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Christian-based preschool opens Tuesday in Salem

Staff members of Little Loves Learning Center pose in the classroom of the new preschool at Salem Nazarene Church. From left are financial manager Cindy Emmerling, owner/administrator/teacher Stacy Corll and teacher Jennifer Everhart. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

SALEM — Little Loves Learning Center, a privately-owned and operated Christian-based preschool, opens Tuesday at Salem Nazarene Church on North Ellsworth Avenue.

Salem resident Stacy Corll had always dreamed of opening her own preschool and those dreams came true after lots of planning and finding the right spot for a location.

Applications are still being accepted for children ages 3 to 5 years old by calling 234-320-5889 or 234-575-7002. The website is www.littleloveslearningcenter.com.

The preschool offers two classes: the Ducklings for 3-year-olds, taught by Jennifer Everhart, which meets 8:45 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays; and the Moo Moos kindergarten readiness for 4 and 5-year-olds, taught by Corll, who is also the administrator, from 8:45 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Corll’s mother, Cindy Emmerling, serves as financial manager, and Shelley Arsuffi serves as substitute teacher.

“Ever since I was probably fifth grade, I wanted to be a teacher,” the East Liverpool High School graduate said.

Stacy Corll, owner/administrator of Little Loves Learning Center, stands next to the sign for her new preschool located at Salem Nazarene Church on North Ellsworth Avenue in Salem. The preschool opens Tuesday, but is still accepting students. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)

Corll earned an associate degree in early childhood education from Kent State University and originally wanted to work with fifth graders, but did her student teaching in a preschool and all that changed. She wanted to work with preschoolers and eventually open her own preschool.

She was running another church’s preschool when she decided to branch out on her own. Corll did a search and the Salem Nazarene Church was the first to pop up, so she left a message and called a few more. Pastor Matt Doerle of Salem Nazarene Church called her back and she learned he had an interest in having a preschool.

“It was God answering his prayers and answering my prayers,” she said.

She’s in the process of securing licensing through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, but with the small numbers, she’s able to open now. She’s following the rules of the Ohio Department of Health related to the coronavirus, with class sizes limited to six apiece right now. Under normal circumstances, the numbers will be up to 12 for the younger class and up to 14 for the kindergarten readiness class. She also secured a food exemption license, meaning the school won’t provide snacks but the children will eat snacks provided by the parents.

Teachers will wear masks, but students won’t be required to due to their age. Tables will have plastic dividers.

Corll said they’ll follow the DIG curriculum, which is very student-oriented and focuses on math and language arts. The classroom is divided into centers and the students will pick which centers they want to do next. The centers include one for art, blocks, science, ABCs, listening, writing, technology, library, math and dramatic play. There’s a farm theme.

The students will learn a different word and its meaning every day, giving them a much higher vocabulary when they start kindergarten over a child who hasn’t had preschool. Teachers also will work with students individually. During circle time, students will talk about the calendar, weather, season. There’s a puppet for each letter of the alphabet on one wall to help students learn their letters and words that start with those letters.

Plans also call for field trips and programs, when permitted after COVID-19 is over.

Since the preschool is Christian-based, students will hear a Bible story and Bible verse each day and they’ll pray to start the day, before their snack and at the end of the day.

When Corll worked at other preschools, she always referred to the students as her little loves, so she decided to use that for the name.

“When they walk through the door, they’re my kids. They’re family,” she said.

The preschool mascot is a stuffed heart known as “Henry Heart,” named for her late father Buddy Henry Emmerling, who she said had the biggest heart for kids and was her biggest supporter.

She had a lot of people to thank for helping her, including her husband, Ben, who put together all the furniture and served as her right hand; her 9-year-old daughter Maggie; her parents Buddy and Cindy; fellow teacher Everhart; substitute teacher Arsuffi; Pastor Doerle and his wife Deb; her aunt and uncle, Donna and Ron George; her aunt and uncle Terri and Dave Burgery; and members of Salem Nazarene Church, whom she described as incredibly welcoming.

mgreier@att.net

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