By Sue Moore
To parents of a two or three-year-old in Vicksburg, it may be hard to realize it’s time to consider a pre-school option for their child. But area nursery schools are already gearing up for the 2017-18 school year. Fortunately, there are several options for parents to consider.
Heart & Hands, a preschool for three and four-year-olds, is located in the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. It is accepting registrations for a full week of half days for age four and three days for age three children. The morning sessions are co-op and Christian- based where the parent is scheduled to work in the preschool at regular intervals. The afternoon five-day classes are not a traditional co-op. The church-sponsored preschool is holding an open house on Tuesday, April 25 from 6-7:30 p.m. for parents to meet the three teachers and see the classroom set-up.
The Michigan state-sponsored Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) also provides programs in the school district: Little Bulldogs Learning Center on W. Prairie Street in the village and the pre-school program at Chapman Memorial Nazarene Church called Kids Crossing.
Heart & Hands is certified to take four-year-old GSRP students who qualify for funding through the state program. It does not teach religion but does emphasize that the church is a safe place to walk into. There are no prayers, no Bible stories for the three-day-a-week morning sessions. If kids ask questions, they are just told that the teachers are Christian, Amber Morris said. She has been the lead teacher since 2010 and said she was attracted to the position because of the beautiful set-up in the classroom.
“I try to teach the children skills they will need for the rest of their lives,” Morris said. “We are looking for the niche family; often it’s grandparents who are helping the parents with caregiving. We have room for up to 16 students in the afternoon with two teachers on duty. We follow state guidelines for admittance by age levels with our creative curriculum.”