October 9, 2019

Belonging with Purpose – An Episcopal School

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

St. Stephen’s Nursery School celebrates 50 years in 2019! SSNS transitioned to an Episcopal preschool in 2013 and joined the National Association of Episcopal Schools. As part of the school’s Episcopal identity, each class holds monthly Chapel, says grace before lunch, and the school has a commitment to love each child as part of God’s family. The school has also embraced service with an ongoing Diaper Ministry to donate diapers to local food pantries and Christmas Angel Trees to provide Christmas gifts to children in Danbury. Our school has donated more than 4,000 diapers and hundreds of Christmas gifts since we started these programs.

In September the children were introduced to our monthly Chapel program, and they learned that Chapel is when we learn about God. We talked about how God is our Father in Heaven and Jesus is his son and how they love us as a parent loves their child. We introduced the Beginner’s Bible and how the Bible is a special book that teaches us about God. Each child that is new to our school was presented with their own Beginner’s Bible to bring home and share with their family. Our hope is that this provides an important school-home connection and supports each family on their faith journey. Many parents have shared that their child loves to read their Bible at home, and that their whole family says our lunchtime prayer before dinner each night!

For many families, the faith foundation at St. Stephen’s Nursery School is the only “church” their child receives on a regular basis. If you want a child to appreciate art, science or music, you introduce it at a young age. We believe the same is true for a child’s faith. We want them to know there is a God who loves them. SSNS is one of only two faith-based preschools in Ridgefield, and many parents seek out our school so their child will have a school experience that includes Chapel, prayer, and service. Our Episcopal identity has also reached beyond our school walls to impact our families in other ways. We have a Parent Care Team that provides support to SSNS families in crisis through prayer and meals, and several SSNS Moms attend Moms Connect, a faith-based book study at St. Stephen’s Church.

After Chapel in school one day, a child ran to her Mom at pick up and said, “Mommy, guess what? God created EVERYONE!” Those moments, those lessons, are a part of our school every day. We are looking forward to another wonderful year here at St. Stephen’s!

*Belonging with Purpose is a weekly news update of how our purpose is being reflected through the collective and individual lives of St. Stephen’s. If you have a story or experience that you believe illustrates our Vision and Mission, please send it to Ginny Fitzpatrick, gfitzpatrick@ststephens-ridgefield.org   The staff works together to create a schedule for highlighting our ministry as St. Stephen’s Church.

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