St. Cecilia to offer kindergartenThe next goal would be a Catholic grade school.

"The Mustard Seed has sprouted.The new pre-school and kindergarten, a program of St. Cecilia Catholic Church opening in fall 2001, grew from an idea planted seven years ago by parishioners. When Father Dennis (Sevilla) came on board last year, he was very willing to let us give it a try, said Mary Corbin, Mustard Seed's co-organizer with Cathy Lubovich and Jeannette Vasicek.The women also credit fellow parishioners with getting the school off the ground this time. The time was right, Corbin said, and the Archdiocese has been very supportive.The Mustard Seed committee began planning the school in February 2001, with islander and parishioner Marilyn Putnam to teach. The group had consulted Putnam, who runs Happy Days pre-school, about how to hire; the school sounded so attractive, that Putnam ultimately took the post herself.While Corbin said that the school will have excellent academics, they say that consideration of the whole child is more important. We're not emphasizing reading per se so much as we are socialization, art, literature and spirituality, Corbin said.Mustard Seed committee members envision the new school as a way to pass on their Catholic traditions to new generations. They want their children's education in faith to be integrated into their daily lives. Corbin said she believes there will be room, within the school's framework of beliefs and values, for open frank discussion of every aspect of life possible. The actual structuring of curriculum will be done by Putnam, aided by access to Archdiocese curriculum materials, while the Mustard Seed committee handles organizational matters. Because they were late getting started, they knew they must be efficient to be ready to enroll in the spring. They were successful in producing a schedule for the parent open house, and made their presence known at the Fourth of July parade. Now, they are also hard at work with hammer, nails and paint, altering the physical space; the new school shares the Esterman Building with the church's Sunday school. Mustard Seed currently has 12 pre-school and kindergarten students enrolled in a multi-age classroom - with room for 16. The students are primarily from Bainbridge, although several live in other parts of Kitsap. The program will run 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., three days a week.Organizers will be working throughout the 2001-02 school year, on the requirements to open a grade school. Ultimately, they would like the facility to extend through high school.People have made great efforts to send children to Seattle Catholic schools like O'Dea, Holy Names and Seattle Prep, but it would be good to have a school here, Corbin said.However, the women know they have their work cut out for them.It's a big step from kindergarten to first grade, Corbin said. The Archdiocese would want to be certain that it is something the parish supports, not something that's being imposed. Then, they demand a rigorous five year business plan and more professional people would have to be involved. We're hoping that this small plant will grow even more, Corbin said. It will....with prayer. "

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