Two years ago, Noah’s Ark Preschool at First Baptist Church in Seymour closed in order to restructure and start anew.
It was supposed to be a one-year closing, but the church was unable to find the right certified preschool teacher to lead the program.
In the fall of 2016, the church started a Parent’s Day Out childcare ministry instead, allowing parents to drop off young children occasionally or regularly once or twice a week for four hours.
“Our desire was to bless parents,” said Montica Chambers, Noah’s Ark board member.
As a stay-at-home mom, Chambers said she knows firsthand parents just need a break.
“You need to be able to go to Starbucks by yourself and just sit there or clean your house without interruption,” she said.
Besides helping out parents, the program also provides an opportunity for young children, from walking age to 4 years old, to learn and grow academically, socially and spiritually.
Students learn about the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. They sing songs and learn the letters of the alphabet, colors, numbers, shapes and the weather. There is a routine they follow, learning how to follow instructions and share with their classmates.
They learn to play and play to learn through educational and sensory stations and small group work focusing on academic lessons, including pre-reading skills.
There are currently 13 students enrolled in Parent’s Day Out, and classes meet Mondays and Wednesdays. To keep the student-to-instructor ratio low, class sizes are limited to about 10 students.
The response from parents to the new program led the church to realize the community was in need of more early-childhood services.
This fall, First Baptist Church plans to reopen Noah’s Ark Preschool with its new teacher, Traci Peters of Seymour, at the helm.
Classes for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds will start in August. Open enrollment began Wednesday. Registration forms are available on the church’s website at fbchome.org.
A grand reopening open house will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at the church for parents and children to see the classrooms and meet the teachers.
The Parent’s Day Out program will continue, too, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, giving families options for both preschool and childcare. The program also serves as a feeder program for the preschool, Chambers said.
Read the full story in Thursday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.