By ANGEL KANE
Drive down West Main Street in Lebanon these days and you will see that the school house (next to the public library) is in session. That’s because the doors of Cedars Preparatory Academy are open year round.
Founded in April of 2010 with only three staff members, in one year, Mary Beard’s preschool and elementary school has made its mark in Wilson County. Today, there are eleven staff members, including Mary, Brittany Allen, Siv Hayward, Cody Harris, Shanda Presley, Michelle Bonner, Emma Cadena, Sue Coble, Veronica Cadena, Pat Hayward and Rachel Farley.
The warm, inviting, home-like setting is what everyone notices as they walk through the doors of the one-story school house, which was built in 1998. It has an old-time charm that is often lost in larger, school environments. And that is exactly the kind of feeling CPA is hoping entices parents to take a look inside its doors. “Our student’s families become our family. I work one on one with
parents so that they can be the best they can be, to encourage their children to be the best that they can be. It starts at home and so it’s important that our school feels like home,” explains Mary.
But once inside, one quickly realizes the school is all about a strong curriculum, arts and foreign languages. As Mary, who has over 26 years of educational experience, notes “studies show that teaching a second language to children at an early age increases test scores, so at our school even our two year olds learn Spanish.”
Cedars Preparatory combines Back to Basics with Progressive philosophies of education. “We have a strong Phonics based reading program with Bob Jones and use Saxon Math which is an excellent math program, where great results in testing follow. Our children are also provided with 30 to 60 minutes each day of being taught critical thinking and problem solving. We want to teach the students how to think, more than what to think.”
“Our motto is begin with the end in mind and as a parent I know we often focus on which college our child might attend or what our child might grow up to be. But based on my life experiences, I now realize, where they start is just as important as where they finish.”
And one thing is certain; CPA is dedicated to focusing on the needs of younger students. “Research shows that the most important years of a child’s brain development, as well as a child’s ability to develop appropriate learning patterns, are from infancy to five years old. We strive to provide early learning education specifically detailed to each child. We don’t try to be all things to all people. We endeavor to be the best in our field.”
“Our school gives young children the best head start possible and then they are ready for the next step, be it another private, larger school or public school. A good strong foundation is key and I can tell you from my experience educating hundreds of children, that those who are educated in small one-on-one environments go on to succeed in any other environment their parent’s choose to enroll them in.”
Students at CPA participate in many courses including math, science, music, art, reading, language, Spanish, social studies, heritage studies and computer. Their preschool program is tailored for ages 2 to 5 and classes are held from Kindergarten through 4th grade. Afterschool and summer programs are for children ages 2 to 12.
“I believe children should be learning year round. So with that in mind, we started an educational (but fun) summer program. Each week has a different theme. For instance we have Bug Mania week, then Pirates of the Cedars, Survivor week, Beach week and so on. The kids have fun while learning in a protected environment. And we take full opportunity of the Public Library located just next door. Our students participate in all the Summer Reading programs offered, which is a fantastic resource.”
Mary exudes enthusiasm as she notes that “we are really excited about our focus on young children here at CPA. It’s taken me many years to decide to concentrate 100% of my efforts on younger children. However, after seeing so many of my students grow up and succeeding, I have no doubt found my calling.”
To learn more about Cedars Preparatory Academy go to www.thecedarsprep.com. Or stop by and see them at 410 West Main Street, Lebanon or call them at 547-4612.