For The Dialog
DOVER – Holy Cross School officials noticed many of their students’ families were sending 3-year-old children to other programs, so last year they began their own program that combines academics and faith.
“We saw a need in the community that we serve,” said Holly Zorn, an aide who helped develop the program. “We said, ‘Why not here?’”
The class has grown from 13 students last year to 17 this year. Besides the morning session, which provides academics, a day-care program is available for afternoons.
While the class meets a need, it also fulfills a vital role for Holy Cross, as a feeder for its 4-year-old/Pre-K program. All the original 13 students enrolled for the pre-K program, said Linda Pollitt, principal. Holy Cross has a total enrollment of about 440 students.
Susan Cutrona, who has a daughter, Lily, in kindergarten and a son, Joseph, in the 3-year-old program, said having Joseph at Holy Cross is more convenient than if he went elsewhere. “My son feels more comfortable knowing his sister is here,” she said. “We go to church here and they feel at home here.”
The curriculum’s faith dimension also pleases Cutrona.
“I can see he’s taking everything in. He comes home and tells his [infant] sister Claire about the activities he’s doing and the prayers he’s learning. It’s obviously something that he thinks is important.”
Melissa Fisher is in her first year teaching the class, but comes with much experience, having taught in the Appoquinimink School District for 37 years.
“My biggest challenge is to remember they are 3-year-olds,” Fisher said. “We have some kids that can go off on their own and do a number of things, and we have some who need help.”
The students are learning their letters, numbers, and shapes, said Zorn, the classroom aide. The faith content is geared toward “their own little way.”
“Every day’s a new adventure,” Zorn said.