Preschool offers spiritual, classroom instruction
LaDonna Hoffman teaches numbers to Jake Wroblewski and Tyler Mosio (left) in the kindergarten class on Aug. 31 at Shining Stars Preschool in Elmwood Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:18AM
ELMWOOD PARK — When it comes to her preschool, LaDonna Hoffman believes it’s all about learning from the good book.
Which means those who enroll their children into Shining Stars Preschool Kindergarten, 2940 N. 75th Court, will get some religion as they improve on their reading and other skills. Hoffman, a former school principal, said she’s addicted to educating young people, and instead of settling into retirement mode, she opened her own preschool business.
“I love working and I love the interaction with the children,” she said. “Teaching is my love.”
The preschool services children from 3 to 5 years of age and rents space from Zoar Evangelical Lutheran Church, right next door. Monthly tuition for a full day of school, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., is $390. For a half day, from 9 a.m.-noon, it is $200 a month. Her school provides before and after care.
She said students in her preschool benefit from small class size, individualized learning and good assessments on their progress. Hoffman teaches the school’s kindergarten students, while another teacher works with the younger children.
She focuses on getting students familiar with reading, teaching them phonics and putting words together.
“We break up into small groups,” she said. “I read every day to the students.”
She also teaches the students traditional social skills. Children are kept busy learning at her preschool.
“They’re not just sitting around and watching television,” she said. “I’m very big about educating; they can play at home.”
There’s also a spiritual component.
“We read Bible stories and sing songs and I play the guitar,” she said. “Each room has an altar and each day we pray that the Lord will bless our work and play, and he does.”’
She said her location, which she rents from the church, was the church’s school. The church still wanted to promote education and spirituality, so it was a perfect fit for Hoffman. “The church wants to tell children about the love of Jesus, so I’m here,” she said.
Teaching is something Hoffman has wanted to do since the third grade, so using some her retirement money to start her own business was unavoidable. Instead of negative comments from family and friends, she said she received plenty of support.
Either way, it’s her calling.
“We inspire and create a love for learning and that’s the most important thing,” she said. “It’s my flourishing finish to my ministry.”