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(269) 782-3771
603 McCleary Street
Dowagiac, MI  49047
Preschool and Noah's Ark Handbook
    Welcome to St. John's Early Education Program
  • St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Preschool program is an educational arm of St. John's Lutheran Church.  Its purpose is to assist parents in their God-given responsibility to bring up their children in the "training and instruction of the Lord,"  Ephesians 6:4.  This command is followed in our early childhood education program, as well as our  daycare program.


    At St. John's our children are taught by a professional staff of teachers and a pastor who have been trained to provide a thorough, well-rounded and Christ-centered education.


    The children will be in a Christian environment which provides opportunities to explore, participate, and experience success.  The activities will be developmentally appropriate and structured so that the children have ample opportunity to interact socially in groups and through individual play.


    Our Bible Foundation
  • St. John's Lutheran is founded on these eternal truths as revealed in God's errorless Word, the Holy Gospel:


    1.  There is only one true God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


    2.  God created all things and created man as the crown of that creation.


    3.  Man's fall into sin has corrupted the entire human race, making all people subject to eternal damnation.


    4.  God, in His grace and mercy, sent His very own Son, Jesus Christ to suffer and die, to pay for the sins of all people.


    5.  All who, by the work of the Holy Spirit, believe that Jesus is their Savior receive forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. 


    6.  Christians will strive to show their love to God by using their gifts and talents to help spread the Word of God.  They will help fellow Christians and human beings in every possible way.

    Programs Offered
  • Noah's Ark:   (must be 3 years old by the beginning of the school year**and toilet trained)   Extends the children's warm world of home and leads them into discovery of the world beyond home.  With the number of working mothers in our society today, we feel this offers an alternative to daycare.  Activities will vary, but include:  listening to God's Word, story time, singing, art, large muscle development, and language development.  The program will assist in building a strong relationship between home and school, and will establish groundwork for the child's formal learning.  Noah's Ark will be offered as a 3-day program on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or as a 2-day program on Tuesday and Thursday.  Each will be held in the mornings from 8:30  to 11:30 A.M.  Children are allowed in the classroom starting at 8:15 A.M.  Children are to be picked up no later than 11:45 A.M. from the classroom.  Children will be taken into daycare at 11:45 A.M.  Daycare is also available from 6 to 8:15 A.M. (before Noah’s Ark classes).


    Preschool: (must be 4 by the beginning of the school year** and toilet trained)

    Builds on the 3 year-old program as well as expands the variety of experiences for the child in the social, emotional, and intellectual areas of growth.  There will be teacher-directed activities as well as student choice activities during the structure of the day.  The children will be encouraged in their growth spiritually and academically.  Upon completion of this course, the child would proceed to a full day kindergarten or a young 5’s class, as recommended by the preschool teacher.  Formal and informal testing and observation done during the spring is the determining factor for recommendation into kindergarten.   The preschool sessions will be held  Monday through Friday afternoons from 12:30 - 3:30 P.M.  Children are allowed in the classroom starting at 12:15 P.M.   Children are to be picked up no later than 3:45 P.M. from the classroom.  Children will be taken into daycare at 3:45 P.M.  Daycare is also available in mthe mornings beginning at 6 A.M. 



    A calendar will be handed out prior to the first day of school.  All educational classes will follow this calendar.  The starting date for all above classes will be the Tuesday after Labor Day.


    **Age variances at the teacher’s discretion.

    Tuition and Fees
  • Noah' Ark 3-day (M,W,F)    8:30-11:30 AM

        $132 per month ($1188 for year) 


    Noah’ Ark 2-day (T, Th)      8:30-11:30 AM   (not offered fo 2016/17 school year because of enrollment)

        $89 per month ($801 for year)


    Preschool (M-F)  12:30-3:30 pm

        $202 per month (S1,818 for year)


    Enrollment fee of $30 (non-refundable*) paid at registration will reserve a spot for your child.

    * If your child is currently enrolled in the daycare this fee will be applied to your first payment as you have already paid it.


    Billing:  Monthly tuition will be invoiced to your account at the beginning of each month.  You may receive your invoice by E-mail or a paper copy.  You will be required to sign a payment contract at the time of registration.  


    Payments are due the first week of the month.  Payments can be in the form cash, check (made to St John’s) or credit card.  Payments may be given to the child's teacher, put in the payment box by the sign-in computer, or handed to a person in the office.  If two monthly payments are missed throughout the school year it is mandatory that the parents meet with the Board of Education. If the parents refuse any of these obligations, the child may be dismissed from the Learning Center and legal action may be taken and you will be responsible for any fees and collection costs incurred.

    Admission Policy
  • Non-Discriminatory Policy:


    St. John's Lutheran admits students of any race, color, nationality and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to the students of the learning center.  It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin in its educational policies or admission policies.  


    Member and Non-Member Admission:


    Children will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis.  However, consideration will be given first to the children of our Church members and those currently enrolled in the daycare program, then to others who are inquiring.


    St. John's realizes the Lord's directive to "Go and make disciples of all nations..."  Therefore our daycare and learning center is committed to serving as a mission arm of the congregation.  Considering that commitment, our school accepts students whose parents are not members of St. John's congregation.


    Children and parents who are not members will be subject to all policies and objectives of St. John's Lutheran Church.


    To assist parents in understanding our school's philosophy, especially its teachings from Scripture, an adult information class will be conducted by the pastor.  For non-member parents with children in the Learning Center program at St. John's, a one and a half hour session is required.  This class is to inform the parents what their children will be learning in the daycare and learning center.  A longer course is asked of those desiring membership into our church.  Both courses are scheduled by the pastor, to start as close to the beginning of the school year as possible.  If you have taken the class in a previous year, you do not need to take it again.  If parents do not participate in this program, they will be approached by the pastor and/or Board of Education as to their intent.

    Withdrawal Policy
  • If a family has to withdraw their child from the daycare or learning center due to moving or other personal reasons, any balance owed to St. John's will be prorated, and a refund given if applicable.   


    If the Board of Education, through its faculty, decides that children and/or their parents are a hindrance to the religious and/or academic education of the entire classroom, that student will be asked to leave.  The decision of the Board of Education is final.  Tuition  fees will be prorated and a refund given, if applicable.

    Children Records
  • Prior to the first day of attendance the following records must be completed:

    • Child Information Card    
    • Certificate of Immunization 

    Within 1 month of the child's first day of attendance, the following records must be completed:

    • Children ages 2-1/2 years and older - Physician Health Form or health screening results. (Within 12 months prior, updated every two years.)
    • Signed Notebook Notification form
    • Signed handbook and photo permission form
  • Religion

    Our religious curriculum concentrates on specific Bible stories each week. During each week the Bible lessons will be sent home, so that parents can reread the Bible stories with their child, and the child can also have an opportunity to share in their own growth of faith as well as their own learning. Flannel graph boards, play acting, songs, and other activities may be used to help the children understand and learn the story.


    Curriculum & Letter Introduction

    Noah’s Ark (3yr old) and Preschool (4 yr old) are two different programs with some similarities.  Both curriculums have been approved by the school board.  Noah’s Ark will use READY, SET, READ with “feely letters”.  The Preschool will use “Alphafriends” along with some “Creative Curriculum” philosophy and practices.  Throughout the year we will use different themes in our activities and projects.

    Centers – Learning through play

    Your children's play is their work. Through free exploration and teacher guided play, children learn many valuable skills and tools. By employing work activities in the classroom, children can learn social skills, math skills, language skills, refine large and small motor skills and gain a better understanding of the world around them.

    School Supply List
  • Book bag or backpack large enough for a full size folder.(This is very important! The primary form of communication between the school and you as the parent is though newsletters and notes! Please be sure your child has a book bag at school everyday and check it each time they bring it home!)

    Extra set of clothes in a bag to be kept in the back pack everyday with your child's name clearly marked on the bag. These clothes will be used in case of an emergency (should be season appropriate).


    Please bring the following supplies on the first day of school.  

    Three ring binder (1½  inches), pencil box, 24 ct box of crayons, pencils, 2 glue sticks, White school glue, 8-10 ct box of washable markers, backpack, paint shirt, 1 pocket folder, and 1 Box of Tissue.

    Typical Daily Schedule
  • Noah's Ark Schedule

    8:15      Arrival/Sign in/Table Toys

    8:30      Welcome, Calendar/Bible Lesson (Story, Song, Craft)

    9:00      Music & Movement

    9:15      Center Play
    9:30      Clean Up, Snack* & Bathroom Break

    9:45      Library Time

    10:00    Circle Time (Letter Phonics, Themes, Stories, Sign Language, etc.)

    10:15    Group Time /  One on One time (Children choose from a variety of activities related to the theme or letter, art, science, math,
                        writing, sensory, games, I-pad)

    11:00  Outside Play / Free Play

    11:15   Closing activities

    11:25   Closing Prayer/Song/ Good Bye

    11:30   Dismissal



    Preschool Schedule

    12:15  Arrival/Sign in/Table Time

    12:30  Welcome/Calendar/Bible Lesson (Story, Song, Craft)

    1:00    Music & MovementCenter PlayCalendar & Weather

    1:30    Clean Up/Snack*/Bathroom Break
    1:45    Library center time

    2:00    Circle Time (Letter phonics, Themes, Stories, Sign language, etc.)

    2:15    Group Time/Individual time (Children choose from a variety of activities related to the theme or letter, art, science, math, writing,                                                                            
                      sensory, games, I-pad)

    3:00    Outside/Free Play

    3:15    Clean up and closing activities

    3:25    Closing Prayer/Song/ Good Bye

    3:30    Dismissal



    *Children are to bring their own snacks including a drink if desired.

    Goals and Objetives
  • Although parents have been given the primary responsibility for the training of their children, the church is here to assist the parents in their God-given directive to train their children in the knowledge and instruction of the Lord.  Therefore, the following process and activities are included in the program to achieve the goals of encouraging spiritual, social, emotional, mental and physical growth.


    1.  Spiritual Growth Includes:

         a.  Recognizing sin and the Lord's forgiveness.

         b.  Knowing that our Lord loves and protects.

         c.  Believing and trusting in Jesus as our Savior.

         d.  Knowing God the Father as our loving protector.

         e.  Believing in Heaven.

         f.  Learning that Christ's love should motivate living as the Lord expects.

         g.  Learning to show that love through prayer and daily living.

         h.  Realize that the good news of Jesus is a message to be shared.


    2.  Mental Growth Includes:

         a.  Increase attention span.

         b.  Learning simple organizational skills.

         c.  Beginning deductive thinking.

         d.  Learning communication skills.

         e.  Developing problem solving skills.

         f.   Learning Mathematical skills.


    3.  Social Growth Includes:

         a.  Learning independence.

         b.  Accepting compromise.

         c.  Learning to share.

         d.  Assuming responsibility for care of self and possessions.

         e.  Taking turns.

         f.  Recognizing how one's behavior affects others.

         g.  Showing respect for others.

         h.  Developing an awareness regarding the proper behavior of Christian children.


    4.  Physical Growth Includes:

         a.  Developing large and small muscle coordination.

         b.  Caring for one's own personal needs: eating, dressing, hygiene.


    5.  Emotional Growth Includes:

         a.  Learning appropriate ways to respond to others' feelings.

         b.  Learning appropriate ways to express feelings.



    We attempt to help the children grow in all the above areas by using the following activities:


         Word of God Lessons

         Creative Dramatics and Finger Plays

         Listening Activities

         Reading Readiness (alphabet introduction)

         Writing Readiness (learning to spell and write his/her name, drawing etc)



         Math and Counting Activities

         Science Experiments and Observations

         Field Trips

    Policies Regarding Care
  • Arrival and departure:

    All children must be accompanied INTO THEIR CLASSROOM by their parents or guardians. If in daycare prior to class time, the child will be taken to the classroom at the appropriate time.  Please be sure that your child is here before the start of class.  Late arrivals disrupt the classroom. A child will not be dismissed until a parent or guardian picks him/her up FROM THE CLASSROOM (unless going to daycare). This procedure is to ensure the child's safety.


    Unfortunately, in today's world care needs to be taken in the release of a child. The teacher will assume that a parent, legal guardian, or someone named on the Child Information Card will pick up the child. The child will not be released to anyone else unless the teacher or daycare center has been notified in person, over the phone, or through a signed note.


    If your child should be absent, please notify the daycare before the start of class.


    Health and safety:

    Please inform us right away if your child has any special medical needs, allergies, or medical conditions. Students will not be allowed into a classroom if their immunizations are not current or a waiver is not on file. This is a state requirement for the safety of all, and will be followed strictly by the staff.  Free shots are available at the Cass County Health Department. 


    Hand washing, cleaning and sanitation procedures will be followed according to state health requirements. You may inquire in the office for more details on these procedures.


    The center requires that sick children with the following symptoms remain home:  A fever, vomiting, eye infection, a possibly contagious illness, untreated lice, undiagnosed rash.


    A CPR/First Aid trained staff member will be in the building at all times.

    All staff members are state mandated child abuse/neglect reporters  



    The staff is trained as to the procedures to follow in case of emergencies. Emergency plan and escape routes are posted in the classroom. If a child is injured or should become ill while in class, he/she will be cared for temporarily by a teacher, and the parent or guardian indicated on the emergency care form will be notified. If the condition is serious, your child will be sent to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac. If you have special instructions for a particular emergency, please have these instructions written out so they can be placed in the school files. Please inform us if any emergency information changes.


    Classroom calendar:

    You will receive a class calendar at the beginning of school and one will also be posted outside the classroom. Our preschool programs close when Dowagiac area schools close due to weather only.  If the public schools have a 2 hour delay, we usually don't. Please bring your child as soon as you feel it is safe to do so. We do not usually broadcast closings because the daycare is always open.  If the teacher decides to have classes on a day Dowagiac Schools are closed due to weather, she will contact you. In most instances the Daycare will remain open even when educational classes are cancelled.



    Parents are asked to remember the physical and outdoor play in which the children will be involved. Clothes should be practical, durable and washable. Students will be going outside to play, so their outdoor clothing should be appropriate for the current day's weather conditions. Most of the school supplies and materials used are water-washable and paint shirts will be used to protect clothes as much as possible.  A spare set of clothes should be in your child’s backpack each day in case of an accident.


    Field Trips:

    The learning center curriculum includes field trips. A field trip schedule will be sent home as soon as arrangements are made. The teacher will notify parents in advance of field trips unless there are special circumstances that would make this impossible. The State of Michigan requires that the parents/guardian of a student either take their child to the field trip, or make other arrangements for transportation.  Permission slips will be sent home for you to read, sign and return before each individual field trip. Costs for field trips are the responsibility of the parents before each field trip. 


    Sharing Time:

    Children should not need to bring toys to school for play. If there are times during the year that your child takes a trip somewhere or discovers something interesting and he/she wishes to show it to the class, please speak with their teacher a day beforehand so she may make time in our busy day!


    Church Participation:

    Church attendance, as well as Sunday School attendance, is strongly encouraged but not required. The children will be expected to participate in singing in a church service a few times during the year. The teacher is to be notified in advance if participation is not possible.


    Snack Breaks:

    Each child is to bring his/her own snack, including a drink, if desired. Please label your child's snack with name and date each day. Snacks should be of the nutritious and low sugar type. For purposes of classroom parties, please alert your child's teacher to any food allergies!

    Parental Involvement
  • Recommended Reading:

    Reading to your child at home is of the utmost importance in establishing reading skills and readiness.  Parents with children in Noah's Ark and Preschool are recommended to read 15 books a month.  Parents with children in the Young 5’s program should read 15-20 books to their child each month.  Local libraries are an excellent source for borrowing books.  Scholastic book order forms will also be sent home periodically, so parents can purchase books.



    Keeping open communication between parents and teachers is necessary.  Two opportunities during the year will be provided for formal conferences.  This is optional on the part of the parent and teacher.  Sign ups for available time slots will be provided.  Any time you have a concern about your child please feel free to talk with the teacher.  Any time the teacher has concerns or problems, you will be notified that day of the problem so you are immediately aware of it.



    All parents will receive a weekly newsletter for his/her class, that will alert you to all upcoming events and schedules.  Keep your eyes open!


    Visits by the parents to the classroom are welcomed.  You are asked to contact the teacher in advance of your visit so that the children may be prepared for the exciting time!


    Parent Programs:

    Parents are welcome to join in the activities of the daycare and the church.  The daycare and learning center will have a variety of activities during the year.  Parents will be notified in advance of these activities in case they would like to help in any way.  Bible and information classes, Church Services, and Sunday School are available to anyone who desires them.  Your involvement in these activities will not only keep you informed but will also show your child how important their total well-being is to you.

    Discipline Policy
  • The following steps will be taken by the teacher to correct unacceptable behavior by the students, in an effort to assist the parents in bringing up their child in the training and instruction of the Lord.


    1.  Non verbal disapproval of child's actions.


    2.  Verbal reminder of proper behavior and child is a given a “first warning.” A first warning consists of the teacher reminding the child of the consequence that will occur after the second warning.


    3.  Verbal reminder of proper behavior and child is given a “second warning.”  A second warning consists of the teacher reminding the child of what the next step will be if the improper behavior continues.


    4.  Verbal reminder proper behavior and the child is removed from the situation and placed in time-out.  If the child refuses to sit in time out, he/she will be reminded that the next step is a visit to the daycare director or pastor.


    During and after any disciplinary action, the teacher will remind the child of God's commandments and of his forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  The teacher will convey to the child both verbally and non-verbally that she disapproves of his action, not the child himself.

    Open House
  • An Open House before the beginning of the school year is planned.  This time will enable the child to become familiar with the teacher and the school without the separation anxiety that comes along with the first day of school.  Separation difficulties, especially at age 3, are not a one time developmental episode.  The feeling of separation from loved ones are very real and occur throughout our lives.  Here are few tips to help the first day of school go smoothly.


    •Talk with your child about coming to school, what the room looks like, what toys are there, and about the teachers.

    •Involve your entire family.  Bring Grandpa and Grandma along for the Open House, or to the first day.

    •Discuss what you'll be doing while the child is in school.  Let them know exactly when you'll see them again.

    •Talk and interact with your child's teacher before you leave.  Try to draw the child into a conversation with the teacher or other children.  This will help to make them feel they are not alone.

    •Take time to say good-bye.  Ask your child what kind of good-bye ritual you should have.  Can I have two hugs and a kiss?  Could we rub noses?  Tearful good-byes can be avoided with preparation.