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Happy New Year!

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The turning of the year always seems to be a good time for reflection and goal setting. As we look back on 2014, we can see several milestones that were met and celebrated in the preschool and we look forward to meeting new goals in the year to come.

In June, Jill Carey, her staff and the people of St. Mark Lutheran Church, celebrated the 45th anniversary of St.Mark Preschool and 28 years of her personal service to the program. Jill’s steadfast service, as both teacher and director, demonstrates the level of commitment that the faculty and staff, both past and present, have to this program. In July,the church, recognizing a need in the community for quality full-time childcare, closed it’s part-time preschool program and began construction on the new addition and renovation of the classrooms. This renovation project was completed by an extraordinary group of volunteers from the church and on September 8th, we re-opened as St. Mark Lutheran Preschool . We opened with 3 children on the first day of school and now have 16 families enrolled in the current program, with another 10 families slated to start between now and September 1st. We are excited about this growth and are looking forward to continued growth throughout the year. Another milestone was the celebration of our first annual St. Nicholas Pancake Breakfast and shoe drive. The pancake breakfast was served up by a wonderful team of parishioners and was well attended by past, present and future preschool families. The shoe drive was also a success, collecting 57 pairs of shoes for needy families in Charlottesville.

Turning our attention to the new year, we’re looking forward to continued growth, both in numbers and in programming. In the spring of 2015, our assistant director, Tami Sharff, will lead the drive to become a certified “Nature Explore” playground. This program, a collaborative effort of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, will help us create an outdoor classroom that connects children to nature on a daily basis. We’re especially thankful to have received a $5000 gift, from a parish family , to support us in our efforts to achieve this goal. We’re hoping to become the first certified school in Virginia.

In addition to the work on the playground, we’re adding a monthly author study and more Spanish, writing, math,science and art to our daily curriculum. A new and improved “Morning Meeting” gets our day off to a great start. During our meeting we sing songs to greet one another and choose a leader for the day. The leader is in charge of checking and charting the weather, picking a question from the discussion box and leading class routines for the rest of the day. It’s a very important job!

Your children fill our days with laughter, wonder and love. We thank you for this gift and look forward to spending the coming days and year with each of them. This is a blessing that enriches our lives beyond measure.

Happy New Year to each of you!

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