Wesley Academy of Early Learning offers full and part-time learning experiences for infants, toddlers, preschool and after school students.

Our highly qualified teachers meet or exceed the state licensing requirements and are dedicated to providing nurturing environments for their students. The school is equipped with a video surveillance security system, age-appropriate educational resources, and Christian-based materials that will foster a love of learning and will provide a strong academic foundation. A balance of play and direct instruction in small and whole groups allows our students to explore the world around them and acquire skills in all areas of development. Biblical principles are introduced and reinforced through weekly chapel lessons held in the sanctuary.

WAEL students participate in varied, meaningful activities including educational field trips as well as school and church performances. Related arts activities are also offered to WAEL students.

WAEL History

In 1991, Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica opened a Mother’s Morning Out program called Loving Arms. In the early 90’s, the weekday ministry evolved into a half-day preschool program and underwent a name change. An after school program was established at Wesley UMC at Frederica soon after the preschool opened its doors in order to meet the needs of the growing island community. Upon the encouragement of the church and school boards, Wesley Weekday Education Ministry became the first and only full-day, licensed preschool program on St. Simons Island. In 2011, the school underwent another metamorphosis by becoming Wesley Academy of Early Learning where the focus shifted to providing a strong academic foundation while balancing ample imaginative play time. WAEL’s skilled educators received training on how to work with the very young and the importance of exposing infants, toddlers, and preschool students to the arts and sciences in a loving, Christian environment. Despite the program’s changes over the two decades, one thing holds true: Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica’s weekday program is committed to serving the families of Glynn County by offering the best educational opportunities and experiences children need in order to develop into well-adjusted, productive citizens.

Our Mission

Wesley Academy of Early Learning is a ministry of Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica. Our mission is to provide the highest quality early education experience for children in the local community, and to do so in an environment that blends child-initiated learning experiences with character-based, teacher-led objectives. The children are our first priority. Our paramount responsibility is to provide care and education in a Christian setting that is safe, healthy, nurturing, and responsive for each child.

Our Goals

Our goal at WAEL is to provide developmentally appropriate activities that will nurture a child’s growth socially, physically, emotionally, cognitively, linguistically, and spiritually. Children will learn through being actively engaged in varied, meaningful experiences and through having close personal interactions with their peers and adults. We are committed to supporting children’s development and learning; respecting individual differences; and helping children learn to live, play, and work cooperatively. We are also committed to promoting children’s self-awareness, competence, self-worth, resiliency, and physical well-being.

Love and Security: holding and talking to your child often, offering physical affection as well as verbal affirmation, telling your child we are glad he is here

Healthy Self-Concept: noting verbally your child’s abilities and gifts, letting your child work at his own pace, talking about feelings and different ways to problem solve and deal with frustrations, encouraging your child to make his own decisions, letting your child choose activities, letting your child assume responsibilities in and around the school

Physical Needs: providing activities such as building with blocks, working puzzles, stringing beads, painting, cutting with scissors, running, jumping, dancing, rolling/catching/throwing a ball, pedaling riding toys, climbing up steps, sliding, swinging

Learning by Experience: We believe children learn by doing. Therefore, we offer the following opportunities for skill development:

Social Skills:  learning to relate to the group, doing things independently, standing up for personal rights, learning how to share and take turns

Language Skills:  joining in nursery rhymes and songs, relating experiences, describing events, encouraging self-expression in a courteous manner, learning to use words through sharing experiences.

Cognitive Skills:  becoming familiar with colors, shapes, numbers, letters, sounds, names, making comparisons, recognizing similarities and differences, sorting and matching, following directions

Self-Help Skills:  taking care of his person (washing hands, toileting, dressing, feeding), managing snack time, taking care of environment, proper use of equipment and toys, cleaning up after activities, keeping up with clothing/personal items

Our Philosophy

Wesley Academy of Early Learning is a non-profit ministry of Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica. The purpose of Wesley Academy of Early Learning is to provide a Christian environment where children ages 8 weeks through eleven years can receive developmentally appropriate preschool and after school care from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M during the school year and 7:00 AM – 6:00 P.M. in the summer time and on extra days of operation. Wesley Academy of Early Learning is dedicated to loving children in a manner exemplified by Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as they.” – Mark 10:14 (The Living Bible). We not only desire to provide loving care for children, but we genuinely desire to help them learn how to think, grow, and live according to the Will of God. We will strive to instill in each child a love for God and thankfulness to Him for the gift of His Son. We look at each child as a part of our Wesley family and each family can, in turn, look to us to be a part of their extended family. We schedule conferences twice a year and more frequently if needed with families regarding their child’s progress at school. One of the goals of the Academy is to strengthen and support the family. As of December 2012, all lead teachers will hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in early childhood education, child development, or have a Childhood Development Associate degree. To achieve the purpose and goals of the Academy, all employees are required to exhibit strong Christian principles, high moral values, a genuine love for children, and a commitment to teaching children the same principles and values. All employees of Wesley Academy of Early Learning are required to comply with state regulations regarding training in early childhood education, child development, infant and child CPR, first aid, disease control, identifying, reporting and meeting the needs of abused, neglected and deprived children and various other subjects related to job assignments.

Our Curriculum

Our program supports and encourages each child’s individual development: social, emotional, cognitive, language, physical and spiritual. Play is a very important part of our curriculum because research supports play as a powerful means of learning for young children.

Planned within the framework of our philosophy and goals, our curriculum also includes: Bible stories, music, language development, creative art activities, character traits, large and fine motor skill activities, science, shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. In addition, we offer music, chapel, PE, Spanish, and theatre classes to age-appropriate groups. The curriculum provides a framework on which teachers can build an early childhood program that will allow children to grow and develop as Jesus did – in wisdom and stature and in “favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Our skilled staff provides guidance and teacher-directed, child-centered activities to help each child develop language, pre-reading, prewriting, and other foundational skills appropriate to his or her stage of development. The curriculum is developed around themes that provide opportunities for the children to learn about God, Jesus, the Bible, the church, self, family, others, and the natural world.

Each classroom teaching team creates a lesson plan based on the Georgia Early Learning Standards, as well as the interests and developmental stages of the children in each classroom. Some teams choose monthly themes that they create units for that integrate each subject/developmental area. Other teams, especially in the classrooms where the children cannot verbally give their input, follow our school-wide monthly theme with daily-proposed activities that address each area of development. We believe that effective teaching occurs when learning experiences are presented to a child at an appropriate age and on the child’s developmental level. We are committed to this philosophy in our teaching methods. Teachers are required by licensing to post their weekly/monthly plans, and the administrative assistant will also email lesson plans to families each week.

Our Faculty and Staff

At the Academy, the Director is responsible for oversight of all school operations, as well as maintaining relationships with our parents, staff and campus community. The Director welcomes feedback and welcomes concerns and comments. Educated, experienced teachers staff our classrooms. The entire WAEL staff must maintain a clear criminal background check, provide credible references prior to employment, and have been trained in CPR/First Aid and fire safety. The faculty participates in ten hours of professional development/continuing education opportunities throughout the year; these usually include organizational meetings, teacher workshops, and professional conferences.

School Operations

The Academy serves children ages eight weeks old through 5 years of age who need part-time or full-time schooling and care. We also offer summer programs in June and July for ages 8 weeks-3rd grade.

Days and Hours of Operation/Daily Schedule

The Academy is open 7:00 am until 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The preschool operates year round observes the same holidays as the Glynn County School System, including but not limited to, seasonal breaks and teacher in-service days. When severe weather warrants the closing of Glynn County schools, WAEL will also be closed. Your daily schedule (8 hours of care needed for full-time students) is determined at enrollment and is used to determine the flow of staff. It is very important to stay consistent with your child’s stated schedule, but if you need to change your times for arrival and departure please call the office. One-time changes, vacations etc. can be managed directly through your child’s teacher; the office only needs to be notified if you have an on-going time change. School Year Hours are from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Summer School Hours are from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. No adjustment in fees will be made for the days the Academy is closed, nor for days when children are not in attendance.

Office Hours

WAEL’s office is open 8:00am to 4:00am, the Director or Assistant Director will be available to assist you in managing accounts and to address school-related questions.  WAEL uses email to communicate newsletters, parent information and parent group activities and meetings. We check email regularly throughout each business day and will return emails sent after 5pm the following business day. Keep in mind, there are times in which technology fails us. If you do not have a response back within the allotted timelines, please resend or call the office.

Wesley Academy School Board

WAEL operates with the guidance of a dedicated School Board, comprised of parents and administrators. They oversee and implement events and fundraisers for the school, and are always ready to hear your comments and great ideas!

2017-2018 Board Members

Jessica Morris

Marcie Singletary

Nikki Browning

Tiffany Herndon

Steve Patton

Amanda Brayman

Amanda Fortune

Ann Willis

Brittany Crotty

Brooke Carter

Byron Brown

Ginny Strowe

Jessica Morris

Kelli Osteen

Keri Anderson

Lauren Hopkins

Jan Lemasters

Lynn Lewis

Maryellen Aiken

Mimi Luce

Rob Purvis

Sarah Callaway

Tonya Doss

Alumni Association

Are you a former student or teacher of Loving Arms, Wesley Weekday Education Ministry, Wesley After School Program, or Wesley Academy of Early Learning? Please contact the school at 912-638-5072 or email the Director to find out about an exciting opportunity to reconnect with your first teachers and classmates. Tax deductible donations can be made in honor or memory of Wesley Alumni staff or students. All donations will be used to establish a Whale Warrior scholarship fund which will provide financial assistance for families who apply. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support!