By Pam Robinson
For Lisa Frye, the new director of Susanna Wesley Nursery School, her reason for working with preschool children is elementary. Although she enjoyed teaching West third graders and Marrs sixth graders in a former life, she admits, “I really like pre-kindergarten kids.”
She emphasizes, too, that Susanna Wesley supports her Christian faith and provides her with a second family. “I can teach about Jesus, God and religion here,” she says. “We all know each other here and get along well.”
A lead teacher at Susanna Wesley for 21 years, Julie Cotner welcomed Frye as a lead teacher 18 years ago. Both women possess degrees in elementary education. Supporting them as assistant teachers are Stephanie Erbacher and Melinda Robinson, who herself holds a degree in psychology.
Frye looks forward to continuing as a lead teacher even as she assumes administrative duties as director. She believes in Susanna Wesley and the quality of education it provides children, ages 2-5, in a variety of classes.
Children turning 4 years old by August 1 attend pre-kindergarten classes, either on a three- or five-day-a-week program. Classes for 3 and 4 year olds meet twice a week; children must turn 3 years old by August 1. Point Township resident Cathy Burnett leads a playgroup for 2 and 3 year olds one day a week; children must turn 2 years old by August 1. All classes meet from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
A new option allows students in pre-kindergarten classes to enjoy extended hours until 1 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday.
For those with children too young to attend regular nursery school classes, Susanna Wesley offers “Mother’s Day Out,” a program available on Friday mornings, again from 9 to 11:30 a.m., for parents who need just a few hours of child care without the commitment of regular daycare. Parents may drop off and pick up their children as needed and pay by the hour.
Enrollment remains limited to 16 children in each classroom with a lead teacher and a teacher’s assistant. In this way, the teacher-student ratio stays fixed at 1:8. The individualized attention allows teachers to work with students to identify and meet their learning needs and to prepare students adequately for kindergarten.
“We offer lots of science and enrichment activities,” Frye comments. “We also work on letter recognition, sounds and numbers.”
In addition, students enjoy such annual field trips as attending the Philharmonic Lollipops Concert, flying kites on Hedges hill and visiting Jerry and Marsha King’s Solitude pioneer village. Frye laughs at the mention of another special field trip, the bus ride with ‘Mr. Lisa,’ the students’ name for Frye’s husband David aka a long-time school district employee, now director of buildings and grounds as well as principal of Farmersville Elementary School. This year, Frye will also bring a number of special visitors to the classroom to share their special talents in, for example, painting, sewing and pottery.
In all these ways, Susanna Wesley strives to meet its holistic objectives: for students to grow emotionally, intellectually, socially, physically and spiritually.
The costs remain reasonable for Susanna Wesley’s priceless instruction. Pre-kindergarten classes run $80 per month regular hours and $114 per month extended hours for the three-day program. The five-day pre-kindergarten program costs $125 per month regular hours or $158 per month extended hours. Tuition is $65 per month for 3 and 4 year old classes. Playgroup tuition is $40 per month. In addition, a non-refundable $10 registration fee is assessed for each student. Limited scholarships are available through the Rev. Ed Miller Scholarship Fund.
Susanna Wesley Nursery School will host its open house this coming Monday, August 6, from 6-7 p.m. Frye welcomes both families already enrolled in classes and families newly signing up for classes. The open house will provide information, a tour of classrooms and refreshments.
Susanna Wesley Nursery School is located on the First United Methodist Church campus at 601 Main Street in Mount Vernon. “Susanna Wesley appreciates the continued support of First United Methodist Church with monetary donations and scholarship funds,” Frye comments. For more information regarding the nursery school, parents may call 812-838-2835 or may email new director Lisa Frye at email@example.com.