Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
It takes a village to raise a child. The families of OBEN had the great fortune to have Wesley School, under the direction of Carolyn Wilson, in the neighborhood for 35 years. The teachers, staff and parent volunteers, mostly all communality members, provided a host of needs to the neighborhood’s youngest members.
The students received a strong, comprehensive and varied education. Core fundamentals were taught and applied to 2-, 3- and 4 -year-olds. These youngsters were kindergarten ready and had the necessary skills, after attending Wesley, to tackle the rigors of New York State’s Common Core demands. I know because I am a public educator in a neighboring district. Additionally, I had a child graduate from the Wesley program and a 4-year-old enrolled.
Community organizers and members such as the firehouse, doctors, and dentists, came to the school during a specified theme week to explain their jobs, responsibilities and allowed students to have hands-on-experiences with equipment, meeting community members, and learning about healthy lifestyles. Field trips were planned and organized according to the curriculum to reinforce topics taught in the classroom. Students were able to make sense about the world around them from the various modalities of teaching.
Ms. Isabel, the outstanding and talented music teacher, supported and supplemented the curriculum with music education. The students received reinforcement of basic, core fundamental skills through sound and movement.
Under her tutelage and direction, and the organization and planning of the teachers, the Wesley students had their first experience of public performance. The holiday shows gathered generations and neighborhood friends. Doting parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles communed to watch and listen to a fantastic holiday spectacle of merriment and joy, exactly what the holidays should be about.
The music education Wesley School provided spawned countless benefits. The students’ language skills flourished exponentially, thus acquiring reading, writing and speaking skills. Rhythm and pattern thinking emerged, benefiting mathematical thinking. An appreciation for music started, helping create a well-rounded youngster.
I am extremely disappointed to learn about the business decision of agreeing to sell part of the church’s steeple to a cell phone company. As a community member for over 20 years, this has hit a raw nerve with me and my family. The board’s decision to sell out has destroyed a nursery’s school enrollment, and crushed parents’ expectations of their children receiving a well-rounded education. Carolyn Wilson and the Wesley staff always had the best interest and intent - educating the children of OBEN.
The ramifications of the board’s decision to sell space for cells, is yet to be seen. Short term it has killed a school. Long term it has potentially put community residents in harm’s way.
Wesley School was a gem of a school. Its presence in the community promoted family values, meaningful and lasting relationships between the teachers, students and families, and priceless memories for the student alum. OBEN lost a valuable part of its community when the school had to abruptly close its doors at the end of July. Shame on the Community Methodist Church’s board for selling space for cells and selling out on a community.
The parents and staff will continue our crusade to bring Wesley Nursery School back and convince the board that the selling of space for cells was senseless.