“We started from nothing,” preschool Director Stacy Stevens said. “In the beginning, we borrowed furniture and equipment. It took a while before we had the funds to get what we needed. People donated and the church was very generous.”
Warrenton Presbyterian Church at 91 Main St. houses the program, which started September 2009.
The pre-school program today serves 37 children, ages 2 through 5.
Its 13-member faculty includes nine instructors, with one teacher and an aide per class, Mrs. Stevens said. That puts the “average” student/teacher ratio at one per five, the program’s first director said.
While the school offers Spanish, music and physical education, “We are faith-based,” said Mrs. Stevens, 53, who belongs to the church. “So, we do share God’s word and teachings of Christ with our students. We teach elements of Christian faith through Bible stories, songs and prayers.”
Depending on children’s ages and the number of days per week they attend the school, tuition ranges from $230 to $375 per month.
The Monday-through-Thursday program provides no meals or snacks.
“They bring all their own food from home,” Mrs. Stevens said of students.
The preschool operates from the last week of August until mid-May and follow’s the public school holiday schedule and inclement weather policy, she said.
“It’s been a wonderful thing for the church,” Mrs. Stevens said of the preschool program. “Before, during the week, the fourth floor (of the church office building) remained empty. And now you can hear the voices and laughter of children. . . . It’s just a wonderful extension of the churches ministry to the community.”
In 2004, Ms. Stevens became the church’s child care coordinator after 15 years as a Fauquier public school elementary school teacher. Four years later, she agreed to head its preschool program.
From the start, many have contributed to the program’s success, Mrs. Stevens said.
“We have a very supportive board of directors, pastor (James Lunde) and church staff and a wonderful, loyal faculty. . . . We’re really like a big family, which is awesome.”