Preschool Opens Doors For First Time
For the past year, St. Ignatius has held serious conversations about offering a new preschool alternative for the community. Hearing from families about the need for a preschool and confirming the demand with a survey, the elementary school decided to expand their offerings by adding half- and full-day programs that began on Sept. 3.
Pre-K is held five days a week for five-year-olds from Monday through Friday. The classes start at 8:55 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Half-day programs are offered for four- and three-year-olds, for three and two days, respectively. The preschool follows the same school calendar as grades K-8.
Each class has a certified teacher and an assistant teacher to meet the needs of all students. The preschool staff of five have designed and arranged two preschool classrooms housed in converted conference room space in the church office.
Much of the education that the children will receive is what you would expect in a traditional preschool, but also includes some faith-based learning, focusing on the weekly gospel readings. Says Principal Kevin Vance, “We value the opportunity to collaborate with families as we all make the journey to meet, know, love and serve Jesus Christ.”
Preschool Director Denise Schnur has been designing and implementing plans for the new preschool since she was hired in February. “Our preschool offers a Catholic-based kindergarten readiness program which will enable children to grow academically, spiritually, physically and emotionally,” says Schnur.
Having a background in early childhood education helped Schnur formulate a plan for the new preschool option being offered at St. Ignatius. Schnur has 25 years of experience in launching preschools and has taught at the preschool and university levels, also working in administration. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s in early childhood education from Loyola University.
St. Ignatius Preschool recognizes the unique and God-given potential of each child, leading them in their discovery of faith, and fostering a love of learning. Students will learn more about Catholicism through faith-based learning materials that guide the children through the Bible and prayer, and eventually, be able to apply those skills in the classroom.
The preschool curriculum will be age-appropriate, focusing on children maximizing their God-Given gifts. Hands-on and active lessons will focus on prayer and faith, reading skills, math, science, technology, service, and positive personal development.
Schnur hopes that the children would learn more about Jesus Christ and from what their faith is based. “We want children to gain a lifelong love for their faith and learning. Children will build a personal relationship with Jesus. We will exemplify this by role modeling, showing kindness toward one another, reading Bible Stories and seeing Jesus in each other. Children will learn that we treat our friends how we want to be treated,” says Schnur.
Says Vance, “To prepare our students for success in an ever-changing world, we value and promote collaboration with one another, creative problem solving and technology integration.” He continues, “St. Ignatius is not only a school of over 1,000 students, but it is also a loving family where students, staff, parents, grandparents, and many others work together to promote the mission of the school: Educating each student by helping them develop their faith and by teaching academic skills that will last a lifetime.”