Sunday, July 13, 2014

Educator: Little ones amaze

April 16. 2013 4:23PM

Nominate a teacher

The Abington Journal invites students, teachers, school administrators and staff and members of the community to bring into the spotlight an educator who makes a difference in the lives of his or her students. School administration will be notified when a teacher is nominated by a student. Teacher of the Month honorees will appear in The Abington Journal. Send your suggestions, along with your name and contact information to Editor Kristie Ceruti at

I would like to nominate Chris Arcangelo for teacher of the month. She is a kindergarten teacher at st Gregory’s early childhood center. Not only is she a wonderful teacher, but a tremendous person. She lays such a fantastic foundation for her kids to build on in their future years.

- Becky Evans

Mrs. Chris Arcangelo has a magic about her and as a result her classroom is truly a children’s garden of learning and friendship. Her unique brand energy which leaves her Kinderkids captivated. Our community is blessed to have such a remarkable educator working with our youngest minds.

- Kelly Schneider

Meet Chris Arcangelo

Interests and Hobbies: Storytelling, reading, gardening, traveling, shopping, photography, watching movie classics, family get-togethers.

Inspired by: Children

Favorite Places in the World: Sicily, Venice, Edinburgh, Scotland, Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon, NYC and Disney World

Favorite Book: Many, but I really enjoyed “The Help” by Stockett, ”Catcher in the Rye,” by Salinger. Children’s books: “One” by Otoshi (all ages should read this), books by Tomi dePaola and Roald Dahl, “The Butter Battle Book” by Seuss

Greatest Achievment: My children, John, Amy and Karen and earning my college degree as an “adult student.”

A Perfect Saturday Afternoon: Going for a long ride and stopping at a gorgeous creek to have a picnic. Also on a very hot day, rafting without falling off the raft and last but not least, traveling to NYC with family and friends.

I Can’t Leave Home Without: My camera

WHY AND HOW I DO WHAT I DO: I love children. I feel a closeness to them and a complete understanding to them. Maybe I am a child at heart. I want children to learn to love school. I want them to be kind, to respect each other, and to go out in this society and show what good human beings are made of. These children are our future. I hope they remember their kindergarten experience with love. I hope they remember me.

AND HOW DO I DO WHAT I DO: Children keep me young, they keep me alert, and they give me energy.

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Nothing gives kindergarten teacher Chris Arcangelo more pleasure than being surrounded by young children who bring wonder and joy into her world.

“I absolutely love children. They’re innocent, wonderful and kind. You never know what to expect. You just can’t imagine,” Arcangelo said.

Hers is a story of a segue from executive secretary to stay- at -home mom then later to professional storyteller and teacher’s aid at Abington Heights Middle School.

“Everyone used to say, ‘Why don’t you go to school and become a teacher?’ So one day, I said OK and quit my teacher’s aid job. I attended Marywood College where I received my B.S. in elementary education and a minor in early childhood.” Arcangelo explained.

From there, things blossomed naturally. Monsignor John Louis asked Arcangelo if she’d like to be St. Gregory’s Early Childhood Center’s kindergarten teacher. That was 17 years ago. And she’s still embracing every moment. She claims children keep her young, alert and give her lots of energy.

Arcangelo gives her job one hundred percent, if not more, and she feels strongly about helping children grow and develop at their own pace.

A typical day means arriving at school at 8:30 a.m. Work starts with cleanup drills.

“I’m a fuss pot about that. The children know I like things organized and that everything has its place. The room is very exciting, too, because I hang up their pictures and they feel really special.”

Art isn’t the only subject in the children’s daily routine. Youngsters enjoy math, phonics, science, music and gym. “They’re busy until dismissal at 2:30 p.m.,” said Arcangelo.

Arcangelo’s philosophy is simple: make sure kindergarten students learn to love school because they’re having so much fun.

“Right now, we have caterpillars waiting to become butterflies,” said Arcangelo, “when lucky enough, and we usually are, kids watch as the butterflies emerge, chrysalis, is what it’s called. It’s unbelievable and pure amazing to watch the children learn.”

Other activities on her agenda include Earth Day cleanup where the children wear old clothes and gloves and pick up garbage on the grounds.

Other memorable events for her: the end of year school shows and Christmas Shows. “The Kinderkids are absolutely astonishing.”

Students vote twice each year. Arcangelo feels strongly about children learning the process of government at an early age. And there’s always the tour which usually takes place at the beginning of the school year.

“We tour Gerrity’s supermarket, PNC Bank, the Clarks Summit post office, the firehouse and have lunch at McDonald’s so they can learn about the community in which they live,” Arcangelo said.

Arcangelo has many philosophies, one of which is that children are children no matter where you go in the world. What’s different, she claims, is to what they’re exposed.

“I only want them to be beautiful, kind human beings. That’s what I expect of them.”

Sometimes Arcangelo is not only party to that growth in character development. She witnesses the amazing: the little girl whose voice is beautiful as she sings songs from Les Miserables for the class and the group effort made when one little boy was left on a school bus for three hours.

“We wrote a book about him. The children in the classroom drew a picture about their friend and what they thought he experienced.” Arcangelo still wants to see that collaboration published as well as her notebook of all the unique, cute, insightful things the children say to her on a day- to -day basis.

“One little girl said to me ‘If you want to be a friend act like one.’ I still have that one on my wall for the past seven years. It never ceases to amaze me,” said Arcangelo on her student’s awareness of themselves, the world around them.

Arcangelo is blessed to still hear from former students as far away as Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut and Wisconsin. “I just want them to remember this experience with love,” she summed up.

The Clarks Green resident is married 43 years to John, a former high school Math teacher who is now an adjunct teacher at Keystone College. They have three children: John, Amy and Karen and five grandchildren: John, Maia, Sara, Annabella and Christopher.


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