Eliut Morales sat down with two of the Preschool teachers at the Manassas Park Community Center, Arely Angel and Ragan Rohland, to talk about how they prepare for the school year.
Morales: Let’s start with something simple. How would you describe our Preschool program?
Angel: Our Preschool program is a licensed and Virginia Quality rated program. We focus our curriculum on recreation with creative programs that encourage participation.
Morales: What is the advantage of having Preschool in Parks and Rec?
Rohland: Our children get the benefits of Preschool as well as the added seamless transition into other programs offered here at the Community Center such as swimming lessons, basketball, and other preschool age programs.
Morales: Can you tell me why Preschool is important?
Angel: Preschool is an extremely important aspect of growth and development of children to prepare them for school. Within preschool, we focus on key developmental traits to help them to transition well into kindergarten.
Morales: How do you prepare for the school year?
Rohland: We open registration in March, conduct orientations for new parents, and participate in staff training to be ready!
Angel: We also make sure our classrooms are safe by childproofing doorknobs, disinfecting all surfaces, and keeping tools like scissors away from reach.
Morales: What special activities are children involved in during our program?
Rohland: We host several events during the year that promote community and family involvement. The first few Preschool events we have this fall and winter are the Pumpkin Patch, Harvest Dinner, and the Holiday Party. In spring, we start with our Valentine’s Day Party, followed by the Easter Egg Hunt, Mother’s Day Tea, Donuts with Dad, and the Pool Party! The last event of the year is our Senior Preschool Graduation, which celebrates all our accomplishments!
Morales: What kind of values do kids learn in our program?
Angel: At the Community Center, we value family and community, so we teach our kids the importance of that by making our programs and activities based on what they like about their family. An example of this is the family scrapbook! Each child brings family pictures from home and makes a scrapbook page about their favorite family activities.
Morales: Why should parents enroll in our Preschool program?
Angel: We believe that with our quality teachers, supportive resources, and community connections, we offer a high quality yet reasonably rated preschool. However, we encourage every parent to do their research in order to find the best program that fits the needs of their child and family.
Morales: What kind of experience do you have?
Angel: I have seven years of experience working here at the Community Center! I have a CDA (Child Development Associate) certificate and 56 college credits in Early Childhood Education. I’m currently working on finishing my degree!
Rohland: I began my career at the Community Center six years ago working in Kids Korner, which is a childcare option for parents while they attend out classes. After a few months, I transitioned to the Preschool division, and have been here since! During my time here, I have attended and received numerous trainings. I’ve also obtained my Associate’s degree and Certificate in early childhood.
Morales: Why did you decide to work for Parks and Rec?
Angel: I’ve always been a part of my daughter’s school experience, and at the time I registered her for the program, I saw there was a need for a preschool assistant. I applied for the position, and I’m happy to say that seven years later, I’m in a leadership role within the division!
Rohland: When I was looking for a job after high school, I felt that the Community Center was the best fit for me. My family has been a part of the Manassas Park community for years, so my decision was a no-brainer!
Morales: What are some of your favorite programs here at MPCC?
Angel: We offer afterschool programs for our students to have more interaction time with their peers. I also love all the Athletics programs that we offer!
Rohland: My favorite programs are the ones that promote family togetherness and athletics. Ones that stand out to me are the Father Daughter Dance, Fall Family Fun Night, Biddy ball, and karate.
Morales: Now let’s talk a little more about you. What’s your favorite local restaurant?
Angel: La Jarochita Mexican restaurant is one of my favorites. They have the best authentic Mexican tacos in the area!
Rohland: My three favorite local restaurants are Guapos, Tony’s NY Pizza, and Mariachis Tequileria and Restaurant!
Morales: What’s something not many people know about you?
Angel: I have been happy married to my high school sweetheart 18 years and counting!
Rohland: I attended Manassas Park City Schools just like the kids in our programs!
Morales: What do you do on your free time?
Angel: I love to watch movies with my children. I also love to read romance novels. I’m a hopeless romantic!
Rohland: I spend time with family and friends, especially my nieces and nephews!
Both Arely and Ragan look forward to meeting new faces each year! Applications for our Preschool program are accepted year round. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA, Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, special events, and recreational classes. For more information visit us at www.manassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call at 703-335-8872.