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 In HearSway

You know her as the woman who helped you get through the toddler years. But now Aslynn Rust is moving her signature indoor playground to a new venture: Little Pines Academy.

Aslynn Rust at Play Escape in Southern Pines

“When I realized Play Escape wasn’t going to survive COVID, I was looking for a way to repurpose my assets into something new,” she said. Then she met experienced educator and “kid whisperer” Katherine Hoffert, and all the puzzle pieces for a preschool fit into place.

Located at 387 West Pennsylvania Ave. in downtown Southern Pines (the soon-to-be former home of Moore Montessori), classrooms for ages 2-5 will open August 18 with full- and half-day options under Hoffert’s curriculum direction.

The school will include Play Escape’s beloved play structure (refreshed and refurbished for indoor recess), but the school’s focus will be on academics — peppered with art, music, brain breaks, yoga and outdoor play on the 6,000-square-foot playground.

“Play Escape filled a need, and when it closed I felt like I was taking away a community asset,” Aslynn says. “With a preschool, I can continue to fill a need and have a positive impact on local families.”

School tours will begin this summer.

Learn more here.

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