Ghent United Methodist Preschool (GUMP) opened its doors in 1992 as a Mother’s Morning Out program and a mission of Ghent United Methodist Church. The church renovated the first floor of the education building, installing cabinets and sinks, refinishing floors and remodeling bathrooms, to be in accordance with city and state guidelines. Nancy Thornton, wife of Minister Harold Thornton, served a dual role as director and teacher. By 1994, GUMP had blossomed into a full-fledged preschool, accepting children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. The men of the church built a playground for the school and a full-time administrator was hired.
Our current director, Betty Casey, took the reins in 1997. She is equally devoted to the children in our program and their families. With her guidance, GUMP has become one of the best preschools in the area, known for the value we place on the development of each child based on sound educational practices and Christian values.
Before children enter Kindergarten, they need to develop basic social and emotional skills just as much as reading and math skills. These skills include a sense of trust in the world and in the adults who make it a safe place. When our children leave GUMP, we want them to have the self-confidence that they can do things for themselves and that they can make choices, solve problems, and be creative. We also strive to build on the formation of concern, empathy and compassion for others, and tolerance of others’ differences.
By learning to control emotions, using words rather than actions to show anger and frustration, children also learn social skills such as cooperation and respect for others’ belongings and space. If all of these models are in place, each and every child will enter school with a love of learning and the feeling that they will succeed in life. We want our children to grow up feeling good about themselves. We hope they will find ways to enjoy life, to develop meaningful relationships and to experience life with confidence and assurance. All too often during the growing up process, those wonderful qualities are overcome by inappropriate expectations. Here at GUMP we want our children to enjoy the process of “getting bigger” and exploring, discovering and learning. Life is learning and learning can be fun!