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MOMS Club Plans Preschool Fair January 4, 2019

Elizabethtown and the surrounding areas are rich in resources and opportunities, but sometimes finding and sorting through all of those options can be overwhelming - especially for parents scouting out potential schools for their children. That is why the MOMS Club of Elizabethtown hosts a preschool fair every year. President Erica Leilous stated that the purpose of the event is to highlight educational offerings of local preschools in order to help parents make the right choice for educating their young children.

The ninth annual MOMS Club of Elizabethtown preschool fair is set to take place on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 9 to 11 a.m. at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 398 N. Locust St., Elizabethtown. Admission is free. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26.

Leilous noted that preschools typically begin sign-ups and enrollment for the fall in the spring of the same year, so exploring options early is key. "While most schools start when the child is age 3 or 4, some, such as Elizabethtown Community Nursery School, can start as young as age 2," added Leilous. "Those attending Children's Playroom of Lancaster County can start as infants."

Schools and organizations scheduled to take part in the event include Bossler Christian Preschool, Children's Playroom of Lancaster County, Elizabethtown Child Care Center (ECCC), Elizabethtown Community Nursery School, Fishburn Flock Christian Day Care and Early Learning Center, GEARS Kids Center, Kids Playhouse at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church, Kraybill Mennonite School, Lancaster Mennonite School - Hershey Campus, Mount Calvary Christian School, Play 2 Learn, Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, Susquehanna Waldorf School, Tiny Timbers Christian Preschool, and Under the Willow Preschool.

"It is a great opportunity to explore all the schools at one time, in one location, versus researching all the options on your own," Leilous remarked. "It is great to have the face-to-face interaction and to meet individuals that could possibly be working with your child."

Additionally, the MOMS Club of Elizabethtown will hold a bake sale at the fair. A local business that offers educational classes and camps for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children will have a table of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) activities set up for attendees to try and purchase. Plus, a local school bus service will have a bus parked outside for another Touch-A-Bus experience, which Leilous said was a popular part of last year's preschool fair, too.

Leilous described the MOMS Club of Elizabethtown as a group of mothers that are currently at home raising their children. Members must have an Elizabethtown, Mount Joy, Bainbridge, Marietta, Maytown, or Lawn address to join officially, as the club is an official chapter of MOMS Club International.

The group gathers monthly at an official Club Connections meeting, typically held on the first Friday of each month at a location in Elizabethtown. "This meeting is where club news, planning, and event discussion take place while children play," said Leilous.

Members also take turns planning and hosting play dates, activities, outings, and child-friendly field trips to local places. "It is a great way for moms to make friends with other moms in the area that are also currently home and gives children opportunities to interact and play with others," commented Leilous.

For more information on MOMS Club of Elizabethtown, interested individuals may stop by the membership table at the preschool fair or email etownmomsclub@gmail.com.

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Program Set For Preschoolers January 4, 2019

The Mountville Church of the Brethren, 60 W. Clay St., will offer Tots 'n Tunes, a free program for preschool children and their parents, grandparents, or other caregivers, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Mondays from Jan. 14 through March 25, except Feb. 18.

The program will include free play as well as a music class and time for parachute play. Adults should feel free to bring appropriate snacks for their child.

No preregistration is necessary. More information about the church is available at www.mountvillecob.org.

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BSEL Hosts Party With Santa December 26, 2018

On Dec. 4, Brandywine School of Early Learning (BSEL) hosted its second annual PJ Party With Santa from 5 to 7 p.m. to benefit the Scott Elliott Scholarship Fund. The school invited families to celebrate the holiday season with Santa.

Students gathered to celebrate by writing letters, making crafts, reading stories and meeting with Santa.

The school raised more than $400 for the Scott Elliott Scholarship Fund. Elliott was a member of the BSEL community who lost his battle with cancer on July 16, 2017. He was the husband of Hillary Heebner-Elliott and the father of Trevor and Piper Heebner-Elliott.

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Preschoolers Donate Items December 20, 2018

Elizabethtown Community Nursery School recently collected items to donate to Caitlin's Smiles as part of the school's Christmas giving program. Families donated door hangers, bags, and stickers that the nursery school children made into craft kits. Sketch pads and coloring books were also donated.

Caitlin's Smiles is a local nonprofit that provides craft items to children in the hospital.

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Home-Based Head Start Welcomes New Students December 20, 2018

"(Home-Based Head Start) is perfect for my child," commented Nedra Rohm, whose 5-year-old daughter, Leah, participates in the program that recently opened in Strasburg. Once a week, home visitor Melanie Bird spends 90 minutes with Leah and Nedra at their house, working together to help Leah make a successful transition to kindergarten next fall.

"Large crowds are too much (for Leah), and there's less stimulation in a one-on-one at home," Nedra said. "She's getting what she needs. It's awesome that they provide this."

Head Start offers a free, high-quality prekindergarten program for 3- and 4-year-old children from income-eligible families. It is parent-based and uses the Parents As Teachers curriculum.

"Parents are the child's first teachers," Bird explained. "I teach the parent, who teaches the child, and when they go to school, these are the parents who will be involved."

In addition to weekly home visits, students who enroll in the Strasburg-area Head Start program are also encouraged to attend two socialization days a month, which are held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 40 W. Main St., Strasburg. Between the individualized and group instruction, students will be assisted in developing fine motor skills, as well as literacy and cognitive skills. They will also learn about health, nutrition, and safety.

Nedra noted that while large groups are difficult for Leah, she has done well in the group meetings.

"There's not a big crowd here," Nedra remarked. "It gives her another outlet for social interactions that she needs."

Along with educational resources, Bird connects parents and students with social services that can provide things like food, home heating fuel, and weatherization, as needed. Students also have access to health and development screenings and help for challenging behaviors, and parent workshops will be held periodically.

Home-Based Head Start is offered by Lancaster County Head Start, which is a program of Community Action Program of Lancaster County. The program is funded by federal grants. Bird noted that the federal government wants a Head Start to operate in every school district in the country. Because the Strasburg-area Head Start is located in a church, not a school building, enrollment is not limited to children who live in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District.

Bird currently has openings for five children and will create a waiting list. Parents who would like more information or would like to enroll their children may call Bird at 717-333-1939.

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A Holiday Tradition December 18, 2018

Loretta McClarigan, a teacher at St. John's Preschool Learning Center, located in St. John's United Methodist Church, 3001 E. Lincoln Highway, Paradise, has been working with children for a long time. One special holiday project that McClarigan has made a St. John's tradition is creating gingerbread houses with students and parents each December.

"Some (students) make light posts, pretzel fences, sidewalks with cereal, or candy cane sleds for the gummy bear (inhabitants) to ride," observed McClarigan, who oversees the children with assistant Jane Horst.

This year, on Dec. 18 and 19, the 26 students, including a class of 3-year-olds and a class of 4- and 5-year-olds, along with parents and grandparents, spent time building the holiday confections at the school. "We ... decorate with chocolates and mini animal crackers. Gummy bears are (the student's) favorite," noted McClarigan, who added that the parent/child interaction inherent in the activity is important, but that the annual event also aims to foster creativity, constructing, and sharing.

"We start with a small milk carton, cut graham crackers to just the right sizes, and then 'glue' (them) to (the milk) carton using icing," said McClarigan. According to Horst, the secret to successful gingerbread house making is the sticky frosting made at the preschool using a mix for powdered meringue. A few weeks prior to the project, parents signed up to bring in a variety of cereals, colored candies, gumdrops, pretzels, candy canes, marshmallows, and other edible items to decorate the houses.

The activity wrapped up with homemade Christmas cookies, cheese and crackers, and fruit brought by parents. "(We had) hot chocolate too," noted McClarigan.

An emphasis on the spirit of Christmas is a part of the annual activity. "We have a bulletin board up that says, 'Christmas is the time for caring and sharing,'" said McClarigan. "We try to (extend) that over into (the message that) every day is for caring and sharing."

St. John's Preschool Learning Center serves more than 30 children. Classes are provided five days per week from September until late May. Readers who would like more information may call 717-687-6711.

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Preschool Holds Thanksgiving Feast November 30, 2018

Kids Express Preschool (KEP) held its annual Thanksgiving Feast in November. In honor of the students and their families, the families were invited to attend. All the children were able to invite guests of their choice. This year, KEP served approximately 280 adults and children, not including church and preschool staff members.

Many volunteers helped to prepare the meal, which included turkey, filling, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls and butter, and dessert. KEP families contributed ingredients.

The children created centerpieces and their own placemats for the tables. After the feast, the items were sent home to be used on the families' tables on Thanksgiving. The children also prepared a short program, including a song and Bible verse, for their parents. The children joined their parents at their assigned tables for the meal.

KEP is celebrating its 25th anniversary. A drop-in celebration will take place on Friday, March 22, 2019, from 6:25 to 8:25 p.m. The public is invited. More information will be posted at www.kidsexpresspreschool.org and on the "Kids Express Preschool" page on Facebook. To enroll a child at KEP, readers may call 717-464-1439.

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Preschool Honors Veterans November 30, 2018

The prekindertgarten classes at Kids Express Preschool celebrated Veterans Day by inviting family members who had served in the military to be recognized for their service.

Four family members were able to share their stories with the classes. One great-grandfather, Richard Gilbert, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, spoke about his job in quality control. He was responsible for making sure equipment worked properly, including things from trucks to hats and boots.

Army Reserve Specialist Brian Stevens, a great-uncle, shared some photos of the vehicle that he drove. He also told the students about the camels he saw in Afghanistan.

A mother and father who served in the U.S. Marines also presented. Angela Goss shared photos of the jets she worked with, and Eric Goss shared about his experiences while serving in Iraq. During an exercise in the ocean, he and his fellow Marines thought they encountered a shark, but the animal turned out to be a dolphin.

Students and presenters also shared a snack and sang songs.

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Nursery Holds Spaghetti Dinner November 21, 2018

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Nursery School Student Wins Bicycle November 15, 2018

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Nursery School Holds Fall Festival November 9, 2018

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Preschoolers Visit Local Orchard November 2, 2018

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Public Town Hall Meeting Planned October 19, 2018

Elizabethtown Child Care Center (ECCC) will host a public town hall meeting on Monday, Nov. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the fellowship hall made available by Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren, 777 S. Mount Joy St.

The meeting will discuss upcoming busing changes that the Elizabethtown Area School District is slated to enact beginning with the 2019-20 school year, including how these changes will affect busing to and from the current early learning centers in the school district. No other topics will be discussed. School board members and administrators will be in attendance.

Readers may contact ECCC at 717-361-9824 for more information.

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Nursery School Sets Vendor Event October 18, 2018

Noah's Ark Nursery School will hold a vendor event at St. Paul's Church, 1 W. Fourth St., Quarryville, on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The public is invited to stop by to shop for Christmas gifts. Activities will be available for children while their parents shop. Additionally, the vendors have donated items for a giveaway drawing that will run throughout the day, and tickets will be available for purchase. Winners do not need to be present.

For more information, readers may call Noah's Ark Nursery School at 717-786-4919.

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Preschool Sets 5K, Fun Run October 17, 2018

The Boo Run 5K and Kids' Fun Run hosted by Joyful Noise Preschool, 2215 Brandywine Lane, York, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 a.m. Children age 3 and up are also welcome to participate in the fun run, filled with activities including an obstacle course bounce house. Winners in the 5K will receive medals, and all participants will take home a "swag bag" full of items. A silent auction will also take place.

For more information and to register, readers may visit www.runsignup.com/Race/PA/York/BooRun5KandFunRun.

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Children Help Families In Need October 9, 2018

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Students Receive Awards October 2, 2018

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School Provides Space For Child Care Center September 27, 2018

On Sept. 20, parents and officials from Pequea Valley School District and Bright Horizons celebrated the opening of a child care center at Pequea Valley Intermediate School, 166 S. New Holland Road, Kinzers.

After the Bright Horizons child care center in Gap closed on June 8, the school district decided to get involved in finding a solution to help provide child care for area families. The school district offered space at the intermediate school, which had almost a full wing available since moving sixth grade back into the elementary schools in 2014-15. The child care center received state approval on Aug. 6 and opened on Aug. 13.

A playground is slated to be added for the child care center's use, and the school district will fund a fence around the area.

For more information, readers may visit https://child-care-preschool.brighthorizons.com/pa/kinzers/pequeavalley or contact center director Amber Schnitzius at 717-768-5604.

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Nursery Earns Accreditation August 15, 2018

York Day Nursery earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC accreditation is a rigorous and transformative quality-improvement system that uses a set of 10 research-based standards to collaborate with early education programs to recognize and drive quality-improvement in high quality early learning environments.

To earn NAEYC accreditation, York Day Nursery went through an extensive self-study and quality improvement process, followed by an on-site visit by NAEYC assessors to verify and ensure that the program met each of the 10 program standards and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. A NAEYC accreditation term lasts for five years.

To learn more about NAEYC accreditation, readers may visit www.naeyc.org. For more information about York Day Nursery, readers may visit www.yorkdaynursery.org.

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School Changes Name, Opens Enrollment August 13, 2018

The Christian School of York, 907 Greenbriar Road, York, has changed the name of its accredited preschool program to Christian School of York Preschool. Formerly called the Early Education Center, Christian School of York Preschool changed its name with the goal of more clearly communicating the biblically based education provided to children ages 2 to 5.

Additionally, Christian School of York Preschool will now operate on an open admission model, allowing more students from the York and greater York region to attend the school. Readers may contact the admissions office at 717-767-6842 for more details.

Christian School of York Preschool's 12,000-square-foot Dr. David N. Thompson Center for Early Education was built specifically for preschool education and opened in 2009. It features large, bright classrooms; a dramatic playroom; an oversized recreation room; and a 4,000-square-foot, fenced-in, rubber-tiled play yard. The curriculum at Christian School of York Preschool is designed to grow the hearts and minds of young students through a variety of part- or full-time, multi-day class options for prekindergartners ages 2 to 4. The preschool operates in line with the academic calendar year of the Christian School of York.

Education at Christian School of York Preschool is designed to grow students cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Biblical principles are incorporated in every learning domain.

The teachers at Christian School of York Preschool are all accredited, professional educators with degrees in early education, elementary education, child development, or more than one of these fields. The program and facility at Christian School of York Preschool are accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International, signifying strict adherence to best practices in every area, including curriculum, physical environment, teacher training and certification, and health and safety standards.

The preschool facility was named for Dr. David N. Thompson, who briefly served as headmaster of the Christian School of York and had the vision for creating a state-of-the art Christian learning center for preschool students. Shortly after the blueprints were drawn, he was diagnosed with a fast-spreading pancreatic cancer that ultimately took his life before the opening of the preschool center. His vision remains a driving force of the overall mission of Christian School of York Preschool and the Christian School of York.

For more information about Christian School of York Preschool and the Christian School of York, readers may visit www.CSYonline.com.

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