Students from First Presbyterian Church Preschool rushed around the room, searching for their art on the walls.
Occasionally, students and their parents stopped to marvel at the large dinosaur sculptures - some of them 6 feet tall - in the center of the room.
First Presbyterian Church Preschool held its annual Art Fair last Saturday (March 12), an event that also included a toy drive in memory of Ryan Nyland, a baby who had a stroke in utero and lived just 10 days. The toys collected through the drive will be donated to Children’s Memorial Hospital.
“It’s all about learning,” Preschool Director Ruth Luke said of the Art Fair, which featured drawings, paintings and collages the students have worked on throughout the school year.
First Presbyterian Church Preschool, Luke said, is a project-based, half-day program for 3- to 5-year-olds. There are 114 children enrolled in the program, which is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Most of the 16 staff members hold Master’s degrees.
“We just really try to get kids ready to go into the public system, but it’s very hands-on,” said Luke. “We want children to see themselves as creative. You don’t have to be able to draw to be creative.”
The sculptures featured at Saturday’s event were created by preschool classes during the past school year. They were primarily made from boxes and papier mache. Luke added the sculptures would be given away through a raffle at the end of the Art Fair.
Projects like these, Luke said, teach children the importance of teamwork, problem solving and even math.
“It really works very well,” she said.
Parent Shawn Gore of Lake Bluff enjoyed marveling at the art and sculptures at the Art Fair.
“For me, it’s so cool to walk in here with my daughter and just see how proud she is of her work,” said Gore, whose 3-year-old daughter Campbell is enrolled in the First Presbyterian Church Preschool. “This stuff takes weeks of prep work. It’s really cool to also have the opportunity to bring a piece of the classroom home.”
Gore, who is a member of First Presbyterian Church, said one of the preschool program’s biggest selling points is that parents are involved in the program throughout the year.
“I feel like the preschool is great throughout the year in bringing parents in,” she said. “They bring parents in and make them feel like they’re part of the experience.”
Parent Megan McIntyre said she feels like the preschool program allows her daughter to “use all parts of her brain.”
“I love it,” McIntyre said of the program. She and her 4-year-old daughter, Olivia, enjoyed walking around the Art Fair.
“She’s super excited about it,” said McIntyre. “It’s nice for them to come and see it all on display.”