Churchill Preschool Academy
Celebrating 20 Years of Teaching and Nurturing
For most of her life, Kathy Garrison knew she wanted to be a teacher. That desire was nourished by her grandmother, a woman she cherished and admired deeply. This month, celebrating her 20th year as owner and director of Churchill Academy Pre school in Edmond, Garrison credits her success to the support of family (including her late grandmother), a community dedicated to strong families and a host of great employees.
“It’s been fun. It really has,” said Garrison, who opened the doors of Churchill Academy at its former location near Oklahoma City University. “I adore kids. I knew I always wanted to work with kids, to teach them, to nurture them and to help prepare them for life. This has given me the chance to do that, and it’s been a great 20 years.”
Now located at 724 W. 15th St., between Broadway and Kelley, Churchill Academy serves preschoolers, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten age children 3-7. Garrison and her staff offer a regular learning curriculum that prepares children and their parents for the next step – entering public school. Churchill offers an atmosphere of learning, growing and exploring through everything from art exercises to music instruction and experimentation.
“In 2001 our school evolved from a 9 a.m.-to-3 p.m. program to offer before-and-after-care because most American families were, for the most part, two-income situations … and really needed quality care and learning environments for these children,” Garrison said.
A desire to provide that quality environment for children and their parents is what motivated Garrison to open Churchill Academy. With the encouragement of her family – and a loan from her grandmother – Garrison opened her facility in 1986. In 1991, she purchased land at the current location along 15th Street, and the doors to her current facility opened in 1993.
“We have had everything we could ask for,” she said. “First, we have a tremendous community here in Edmond. The families are strong and the community understands the need to encourage and support our children.
“Secondly, I’ve had tremendous teachers. I have been so blessed with teachers that really care and love these kids, and they love their jobs. In addition to that, I’ve had the support of my family all along the way. None of this would have been possible, had it not been for all those things.”
Evidence of that family support can be seen in her two children – son Caleb and daughter Kristin. Kristin, who is graduating this spring with honors from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, was in the first graduating class of Churchill Academy. Caleb, now a father whose son, Riley, attends Churchill, worked at the academy for three years while he was in college.
In addition to her staff of five teachers, Garrison attributes much of the success of Churchill Academy to its devotion to a learning environment and to its 1-to-12 teacher-to-student ratio.
“Not only do we keep children engaged and challenged … but we also have fewer children to each teacher,” Garrison said. “That helps us be more attentive, more focused on each child – thereby providing a better atmosphere for success.
“Our main purpose is to provide a way to ease the transition for parents when their children begin to attend school. It’s tough for parents and children alike, and this sort of allows them both to become accustomed to the pattern, and it makes entering public school much easier for children because they’re better prepared.”
Hours at Churchill Academy are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday every month of the year. School hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday each month. An academic program is offered all year, Garrison said, with a recreational theme during the summer.
For children whose parents work, Churchill offers two-, three- and five-day programs; half-day and all-day school; and before-and-after care. Starting this fall, the academy will offer tutoring from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Transportation to Churchill will be provided for children through the third grade. College students will help children with their homework, and a snack will be provided. For more information call 341-4314.