During the summer 2015, we renovated our entire St. Gabriel Preschool facility. Our new facility has an expanded capacity of 106 students – all students are accommodated in the main school building. As a result of this renovation we have room for two three-year-old and two four-year-old classrooms. With this move not only are the opportunities endless, this has resulted in a significant increase in safety and security, in addition to consistency in both staff teaching techniques and procedures.
This last year, we’ve been busy. And, we have been laser-focused on the evolution of this program on many fronts: a name change from Child Care to Preschool, integration of the “Splash in to Pre-K” common core curriculum that is being used from Preschool through 1st grade, new technology to enhance security, and now, a renovation that unified our team, teaching and techniques. We’ve identified and pursued the attainment of these objectives for our children, our staff and for the future of St. Gabriel.
Our new expanded facility features four separate classrooms each with their own child-sized bathroom, teacher station, refrigerator and hand-washing station. As a reflection of St. Gabriel’s continued desire to incorporate technology in to teaching, each room has its own Smartboard technology. There are observation windows for parents, a parent-teacher conference room and a dedicated lobby space. Our popular Sensory Room remains.
The new facility design is a reflection of our continued commitment to see our children continue to rise above and soar beyond. It’s an investment in our future as a parish, a faith-based community and a school committed to excellence in education. We realize that excellence goes beyond the exterior appearances, that it is achieved with a dedicated and enthusiastic staff who love working with children, and a classroom experience with demonstrated results. We hold ourselves accountable to achieving this mission.
Over the last year, our parish has developed a strategic plan, to be released to the general parish population in the winter of 2015. An impetus for the creation of that plan was a concern for sustained growth and retention of our parishioner population base, faith-based experience and school. The Preschool renovation supports our strategic plan. Additionally, it supports the Archdiocese of Louisville initiative to increase enrollment in elementary schools by introducing the richness of our parish and faith to our community at the earliest age possible.
Our Preschool program holds its own, vast richness in its tradition. St. Gabriel Child Care was established in 1986 with twenty children and two staff people. It now serves up to 250 children and operates four school-age programs with a staff of 27. Our program includes a Preschool for three-and four-year-olds, After-School Care for grades kindergarten through sixth grade, and Summer Camp. Over the last 29 years, the program has grown and evolved under the leadership of Jeannie Cockerel, Dot Brandenburg, Cindy Bowen and now, Shelly Hunt. In 1995, we expanded and again, in 2000, we constructed the facility where the Preschool resides today. A three-year-old classroom was added shortly thereafter when we purchased the property at 8608 Augustine Way. This is clearly a rich program, now bursting at the seams.