Msgr Marucci's Weekly Message

ROM THE PASTOR’S DESK -   10th Sunday in Ordinary Time,  June 9-10, 2018

This first day of Kindergarten was so exciting for me.  My Mother was worried sick as I am the youngest of three boys.  Since the older two were already in school, I had the privilege of remaining at my Mama’s hip for the first five years of my life.  How would this child ever survive Kindergarten?  My mother’s plan was to take me to the school, introduce me to the teacher, and then leave.  Meanwhile, she would look through the clear center glass window on the door…the only one that was not fogged…to see if she would need to intervene.  Mama’s expectation….this kid is going to cry and cry and cry….Mama’s shock….she claims I stood in one place….put my little hands on my hips….turned my head from side to side assessing the situation…then walked right over to the play kitchen and began to rearrange the furniture.  To tell you the truth….I have been fixing things ever since.  In my day….Kindergarten could have been traumatic for a child as it was thier first experience of school, academia, socialization, and communal rules.  Today, parents make tremendous investments in their child’s development when they assure that the child is ready for Kindergarten.

Eight years ago, when I arrived at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, I made the decision that our Preschool, Little Angels Academy, had the potential to become THE PREMIER PRESCHOOL in this area.  (What else would you expect from a  Pastor who is addicted to education and has earned four Master’s Degrees and a Doctorate).  As the Program Sponsor of Little Angels Academy, my strategic plan would be to  transform our Preschool into a true academy for early childhood education. Particularly, one that has target goals to specifically enable each child to develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically to their highest potential, within a nurturing Christian learning environment. 

It was very clear from the very beginning…. “In no way, did I want Little Angels to become a daycare facility or a typical nursery school.”  My vision was that Little Angels would be an academically oriented early childhood education program that, through the implementation of award-winning curricula, forming an outstanding faculty and investing resources, Little Angels would grow to become the Premier Preschool in the area.  

This year, I am delighted to report that this goal has been achieved, evidenced by our ever-increasing enrollment and the outstanding feedback continually received from the parents of our students. Kindergarten teachers inform me that they can tell when a child comes from Little Angels as they are so further developed than their peers, and in so many ways. For the past two years, Little Angels Academy implementing a wait list for enrollment into its 2016/17 and 2017/18 academic years.   

My purpose in sharing this success story with you is to make sure that the parishioners of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, are given the first priorities to enroll their children or grandchildren into our preschool.  Although our Preschool has just a few openings remaining for this coming September, we are offering our parishioners the opportunity to reserve your child’s place for the few remaining openings this year and to provide you the opportunity to reserve your child’s place for the 2018 – 2019 school year. 

You might ask what makes our Preschool standout from all of the others in the area?  First, I believe that the educational foundation and Christian values that are acquired during the first five years of life, actually guide a child and shape his/her character throughout his/her entire life. That is why I specifically chose the academic program integrated with a well-rounded Faith-based curriculum that we offer.  I  believe that the early acquisition of Catholic Christian values leads to a more spiritually balanced human being and provides a strong foundation for spiritual development throughout life. Our Preschool strives to not only instill a lifetime love of academic learning but a love of oneself, love of neighbor and love of the Lord.  Catholic and Christian values are emphasized throughout the day with special time set aside for daily prayer. Each day, our classes begin and end with prayer, both traditional Catholic prayers as well as personal prayers. 

Second, our Preschool offers a very well-rounded curriculum that includes Language Arts, Faith Formation, Creative Arts, Health & Physical Education, Science, Math, Family & Life Skills, and an introduction to World Languages. (Can you believe that all of this happens with 2, 3, and 4-year-olds).  They are like sponges absorbing knowledge in incredible ways. These academic units are introduced into our curriculum through developmentally and age-appropriate lessons, particularly well-suited for children ages 2-5.  Our class sizes are deliberately small because we are committed to forming our youngest members via an excellent student/teacher ratio that provides children with an individualized attention that will ensure successful outcomes.  I am always impressed to see the seeds of self-confidence emerge, after only a few months in our academy. 

Third, I am very proud of our highly qualified and experienced Director, Kathy Emrich, and faculty who provide the children with outstanding academic experiences in an environment that is essential for a child’s growth and development.  Educational success is heavily dependent on a child’s self-esteem and attitude toward the learning process.  Our philosophy and curriculum is built upon the foundation that positive early learning experiences translate into future school and personal success. Our classroom activities provide numerous opportunities for your child to learn, to explore and to build autonomy and independence.  In short, we provide your child with numerous opportunities designed to teach them how much fun learning can be!

So, whether you are considering sending your child to Preschool in the near future or not, I encourage you to consider this opportunity to enroll your child or grandchild in our outstanding program, whether it is for this coming year or in the future.  An investment in your child will provide an incredible return in your child’s future.  Even though we have just a few openings remaining for this coming September, I want the parishioners of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish to be given priority registration.  I also wish to encourage our parish families the opportunity to reserve your child a placement in our 2018-19 program. Remember, enrollment is on a first-come, first served basis.  I would hate to see some of our parish families excluded from this incredible opportunity.  By the way, there is a discounted rate offered to families who attend Mass weekly, donate to the church regularly, and participate in at least one parish ministry. 

When choosing a school for your child, please note the difference between a nursery school and an academically oriented preschool.  A Nursery school is primarily a daycare facility with a few important touches. In the US, nursery schools, unlike day care facilities, are required to be registered and inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, and parents can expect that most of the staff will be trained and certified in childcare. Most private facilities will provide age-appropriate educational components, and parents can now find many public programs following suit.

Preschool, as the name implies, is an educational setting intended for children who are too old or advanced for nursery school but too young to enroll in kindergarten. In the US, legitimate preschools will be registered with the Office for Standards in  Education and should follow a prescribed national curriculum designed to teach children the basic skills needed for kindergarten. Ideally, a school will provide the type of activities and lessons that enhance and develop a child’s ability to become successful at the next level. This means preparing the children for academic readiness by teaching letters, numbers, and shapes, and designing age-appropriate social activities that stimulate self-esteem and encourage social and emotional maturity.

Please consider enrolling your child in our two, three or four-year-old program.  For additional information, please call Kathy Emrich at 856-784-3878 ext.33.  During the course of the summer, our classes fill quickly.  So do not procrastinate to get your child registered.  Quite frankly, I cannot imagine any parent sending their child to any other facility.  By the way, our tuition is one of the lowest tuition rates offered for Pre-School in this area.  Take advantage of the opportunity.

With a loving and grateful heart,

Msgr. Marucci