By Anne Fredrickson
Big Plans for Little Learners
When Beth Kohls takes her daughter Sophie to St. Hubert’s preschool in Chanhassen, she knows Sophie is in good hands.
“I know that she will be taken care of and loved, and as a parent, it’s awesome to be able to wholeheartedly trust who is taking care of your children,” said Kohls, who is both a parent and a teacher in the program.
Kohls, who grew up attending Catholic schools, saw the value in integrating faith with academic learning. It’s a focus that sets Catholic preschool programs apart, according to Little Saints Director Oona Myhre.
“We can provide religious education at a young age, and we start as young as 16 months,” Myhre said. “Children are learning the sign of the cross, prayers before snack and hearing Bible stories before they progress to our formal religious education.”
Reinforcing the faith lessons children learn at home is appreciated by parents, according to Karen Bursey, principal and preschool director at Sacred Heart School in Robbinsdale.
In addition to academic and faith instruction, preschool is a time to set a foundation to develop the whole child through social and emotional learning, such as learning to be a good friend, practicing manners and being polite.
Preschool students at St. Hubert’s and Sacred Heart are included in the larger school community, with older students serving as reading buddies and participating in science experiments or prayer services.
“We see kids transition successfully not just through our preschool program, but through the kindergarten through eighth-grade school,” Myhre said.
Catholic preschools are also accommodating busy family life with parent-friendly options. With some care options starting at just 12 months old, families enjoy the convenience of having multiple children in one location. Both Sacred Heart and St. Hubert’s offer toddler care, and they also provide before- and after-school care, as well as a year-round option, to meet the needs of most families.
When the time comes to move on from preschool, students are well-equipped academically, socially and spiritually to take on kindergarten and beyond.