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Summer fun starts with reading and the great outdoors for Chester preschoolers

Chester school closed for 8 decades offers second annual preschool literacy program

Two dozen preschoolers Monday attended the first day of the Vivian Ayers Allen's "Workshops in Open Fields" summer preschool literacy program. The program is held at Brainerd Institute in Chester, which is owned by actress Phylicia Rashad.
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Two dozen preschoolers Monday attended the first day of the Vivian Ayers Allen's "Workshops in Open Fields" summer preschool literacy program. The program is held at Brainerd Institute in Chester, which is owned by actress Phylicia Rashad.

It didn't take long for a teacher to get the attention of two dozen wiggly preschoolers.

"Criss cross applesauce! Let me see your big eyes," she said as they plopped down on a mat to listen to the story "The Best Part of Me."

Children ages 4-6 started the summer Monday at Vivian Ayers Allen's "Workshops in Open Fields" preschool literacy program.

Teachers from surrounding school districts are teaching the workshops at Chester's Brainerd Institute. Chester native Allen Ayers has two celebrity daughters who are helping this week. Actress Phylicia Rashad, known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the hit comedy "The Cosby Show," "Empire," and Broadway productions, bought Brainerd in 1999. Debbie Allen, Ayers Allen's other daughter, is a dancer and actress and is known for the 1980s show "Fame." She currently stars in "Grey's Anatomy" as Catherine Fox.

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