4 Year Old Class – The Dragonflies
This class fosters an atmosphere of cooperative learning. We reinforce the social skills already acquired and expand the learning skills necessary to successfully transition to Kindergarten. The teacher/student ratio is 2:18.
This class meets 3+ days per week. Children enroll for Mon/Weds/Fri or Tues/Thurs/Fri, and have the option to add a 4th or a 4th & 5th day to create the schedule that works best for you and your child. We also offer the additional class option of Lunch Bunch, which extends the school day until 1pm.
Miss Melissa — Lead 4s Teacher M/T/W/Th/F
Melissa Hutton Baglien came to Valley Christian Preschool (VCP) with nearly 20 years of experience working in early childhood education. After growing up in the mid-west and earning her Master’s degree in Christian Education from Wheaton College, she moved to Oregon to become the Pastor of grade school ministries at Salem Alliance Church. Her past experience also includes working as a teacher, nanny, and language tutor. Prior to teaching at VCP, Melissa was a lead teacher in the Head Start preschool program for the Salem-Keizer school district.
In her free time, Melissa enjoys traveling, cooking, and drinking really good tea. She is an avid reader and buys more books than she should. She and her husband, Jacob, enjoy hiking with their dog, Dante, camping, and exploring the beautiful northwest.
She loves working with children because of the joy they bring to her life and the ways they make her laugh on a daily basis. Melissa appreciates their curiosity to learn about new things and the questions they ask.
Miss Diane – 4s Teacher M/T/W/Th/F
Diane Benz brings many years of teaching experience, warmth and wisdom to our Dragonfly classroom. Diane grew up in NE Portland and attended catholic schools for elementary, high school and college. Miss Diane began teaching when her youngest daughter started kindergarten, 27 years ago! In the span of her career, she has taught preschool, kindergarten, and both first and second grade. Before teaching at Valley Christian Preschool, Diane taught for eight years at Beaverton Christian Preschool in the 4 year-old and kindergarten classrooms. Diane shares; “I find it very rewarding to teach in the fours classroom. Four was my favorite little age with my own children.”
Diane and her husband have raised four children and are now the joyful grandparents to seven grandchildren, with an eighth on the way! One of Diane’s granddaughters will be attending VCP beginning this fall in our 2 1/2 year-old Grasshopper classroom.
Diane enjoys cooking and considers herself a “foody” at heart. She finds great pleasure in cooking and baking for others. Diane also loves the outdoors and keeps active walking, riding her bike and working in her yard. She loves the flowers! She most often walks or rides her bike to school each day.
Miss Marah – 4s Lead Teacher Fridays
We are thrilled to have Marah Murphy join the Valley Christian Preschool staff following her retirement from a 19-year career teaching at Small Friends Preschool in the Garden Home neighborhood. Miss Marah has been a regular substitute teacher here in VCP’s 4s classroom over the last year and has enjoyed connecting with the students and their families. Leading one of VCP’s 4s classrooms on Fridays is the perfect scenario for Marah and for our teaching team.
“I have a passion for teaching small children through play and I love interacting with them and helping prepare them for their next step in their education.”
Marah has been an avid supporter of Valley Christian Preschool for many years and brings a wealth of knowledge about the overall program. She was a member of the founding Commission that developed and launched Valley Christian Preschool back in 1996. She also served on the VCP Preschool Board as a church liaison for many years. We feel fortunate to now have her as a member of our teaching team.
Miss Melissa – 4s Teacher Fridays
This will be Melissa Hughes-Aas’ third year teaching at Valley Christian Preschool. Miss Melissa completed her undergraduate studies at UC Santa Barbara and holds a Masters in Business Administration in Health Services Management. She came to VCP with 6 years of experience working in the public schools with children ages Kindergarten-3rd grade. Miss Melissa first became a part of the VCP staff as a substitute teacher and spent time teaching in all of our classrooms. Her twins are VCP alumni and she has fond memories of their time at Valley Christian Preschool. She has a strong appreciation for all the learning and growth that occurs during the preschool years and it is evident that she truly enjoys and embraces this precious phase of childhood.