Ardmore Presbyterian Preschool
The Ardmore Presbyterian Preschool was founded in 1948 and celebrates 59 years of service to the children of the Ardmore community. Believed to be the first church-related preschool in the state of Pennsylvania, it was a pioneer in faith-based, early-childhood education. The Weekday Preschool was a dream of Allan MacLachlan Frew, the second minister of the church. He wanted to have a weekday school for 4 & 5 year olds, “a school where children would be exposed to a curriculum which was religious in its teachings”. Its first teacher and director, Mrs. Hubert (Mar) Lyons, was a trained educator who helped develop a curriculum that was later used as a model for other preschools. From its inception, the preschool program was intentional in its Christian emphasis, integrating truths about God’s love and His creation into the day-to-day program. This emphasis has continued to the present day. Unlike other churches that simply provide space for a preschool program, our preschool has been an integral part of the ministry of this church, providing a Christian outreach to the community. It has always been open to non-members of many different denominations, many of whom later joined the church because of their positive experience with the school and its teachers.
The school was originally called the Weekday Kindergarten and met in the first floor of the Cloud House which was next door. It is now officially called Ardmore Presbyterian Weekday Preschool. By the second year of operation, the school had already reached its maximum enrollment and had a waiting list. With the opening of the Christian Education Building in 1957, the school doubled its enrollment from 42to 84, expanding its classes from two to four, and its full-time teachers from 3 to 6. The school’s present Director is Anne Foote, who has served in that capacity for 19 years. The present enrollment is 72 children. Our present staff consists of 9 teachers and 2 volunteer teachers. Each day our very special staff and administrators seek to create a loving and warm environment for the children and their families. The Preschool has as its primary goal to care for the children entrusted to us during their very important formative early childhood years. “To set an atmosphere of love and happiness, and a desire to bring these children a realization that they are a part of God’s world – to know His love, to seek to follow Christ.”
Today this Christian tradition continues, incorporating a traditional preschool program to include Kindergarten readiness skills; programs presented by children at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter; Field trips to the Pumpkin Farm and Rolling Hill Park; visits by community helpers; special activities and events such as the traditional Gingerbread bake, creative movement class, the Whale Watch, animal visitors and children’s Earth Day Forest. The preschool has periodic vision, hearing and speech screening; teacher education activities and events; and parent involvement in the classrooms. An active Parents’ Group, begun in 1985, provides appropriate programs for adults and children and supports the staff through volunteering and fundraising. Our big Family Fun Night has raised many thousands of dollars for equipment and playground improvements over the years.