At Samuel Preschool children have the freedom to learn through play. Our teachers carefully plan activities to meet the needs of children in different developmental stages. Children may choose to explore their own interests ranging from group play, art, dramatic play, building blocks as well as many other choices. Caring teachers support their play while focusing on helping children learn the important social skills they will use throughout their lives: taking turns, sharing, talking things over, expressing emotions, resolving conflicts, and developing friendships.
Samuel Preschool has been in operation for 50 years.
Samuel Church Pre-Kindergarten School is located at 320 N. Forsyth Blvd. in Clayton, Missouri. We offer preschool programs for children 2 to 5 years of age. Loving teachers work and care for children in each of our classrooms. The preschool curriculum is secular and designed for all families to feel comfortable and safe. We welcome children of all races, religions, and nationalities. We have morning classes from 9 am to 11:45 am, as well as extended day options to choose from.
Morning Preschool Classes
2 day class meets from 9:00 am – 11:45 am
3 day and 5 day classes meet from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Young Twos Class
Running January through May, this class meets on Monday and Wednesday for 2 year olds who are two by December 31, 2017.
Running September through May, this class meets on Tuesday and Thursday for 2 year olds who are two by July 31, 2017.
Running September through May, this class meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 3 year olds who are three by July 31, 2017.
Running September through May, this class meets Monday through Friday for children who will be entering kindergarten the following year.
Opportunities to extend the morning programs into the afternoon.
Offered for the Two-Day children.
Two-Day children bring their lunch and stay to play until 1:00 pm.
Offered for children in the Three-Day and Five-Day classes.
Children bring their lunch and stay for extra play and fun activities until 2:30 pm.
A typical day at Samuel Preschool
|9:00-10:00||Open Play Time|
|10:00-10:30||Clean-up/bathroom time, Circle Time for finger play, music and movement|
|10:45-11:15||Outdoor Play on playground, tricycles, chalk drawing, etc.|
|11:15-11:35||Activities include creative media projects, seasonal activities, nature projects, and games|
|11:35-11:45||Story time and preparation to leave school|
Qualified and experienced teachers lead each class. They work together as team to foster a positive classroom environment. As the teachers guide the children through developmentally appropriate activities, the children learn about themselves and their world by exploring, questioning, and experimenting.
In our program we emphasize learning by doing, and we believe the process is more important than the product.
Each child becomes a member of the classroom community and learns how to build caring relationships with other children.
In the safe environment of Samuel Preschool, the children can take learning risks and raise their understanding of our world.
Jane worked for 12 years teaching at Trinity Lutheran Preschool in Town and Country before joining Samuel as it’s director in 2012. Jane believes in the positive effect of providing a play-based learning environment for the children in her care. “While children are playing they can observe emotions in their peers, they learn how to interact with others and how to express themselves.” She is dedicated to the families and children of the preschool. Her own three sons attended preschool at Samuel. Jane is a member of Samuel UCC and involved in the life of the church, especially in the Youth and Family Ministry.
Becky taught preschool for several years before staying home with her five children. Last year she returned to the classroom when an opportunity arose here, as Becky says, ‘at her boys’ beloved Samuel Preschool.’ “As a teacher, it is so exciting to be a part of that moment of accomplishment and understanding with my students. You see their pride swell and their faces beam.” She enjoys quilting and reading.
MARY PAT BUESCHER
This is Mary Pat’s second year teaching at Samuel. Her son is an alum of our school and she served on our Parent Association board while he attended here. Mary Pat’s family is a foster family and is currently fostering a baby girl. She has an associates degree in Early Childhood and attended Fontbonne University. She enjoys helping young children explore the world around them in a classroom and on the playground. In her free time she likes to hang out with her family, take walks, read, and do needlepoint.
Kelli and her husband have three sons. While she has been raising her boys she has worked and volunteered at their schools as much as possible. It became very clear that when she was ready to go back to work, she wanted to work with children. “I am beyond excited and honored to get to share your children’s mornings with them.” Kelli’s exuberant spirit is clearly evident in the many fun and engaging experiences she provides for her students. When she is not attending her boys’ sporting events she enjoys running with her husband, playing with her dogs, knitting, painting, reading, going to the movies, and of course cheering for the Cardinals!
Kim Smith has a degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. Along with being an educator in the Kirkwood School District for 9 years, Kim served on many committees to improve her school, engage her students, and connect with families. While her own twins attend Samuel Preschool she has volunteered her time as Parent Association President. Working alongside our families she has implemented fresh approaches and supported the school in numerous ways. In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking, playing games, art projects with her girls and going on adventures with her family around St. Louis and Missouri. Her one pet is a beta fish named Butter.
Shirley Hansen served as director of Samuel Preschool in it’s early years. After devoting 28 wonderful years guiding staff, welcoming families, and providing students with quality early childhood education she now gives her time as our Music and Movement Teacher. The children look forward to her visits each week! She is the proud grandmother of 9 and great grandmother of 6. She enjoys cooking, playing cello, and spending time with her family.
Valerie graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia with a bachelors degree in Psychology. Since then she has been raising her two children. During their school years, she did a lot of volunteering on field trips and in the classrooms at their schools. They are grown now, and she is excited to be working with small children again. She enjoys watching the excitement on children’s faces when they learn something new. She knows how crucial the early years are for development and how important it is to make children feel loved and accepted. In her spare time, Valerie likes to read, travel, see shows at the Muny, and spend time with her daughter, son, dog, and cat.
Ginger has been working as a nursery and prekindergarten teacher for twenty two years. She loves being with young children and seeing their growth and their excitement in learning new things. As she nurtures her student’s natural curiosity she helps them become lifelong learners. She and her husband have three daughters and three grandchildren who share a lot of their free time. Ginger loves playing in the backyard with the grandchildren, exploring the creek and playing soccer with them.
Recently moving to St Louis from Michigan for her husband’s job, Mary has mostly been a stay at home mom to her two, now grown daughters. While her girls were in school she volunteered and worked as a paraprofessional in their classrooms. Before moving to STL Mary worked as a nanny for a family in her neighborhood. She is happy to be involved with children once again here at Samuel, in the early two’s classroom. In her free time Mary enjoys visiting her girls, walking her dog, and spending weekends exploring new places in and around her new town with her husband.
Our Parent Association meets on the third Wednesday of the month in the Ziercher Room to the left of the school entrance. The Association seeks to provide support to the school and to create space for communication among parents. They plan special events such as Popsicles in the Park prior to the first day of school and the Welcome Back Party with the Bubble Bus a week after school starts. Throughout the year the preschool children enjoy visits from local educators and entertainers including the World Bird Sanctuary, the St. Louis Zoo, and Babaloo!
The Parent Association contributes generously to provide Spanish lessons from Spanish Clubhouse for our 3 to 5 year olds.
We invite all parents to attend meetings. Children are welcome, too. It’s a great way to meet and connect with other preschool parents.
SCHOOL TO HOME CONNECTION
We believe that a strong school to home connection is essential for young children. Our staff share phone and email contacts with parents. We send home monthly newsletters and notes, and post information on bulletin boards. There are two scheduled conferences each year to discuss your child’s progress. We also want to talk with you often and can recommend times that are best for informal conversations. You can help by sharing information about your child with us. Let us know when your child might be under stress due to a new job, a house move, or any changes in sleep or eating. We will be communicating with you when anything out of the ordinary occurs. We also look forward to sharing highlights of the day with you at dismissal. Parents are welcome at preschool at anytime. Join us in the classroom or on the playground and enjoy the children. Bring a story book to read or share snack time with us. By building a mutual relationship of trust and respect we can create a strong support for the children.
In 1966 Samuel United Church of Christ realized the dream of an educational building to house not only children of church members on Sunday mornings but a neighborhood preschool as well. It’s charter emphasized that it would be “open to children of all denominations” and the building was dedicated on the 61st anniversary of the Church.
Over the years we have seen many educational trends come and go. We maintain a program that meets the needs of children both individually and as a group by:
1. Helping children make separation from home successfully.
2. Helping children learn to trust adults and peers
3. Helping children gain skills and learn through play
4. Helping children learn to accept limits when necessary to do so.
5. Helping children develop a positive self esteem.
At Samuel we provide the setting, the stage, the props, and some of the script (as we model facilitating language and behaviors) for children as they take part in the greatest production: The Early Years. During this time they experiment and try on all sorts of roles and learn about themselves and others. Through play, they learn and develop.
Ours is a developmental point of view. Children grow and develop in an orderly cycle of developmental stages. We cannot produce, speed up or ignore readiness for the next developmental stage. Each child progresses at his/her own rate.
By providing a school environment that is challenging not stressful, accepting not judgmental, warm and encouraging not demanding – a child experiences acceptance as a person and GROWS! These are the principles that have guided the teaching staff and program for almost 50 years at Samuel Preschool.
Visit us at Samuel Church Pre-Kindergarten School
A mission of Samuel United Church of Christ and OPEN TO ALL.
Jane Strauss, Director
320 N. Forsyth Blvd.
Clayton, MO 63105