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Christ Lutheran Early Weekday School (CLEWS) has quite a reputation in the Orland Park area. If you tell someone that your child attends CLEWS, chances are they will respond with “I remember the Teddy Bear Picnic!” or “I loved the Thankful Feast they did!” And Director Patti Bareither, who just celebrated her 25th year with the program, is a celebrity in her own right with CLEWS alumni. A summer celebration in her honor saw hundreds of CLEWS families from over the years come by to share hugs, stories, and appreciation.
So what makes CLEWS such a strong program? Their philosophy and focus is on enriching cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual development through play, stories, and songs, as well as hands-on and individual activities. Class sizes are small, which gives children a chance to know their teachers and vice versa. And interaction from both parents and the pastors of Christ Lutheran truly make this an interactive program with many opportunities for learning.
Children are eligible to enroll in CLEWS as soon as they turn 3 years old. The next session of the “Just 3″ program will begin on January 11, 2014 and will run from 9-10:30am on Fridays through May 16. Children may also begin the “Just 3″ program mid-session with a pro-rated fee. CLEWS will host two open house opportunities in January, the first on Sunday the 26th from 10:30am-1:00pm and the second on Tuesday, January 28 from 5-7pm. If a child in your life is getting ready to enter pre-school in the fall, please come and see what all of the buzz is about! Program Director and teacher Patti Bareither can be reached at (708) 349-0171 for further information.
By Melissa Petersen
With a new school year well underway, our Christ Lutheran Early Weekday School (CLEWS) teachers are back to work with a bright and wonderful group of students. As always, the program aims to combine play and learning with activities that are age-appropriate, experimental, sensory and manipulative in a Christian preschool setting.
CLEWS is thankful to have so many of its amazing teachers returning for the 2017-2018 school year. Patti Bareither, lovingly known as Mrs. B, has returned for her 30th year. Mrs. B has over 50 years of education experience. Her greatest gift to CLEWS is her love of all children and her passion for teaching. She is always creating and establishing an innovative, exciting, interactive, age-appropriate curriculum for students. All of the teachers, parents, alumni, and students would agree the Patti is the glue that holds the CLEWS program and its loving spirit together.
With over 18 years at CLEWS, 3-year-old classroom aide, Karen Ketelaar has always referred to CLEWS as her “happy place.” Being separated from parents for the first time is difficult for many new students, and Karen has the wonderful gift of being able to put nervous children at ease with her happy demeanor and infectious laugh.
Four’s teacher Lisa Grant quickly realized after putting her own children through CLEWS that she wasn’t ready to leave the program. Lisa has been with CLEWS for over 9 years. Her patience knows no bounds and she has a great love and respect for the program and the teachers. Lisa has had a significant impact on the success of the four’s program at CLEWS.
Former CLEWS parent, Ronda Gilchrist is beginning her 7th year with the school. Whether she is teaching in the three’s classroom or aiding in the fours class, Ronda is energetic and excited to educate young minds. She knows how to start the day for each child with her an outgoing and special welcome.
Whitney Corbin has been with CLEWS for 4 years as both an aide and as the school’s administrative assistant. (Although she has been volunteering in the production of the teddy bear picnics since 1996.) Her degree in psychology and her certificate in organizational psychology brings a good balance of business and fun to the school. As a CLEWS alumnus, Whitney has had a soft spot in her heart for CLEWS since she was 3-years-old. Her sons have also attended the school just like mom.
CLEWS is also fortunate to have four’s aide Patty Nolan as part of the program. Having been with CLEWS for three years, her background in speech therapy makes her an invaluable resource in assessing each child’s needs and then quickly adapting lessons to their needs. Her understanding of child development has been a wonderful gift to the school.
Lisa Niedziela is completing her second year at CLEWs as an aide in the three’s class and has quickly become an invaluable staff member. She is always ready to pitch in and help in both her class and in other classrooms. Her love of working with children shows through every day in her positive attitude and personality. CLEWS loves having Lisa as their go-to-gal for extra help and assistance.
This year CLEWS welcomed Melissa Petersen as an aide in the 3’s and Just 3’s program. Her youngest daughter just completed CLEWS last year and there was no getting rid of mom. Her background in graphic design and marketing has been helpful in finding new ways to get CLEWS news out in the community. Her fresh perspective has been helpful in adding new and fun elements to the program.
It has been said that CLEWS parents are attracted to the program because it affords daily opportunities to share in many special moments and experiences with their child. However, much of the school’s success and stellar reputation is because of this talented and caring teaching staff. Christ Lutheran Church is blessed to have so many special and unique individuals associated with CLEWS.
By Patti Bareither
“I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” -Charles Dickens
I first saw this quote engraved on a charm hanging on a necklace, and it spoke to my heart. The quote embodied all I do and embraced the reason I continue to do and love this “job” as a preschool teacher. “Job” is in quotes because I hardly feel that this is a job, but more of a calling- one I feel so passionately about. How many people can say they feel that strongly about their job?
For me, this calling came more than 30 years ago when CLEWS parents heard that the director at that time, Mrs. Chris Liberatore, would be retiring. After receiving some calls about taking the position as teacher and program director I began to give it some thought. I admit I had to pray about it because I was one that hardly ever talked about my faith or expressed thoughts about my beliefs, and I was concerned as to how I might be able to teach little ones about their faith when expressing my own could be so hard. I admired the Pastors and how eloquently they shared their beliefs. Could I possibly do that too?
Through conversations with Pastor Ledogar, he instilled in me the confidence in my faith, and that it did not always have to be shared in words alone, but in actions and in living life fully. I knew I could do that. Coupled with my decades of work with little ones and love and respect for their humbled innocence, I had the confidence to proceed with the calling I felt to CLEWS. And here I am, beginning my 30th year as CLEWS Director and teacher, and I love it and look forward to this new school year with just as much energy, enthusiasm, and dedication as I did in my first year.
Blessings and thanks to all of the supportive families who have joined our CLEWS family and have placed their child’s hand in mine to continue to share in carrying out the plan God has created for them. Thank you for the confidence in the CLEWS program and what we have to offer. Together we have the task of caring, nurturing, loving, and guiding them, for God has a greater plan then we could ever imagine.
Thanks also to all of the CLEWS staff, past and present, who dedicate themselves to nurturing and guiding these little ones. Through the years all of the teachers have left an indelible mark on the program, and most importantly on the children they have met along the way. I, too, am a better person for having them grace my life here at CLEWS.
How blessed am I?
By Patti Bareither
This is for all the mothers who shivered on cold metal benches at football games Friday night instead of watching from the car so that when their child asked, “Did you see me?” they could say, “Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
This is for all the mothers who have sat up at night with a sick toddler in their arms, rocking and repeating, “It’s OK, Mommy’s here.”
This is for all the mothers who carpool, bake cookies, bring orange segments to the soccer practices, who sew Halloween costumes…and also to the mothers who don’t!
This is for the mothers who taught their children to tie shoelaces before they started school, and for those mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
This is for all the mothers who bite their lip when their child asks to dye his hair green.
This is for all the mothers who teach their son to do laundry and teach their daughters to change a flat tire.
This is for all the mothers whose head automatically turns, when they hear a little voice call out, “Mom?” in a crowd ….even though they just realize their off spring are at home.
This is for:
The young mothers struggling through diaper changes, night feedings, and sleep deprivation;
The mature mothers learning to let go;
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers;
For single mothers and married mothers;
For mothers with money, and mothers without.
This is for all the mothers that could get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, but know the value of time spent worshiping together as a family.
This is for all the mothers who hold their children’s actions and behaviors accountable by taking time to hold a follow-up discussion as to “W.W.J.D.?”
This is for all the mothers whose heart goes with their child as their grown child goes for his/her first solo drive after receiving their driver’s license.
This is for all the mothers whose jolt takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib, at 2 A.M. just to put your hand on the back of a sleeping child.
This is for all the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see and to the mothers who took these babies and gave them a family.
This is for the mothers who have the need to hug their child after hearing the news of a school shooting, a fire, car accident.
This is for the mothers who read Goodnight Moon twice or thrice each night for a year…and then just maybe one more time.
For all mothers, and all you do- this is for you. Happy Mother’s Day!
By Patti Bareither
The Monday-Wednesday Three’s class has been celebrating this month!
First, Layla became a proud BIG SISTER to baby Zachary! What a wonderful gift from God. One day Zachary will be able to follow in his sister’s footsteps when he joins the CLEWS class of 2020!
And on February 8th, the entire CLEWS family hosted a Welcome Home Celebration for TSGT Adam Moore who just returned from his 6-month tour of duty in Kuwait. His proud son Brennan celebrated alongside his classmates, CLEWS graduate sister McKayla, baby brother Reid, mom April, and all CLEWS families and staff to honor the safe return of his dad.
CLEWS hallways were filled with patriotic music and students and families wearing red, white, and blue waving American flags. Each student also presented him with a homemade welcome home card.
Everyone joined in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the Star-Spangled Banner before Adam was thanked for his service and sacrifice. Pastor Rohlfs led a prayer and reflected on April and Adam’s wedding ceremony,which he performed 10 years ago. He even presented them with the cover of their wedding program! April Moore expressed her heartfelt thanks for all, and said that this was “a most memorable experience…never to be forgotten.”
Thanks to the generous donations of the CLEWS families, the Moore family will be able to spend some family time together to honor their collective sacrifice. May God continue to bless all our military families.
In other news, we are very pleased with the turn-out for January’s Registration and Open House. Classes have started to fill but there are still some openings in both the 3 and 4-year-old classes for next year. If you or someone you know is interested in the CLEWS program, please contact us at (708) 349- 0171.
CLEWS REGISTRATION FOR 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR Register now for the THREE AND FOUR YEAR OLD PRESCHOOL PROGRAM! Open Registration begins on Sunday, January 22, so take advantage of this early opportunity to enroll your child before all classes fill up! Call Patti Bareither at 708-448-2614 if you have any questions, or contact the CLEWS office directly at 708-349-0171.