Wittenberg, Springfield church partner to offer preschool program

Wittenberg University is partnering with Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springfield to help offer a new preschool program.

Beginning this fall, Wittenberg University Department of Education will partner with Covenant Children’s Academy to offer half-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs, according to a release from the church.

“Wittenberg is honored to engage in this partnership with one of our premiere kindergarten/preschools in our community. Wittenberg’s Education Department has a long history of partnership with the PK-12 schools and districts, and we do that well. It is clear that the CCA is excited to enter into this formal partnership, and we look forward to learning from and with the staff and faculty of the CCA,” said Kristin Farley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education.

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The university will provide professional development for the staff, instruction, observation, field experience for student, joint teaching and research, and sharing or creation of educational materials and resources, the release stated.

“The opportunity to collaborate with the CCA provides Wittenberg’s teacher candidates a laboratory to learn about children, their learning and development, and to be mentored by seasoned kindergarten and preschool teachers. Additionally, Wittenberg faculty will be able to engage in research and professional development with the CCA staff,” Farley said.

Diane Van Auker, Communications Chair at the church, said they see growth potential for both programs through the partnership.

“(It) will result in opportunities for joint training and support. Pre-service teacher will learn from the onsite experiences of observing and cooperating with the children and teachers of the academy and the academy teachers will be exposed to new research-based practices and ideas,” she said.

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“This growth will strengthen the emphasis on the importance of a positive early childhood education and support for families. It is currently in the beginning stages, as we emerge from COVID restrictions. Our hope is that this presents a model of inclusion, mutual nurture and care for our youngest citizens using the synergy that partnerships create,” she added.

Farley added that, “this purposeful partnership has the potential to contribute to the simultaneous renewal of both institutions, ultimately impacting the community through achieving excellence in the education of young children and those who have the privilege to teach them.”

The academy, which is located at the church in Springfield, will start on Monday, Sept. 13. Children must enroll and be between the ages three to five. Scholarships are also available for children to attend. Those interested can call the church at 937-325-2427 or 937-327-0860, email covenantchildrensacademy@gmail.com, or visit the church’s website.