About Preschool

Preschool History…

The First Presbyterian Preschool was established in 1963 under the direction of Rev. Stan Niebruegge, Rev. Ralph Garbe, and Marjorie Garbe who was the first director and teacher of the first class in the fall of 1963.  Today we have 4 teachers, junior preschool teachers are Lisa Duff and Katie Brown and our senior preschool teachers are Leslie Hartman and Ashley DeMulder.


Our primary goal is…

to encourage the child’s emotional and intellectual growth, physical fitness, and social development within a Christian atmosphere. Activities are geared to promote self-confidence skill in working and playing with others, improvement of large and small motor skills and knowledge of God’s love for us all. These goals are achieved through activities such as field trips, learning centers, stories, indoor and outdoor play, drama, art and music.


Our Philosophy is…

Every child is a unique human being with his/her own strengths, weaknesses, and maturity level. Our overall aim is to lead children to develop a positive self-image during this formative period of their lives.  While interacting with peers and teachers in happy and rewarding learning experiences, their potential and capabilities can be realized.  We share, with you, the privilege and responsibility for the development of your preschooler.



Contact us today…

Preschool is held at the church, offering a two classes  for 3-year-olds (Junior Class) class 1 is in the mornings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, class 2 is mornings on Monday and Friday and Wednesday afternoon. Our 4-year-olds (Senior Class) is held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.   Program fee is $900 per year, with an additional $35 activity fee.  Information on enrolling in the program can be obtained by calling First Presbyterian Church during regular business hours, or our enrollment chair, (515) 707-5574.



        MaKenzie Johnston (Director/Lead Sr. Teacher)

As far back as I can remember, becoming a teacher is always where I hoped God would lead me. I graduated from Eddyville- Blakesburg High School. Straight from there I went to Indian Hills College, where I have since then obtained 2 degrees: Early Childhood education and my Associate of Arts and Sciences.


I have always been a family oriented person, and my spare time spent with family and friends is much enjoyed! My family loves the outdoors! I love all animals! I enjoy painting! Children are my passion! Though I do not have children of my own, I do have nieces and nephews that I spend most all my free time with. My fiance and I are fixing up an old farm house near Ottumwa and will be married June of 2017. He is currently training with the Ottumwa Police Department, and we plan to stay in this area near our jobs, family and friends!


Proverbs 22:6 ” Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”One of my goals is to make an impact in your child’s life: I hope to teach them the developmental and academic skills needed for Kindergarten, but also so much beyond that as I feel that there is so much more to preschool than just letters and numbers! Preschool is about discovering yourself and making freindships, and just being a kid!  I will teach them how to have a relationship with Christ and that through Him they can achieve anything they dream! It is a blessing to be working in an environment where God is welcomed into the classroom, and children are able to learn about Him freely. My philosophy as a teacher is that a child’s play is their work, and I believe that whole heartedly!


      Amy Gingerich  (Lead Jr. Teacher )

I love the perspective children have towards life. They are free and themselves and that is  what I want to be.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and a minor in Non-Profit Leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato. I developed a passion for dance and movement growing up in Sheldon, IA where I was able to not only take dance classes daily, but also teach them.

I am excited that God has granted me this chance to be working at the preschool. My mother has been a preschool teacher and director for many years, and along with my love of dance, I have discovered a love of teaching. I love to be around children, I love to help them learn, and I love to learn from them.

My husband, Philip, and I moved to Bloomfield, IA in July of 2015 for him to attend Indian Hills and study Software Development. I also currently teach dance at Panos Dance Studio in Bloomfield, and work at The Vine Coffee House.

In my spare time I like to hang out with my husband, sit on my porch with our two cats, read, spend time with our family, watch Law and Order, look at catalogs, and dream big.


May the LORD direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.


2 Thessalonians 3:5


    Kris Dannen  (Sr. Associate Teacher )


Working with and around children of all ages – from preschool through college aged- has been something that I have done since I was 14 years old. I was born and raised here in Ottumwa, and as a teenager I held various babysitting jobs. I have been an employee of the Ottumwa Community Schools three different times : twice as a teaching assistant at elementary schools and once as the Alternative High School secretary. I have also been employed with Indian Hills Community College twice as a secretary/ receptionist. Between these education-related positions, I graduated from the American Institute of Business and have worked a variety of office jobs in Des Moines, Ottumwa, Dayton, Ohio and Omaha, Nebraska. The last two cities were when my husband was transferred through his job. We returned to Ottumwa in 1996 and have been here ever since.

I have been married to my husband Paul for 26 years. We belong to First Lutheran Church, where I was baptized and confirmed under my maiden name of Carlson. I have one son and two step-children, who have blessed me with four wonderful grandchildren. Their ages range from 1 month to 7 years old. My step-daughter, her husband, and their three sons moved to Iowa from Colorado just last month so that he can be the new Iowa National Guard recruiter here in Ottumwa. They reside in Sully, Iowa, and it is a blessing to have them live so close to us !

Last year I left my last job at Indian Hills to help take care of my elderly mother, who passed away in April. I am happy to return to the workforce as a preschool associate at First Presbyterian Preschool. I am blessed and honored to have been chosen for this position. I will not take the position lightly, which is to care for, nurture, love and have fun with our most prized possessions – children !


    Dana Overturf  (Jr. Associate Teacher)


Hi, I’m Dana Overturf. I am very excited to work with and be blessed by your preschoolers this year. It’s going to be so much fun. I love and enjoy this age. Kids just bless my soul !

I have lived in Ottumwa most all my life. I love it here. My husband Doug was born and raised here, too. He is a firefighter at the Ottumwa Fire Department. We’ve been married 34 years and have four wonderful grown children : Nathan, 31, is married to Katlyn, and they have one son ” Will” who is 6 years old ( our only grandchild, so far); Tyler, 27, is married to Sarah, and they live in Des Moines; Drew, 24, now lives in the St. Louis area; Beth, 21, just moved to Cedar Falls, attending UNI. They are all doing very well. We love them all and are so thankful to God for them.

I’ve always worked with kids, besides my own. While raising them, I did home child care. I then worked a few years at the YMCA Child Care Center before working the next 10 1/2 years at the IHCC Child Development Center as an associate teacher. I loved it ! I also worked, and still am, at “Work It Out Fitness Studio” here in town. I am a certified PT and Les Mills fitness instructor. I love group fitness classes ! Very rewarding helping people get and stay fit in such a fun way !

My family and I attend the Bridge Church and love it ! My love for the Lord is what drives me. He is my strength, my Light, my Salvation. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family most of all. I love going to Christian Growth groups, reading, cooking, exercising, traveling, gardening and going on walks with my husband.

I want to be the best I can be. I feel this is where God has led me to do that “best”. I’m looking forward to many blessings in nurturing, teaching and enjoying your children.

Photo Gallery