Genuine wonder in response to ordinary things — that is what Ms. Cheryl Prendergast loves most about teaching Preschool at Mount Alvernia Academy. “Working with three-year-olds is the best!” she exclaimed.
“Experiencing the world through children’s eyes helps me see all the wonder in the world and appreciate many things that adults take for granted. Most three-year-olds are pretty funny, too!”
That spirit of wonder that Ms. Prendergast lovingly cultivates at the Preschool is felt the minute you walk through the main doors. Watch carefully and you will see how the pure joy of a child transforms into a spirit of caring for others. “The purpose of a Nursery program is for children to learn to be part of a group,” Ms. Prendergast stated. “We spend our time learning to socialize, share, and wait our turn so most of our learning comes from interacting within our class.” Through interaction with one another, students in the Preschool take their first steps up the ladder of learning and discover the importance of community.
It is that special sense of community so prevalent here at Mount Alvernia Academy that drew Ms. Prendergast to the school when she visited for the first time. “The minute I drove up Mt. Alvernia Road and saw the campus, I was in awe,” she remembered. “After meeting Mrs. Kelley (Mount Alvernia Academy’s Preschool Director), seeing the fantastic preschool space, and learning about the school, I knew I wanted to be here.”
Ms. Pendergast, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University, and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from American International College, had previously worked at dedicated elementary schools and missed being part of a larger school community. “My first job out of college was working in an elementary school. I loved watching my students grow and seeing their families through the years,” she said. “I missed that part of teaching.”
Ms. Prendergast’s enthusiasm for teaching and love for school communities is rooted in her own childhood school experiences. “I loved all my teachers in elementary school and they all were positive influences in my life. I always loved school so it was only natural I became a teacher. Three of the six children in my family are teachers so it might be genetic.”
Teaching may be sewn into her very being, but Ms. Prendergast knows the importance of creating an environment where a child’s natural inclinations can grow and flourish. For her, there is a lot to love about Mount Alvernia, but the biggest thing is the community. “I always see students, teachers, and parents helping each other out. My coworkers are wonderful, our campus is beautiful, and our students are the best!” Ms. Prendergast and the entire Preschool staff play a vital role in making Mount Alvernia Academy a truly special place for students to begin their academic journey.