Parish Day School was founded as a mission of Eastern Shore Chapel in 1962, serving preschoolers aged three, four, and five-year-olds. The preschool was set up as an outreach to the Virginia Beach community serving local young families and little learners. The preschool grounded its philosophy in the bible verse from:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I have learned from the Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love Each Other.
The school was created to promote the spiritual, social, physical, emotional, and cognitive growth of the children in their care. This is still carried out through play, the arts, and other developmentally appropriate experiences that allow children to explore nature and the world around them.
As the years progressed the program grew to offer more classes and additional specialty programs. Once Kindergarten was adopted in the Virginia Beach City Public School System (VBCPS) in the 1970s, the five-year-old program was dropped. In the early '80s, the preschool recognized the need for children two and two and a half years old to attend preschool. This program became known as Chapel Cherubs. In 1995, the preschool continued to grow and added our first Full Day program, called Children's First. In 2004, all of our programs united to function under one Director and one budget and grew into the Early Childhood program you know and love today.
One of the wonderful things about Parish Day School is the opportunities our children receive for learning about our world through the lens of how they can be helpers to others. These opportunities are offered each month in partnership with the Eastern Shore Chapel church programs and their congregation. Even our youngest learners can find ways to help others, through taking cans to the Chapel Pantry, doing a kind deed for a classmate or teacher, planting bulbs on the church grounds, and sharing the good news of Jesus on placemats for those in need.
Our mascot at Parish Day School is the butterfly with our tagline "Where Children Spread Their Wings". This metaphor of the butterfly is special to us symbolizing the beginning of a child's educational journey that is given flight after they leave Parish Day School. Our goal is to establish a solid foundation for our children and a love of learning that will continue well into adulthood.
Parish Day School is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools. In partnership with the church, we are called to celebrate and lift up the love of God, to pray and proclaim the love of Christ, and to receive and send forth the love of the Holy Spirit.
The Parish Day School teaching team and administration have achieved accreditation through the National Association for the Education of the Young Child since 2006. Additionally, PDS has been participating in the Virginia Quality program since 2011 and in 2018 received a level five rating (5 out of 5). We were the first preschool in Virginia Beach to receive this rating. All of this is a testimony to the commitment to high-quality care for our children throughout the years.
As we reflect on our 60 years as a preschool, we want to give a huge thank you to all the individuals, families, students, teachers, board members, directors, church members, and clergy that created, supported, guided, and shaped the program that we have today. You paved the way and we are forever grateful!