Teacher Spotlight – Andrea Mele
Andrea Mele has 16 little smiling four- and five-year-old’s she gets to greet every day. They give fabulous hugs and ask amazing questions.
“They come in and for many, this is their first introduction to school,” says Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten teacher Andrea Mele. “They are little sponges! I love watching them grow physically, spiritually and academically over the year.”
At the beginning of the year, Mele describes that students come in eager to learn and the first thing they learn is a classroom structure and an established routine. The focus of VPK is to prepare the students for Kindergarten. The focus for these youngest Lourdes Academy students is:
· Perform activities at the same time every day
· Learn about school and social rules
· Develop their ability to focus on a task for a certain length of time
· Playtime with peers
· Develop language, literacy and math skills
In addition, Catholic school provides a faith-based education to the students that includes memorizing prayers like the Our Father and Hail Mary and helping them to understand what these prayers mean. The students learn about each of the seasons of the church and are introduced to saints.
“I love that we can talk about God freely at Lourdes Academy,” Mele says. “We can pray with the kids, and that makes this school so different for me.”
In fact, Mele sent her daughter to Lourdes Academy for 11 years – starting at age three and through 8th grade. She now attends Seabreeze High School. Mele’s oldest, Bella, spent 5th-8thgrade at Lourdes Academy and graduated from Fr. Lopez Catholic High School.
“I wanted my kids to have the religious foundation,” recalls Mele. “I loved the community feel of the church and the school. We had a sense of belonging, and the teachers really do care about these children like family.”