Taylor named new director of FBC’s Mother’s Morning Out program

Published 11:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2023

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Patty Taylor is serving local families in her new role as the director of the Mother’s Morning Out program at the First Baptist Church of Andalusia.

An open house was held on Thursday, August 10 prior to the first day of school on Tuesday, August 15. The school calendar will coincide with Andalusia City Schools.

“When it first started in our city, it was at the local Methodist church and moved to First Baptist many years ago. We will be operating twice a week from 8 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Taylor said.

Beverly Farrington was the previous director of the program for 17 years.

“Beverly put a lot of the procedures and policies in place. I can’t say enough wonderful things about her, but she decided to spend more time with her grandchildren. I had retired, so in a way, we swapped places. We have rooms for babies who are crawling in our 1-year-old room, a 2-year-old room, and a combination 3 and 4-year-old room.”

The program is open to anyone in the community or throughout Covington County and not limited to FBC families.

“It’s not like a school where you have to be zoned to come. Anybody can come bring their child around 7:50 before we start at 8 a.m. Children are picked up at 12. Parents send a snack with their child, so we make sure they have something to eat and drink. It’s a time for the kids to socialize with each other. We do academics with our 3 and 4-year-olds to prepare them for school such as writing their names, learning their letters, colors, basic shapes, and other developmentally-appropriate things. There is a lot of playing going on in the 1-year-old room,” she said.

Taylor feels it is important for children to get that foundation of learning early. There are currently six teachers with two per classroom.

“We have Margaret Bennett who is a retired teacher and Helen Johnson, a retired preschool teacher, in our 3 and 4-year-old room. Both have many years in education and do an outstanding job running that classroom. They do painting activities and work on their fine motor skills. They recently took a walking field trip and saw the construction going on here at the church. They are working on procedures they would do at the elementary school such as walking in line and communicating with the teacher. It is almost like a segue into a real school setting.”

She hopes the children realize they are loved during their time in the program.

“We love them, God loves them, and we want to love on our parents. We would like to have some opportunities for parents to come together, socialize, and let us help meet some of their needs. There are several things in the works because we feel like this is a ministry. It’s hard being a parent no matter what season they are in, but we hope this gives them reassurance for leaving their child with us. You want your child to be independent and grow into that separation aspect. This is really that first step.”

Parents who are interested in enrolling their children may fill out a form at the church.

“My contact number is on the flyer, and parents can reach out by calling or texting me. We can get them on a waiting list if we don’t have room, but we do have room with the 3 and 4-year-olds. If any parent wants to put his/her child in a great environment, we have redone this area. It is brand new and clean with toys, plus we have great teachers. Mindy Beasley and Beth Maddox run our 2-year-old room and do a great job. They learn about Jesus during story time and do coloring activities. Eleanor Coleman and Brenda Syler do a great job of loving on our babies in the 1-year-old room,” Taylor said.

With over 31 years in education, Taylor retired and began working for an educational software company.

“I really loved helping teachers who in turn helped students, but there was a lot of traveling involved. This was a great opportunity after Beverly retired, and I saw it as a sign from God. Beverly and I work really well together. She loves this program and the kids and is always asking me how things are going. It is nice to take the background I have and give all the opportunities we can to the kids,” she said.

In addition to the program’s curriculum, love for children remains a key focal point.

“We want to keep the focus on love of each other, love from your teachers and parents, and God’s love. It’s a ministry, and you don’t get rich but get paid in lots of other ways. None of us were prepared when we had our own kids, and you’re able to share and encourage with other parents.”

The staff works with students on future skills they will need in kindergarten.

“We want to make sure we are instructing our students in developmentally correct concepts. We also focus on teaching students about God’s love.”

As the program director, Taylor is tasked with finding new teachers or substitutes as needed.

“All of our teachers have been background checked. Anytime you are working with children, safety is of the utmost importance. All of that is done through our church. We really take safety important and make sure our kids are safe and taken care of while their parents are out,” she said.

Taylor turns attention to God for the future of the program.

“We want to serve our community and continue to talk with parents and pray about the next steps for Mother’s Morning Out. Right now, I am not even sure what those next steps are. When I come into something new, I feel like taking a deep breath and getting into it to see what is going on. I have only been doing this since August and want to go into it slowly without making radical changes. Things have been working really well. We are excited to have new playgrounds for our children as well as the Sunday school and preschool programs.”

There is a monthly cost for attendance, and price breaks are given to multiple children of the same family.

“Trent and I have always felt what we do is a ministry. We love kids and take care of kids. I switched to being a principal many years ago because I felt like I could take care of more kids and support teachers. Teaching is a tough job because kids are a bundle of energy, and as adults, it’s your responsibility to love on them and take care of them. I feel it’s a great way to give back to our community and love on kids and their parents. We want to make sure we are staying aware of what preschoolers need and how we can best support parents. We are all in this together. All of this is possible because of our church and wanting to provide this ministry to our community. I am the lucky one that gets to be a part of it,” Taylor said.

Trent and Patty Taylor are the parents of three grown children: Ryne (McKenzie) Taylor, Tiffany (Austin) Armstrong, and Paige Taylor, and two grandchildren: Perry and Ruben.

For more information email ptaylor@fbcandy.org or call the church at 334-222-5151.