Construction workers are putting the final touches on Kennedy Hall of the new St. Andrew’s Early Childhood Center while teachers are moving into their classrooms in preparation for Sunday’s ribbon-cutting. Image: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Special to Find It In Fondrenâ„¢

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School will hold a blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday, August 14, to officially open a new, state-of-the-art Early Childhood Center on the school’s South Campus, located at 4120 Old Canton Road in Jackson. The event begins at 3pm.

This new facility is evidence both of St. Andrew’s commitment to education in the City of Jackson and to providing a world-class, innovative education in the state of Mississippi. The Early Childhood Center will serve St. Andrew’s youngest learners in pre-K3, pre-K4, and kindergarten. Dean and Dean Associates / Architects of Jackson worked closely with St. Andrew’s early childhood faculty when designing the center that is unparalleled to anything in the region.

The Early Childhood Center is 32,000 square feet and includes Lois Kennedy Hall and Gertrude C. Ford Hall where there are 14 new classrooms in addition to new spaces for library, chapel, art, science, world languages, dance, and music.

Every classroom and every space is designed to optimize the students’ learning experience. Head of Lower School Tim Alford says, “The vision was to design spaces that accentuate and expand what we already do so well in early childhood education. In their formative years, children learn by interacting with their environments, by moving and touching, and by playing with their peers.”

In this new Center, every student will have access to three essential learning spaces:

-  a classroom that is warm and inviting, full of light, feels like home, and has a loft;
-  a large common room in each grade level designed to be flexible that can accommodate different learning experiences — “imagine teaching children about healthy foods and being able to convert
the common room into a child-sized grocery store,” explains Alford;
– immediate entry to the outdoors with classroom-accessed courtyards and gardens.

“Social and emotional skills are the foundation for future academic success,” explains Alford. “There’s also a new playground that’s accessible through chutes dug directly into the ground. I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of the amount of fun our kids are going to have at school.”

In addition to the Early Childhood Center, construction of a new 65,000 square foot Athletic Center is underway on the school’s Ridgeland campus. Both projects are part of the first stage of the school’s Forward Saints campaign. “St. Andrew’s has long been recognized as the academic leader in Mississippi and is among the top independent schools nationally,” says Head of School George Penick. “We are thrilled to grow our outstanding programs through this bold vision for the school.” The three stages of the campaign will add more than $30 million in new and renovated facilities that will impact every student at every grade level. Almost $11 million has been raised towards the projects, and soon the school plans to move into the second stage projects.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a coeducational college preparatory day school serving students pre-k through twelfth grade on campuses in Jackson and Ridgeland, Mississippi. Founded in 1947 and grounded in the Episcopal tradition, St. Andrew’s is a close-knit community of approximately 1,200 students. The school emphasizes a comprehensive approach to education through outstanding academic, athletic, and artistic programs. St. Andrew’s has excellent college placement, a nationally-recognized global studies program, and a strong commitment to being a diverse and inclusive community.