St. Ann’s has had a sad year. Due to the economic downturn and the resultant decline in both enrollment and increased expenses, they had to close the doors on their elementary school that served the children of Ossining for 50 years. However, even the saddest events couldn’t keep the St. Ann’s spirit down as the parish has kept and expanded their preschool program; Peas and Karrots.
Peas and Karrots is an early childhood education program that is housed in the former St. Ann’s school building. While the program has been in existence at St. Ann’s for 25 years, the program has been redesigned to meet the needs of today’s children. The new Peas and Karrots program is now bilingual, the first bilingual preschool in Ossining.
“I think the most important part is bilingual,” said Anna Guzman one of the assistant teachers at Peas and Karrots. “There are a lot of people that are bi-lingual in Ossining. That is most important, there are a lot of people who speak Spanish… there are kids who start [in the program] not knowing any English. The kids start to learn both languages.”
This new approach is evident when you walk through the brightly colored classrooms with signs being in both English and Spanish. In order to help the children learn both, the same book will be read each week in both languages.
In addition to the bilingual element, the newly redesigned program will also offer Catholic values and teachings, music, art, dramatic play, math, science and cooking skills. The program is open to children from ages 3-5, with each group having their own space and schedule.
“The peas are three-year-olds, the Karrots are four-year-olds and the five-year-olds are Kindergarten,” said Guzman. “They are taught academics and Catholic values.”
When St. Ann’s school was still open, Peas and Karrots occupied just two classrooms, now they have expanded their space to four classrooms. They have a classroom for each group and a large playroom, in addition to a playground filled of colorful equipment.
The program is staffed with experienced teachers and assistants some of whom are former St. Ann’s Faculty. Both the director “Ms. Cookie” Colucci and one of the Kindergarten teachers were on the faculty of the new defunct Catholic school.
“The director [Colucci] has been working here for more then 25 years,” said a secretary at the Parish house.
Peas and Karrots is open to any family who is interested and they offer half, full and extended day programs ranging from $100 to $200 a week. For more information please contact St. Ann’s at 914-941-0312 as they are still accepting enrollment for the fall.