Skip to content

Helping Hands Playschool has closed its doors after Crystal Koller’s retirement

Crystal Koller has been running the Helping Hands Playschool since 2005
The Helping Hands Playschool will be closing upon owner and teacher Chrystal Koller’s retirement. (Photo from the Helping Hands Playschool Facebook page)

After 18 years of operating Helping Hands Playschool, Crystal Koller has announced her retirement.

The experience of being the owner and teacher at the playschool was an amazing one, Koller said.

“It was the best thing that ever happened in my teaching career.”

Helping Hands was originally started in 2005 after Koller approached her friend Shawn Palm about starting a playschool in the Alliance church.

“We spent 6 months getting all the paperwork done and finally in September of that year we started our programs. I have definitely enjoyed every year meeting all the new families and their children at the program. Shawn retired in 2018 so another teacher helped me for a few years but I have been the only teacher since 2021.”

Since starting the program there have been many special moments from kids coming back from Disney Land and giving a Mickey souvenir, to playing on the snow hill, mud day and watching the kids final stage performance of the year.

“It is those little moments in my day where a child can succeed at one small task or show self-control or say please and thank you and take turns that are my favorite memories,” Koller said.

The program wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of the Alliance Church.

“The Alliance Church also helped us out by providing financial assistance to those families that needed it. They gave out food hampers at Christmas time to those in need. The pastors and other staff were on hand for any kind of support if the families needed it. It was a great partnership between the church staff, the elder’s board and the playschool for so many years.”

While Koller’s journey with Helping Hands is over she will still be working in early childhood programs within Sylvan Lake.

“I will still be working in the community delivering early childhood programs but on a different level so I am looking forward to being involved in the community and working with a team of wonderful people.”

While it is exciting to move on to a new job opportunity it was an emotional day when the doors closed on May 31, Koller said.

“Unfortunately there is no one to keep the program going so I closed the doors and will be selling all the inventory I have. It was an emotional day for me as one door closes and another one opens.”

A retirement party is being planned for Koller for after she returns from her mission trip in South East Asia.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Sarah Baker

About the Author: Sarah Baker

I joined Black Press in March 2023 and am looking forward to sharing stories about the local communities.
Read more