To most, the Tharwa Preschool may seem like a small, quaint school in a rural setting. But for the families who have been connected to the preschool and the former Tharwa Primary School for generations, it is the lifeblood of their village.
Six children are enrolled to attend Tharwa Preschool next year, but their parents have been warned that the program won't run at that site unless enrolment numbers increase by about six to eight students.
Three descendants of Daniel White, who campaigned for a new school building in Tharwa in 1908, are set to become the fifth generation of their family to attend the preschool.
Elisa Rossiter, who has enrolled her son for next year, said it was a true bush school that offered a different kind of education.
"Where else in Canberra can you be in between the mountains on one side and a river on on the other, that is just filled with so much history?" she said.
Mrs Rossiter said it would be extremely disappointing if the program didn't operate next year and parents were concerned that it would not return in future years.
Grace Gregory enrolled her son for next year and was planning to send her two other children in future years.
"At the moment there's so many young families out here, especially historical families, it would be really sad to lose the preschool and not have that option available to them," she said.
Tharwa Community Association president Kevin Jeffery said the closure of the Tharwa Primary School in 2006 was a blow the community and the effect of the preschool program not going ahead would be similar.
"If the preschool closes as well, we will lose that the thing that holds us together," he said.
Mr Jeffery said parents from surrounding areas often sent their children to Tharwa Preschool, but there was a lack of awareness of the school and what it offered.
He said the preschool was also central to the annual Tharwa Bush Fair which is central to the business and community life in the village.
When the ACT Education Directorate was asked if the preschool would close next year if enrolments were not increased, a spokeswoman said 2021 preschool enrolments remained open and the location of preschool group sessions would be finalised before the end of 2020.
"All accepted enrolments will be offered an appropriate place. Tharwa Preschool will remain open as part of Charles Conder Primary School," the spokeswoman said.
Mr Jeffery, who is the third generation of his family to own the Tharwa shop, said the preschool added vibrancy to the village.
"Those things make a difference to a small village in ways you don't even understand until you until you lose them," he said.