Play is a Necessity

By Chelsea Pyne

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – Kay R. Jamison

Next year will see the 50th anniversary of the Sedge Garden United Methodist Preschool (SGUMC). Stationed on a rolling green lawn alongside Sedge Garden Road, its unprecedented success stems from the idea that “all children are children first.” This individual and playful approach encourages each child to grow at his or her own pace– all while enhancing the learning experience.

The goal of the preschool is to guide each child into discovery, experience learning, and explore creativity. SGUMC Preschool has been giving children an excellent, hands-on education grounded on Christian fundamentals since it first opened in 1969. Teachers design a play-based, creative classroom that includes school readiness activities, art, music, phonics, and science exploration to more spiritual activities such as devotions, chapel time, and mission projects.

The daily routine is planned to provide appropriate activities that promote growth and development in all domains. The school emphasizes Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) because children learn at their own pace. Through enriching activities, SGUMC Preschool devises a classroom that encourages social, emotional, spiritual, creative, and cognitive grounds for learning.

Director Judy Hoyle, a former elementary and preschool teacher, and mother of four, knows what it takes to provide an educational environment that works for each child. And it is not just about having a syllabus that “works”– it is about children enjoying the experience and fostering a desire to learn more.

Judy explained, “Sedge Garden Preschool wants to help children develop a ‘love for learning.’ The most creative people in our society have often had a rich, playful early childhood. We meet the children where they are when they come to us, move them along socially, emotionally, and cognitively by planning through play and using research based curriculum.” The sixteen-member staff actively pursues each student’s skills and strives every day to make sure the school is as encouraging as possible.

To be able to create an environment where all these factors can intertwine seamlessly, SGUMC Preschool must hold high standards for the teachers. By attending the annual Western NC Weekday School Conference, Forsyth Preschool Educators Association staff development workshops, and other small group and independent studies throughout the year, the knowledgeable staff can provide the best curriculum possible. Furthermore, by following the notion that education is not the “filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire,” the teachers are always striving for high-quality learning environments.

Parents have had the same feeling for the last five decades. Lindsey Parnell added, “We have been very pleased with Sedge Garden Preschool and are glad that we chose this place for our daughters. The environment is welcoming and friendly not only for the students, but parents as well. All the teachers are easily accessible and give regular updates on the progress of our child in their class. The curriculum is not only enriching and play-based, but Jesus centered as well. Our daughters have learned basic skills such as counting, writing, and cooperating with peers well as Bible stories and prayers. As parents I am very thankful we found Sedge Garden Preschool. It has set a strong foundation and love of learning for our daughters that will guide them through the rest of their educational journey.”  

The congregation of Sedge Garden United Methodist Church has always been a huge supporter for the preschool. All age groups discover a new Bible story each month, starting with the creation story in September. Furthermore, every year George Freeman, the senior pastor, presents the four-year-olds with a children’s Bible as a gift from the church.

Parents also play a vital role in early development; striving to foster these same fundamentals shared at SGUMC Preschool. They are the main reason for the success and ongoing support of the school and church activities. During the early ages of child development, it is crucial for the child to bridge the gap between home and school in order to achieve readiness for elementary school.

Jenna Maroney added, “The amazing team at Sedge Garden UMC Preschool always made us feel like family, even from the moment this worried mom showed up just days before classes started last fall from out of state. My son had no problem transitioning to a new school because he felt the love and encouragement everyone offered! If he was not off to Kindergarten, we would be back this fall. Great place to send your kids to learn and play thanks to the director, teachers, parents, and the church community!”

SGUMC Preschool currently has 140 children ages 18 months to 5 years enrolled on various days of the week. In order to keep the student to teacher ratio low, there are few spots available for the upcoming year. Fall registration is now open until August 31st. Classes are daily from 9am-12pm with optional Lunch and Fun on Wednesday and Thursday. The Transitional 5’s Class is designed to give children who are eligible for kindergarten another year of growth and development: the “gift of time,” before going to elementary school. For tours or more information, call Judy Hoyle at the preschool office 336.788.2230 or visit

794 Sedge Garden Rd.
Kernersville, NC 27284

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