Preschoolers Complete the EFSC Life Cycle

September 18, 2014 - A preschool must be doing something right when its graduates return with their own children and even become students at the college.

That’s what is happening at the Child Care Development Centers on all four of the Eastern Florida State College campuses where the centers’ inaugural batch of preschool graduates, now college age, are returning as students, parents and employees.

Former students and teachers gather to reflect on
their time at the Melbourne Montessori School.
Bottom row, L-R: Senna Murello, Nadiri
Wideman and Morgan Enoch. Back row, L-R:
Ann Ashby, Bertha Wideman, Chris Saling and
Paula Eastman.

For returning student Kyle Bennette, deciding where to enroll his child was easy.

“My daughter’s mother and I both attend the Melbourne Campus so having her at the Montessori school is so convenient. I know the teachers from when I attended. It’s just a great feeling having the people I trust take care of my daughter,” he said.

“I believe this full cycle of our preschoolers returning to our college gives credit to their early education experience in our program and the lifelong relationships formed during that time,” said Christine Saling, director/regional coordinator, EFSC Child Development Centers.

“We’re a family here,” said Ann Ashby, lead preschool teacher, who’s taught at the Montessori School on the Melbourne Campus for 19 years.


That family atmosphere is special for Melbourne Montessori graduate Nadiri Wideman whose mother taught his preschool class.

“Nadiri called me ‘Mrs. Wideman’ just like the rest of his class,” said Melbourne Montessori Site Specialist Bertha Wideman, who has taught at the preschool since 2,000. “My son received a very strong foundation here. Children are like computers. They come to us, equipped with the hardware and we provide them with the software.”

Another Montessori graduate, Morgan Enoch, was also instructed by her own mother, Paula Eastman, now an EFSC International Advisor.

“I don’t know life outside of here,” said Enoch, a freshman who also holds a student assistant position in the Melbourne Communications Office. “I used to visit my mom here after school and got to know a lot of people. The people I work with here are like family.”

Returning student Senna Murello also holds a student assistant position in the Melbourne Campus Montessori School, where she was once a preschool student with Nadiri Wideman. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in criminology and hopes to work one day with children in the judicial system.

“I want to help kids who are in bad situations,” said Murello.

The desire to help others could have been implanted during Murello’s time at the center.

“We teach our students the four R's,” said Ashby:  “Respect yourself, Respect others, Respect the materials and Responsibility.”

“We’re proud of our preschoolers,” said Saling. “They grow up to be good citizens.”

The EFSC Child Development Centers and Montessori School accept children from 15 months to 5 years.