While the flow of school is back to normal at Archbishop Bergan Catholic School there is a new wrinkle, an Early Childhood Education Center.

Bergan principal Dan Koenig said the center is a ministry that was identified through the school and parish’s Strategic Planning Process. He also said the parish and school leadership felt the need to minister to this particular age of children and realized that they were not currently able to serve these young people.

“We have always had a positive preschool program housed at Bergan Elementary, but felt that we needed to create a more academically rigorous pre-kindergarten experience so that students had a solid footing as they began their elementary academic coursework in kindergarten,” Koenig said. “This caused us to decide how to serve the children that would need preschool instead of pre-kindergarten so the thought of a separate preschool program was developed.”

Koenig said the Early Childhood Center will house a number of distinct programs.

“The Little Knights Preschool will provide daycare for 3-, 4-, and 5-year old children in an academic, faith filled environment,” he said. “Our before-school and after-school care programs will assist working parents in knowing that their child is in great hands from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center will also assist parents on days that Bergan does not have school, early dismissal and summer programming in 2017.”

The preschool was the brainchild of many people, including parents, current staff, board members, as well as people with day care center and in-home day care experience.

“We discussed, evaluated and made suggestions about the feasibility and possibility of opening an Early Childhood Education Center,” Koenig said. “Sites were considered with all signs pointing to the former St. Patrick’s Elementary/Community Center on the corner of Fourth and Union Streets in downtown Fremont being the unanimous pick.”

The Director, Jen Missel, was hired in early June and she has been working with the help of Finance Director, Brook Zakovec, Advancement Director Bonnie Nebuda, Assistant Director Meghan Smith and Child Care Coordinator Becky Miller to get the center ready for Monday’s opening.

After a few days up and running, Koenig said that they’ve been tested to see if the resources have been utilized properly.

“And they are,” he said. “We’ve been giving a lot of tours as there is a great amount of interest in it.”

Koenig said the success of this program is definitely a team effort.

“Director Jen Missel and her crew are doing a phenomenal job of making sure the kids are being cared for,” he said.