PORT ANGELES — Sara Reed is putting the finishing touches on her newly refurbished preschool classroom at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, getting ready for an open house set for Saturday.
The preschool opens Sept. 12.
“I have been working on this classroom since January,” she said.
“I am just about there in getting the physical space ready, and I have also started lesson planning.”
The classroom — located in the basement of the church at 132 E. 13th St. — has a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting and recently installed security cameras to provide transparency for concerned parents, Reed said.
The public is invited to view the brand-new nonprofit preschool from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We will be serving hot dogs and chips to the community and showing the classroom,” Reed said.
“People will have the opportunity to sign up [their kids] that day if they would like. We will have that all ready. We do have a website with a link where you can go and sign up if you would like. That link will be closed if the class is full.”
The link can be found at www.stmatthewportangeles.org.
Two classes available
Two classes are available, Reed said.
Each class has a cap of 15 students, she said, and students must be potty-trained and at least age 3 by Sept. 1 to be eligible this year.
Children who do not meet the age requirement will be considered on a case-by-case basis, Reed said.
The first class, for preschoolers 3 and 4 years old, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuition for the class is $130 a month, Reed said.
The second, a kindergarten readiness class for those 4 to 5 years old, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tuition for the class is $150 a month, Reed said.
“It is a nonprofit school, so all money paid into the school goes to pay the salary for the teacher and the needs of the school,” she said, “purchasing things that we want to help the program grow.”
Attending students are required to wear khaki pants, shorts or skirts and a red polo T-shirt, Reed said. One red T-shirt with the preschool logo is provided as part of the registration, she said.
While located inside a Lutheran church, the preschool is nondenominational Christian, Reed said.
“I do have a Christian curriculum,” she said. “Your children will hear Bible stories and puppet shows.”
The preschool is overseen by a church committee that meets every month “to figure out the best path for the school and to get things going in the right direction,” Reed said.
Reed, 57, has worked as a preschool teacher for 28 years, she said.
“I have taught over 500 children in our community,” she said.
Reed recently was hired by the church to oversee the opening of the new preschool, she said.
“I told them I would love to open their school for them,” Reed said.
“Preschool-aged children are the coolest people on Earth. They are ready to learn, and anything I can do to help them be better prepared in an elementary school is rewarding to me.”
Since starting her preschool career in Port Angeles in 1991 after moving to the area from Southern California, Reed has taken more than 10 hours of continuing education yearly.
That time, she said, has been spent attending workshops to gather new and fresh ideas to bring into the classroom.
Before opening the new preschool, Reed worked for many years under Jane Childers, who formerly owned BoBaggins Daycare and Learning Center and Banbury Corner Children’s Center in Port Angeles.
For the past six years, Reed said, she has been a part of a program in the community called Connecting With Kindergarten.
“I meet four times a year with the kindergarten teachers and we talk about … the best way to have these kiddos ready for kindergarten,” she said.
For more information, visit www.stmatthew portangeles.org or call 360-457-4122.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.