Geneseo church program lets preschoolers explore, develop

Claudia Loucks
For the Republic
Claire Rushing, left, and her younger sister Sophie show off some of the toys to be used for the Lil’ GUMDROPS (Grace United Methodist Church Draw, Read, Open Play and Snack) playgroup offered in Geneseo beginning Wednesday, Sept. 21. The girls are the daughters of Robbie and Jenna Rushing.

Lil’ GUMDROPS volunteers are ready to welcome youngsters at Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo.

The Lil’ GUMDROPS (Grace United Methodist Church Draw, Read, Open Play and Snack) playgroup will begin Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the church, 318 North Center St.

GUMDROPS is a weekly play group and outreach program for children that is hosted and supported by Grace Church.

Sessions are from 9:15-10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, from Sept. 21 through Nov. 16, with the exception of Sept. 28, when the group will meet on Friday, Sept. 30

The program is open to the community, for children ages 2-5. Children who attend must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Cost is $20 for the first child and $10 for each additional child in the same family. There is no cost for youngsters from 0-2.

Registration must be completed in advance through the group’s Face book page, or by email at

Lil’ GUMDROPS was most recently under the direction of Erin Vorac at Grace Church and the program was held until the outbreak of Covid-19. Lil’ GUMDROPS is returning this fall under the direction of Jenna Rushing, with Sharon Neumann as assistant director, and the help of volunteers.

Jenna Rushing describes the program as “an outreach program for preschool age kids to draw, read and have open play and snacks. This is a great way for kids to explore and develop new relationships.”

The schedule:

  • Sept. 21 – Hello Fall.
  • Sept. 30 – Field Trip to visit Dr. Matt Nelson at Maple Ridge Veterinary Clinic.
  • Oct. 5 – Fire Safety with a visit from volunteers from the Geneseo Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Oct. 12 – Field trip to Hitzhusen farm.
  • Oct. 19 – Pumpkins.
  • Oct. 26 – Trick-or-Treating.
  • Nov. 2 – Transportation.
  • Nov. 9 – Giraffes.
  • Nov. 16 - Thanksgiving.