Despite school closing, Pre-K program continues to thrive and grow at Annunciation

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When the Diocese of Buffalo announced its decision in January 2014 to close Annunciation School in Elma at the conclusion of the 2013-14 school year but allow pre-kindergarten to continue, few believed the Pre-K program could continue to thrive. After all, most of the families enrolled in the program enjoyed the seamless transition from Pre-K to kindergarten and beyond under one roof.

But with a new name, new instructors and a new outlook, the Pre-K program for 3 and 4/5 year olds continues to thrive and grow. In fact, Pre-K4/5 will expand next year into a five-day program, and before- and after-school hours will also be added, according to Annunciation’s pastor, Father Eugene Ulrich.

Annunciation’s newly named Strong Start program beginning in September will offer Pre-K 3 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and the Pre-K4/5 program will expand and be offered from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Also in 2015-16, the program will add before- and after-school options with drop-off beginning at 7:30 a.m. weekdays and a “lunch bunch” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“Our Pre-K is not a babysitting service, but a well-rounded, age-appropriate program that offers students a head start as they begin their educational career,” said Program Director Carrie D’Attilio. “In additional to being a fun and Christ-centered learning community, Strong Start offers Handwriting Without Tears, Building Blocks Math and a literacy program based on New York State standards.”

A 10 percent tuition discount is offered for families enrolling more than one child in the Strong Start program, located at 7580 Clinton St. in Elma.

Tours and shadowing opportunities for parents and children are available Monday through Friday by appointment. For more information, please call 681-1327, e-mail or visit

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