DECIDING WHAT PRESCHOOL YOUR CHILD SHOULD ATTEND IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS YOU MAKE EARLY ON AS A PARENT. Getting the best early childhood education is critical to your child’s development and preparation for kindergarten and grade school. You want a safe facility with a strong academic program and a caring staff, not to mention the option for full-day preschool for working parents. Calvary Hill Preschool in Glassboro, serving Gloucester County and South Jersey for the past nine years, offers all that and much more.
Why the new name? Calvary Hill Church had been operating both Little Ambassadors Preschool and Ambassador Christian Academy, an elementary/middle school. The preschool experienced such growth that it became impossible to operate both schools in the same location. Ambassador Christian moved to Sewell, and Little Ambassadors remained at Calvary Hill, changing its name to Calvary Hill Preschool. It is situated in a prime location, right across from the new Inspira Hospital and near Rowan University—an incredibly convenient spot on Route 322 and a quarter-mile from Route 55.
Although the name has changed, Calvary Hill Preschool continues to provide the same Christ-centered education families can count on. “Our Christian background is part of our distinction. Kids come here and they experience the love of Christ,” says director Kathy Lamastra, who’s been with the school for 17 years. “What we provide in a Christian environment is love and acceptance. We focus on character development. Everything we teach benefits their child.”
And the school is open to every child—coming from a Christian background is not mandatory. “Anyone is welcome to enroll at Calvary Hill Preschool,” Lamastra says. “They don’t have to be a church family. They don’t even have to be a Christian family; all are welcome.”
The caring and welcoming atmosphere Lamastra and her staff provide is second to none, as they make sure each child knows they are accepted and loved.
“We have staff that is invested in nurturing; [children] are accepted and cared for. We focus on academics—we have a very strong academic program—but also want to provide a safe place where kids can grow and develop, feel loved and secure,” she says.
They use phonics-based programs, including the ABeka language arts curriculum which focuses on reading. “The idea is that they graduate preschool with a strong foundation of reading; we have 4-year-olds reading books the second half of the year,” Lamastra says. “If you can learn to read, you can learn anything. This foundation helps you throughout your entire educational career.”
Four-year-olds graduate with an understanding of long and short vowel sounds, and the ability to apply the “silent e rule.” Math curriculum uses Saxon Kindergarten Math, rather than preschool-level math, says Lamastra. Younger age groups follow research-based, developmentally age-appropriate curriculum molded by the Childcare Education Institute, and Calvary Hill supplements with phonics throughout all classes.
Small class sizes—the biggest class size is 15 to 16 students—mean individualized attention for each child, and they provide hands-on learning.
“Everything we do is hands-on, or active hands-on learning we call it,” Lamastra says. “Kids love going to school and don’t want to go home at the end of the day. It’s a great environment for them, and the smaller class size helps. We minister to the whole child, not just academically. Spiritual character development is very strong here.
“All of our teachers are certified to teach in New Jersey or at least have a degree in early education. Some of our aides are nearby Rowan University students who are majoring in education.”
And if you need more reasons to consider Calvary Hill Preschool, it offers convenience and reasonable pricing. The school is open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and operates 12 months of the year; it only closes the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Full-time students attend for the cost of $188 per week with no charge for extended hours.
“We are located right off Route 55 and convenient for people going to work,” Lamastra says. “You don’t have to live near here but passing through, it’s a good drop-off point. We have students from Camden and Cumberland counties, as well as Atlantic and Salem counties.”
At Calvary Hill Preschool, your child is in the best possible hands with those who want them to grow into strong, loving individuals who are excited about learning and growing. Lamastra sees firsthand every day the joy and excitement in each child’s face and is grateful to instill so much joy into their lives.
“I just love to see the kids, their smiles are amazing. They can light up the day,” Lamastra says. “It’s neat to be around them all because they are full of life, curious to learn and excited. I get to watch them grow and develop.”
Calvary Hill Preschool
535 Mullica Hill Road | Glassboro
(856) 881-3669, ext. 102
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (February 2020).
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