The Parent & Preschool Center is a ministry started as an outgrowth of a ladies Bible study group. As these ladies met to share together, they wished to provide a learning environment for their preschool-aged children. Through the support of five area churches their dream became a reality when the Center opened in 1977. These churches continue to provide significant financial support towards our operating costs.

"Parent" in our title represents the ongoing weekly meetings of women for the purpose of fellowship and nurture. This group is called Connections and you can find more information about this group and the schedule of classes on the page entitled Connections. The other part of our Center includes the enrolled, tuition-paid preschool. Please refer to the Enrollment page for more information about our program.


Christine Stahl - Director

Christine came to the Parent and Preschool Center in the spring of 2004 as a substitute aide in the PreK 4-5 Class. She then taught here for four years with three of those years being in the PreK 4-5 Three Day Class. Her goal for teaching children has always been to share the world with them through fun activities so that the children can explore and learn many new things for themselves. She has a BA degree in Elementary Education from Moravian College.

Christine and her husband, Bob, have three grown children: Don married to Stephanie, Becki married to Andrew White and daughter Amy. She enjoys children, children, and more children – the children at preschool, the children at church and especially her four grandchildren. Christine is a member of Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church.

Lori Shirkey - Head Teacher Two Year Old Class

Lori joined the Parent and Preschool Center in the fall of 2015. She graduated from Central Bible College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Children’s Ministry and a degree in Deaf Ministry. She has been involved in early childhood education for many years. Lori lives in Lancaster with her husband, Casey, and two children, Tyler and Natalie. She is reentering the education field after spending the past several years at home with her children, who also attended the Parent and Preschool Center. She loves children and is thankful to follow in a family of teachers. Lori’s classroom aide is Beth Stauffer.

Lori grew up as a missionary kid serving in Latin America and continues to have a passion for missions and ministry. She enjoys photography, travel and reading. She is a member of New Life Church.

Cindy Sweigart - Head Teacher PreK 3-4 Class

Cindy started attending Connections as a new mom in 1984. She has been on staff at the Parent and Preschool Center since 1991. She first worked in Kiddie Korner/Story Hour taking care of the children from Connections. In 2000, she became an aide in the PreK 4-5 Class. She has been serving as Head Teacher in the PreK 3-4 Class since 2005. Cindy supplies lots of activities for the children and she also has the ability to be spontaneous with them. She incorporates music and creative play into the learning process. God’s truths are a part of the classroom with individual encouragement given to each child. Wendy Hess is her aide.

She is married to Carl and they have four children: Laura, Andrea, Beth and Matthew and seven grandchildren. Cindy is a member at New Life Assembly of God.


Melissa Istvanik – Head Teacher PreK 4-5 Class

Melissa joined the Parent and Preschool Center in the fall of 2017.  She graduated from Clarks Summit University with a degree in Bible/Theology and Elementary Education.   Melissa has taught preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade.  The kindergarten experience was a long term sub position in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District. While a stay-at-home mom, she spent time volunteering in her own children's classrooms.  Melissa loves being creative and encouraging the love of learning with her students.  Melissa’s classroom aides are Carol Suter and Wendy Taylor.


Melissa is married to Dan and has 2 children, Jenna and Kaleb.  She moved to the Lancaster area in the fall of 2016 with her family when her husband assumed theposition as Youth Pastor at Victory Church.  Melissa enjoys serving in the youth ministry beside her husband.  

Joan Krause – Head Teacher PreK 4-5

Joan started as an aide in the PreK 3-4 Class at the Parent and Preschool Center in 2002. She had also worked on staff in Kiddie Korner. She then served as an aide in the PreK 4-5 class for four years. More recently, she has been serving as Head Teacher in the PreK 4-5 Three Day Class. Joan has been teaching since she was 16 and is Title 1 Qualified in the PA School System and served as an aide in the Kindergarten class in the Conestoga Valley School District. Joan's aides are Vicki Aukamp and Marilyn Linder.

Joan is married to Dave and they have two children: Sarah and Eric. She enjoys the outdoors, hiking, exploring and geocaching. Joan also enjoys cooking, photography and watching her children’s sport activities. But her three greatest loves are her God, her family and teaching children. Joan attends Forest Hills Mennonite Church.

Nadja Ireland - Enrichment Teacher

Nadja’s first involvement with the Parent and Preschool Center was when her three youngest children attended and loved it! She then served as an aide in the PreK 4-5 for three years. Nadja also homeschools her children. She received her B.A. in Religious Education with a minor in the Fine Arts from The King’s College. In the classroom, she will endeavor to create an environment where learning is enjoyable, interesting, and fun with the hope that an early love of learning will serve the students well for the rest of their lives! Her aide is Rose Kennel.

She has been married to her college sweetheart, Jonathan, for 23 years. They have five children: Emmaline, Madeline, Ian, Maire and Cairistiona. Nadja loves Irish dance, genealogy, collecting vintage textiles, drawing, reading, and embroidery. Their family attends Faith Evangelical Congregational Church.

Jenice Weaver - Connections Coordinator

Jenice has attended connections since 2006. Being a stay at home mom has given her the opportunity to minister to other Stay At Home Moms. She enjoys connecting these moms to God and other women where they can learn and encourage one another. Volunteering with the youth and children at her church is a huge part of her life. She dedicates a lot of time helping kids grow closer to Jesus and learning how to exercise their faith.

Jenice and her husband, Glenn Weaver, are blessed with 5 beautiful children: Dylan, Hailey, Joel, Katie and Isaiah. In her spare time, she enjoys roasting Coffee, running, biking, camping, and going to the beach. Jenice is a member of Lampeter UM Church.