The newest classroom at St. John’s Lutheran School in Waterloo is ready to serve the youngest minds in the community as it prepares for the first day of the 2019-2020 year. The school decided to further its educational offerings by adding a 3 and 4-year-old kindergarten class.
Teacher Kerri Esmay is excited to help build the new multi-age classroom. She was hired to lead the classroom at the same time her husband, Christopher, was called to lead the church congregation.
“It’s the Lord’s timing for sure,” she said, noting the school and church had been looking to start a 3-4k class.
Esmay comes to the school with previous teaching experience in Kansas where she worked in a one-room K-8 school and later taught preschool and first and second grade. Her most recent position was as the director of an early learning center.
Based on what she was told, the decision to open a 3-4k class was because it was a needed in the communities of Waterloo and Marshall.
“Our church and our school are here to serve our community,” the teacher said.
The 3-4k class operates five days a week with the option for a half-day or full-day enrollment. There are currently 12 children registered for the fall semester but the school can have a total of 18 students in the classroom.
Esmay pointed out there are lesson plans for the students, who have to be 3 by Sept. 1, and a daily schedule with all of the learning done through play.
“It’s not sitting at a table all day, it’s moving their bodies the way their bodies need to move but learning through those things,” she said.
The classroom is set up into different areas, such as building materials and dress up, that are developmentally appropriate for the age group. The teacher is also excited for the new natural playground area specifically for the school’s youngest learners and where she plans to use often.
“It’s a dream playground for 3 and 4 year olds,” Esmay said about the space featuring a big wooden structure, mud kitchen and logs to build with. “We’re going to play in the grass, we’re going to play in the mud, we’re going to run around, we’re going to talk about trees.”
She is looking forward to getting to meet her students and helping them adjust to the daily routine at St. John Lutheran School.
“I just love spending time with children and teaching them about Jesus and we get to do that through Bible time – my favorite thing to do,” Esmay said. “I love being able to start everything new and do it well.”