WESTFIELD, NJ — The staff at Wesley Hall Pre-school and Kindergarten, located at the First United Methodist Church in the heart of Westfield, recognizes that parents need a warm, safe, fun and loving environment for their children while they work. That’s why, this September, they will begin serving families with infants and toddlers.
Two rooms at Wesley Hall have recently been renovated — one for babies 6 weeks to 18 months and one for toddlers ages 18 months to 30 months. The teacher-to-child ration for both rooms will be one-to-four.
“I have noticed that there is a big need in our community for childcare for the little ones,” Director Melissa Romelli said.
As with their programs for older children, the full-day and half-day options are available. The school is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.
Established more than 65 years ago, with many staff members whose own children attended Wesley Hall, the interdenominational school has a tradition of fostering each child’s love of learning, personal development and strength of character.
Toddlers at the school will have a socially oriented curriculum where they learn through play, including a music class.
Wesley Hall brings “field trips” into the school, with events including a visit from the penguins of Jenkinsons Aquarium, bird experts and their birds from Raptor Trust, chicken hatching, a dinosaur exhibit, a local dentist, a chance to see a fire truck up-close and a visit from Santa among student’s favorites.
Class sizes at Wesley Hall are small relative to other early childhood centers and many teachers stay with the school for their entire careers.
“There’s really low teacher turnover because of our dedicated staff and their love for the children,” Romelli said.
“The school is traditional and the teachers are warm and loving with the children,” said mom Jessica Kopec. “I love that that the teachers have been there for many years and most of their own children even attended the school. They are truly there for their love of our children and it shows every day. My oldest daughter just graduated Wesley Hall this past June and she is more than prepared for kindergarten and truly has a love for learning. My youngest just finished her first year and will enter the threes in September. She adjusted so quickly, loves going to school every day and is also extremely happy. This is a dream come true for me as a parent. Dropping off your child anywhere can cause so much anxiety, but I know that my kids are in good hands every day, happy and loved.”
Parents say that their children love coming to Wesley Hall each day.
“We have had a wonderful experience at Wesley Hall,” mom Shannon Crooks said. “Our middle daughter started in the 3-year-old Teddy Bear class when we moved from Manhattan five years ago. She stayed at Wesley Hall through kindergarten, and now our youngest daughter just completed the 2-year-old Puppy Class. Every teacher we have encountered at the school has been warm and nurturing. The classrooms are bright and colorful, and the main office is welcoming and organized. My daughters loved going to school, learned a lot and made many friends there. It has been their home away from home. Wesley Hall is a wonderful community of families, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in search of a happy place to send their child.”
The school offers many opportunities for families to get to know each other, including an active parent organization and social events in the evenings, as well as an open-door policy that allows parents to be part of their children’s school life.
“Wesley Hall, their staff and the other families have become like family to us,” Kopec said. “The school lays an amazing foundation for our children to be successful, social and love school from an early age.”
Safety and security are paramount at Wesley Hall. The school boasts state-of-the-art security, with cameras in the hallways and at each entrance, phones in all classrooms and doors that remain locked from the outside until visitors are buzzed in.
Teachers are trained in CPR, first aid and the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and EpiPens. It is a peanut-free environment.