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New families introduced to school through story hour

Written on December 3rd, 2007

A comparatively small Christian school in Port Perry is introducing new families and children to its program with a story hour for preschoolers.

Scugog Christian School has about 50 students and 30 families.

“We have to think of ways to get the community into the school so that they know about us,” says principal Grace van Niejenhuis, noting that the school’s location behind another larger building fronting the street makes raising that awareness an ongoing challenge.

“That’s part of the reason for doing the story time, to get people into the building.”

Van Niejenhuis says she doesn’t want Scugog Christian School to be the “well-kept secret” that Christian schools can become in their communities.

The school offers three 10-week sessions of the storytelling program per school year. Parents are invited to register their three year-olds for the program, which runs Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and a half.

Each story time has a Christian theme and includes crafts and other activities.

The program is offered for a fee.

Van Niejenhuis says the most recent 10-week session had a significant number of children from the community with about 40 per cent the younger siblings of students already at the school.

“Participants tend to be more from the community than from our families.”

This past year a family chose to send their children to the school because of their exposure through the story time program.

“So it does work the way we hope it will,” says van Niejenhuis.

The school promotes the program through flyers, which were distributed at the Santa Claus parade this year. The school created a float for the parade and students handed out colouring sheets to children throughout the event. The sheets, which could be submitted for a contest, also included a short blurb about the story hour.

Van Niejenhuis says the concept for the story hour comes from St. Thomas Community Christian School which has run a similar version of the program.