The St. Helen Catholic Preschool Program was awarded a 5-star rating in the Step-Up-To-Quality Program. This rating identifies our program as a high-quality learning and development program with a level of quality that exceeds Ohio’s child care licensing standards. In addition, St. Helen has become a Preschool Promise Partner, which assists our staff in providing a better quality education, as well as providing assistance to our families in a variety of ways. Our preschool program accepts children ages three to five years old and offers both part and full time schedules. As an important part of our school community, preschool students learn early on about the virtues, holy habits that imitate God while preparing to enter Kindergarten. Come check us out at our Open House on February 24, 2022 from 6-8pm!
Address: 5086 Burkhardt Road Riverside, Ohio 45431
Phone: (937) 256-1761
Q&A with St. Helen School:
What makes St. Helen School unique?
St. Helen Parish was founded in 1954, at this time, a school was built prior to the church because educating our children in the catholic faith was so important. This priority continues today with our commitment to Virtue Based Restorative Discipline. Every day we strive to build character by living virtuously. The way we achieve this is by building community and trust in the classroom, learning about virtues and creative ways to share them with others at home and at school as well as discuss potential problems and discover solutions before they turn into bigger problems.
What is St. Helen School’s age/grade range?
St. Helen Preschool accepts children aged 3 years old to 5 years old.
What is St. Helen School’s educational philosophy?
As a preschool, we believe children must be taught with care and kindness at their own pace. Children must be nurtured in a tender and careful manner. They must be encouraged to discover the world using their own experiences. Children need an element of independence to discover how to manipulate the world around them. A child must be able to have opportunities to unleash their imagination and creativity in order to enhance their thought process. Children learn through discovery and an interactive classroom. Children must feel that their voices are valued and their ideas are heard. It is the teacher’s duty to be able to provide the proper tools for the child to be able to discover the answers to their own questions about the world. It is also the teacher’s role to provide a warm atmosphere and to be an advocate for all students.
What is your enrollment policy? Are there any key dates parents should be aware of?
In order to be accepted into the St Helen Preschool Program, your child must be 3 by September 30 (of that school year) and completely potty-trained.
St Helen will welcome new families and those considering enrollment at our annual Open House, Thursday February 24, 2021 from 6pm-8pm. New family enrollment opens at the beginning of March each year. To enroll a family must submit a completed registration packet, the required documentation (birth certificate, immunization record, copy of last report card, baptism certificate and custody papers-if applicable) as well as the registration fee. More details on our enrollment process can be found on our website: https://www.sainthelenschool.org/registration
What are the standard school day hours? Does your school offer flexible day/hour options? Is before/after school care available?
St. Helen offers several different schedules for our preschool program:
3 full day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:50am to 2:50 pm)
5 half day (7:50 am to 11 am)
5 full day (7:50 am to 2:50 pm)
St Helen offers an onsite YMCA Enrichment Program before and after school, for our full day programs. Information about this program can be found at: https://www.sainthelenschool.org/ymca-enrichment-program
How many children are in each class? How are children divided up up?
St. Helen has two preschool classrooms. Each class has one teacher, an aid and 20 students. One of the classrooms has three-year-old’s and young fours. The other class has older fours and five-year-old’s. For special events both classes come together to celebrate and participate.
What is the teacher/child ratio?
St Helen has one teacher and one aid for each of our classes. The ratio of teacher to child is 1 to 10. Each class has 20 students with two staff members.
What are the teacher’s credentials?
The teacher that leads the program, Ms. Rivera, holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and is currently in the process of working on her Master’s degree in Reading Science. She holds a teaching license and this is her sixth year as a lead teacher. The other preschool teacher holds an associates degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. Ms. Wolfe has worked with students for 20 years. Both aids, Ms. Buschur and Mrs. Watkins have many years of experience working with students and continue to maintain a passion for the field.
Is parental participation required?
Preschool does not require participation, but it is highly encouraged. In a typical year many opportunities are available such as parent guest readers. We also encourage parents to participate in a dialogue during parent teacher conferences. Parents are given weekly at-home activities to do with their child along with video tutorials for further explanation. Teachers often encourage parents to reach out through Class Dojo regarding specific needs for their child.
How do teachers communicate with parents? How often do parents receive updates?
Teachers communicate on a daily basis by posting pictures and a summary of the student’s day in Class Dojo. Teachers also send home weekly newsletters outlining how they used their week and the specifics behind our lessons. In addition to receiving weekly and daily updates, teachers also send home monthly calendars with upcoming dates to note.
Does your school offer support for students with special needs?
Through Preschool Promise, teachers are offered coaching and interactive observations that allow staff to meet the needs of the students. Preschool teachers are being trained in conscious discipline, which allows teachers to understand a breakdown of each child’s brain and how to address the specific needs during that time.
How much time do the children spend outside?
Students spend a minimum of 30 minutes outside a day. Teachers also include nature walks, religion in the Mary garden, and outdoor story time in their lesson plans. Gross motor skills and outdoor exploration is highly encouraged.
Are meals and/or snacks provided?
During our current school year (2021-2022), breakfast and lunch is free and provided by Mad River schools. The meals are well-balanced and all food groups are represented. Teachers supply afternoon snack each day.
Does my child need to be potty-trained?
Yes, to be accepted into the St. Helen Preschool Program, your child must be 3 years old and completely potty-trained.
What enrichment programs/activities are offered?
St. Helen offers several enrichment or specialty classes. Library and gym classes are offered to the preschool children. We also invite guest speakers and virtual field trips throughout the year. This year preschool adopted a cow and have been doing virtual field trips with the farmer and cows. Preschool Promise will continue to offer classes to parents as we partner with them.
What are your school’s safety policies? What extra safety measures is your school taking during the COVID-19 pandemic?
St. Helen School makes safety a top priority. Recently we began using the Identa-Kid visitor system. Our main office staff now require all visitors and volunteers to scan their ID. The system runs a background check and then prints a badge the visitor or volunteer is required to wear while in the building. St. Helen also uses this system for students who are tardy or being picked up early. The adult picking the student up, must scan their ID before we release the student to them. In addition, all doors are locked and can’t be accessed from outside visitors. Cameras have been installed throughout the campus. Staff has been trained by Riverside PD on Lockdown and evacuation practices. Students and staff take part in safety drills on a monthly basis.
Preschool cleans cots daily and nap items to be sent home at the end of each week to be cleaned. Preschool toys are deep cleaned weekly. Chairs and tables are cleaned before and after every meal. All students must clean hands before and after eating, toileting, and face touching. Preschool requires that all students and staff wear masks.
Who should parents contact for more information about your school?
If you are interested in learning more about St. Helen School, please contact our Marketing Director Mrs. Lisa Larocca at [email protected]hool.org.
What does the Preschool do to celebrate diversity in the classroom?
Preschool celebrates diversity through adding cultural learning in our curriculum such as “around the world clothing.” We play and sing music in different languages as well. We celebrate holidays from around the world such as dia de los muertos and Persian New Year. Each day, when a child enters the room they select the language they want their “hello” from. In addition, we also celebrate Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage month. Students will be going into their Thanksgiving feast with a full thematic unit on different Native American cultures.