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Morning Diary / Mary Ann Greier First Presbyterian Church Preschool Board Chair Frank Zamarelli and Board Member / Secretary Melissa Costa check out some of the supplies organized in the closet, ready for the students this fall.

SALEM – The Salem First Presbyterian Church Preschool reopens in its 76th year on September 13 with a new format, new program and new staff.

Aiming to prepare children for kindergarten while helping families with daycare, the preschool will serve 4 and 5 year olds using a full-time preschool / daycare model, five days a week.

The nursery school / daycare will remain Christian and a ministry of the First Presbyterian Church, but a new element will be the affiliation with the Step Up To Quality program.

“We looked at what the community needed” said Mélissa Costa.

Costa is a member and secretary of the First Presbyterian Church Preschool Board of Trustees and also a member of the church. Community member Frank Zamarelli is chairman of the board.

He described the Step Up to Quality affiliation as a sort of accreditation, providing a higher quality education than the previous program.

According to a press release compiled by Costa, “Step Up To Quality is a five-star quality assessment and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Department of Employment and the Ohio family. SUTQ recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet program quality standards that exceed health and safety regulations for preschool permits and school-age child care.

It also means that families eligible for publicly funded child care services can get some or all of the registration fees covered. Zamarelli noted that even though there is public funding involved, the preschool / day can still retain the Christian daycare designation.

“It’s a real plus” he said.

Classes will run from September 13 through May 26, with a one-year tuition fee consisting of nine payments of $ 495 per month covering statutory holidays, vacation days, and snow days. Return will be at 8:00 a.m. and pickup at 4:30 p.m.

The nursery school will use the “Creative course” which was offered by a member of the church. The first part of the day will focus on education and the second part on snacks and play time.

Compared to other childcare options, Zamarelli said this is more reasonable for families “Who receive quality education and quality child care at a very affordable price”.

The church’s preschool space was refreshed, including the outdoor play area, with help from church members and high school students involved in the Youth In Philanthropy group associated with the Salem Community Foundation. Members of the congregation donated to the preschool for operations.

Parents who wish to apply for their child to attend should visit www.fpcsalem.org, look under community and click on preschool or call 330-337-9555 with questions.

This is also where applications are received for the preschool administrator and head teacher positions. Zamarelli said he publicized the positions on websites and local colleges such as Kent State Salem, Akron, Youngstown State and Mount Union.

For the director position, the board seeks an individual with at least an associate’s degree in early childhood education or a related field, with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education preferred.

For the Head Teacher, the board is looking for someone with at least an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or a CDA Associate in Child Development, with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. preferably.

Applications must include both a cover letter and a resume and the cover letter must include a statement of faith to be considered.

The nursery school has a long history of success, originally opened in 1945 under the leadership of Genevieve Dunn. Costa wrote that Carol Ricciardi, Martha Justice and Sue Skiba have taken turns as directors since then and have continued the rich tradition started by Dunn.

“The Board of Directors is extremely grateful to these women who, over the years, have shared their talents and love with thousands of preschool children from the First Presbyterian over the years.” she wrote.

When COVID-19 hit, the preschool closed in March 2020 and managed to complete the school year remotely. The nursery school remained intact, but did not reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.

Zamarelli, who attended kindergarten and sent her two daughters to kindergarten, said an interested group of church members and community members decided to reinstate the classroom program. Zamarelli, who attends St. Paul’s Church in Salem, has been involved in the nursery school as a community member for many years on the board, which has been combined with an advisory committee into one. single group.

The board is made up of Acting Pastor David Houdeschell, as well as church and community members who have expertise or an interest in early childhood education and development. At least four members are retired educators.

“The children will be more than ready to go to kindergarten”, Costa said.

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