St. Marks Preschool welcomed its first students in January 1993.
Initially we were an experiential, learn through play program. Early on though we began to recognize the need to add an academic component to more fully prepare out students for kindergarten and beyond! Our “packets” were born. Each day along with free choice time, and art and in the experiences, at circle time we discuss our days work and do our “packets”. These consist of our name worksheet, writing practice, dot to dot (numbers and alphabet), phonics, math and critical thinking practice. We start slowly in the fall, e they add and change to complement the growing skills and individual abilities of our students. Our goal is for a child to be well prepared for the world of Kindergarten.
Play time; free choice time is an essential part of our day.
This is when children really do their days work. Learning to use our words to solve problems, sharing our things and our time, making friends, learning to respect others and working with authority figures, not their parents…but Teachers! About a third of our day is given to these tasks. During this time they may also choose to participate in daily art projects, work at selected tasks on the tables or make their own choices.
Playing outside is another key element of our day.
We play outside every day, other than rainy days, about 40 to 60 minutes. Children not only learn valuable lessons outside but play differently and often with other children. And really there is nothing better than running, riding, and playing in the sand and being free to yell!
Teaching time, reading aloud, and show and tell (sharing) all happens at circle time, as well as packets. We try to keep the time spent at circle time engaging and interesting for our children.
Our ultimate goal is to provide a school for young children to have a terrific time; preparing for the world of elementary school; learning about themselves and others, really ready to move on to the next adventure and loving school.
We do not use a prepared Christian curriculum but rather model Christian values and stewardship; taking care of ourselves, those around us and our earth. We pray every day in the form of a song and Wednesday’s have short chapel time; the message is always, God loves you! Families are always invited to attend St. Mark’s Church on Sundays. St. Mark’s Preschool is an outreach of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
Several years ago we wrote and received a grant for our new playground structure. Its holding up very well and provides unique climbing challenges. We also have a rather short mountain to climb, and a seasonal water feature for lots of wet play. Sand, wet and dry, is always in season and we have plenty of that even though our students do seem to take it home. We provide more opportunities for large muscle movement with a fleet of cars and tricycles.