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Three-year-olds hit the books
Fredericksburg Academy announces preschool program for 3-year-olds, which has become more popular in recent years.

 Ryan Keener reads a Clifford the Big Red Dog storybook to a baby doll on his lap at the 3-year-old preschool class at the Caroline County church.
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Date published: 11/29/2011


Heather Miller said her youngest daughter was very demanding as a 3-year-old.

But she said she saw changes in Caroline, now 5, after enrolling her in Fredericksburg United Methodist Church's preschool for 3-year-olds.

"She learned when it was acceptable and when it was not to take what she wanted," said Miller, who lives in Stafford County. "She couldn't just have whatever she wanted. It really enforced following the rules for her."

Not to mention, Caroline learned numbers, colors and how to write her name, among other things.

Many Fredericksburg-area churches and private schools offer preschool for 3-year-olds, which experts say has become more popular in recent years.

Fredericksburg Academy, a private school in Spotsylvania County, is starting a program next August.

"I think everybody's trying to get ready for the SOLs [Standards of Learning tests] and getting the kids up to speed with their fine motor and gross motor and all of that," said Fredericksburg United Methodist Church preschool teacher Kim Moss.

Paula Dustin, who is the director of the Round Oak Baptist Church Weekday Preschool in Caroline County, said preschool for 3-year-olds is a growing trend among churches.

"It's such a fun age group," said Dustin, who has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. "They're busy. They're talking. They're excited about any little thing. It's like a fresh palette you have to work with."

Head Start programs--federally funded preschool for children from low-income families--also offer classes for 3-year-olds.

This year, Stafford Head Start has 68 3-year-olds and another 62 on its waiting list, said Head Start Director Kathyrn Massie.


As of last week, Fredericksburg Academy had received 45 inquiries and four applications for its program for 3-year-olds since it was announced earlier this month.

"We've been seeing an increase in the amount of families who are looking for a younger starting age," said Fredericksburg Academy Head of School Karen Moschetto. "We felt like, with the amount of inquiries we were getting, that we were really missing an opportunity to get these students into our school sooner."

FA has had preschool for 4-year-olds since the school opened in 1992.

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Many Fredericksburg-area churches offer preschool for 3-year-olds, including Round Oak Baptist Church in Caroline County and Fredericksburg United Methodist Church.

Round Oak Baptist Church's preschool for 3-year-olds, which meets three days a week, costs $110 per month.

Fredericksburg United Methodist Church's program for 3-year-olds, which meets two days a week, is $120 per month. The Methodist Church also has preschool classes three times a week for older 3-year-olds for $165 per month.

Parents interested in Fredericksburg Academy's new preschool for 3-year-olds have several pricing options per school year. They are:


For five days a week from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.


For five days a week from 8 a.m. until noon.


For three days a week from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.


For three days a week from 8 a.m. until noon


For two days a week from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.


For two days a week from 8 a.m. until noon

Parents can fill out applications at fredericksburgacademy.org.