told the board.
The 19,000 square foot building is in a residential neighborhood on the west side of Barney Drive. The eastern side of Barney Drive, which includes the main Easter Seals facility, is lined with retail and office developments.