Small Wonders Preschool dedicated to preparing little ones for kindergarten

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor
Jill Meier/BV Journal 
Small Wonders Preschool teachers Jill Kiefer (left) and Brittany Gerovac opened its doors for the new school year monday at Beaver Valley Lutheran Church.
Two rooms that were previously used for storage at Beaver Valley Lutheran Church have been transformed into a place where youngsters will now learn their A, B, Cs and 1, 2, 3s.
 
On Monday, Small Wonders Preschool welcomed a dozen youngsters to their first day of the new school year. 
 
“We’re really excited to get started,” said teaching assistant, Jill Kiefer.
 
Preschool teacher Brittany Gerovac initially launched Small Wonders Preschool in early March of this year, but was forced to close its doors two weeks later when the coronavirus first surfaced here.
 
Gerovac, who is in the process of obtaining her Childcare Development Associate (CDA) certification, which requires 380 hours of actual teaching time, has long had a passion for working with kids.
 
“I’ve always to be a teacher,” she said, noting how she volunteered in her own children’s classrooms and taught Sunday school. “I love helping give them a positive experience when they’re younger.” 
 
Small Wonders Preschool first opened last year in connection with her sister, Sara Kiefer’s in-home daycare in Valley Springs. Gerovac soon discovered more space was needed. It was then that Gerovac, a sixth-generation member of Beaver Valley Lutheran, approached Pastor Greg Johnson about utilizing some space in the church.
 
The idea appealed to Johnson, whose previous congregation in Tea supported an in-church preschool. 
 
“When approached by members with the idea to start a preschool at Beaver Valley, I did speak in support of the proposal because I have been a pastor of other congregations that had well-run preschools that were a benefit to our community as I believe we were to them,” Johnson said. “
 
A healthy congregation wants to be in the community ‘for good’ (and) I think it would be wrong of us not to share our building in support of families that have children that will benefit from attending a preschool in a safe, in-the-country setting.”
 
The dozen incoming preschoolers – six boys and six girls – are between the ages of 3 and 5. They will attend classes for 2.5 hours each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 
 
“We want to make these the best 2.5 hours to help them get ready to take that next big step into kindergarten,” Kiefer said.
 
Gerovac said curriculum will consist of “everything you would want them to learn,” such as their A, B, Cs, 1, 2, 3s and colors. Each month, will have a different theme.
 
One of the two classrooms is dedicated to learning, while the imagination room is across the hallway. Inside this room are four stations: blocks and transportation; dramatic (play kitchen); math and science; and art, “where we’ll do the messy art projects with paints and glitter,” Gerovac said.
 
Small Wonders Preschool has two available vehicles to transport the preschoolers, one of which is a van that was donated by First Lutheran Church in Valley Springs. The van was used by the preschool at that church, which closed down due to staffing needs. 
 
The dozen youngsters enrolled this year hail from Minnesota and four separate daycares in Valley Springs, many of whom previously attended preschool at First Lutheran.
 
“We were so happy to be able to take those kids,” Gerovac said.
 
Friday morning, Eden, an incoming preschooler, toured the school and met her teachers and Pastor Johnson.
 
“Little Eden is the one I hadn’t met yet. She stuck her head around the door this morning,” he said. “It was sad to only have two weeks with those little kids coming into our building with the start of Small Wonders last spring. With just that little bit of exposure as reference, I know that the preschool restarting this fall will be a real celebration for us at Beaver Valley!”
 
Although the Small Wonders is not directly affiliated with the church, Johnson said because it’s housed in the church, “it becomes a part of Beaver Valley.”
 

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