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Emmetsburg Offers Choice Of Preschools

By Staff | Dec 16, 2008

(Editor’s Note: The following is the third part in a series of articles on preschools in Palo Alto County. The second half of this part will appear in the Tuesday, Dec. 23 edition of “The Reporter.”)

Parents of young children in Emmetsburg are fortunate to have their choice of preschools in town–three of which are sponsored by local churches. Currently, St. Paul Christian Preschool, Little Learners Preschool, Emmetsburg Catholic School, Noah’s Ark Preschool, and Head Start enroll youngsters in their preschool programs.

St. Paul Christian Preschool, located at 805 Harrison Street inside St. Paul Lutheran Church, has been in existence for nearly 23 years.

“I think St. Paul’s may have been one of the first preschools in the area,” shared preschool teacher Sharon Neighbors, who is in her third year of teaching at the preschool. Prior to coming to St. Paul’s, Neighbors taught at the elementary level for 35 years, in addition to Talented and Gifted and English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

“The preschool has a good, long reputation,” Neighbors said. “There’s a lot of consistency, and the same people over the years.”

One of those people who have been a part of St. Paul’s Christian Preschool is teacher associate Fay Wojahn. Wojahn has been with the preschool for 18 years.

Currently, 21 four-year olds are enrolled in the preschool program. Children come from not only Emmetsburg, but from Ayrshire, Cylinder, Mallard, Ruthven, and the surrounding area. Ten youngsters attend the morning session from 8:30 to 11 a.m., while 11 students attend the afternoon session from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Classes meet three days each week–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

“Parents who bring their children here have to be dedicated and very organized because of the pick-up and drop-off times,” explained Neighbors. “Since we’re not an all-day preschool or a daycare, it takes a little more effort to work around our schedule.”

Preschoolers spend their days learning about the “Letter of the Week,” which is tied into a book that is read and integrated into other academic subjects, like science and social studies. The youngsters also take part in religious activities.

Grants to assist with paying preschool expenses are available to parents through PAK (Palo Alto/Kossuth County) Empowerment and Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards (QPPS).

“If people like our program, they’ll want to come,” concluded Neighbors. “Emmetsburg is very lucky to have as many preschools as it does. You think there would be competition, but we all seem to work well together.”

Little Learners Preschool, located behind Palo Alto County Hospital, is one of those Emmetsburg preschools. Hollie Anderson, who has offered the preschool, plus daycare services, for four years, operates little Learners.

Twenty-seven boys and girls are enrolled in the program, which meets Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Three-, four-, and five-year olds participate with 16 children attending preschool at a time.

A typical day for preschoolers at Little Learners involves signing-in by writing their names, free play time, and morning group, which includes dis-