At Holy Savior Academy, Pre-K Program Focuses on Academics, Socialization, and Faith


SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy, a Middlebrook Deanery Catholic School, is currently accepting enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year. The South Plainfield-based school offers small classes, an enriching, competitive and differentiated curriculum, and a religious foundation for all students, beginning in pre-K.

“Holy Savior focuses on the whole child and students who attend pre-K at the school are exposed, at an early age, to all the components they will need and use throughout their academic career,” said Principal and South Plainfield resident Carol Woodburn, adding, “Each student enters at a different place and our program is geared to each child’s specific abilities and needs. The consistent daily structure we offer here is unique. We provide a strong foundation.”

At Holy Savior, full day pre-K3 and pre-K4 classes are offered three or five days week and feature small classes taught by certified teachers, many with years of early childhood education experience. In class curriculum is core standard and faith-based; reading, writing, math, social students, science, and religion are all incorporated in the course of study as is art, music, physical education, and computers. Tablets, including Chromebooks and iPads, along with smartboards are also utilized in pre-K classes.

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“Academically, we are teaching our students foundational skills that will be used at an early age and continue well into adulthood. In my experiences, students this age want to learn and enjoy learning,” said pre-K4 teacher Katie Baldessari of South Plainfield, adding, “...Teaching the whole child helps instill a well-rounded child.”

Along with academics, the school’s pre-K program features a strong emphasis on socialization, something Woodburn strongly believes is essential when it comes to young children.

“At this age, it is really important for children to learn how to interact with their peers. They may have siblings or have been in play groups in the past, but they needed to learn how to work one-on-one with their peers on a day-to-day basis,” Woodburn said.

Kindergarten teacher Maryann Pratola agrees. “The value of early education in pre-K [and] kindergarten is to address and challenge students academically and socially. [By] addressing academics at an early age students are most likely to retain what they learn and find a solid foundation in their academic careers,” said Pratola, adding, “It also helps students socialize, becoming more global reaching out to the world around them with an increase in self-esteem and confidence. These children become independent at an early age.”

Pre-K3 teacher Eva Tripodi, who brings to Holy Savior 28 years of teaching experience, believes pre-K is important for a number of reasons. “It lays the foundation for academics, the alphabet, letter sounds, numbers and number concepts are introduced…[but] the social aspect of pre-K is also very important. Learning how to get along with others, sharing, and treating others with kindness are focused upon…” Tripodi said.

Baldessari added, “There is great value in early education. It is during a time when we really are teaching them not only how to be in school and be students, but to be lifelong learners and really have a joy and passion for learning…By sending your child to school, either part-time or full-time, they are gaining experiences they cannot really have any other way, academically and socially.”

While students enrolled in Holy Savior’s pre-K program do not wear uniforms, their clothing is the only thing that separates them from being active members of the school community. Throughout the year, the pre-K students are involved in all school activities and special events including but not limited to, assemblies, Grandparent’s Day, Dr. Seuss Day, and the annual Christmas show.

“Our youngest students quickly learning that they are an important part of the larger school community. Holy Savior Academy, their school, provides them with a unique learning environment where they become interested and engaged in their own learning, and feel welcomed, valued and safe,” said Woodburn. “This is when true learning occurs.”

As a teacher, Baldessari feels the ‘family-like atmosphere’ is what sets Holy Savior apart from other schools. “I am always impressed how the faculty and staff know most the students by name, whether they had them in class or not,” she said, adding, “Staff members are willing to go above and beyond for their students.”

For first grade teacher Eileen O’Connor it is the ‘sense of community.’ “The tone is set by our caring and supportive principal and shared amongst the teachers with our students and families. The smaller [class] size allows for real, meaningful relationships to set root and flourish,” said O’Connor.

These reasons – and others – are why South Plainfield resident Melodie S. chose to send her to two children to Holy Savior. “When we were looking for a pre-K/kindergarten program for our children, we wanted a family environment that would become their ‘home away from home,’” said Melodie. “We found this environment at Holy Savior Academy…”

According to Melodie, current president of the school’s Family School Partnership parent organization, Holy Savior’s faculty is caring, competent, and dedicated, and the children are well behaved, responsible and hard working. She strongly believes that when her children graduate from Holy Savior, ‘they will have the foundation of a strong education, Catholic morals, and confidence in themselves.’

“I fully trust Holy Savior Academy with my children. I know that they are in a safe, academically challenging, fun, and supportive environment and that they will have this stability through eighth grade,” she said, adding, “We are extremely happy at Holy Savior and know that you will be too.”

Holy Savior Academy is located at 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield. The school’s pre-K through eighth grade school day runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday; pre-K 3 and 4 is also offered three days per week. Additionally, free, supervised early care beginning at 7:10 a.m. and a tuition-based after care program for all grades that runs until 6 p.m. are also available.

For additional information on the school, visit or follow ‘Holy Savior Academy’ on Facebook ( To register for the 2017-2018 school year, which begins on Sept. 6, or to schedule a tour, email

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.



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