Early Childhood (Pre-K and K)

The early childhood program (Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten) establishes a solid foundation for skills that are necessary in order to be successful in the succeeding years of school. Students learn the value of getting along with others as they develop a desire to learn, use their natural curiosity to explore the world around them, hone critical academic skills, and increase their confidence in their own individual abilities.


The Pre-Kindergarten program is designed to address the developmental differences and learning preferences of the emergent learner.  Planned learning activities and materials appropriate to the child’s developmental age are combined with a positive, warm, healthy, and safe environment to give children an opportunity to gain self-confidence and master skills.

Pre-Kindergarten students participate in language arts, math, science, creative art, dramatic play, music, and computers through learning centers and group activities.  The curriculum is presented in thematic units that are designed to promote optimal physical, mental, social, and spiritual growth in each child. Classroom instruction meets state standards.  

Kayla ThomBS Language Arts Education

Endorsements: English, Communications, ESL, Jr. Academy Science

Biographical Information

Kayla Thom is not your typical pre-kindergarten teacher.  She started as a communication major, but after two years of teaching grades 7 and 8 in Majuro, Marshall Islands, she changed her major to secondary language arts education.  Little did she know that she would change her course of action once again as a result of working her was way through college as an assistant director of a day care center in Lincoln, NE. Upon completion of her college coursework, she made her way east and several months later was asked to head up our new pre-kindergarten program. Her students' parents would declare that she is the best pre-kindergarten teacher anywhere.

From early childhood, Ms. Thom has been a voracious reader. She especially  loves children's literature and the classics. She is fond of biographies and enjoys reading works by C.S. Lewis and Jan Karon.  She is especially fond of The Chronicles of Narnia series, the Mitford Series, and many of the Newberry and Caldecott award winners. Ms. Thom's stated goal is to instill a love for books in her students.

Outside the classroom Ms. Thom enjoys Jazzercise, group fitness activities, and running.  She also enjoys sports, and particularly likes cheering for the underdog.  Other hobbies include travel, art and photography, reading, scrapbooking, baking, and experimenting with cooking that will accommodate her allergy needs.

Some of Ms. Thom's favorite places she has been and things she has enjoyed doing are hiking to the top of a big hill in Guam; jumping off a waterfall in Pohnpei; visiting Antigua and Guatemala; watching the rolling waves of grain in her home state of North Dakota, going to Disney World (She's a kid at heart!); fishing on the lakes of Minnesota and Canada, and traveling to Yellowstone National Park. Future goals include filling up her passport as many times as possible, visiting each state in the US, running a marathon, going on a cruise, swimming with dolphins, skydiving, and going to an NFL game.

Quote:  "I am a teacher because God called me to teach. I love watching my students grow, explore, and discover God's love. Play is learning - that's one of the biggest reasons I love teaching preschool!"


Kindergarten is the first direct contact with school that many students experience.  Atholton Adventist Academy wants this initial contact to be a positive, happy experience.  Students begin school at varying levels of developmental growth.  To meet the needs of each student individually, Atholton Adventist Academy has designed a curriculum that incorporates classroom activities and learning centers to help students develop physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually and to nurture their natural curiosity and desire to learn.  Kindergarten instruction provides readiness training that prepares students for the next levels of their education.  Following Kindergarten, Grade 1 placement is determined by testing and teacher evaluation.

Miya KimMS Special Education, BS Elementary Education

Endorsements: Elementary Education, Special Education, ESL, Jr. Academy English, General Studies, Religion, Social Studies

Biographical Information

Miya Kim came to Atholton Adventist Academy in 2008. After finishing her elementary and high school education at Northside Christian Academy (SC) and San Diego Academy (CA), she completed an elementary education degree at Southern Adventist University and a graduate degree in special education from Johns Hopkins University. She later went to Andrews University where she completed her TESOL certification.

Prior to coming to AAA Mrs. Kim taught in the Montgomery County Public Schools and Ruth Murdoch Elementary School in Berrien Springs, MI and then stayed home for a few years to rear her two daughters.  Mrs. Kim's husband is one of the pastors of the Washington-Spencerville Korean SDA Church.  Mrs. Kim is also Korean but was raised in the US by her American adoptive parents.  These factors allow her to move between American and Korean culture.

A combination of Mrs. Kim's Korean heritage, her upbringing by American parents, and her educational training in elementary education, special education and TESOL certification make her a natural to work with our students with academic challenges. As a teacher Mrs. Kim is extremely organized and creative and always illicits the best from her students. She is kind and gentle, which is reflected in one of her favorite quotes from Emily Dickinson:  " . . .always I have a chair for you in the smallest parlor in the world, to wit, my heart." 

Mrs. Kim enjoys gardening, talking with friends, walking, playing games, and spending time with family. She has traveled widely and holds fond memories of her trips to Tuscany, Rome, Prince Edwards Island, Kyungju, Bermuda, Grand Canyon, Boston, and Eugene, OR

Enrichment Activities

Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten participate in Physical Education daily and Spanish instruction twice a week.  Computers augument the regular curriculum through educational software used for reading, math, and other curricular areas.