Sprouting Wee Saints

PARENTS DELIGHTED BY FAITHFUL BEGINNINGS AT ST. ODILIA

When David Wilson is asked if his daughter, Dalphine, enjoyed Faithful Beginnings at St. Odilia, he says, “You can always tell a child does if you come to pick her up, and she doesn’t want to leave.”

His wife, Thelma, added, “Or when doing the drop-off, and she can’t wait to get into the classroom.”

The Wilsons did their homework and looked into myriad preschool options before choosing Faithful Beginnings at St. Odilia in Shoreview. Both received Catholic schooling in their homeland of Liberia, and one of the things that attracted them to St. Odilia was the faith-based education.

“It shapes their minds and builds values such as teamwork and perseverance,” David said. “It teaches how to work through difficult concepts.”

They found that the preschool program, formerly called Wee Saints, was a fun and engaging path to kindergarten. In fact, they’ve been so impressed with St. Odilia that they’ve chosen to enroll Dalphine in St. Odilia School every year since. They are delighted she’s able to grow surrounded by many classmates who, together, have been sowing the seeds of friendship since their preschool days.

The couple also appreciates how the students’ faith builds each year and how the children’s love for God is nurtured through church programs like vacation Bible school and sacramental preparation. In fact, when Dalphine, now age 9, was preparing for her first Communion, she searched throughout their house looking for the perfect “prayer spot.” This example is a testament to the fact that St. Odilia — as well as other Faithful Beginnings preschools — cultivates the foundation children need to live lives of truth, beauty and goodness.

The Wilsons say there are four other reasons why they chose St. Odilia: academic excellence, a focus on safety, a great community and inclusivity.

When they first toured the school, the principal told them they would feel welcomed.

“It was so warm and felt like home,” Thelma said.

After Dalphine was enrolled in Faithful Beginnings at St. Odilia, the teacher read a special book to the class — one that showed how differences are part of God’s plan, which perfectly demonstrates the preschool’s motto of “Educating minds and hearts.”

David was immediately impressed with the school’s goal of fostering individuality.

“The teacher took time to ask challenging questions so she could understand who our daughter was as a whole person, not just a student,” he said.

Thelma recalled how the teachers at St. Odilia valued parent-teacher communication.

“They gave us daily feedback,” Thelma said, “telling us how Dalphine did in class or recommending books.”

The Wilsons know they made the best decision sending Dalphine to Faithful Beginnings at St. Odilia, and they enjoy spreading the word.

Their efforts are blooming — they now have two nieces attending St. Odilia.

Looking around the preschool classroom, Thelma beams, “I wish I would have gone here.”

To learn more about Faithful Beginnings, visit www.faithful-beginnings.org.

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