My name is Kristin Hiam, and I am the Lead Teacher for our church’s new preschool. It was a wonderful year at The Learning Tree! I am overflowing with pride in our students and what they have accomplished. Who knew that two classrooms in the basement of our church could be transformed into such an energetic, thriving, positive and joyful place? I would like to take time today to share with you a bit about our experiences in hopes that you catch a glimpse of the goodness that our school has produced. I see so much potential in the addition of our preschool in the church and I hope that you do as well!
Children rise to the expectations that we set for them, and The Learning Tree students did just that. Before school started, I planned out the curriculum and its goals, and my teaching and education background leaned towards academics. As academic expectations rise in elementary schools, the importance of high-quality preschool programming is a real need. Gone are kindergarten days full of playtime, naptime, and coloring. Students are expected to be reading, writing and performing math skills in kindergarten previously thought as beyond their potential. One way to help students get a good foundation for school success is an academic based preschool. Unfortunately, many high-quality schools come at a high cost. I am proud to say that The Learning Tree not only provides school readiness success, but does so at one of the lowest tuition rates in our area!
I would like to talk a little about our Pre-Kindergarten class first. We could not have been nearly as successful without Jamie Stady as Assistant Teacher. She is a remarkable person and a great teacher. Our students are readers! 7 out of 12 students are leaving our class reading books already. All 12 students developed a love of books and are taking all necessary skills with them to become readers quickly once kindergarten starts. They surprised themselves at what they could accomplish and that is what teaching is all about! They love to write, are curious, inquisitive and insightful.
If you asked any of our first graduating class what their favorite part about school was, they most likely would say Chapel Time with Ms. Stacy. Once a month the students went into the sanctuary to enjoy songs, stories and activities that taught the stories of the Bible and the love of Jesus. It was a special thing to watch these kids grow in Christ!
The part however that I am most proud of is not academics, the positive feedback from parents, or all those little hugs we were lucky enough to get every day. The best part of our program was how our Christian faith, actions and beliefs were weaved through everyday learning and interactions. We had students from different religions, different economic backgrounds, different ethnicities and even special needs students, and all were accepted, loved and respected by each other. They will do amazing in Kindergarten because they have the love of Jesus in their hearts and the confidence to conquer the world!
Our three-year old program was also a big success. The first few days I was questioning my idea of starting a preschool. They were falling off their chairs, were tired, hungry, missed their mamas and I was a little overwhelmed. Luckily, I had two other assistant teachers in the 3-year-old class, Patrice Marchese and Kellie Meyer, who are fabulous people and teachers! Their patience, sense of humor and gift of teaching children paid off. We worked our way through the first few weeks and out emerged a delightful, curious and sweet bunch of kids.
They too enjoyed Chapel Time and would ask endless questions about what Ms. Stacy had taught them. I loved watching them develop their ideas and thoughts on Jesus right before our eyes.
This class is a bright group! They are ready to jump into Pre-K next year. With the exception of those who are moving, all of our preschool students are registered for our Pre-K in the fall. We feel so blessed that parents have grown to love our school and trust us with their little ones. We can’t wait to see them back next year!
The Learning Tree is growing! We have hired a new teacher, Heather Clive, to teach one class of Pre-K students, while I will teach the other class. She brings great experience and a love of children that will make our program even better! I love that we are able to grow and expand because that helps us keep to our mission of providing a high-quality education to our community at a low tuition rate.
In closing, we thank the church for the opportunity to create our preschool. We hope to be able to share it more with you all next year. Be on the look out for our Open House that will take place in August before school starts. We would love you to come down and see for yourself what good works are happening! We appreciate your continued prayers for another successful school year.