St. Matthew's Cooperative Nursery expanding

St. Matthew Cooperative Nursery is expanding. Since 1972, the Co-op Nursery School has served 3- and 4-year-olds in the community through a well-balanced program that stimulates the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual growth of each child in a caring, Christian environment. The belief is that young children learn best in an atmosphere of creative, exploratory activities where each feels safe and comfortable as a child loved by God and each can develop at his/her own pace and fulfill their own potential.

Following the celebration in 2012 of its 40th anniversary, the co-op began to expand its programs and its facility. During the summer months, the first floor education wing of St. Matthew Lutheran Church will be renovated to include a second classroom. In addition, a "Mommy and Me" class for 2-year-olds will be offered beginning in the fall. All the teachers hold degrees in early childhood education or elementary education and all staff members complete child care classes required by Maryland State Department of Education.

During the Mommy & Me class for 2-year-olds and a parent, which is scheduled for Wednesday mornings, the teacher will guide the children in learning to interact socially with other children in an age appropriate, loving, Christian environment, while learning through play. With the comfort and security of knowing that Mommy is nearby, the children will explore art and sensory experiences, painting, drawing, watercolors, play dough and gluing as well as music and movement, instruments and puppets. Circle Time will engage the children with stories, songs and movement to stimulate their cognitive growth and increase their attention span. The goal is to provide the children and their mothers a positive, learning experience that is fun.

Classes for 3-year-olds meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Parents may choose to enroll in the co-op program and help in the classroom on a rotating schedule or in the non-co-op program with no required Helping Parent days. During the current school year, the 3s have made applesauce, learned about colors, shapes, the alphabet, community helpers, animals, Noah's Ark and learned many songs, dances and finger plays and taken several field trips. The fenced playground is a favorite opportunity to work on building healthy bodies.

New this fall is a five-day morning class for 4-year-olds, which is only offered as a Non-Co-op Program. A three-day morning class for 4-year-olds, meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, is also offered. Parents may choose the co-op program or the non-co-op program for this class. The co-op program requires parent helpers in the classroom on a rotating schedule. The non-co-op program has no required Helping Parent days. In all non-co-op classes a teacher's aide assists the teacher. The typical day for 4-year-olds includes Circle Time, centers, crafts, enjoying a snack brought from home, storytime and the playground. They experience opportunities to build their academic skills in preparation for kindergarten and enjoy many field trips. A special music teacher and a Chapel Time teacher meet with each class once a month to enrich their musical knowledge and their understanding of God's love for all.

To schedule a tour of St. Matthew Co-op Nursery, or for more information on its programs, tuition and enrollment procedures, contact the director, 410-838-3178, ext.108. Visit or find it on Facebook. A limited number of openings are still available for the fall classes.

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