Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 July 2017 Written by Eric Paulsen


Fall of 1998: Beth Ziel and Debbie Rothe discussed the need for a program to get young families more involved in church and school life. We also wanted a program that would be an outreach tool in the community.

January - March 1999: It was decided that a "Bible-story/ Music/ Gym" program would fill the void and be something new to the community. Program details were finalized, and Deb Landvatter was added as a third coordinator.

March 1999: A proposal to begin a new program, "Preschool Power Hour," was presented to and passed by the St. Matthew's Bd. of Education.

April 1999: The Church Council and congregational voters passed the proposal also.

June 1999: Letters were mailed out to all our church families with children 0-4 years old. The church bulletins and church newsletters also contained ads for PPH.

July 1999: We ran a press release in two local newspapers.

September 1999: We had hoped to begin our program with 20 children but were blessed with 69 names! We began PPH with 2 groups of 20 children each and put the other 29 names on a waiting list for the spring session. Our first class was held on Wednesday, September 2.

October 1999: Plans were developed to add a second day (Thursday) to accept more children. Five additional teachers were added to our teaching staff.

January 2000: Our spring session began with 80 children enrolled. Forty children come on Wednesdays, and forty others make up the Thursday class.

September 2000: Our second year of PPH begins with 2 classes and just under 80 students. Eight teachers lead our program, and Bev Fulmer joins as the fourth program coordinator. Creative art is added as a new component of PPH.

Since September 2000: Our program continues to change each year as different needs and circumstances present themselves. We are still striving to reach young families at St. Matthew's, as well as the children of the Oconomowoc area. Thanks be to God for his guiding hand along the way and the direction which He has given us!



  1. Who do you want to reach?
    1. Ages?
    2. Stay at home or working families?
    3. Congregational nuturing or community service and outreach or both?
  2. Why do you need to reach them?
    1. Outreach
    2. Nurture our own families
    3. To supplement what we already offer famlies
    4. Because we offer nothing for this age group of families
  3. What does our community offer for this age/family group?
    1. Preschools and day cares only
    2. Parenting classes? (PPH lends itself to this area)
    3. Early childhood music classes?( this is a major draw to PPH)
    4. Story Hours: does anyone offer "Jesus/Bible Story Hours"?
  4. What could we offer that no one else does?
  5. Who will run this?
    1. Need teachers
    2. Need organizers to set up and foresight to oversee this
    3. Need teacher training
  6. Will we charge a fee for this? (we do as this covers advertizing and materials needed as well as makes the enrolled parents more committed to coming- we have no profit, so fee is minimal)
  7. Where would we hold this program? (we purposely hold ours in the church then have the group transfer over to the school gymnasium so that they can walk through out school and see the great things happening in our Lutheran Elementary School each time they come)
  8. When and how often will we offer this program?  (we hold it 2 times a month)



March 3, 1999

Presentation to the School Board: Deb Landvatter, Beth Ziel, Deb Rothe
Beginning an early childhood "Preschool Power Hour" fall of 1999


To provide an early childhood preschool program that works with the parent and 0-4 year old child simultaneously, which will build upon and enhance our Cradle Roll's scriptural emphasis, and provide an intellectually stimulating atmosphere through proven music and movement activities.


  • To provide Christian love, support, and fellowship for parents in our congregation with babies too young for our Pre-Kindergarten preschool.
  • To introduce parents with these age children to one another.
  • To provide an early and positive introduction to our Lutheran Elementary School to parents of our church who are already searching for what is the best academic choice for their precious children - thus avoiding the losses that occur when parents choose an early educational program at another church or agency because their (our) own church offered nothing for this age child.
  • To provide a vehicle to reach out to the community's young parents who are searching for the best course to raise their children. We have that to offer in:
    • Inerrant teaching of God's Word in Church
    • God's Word permeating throughout our school
    • A most excellent academic program.

We just need a vehicle to get the young searching parents into our facilities and to meet our wonderful Christian families and to see our school in action.



  1. 9:00 - 9:15 Opening Prayer and Bible Story
  2. 9:15-10:00 Musikgarten early childhood music and movement class in church fellowship center
    1. songs
      • American folk
      • religious
      • multicultural
    2. listening
    3. dancing
    4. rocking
    5. bouncing
    6. use of many instruments
      • recorders
      • harmonicas
      • rhythm instruments
  3. 10:00-10:30 Gym centers
    1. sports
    2. music instruments
    3. toys
    4. parent socialization


Day: 2nd and 4th Thursday beginning in Sept. 1999 through May 2000

Time: 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM


From 9:00-10:00 AM in the Church Fellowship Hall (for Bible and Music)
From 10:00-10:30 AM in the school gym (Gym)
Cost per child/caregiver couple: $5.00 per quarter (about $1.20 per time!)

Materials to be used:

  1. Jesus Loves Me Bible curriculum
  2. Musikgarten music and movement curriculum
  3. Preschool toys
  4. Gym balls, etc equipment

Cost to our LES: None

Managed equally by: Deb Landvatter, Beth Ziel, and Debbie Rothe

Proceeds will be given to the school budget to cover any advertising, paper, and copier expenses. Record of funds coming in and out to be kept by the managers listed above and offered for audit at any time.

Advertising Plan

  1. List this in our church notes in the Oconomowoc Enterprise
  2. Write a press release for the area papers to be put in the July editions
  3. Add our new "Preschool Power Hour" program to all school ads, signs, brochures, and displays.
  4. Advertise in our church's newsletter in June, July, and August
  5. Put a note in church bulletin the month of the last two weeks in July and the first week in August.
  6. Send a letter to all eligible member parents in early July telling them to register at our school’s open house in early August.
  7. Follow up school registration with a telephone call to any parents who did not respond. Not to pressure, just to see if they had any questions or ideas.
  8. Draw up a tri-fold brochure for our back info. table in church and to be included for all members to be able to hand out to friends, give out at story hours, etc.
  9. Design and put in newspaper a 1 1/4 inch by 3 inch advertisement for the August edition of the "Oconomowoc Enterprise"



Press Release for the Oconomowoc Newspapers - Late July or Early Aug. 1999

Concerning: A brand new to the area preschool program - unlike any this area has - "Preschool Power Hour!"

The Powerful Years of Preschool

Starting this fall Oconomowoc will be home of "Preschool Power Hour." This new and innovative program for preschoolers age 0-4 years old will provide the babies/toddlers with the powerful start in life they need while at the same time giving parents the tools and educational motives necessary to provide this great start. This all for only a little over a dollar a class!

"Preschool Power Hour" will contain three basic elements: music, large motor skill movement, and Bible stories. The program’s focus is to work with the children and parent or care giver at the same time. Bonding can happen anywhere, education can happen many places, great baby/toddler experiences can happen in several locations - but with "Preschool Power Hour" you get it all, all at once.

Why music at such a young age? You’ll find out over and over in class, and you’ll get lots of ideas to keep music going at home! Briefly though, children who successfully perform beat rhythm and pitch activities generally are stronger readers, have improved reasoning required for excellence in science and math and often excel in sports! It is through music that the spatial relationship thought process can be enhanced and the brain's appetite for learning is wet! The power of music!

Why teach Bible stories so young? We follow Jesus’ example when He stated "Let the little children come to me for such is the Kingdom of God!" If Jesus told children about God’s love for them, shouldn’t we? Even if you give your child the best food, schools, toys, friends, and lots of money, without faith in God, they have nothing to weather the storms of life on earth and they will not see the joys of heaven. The power of God's words!

Why have toddler open gym? In a healthy, well supervised, and thought out environment, your children will be able to explore motion in a wide open space using quality equipment. This is time to explore, grow, and play - three aspects of life needed early on to help children gain healthy minds and bodies. The power of play!

Beth Ziel, Deb Landvatter, and Debbie Rothe are all experienced elementary school teachers who have concentrated their educational efforts in a variety of areas. They have designed this program through the careful and thorough eyes of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Grade School and Church. They will be teaching "Preschool Power Hour" each 1st and 3rd Thursday of the Month starting Sept. 2, 1999. The class runs from 9-10:30 A.M. and is held on the church grounds. The cost is only $10.00 per Semester- 8 classes the first semester, 9 the second.

Call 262-912-6060 extension 20 to register by Aug. 15, 1999 or ask for a more detailed brochure. Get your child off to a powerful start in life!



Press Release for July 2000

More Power in Preschool Power Hour!

As if the power of music, power of physical movement, power of God’s words aren’t enough, St. Matthew’s Preschool Power Hour is adding a new "Power Component" to its extremely successful program! This fall Preschool Power Hour will aid children 0-4 years old in the development of the creative expressive arts!

Through the use of various art media and projects coordinated with the theme or lesson of the day, children will be motivated to creatively express themselves each month! Usually this quality of artistic instruction is given to children much older than 4 years. At St. Matthew’s there is no waiting for the proper age when it comes to what is the highest quality for children! If a subject, or activity is of great importance in a child’s development, St. Matthew’s School, Church, and now Preschool Power Hour, find a way to give that to the children!

The entire "Preschool Power Hour" staff are very excited about the prospect of this new component. We expect that the children will really enjoy these artistic projects and that their moms or dads or grandparents who bring them will really see, learn, and understand the importance of the creative/expressive arts in a young child’s life.

Preschool Power Hour began in the fall of 1999. The PPH leaders, Deb Landvatter, Debbie Rothe, and Beth Ziel eagerly prepared for 20-30 children 0-4 years of age and their parent or care giver to attend the program come fall. Because of this program's unique components and affordable cost, the response was overwhelming. In 2 months we had 35 signed up. By the first class we had 69! After rearranging schedules, adding 5 new teachers, training the teachers and calling all of those on the waiting list, Preschool Power Hour started its second semester this January 2000 with 80 children registered!

There just is no other program in the area where a mom can bring all of her little preschool children for a morning of Bible, music, gym, and artistic parent/child bonding experiences! The program is as much for the parent as the child!

Preschool Power Hour runs September through May. Classes are held each first and third Wednesday or Thursday of the month at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and School 818 W. Wisconsin Ave. The cost is $15.00 per semester (8 classes per semester). Registration is open until August 15, 2000. Call 567-5396 Ext. 20 to obtain a registration form or go to the brand new Preschool Power Hour web site at to read all about the power you can give to your children only in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin!




To teach Bible Stories we use:

Our own personally written curriculum using various resources from Northwestern Publishing House

To teach Music we use:

Musikgarten’s Family Curriculum - Dance with Me, Sing with Me, Play with Me
contact: Musikgarten at 1-800-216-6864

To teach Gym we use:

Our curriculum has been personally developed from various movement and activity books for toddlers and preschool children such as Toddler Games from Totline and movement/music CDs such as Greg & Steve, Hap Palmer, bean bag and parachute games. Large motor equipment is provided for free choice such as tunnels, balls, balance beam, scooter boards, hula hoops, etc.

To teach Art we use:

Our curriculum has been personally developed using various resources such as Toddler Art from Totline, Preschool Art and other books by MaryAnn Kohl and Bev Boss, Mailbox publications, and the author's imagination! Art consists of process art experiences, not crafts, to allow children to explore different mediums and processes at their own developmental level.



We would love to hear from you! Whether you need information on signing your child up for PPH, or on starting your own type of PPH, or maybe you have advice for us, please, email us! We will get back to you as soon as possible!

Or contact us through St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and School
818 W. Wisconsin Ave
Oconomowoc, WI 53066

Telephone: 1-262-912-6060 ext. 20
Web Site:

St. Matthew's Lutheran School
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066



St. Matthew's Lutheran Church & School Mission Statement

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

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