Dear St. Matthew’s,

Our family wants you to know how amazing we think you are. Our son Jake loves getting out of the car each afternoon to walk through your doors. That response from him is not usually his norm. We cannot thank you enough for fostering such a loving and welcoming environment. Not only is he excited and walks in by himself, but he talks about what he does in Mrs. Hughes class! It’s so great to hear from a young man who has trouble communicating! He now pretends at home things he does at school, like, “Mom, our kitchen is closed today.” Not only is he doing these things, but his ability to run and jump and play has greatly improved from your amazing playground. He is Singing!!! You have no idea what music that is to my ears!

I could continue on here. I will leave with one last thing. Whoever organizes the pumpkin patch trip does an incredible job! Holy Moley … that was amazing. Well done, St. Matthew’s. We love you!
Sincerely,

- J
Dear Future Preschool Parent,

I have wanted to write this letter to you for months now. In fact, I have “written” it many times over in my head. I know what you are going through. Choosing a preschool for your child can be a daunting process. I was where you are just three years ago. Now I am sadly accepting that my children’s time in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Day School (SMDS) has come to an end.

You know those type-A people that over research anything and everything? That’s me. I was certainly prepared for my preschool search to be nothing less than an exhausting and in-depth endeavor. St. Matthew’s was the preschool I had heard the most about, so I set an appointment to take a tour. Within minutes of the start of my tour with Mary-Catherine Deadman, I knew I had found my children’s school.

Selecting St. Matthew’s has been the single best parenting decision I have made. How many preschools in the area have degreed teachers…many with a masters? In fact, Mrs. Deadman is a life-long learner herself with a PhD; and she has been at the helm for almost all of SMDS 40 years. The teachers here take their responsibility very seriously. They know they are laying the foundation for years of success for our babies. SMDS believes that children learn best when they are productively engaged with peers, actively involved with interesting materials, and guided and supported by caring, responsive adults.

I was an elementary school teacher in Prince William County for 13 years before choosing to stay home with my children. As a teacher I have an incredible amount of professional respect for St. Matthew’s. As a mom, however, I have a never-ending amount of gratitude, respect, and love for all of the teachers and staff at St. Matthew’s. We loved the Day School so much, my family decided to attend church services to give it a try. We knew at once, that we were “home.” Now my children, my husband, and I are all very happily involved with and members of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.

If you are reading this in your search for a preschool, stop searching. You have already found the preschool. Rest assured, your children will be loved. They will be happy. They will grow and mature in ways you can’t even imagine. Some decisions are just easy – even for type-A people like me…..

Respectfully,
Barb Bell

Dear Mary-Catherine,

Thank you for six wonderful years! You have given my children all the tools they need to start school! We will miss you greatly. Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!
Gail V.

Dear Mrs. Wallace,

I enjoyed our phone conversation last week! Thank you for all the amount of time and thought you committed to it. I appreciated all the kind words that you shared about Kyle. As for the one “grow,” we will continue to work on using that “inside voice” during center time.

I just wanted to reiterate how much we enjoy reading your monthly newsletter! I just love how you take the time to “showcase” each child. This is just another example of how well you know and care about the children! Kyle and I read through the letter with baited breath, anxiously waiting for Kyle’s name to appear. He gets a kick out of hearing about his classmates, as well. When I return to the classroom, I will use your example as a model for how to compose the perfect, parent-friendly newsletter!!!

Kyle is thoroughly enjoying his first preschool experience! Thank you to you, Mrs. Jensen, Mrs. Lundgren, Mrs. Deadman, and the rest of the friendly St. Matthew’s staff for making this such a pleasurable and positive experience for us both! I couldn’t be happier with how smoothly and efficiently the St. Matthew’s program runs from the daily classroom routine to the carpool line. I am most impressed with the developmental approach to learning and exploring (check-in, jobs, out door time, small groups, Music Monday, center time, read alouds), the great lines of communication (newsletters, reminders, phone tree), and the enthusiastic and dedicated staff!

Thank you again for all that you do! I truly appreciate all the time, energy, and compassion that you dedicate to your job! Kyle and I look forward to another rewarding and memorable semester in your classroom.

FondlyK. M.

Dear St. Matthew’s Staff,

Thank you for being so welcoming and gracious to our visitors from “Sparkle” yesterday. They were blown away by your program. The rapt engagement of the children, creativity of the activities, and loving atmosphere were most impressive. I am always so proud to tout the St. Matthew’s Program.

Enjoy the goodies and happy holidays.

Sincerely,J. J.

Mrs. Atkins,

Moira approached me this weekend and informed me she wanted to get you flowers to thank you for being her teacher. She reminded me (several times) to take her to the store and selected these for you herself. It is evident to me that you are dear to her and that she feels the way I do: GRATEFUL. We are so grateful for all you have been to Moira this year: helper, leader, explorer, guide, scientist, friend, role model, tear-wiper, hug-squeezer, reminder of rules, hint-giver, book-reader, safe place. In a word, teacher. We love you and are so thankful for ALL you have been to Moira,

Many Blessings,
S.

St. Matthew’s Family –

We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone at St. Matthew’s who were instrumental in making Jared’s 1st year a huge success. We are going to have one sad little boy on our hands without his friends and teachers.

– See everyone next year.G. L.

Mrs. Deadman,

Thank you for making St. Matthew’s a wonderful, safe environment for our children.

We have enjoyed our years spent with you and your great staff!

Sincerely,The G. Family

Dear Mrs. Eversole and Mrs. Edelschick,

Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation for all you have done to enrich Elizabeth’s life this year. Thank you for all of your hard work and your devotion to your students. It shows in everything you do! Elizabeth had a wonderful experience in preschool. Thanks to you, and the program at St. Matthew’s.

Oh, we will miss you and the rest of the staff! Perhaps we’ll be back in two years and Andrew can attend, too. I hope so! Enjoy these additions to the classroom library. Wish I could come read them to the kids!

Thanks again for everything.

Sincerely –K. J.

Dear Mrs. Deadman,

We just wanted to say thank you for all of your attention and caring you showed Sam this year. He has brown up So much and had a great place to express his feelings.

Thanks for letting Sam be Sam.
T. J.

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone at St. Matthew’s for creating and maintaining such a wonderful preschool. I am not sure if it is one person in particular or all of you as a team. Autumn has developed into a little girl before my eyes this year. She sings, dances, and has become quite an individual. I chose St. Matthew’s due to many positive comments that I had heard, and HOW TRUE!! You all are wonderful!

Sincerely,A. D.

Dear Mrs. Deadman,

On May 26 my daughter and I came to observe a pre-school class in our quest to find the right school for her. As we left the building, we encountered a parade of cars known as the “Carpool Line.” I was horrified! Shuffling children in and out of cars with numbers, how impersonal! But my daughter loved St. Matthew’s, so after mulling this over and over again, we decided with reservation to have our daughter attend St. Matthews.

September 1995, the first week of school. After three days of parking in the lot and walking my daughter to class, I saw where a safer system was needed. Moms struggling with other children, cars backing out and searching rear view mirrors for little people was a nightmare.

September 1995 our first experience with the carpool line. Orderly, quick (your newsletter made me anticipate much longer delays) and safe. Plus all the smiling faces to greet up, what parent could ask for more?

So my hat’s off to the carpool line and your efficient system. To all parents and caregivers who are skeptics of this system, I say take some advice, we as parents give our children, “Try it once, you may like it.”J. K.

Dear Mrs. Deadman,

I wanted to let you know how pleased my husband and I are with St. Matthew’s Lutheran Day School. Our son Brian had a terrific year with Mrs. Kokan and Mrs. Olson. He’s very excited about the upcoming school year.

All of the teachers we’ve encountered, with both our sons, have been very enthusiastic and caring toward the students.

See you in September for the start of another fun year!

SincerelyN. H.

Dear Mary-Catherine,

Because our family is relocating to Wilmington, DE, our son Benjamin will be attending St. Matthew’s only through the end of January.

I have only praise for the year Ben has spent at St. Matthew’s. As you might remember, I was originally concerned that our Jewish religious might set Ben apart from the other students. Instead, we found a wonderfully warm, caring and developmental atmosphere that would be beneficial to any child. We could not be happier with the time Ben spent at St. Matthew’s. We feel particularly that Ben had such caring and enthusiastic teacher. Fran Lienau and Judy Woronicz did so much to make Ben’s first experience in school positive.

Thank you to the entire St. Matthew’s staff.

Sincerely,J. G.

Dear Mrs. Collins,

Gerry and I could not let the year end without expressing our appreciation to you. We feel Lauren has been fortunate to have had such a wonder teacher the past two years. Your units on plants and habitats generated great enthusiasm within Lauren. She shared countless facts with us that she had learned and continued her quests about these topics at home. The special projects, Mother’s Day presents and especially the Art Show exhibits showed not only the effort the children put forth, but your extra effort as well.

We feel Lauren is ready for kindergarten in no small part due to the things she learned with you. Your encouragement of the use of journals and the creating of books has Lauren doing these thins on her own at home, expressing her ideas with pictures and “words.”

You have made a very big impression on a small child. Although she is sad to leave St. Matthew’s, she is brimming with excitement about becoming a kindergartner – the true sign of a job well done! St. Matthew’s is fortunate to have a teacher such as you. We wish you the best in the years to come. Our sincere thanks!

Sincerely,G. and S. M.

Mary-Catherine,

Thank you so very much for providing my daughter, Cayla a most memorable and fun first year of school. We all enjoyed the first year of her pre-school experience and are looking forward to the next school year! Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Smiley are absolutely wonderful with the children. Cayla has expressed how much she will be missing them this summer along with all of the new friends she has made.

Thank you again.C. H.

Mrs. Richardson,

I was so happy to see the kids outside in the snowfall yesterday! Thank you! The school we used in the past rarely took them outside. It had to be perfect 75 degree weather.
A. O.

Dear Mrs. Deadman

I just wanted to thank you for so readily accepting Aaron into your pre-school program. Furthermore, I was very impressed with Fran Lienau. She easily understood what it would take to meet Aaron’s special needs without making an issue of them. She made Aaron feel comfortable in her classroom and he really enjoyed his time there.

I would highly recommend St. Matthew’s pre-school, and especially Mrs. Fran Lienau, to any family looking for a pre-school and especially to anyone looking for a pre-school for a child with special needs.

Thank you,J. R.

Dear Mrs. Mary-Catherine:

I’ve been thinking for a while how about all the years our family has shared with St. Matthews, and the significance of the experiences that we shared as a family with this wonderful school.

I remember clearly when Pilar started attending classes. What an event! Being the only child after loosing our first daughter at birth it was a wrenching experience letting her go. As parents everything was new for us, even the simplest things took greater magnitude. I remember reading your long letters more than one time and underlining the dates, events and times to be sure Pilar will not miss any special activity. It was an anxious time but it was also a time filed with excitement, fun, joy and learning.

I remember the first time Pilar celebrated her birthday at school, I remember baking the cupcakes, and bringing them to school. This simple event was so important for us. Our child was going through all these “first time” experiences. Even though the level of anxiety has diminished significantly, we sill celebrate Camila’s and Micaela’s “first times” with enjoyment and delight.

When the turn for Camila to attend St. Matthew’s came, we were a lot more calm, we know about the Teachers Home Visit, the Orientation Tea, the Carpool Rules, the Pumpkin Patch location, the Open House, the Trip to the Post Office, the Halloween Parade, the Father’s Night . . . so many experiences, each of them making a long lasting impact on our children’s soul.

The time came for Miki to attend pre-school and she too flourished under the caring eyes of her teachers. The St. Matthews teachers . . . !!! A group of wonderful people, who I’m sure were a little surprised of the need of my kids to cling to us the first week, or even the first month of school !!!! My husband and I were not surprised, like us they needed time for transitions, they needed time to look, feel, and touch their surrounding before they started sharing and trusting. But the teachers waited with patience, warmth and understanding. All of them have been incredibly supportive, talented, lovable and bright.

Slowly St. Matthew’s became this familiar place, a safe, nurturing place, for our children and for us.

I only regret one thing, I wished I could stop by the office more often, or even call you to share some of my children’s experiences. Since that first Orientation Tea on October of 1994 I always sensed that you were a very bright, witty and insightful person, with a tremendous personal and professional experience. You seemed always to be clued-in on the newest early childhood development trends but also very aware of the needs of this precious group. I would like to thank you personally for taking care of our girls, and for providing them with a healthy, caring environment to learn and flourish. I believe my girls will meet many new teachers in their educational journey, but I know they will always keep St. Matthew’s in a very special place in their hearts.

Best wished for you and your family and we hope that St. Matthew’s will continue its work for many years to come. God bless you all,
S. Family

Mrs. McLaughlin,

We’ve noticed how much more sociable A. has become since she started preschool. She enjoys playing with kids at the playground without us introducing them. She just makes friends and solves “play issues” by herself. That’s a great change!! She is also more independent while working on her activity books or drawing.
A.S.

Mrs. McLaughlin,

I can see growth in [all] areas. Each day L. surprises me with something new. In the last two weeks she has been into “How do you spell . . .?”
B.G.

More than anything, I think B. has become more articulate and better able to express himself with words. He’s learned to recognize more letters and shapes and has made some attempts at letter sounds. He’s also been able to read a lot more environmental print. J.C.
A. has grown socially. At the beginning of the year she wasn’t that interested in the other children. Now she enjoys telling us about her friends and what they did that day. She enjoys singing songs, rhyming, and counting snacks.
S. & M. M.
R. has changed so much this past year! She has learned to count, identify letters and can concentrate on a task for longer periods of time. She recognizes her name and has a wider vocabulary. Socially she plays with children in groups more and has come out of her shell a bit.V. M.
K’s ability to share has improved greatly this past year. Also, he is much more apt to use his words rather than grabbing for a toy, which is an improvement. He counts everything and can determine who has more of something. He always recognizes his name and spells.Z. B.
I am in awe how c. has developed in leaps and bounds this year – in every area. It is fun to watch his mind work.
M. S.
Wow . . . What a year! Remember when M. would cling to my leg? She has grown tremendously – in so many ways. Socially, emotionally & academically! The way she draws and “writes” – solves problems . . . I am amazed! J. V.
N. Has definitely worked on her problem solving skills and has expanded her writing ability. She loves to write on everything. And, although it doesn’t always make sense, it’s great to see the interest.
S. H.
E. has become much better in all aspects of social and emotional skills. She understands the concepts of letters and numbers,, recognizes them, knows shapes, can write her name, loves stories, can retell [them], is able to draw people.N. B.
I’ve seen growth in all areas. Social-emotional: cooperative play and social problem solving; Math: number recognition, rote, & 1-1 counting, some comparison; Literacy: increased language, pretend reading, recognizing name; Writing: drawing, mock letters.A. W.