Poster - Worship Slides

Poster - Front-and-Center Slides

Poster - Event Slides

Well, here we are. Once again, we find ourselves all saying, “where did this year go?” Like my mom always told me, the years go faster as you get older, and she was so very right! With all we’ve had going on here at Open Arms, it’s truly gone faster than ever!

Since the last newsletter, we had our parent conferences, where I got to visit with every parent individually … all 42 families! I just love that time to connect with them in a quiet setting to discuss their kiddos. Even where there are challenges, this time is special to develop that relationship even more. The following week, we took field trips to the pumpkin patch, where we went on a hayride, visited the petting zoo, climbed on mountains of hay, watched pig races, played in a huge corn pit and had our snacks in the sunshine. We were blessed with a beautiful fall day for this activity. Next were our Halloween parties, where we had a blast! Everyone came in their costumes. We carved pumpkins, made our own treat bags, had a costume parade through the church for the staff and other people in the building and had special snacks and drinks. We were so happy to have several moms stick around that day to help and join in the fun.

We jumped right into preparations for our Thanksgiving Feasts while learning about the early Americans, the Mayflower, turkeys and thankfulness (among other things). The kiddos got to make pumpkin bread for our feast and they loved every minute of it. Cracking the eggs was the most favorite part of that process. Yes, we had thirty preschoolers cracking eggs—and I didn’t hear reports of anyone having shells in their pumpkin bread (we’ve learned how to prevent that!). The feasts were fun, and we enjoyed delicious food and fellowship. The kiddos performed a few songs for their families before we ate as well, which was a good little practice before our Christmas program!

Which brings me to the next thing that we are currently working on … our Christmas program! We are excited for the fun we will have and the guaranteed entertainment for the audience. With 42 families this year, we will be moving our program into the Sanctuary so that we do not violate the fire code for the Large Fellowship Hall! This isn’t something I saw as a potential problem back in 2014 when we only had a total of seven kids! This is a great “problem” to have, and we are looking forward to having our program in the beautiful sanctuary where we know it’s going to be even more special than ever. We will have refreshments in the Large Fellowship Hall following the program. We would love to see you there if your schedule allows! I can’t guarantee perfection, but I can guarantee entertainment! With that many three-, four- and five-year-old children together, I always give the disclaimer that I am a Preschool Director, not a Broadway Director! Come join us for the fun December 13 at 6:30 PM.

The day after our program, we will be visiting two different nursing homes and assisted living facilities with the Pre-K classes. We will perform a few of our songs and hand out little treat bags to each resident. This is always a favorite time and is guaranteed to warm hearts for everyone there. If any of you want to join in on that, just let me know and I can give you the details.

Our annual Bake Sale fundraiser will be on Sunday, December 16, in the Large Fellowship Hall after the morning service. Come see what homemade goodies you want to take home!

The last week of school before Christmas break will be pure fun with our parties. The Pre-K class enjoys a Polar Express Party complete with popcorn, hot chocolate, train cars they make themselves and a short Christmas movie, all while wearing their favorite pajamas, of course! We also must find the naughty gingerbread man who runs away during class time and manages to run all over the church leaving us clues as to where to find him. This is a most favorite day for everyone and a great way to send everyone off for the Christmas break.

I once again want to say how grateful our little preschool staff is to Saint John’s for supporting the preschool program. Just another example of that was when Eric and Sue Gardner for took the time and energy to make outdoor coat hooks for the playground! It is a huge help to keep coats off the ground when they aren’t being worn. Thank you both so much!

Some days are very tiring when working with so many little ones and the plethora of personality traits, immature emotions and the spectrum of skills that come with them. But the reward is when we see them growing, learning, maturing and gaining confidence in themselves and problem-solving on their own. Those constant hugs, being told “I love you,” and the pieces of art work given to us makes the tiring days all worth it! Then there are the parents: I cannot say enough about how amazing our families are to us. Now that my mother lives with me and has rather serious health issues, it has required more time from me, so a group of moms took on all our prep work for these last few weeks to help us get it all done. I’ve been humbled by their generosity and kindness and know we are tremendously blessed. The three of us on staff always talk about how fortunate we are here at Open Arms and Saint John’s!

I do hope you all have a very wonderful and blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy new year!

Kandy Wise is the Director of Open Arms Preschool, a ministry of Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You may reach her at 482-1357 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions about the Preschool.