Parents petition to keep RMSC preschool open after it announces closure

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Rochester Museum and Science Center’s preschool will be closing at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

President and CEO Hillary Olson said they made the difficult decision to close the program after more than four decades in the wake of the COVID pandemic and wanting to put focus on other areas of the museum.

“COVID really forced us in the last couple years to reassess our offerings and in that we were thinking about who are and what we need to be and where we need to focus and it’s really Science Center, Nature Center, and Planetarium,” Olson said.

Olson said the preschool enrichment program is coming to a close after 45 years. She said while it was a tough decision, it was made with strategic planning to focus on other areas of the center.

“I mean finances are of course a reason. They are a reason in all business decisions but it was more about our focus and what we need to be into the future,” Olson said.

Olson said the preschool is set to close in late May affecting 84 families.

Mom Amanda Bayer said her kids go to the preschool and was in disbelief when she heard it was closing.

“The Rochester Museum and Science Center preschool is invaluable to this community, inspiring interest in exploration and science and curiosity,” Bayer said.

Right now there’s a petition to save the RMSC preschool program with more than 1,600 signatures.

“I hope that the community signing the petition is really going to reverse this or at least work with the administration to have something like this preschool moving forward because we need to not have this gone,” Bayer said.

Olson said she understands how much this will impact families.

“There’s so much heartfelt feelings, people are having a lot of big feelings, they are frustrated and the reason we made this announcement so early is that people will have the opportunity to sign up for other programs and enrichments for their kids,” Olson said.

Olson said they are working with them to help find other preschool programs.

To see the petition, click here those who want to request to volunteer, share stories or data, or who have questions can email