PALS History: A Kindergarten at PALS

How PALS started a Kindergarten

by Deborah Shaw Lewis

First United Methodist started a Kindergarten – half day, four days a week.  And immediately that was full.

So PALS parents began to ask me: “Would PALS open a kindergarten?  Half day, four days a week?”

And on Friday, April 24, 2012, two parents, Jenny Long and Tanya Hicks, stopped me as I went to get into my car at the end of the day, and asked: “Debi, what could we do to enable you to start a kindergarten at PALS? For our children next Fall.”

They had their children playing on the playground at the end of the day.

I told them what I’d told other parents:

– My job is part time. I’m already working full time hours. I really don’t need to add another room.

– The only room available is Room 208.  That room has a 5th & 6th grade boys Sunday School class.  I don’t want to step on those toes.

– And Room 208 is across the hall from Dr. David Campbell’s office. He probably doesn’t need a classroom that close to his office.

We continued to discuss the idea until I said, “Well, let me pray about it.”

And I didn’t really mean I wanted to pray about it.  I meant, it’s Friday afternoon and I’m ready to go home.

But the following Tuesday, in my morning quiet time, I finally prayed over it.  I whined to God, “Lord, you know I’m working too many hours.  Starting a kindergarten at PALS will be SO much work.  Much more work than a part-time job.

“Lord, if you want me to start a kindergarten, you’re going to have to open the door. In fact, you will need to throw the doors open.”

Then I turned to the Upper Room devotional for that day.  And the topic was, “Is God opening a door in your life, and you are refusing to go through it?”

Oh, my! I thought.  Maybe I need to take this more seriously.

 And I watched God start throwing the doors open.

I called David Campbell.  He said he would LOVE to have a kindergarten in the room across the hall from his office.

Then I looked up the state requirements for a Kindergarten.  And found out that in Georgia, parents are not required to send their child to kindergarten.  Only to first grade.  And there are no additional Bright From the Start requirements for a half-day kindergarten.

So, I wouldn’t need to deal with any additional state regulations.

Then we found Jennifer Henson to be the teacher.  She and her family had just moved from Pennsylvania, where she had taught kindergarten using Land of the Letter People curriculum.

On her recommendation, we decided use Land of the Letter People curriculum. We ordered the minimum curriculum order, around $2000, with the plan to order more each year.

I got on Craig’s List, looking for a table and some chairs for kindergarten.  And found our red round table and four chairs.

AND, an amazing “coincidence”:  that same person selling the table and chairs was also selling an incomplete set of Land of the Letter People curriculum.  That “incomplete set” contained ALL of the Land of the Letter People materials that we had not yet ordered — that we had thought it would take us another 2 or 3 years to acquire. With a second set of puppets and second set of easy reader books.  We paid $500, for the curriculum …. and the table and chairs, some riding toys for the playground and a large, plastic playground climber.

I drove down to Marietta to pick all that up.  Coming back to Rome, I stopped by the church to drop that off.  And found that our order of Land of the Letter People curriculum has arrived by mail that day.  So we had the full Land of the Letter People Curriculum in the office, on the same day.