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Youngsters' First Day! Providence Catholic Children's Academy Welcomes Kindergarten, Preschool Students

New students waved goodbye to mom and started to make new friends during their first day of school.

welcomed kindergartners and preschool students.

A bright sunny Wednesday, Aug. 29, marked the official first day of school for kindergarten students. It also doubled as a day for preschool students to take in the surroundings.

Sitting on an imprint of their favorite letter on a bright blue rug in the reading area, preschoolers got a chance to step into a world where the alphabet is something to sing about. PCCA is also humming an upbeat tune since they were voted No. 1 in the recent Readers' Choice 2012 poll for best preschool in New Lenox. 

Meanwhile, the kindergarten class sat still listening to an enthusiastic rendition by teacher, Anne Garvey, who read a tale about a little boy's first day of school. His experiences—waving goodbye to mom and meeting new friends—rang a bell for the 21 members of the class.

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Despite the pint-size tables and chairs along with cubbies situated exactly at eye-level for a  3-year-old, the tasks the teachers undertake at PCCA are monumental for student development. This is serious business for PCCA, which has been building relationships in the community for years. In fact, this year the school that prepares youngsters for elementary school has come of age.

This is PCCA's 21st year of existence, said Principal Laura McErlean.

All total, the school serves about 140 students in kindergarten and preschool along with a class dubbed Little Learners for those just under 3 years old. There is even one class that caters to the adult-child combination. It meets once a week, said McErlean; it's designed for the toddler in hand with mom, dad, grandparent or babysitter. This is an opportunity for young children to taste the school environment.

Certainly snack time is built into daily activities, said McErlean. At PCCA, "we are very concerned about nutrition" and cognizant of allergies. The snacks are carefully selected, and for students whose delicate palates or systems react negatively to the menu served at the school, the parents are asked to provide the kinds of snacks that can be enjoyed while away from home, she said.

While the school sounds and feels cozy and comfortable, it's also high-tech. McErlean said this year the students will have a chance to glean information in the same way that television crime stoppers evaluate leads. With a software program called Smart Board, the teacher can program a lesson to highlight pictures and facts and move them around with the touch of a finger.

"We're really excited about that," she added.

PCCA representatives also boast that this is one of only a few schools in New Lenox that offers full-day kindergarten classes. More and more parents are seeking that type of program, McErlean added. Next year, the school is planning to provide before and after school care too.  

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