Kids are Special in Liverpool turns 20

St. Joseph the Worker's nursery school, still going strong

It was 20 years ago when Jane Keilty started the Kids are Special Nursery School at St. Joseph the Worker in the village of Liverpool. Keilty, with her love for children and devotion to education, said she wanted to open a place for children to learn and prepare for first grade.

Originally from Boston, Keilty moved to Liverpool in the mid '80s with hopes to get the nursery school up and running.

She started the school with another friend, who has since moved away. While she said many people ask her when she will retire, she said that won't be any time soon since her first grandchild is currently enrolled in the school's program and she has another grandchild who will soon enroll.

"It's fun and I love it," Keilty said. "It's more of a family oriented school."

Keilty said she has had the pleasure of teaching up to five children from the same family as many parents have sent all their children to Kids are Special.

Although St. Joseph's, located at 1001 Tulip St., is a Catholic church, students of any faith can enroll as there is no religion oriented curriculum.

The school currently has two-, three- and five-day programs for preschool-age children. Three-year-old children generally attend the two-day program and Four-year-old students graduate to either three-day or five-day curriculum.

Keilty said the program focuses heavily on social skills with children of the same age because sharing and regular interaction is important. Four-year-old students learn their letters and numbers and how to write their names and other words.

"Kindergarten today, is like first grade," Keilty said. "They have to be prepared."

During the month of December, students have been making several crafts to take home. Paper stockings, Christmas trees made with cinnamon sticks and many Santa Claus crafts have been on the top of the students' daily activities as they prepared a holiday celebration complete with songs.

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