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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 www.momshouselancaster.org/2017gala.

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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 childrensplayroom14@gmail.com, or visit www.childrensplayroom.org.

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Education Centers Earn Accreditation August 16, 2017

Community Progress Council has announced that four of its Early Head Start and Head Start of York County classrooms have 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 recognize and drive quality improvement in high-quality early learning environments.

Serving as a York County community action agency since 1965, Community Progress Council seeks to empower individuals and families to move toward self-sufficiency and advocate for change to promote community growth. Through its early childhood programs, including Pre-K Counts, Head Start and Early Head Start of York County, Community Progress Council provides early childhood education to nearly 1,000 low-income children in York County each year.

To earn NAEYC accreditation, Community Progress Council went through an extensive self-study and quality-improvement process, followed by an on-site visit at its Cottage Place location by NAEYC assessors to verify and ensure that the program met each of the 10 program standards and hundreds of corresponding individual criteria. NAEYC-accredited programs always must be prepared for unannounced quality-assurance visits during their accreditation term, which lasts for five years.

Community Progress Council is one of nine NAEYC-accredited early childhood education centers in York County. Less than 10 percent of all child care centers, preschools, and kindergartens nationally are NAEYC-accredited.

For more information about accreditation, readers may visit the NAEYC website. Information about Community Progress Council is available at www.yorkcpc.org.

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Back-To-School Event To Feature Haircuts, Backpacks August 10, 2017

"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 preschoolpebbles@aol.com. The school may be found on Facebook by searching for "Preschool Pebbles."

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Preschool Posts New Class August 4, 2017

Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC) Preschool, 2340 State St., East Petersburg, has announced a new class. An afternoon class will meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to accommodate children who are at least 4 years old by December 2017.

Students in this three-day class will learn and grow through thoughtfully planned activities that encourage them to develop academic, social, emotional, and physical skills that are important for success.

Classes will begin Wednesday, Sept. 6. To register, readers may contact Beth at 717-569-1632 or preschool@trinityeastpete.org.

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Preschool Posts Class Openings August 2, 2017

Veritas Preschool at Highland Presbyterian Church, 500 E. Roseville Road, Lancaster, is accepting enrollments for the 2017-18 school year. The school has availability in its Monday, Wednesday, and Friday preschool class for children age 3; the Tuesday and Thursday preschool class for children age 3; and the afternoon three- or five-day prekindergarten classes for children ages 4 and 5.

Veritas Preschool offers students an engaging learning environment where the curriculum is intertwined with all activities throughout the learning day. The curriculum integrates a thematic concept into all academic areas while incorporating a wide variety of hands-on learning experiences.

For more information, visit Veritas Academy to complete an application or contact preschool director Kayla Holod at kholod@veritasacademy.com or 717-925-6693.

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Nursery School Plans Open House August 2, 2017

Noah's Ark Nursery School, 1 W. Fourth St., Quarryville, will host an open house on Wednesday, Sept. 6, through Friday, Sept. 8. The open house is for children who have not yet enrolled in a playgroup, nursery or prekindergarten program.

The event will include tours of classrooms, opportunities to meet the teachers, and information about the nursery school. For more information or to arrange a meeting time, call 717-786-4919.

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Preschoolers Donate Pajamas To Foundation July 27, 2017

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Firefighters Visit Preschool June 21, 2017

Lancaster firefighter David Martin and Refton firefighters Micaela Lefever and Stew McKinsey recently visited Laurie Fulmer's and Heather Reynolds' 3-year-old preschool classes at Great Beginnings Preschool, located at the First Presbyterian Church in Strasburg. The visitors taught the children about fire safety during Community Helpers Month.

A few spots are still available in the 3-year-old classes, which will be held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m. starting in mid-September.

The preschool provides opportunities for socialization and personal accomplishments, introductions to a variety of educational concepts, physical education, art, music, science, story times, individual and group play, fields trips, Bible lessons, special classroom visitors and daily snacks. Parent volunteers earn tuition discounts.

For more information, readers may visit www.straspres.org/great-beginnings-preschool or call Lynn at 717-687-6082. Parents are welcome to stop by anytime to visit the classrooms. Private tours are also available.

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Nursery School Opens Enrollment June 1, 2017

Jacob's Ladder Nursery School, 1068 Chestnut Level Road, Quarryville, will enroll for the 2017-18 school year, with classes beginning in the fall. Classes are available for children ages 1 to 5.

Readers may contact 717-548-1257 for more information.

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Preschool Openings Posted May 23, 2017

Little Lambs of Grace Preschool at Grace United Methodist Church, 85 York St., Wellsville, is accepting registrations for its 2017-18 preschool program. Classes are available for 3-year-old children.

The Christian preschool aims to provide a faith-based education in a safe and caring environment. For more information or a registration form, readers may contact Carolyn Yates at 825-1378.

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Preschool Accepts Registrations May 9, 2017

Little Lambs Christian Preschool at High View Church of God, 2470 Leaman Road, Strasburg, has just finished its first year, and plans are being made for the 2017-18 school year. Registrations are being accepted for the three classes to be offered: the prekindergarten class that meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; the 3-year-old class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and a new play group class for 2-year-olds, to be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays.

For more information or to obtain an application, call the church office at 687-0523.

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Hetzer Named Preschool Coordinator May 3, 2017

The YMCA of York County, Southern Branch, welcomes Jennifer Hetzer to the YMCA Discovery Time Preschool staff. Hetzer will serve as the preschool coordinator for preschool at St. John Lutheran Church in New Freedom for the 2017-18 school year.

Hetzer has been involved in early childhood education for more than 16 years. She has a Master of Arts in teaching and is a Pennsylvania- and Maryland-certified teacher for prekindergarten through grade six. Her education philosophy for YMCA Discovery Time Preschool is to provide a quality preschool program for southern York County and the surrounding communities based on age-appropriate practices and Christian beliefs.

The program includes opportunities for children ages 2 to 5 to interact socially with their peers. The curriculum for all age groups is aligned with the Pennsylvania Core Standards, providing opportunities for developing language skills, math concepts, social skills, gross and fine motor skills, and science discoveries during whole group, small group, and individual instruction to help prepare them for success in school and beyond. The preschool program aims to develop a positive self-concept for each child and empathy toward peers and the community.

The YMCA will offer at least five scholarships for the coming school year to those needing financial assistance. Classes will start on Tuesday, Sept. 5. St. John Lutheran Church is located at 175 E. Main St., New Freedom.

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Preschool Accepts Registrations May 2, 2017

St. Paul's United Methodist Church Preschool, 45 First Ave., Red Lion, is now accepting registrations for the 2017-18 school year in the two- and three-day classes. Children are required to be 3 or 4 years old by Thursday, Aug. 31.

The classes offer children a classroom setting with structured academic lessons and the use of computers for continued learning. The children will enjoy field trips during the school year, which runs from September through May. The children also present programs and are issued report cards twice a year.

Parents interested in the program may contact the church office by calling 244-2355. For more information on the preschool program at St. Paul's, readers may visit www.saintpauls-um.com.

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Preschool Is Accepting Registrations April 27, 2017

Mount Nebo United Methodist Church Preschool is currently accepting registrations for the 2017-18 school year. The 3-year-old classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The 4-year-old classes are set for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

The preschool has been serving the community for more than 37 years. It seeks to provide an early childhood education program designed to assist in the intellectual, social, physical and emotional development of children in a nurturing Christian environment.

The preschool meets at Mount Nebo United Methodist Church, 673 Martic Heights Drive, Pequea. For more information or to register, readers may call the church office at 284-4331 or email secretary@mtneboumc.org.

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Preschool Accepts Registrations April 26, 2017

St. Luke Lutheran Preschool, located at 266 Furnace Road, Felton (New Bridgeville), in Chanceford Township is accepting registrations for the 2017-18 school year.

The program for 3-year-olds is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The morning class meets from 9 to 11 a.m., and the afternoon class meets from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m.

The program for 4-year-olds is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The morning class meets from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and the afternoon class meets from 12:15 to 2:45 p.m.

St. Luke Preschool strives to support the healthy development and growth of students, offering many hands-on activities that provide children with academic and social skill opportunities through arts and crafts, stories, secular and Christian songs, and field trips. More information is available by contacting stlukepreschoolpa@gmail.com or 927-8411.

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Pig Visits With Preschoolers April 24, 2017

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School Welcomes New Students April 19, 2017

The Shepherd's Staff Early Learning Center, located at Fourth United Methodist Church, 20 N. Lehman St., York, has openings for new students.

The Christian-based school teaches from a structured curriculum designed to improve children's social skills and self-esteem. Age-appropriate material is used to encourage school readiness.

The learning center is open year-round from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and children may enroll at any time. The school welcomes children 6 weeks old through prekindergarten to attend for 3, 4, or 5 full days.

For more information, call 854-1204 during the school's hours of operation.

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Students Send Candy To Troops April 11, 2017

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Students Observe Read Across America Day April 11, 2017

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