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Director: Lisa Sirridge


Director of Parent Resources:

Kristina Laurent


Teaching Literacy for Christ

Wednesday Evenings



Bonner Springs Nazarene Church 

742  N Nettleton Bonner Springs 

The need for TLC

Unfortunately, many preschool aged children living in western Kansas City, Kansas are below average in literacy development and kindergarten readiness. This is a very complex problem with many contributing factors. There is a lack of available openings in the few quality preschools in the area.  In spite of the existence of Head Start and other early childhood education programs that are offered to low-income families, children are falling through the cracks of government and community early education programs.  Many working families are struggling to make ends meet, especially those that are just above the poverty line who don’t qualify for government services.  The majority of their income goes to provide the basic needs (food, clothing and shelter) of their families and they don’t have the luxury of enrolling their child into a quality preschool program.  Often while parents are at work, children are left in the care of a family member, friend or in-home daycare which doesn’t provide a formal preschool education program. There also seems to be prevailing myths about early education and a lack of information on the importance of literacy in the early childhood years and how to incorporate it into their lives.  Some believe that children are blank slates and underestimate the abilities of young children. They are not aware that age appropriate early literacy experiences can greatly improve later school success.   There are countless studies that prove the benefits of early childhood education, especially when referring to the greater opportunity for early intervention for special needs children. Quality programs can recognize and provide the special needs of the students early on and provide better outcomes for them as well as better preparing their other students for kindergarten. The children who are falling through the cracks are starting school behind and the school system is overwhelmed with the burden of helping these children catch up to where they should be developmentally.  These students suffer from a lack of self-esteem and have a negative view of education.  All children deserve the opportunity to reach their potential and parents, teachers and community leaders should do what it takes to help them obtain it. 

The vision of TLC

The vision of Lisa Sirridge, director and founder of Sonshine Preschool, for this program is to provide a no cost kindergarten readiness program with an emphasis on literacy at her church, Bonner Springs Church of the Nazarene. She and other qualified teachers and counselors in the congregation volunteer to provide this much needed service.  The number of children in the area who are entering kindergarten unprepared will be lowered. This program is an age-appropriate evidence based early childhood program that considers all domains of the child’s development (social, cognitive, language, motor and creative).  This program will be offered on the weekends or in the evening so parents who work can attend.  The parents are knowledgeable and active participants working cooperatively with teachers.  The parents take responsibility and engage in the age appropriate homework activities assigned by the teachers.  The parents understand the importance of laying a solid foundation of learning during the early childhood years and are being informed of how to incorporate it into their lives.  The teachers offer a well planned program that takes into account each individual child and his particular needs.  There is ongoing assessments of program, staff and children to insure children and family needs are being met. The certified parent coach Kristina Laurent, has ongoing meetings with families, assessing needs and helping to connect them with services available in the community to help improve their lives over all.  The parent education, quality early childhood education program and the family counseling combine to help struggling working parents provide opportunities for their children to reach their potential and be prepared for kindergarten.

How TLC works

Teaching Literacy for Christ offers a quality early childhood education program for children 3-5 years old in Wyandotte County, Kansas who are not currently enrolled in a preschool program. It is a program that includes activities that foster growth in all areas of development (social-emotional, motor, creative, and cognitive) and focuses on kindergarten readiness.  All staff members meet Kansas state requirements for directors, teachers and teaching assistants working with preschool aged children.  Each are background checked and are certified in first-aid and pediatric CPR. All teachers and assistants are well trained and the program standards require a low teacher-to-child ratio. The program, staff and students are evaluated regularly and parental involvement is essential and encouraged.  Teaching Literacy for Christ offers the program at no cost to the families it serves, thus eliminating the monetary barrier they face.  The program is offered either in the evening or on weekends for working parents whose children are cared for in home settings and cannot, for whatever reason, get their child to and from preschool programs that operate during the day. Regular attendance is very important.  Teachers only have the children one and a half hours a week to get to know them, teach them, monitor their development, and create an individual educational plan for them.  An important component of the Teaching Literacy for Christ program is to engage and educate the parents of the students in the program.  Because it is offered in the evening or on weekends, there is limited class time and parental support is essential.  It is up to parents to attend training and work with their children at home. This has a two-fold benefit; the parents learn what is involved in kindergarten readiness and also spend quality time with their children while doing age appropriate activities assigned by a trained teacher to address each individual child’s developmental needs.  Student evaluation is another essential element of the program.  At enrollment, each child has a kindergarten readiness entry evaluation and individual goals are set for each student.  They are evaluated two additional times at 6 months and 9 months into the school year.  Each time the children are evaluated, goals met are recorded and new goals are set to adjust to their developmental needs. Teaching Literacy for Christ is making a difference for many children in Wyandotte County, Kansas who are not able to attend a quality early learning program and are experiencing the barriers of cost, availability and transportation.

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