St. Theodore to offer preschool classesPublished 10:52am Thursday, April 4, 2013
Parents of preschoolers will have one more option for getting them prepared for kindergarten.
St. Theodore Catholic School is planning to start a preschool program for 4- and 5-year-olds this fall. The school currently teaches kindergarten through sixth-grade and doesn’t have a preschool program.
“It a way to help the community and provide a feeder program into our Catholic school,” Principal Shawn Kennedy said. “There are several other preschools in town, good ones, but there’s a need in the community.”
The program will be three hours a day, from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m., Monday through Friday. Kennedy said a preschool committee of parents and teachers was formed, and it found that no other preschool in town has a program that runs five days a week.
The preschool will be for any 4- or 5-year-olds, and the family doesn’t have to be Catholic to attend. Kennedy said that there’s no planned faith curriculum, but that talking about prayer and God will definitely be part of the preschool.
“You don’t have to be Catholic to send your child here, but we do promote our Catholic faith because we’re a Catholic school,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he’s talked with many of the other preschools in town and with the Albert Lea School District and found everyone to be helpful with helping St. Theodore start their own program.
“It’s great to us and the public school and preschools all work together because we all want kids to be prepared,” Kennedy said.
And there is a need for more preschool spots in Albert Lea. The Albert Lea School District’s early childhood family education coordinator, Jenny Hanson, said she and her staff did a study before starting the Halverson preschool program.
“There’s a good 25 percent of kids ages 3 to 5 who are not placed in a preschool program,” Hanson said.
Hanson said it’s important to have different types of preschools available, because not all families are eligible for some of the options.
“Every preschool has its own niche and people it attracts; there are plenty of kiddos out there who need the help to be prepared for kindergarten,” Hanson said. “Anytime there’s another opportunity to provide space with a licensed teacher — that’s just great for the community.”
St. Theodore’s preschool program will have a licensed preschool educator, and Kennedy said they’re currently accepting applications until April 19. The hope is that the preschool will be able to serve 12 to 15 students, and maybe even expand in the future.
“There’s a need in the community,” Kennedy said.
The St. Theodore preschool program will cost $180 per month per child. If that child enrolls in kindergarten at St. Theodore, the monthly fee will be reduced $10 for a year. Kennedy also said if parent has paid a registration fee at another preschool then that $50 fee would be waived if the child enrolls at St. Theodore.
“We just want to provide the opportunity,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also said St. Theodore Catholic Church’s leader, the Rev. Tim Reker, is a supporter of the preschool program. For more information on the preschool program people can call the school at 373-9657.