CLOSING DOORS: Stepping Stones day care announces shut down

COLUMBIA CITY — Julie Claxton, a Columbia City resident who sends her two kids to the Stepping Stones Day Care at the First Church of God, said she received a letter in her mailbox on Friday stating Stepping Stones’ intentions to close down the day care service.“They decided after 13 years of day care, they are closing,” said Claxton.“They basically said July 27 is the last day.”A press release from Stepping Stones said the decision was made after careful consideration and prayer as it said, “By closing the door on this era of ministry, the church will reinvest as the Lord leads into new areas, both locally and around the world.”Stepping Stones Preschool, which has been open for more than 40 years, will continue on with new leadership, but it will not be closed down, the press release said.Claxton said the shutdown of the day care will affect 120 kids and 25 employees, and she also said the teachers at the day care are trying to buy parents a little more time to find alternate care elsewhere.The teachers will hold a meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Peabody Public Library to discuss their plans.“We didn’t even know this was a consideration,” said Claxton. “But it seems they have been thinking about this for some time.”While Claxton is surprised by the sudden notice, she said she has always been impressed with the day care’s service to her seven-month-old and her 3-year-old.“We’ve been going there for three years,” said Claxton. “It’s been great, and I know my 3-year-old loves it.”