Updates: September 2017

constructions workers replacing sidewalkWe’re in the middle of renovations to our building and expect to open a new community preschool in January 2018.

When complete, the school will accommodate twenty 3-year olds and twenty 4-year olds. We plan to offer instruction Monday through Friday, with half-day or full-day options, including before and after care, with fall, spring, and summer semesters.

We aim to serve students from among the many growing families of diverse backgrounds here in our community. Given the diversity of economic situations in our neighborhood, that means that our fee structure is not yet finalized but will aim to make school participation accessible to people of varying means.

Given the diversity of language and culture in our neighborhood, that means that our classes will mostly be taught in English but by staff who are bi-lingual and can also offer support in Spanish.

Given the diversity of faith practices in our neighborhood, that means the school will be grounded in our Christian understanding that every child is beloved in the eyes of God and is endowed with inherent dignity and worth, while also allowing students to engage with the full variety of faiths in respectful and age-appropriate ways.

Channel Freeman-Johnson, Teacher

Greetings! My name is Channel Freeman-Johnson, but all my friends call me “Nellie.” I’ve been caring for young children for 17 years. I received my formal training and education from Sojourner Douglass College. There I received my certification in Early Childhood Education.  I also hold a certification in Infant and Toddler Care. Currently I am studying Early Childhood Education Administration at Ashford University.

My teaching style is inspired by the principles of Dr. Magda Gerber.  Dr. Gerber states, “Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better.” It is my greatest hope to foster an environment that is rooted in developmentally appropriate practices, where children are free to explore and investigate the beautiful world around them.

Melissa Parker, Teacher

Melissa Parker attended the College of Wooster in Ohio where she studied Spanish and political science. She graduated in 2009 from the University of Massachusetts in Boston, where she designed a major in Contemporary Latin American Culture and Politics. After moving to Washington, DC, she completed courses in TESL through Oxford Seminars at George Washington University.

She has experience working in media, educational television, documentary and independent film production, editing and transcription, environmental and nonprofit organizations and in education as a volunteer ESL and citizenship instructor, youth mentor and tutor, and most recently, as a preschool teacher for the bilingual, nature focused Highlandtown Preschool.

She leads a community women’s group called the Hampden Hive and enjoys singing and poetry. 

Nancy Pate, Aide

Nancy has always enjoyed being around preschoolers, and when her youngest child was 1, she started working part time in his preschool and loved it!

Nancy has continued to work in the Early Childhood Field as both a teacher and an administrator. She believes that non-profit, church based programs give a most positive experience for young children. The classroom experience in the first few years should provide a respectful, gentle, and fun play-based environment. 

Nancy moved to Baltimore from Charlotte, NC in December 2014. She has been with the Highlandtown Preschool since January 2019. We are grateful for her wisdom, patience, and love.

Pastor Mark Parker

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark Parker is a native of Baltimore City. He has served as pastor of Breath of God Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, since 2009. Breath of God has roots in Highlandtown going back to 1900, but is always looking to find new ways to serve our neighbors and share God’s love within our community. Mark and his family live in Highlandtown, and his daughter was one of the first students at the preschool.

Mark has been involved with young people and education in a variety of capacities since 2000. During college and graduate school those efforts included two mentoring programs, a high school leadership program, and running the summer camp at the Downtown Sailing Center. Here in Southeast Baltimore, Mark helped to launch a summer camp and after school program, supports our local public schools, and is involved with youth sports. He particularly appreciates our existing partnerships with our local schools, Soccer Without Borders, Soccer Shots, the Southeast Youth Collaborative, and the Refugee Youth Project.

Mark is dedicated to this mission of nurturing children, preparing them for success in school, supporting working families, and providing equitable and just access to education for children of all backgrounds.