Huge renovations made at Next Door's 29th Street location

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Posted at 5:24 AM, Apr 29, 2021

MILWAUKEE — The pandemic has cost our children hundreds of hours of in-class learning.

Next Door's early childhood education program leaders have been working hard to reopen and re-imagining their current spaces to teach future generations.

Next Door president Tracy Sparrow emphasized, “We believe that in-person instruction is better for children.”

The organization which serves infants to kindergartners has a new initiative to make up for precious time called ‘Accelerating Equity.’

Sparrow explains, “We know that we can’t come back next school year and just consider it 'business as usual,' because that won’t work.”

Sparrow points out their effort to renovate, starting with their 29th Street location, “So that they would inspire children.”

All of this was done through generous donations from their 2019 fundraiser, where they celebrated their 50th anniversary just before the pandemic hit us all.

One of the most jaw-dropping renovations is the new reading library. “They put this beautiful tree right here so that children have a space to sit in and read a book,” Sparrow said.

29th Street Next Door Location's Reading Library Before & After

Teacher Shalaya Morehouse says her children love it, “They were so amazed with the renovation they were like, ‘animals!’ ‘the books!’"

Morehouse is also thrilled with the ocean-themed gym created for her toddler classes to explore, “It strengthens their muscles so that they’re able to climb and jump.”

Renovated Ocean-themed gym at Next Door's 29th Street location before & after

The older children have a more advanced gym that has an 'outerspace' theme.

Renovated gym for older children at Next Door's 29th Street location

Next Door also created another space with moms and dads in mind. They have tables and stools set up for parents to sit down, relax and connect with teachers and other parents in the community.

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29th Street Parent Engagement Center

Morehouse can’t wait for it to be safe enough for everyone to take advantage of the cafe-style relaxed space for the adults to enjoy and, "To say ‘hey your child is doing awesome!’ ‘how are you today?’ ‘is there anything that I can do for you?’”

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