Next Tuesday will be the first day of school for many preschoolers, including 1- to 4-year-old students enrolled in First Steps, the new Mother’s Day Out program at First Baptist Church in Waxahachie.
An Open House was held Thursday morning to give new students and parents an opportunity to meet their teacher and see their classroom.
Red Oak resident and 3-year-old classroom teacher Kellye Bishop has more than 12 years of experience working with children and is looking forward to the First Steps school year.
“I am excited about getting to know the children and working with them and teaching them,” said Bishop, who explained that classroom activities will include circle time, Bible lessons, music, chapel, trips to the outdoor playground, and snack time.
Each week will follow a particular theme. The theme for the first week, for example, will be “Welcome to Preschool” and all activities will center around that theme.
“We’ll also be learning about the color red next week,” said Bishop, who added, “and our Bible story will be ‘Boy Jesus at Church.’”
All First Steps teachers will be following the WEELearn curriculum, a Christian curriculum that incorporates a variety of elements into each day’s plan. These include learning centers of art, blocks, books, music, nature, puzzles, and manipulatives, to name a few. The curriculum also incorporates group experiences like chapel, music class, outdoor play, and snack time, among others.
“Every day we will have a Bible story, too,” said 4-year-old teacher Wendy Johnson, who added “and a verse of the week.”
Johnson has nine years of experience working with children and is Montessori certified.
“I am very excited to get back to teaching,” said Johnson, who took some time off after her last teaching job. Johnson’s experience includes six years at a Montessori school in Garland. She and her family relocated to Waxahachie one year ago.
“Teaching is my passion. It’s what God made me to do. I am really excited about being with the kids, interacting with them, and being in the classroom,” said Johnson.
In addition to activities similar to the ones offered in the 3-year-old classroom, students in Johnson’s 4-year-old classroom will also “journal.” Johnson explained that the activity would be a form of story time.
During the first week of school, 4-year-olds will learn about safety at school, home, and on the playground.
Children in both the 3- and 4-year-old classrooms can look forward to creating art and their parents of course, displaying it afterwards.
“I love art,” said Johnson.
“I believe in hands-on activities, in art work that the children have created themselves,” said Johnson, who explained the importance of child-created art as opposed to something the teacher has made with only minimal participation by the child.
First Steps Preschool is a ministry of First Baptist Church located at 315 North Rogers in Waxahachie. For more information, call (972) 937-1940 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want it to be their creation, what they come up with,” said Johnson.
First Steps Director Lea Sullivan holds a teacher’s certificate and comes to her new position with a background of seven years as a WISD special education instructor.
“The Lord led me to be a part of an outreach ministry,” said Sullivan, who explained that First Steps is an outreach ministry of the church.
“We want children to know that they are being loved, that they are in a safe place, and that God loves them,” said Sullivan.
“Through the WEELearn curriculum, these children will be learning through hands-on experiences and we will bless every child that walks through the door. We are extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Sullivan.
Days of the program are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.