Support Learning Starts Early on Give Local Piedmont Day

On May 1, Give Local Piedmont day, please click here and donate generously to Saint James’ Learning Starts Early, a pioneering program to support preschool education in Fauquier County. Contributions are tax deductible.

Preschool education is the gateway to success in kindergarten and beyond. Numerous studies have found that children lacking preschool training, many — but not all — from low-income families, are more likely to struggle in school, over time increasing the likelihood discipline problems, unwanted pregnancies and incarceration. The cost to society is staggering.

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Ministry of the Month: Learning Starts Early + Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k


On Saturday, November 18, the third-annual Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k & Kids’ Fun Run will wind through the streets of Old Town Warrenton. You can register for the race here.

While the event is an absolute blast, complete with a turkey mascot on a bicycle, it also serves a much more profound purpose: funding efforts to increase access to preschool in Fauquier County through a Saint James’ initiative called Learning Starts Early.

Learning Starts Early (LSE) is an outreach ministry with a simple vision: that each child is a beloved child of God, and that each child should enter kindergarten ready to thrive and grow academically, socially and emotionally.

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Volunteer at Preschool Workshops

lse sjecInterested in volunteering for a preschool workshop? Register here!

Why volunteer to help with the Preschool Workshops Saint James’ is co-sponsoring?

Here are some facts about preschool that may surprise and inspire you to help:

  1. Preschool can help combat crime, teen pregnancy, and high school dropout rates. When children have the benefit of a high-quality early childhood education, they make cognitive and social gains that prepare them to start school. These foundational skills allow them to build on their learning and knowledge through school and into adulthood. As a result, a child without an early childhood education is 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 40 percent more likely to become a teenage parent, and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
  2. Early childhood education has a better return on investment than the stock market. Some policymakers worry about the upfront cost of early childhood education. However, studies show that early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make—and that includes investments in the financial market. The estimated return on investment for high quality early childhood education is ten percent. In comparison, the average return on investment in the stock market is 7.2 percent.

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Learning Starts Early, and you can help!

Saint James’ is so excited to launch Learning Starts Early. How can you help grow this ministry? Register as a volunteer for any or all of the three Free Preschool Parent Workshops Saint James’ is helping make possible. 20 volunteers are needed for each session. See a complete description of volunteer opportunities.

lse sjecWhat do children learn in preschool?

Statistics show that on a weekly basis:

  • more than 90 percent of preschool students spend time learning the names of letters and seeing print while reading
  • more than 80 percent practice writing
  • 89 percent work on writing their own names
  • more than 90 percent of preschool
  • students practice counting out loud at
  • least once per week
  • 90 percent use geometric manipulatives.

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Vestry Minutes | November 2015

Summary of Vestry Minutes | November 23, 2015

Treasurer’s Report:  Current assets remain essentially unchanged. A generous anonymous donation to the Preschool Initiative produced a healthy $10,000 increase in that fund. While plate offerings remain below budget and pledges are slow, Laura is confident that most will come in before year’s end.

Buildings and Grounds:  The light over the baptismal font (formerly over the pulpit) and the Moravian star under the rood beam have both been installed. The icemaker in the kitchen has been repaired.

Stewardship: Pledges are coming in slowly.

Outreach: Kathleen Nevill expressed gratefulness for the participation on so many fronts in the first annual Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble fundraiser for the Preschool Initiative. About 60 kids and 120 adults crossed the finish lines.

Respectfully submitted,
Aileen H. Laing, Register

September Vestry Meeting Minutes

Summary of Vestry Minutes

St. Michael and All Angels’ Eve, 2015

The Treasurer reported that the recent market drop reduced the Endowment Fund but due to significant gains earlier in the year it is down only $18,000 YTD. While plate offerings are still a little under budget, they have rebounded significantly since July.

Father Ben reported on the many Buildings and Grounds projects completed or still underway. Phase 6 of the stained glass window repair has been completed; only the windows in the chapel remain to be done. Major restoration of parts of the tower has been completed. Subtle changes in the choir area provide more space for the expanding choir.

St.James’ is invited to a Thanksgiving Service on November 14 at the Deliverance Church of God in Bealeton.

Pre-school Initiative: the number of students served by the Virginia Preschool Initiative has increased from 18 to 44 spread over three elementary schools and still has a waiting list. Both the county and the state have increased their investment and the proceeds from The Turkey Trot, the Thanksgiving Race, will all go to benefit VPI and Head Start. Kristen McAuliffe is the coordinator of VPI, Pat Washington the coordinator of Head Start.

Joint Church and School Capital Campaign:

After serious and extensive deliberation, the vestry agreed unanimously to proceed with the expansion and renovation project in partnership with WJES and to hire the FOCUS Group to guide us through the fundraising phase.

The meeting closed with the Lord’s Prayer.

Respectfully submitted,

Aileen H. Laing, Register

Next Vestry meeting: October 26, at 6pm.

Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5k – Nov 21st


5k + Kids’ Run – November 21

Saturday, November 21st will be our first-ever Turkey Trot, Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5-K & Kids Run in support of “Learning Starts Early.” You can sign up here.

Please join us! This event will be benefiting preschool children of at-risk families in Fauquier County. By coming out you help ensure that every child in the county has access to all of the opportunities necessary to be ready for kindergarten and to succeed in school and in the workforce. 

This is an event for the whole family to run or wobble down the historic streets of Warrenton. Come join the fun and support the “Learning Starts Early” Fund!

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Here’s the form and information!

“Learning Starts Early” Fund

a fund of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation

Our Mission – Ensure that every child in the county has access to all of the opportunities necessary to be ready for kindergarten and to succeed in school and in the workforce.

Rationale – Last year in Fauquier County, nearly 1 in 5 children entering kindergarten did not meet the reading readiness benchmarks established by the state.  Often they never catch up. These children are at a much greater risk of being unskilled and facing difficult obstacles in life, which is detrimental to the individuals and society.

Additionally, 166 children (22%) entering kindergarten in Fauquier County Public Schools this year did not attend any formal or institutional pre-kindergarten program or were in the care of an unlicensed childcare provider. A substantial body of research spanning decades proves that high quality preschool education can substantially improve the learning and development of all young children, and especially children from low income families, children whose parents lack high school diplomas, or children without homes.

Local Programs which target the preschool children of at-risk families in our community:

  • Fauquier Community Action Committee’s (FCAC) Head Start
  • Fauquier County Public School’s (FCPS) Virginia Preschool Initiative.

Head Start and the Virginia Preschool Initiative work together to coordinate services to best serve their students and families. Both have substantial funding needs in order to provide the highest quality preschool education.  The Learning Starts Early Fund will donate all of the proceeds from the Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble 5K and Kids Run to meet one or more of the following needs:

  • Increase the number of classrooms
  • Parent resource programs
  • Classroom materials, including educational technology to enhance traditional instruction
  • Before and after-school daycare for working families
  • Field trips and other important special learning experiences