The Best Kept Secret in Gloucester County
Little Ambassadors Preschool, Ambassador Christian Academy, Camp Ambassador Summer Camp—three great programs in one convenient location
In Glassboro, there’s a preschool and K-8 school that not many families in the area are aware of. That is changing, however, as Little Ambassadors Preschool and Ambassador Christian Academy are gaining attention for their bevy of programs for children in the community. Owned and operated as ministries of Calvary Hill Church, Little Ambassadors Preschool (LAP) and Ambassador Christian Academy (ACA) are private Christian schools established to promote spiritual growth and provide quality academic education. Since 1966, ACA has been teaching Pre-K (4 years old) through eighth grade, and just last year Calvary Hill Church began offering Little Ambassadors Preschool for children as young as 18 months. When school is not in session, Camp Ambassador Summer Camp provides activities for children with certified elementary and early education teachers running the program. For nine weeks, students from LAP, ACA and children from the surrounding communities join together for summer camp. Camp Ambassador offers weekly themes as varied as Mad Science to Wild West Week.
Having all three programs in one location provides benefits on so many levels, according to Kathy Lamastra, Christian education director. “Each one strengthens the others,” she says. “We can also keep costs down and pass along significant savings to the parents.”
With the offering of Little Ambassadors Preschool—which is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended care hours at no additional cost—young children have the ability to start the A-Beka curriculum as toddlers. Lamastra says this sets them up for early success, especially in reading, and their kindergarten students consistently test in the 98th percentile nationally. “Also, since we have specialized teachers on staff for the elementary school in music, art, Spanish and gym, our K4 students benefit from having classes with these teachers as well.
Kristen Riches has two sons currently attending ACA, and this year she enrolled her youngest daughter in the Little Ambassadors Preschool. She says, “I have been very satisfied with the quality of the education at ACA and wanted my daughter to have the strongest foundation possible going into kindergarten. The preschool program is challenging and the classroom atmosphere is happy and clean.” She is also able to drop off all three of her children in one location, which makes life a little bit easier.
Riches adds that the teachers at ACA have a real passion for what they do, which shows in her sons’ behavior. “Our sons enjoy every facet of the school. They love their teachers, friends, and the classes. On Sunday nights, they can’t wait to get to go back to school on Monday morning,” she says.
Preschool students who choose to stay through eighth grade have many advantages to look forward to. ACA keeps classes small (the largest is 16 students) with low student to teacher ratios. “As a result of small classes and an academically challenging curriculum, we find that our graduates leave academically advanced and have no trouble getting into the high school of their choice,” says Lamastra. Athletics are also extremely popular. ACA has traveling teams in girls and boys soccer, basketball, track and field, softball, baseball and cheerleading. Preschool students are included in the fine and performing arts program as they join with the elementary students in the annual Christmas and spring concerts. Middle school praise dancers also perform at these events. Elementary praise dancers perform at the Deptford Barnes & Noble where student artwork is on display twice a year. Other activities offered by ACA include a spring drama production, a competitive chess program, Bible Quiz team and private piano lessons.
ACA’s Principal Autumn Heckman says, “While we believe that spiritual growth is of the utmost importance, our goal is to equip our students for life beyond these walls. We expect our students to be intelligent, compassionate, dedicated citizens in their communities.” With this in mind, LAP and ACA students are active in community service projects throughout the year. After Hurricane Sandy, students collected blankets, pillows and firewood for those whose homes were flooded and were struggling to stay warm. They also collect food for needy families, write letters to the military and help clean up litter in the community. One of their biggest collections is the Soles 4 Souls shoe drive where shoes are collected and sent to third world countries. “We want students to think outside of themselves and be aware of the needs of others,” says Lamastra.
Parents are welcome to tour the schools any time upon request and an open house is scheduled for March 26, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Scholarship aide programs are available for ACA and those interested must apply before May.
Little Ambassadors Preschool
Ambassador Christian Academy
535 Mullica Hill Road
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 12 (February, 2013).
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