St. Paul Preschool receives expansion grant
This fall, St. Paul Preschool received a notable grant from Investing in Iowa Child Care (IICC) to expand and enhance the two-year-old classroom. The first of its kind, this grant is geared toward keeping early childhood education up and running during the pandemic. Because of Covid, St. Paul Preschool hasn’t had a two-year-old classroom since March 2020.
“Funding provided through this IICC grant allows us to enhance our learning environment with age-appropriate experiences and activities for our two-year-olds,” said Karen Strusz, preschool director. “We firmly believe that children learn best through hands-on play and experiences guided by nurturing and loving teachers who inspire a love of learning.”
Funds will be used to purchase updated furnishings, puzzles, games, and sensory tables. Preschool leaders hope to create a reading corner in the classroom, as well as add an outdoor drum set to the playground.
The grant is the most recent way the preschool is responding to meet community need. St. Paul offers a free 4-year-old program in connection with the state of Iowa’s efforts to ensure access to high-quality preschool for all kids. In 2019, the preschool added a B4K (Before Kindergarten) classroom designed for students who are eligible to start kindergarten but could benefit from an additional year of preschool.
In the early days, a small group of parents organized an informal “mothers’ day out” program. By 1967, St. Paul Preschool was founded around a Christian curriculum, utilizing the cooperative gifts of dedicated volunteers. Over the years, the preschool moved from volunteers to paid, certified teachers. In 2021, St. Paul offerings provided $65,830 to the preschool for staffing, facility improvements, and scholarship assistance.
St. Paul Preschool is devoted to integrating the love of God into a developmentally appropriate setting for young kids. The program shines with weekly chapel services, art, music, language, science, and math. Special events wrap in family, friends, and honored guests.
With a highly trained staff leading the way, St. Paul Preschool is solidly constructed with Christ’s love. In this pandemic time, 84 children are enrolled in four programs: two-year-olds (two-day program), three-year-olds (two- and three-day programs), four-year-olds (four-day program), and five-year-olds (four-day program).