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101 ~ Blawenburg Village School Celebrates 25th Anniversary


 

This article originally appeared in the May 2024 edition of the Montgomery News. It has been modified for this blog.

 

Twenty-five years ago, members of the Blawenburg Reformed Church envisioned starting a preschool for the community. The committee promptly enacted their vision, and the first class of Blawenburg Village Preschool (BVS) for students ages two to five began in September 1999.

The 1850 schoolhouse pictured here provides some classrooms and offices for BVS.

 

BVS was not the first preschool in Blawenburg. On September 11, 1969, the Montgomery Township Board of Adjustment approved the first day nursery at a house on Blawenburg-Belle Mead Road near Blawenburg Corner. The Alynde Leiggi Day Nursery met the regulations of the New Jersey Department of Education and Montgomery Township Health and Fire Departments and was approved for 20 students.

 

Thirty years later when BVS sought licensing, requirements were more stringent and the number of students per teacher was fewer. The school has grown tremendously over the years. Currently, 87 students are enrolled, including six kindergarteners. A Board comprised of church members oversees the school, and Director Angela Wright manages the operation.

 

The Garden Model

From the outset, the school used the model of a garden to differentiate the classes by age. The two-year-old classes are known as the Sprouts, three-year-olds are Buds, four-year-olds are Blossoms, and five-year-old kindergarteners are the Gardeners. There are seven classrooms located in the 1850 schoolhouse and Cook Hall on the church campus. To accommodate parents’ schedules, BVS offers morning, afternoon, and after-school programs.

Buds have fun blowing bubbles

Curriculum

The curriculum is a blend of traditional elements like helping students learn proper letter formation, as well as other preschool programs such as Montessori, Reggio, and Creative Curriculum. The academic curriculum focuses on age-appropriate activities for pre-reading, math, and writing. Science and social studies activities are often included in skill lessons. Music, art, and movement are important parts of the program. Each week, a certified music instructor teaches classes to all students, while art and movement are integrated into the curriculum.

 

Special Programs

Children of many faiths attend BVS. Because it is a Christian school and a mission of Blawenburg Church, volunteers from the church teach a program called Children and Worship to each class once each week. This program uses Montessori teaching methods to teach young children about Bible stories through interactive engagement.

 

In addition, there are many special events that happen each year. Halloween Truck or Treat, Thanksgiving Feast, Winter Fest, Muffins with Mom, and Donuts with Dad are just a few of the events that involve parents with their students. Graduations for preschoolers and kindergarteners are big events at the end of the year.

 

During July, BVS holds a popular summer camp. There is a lot of nurturing activity to help the children continue their development. Like the school-year program, this popular program has grown over the years.

 

Angela Wright, the Director, has been working at BVS for 13 years.

 

The Leader

Angela Wright was a teacher and director at Mary Mother of God Preschool in Hillsborough before joining the BVS staff as an assistant teacher in 2011. She became a teacher, and then the school director in 2018. When she began, there were 35 students in the school, and under her tenure, the school population has more than doubled.

 

Wright’s philosophy permeates the school. “We want all students and their parents to have the best school experience possible,” she said. “We want everyone involved to feel like we are a family.”

 

Blawenburg Church pastor and BVS parent Jeff Knol commented, “The preschool is a great place where our kids grow, learn, and make friends. The director and staff not only care for our kids, but they also really care for our whole family.”

 

To achieve the family feel of the school, Wright relies on her staff. “We work as a team,” she said. “I couldn’t do my job, if they weren’t good at their jobs.” The BVS teachers are all certified, many with prior preschool teaching experience.

 

Communication is Key

Communication is another key element of the school. Each week Wright sends parents The Garden Gate, a newsletter that maintains the garden theme of the school. It includes information about what teachers are doing in their classrooms and pictures of students engaged in activities. She also sends out a monthly calendar to keep parents apprised of the special activities they can look forward to.

 

The school will celebrate its 25th anniversary at its annual picnic in early June. To make the day special, they hope to have air brush activities, a balloon person, bubble show, ice cream truck, and much more. It’s hard for preschoolers to have a concept of a 25th anniversary just yet, but they know the love, kindness, and fun that is in abundance in the school every day. This is why the school has been so successful. 


 

FACTS

1.    BVS is a preschool with a kindergarten program. Prior to Montgomery Township Schools having full-day kindergarten, the school offered full-day kindergarten. It now offers a kindergarten transition program.

 

2.    The school is officially known as Blawenburg Village Preschool; however; it has been called Blawenburg Village School as well. It uses the initials BVS.

 

3.    BVS offers extracurricular programs for its students—soccer, dance, cooking, and more!

The future soccer stars.

 

4.    BVS has a staff of 20, including the director, teachers, and assistants. Read about them at their website: https://www.blawenburgvillageschool.com/our-team.

 

 

FLASHBACK

 

Blog 73, The Other Blawenburg Village, was also about BVS. The blog begins… “Do you know that there is another Blawenburg Village? Some might call it the other Blawenburg Village, while others may call it Blawenburg Village Jr. This village is right in the heart of the historic Blawenburg Village, but there is nothing historic about it or those who use it. This village is part of the playground at Blawenburg Village Preschool (BVS), and the kids who populate it just call it fun!”

 

Now that you’ve read how BVS is run. You might enjoy rereading Blog 73 as an illustration of the creative teaching that goes on there.

___________

 

SOURCES

 

Information

All information came from interviews with Angela Wright and Rev. Jeff Knol.

 

Pictures

The school and Angela Wright - Rev. Jeff Knol.

 

Blowing bubbles and BVS logo are from the BVS website - https://www.blawenburgvillageschool.com/

 

 

Editor—Barb Reid



 

 

 

Copyright © 2024 by David Cochran. All rights reserved.

 

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