Aldersgate Preschool

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Our playground is music to our ears – literally

You’ll want to be sure to stop by and see the new sound and sensory area on the preschool age playground.  Thank YOU for your support of our fundraisers throughout the last few years.  We used fundraising money to make this update!

I wish I had a picture of how the front “vine tunnel” area looked before we started the renovation.  Let’s just say it was overgrown and wasn’t enticing any longer.  The ditch that is a water drain system was always clogged and also full of weeds.  Therefore we decided to make some changes.

Epic Landscape removed all the overgrown weeds, rocks and cleaned out the drainage ditch.  It was amazing to see how quickly the area opened up.

They added the large boulders, our concrete and rock “river” and laid the large pavers for a walking path.  Already the space had a sense of order and peace.  I will give them a “shout out” for the great work they did!

We also had to replace our shed so you can see the new concrete pad in place ready for a new shed. This is a great time for me to give a huge thank you to my family.  My husband, daughter and sister all helped with various parts of this playground.  I appreciate my family’s support in all my projects!

Our butterfly chairs make a great first impression of the space.  I plan to add a tic-tac-toe game onto the “stump” table.


Probably the highlight of the area is our music instruments.  The church bell chimes, “croaking” frog wood strikers and our hand drums (the green boxes that children can sit on and then tap the front panel with their hands) all offer some wonderful interest to the kids.

Another goal of this space was to bring natural elements into the playground.  The rocks, stone pavers and wood elements do that wonderfully.  I’ve already heard children calling the wood bridge a “drawbridge” as they play.  Our wind spinner is also an attraction.

The large turtle statue is also a wonderful addition.  His name is Tucker (in remembrance of many small red-eared slider turtles we used to have in tanks inside – all of which were named Tucker.)  As the sign says, we hope to teach the children about gentleness as they play with him in the hopes that his head won’t crack off.  That won’t be a pleasant event for any child.

We also hid several concrete animals in the river bed.  Hopefully the kids will enjoy going on a hunt for the items  such as the large Megalodon tooth (a mold of a prehistoric shark tooth that is huge!), small animals such as this bumpy toad (my favorite!) and a couple of fossils molds.

The mulch, log, rock and wood area beside the shed seems to make a great dinosaur habitat.

And finally the swing bench offers a great spot for reflection and conversation.  I already got to spend some time out there getting to re-connect with some of our blue class friends.

Watch for even more to be added.  Once this heat finally reduces a little we plan to add a couple of small trees and a few more plants.

I would be remiss in talking about the playground without thanking our staff for their work in cleaning things up.  As part of our set up days everyone helped trim trees, pull weeds, wash structures and do some repairs.   I love our playground AND I love our staff and their dedication to this place!!

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Celebrating the old – Embracing the new

I goofed.  I accidentally deleted all of our photos from the end of the year picnic and the celebration of our retiring staff.  I’ll try to make up for that here.

We are so grateful for the MANY years our retirees, Donna Massey, Laura Lauridsen and Leslie Wurtz, embraced young families, connected with children, laughed and loved here at Aldersgate Preschool.


Ms. Donna Massey worked here for 25 years!  She shared her laughter with the children every day.  I loved hearing her joking with the kids.  I will miss hearing her laugh.  Donna also served many years as our snack planner and “cook.”   The addition of healthy and a variety of snacks served to make us an even better school.  Donna also has a passion for mission work and that lead us to giving often to various groups in our community.  Don’t be surprised if you see Donna around this year though, as she may be working as a sub at times.


Ms. Laura Lauridsen also worked here for 25 years!  Laura worked with all ages throughout the years with her patience and loving smile.  Laura has a gift for actually playing with the kids in a way that guides them to the next level of thinking and especially to more developed social skills.  Laura’s positive spirit lifted us all through the years.

Ms Leslie Wurtz worked here for 24 years!  Leslie’s natural drive for learning often led her to research the newest ideas and theories in Early Childhood.  She worked tirelessly to provide children the most developmentally appropriate activities and environment.  I loved to hear Leslie engage in conversations with the kids.  She truly cared about the whole child.  We are glad that Leslie has agreed to sub for us some this year!

We also honor the rest of our staff members that left us this year for various other reasons; Hillary White, Janette Parker, Robyn Nameth and Kari Guinn.  We wish them well in their future ventures.

All that change has brought us renewed enthusiasm as we welcome Aisha Vyhanek, Andrea Niermeier, Becky Melton, Beth Houseworth, Julie Crabb Katka Johnson, Natalie Woods to our staff!

This year’s staff meeting had a bee theme.

Each year we recognize a staff member or two that served us well the year before, even in the midst of challenges in their own lives.  Lori Thomas and Virginia Watson were chosen to receive the Jennie Nichols’ “Dancing in the Rain Award.”  We celebrate their commitment to Aldersgate Preschool.

As usual, we had a variety of activities that drew us together in various groups, built connections, guided new thinking and built a strong team.  We even learned that bees communicate with a technique called a “waggle dance.”  Of course we had to do our own “waggle dance” as we communicate how much fun we like to have here at Aldersgate Preschool.


Don’t you just love our fearless “waggle dance” leaders!!


We ended the meeting with everyone choosing a word for what they will focus on this school year. Just a few of those include: lively, enlightened, kindhearted, purposeful, prepared, gentle, positive and kind.  Sounds like a good place to live – right?

We ended our morning with sharing a wonderful lunch that the board provided.  It was a great time to connect to those wonderful volunteers and church staff members that work to make Aldersgate Preschool great.