When Jennifer DiCarlo assumed the role of Preschool Director at First Church Preschool (108 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich) back in February of this year, she already had a vision for enhancing student learning and parent engagement.
Now, as the preschool prepares for the launch of its 2021-2022 school year on September 9, students will enjoy some new spaces that have been revamped to promote even greater learning. DiCarlo redesigned the area at the center of the preschool as a reading library and educational space. A new series of bookshelves filled with children’s books, along with a sofa and comfortable carpet, will allow teachers to read aloud to students as they engage with fun stories that stimulate imagination and conversations. Special COVID-related precautions have been established for this year to ensure the health and safety of children and teachers while individual classes enjoy the space.
“Community is at the heart of First Church Preschool,” said DiCarlo. “We continue to look for ways we can better serve our preschool community as we welcome our young students into a lifelong journey of learning. Expanding and upgrading our physical space, creating a school library and bringing our staff and families together through technology upgrades are just the beginning. The future really is being molded right inside of our school.”
A multi-year facilities enhancement effort continued this summer, as well, with the renovation of the Red Door Classroom and the addition of a new Pink Door Classroom. This follows the full renovation of the Gold Door Classroom in recent years. FCP has utilized green building materials throughout the renovation process and installed new, flexible overhead lighting and modern ceilings to offer a cleaner, fresher ambiance for the children. FCP plans to upgrade the remaining six classrooms gradually over the next few years.
Other, non-visible changes that were enacted include a shared technology system through Microsoft Office, internal management systems and staff trainings, as well as a Google staff classroom for easy access to all policies and information, including a separate Google classroom for curriculum. Additionally, all CDC, state and local guidelines have continued to be followed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Church Preschool continues to enjoy strong enrollment as a fixture in the Old Greenwich and Riverside communities. With more than 65 years of continuous operation, children whose parents once attended First Church Preschool are on the rolls for the new year, and one former alumnus even serves on the Preschool Board of Directors.
Jennifer DiCarlo’s tenure throughout the district has made her a well-known educator within the Greenwich community. In addition to teaching, she has held several leadership roles in the local Public School District, including the Special Education Advisory Council, the Greenwich Education Association and the Preschool Planning Committee, among many others.
In addition to continuing facilities upgrade efforts, DiCarlo’s future plans for First Church Preschool include additional educational resources for those parents who want enhanced academic support and a physical education department.
Upcoming events for 2021 include: Storytime with Ms. Jen for enrolled students and their families on August 26 (front lawn – visit website for more details); Student Visitation Day on September 8th; First Day of School on September 9; Homecoming on September 12 (the preschool will be open to the public for self-guided tours); and Trunk or Treat on October 23. Please visit the website for further details on each event.