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.
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.
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.
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.
Kate Mikami Director and Teacher of 4 yrs class Pre-K
Over twenty years ago, I opened our classroom door to five students, and have been gratefully opening it every school year since then. When the Preschool plan was proposed by the church, I was on the planning committee, being the mother of three young daughters. It became apparent that the project would take some time so I went back to school to take the necessary units to become the Director and lead teacher.
I had been a stay at home mom, but my youngest was ready for Kindergarten, and I was ready to work outside our home. Tracy, Laura, and Jessie are all out on their own now. My husband of 35 years and I have a dog and two cats to keep things lively.
I am so blessed to have this opportunity to not only teach but learn each and every day; to celebrate the seasons and events of life through the eyes of children and to share the last 20 years with the wonderful families who grace our school.
Premala Ratnam Lead Teacher 3 yrs class
Am Ms Premala, I first joined St.Mark's Preschool as a teacher in 2007 for the 3 year old program, and I have enjoyed ever since. Being a teacher for these beautiful young children has really opened my eyes to the value of education and learning as a whole. As a Preschool teacher, it is my responsibility to foster children through the key transitional educational stage before elementary school. I make sure to organize activities in which each child's curiosity in nourished, interests expanded and talents developed. At this point in their lives, it is vital for preschool children to feel loved and cared for in this new environment, and that is exactly what each child will receive once they enter the classroom. The fundamentals that are gained through this class will help each child take the first step into an inclusive and successful education.
I like to spend time with my husband and two daughters. My interests are also in cooking, watching movies, hiking, going to the beach and relaxing in our backyard.
Jasmine Sundar Assistant Teacher
My name is Jasmine Sundar and I am a teacher assistant at St. Mark's Preschool. This is my fifth year teaching at this school. I am married and have a happy family and we have a daughter and a son. I started working here because I enjoy being in the presence of small children. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful and loving surrounding as my workplace. My goal is to provide these young minds with a fun and educational environment in an encouraging and positive way.
Carrie Morton Adminstrator, Assistant Teacher Pre-K
As administrator of St. Mark’s, I run the office for both the Preschool and the Church. I am in charge of schedules, student rosters and tracking tuition payments. I also write all of the correspondence and letters that are distributed to the parents. My favorite time of day is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, between 3 and 4 pm, when I act as an aide and get to spend time with the children. I am very grateful for my job and all of the wonderful children who attend St. Mark’s Preschool.
Miss Kate's Take on Tech
At St. Marks preschool we do not use or teach or even have computers, monitors or television screens in our classrooms.
It is my belief that since early childhood years are preciously finite, the learning opportunities of the three dimensional reality; real world are more essential than computer skills. Most children have access to computers at home and years in which to master their use. Childhood is but a few short years to discover and apply meaning to their world and their relationship to it. Most importantly they need to explore and navigate the tricky world of relationships to the other people sharing the world.