St. George Children’s Academy, located in St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Klockner Road in Hamilton, is unique because it is the only pre-school and kindergarten in the area that offers a bilingual program in both Greek and English.
Founded in September, 2011, the school teaches half-day and full-day classes for children ages 2 through 6 with an emphasis on Greek language and culture. All of their current students speak English as their main language, and are taught Greek at school. While most students have partial Greek descent, some do not, and it is not a requirement for attending.
Class sizes are small, with a better than 5 to 1 ratio. Tuition is very reasonable, ranging from $320 a month for three mornings a week (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) to $950 a month for five full days a week (7 a.m.-6 p.m.). Other options are available.
According to St. George Children’s Academy director, Dr. Georgia Troamtafillou, what makes the school stand out in the community is that it “offers bilingual education of the highest quality in a warm church environment. Both the English instruction and the Greek one are curriculum-based, top-notch programs.
“We offer Greek, a historically important language, a language that is already embedded in English and carries the Western culture. When we say the words idea, music, harmony, cosmos, mathematics, physics, energy, machine, school, physician, pharmacy, diet, anatomy, government, politics, police, democracy, and countless others, we are using Greek words, and in fact, we are using words that suggest where our civilization came from. Also practical words of every day usage like melon, cherry, chestnut, sesame, cedar, squirrel, sponge, chalk, etc., adjectives like fantastic, enthusiastic, dramatic, hilarious, practical, and so many more are Greek,” she says.
“So the Greek language is everyone’s cultural heritage, not just the Greek people’s heritage. The classical Greek heroes, Hercules, Theseus and the Minotaur, Jason and the Golden Fleece, Odysseus, as well as animal stories by the ancient Greek author Aesop, come to life in our story time, to the delight of our little learners. I believe it is a great advantage for all children to know Greek, an advantage that becomes more evident later in life.”
Additionally, Dr. Troamtafillou says, “we have nurturing, highly qualified teachers, an excellent academic curriculum, a safe environment with security system, spacious airy classrooms, a huge indoor gym for the kids to play in rainy days, the best educational materials from here and from Greece, and a warm supportive community.”
St George Children’s Academy, 1200 Klockner Road, Hamilton 08619. 609-586-4488. www.stgeorgechildrensacademy.org