When my oldest son was a toddler, I heavily debated the pros and cons of sending him to preschool. I had been a teacher and had a degree in Education, so was it really worth the time and money to pay someone else to teach him? Couldn’t I just do it myself? Or would I be robbing him of an important life experience? I didn’t have easy answers, and felt conflicted about what to do.
When he was three, we bought our first home, and a friend at our new church mentioned that she was enrolling her son, who was the same age as mine, in preschool in the fall. Her neighbor had raved and raved about the school, the fees were lower than most I had researched and they seemed to have a Christ-centered, yet laid back approach to early education. Since he had been asking about school, my husband and I decided to sign him up for the four-year-old class at Holy Cross Christian Preschool. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions we ever made. He graduated in 2008, our second son in 2010 and our third son will be attending this fall. We love Holy Cross Christian Preschool and can’t imagine sending our children anywhere else.
Holy Cross Christian Preschool is located on Jacksonville Road in Bethlehem Township. It’s a small school that meets inside the church building of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church. The preschool has its own area, with one main classroom. Because of this, the three-year-olds meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the four-year-olds meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 am to 12 noon. The school also has a large fellowship hall for extra activities as well as an outdoor, fenced-in playground, which the kids love. Each class has two teachers, with the threes being capped at fifteen students and the fours at eighteen students. Tuition is paid monthly, with the three-year-olds paying less than the four-year-olds. The fees usually increase slightly over the years to keep up with inflation, but currently, prices are just over one hundred dollars a month, which is a very reasonable rate.
The preschool director and main four-year-old teacher is a seasoned Kindergarten teacher, well versed in early childhood education. Children learn the basics from counting to the alphabet to the colors of the rainbow in a fun and exciting way. The students are always engaged in educational activities, from dressing the “weather bear” each day to painting with apples, the fruit with a star inside. Creative play is encouraged, and everything is taught from a Biblical perspective, complete with monthly Bible memory verses and songs.
But perhaps the best part of each month is Holy Cross Christian Preschool’s Family Worship. Once a month, each class puts on a program of songs and finger plays they have learned for the parents in the sanctuary. Afterwards, the children and their families gather in the fellowship hall for lunch. This was so special for me as a mom. I loved being able to see exactly what my child was learning each month; it made me feel involved in my child’s education instead of just an outside observer. And at the lunch, each child’s artwork is also displayed, so parents can see the beautiful things their children have been creating, as well as get a sense of what they’ve been learning in that month’s unit. It’s so much fun to watch your child’s work progress from September to May, seeing just how much their skills have developed.
Holy Cross is the perfect introduction to school for your little ones; not only are there monthly units about seasons, God’s creation and more, each month has special days. As the children learn their colors, there’s a day for each one where they can dress up in that color from head to toe if they so choose. When they learn the alphabet, the kids take turns bringing in objects that begin with the letter of the day. Dr. Seuss’s birthday is celebrated with a pajama party and green eggs and ham, and the end of the year holds special surprises like bring a stuffed animal day and beach day. There’s even a fall field trip to a farm, complete with a hayride and pumpkin picking, which is an annual favorite in our family.
Overall, I loved that our children’s first experience with school was fun, creative and focused on the whole child, not just a rigid program of straight academics. My kids have such fond memories of preschool and still talk about all of the fun times they had. Our family has a wonderful relationship with the kind and caring teachers there, and our third son can’t wait to start this fall. The boys even talk about how much fun their baby sister will have at Holy Cross Christian Preschool when she comes of age. I truly believe that my kids’ love of learning was shaped in a huge way by the teachers and program at Holy Cross. I recommend this school to everyone I know; it’s the best preschool in Bethlehem, PA.
For more information:
Holy Cross Christian Preschool
2700 Jacksonville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017
Karen Steiner, Director