Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 29, 2013

Progress Report: First United Methodist Church offers curriculum to prep kids for rigors of elementary school

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — When a Readiness School was first proposed at Jacksonville's First United Methodist Church, organizers wanted a program that not only  focused on small classes led by nurturing staff, but one that shared Christian values with their tiny charges.

After four decades, it's safe to say that the program is a resounding success.

“It started in 1971 … and the school's reputation has grown tremendously over the years,” said Readiness School Director Raegan Moatassem. “Now we've got second generation students coming here.”

According to the church website, www.jacksonville-methodist.org, Methodist Readiness School “seeks to meet the needs of young children and their families by providing a Christian program that addresses all areas of development: Intellectual, social, physical, emotional and spiritual.

“The school seeks to facilitate the child's awareness of self and the world, to foster a positive self-image, and to develop a strong sense of self-worth and self-confidence.”

The program offers a small teacher-child ratio led by highly qualified, experienced staff that Moatassem describes as “very nurturing.”

An age-appropriate curriculum is offered, with developmentally appropriate materials employed; learning centers are provided and music programs offered, as well as chapel time for students.

“I feel that our program prepares a child for school academically, socially … he is independent and can do things for himself, and is socially able to get along with other children,” Moatassem said. “We teach them colors and numbers and the alphabet; we focus on pre-reading (activities) like recognizing letters and sounds of letters.”

There is a half-day program for preschool-age children whose parents want to prepare them for “big kid” school, as well as a regular day care option.

“Mom wants to get him ready for kindergarten, so she has the option of placing her three- or four-year-old in a (morning) half-day preschool program, or she can enroll him in daycare – we want to meet the needs of every family who comes to us,” Moatassem explained, adding that hours of operation are from 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The year-round program averages about 70-75 children each year, ranging in ages eight weeks to four years old.

Tuition for the half-day Pre-K programs for 3- and 4-year-olds are $220 per month, based on an 8:15-11:25 a.m. schedule five days a week, with extended care offered through 5:30 p.m. for $15 daily per child.

Full day care – five days a week, from 7:15 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m. – costs $105 for children ages 3-4.

For children under age three, the cost is $105 per week for full day care services; the cost rises to $130 weekly for infant care.

A $100 per child non-refundable registration fee also is assessed.

The Readiness School is located at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, 1031 SE Loop 456, led by Director Raegan Moatassem.

To learn more,

contact her at

903-586-7756 or visit www.jacksonvillemethodist.org.