Founded in 1978, Mustard Seed Preschool, operated out of the First Presbyterian Church Life Center, is celebrating its 40th year providing quality early childhood education to the children of Claremore.
The school teaches infants through kindergartners and has graduated 360 young pupils in the last six years. Over the last 40 years the school has seen second and even third generations of kids from the same family.
“When the school was founded, the vision of the Presbyterian Women was to provide affordable childhood education,” said Director Tallery Briggs. “We strive to continue that vision for the program.”
Briggs said that she couldn’t do it without all of her great teachers, highlighting Whitney Maslen and Laura Kvam, who are both celebrating their fifth year with the school.
Maslen said that her favorite part about teaching young minds is how excited they are to learn.
“You can tell when the switch flips and they figure it out. Their faces just light up,” Maslen said.
Maslen teaches 2 and 3 year olds. For many of them, her class is the first time they have spent time away from their parents.
“It’s important to have a positive first year, school experience,” Maslen said. “They learn how to be social, how to be good helpers and they are taught and shown so much of God’s love. They can take all of that with them and be prepared for public school.”
Early childhood education, she said, “Is the building blocks for what they are going to learn for the rest of their lives. We’re teaching them facts, but also how to live in the world, to be caring and kind, and the love of God. We’re teaching them early to be successful as teenagers and adults.”
Maslen said she loves Mustard Seed because of it’s small size.
“All the teachers know all the kids and can help out,” Maslen said. She also mentioned that all the students know each other, and so the kindergartners get the opportunity to be the big kids at school and help the little ones.
Kvam said that in addition to the small classes and the Christian atmosphere, she loved the level of involvement with parents.
“We involve the families and they really take ownership of their child’s education. It’s a team effort.” Kvam said.
“The kids don’t always remember kindergarten, but the families, they don’t forget us,” Briggs added.
“I believe in our mission. We are teaching the whole child to have faith and to become a lifelong learner,” Kvam said. “I feel blessed to be here and to be working with a great team and great families.”