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Open house celebrates 20th year for preschool
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St. Anthony of Padua School is celebrating a two-decade milestone with an open house on Sunday, March 17.

The occasion is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the St. Anthony Preschool. Principal Mary Lou Hoffman said interested families are invited to the open house, and Preschool Director Claudette Alves and kindergarten teacher Desiree Aguirre will be there to answer all of their questions. The classrooms will be open to the visiting families starting right after the 10:45 a.m. Mass, or approximately at 11:45 a.m.

“As a Catholic school and preschool, our faith is an integral part of children’s education,” said Hoffman.

Both the preschool and kindergarten programs have “dedicated, qualified teachers,” she said. Preschool director Claudette Alves, who is also one of the preschool teachers, and Clare Wood have been with the program since it began in 1993. Aguirre, the kindergarten teacher, has 17 years experience working with young children. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Humprey’s College and a Child Development credential from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She is also a master teacher for early childhood.

All of the teachers have Child Development permits from the State of California Commission of Teacher Credentialing. The school has a full-time aide in the kindergarten classroom as well.

“Our teachers have an excellent understanding of child development and how to relate to the whole child,” Hoffman said.

Families need not be Catholic, nor do they have to live in the jurisdiction of St. Anthony’s Parish to get their children enrolled at the preschool.

Kindergarten students must be five years old, and pre-kindergarten students need to be four years old by Sept. 1 to be enrolled at the school. Pre-kindergarten classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the morning sessions from 8 to 11 a.m., and the afternoon classes from noon to 3 pm.

For the preschool classes, students must be three years old by Sept. 1. There are morning and afternoon sessions available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“The preschool and kindergarten classes offer children a safe, warm, and nurturing environment. Our goal is to provide carefully designed learning experience which will promote all aspects of a child’s growth – intellectual, physical, language, social, emotional, and spiritual,” Hoffman said.

While St. Anthony’s Preschool is 20 years old, St. Anthony’s School itself goes back much longer than that. Manteca’s first private school opened its doors in 1952. Prior to that, the school was leased to the Manteca Unified School District. It did not start classes right after the building was completed because of the delay in the arrival of the nuns who were contracted to teach at the school.