Magicians Dr. Magogo, aka Mike Bent, Steve Kradolfer and David Oliver amaze, mystify, amuse and even disgust at the Mystery Lounge, the Tuesday show at the Hong Kong Restaurant’s Comedy Studio in Harvard Square. (Photos: Ken WInokur)

Magicians Dr. Magogo, aka Mike Bent, Steve Kradolfer and David Oliver amaze, mystify, amuse and even disgust at the Mystery Lounge, the Tuesday show at the Hong Kong Restaurant’s Comedy Studio in Harvard Square. (Photos: Ken WInokur)

A 45-child march down Sydney Street brought the Cambridgeport Children’s Center — the “Tot Lot” — symbolically back to life Sunday after two years away for reconstruction.

The center is a preschool cooperative, run by staff and parents who marched as well, and home to 30 students ranging from 15 months to 5 years in age. For 30 years, it sat comfortably on Chestnut Street. Two years ago, the roof began to leak. The children and staff were forced to move temporarily to the basement of the Margaret Fuller House on Cherry Street in Central Square.

Despite heavy construction enabling the children and staff to return to Chestnut Street in August, some considerable rooftop and front yard play areas repairs are still needed. On Sunday, the children, parents and center alumni were determined to reach the goal of raising $4,000 to help complete the project.

Parents say they are devoted to raising funds for the center because the Tot Lot is a culturally and economically diverse preschool where, in addition to typical age-appropriate curricula, children get conflict resolution, diversity and anti-bias training. The children’s parents come from different corners of the world — Africa, Ethiopia, Senegal, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Jeynaba Jamanka, 5, participated in fund-raising events Nov. 6, 2005, at the Cambridgeport Children’s Center, or “Tot Lot.” (Photo: Lawrence E. Miller)

Jeynaba Jamanka, 5, participated in fund-raising events Nov. 6, 2005, at the Cambridgeport Children’s Center, or “Tot Lot.” (Photo: Lawrence E. Miller)

“We all live in a diverse community and we’re all one people,” says Mark Gardner, whose two children attend Tot Lot and who is one of many Cambridge parents making up the governing body of the center.

“The center gives parents strong roles in the care and education of their children. Kids are stronger with parents and teachers working together,” said Paula Bowie, the director of the center.

Because of the popularity of the preschool and the limited number of slots available for toddlers, parents such as Amber Jamanka put their children on the wait list even before they are born. Children must be 15 months or older to attend the center. Between 40 percent and 50 percent of the slots are subsidized; the state handles close to 33 percent, with the rest subsidized by the center itself.

The striking part is that the center’s alumni are still heavily involved in its activities. Many attended this fund-raising event.

Sally Waltermulder’s 13-year-old is a center alumna. Her other 4-year-old daughter attends now. “We have teachers who have been here 10 to 20 years, which is unheard of in the child-care world,” she said. There are eight teachers, four full time and four part time.

“It’s good. I like the teachers. And I knew some of the kids for a long time,” said Jeynaba Jamanka, a 5-year-old.

When the walk ended at the new home on Chestnut Street, Bowie announced how much money was raised by the 10 a.m. walk — it turns out to have been about $2,800 — and cheers broke out. The money will pay for the front playground, said the school’s Claudia Rabino, and keep the children from having to walk elsewhere to play.

There’s still a need for about $20,000 for the rooftop playground, however, and possibly more to keep on top of maintenance and repair.

“It’s an old building,” Rabino said.