Will you be looking for a preschool program near you this year? If so, you may have some questions in order to decide what program will best suit your children. I sat down with Arely Angel, our Lead Preschool Teacher, and talked about what our preschool program means to her as both a teacher and a parent.
We sat in her office, which was filled with artwork that students made for her in her years teaching at the Community Center. She said she loves when students draw and paint for her. She pointed out that when she began teaching preschool, they only had a few handful of students. “This year, we have classes of 20 students, and our goal for next year is to expand our numbers even more,” she said.
While she enjoys having a smaller class, she understands the need for quality programing in our community. Ms. Angel and her staff are ready to commit to serving larger groups of students while delivering the same level of dedication to each student.
Preschool is a crucial stage in children’s education, as they develop important values and beliefs in their early years. Ms. Angel said, “At our preschool, some of the core values we teach the children are family, independence, and supporting others.”
When children arrive at the classroom throughout the school year, they learn to be independent enough to follow the routine, which consists of putting their backpacks away, hanging their coats, and placing their lunchboxes in their assigned cubby. “Simple routines like these are what teach children a sense of independence,” added Ms. Angel.
As a parent, Ms. Angel also brings values and beliefs from home into the classroom. She mentioned, “At home, everyone has a turn to speak, and my children know that they can share their thoughts freely. The same goes for my children in class. They are free to express themselves and are taught to be respectful when others share different ideas than their own.”
Because she grew up in a Latino household, Ms. Angel understands the importance of acceptance. She said, “One of my biggest beliefs is that accepting others is one of the most important values in life. Children are taught judgement by how they see others judging.”
Ms. Angel believes that children are naturally accepting and it’s our duty as parents and teachers to develop that aspect of their life by teaching that everyone is human – no matter where you’re from or what language you speak.
She shared a story about one of her students who didn’t speak English at the beginning of the school year. “My other students never hesitated to try and talk to her even though she didn’t understand them and they didn’t understand her. They played with her and it made no difference what language they spoke. When they wanted to tell her something, they would come to me and ask me to tell her what they said. Children really are amazing individuals,” she said.
I asked Ms. Angel to give parents advice in searching for a preschool program. She said, “The best advice I can give to parents is that research is key. Not all preschool programs are the same, and it’s important to understand what your family needs before choosing a program. At the end of the day, everyone wants our children to have a successful start to their education!”
Registration for our 2019-2020 school year is open! Pick up a registration form at the front desk to get started. For more information on our preschool, contact Arely Angel via email at a.angel@manassasparkva,gov.
Eliut Morales is the Writer/Content Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.