Our program is getting ready for its 15th school year. In 1998, as the Ministry Center was nearing completion, our parish decided to begin a ministry addressing early childhood education and faith formation. By summer’s end that year, classrooms had been equipped, a staff hired, and a curriculum sketched out- all that we needed were the kids. They came, and they have kept coming ever since. In the summer of 2007, we added 3 additional classrooms.
Our early childhood program is still small compared to the programs available in the neighboring protestant churches. With our recent expansion, we currently enroll about 115 children, almost all from the Catholic community. The Cradle is comprised of a loving community of families. We welcome your interest in our program and apologize for not always having enough room to welcome every family desiring enrollment.
What is our philosophy towards early childhood education? We are a play-based program. The themes, centers, lessons and activities planned by the teachers encourage social development, sharing, as well as core fine and gross motor skills and pre-literacy skills. Our primary objective is that play within our classrooms should be a provocation for learning, exploration and creativity as well as an expression of our Catholic faith.
Our curriculum allows us to meet the needs of each child by providing lessons and materials that take into account where each child is developmentally, teaching them new skills that encourage new learning, but are not too frustrating as they work toward mastery of new skills. We include the word “playschool” in our name rather than preschool, not because we avoid structure or preacademic learning, but to remind all of us that young children should not be required to race through skill acquisition just for achievement’s sake, but be allowed and given the opportunity to explore, challenge, and shape their learning through play.