YARDLEY BOROUGH >> St. Andrew’s Nursery School has been forced to close operations due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, after a six-month temporary closure that began in March 2020.

St. Andrew’s Nursery School has been a mainstay of the Yardley Borough community for more than 55 years. The school opened its “Big Red Doors” in 1964 and has been introducing local children to the love of learning ever since. The school, located in downtown Yardley along the banks of historic Lake Afton, was founded by members of the church and community when few other preschools existed in Yardley.

“My adult children went to the school,” said Kathy Royal, Rector’s Warden of St. Andrew’s Church and a 30 year resident of Yardley who recently retired from teaching in the Pennsbury schools. “This is a sad day for us all. We are so profoundly grateful for the years of joy and learning at the nursery school, and the teachers who have been such a huge part of the heart and soul of the school.”

The school was fully nonprofit and was operated by teachers with more than half a century of combined experience in early childhood education at the school, Leach said.

Linda Knowles, who has been at the school for more than 30 years, was the 3s and 4s teacher. Students loved to sit on her lap and hear a story!

Jessica Seda was the 3s and 4s assistant teacher, with more than eight years in the classroom. She was always ready for a hug from one of her “loveys” (her term of endearment for her students).

Susan Condee, the Pre-K teacher, has held her position for more than 25 years. Students loved cooking with her in the classroom and performing in her holiday plays, especially the Nativity Pageant that was held every December.

The staff of the school would like to to sincerely thank all of their families, past and present.

“For years, parents have entrusted us with the care of their most valuable assets — their children — and it has been an honor to serve them, to get to know their families and to help their children grow in preparation for kindergarten,” said Marie Leach, School Secretary and spokeswoman. “We could not have wished for a better group to work with; the students and families have enriched our lives and made the school great.”

The nursery school also regrets that they will miss out on getting to know all of their new enrollees, who did not have the chance to fully become part of the St. Andrew’s Nursery School family, Leach said.

St. Andrew’s Nursery School was unique in its philosophy as an “old-fashioned” nursery school -- the school’s motto was “A Traditional Nursery School ... with Progressive Ideas.”

You would not find any computers, televisions or other electronics in the classroom. The goal at St. Andrew’s was to create a warm, nurturing environment in which a child could develop a positive self-image, successfully make the transition from home to school and discover that learning is fun. Students accomplished all this through doing fun crafts, art projects and lots of pretend play with peers ... with a little learning thrown in (the teachers were particularly proud that each student going off to kindergarten could write their name and identify most letters and numbers), Leach said.

Throughout the years, the school has been proud to provide a place where children could have the opportunity to learn and grow, and where they could understand themselves and their world.

Hundreds of little minds have been shaped in the classrooms of the nursery school -- even teenagers who haven’t been preschoolers in a decade would run into their old teacher while out and about and they would say “Hi, Mrs. Knowles!,” or “Hi, Mrs. Condee!,” showing the great impact these women have had on their students, even years after graduation, Leach said.

Bob Anderson, a longtime St. Andrew’s member whose adult daughter attended the preschool, played Santa Claus for the kids every Christmas and the Easter Bunny in the spring. He said that “the nursery school was a community of joy for kids and adults alike. In saying ‘Ho, Ho, Ho,’ Santa was simply expressing the preschool’s every day cheerfulness.”

St. Andrew’s Nursery School’s small class sizes made the school feel like a family. Students, parents and siblings could really get to know each other and the staff.

Many lifelong friendships in Yardley have begun at the nursery school, whether it be between moms who strike up a conversation in the parking lot at dropoff or staff members who became best friends after decades of working together. The staff have also really developed an affection for all the children who have been in their care over the years.

“There will definitely be a hole in our hearts due to the closure of the school,” Leach said.

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