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Preschool Sets Open House March 21, 2018

Our Lady of Consolation Early Learning Center (OLC-ELC) will host an open house on Thursday, April 5, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Schneider Parish Center, 2995 Cemetery Road, Parkesburg. Preschool for children ages 2 to 5 is offered, and before- and after-school care is available.

For more information, visit or call 610-857-1163.


Themed Summer Camps Planned March 6, 2018

Eastminster Preschool, 311 Haines Road, York, will offer Eastminster Summer Camps for children ages 4 to 11. Camps will begin on Monday, June 11, and each week will feature a different theme. Camps will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

Five summer camps will be offered. The theme during the week of June 11 will be "Yummy for My Tummy;" Camps will continue with "Hopping through the Holidays" on Monday, June 18; "Creature Feature" on Monday, June 25; "Music Makers" on Monday, July 9; and "Keepin' Cool in the Sun" on Monday, July 16.

There is a cost for each week, with an additional one-time registration fee per family. Readers may contact the Eastminster Preschool office for more information at 717-755-0543 or


Preschool Posts Class Openings February 28, 2018

Christ Lutheran Preschool, 105 S. Main St., Shrewsbury, has openings in several of its classes.

Young 3's meets on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The Young 3's class is for children who will turn 3 between Saturday, Sept. 1, and Monday, Dec. 31.

The 3- and 4-year-old afternoon classes meet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. There are also a few spots in the 4-day and 5-day morning prekindergarten classes. Additionally, the school offers a Mommy and Me class, also known as Time for 2's, on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m.

For more information and to schedule a tour, readers may contact Becky Stevenson at 717-235-0459 or or visit


Preschool Plans Open House February 27, 2018

Our Lady of Consolation Early Learning Center (OLC-ELC) will host an open house on Thursday, March 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Schneider Parish Center, 2995 Cemetery Road, Parkesburg. OLC-ELC provides preschool classes for children ages 2 to 5.

For more information, visit or call 610-857-1163.


Preschool Opens Registration, Plans Open House February 21, 2018

Eastminster Preschool, 311 Haines Road, York, is accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. Classes are available for children ages 2 to 5, with the additional option of afternoon extension classes. A registration fee is due at the time of enrollment.

The Terrific Toddlers program is for 2-year-olds and is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Children must be 2 to enter the class. Toilet training is not required.

The 3-year-old, 2-day class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Children must be turning 3 by Friday, Feb. 1, of the 2018-19 school year to register for the class.

The 3-year-old, 3-day class meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Children must be 3 by the start of the school year to register for the class.

The 4-year-old, 3-day class meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 to 11:15 a.m. or 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 4-year-old, 5-day class meets daily on Mondays through Fridays from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Children must be 4 at the start of the school year to register for these classes.

For more information or to schedule a tour, readers may contact the preschool at or 717-755-0543.

Eastminster Preschool will hold an open house on Thursday, March 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for all interested families. Attendees may visit the classrooms and meet the teachers. Registration materials will be available at the preschool, and a book fair will take place in the fellowship hall during the open house.


Preschool Hosts State Representative February 21, 2018

The prekindergartners of Robeson Lutheran Preschool welcomed a special visitor on Feb. 15 to help them learn about Presidents Day and how the government works. State Rep. Mark Gillen, of the 128th district, joined the children for a story and discussion of how a law is made.

The children shared with Gillen their ideas for new laws, ranging from laws to keep animals and police officers safe to laws mandating that everyone must try soccer and have a toy monster truck. Gillen assured the children that safety for animals and the police was a priority for him and that he would think about the monster truck idea.

The children also took part in a secret ballot vote meant to show the children that their voices can be heard in government. The children were given the choice between spaghetti and pizza, and they selected their choice on a ballot and placed their vote in the ballot box. Gillen then counted the votes with the children to find that pizza was the winner.

In March, the students will have a Career Week, featuring visitors from Santander Bank, French Creek State Park and Robeson Police Department.

Robeson Lutheran Preschool is a ministry of Robeson Lutheran Church, 3520 Plow Road, Mohnton. The preschool is designed to foster a child's overall development in the areas of social awareness, emotional independence, fine and gross motor skills, and language and cognitive development. The school offers programs for children from age 2 through prekindergarten.

For more information, readers may visit or call 610-856-7613. Registration for the 2018-19 school year is now open.


Preschool Plans Open House February 16, 2018

Bossler Christian Preschool, 2021 Bossler Road, Elizabethtown, will hold a drop-in open house on Wednesday, Feb. 28, between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Families are invited to attend and bring their preschoolers, giving them the opportunity to experience learning in a one-room schoolhouse.

The preschool, which serves children ages 3 to 5, incorporates Bible stories, art and cooking experiences, science discoveries, music and movement activities, math, and language development. For more information, readers may visit or call 717-537-8192.


New Board Members Appointed February 15, 2018

The New Holland Early Learning Center, 18 Western Ave., New Holland, recently announced the appointment of two new board members from the local community. The new board members are William Johnston and Patricia Luna-Heisse.

Additional board members are Richard Thomas, chair; Dot Leatherman, vice chair; Philip Shirk, treasurer; Beth Wagner, secretary; Bryan Hower; Sue Martin; Tim Martin; and pastor Dawn Ranck Hower. The mission of the Early Learning Center is to provide quality care for children in the New Holland area while their parents work and to support the individual needs of every child. The center has been creating community for children since 1981.


Nursery School Opens Enrollment February 14, 2018

Salem Community Nursery School is currently holding open enrollment for the upcoming school year. The school will offer preschool for children who will be at least age 3 by Monday, Oct. 1. The classes will meet for two and one-half hours on two to four days per week.

All the teachers have college degrees and aim to provide the best possible learning experince in a nurturing environment. The school's goal is to prepare its students academically and socially for kindergarten.

Applications are available in the office of Fishing Creek Salem United Methodist Church, 402 Valley Road, Etters, and at


Preschool Plans Open House January 31, 2018

Mount Zion Lutheran Preschool, located in Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2164 Mount Zion Road, York, will host an open house on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is open to local families with children who will be ages 2 to 4 years in the upcoming school year.

Attendees will meet the staff and tour the preschool facility. Information about the 2- and 3-year-old classes will be available for parents, as well as information about the preschool's art, theater and STEM/kindergarten readiness enrichment classes and 2018 summer camps. Cookies and light refreshments will be provided. Costume characters will be present.

For more information, readers may call preschool director Mrs. Smith at 717-718-1093.


Preschool Plans Open House January 24, 2018

Christ Lutheran Preschool, 105 S. Main St., Shrewsbury, will hold an open house on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon. During the 2018-19 school year, the preschool will offer a variety of classes, including a 2-year-old Mommy and Me class; a two-day Young 3's class; two- or three-day 3's classes; and three-, four-, or five-day 4- and 5-year-old prekindergarten classes. The school will also offer an optional extended day program that is available on Mondays to Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Registration will begin on Saturday, Feb. 10. For more information, readers may contact Becky Stevenson at 717-235-0459 or or visit In the case of inclement weather, readers may call the preschool to see if the open house has been postponed to Saturday, Feb. 24.


Setting SAIL Toward Kindergarten Readiness January 19, 2018

SAIL (Systems Aligned in Learning) now reaches 40 in-home child care providers throughout Lancaster County. The effort, which brings a variety of free resources to children cared for by those providers, is a collaborative project involving several partners led by Luthercare. In December 2017, the Lancaster County Community Foundation awarded a $30,000 grant to help expand program services.

According to William Snyder, vice president for philanthropy and community engagement for Luthercare, SAIL grew out of a call to unite toward meeting specific county needs. "The evolution of SAIL was in response to the community collective impact work of United Way of Lancaster County," said Snyder. He added that successful preparation to enter school can positively affect a child's future. "If you're ready to enter kindergarten, you are much more likely to finish high school and succeed," he said.

Luthercare, located at 600 E. Main St., Lititz, joined a number of other partners to target county school districts that showed the most need. According to Jamie Reichenbach, director of early learning for Luthercare, partners include COBYS Family Services, Lancaster County Council of Churches, the Library System of Lancaster County, and the Mid-State Regional Key, which is part of the Pennsylvania Keys for Quality Early Childhood Education.

As part of SAIL, COBYS provides a social-emotional curriculum and training to in-home care providers. The library system operates the Be-Ready-Rover, which is a child's bookmobile. "(The Rover) offers ... anything you could get in the children's section of the library," explained Reichenbach. The Lancaster County Council of Churches helps to combine healthy eating recommendations with a learning experience for preschoolers and provides one healthy snack per month for in-home child care services associated with the program. As a professional development organization, SAIL receives grant funding from the Mid-State Regional Key, a quality rating organization for the state to provide training to child care providers across the state. "The intention ... (is to help) providers obtain a Child Development Associate credential," said Reichenbach.

SAIL currently provides one full-time and one part-time bilingual mentor to work with in-home care providers. "When the mentor goes out, they look at everything ... to help that provider get ready for the state visit and the survey process," explained Snyder. "They take resources (and) lesson planning materials (with them), and they ... demonstrate effective use and modeling of those teaching techniques for those in-home providers."

Reichenbach noted that more funds allow the program to reach more of the 100 care providers located throughout the county. "We have a lot of providers in the city (of Lancaster), but we also see providers in the Quarryville area and the Cocalico School District," she said. "We know that the need is much greater than what we are currently serving," added Snyder.

Lorita Valente, Luthercare's executive director of community programs, noted the importance of a program like SAIL for child care providers. "(Providers) can't send a staff member to training, (but) the opportunity to have mentors ... give them the support in-house is an amazing thing for them. The more they have the more they can give to the children for kindergarten readiness."

Readers who would like more information about SAIL may call 717-626-1171, ext. 1658.


Center To Open Enrollment January 16, 2018

The Parent and Preschool Center, located at Mellinger Mennonite Church, 1916 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, provides opportunities for both parents and students. The school will begin accepting student applications for the 2018-19 school year starting on Monday, Jan. 29.

The center will also hold an open house for prospective families to visit the preschool from 9:15 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 7 and 8. Other hours of visitation can be arranged by calling 717-397-5717.

Classes are for children who will be ages 2 through 5 as of Saturday, Sept. 1. The school offers half-day sessions on one, two, or three days per week for children ages 2 through 5. In addition, a full-day prekindergarten program is offered from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on two or three days per week. Financial assistance is available depending on need.

The school strives to provide a loving and caring environment where students develop social skills, learn Bible stories, and become prepared academically for kindergarten. Keeping a close working relationship with the local schools is a priority as the center helps the children transition into the next stage of their education experience.

The center also provides a parent group called Connections on Tuesdays at 9 a.m., with child care for infants through kindergartners provided. A total of 40 or more women of all ages meet to enjoy fellowship, food, speakers, crafts, and learning while their children are cared for under the supervision of the Kiddie Korner and Story Hour staff.

Since 1977, the center has welcomed hundreds of parents and children from various religious and cultural backgrounds. More information is available at and on Facebook. Applications may be downloaded from the website and mailed with the registration fee. Interested individuals may also contact Christine Stahl, director, at 717-397-5717 or for more information or to schedule a visit.


Sophie's Garden Unveiled At Early Learning Center January 12, 2018

According to Jennifer Morales, academic and behavioral support coordinator at New Holland Early Learning Center (NHELC), student Sophie Stauffer loved birds, butterflies, the outdoors, and the center's kitchen. Sophie's mother, Amy, confirmed that one of Sophie's favorite activities was watching the birds and the butterflies out the bay window of the family's Narvon home and then looking for the creatures she saw in a nature book.

Sophie would have been 8 this year had she not succumbed to stage 4 brain cancer at the age of 30 months in 2012. Her brother, Jordan, still attends NHELC's summer camp program. For the last two years, Jordan and Jennifer have discussed ways to honor Sophie. "She was so little, but she touched each one of us in so many ways," noted Jennifer.

On Oct. 13, family members and friends of the Stauffer family gathered with students and staff members of NHELC to cut the ribbon that would officially open Sophie's Garden, a natural play area located in the center's playground. The garden area where the play area is located has been at the center for a few years, but in the last month or so, it was transformed into Sophie's Garden. "Now there is an outdoor kitchen, a tic tac toe log board, and a ladybug and caterpillar made from tires by staff member Danielle Walter that the (children) can climb on," said Jennifer. "There's a picnic table and hopscotch stepping stones."

NHELC is located in the New Holland Mennonite Church, 18 Western Ave., New Holland. Center staff members who worked on the project in addition to Jennifer and Danielle included Kylah Morales, Emina Hamzic, Karina Morales, and Bethany Crane Jacke, who donated all the flowers. Church members Lois Zimmerman and Mike Bortzel prepared the ground, and afternoon kindergarten students made the stepping stones for the garden. Church member Tim Martin and Martin Murrilo, who is a spouse of one of the NHELC employees, handled logistics. Church member John Heese built the outdoor kitchen playset.

When the group gathered at the garden, Jordan cut the ribbon, while his mother looked on with tears streaming down her face. "I wasn't allowed to look at (the garden before this)," said Amy. "I found out (about the garden) on my birthday, which was Sept. 28," she added. "My son kept it a secret for two years, and that is amazing."

"This has been my dream," said Jennifer. "I am excited it's finally happening."

NHELC is a nonprofit organization that provides care and learning activities for children from ages 6 weeks to 13 years. This year, for the first time, NHELC will be a participant in the Extraordinary Give. The 2017 Extraordinary Give event will take place on Friday, Nov. 17. This year, every dollar donated at will be stretched by funds from the Lancaster County Community Foundation and other local contributors. During the event, readers who would like to donate to NHELC may visit and search for "New Holland Early Learning Center."

Individuals who have questions about NHELC may call 717-354-4440.


Warming Heads And Hearts January 10, 2018

Dawn Ranck Hower, pastor of New Holland Mennonite Church, makes it a point to get to know New Holland Early Learning Center (NHELC) students and their parents. The learning center is a ministry of the church. "I serve coffee one day a week (to parents) at 6 a.m.," said Ranck Hower, who credits Jennifer Morales, academic and behavioral support coordinator, with the idea.

"Dawn has been very intentional about forming relationships with the families," noted Morales.

As of last year, Ranck Hower had gotten to know about half the parents by offering them hot coffee at an early hour, but she still had not met everyone. In the warmth of summer, Ranck Hower, who is quite productive with a crochet hook, began a project that would help her get to know the rest.

Between August and mid-November, Ranck Hower crocheted more than 150 hats in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes for the NHELC students. While she only needed 95 hats to give one to each student, she wanted the children to have choices, so she created some hats with pompoms for younger children and beanies, similar to floppy berets, for the older students, and she crocheted them all in colors ranging from pink to black. Some were done with rainbow-colored yarn, while others sported stripes. A few of the hats were made with a plush yarn reminiscent of velour. Eagles football colors made the cut, as did Garden Spot High School's blue and gray tones. Inside each hat was a tag that read, "Made with love by Pastor Dawn."

During the week of Dec. 18, parents received a card asking them to bring their child, along with his or her jacket to match to a hat, to Ranck Hower's office. "(NHELC) takes about a third of my (work) time, but no one knows where my office is," said Ranck Hower. "So this is an attempt to help children and parents know where I am." On Dec. 18, student Damon Finerty and his mother visited Ranck Hower's office, and Damon, who lives in the Conestoga Valley School District, chose a hat in the blue and red Buckskin colors.

Ranck Hower remembers crocheting her first blanket at about the age of 7 or 8. She learned from her mother, whom she calls a prolific crocheter. "This is definitely a family thing that has been handed down," said Ranck Hower. "I crochet a lot, but she takes it to another level." She added that her mother, who is a Landis Homes resident, is well-known for her expertise in the area. "At Landis Homes, any crochet questions come to her," she said.

Now that the children of NHELC all have warm winter hats, Ranck Hower is eyeing other fiber-arts projects. She said she enjoys crocheting in the evenings while watching television with her husband, and she has already completed 100 tiny cotton octopuses that are used to calm premature babies and help lower their blood pressure readings. For February, she plans to make red hats for newborns as part of the American Heart Association's Little Hats for Big Hearts project. "They are the same hats (I made for the students), but smaller," explained Ranck Hower.

NHELC, which is located at 18 Western Ave., New Holland, serves children from six weeks old through kindergarten age. A 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.


MOMS Club Plans Preschool Fair January 5, 2018

With so many choices to make as a parent, having a bit of help with the decision on where to send a child to school can be a godsend. The Elizabethtown MOMS Club will present its eighth annual Preschool Fair on Saturday, Jan. 20, in an effort to highlight the educational offerings of local preschools and programs to help parents make the right choice for educating their young children.

The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon 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. 27.

"Preschools typically begin sign-ups and enroll for the fall in the spring of the same year, so exploring early is key to making sure you find the school that will be the best fit for your child," explained Elizabethtown MOMS Club president Erica Leilous.

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, Faith Factory Learning Center, Fishburn Flock Christian Day Care and Early Learning Center, GEARS Kids Center, Kids Playhouse at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church, Lancaster Mennonite School, Mount Calvary Christian School, Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, Tiny Timbers Christian Preschool, and Under the Willow Preschool.

Registering and enrolling before schools fill up for the fall is also important, and information about enrollment and open houses will be provided by each school represented at the event. While most schools offer classes for 3- and 4-year-olds, Leilous pointed out that some, such as Elizabethtown Community Nursery School, allow toddlers to start as young as age 2. Children's Playroom of Lancaster County welcomes children as young as infants to take part in the program with their parents.

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

In addition to the school booths and representatives, the Elizabethtown MOMS Club will hold a bake sale at the fair, and a local home-based business consultant will have a variety of children's books available to purchase.

A table will be set up with modeling clay for children to enjoy - something that Leilous said many of the children (and parents) appreciated at last year's fair, which drew an estimated 100 attendees.

This year, attendees may also enter a giveaway drawing to win items suitable for a preschool-age child.

The Elizabethtown MOMS Club is open to at-home mothers with children of any age. Club members organize several optional activities each month in addition to a monthly meeting. For more details, interested individuals may visit


School Slates Combined Event January 2, 2018

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, preschool students at Bethany Christian School, along with their fathers, grandfathers, and uncles, will be invited to take part in a plethora of summertime activities during a combined Fathers' Night and June in January.

This year, teachers decided to combine the two annual events into one. Fathers' Night is an evening designed for dads to get a sneak peak into their child's school day. June in January is one of the preschool experiences that Bethany Christian School offers to its students.

The Family Life Center/gym will be transformed to represent a summer-like atmosphere. A moon bounce, miniature golf, a ball pit, games, and a campfire are slated for the night. This year, fathers will participate in a STEM project. Ice cream and s'mores will be served. The children will present their guests a handmade gift, and the evening will conclude with a devotion time.

Bethany Christian School, 1137 Shadyside Road, Oxford, is conducting tours for enrollment for the 2018-19 school year. Interested readers are encouraged to visit or call 610-998-0877 for more information.


Academy Holds Food Drive December 28, 2017


Mom's House Gala Will Focus On Empowerment August 21, 2017

The second annual fundraising gala to benefit Mom's House of Lancaster has been titled "An Evening of Empowerment." The event will be held on Friday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. at Lancaster Country Club, 1466 New Holland Pike, Lancaster, and will include dinner and live and silent auctions. An optional social will be held on the veranda following the gala for adults age 21 and older.

To highlight the event's theme, three past program participants will share how Mom's House empowered them to break the cycle of poverty through child care, support, and resources. A recent graduate, a person who graduated in 2008, and an individual whose daughter is now in college are slated to speak.

Executive director Sara Johns, who moved from the board of directors to the head of the organization in February 2015, also has a story of empowerment. Johns became a mother at 17 and had planned to quit school, but a tour of Mom's House changed the direction of her life.

"You can be successful by getting an education," Johns recalled hearing on the tour.

The program offered by Mom's House today is similar to the one that enabled Johns to continue to attend high school. Mom's House provides child care for infants as young as 6 weeks through preschool-age at no cost to single parents. The parents are required to be enrolled in school full time, achieve good grades, and invest three hours of service each week at Mom's House. One of those hours can be fulfilled by attending a life skills workshop.

"We try to have them do things they generally need in their everyday lives (for their service hours)," Johns explained. That includes cleaning the facility at 415 S. Queen St., Lancaster, disinfecting toys, and even writing thank-you letters to donors. "The moms really enjoy making that connection," Johns said of the letter-writing task.

Currently, Mom's House serves 21 families, and 25 additional families are on the waiting list. The proceeds from the gala will help toward reaching a goal of hiring a new staff person so that an additional eight families can be added to the active clientele. A new or expanded facility may also be in the organization's future. Discussing possible locations, Johns pointed out a common misconception about Mom's House: that its services are restricted to Lancaster city residents.

"(When it started), it was strictly city-based, but we are blessed with a philanthropic community, so now families (in need) have more transportation options," Johns said. "A lot of families we serve are coming from rural areas."

Proceeds from the gala represent a significant portion of the Mom's House budget, said treasurer and gala committee chair Dan Massey. Last year's inaugural event, which celebrated the organization's 25th anniversary, attracted between 120 and 130 attendees, more than the 100 organizers had hoped for.

"We'd love to have 200 (this year)," Massey remarked.

"We would like to attract some businesses (that) would like to be community supporters," added board member and gala committee member Jean Good.

Sponsorships in a wide range of price points are available for businesses and individuals, and the committee is accepting donations of items for the auctions. The committee is planning to feature six significant items or packages in the live auction and 50 or more lots in the silent auction. Current donations include a high-end necklace from a local jeweler, a custom Renaissance-style family portrait painted by a regional artist, and gift cards and certificates.

To learn more about the gala, schedule a donation, or purchase tickets by the deadline of Friday, Sept. 1, readers may visit


Children's Playroom Offers Judgment-Free Support August 17, 2017

As Children's Playroom of Lancaster County enters into its 20th year, executive director Vicki Dolan said that the parenting support group remains "a community within a community." With an emphasis on developing positive parenting skills and learning the concept of positive discipline, Children's Playroom also provides socialization for young children and judgment-free support for moms and dads.

"I tried a lot of different things, and they didn't fit for whatever reason, but we love Children's Playroom," said Elizabethtown resident Katie Lechleitner. "I look forward to it every week. You not only get to share about your experiences, but you hear from others too, and you realize we're all going to be OK."

The weekly gathering begins with community play, which encourages parents to play with their children undistracted. After playtime, a snack is given out to each child to help ensure a smooth transition into the time where parents separate from children and meet in another room for teaching and discussion.

Aside from positive discipline, sessions cover a variety of relevant parenting topics such as child development, toilet training, bedtime routines, stress management, and relationship building. Some meetings include a guest speaker and others are interactive sharing times.

Denise Ebersole, who attends with her two toddlers, said that she has made Children's Playroom a priority in her schedule. "I work full time from home, but I give myself permission once a week to have this time to connect with other moms," Ebersole said. "No matter what, we plan around this."

Plus, Ebersole said that her children love the time they spend at Children's Playroom. "It's like Disneyland the first time you come," Ebersole recalled. "And the kids all love Miss Vicki. All of the staff is phenomenal. Our prized possessions are our babies, and they do a wonderful job (taking care of them)."

Dolan frequently reminds moms and dads that parenting is the most important job they will ever have, but it is also the hardest. The curriculum and discussion for parents at Children's Playroom is applicable even into the teenage years, she explained. "Discipline means to teach, so we're talking about teaching our children," said Dolan. "We talk about being kind and firm and how we need both. We can be kind but still be firm."

Hearing the experiences and perspectives of other parents can be encouraging on so many levels. "The moms learn: you're not alone," Dolan said. "Some people may be new in town or just feeling isolated for other reasons, and this may be the support they're needing." Ebersole said that going to Children's Playroom helped to ease the transition from working as a full-time professional to working from home with her children.

Lechleitner particularly enjoyed hearing from another couple in the program who had recently moved to the Elizabethtown area from China. "It was so neat to see their perspective and how positive discipline worked for them," Lechleitner said. "Parenting is universal. No matter where you're from, we all have the same goals and fears."

Parents of children age 5 and younger can register to attend Children's Playroom sessions from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 398 N. Locust St., Elizabethtown. Space is limited. There is a fee to attend, but scholarships are available.

In addition to morning sessions, Children's Playroom offers a single moms' parenting program every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dinner is provided, and the group follows the same format of playtime together followed by a time where parents split off for discussion while the children have supervised activities in another room.

Readers who would like to sign up or learn more may call 717-945-9348, email, or visit

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