Ready for School: MDO Program celebrates pre-K graduates

CHELSEA – Kristie Bradberry became emotional as she saw children in Liberty Baptist Church’s Little Lambs Mother’s Day Out Program donning graduation caps and gowns on Tuesday, June 9.

“I’m just so happy to have people in this building,” said Bradberry, program director. “It makes me tear up when I see them in their little outfits.”

The novel coronavirus pandemic caused Bradberry and her staff to have to convert the program’s traditional graduation ceremony held in the worship center into a more socially distanced event that allowed the 4-year-olds and their families to come to the church in shifts and celebrate the children’s completion of the pre-kindergarten program.

“I think it’s good because it gives the kids closure,” teacher Shannon Wood said. “I think the parents are excited, too. Normally, it’s a pretty big deal.”

About 140 kids are enrolled in the program, which serves babies at least six weeks old up to 4-year-olds in classes divided by age, from September to May.

This year, the program graduated about 60 children.

Each graduate received a memory book, a certificate and end-of-year goodies from their teachers.

“It’s been so hard,” Bradberry said of the abrupt closure at the start of the pandemic. “They didn’t even get to say goodbye to their friends. It was so heartbreaking.”

Bradberry has been with the program for all but one of its 21-year existence.

“We are definitely very blessed with the staff (who are) fabulous, wonderful people,” she said.

For more information, contact the MDO office at (205) 678-6414 or mdo@lbcchelsea.com.