Rural Valley day care opening in former American Legion building

| Thursday, July 24, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

A new Rural Valley day care and preschool facility will host an open house on Saturday in a yellow brick building along Line Street previously owned by the American Legion Cosgrove Post 523.

With two World War I cannons on the property moved to the War Memorial in the Shannock Valley Community Park, colorful kid-friendly decor has sprouted up at Rural Rascals Day Care.

Allia Boyer, 30, a Rural Valley native, bought the building in late January and has transformed it. It will soon employ four child care workers, one cook and will accommodate 30 children from infants to 5-year-old preschoolers.

“I've been a stay-at-home mom for five years and had thought about starting up a day care but didn't want to do it out of my home,” said Boyer, who has children ages 2, 4 and 8. “So when the sale came up, I decided to buy it. This is much needed in the area.”

Blooming flowers, a decorative miniature windmill, foot bridge and pony cart flank the bright red front entrance to the building. At the back, a fenced-in grassy area will soon enclose a toddler and preschool play area.

Inside, a garden scene mural — painted by Rural Valley artist Tina Avi and her daughter Samantha Williams — extends the length of the wall into the toddler room, where veterans and service men and women once hosted dances and other community events.

Restrooms have been remodeled, and an area that once housed a bar is now an area with a bright green wall and activity centers. An infant room with six cribs and cushioned floor space for baby play replaces a section that had once held a pool table and juke box.

Breakfast, lunch and snacks are included in the daily cost and will be prepared in the facility's kitchen using guidelines set by federal food and nutrition programs.

Right now, there are 10 children enrolled for the Aug. 6 start date. By then, Boyer expects to have been given the all-clear from state inspectors.

In the meantime, she has hired Indiana resident Jade Robinson to be the facility director and preschool teacher. Robinson has a bachelor's degree in child development and family relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is in the process of earning her master's degree in early childhood education from Carlow University.

Her line-up of daily activities focuses on learning through play using a combination of structured and unstructured time.

“I have lesson plans using Pennsylvania early learning standards to prepare children for kindergarten,” Robinson said.

She and Boyer noted that although there are other preschools in the area and day care available out of several homes, there are no other facilities in Rural Valley or Cowanshannock that offer a combination of daily preschool classes and day care.

Since the building sits on the edge of the Shannock Valley Community Park where the 25th annual Shannock Valley Community Festival is happening through Saturday, Boyer figured the festival's final day was the perfect chance for the open house to let residents and visitors check out the transformation of the former American Legion building.

“I want everyone in the area to come visit,” she said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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