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Nursery School Student Wins Bicycle November 15, 2018


Nursery School Holds Fall Festival November 9, 2018


Preschoolers Visit Local Orchard November 2, 2018


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.


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.


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


Children Help Families In Need October 9, 2018


Students Receive Awards October 2, 2018


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 or contact center director Amber Schnitzius at 717-768-5604.


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 For more information about York Day Nursery, readers may visit


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


Back-To-School Event To Feature Haircuts, Backpacks August 6, 2018

"We had seven salon chairs donated, and I just filled that last chair (with a stylist). We will have seven top stylists," enthused Drema Duncan, director and prekindergarten teacher of Preschool Pebbles, as she discussed the plans for the Scissors Snipping event she has slated for Sunday, Aug. 20. "We want local families to know they have somewhere to get (free) haircuts for back-to-school."

Scissors Snipping will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. at Living Stones Vineyard Church, 2292 Robert Fulton Highway, Peach Bottom, where the preschool is located. Professional stylists will give haircuts to children ages 3 to 10 at no charge. Children will also have the option to accessorize their new hairdos with headbands or barrettes.

To further ensure children have what they need for school, backpacks containing basic school supplies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who need them.

The haircuts will be available to walk-ins, so anticipating that there may be some waits, Duncan has arranged for enjoyable things to do at no cost to participants. Two of the preschool's classrooms will be open for play - the third classroom will serve as the salon - and the outdoor playground will be accessible as well. A movie will be shown, and fresh popcorn will be served by Living Stones pastor Bud Stillman. Other snacks and beverages will be available in the church's cafe. Face painting will also be offered.

Duncan thought up the event and planned it out within a week's time.

"I have had such an awesome response in many ways so far: volunteer stylists and donations of back-to-school supplies and even gifts for kids," she said. "So many people are wanting to help, some as far as York."

Helping others and meeting needs are hallmarks of Living Stones Vineyard Church. Preschool Pebbles was launched in 2013 as a ministry of the church in order to provide a Christian-based safe, caring, and fun learning environment for children in the Southern End. The adults responsible for making that happen are Christine Lewis, who teaches the 2-year-old class; Brooke Wagner, who is the teacher of the 3-year-old class; and Patricia Giffing, who is the aide in Duncan's prekindergarten class.

"We provide a developmentally appropriate curriculum and interest areas to facilitate each child's learning experience," Duncan wrote in the preschool's brochure. "It is our desire that each child grows to love learning, learns a bunch, makes some awesome friends, learns how to be a positive part of a community, and gets to know Jesus."

The preschool is still enrolling for the 2017-18 school year. Classes are available for children who will be 2 years old by Saturday, Sept. 30, through age 5. Two-day and three-day programs are available. Classes will be held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from September through May. Afternoon classes will be added if there is enough interest.

To learn more about Scissors Snipping or the preschool, readers may contact Duncan at 717-344-4790 or The school may be found on Facebook by searching for "Preschool Pebbles."


Campers Hold Fundraiser August 2, 2018


Nursery School Accepting Registrations August 1, 2018

Jacob's Ladder Nursery School, 1068 Chestnut Level Road, Quarryville, still has limited openings for the 2018-19 school year. Classes and play groups are available for children age 1 through prekindergarten.

To enroll a child, call 717-548-1257, ext. 5.


York Day Nursery Holds Ice Cream Social August 1, 2018


JCC Preschool News Posted August 1, 2018

The Jewish Community Center (JCC), 2000 Hollywood Drive, York, will offer a new afternoon preschool class for the 2018-19 school year. The class is open to children ages 3 to 5. A variety of schedules are available. For more information, readers may contact Kristen Nowak at

In addition, full-day child care will be available for children ages 3 to 4. For more information, readers may contact Lisa Campbell at


CHI St. Joseph Plans New Child Care Center July 19, 2018

CHI St. Joseph Children's Health has announced plans to open the St. John Neumann School for Children and Families in early 2020. The new school will be located at 401 Locust St., Columbia, and will serve children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. The launch of this new program is a continuation of the nonprofit's mission to improve the health of children and families in the Lancaster community.

The St. John Neumann School for Children and Families has been designed by Lancaster-based architect Steve Funk. Pyramid Construction, located in Wormleysburg, will serve as general contractor. CHI St. Joseph Children's Health estimates that the complete project, including the purchase and renovation of the building, will cost up to $6.45 million.

The school will be located in the same building as the existing CHI St. Joseph Children's Health's Columbia Dental Center. Although the Dental Center and the school will be located in the same building, each will have specific entrances and will operate on distinct floors within the building. Renovations and construction on the building expansion are expected to begin in early 2019 and will not impact the dental center's operation.

The St. John Neumann School for Children and Families will have a family-focused approach that centers on the social-emotional development and health of the children and families served. Families whose children attend the school will have access to an on-site family wellness coach to support the development of healthy family dynamics, as well as a family wellness case manager who assists families in accessing support services and programs throughout the community, including the CHI St. Joseph Children's Health Dental Centers and Behavioral Health Center. The daily meals and snacks for children at the center will be freshly prepared on-site from locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Financially, a tuition discount program for residents of Columbia Borough has been set up to make child care affordable through a sliding-fee scale determined by household income levels.

"Our family-focused approach to child care revamps the traditional model to incorporate health and social-emotional development as the central focus of all of the center's academic activities and curriculums," said Philip Goropoulos, president of CHI St. Joseph Children's Health. "We believe this new approach offers children the best opportunity to be successful now and in the future - not just academically but in everything they do."

The need for increased access to professional and affordable child care in Columbia was initially brought to the attention of CHI St. Joseph Children's Health by the advisory committee of Healthy Columbia - the organization's community-driven initiative that is dedicated to providing and coordinating services and the investments necessary to create a thriving community in Columbia Borough. CHI St. Joseph Children's Health estimates that more than 400 children and families may have a need for child care and are unable to access the service in the borough because of a lack of availability and additional barriers such as cost.

To learn more, readers may visit


Preschool Posts Open House July 13, 2018

Bossler Christian Preschool, 2021 Bossler Road, Elizabethtown, will hold an open house on Thursday, July 26, between 9:30 and 11 a.m. The preschool serves children ages 3 to 5, and families are invited to bring their preschooler to the open house to experience learning in a real one-room schoolhouse.

The preschool aims to teach children about the world through Bible stories, art and cooking experiences, science discoveries, music and movement activities, math, and language development.

A discount is being offered for the afternoon class, which runs from 12:30 to 2:45 p.m. For more information, call 717-537-8192 or visit


Luthercare For Kids Opens New Location June 27, 2018

Luthercare for Kids, in partnership with Community Bible Church in Marietta, celebrated the grand opening of its new child care and early learning center in Marietta with an open house event on June 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Invited local dignitaries were in attendance.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony began at noon and featured remarks by Luthercare president and CEO Carl R. McAloose, Community Bible Church senior pastor Jeff Burkholder, Luthercare executive director of community programs Lorita Valente, and deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education Matthew Stem. State Sen. Ryan Aument and Rep. Dave Hinkernell also attended. The activities included tours of the early learning center and an opportunity to meet the Luthercare for Kids team.

The creation of Luthercare for Kids - Marietta reflects Luthercare's aim of providing high-quality child care in an environment specifically designed to support early learning programming for young children in the communities served by Luthercare for Kids. The Marietta location, within a state-of-the-art space inside Community Bible Church, opened its doors on June 4 and is providing services for children 6 weeks old through preschool. The center will also offer a before- and after-school program for the 2018-19 school year. The partnership enables Luthercare the opportunity to collaborate with two school districts - Columbia and Donegal - to combine resources toward the common goal of equipping children with a strong education foundation that will provide them with the skills they need to be successful in school and life.

Luthercare for Kids - Marietta is one of four centers operated by Luthercare for Kids in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Each Luthercare for Kids location is a state-licensed center and participates in Pennsylvania's quality initiative, the Keystone STARS program. Luthercare for Kids offers Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts programming.

Since 2005, Luthercare has operated Luthercare for Kids - Columbia within space at the Columbia School District Administration Building. That location reduced services on June 1. Services for infants, toddlers and preschoolers moved to the Community Bible Church location. The school-age summer program will operate at the Columbia location until the 2018-19 school year begins, at which time the Columbia location will close. Before- and after-school care will begin in Marietta at the start of the new school year.

For more information about Luthercare for Kids - Marietta, readers may contact Jamie Reichenbach, director of early learning, at 717-604-1865 or, or they may visit


Founder Recalls Early Years Of Learning Center June 21, 2018

Erica Shirk, one of the founders of the New Holland Early Learning Center (NHELC), recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Erica sat down recently to look through a book of photos from NHELC's early days and to recount the center's beginnings in the late 1970s and early '80s.

In 1972, when the New Holland Mennonite Church building committee was considering a new building, Erica was among the voices calling to expand the ministry. "I was one of the persons who suggested (that) this nice big building shouldn't stay empty from one Sunday to the next," said Erica. Church members took a vote and decided, by a close margin, to wait until the new building was paid for before taking steps to open a day care center.

In 1979, the establishment of a day care center at the church, located at 18 Western Ave., New Holland, was approved by the congregation. Erica served on a committee with Ann Roth, Esther Kennel, and Aldine Musser. A drop-in program available two days a week opened on April 2, 1981. Later, a preschool and weekday day care became part of the offerings.

Once the day care center had opened, Erica wanted to volunteer to care for the children, but she learned that governmental regulations would not allow that. "I wanted to volunteer and I couldn't because I didn't have a high school diploma," said Erica. "I could do laundry, but I couldn't be a teacher or a teacher's aide."

Erica's lack of a diploma stemmed from her upbringing in France, where her education in the town of Wissembourg only a few miles from the German border ended at age 16. Twice during World War II, the family was evacuated from their home. In 1939, when Erica was 11, members of the population living within 30 miles of the border were boarded on refugee trains and sent to central France. The family lived in an old mill for several months before being sent to a farm where they lived peacefully far away from the war. They eventually returned home, but the family was evacuated again near the end of World War II, and this time their home in Wissembourg was destroyed.

Mennonite organizations in North America sent workers to help families in Wissembourg rebuild their homes. "They sent a group of 10 volunteers that lived in town," said Erica, whose family spoke German at home. "We had learned a little bit of English in school, and I wanted to practice with somebody," she added, noting that was how she met a quiet and reserved man from the New Holland area who became her husband. Erica married Frank Shirk in France, and the couple returned to the United States in December of 1948, just before Christmas.

When Erica realized she could not work with the children cared for in the center she helped to found, she took steps to remedy the situation. "I thought I had better get my GED (General Equivalency Diploma), (so) I went (to classes) the whole winter two evenings a week rain or shine," said Erica. She received her GED in 1982. Following that time, she volunteered at the center and continued to serve on the board until 1993, when she went to Europe to perform mission work for two years.

According to pastor Dawn Ranck Hower, Erica, who lives in Leola, still checks in regularly NHELC. "She continues to be interested in the center and very supportive," Ranck Hower noted.

NHELC, which is soon approaching its 40th anniversary, now serves children from six weeks old through kindergarten age. A morning preschool and full-day kindergarten is available. Children through sixth grade attend a before- and after-school program. Readers who wish to learn more may visit or call 717-354-4440.

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