The Children’s House is a Montessori-based program offered on weekdays for the youngest members of our community. The program was founded over ten years ago by Mary Ellen Murray, intended originally for toddlers ages 18 months – 3 years of age. She named the program “The Children’s House” as she wanted each child to feel a sense of ownership, that it was truly their place to grow and experience a peace-based education. And, as the children grew (along with the popularity of the program), the demand for a preschool environment grew as well. There are currently two “environments”, or classrooms. For many families, this is the first real separation of child from parent or caregiver.
Families come from all over Niagara County, including Youngstown, Lewiston, Ransomville, Wilson, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda. This year, there are 50 children enrolled! As people begin to experience the morning program, some become interested in learning about other programs in the church. Some families have become new members, while others have joined Parents Together, attended turkey dinners or the amazing Vacation Bible School experience. The ripple effect is in action and it’s beautiful.
The Children’s House serves as an outreach program to the young families in our midst and is budgeted to be self-funded through tuition and fundraising. We have also been fortunate enough to receive grants from local businesses.
Each classroom has two Montessori “guides,” or teachers. I welcome you to observe through the one-way mirrors as our guides work their “magic” with the young ones. The classrooms have been designed with great care and purpose.
There is another caring group of individuals who serve generously with their time and talents each month on the TCH Advisory Board: Andrea Randazzo, Carol Stewart-Rogers, Ken Greulich, Kathy Sweeney and Rex Stewart. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Lori Russell and the Fix-It Club who really support us behind-the-scenes.
There are a few special events each year in our school, including the Harvest Moon Supper, Earth Day Celebration and St. Jude’s Trike-a-thon. Each is an opportunity for learning social awareness, the chance to serve others and of course, fellowship.
I’m very proud to be a part of The Children’s House. I am so grateful for Mary Ellen Murray’s vision, the entire staff’s dedication, and the support received from this church as The Children’s House continues to evolve. The program has the best of intentions and proves to offer something unique. I invite you to come and witness it some weekday morning!
Andrea Randazzo, The Children’s House Director