At Pasadena United Methodist, an era of early learning closes

NEIGHBORS

May 17, 2002|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR 35 YEARS, Ruth Anne Fielder has spent her workdays helping to shape the future. Surrounded by brightly colored charts, wooden blocks, books and toys, she has lovingly shared the basics of learning with hundreds of local 3- and 4-year-olds.

Sadly for her young pupils at the Pasadena Early Learning Center, "Miss Ruth Anne" is retiring at the end of the month. For her many years of service and ministry to the youngest members of the community and their families, she will be honored in a tribute at the center's graduation ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. today in the sanctuary of Pasadena United Methodist Church.

Fielder began her career as a teacher in the preschool at a local Baptist church in the mid-1960s. In 1977, at the urging of her church, Pasadena United Methodist, she joined the faculty of its newly created preschool program.

"The school was started as a mission of the church, and when I was asked I just could not say no," she said.

The Pasadena Early Learning Center (PELC) is owned and operated by Pasadena United Methodist Church. The center welcomes 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds of all faiths.

Over the past 25 years at the center, Fielder has watched hundreds of children walk through her classroom door.

"I've been teaching here so long that I have parents who I taught bringing their children here for preschool," she said. "When that started happening, I knew that it was time to go."

Recently, one of Fielder's pupils accompanied her to pick up items in the church's basement. As they headed down the stairs, the young boy looked around and asked if she lived there.

"I had to laugh, but he's not the first one to ask me that," she said.

Scarlet Brumm, a teacher and director of the school, said that the faculty and children will sorely miss Fielder.

"Ruth Anne has been a terrific teacher, and we really wish that she wouldn't go," Brumm said.

Talking about the changes in children, education and the world since she began teaching preschoolers, Fielder said that children seem to be a little smarter now.

"They have seen more and done more, but quite a bit more is expected from them when they enter kindergarten," she said. "I can't say enough about the loving atmosphere of the school, the families that have made me a part of their lives, and my assistant of nine years, Patty Lewis. They have made my years here a joy."

Plans for the Severna Park resident's retirement include enjoying life with her husband of 44 years, Ray, relaxing, and learning to relate to life outside of a preschool classroom.

"I'm good at sitting on the floor, talking with 3- and 4-year-olds. Now I'll have to get used to standing up and talking," she said. "It's going to be a challenge."

Alumni of the PELC are invited to attend this evening's ceremony and tribute. Cards may be sent in care of Pasadena United Methodist Church, 61 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena 21122.

Information: 410-647-3090.

Herb club display

Herbs, bees and a spectacular display of old roses will be the highlights from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Hancock's Resolution.

Members of the Friendly Thyme Herb Club will present an educational display on herbs and offer free samples of homemade goodies made with herbs.

A local beekeeping mother-and-son duo, Marie and Alex Lovelace, will set up a display and answer questions about their hobby. They will also sell honey produced by their bees.

Jim Morrison, park spokesman, said that the climbing roses that cover the property down near the Old House Cove are in full bloom. "The roses have grown so high that they reach the treetops," he said.

Admission is free, but donations to help with park projects are welcomed.

Information: 410-255-7041

Home run trot

Thanks to a crowd of more than 150 runners and walkers, the fourth annual David "Pop" Warner Trot was a success.

More than $3,000 was raised to help fund youth baseball camp for deserving players in the Pasadena area.

"We're grateful to all of the businesses in the area that donated items to the event, as well as the support from the community," said Claudia Warner. "We have helped over 60 young players attend camp in the past, with these funds we can continue to help more."

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