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Early Childhood

Child learning about owls

Lower School: Preschool Through Kindergarten

Environment and Learning Focus

In the spirit of an Episcopal school, the early childhood program at St. Mark’s Episcopal School offers “a lively center for sound learning, new discovery and the pursuit of wisdom.” Classroom environments are arranged in learning centers filled with hands-on materials and teacher directed activities that foster growth in social, emotional, cognitive, fine and gross motor and creative skill development.

Indoor and Outdoor Environments

Each innovative classroom is staffed with a lead teacher and an assistant setting the stage for small and large group learning experiences and the opportunity for individualized guidance throughout the school day. Outdoor environments are well-designed play spaces that enhance collaborative play and gross motor skill acquisition.

Preschool 2s

Our youngest students in preschool 2s spend their mornings in a classroom designed for open-ended learning activities guided by nurturing, experienced teachers of young children. The well-planned environment provides activities designed to “grow” age-appropriate skills through self-selected experiences and teacher guided activities. Emphasis is placed upon the process rather than the product and the joy of hands-on, active learning projects. Our teachers work with students on developing independence and socialization, building self-control, and instilling a love of learning.

Preschool 3s and Pre-Kindergarten 

Curious, creative and enthusiastic learning drives our students in Preschool 3s and Pre-Kindergarten to embrace focused early childhood learning experiences.  Their classrooms are a combination of open-ended centers play and activities with an introduced purpose, designed to foster cognitive development through the exploration of emergent reading, math, and science concepts. Our program emphasizes the strengthening of fine motor skills and continued development of social and emotional skills. Thematic studies are designed to immerse children in the study of science and social studies topics such as family and community, fall harvest, holiday traditions, owls, Asia, insects, and more.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten students are active learners who are highly engaged in the study of the world around them. As they move away from open-ended centers play to activities with an introduced purpose, they acquire academic skills, and emergent reading and math benchmarks. The classroom environment provides opportunities for self-directed and teacher-directed learning. The program includes a continued emphasis on the strengthening of fine motor skills for emergent writing and cooperative learning and play to further the development of social and emotional skills. Thematic studies expand to include research, class projects using technology and creativity, and emergent reading and writing skills.

Curriculum

Inside the Preschool 2s Classroom

Schedule
Monday through Friday
Half Day 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Students may extend their day until 2:30 PM

Learning Centers
Blocks, Puzzles, Games, Dramatic Play, Reading, Art Experiences, Fine Motor Practice, Scooters and more to extend Gross Motor Development.

Enrichment Classes
Library, Religion, and Music and Movement.

Outdoor Play
Utilizing the courtyard playground and green space for joyous outdoor activities. 

Curriculum
Expressive Language development through storytelling, read-aloud stories, picture concept materials and daily interaction. Thematic Studies engage students in hands-on activities centered around holidays, weather, families, and more. Classroom materials are selected to build Math, Science and Reading readiness.

Inside the Preschool 3s Classroom

Schedule
Monday through Friday
8:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Learning Centers
Blocks, Puzzles, Manipulatives, Dramatic Play, Reading, Easel and Art Experiences, Math and Science.

Enrichment Classes
Library, Religion, Music and Movement, and Chapel.

Curriculum
Emergent literacy fostered through the Storytelling format based upon the Rice School Literacy Project, letter recognition, rhyming and phoneme activities. Exposure to quality children’s literature is a foundation for all literacy learning. Math readiness through center games and puzzles, sorting, counting and classifying activities. Vocabulary Enrichment through quality children’s literature and thematic studies. Fine Motor enhanced through center games, art experiences and early writing instruction. Thematic Studies include: “All About Me”, the farm, the five senses, holidays, and more.

Inside the Pre-K Classroom

Schedule
Monday through Friday
Full Day 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Option for after school care until 6:00 PM

Reading
Oral language development, participation, and vocabulary building. Storytelling format based upon the Rice School Literacy Project. Phonemic awareness that includes rhyming, letter recognition, initial consonant sounds, writing through labeling and emergent skill activities and story dictation. Exposure to quality children’s literature is a foundation for all literacy learning.  Purposeful communication activities and emphasis on listening to learn.

Writing
Handwriting begins formally with Handwriting Without Tears. This handwriting readiness program suits Pre-Kindergarten students’ developmental needs and abilities, focusing on efficient grip and letter formation.

Math
Promoting mathematical understanding through experiences and play. Center Games and materials. Group counting, sorting and classifying activities. Individual practice through hands-on activities utilizing concepts developed through the program Bridges in Mathematics.

Learning Centers
Blocks, Cooperative Games, Puzzles, Computer, Science, Math, Dramatic Play, Sand Sensory Table, Art Experiences, Storytelling and Puppet, Manipulatives, and Smart Tubs.

Enrichment Classes
Library, Religion, Music and Movement, Spanish, Technology, and Chapel.

Inside the Kindergarten Classroom

Schedule
Monday through Friday
Full Day 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Option for after school care until 6:00 PM

Reading
Emergent reading skills in Kindergarten are developed through the Storytelling format from the Rice School Literacy Project, elements of the Superkids curriculum, and a blend of both programs to promote phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding skills for early readers. Exposure to quality children’s literature is a foundation for all literacy learning.

Writing
Students are given the tools and encouragement to continue their natural desire to construct meaningful communication through print. Activities include journal work, shared Writing activities, story writing, and genre studies.

Math
Bridges in Mathematics is the foundation program for the development of concepts and knowledge of basic arithmetic skills. Extensions centered around thematic studies, problem solving, and partner and group activities. Patterning, sorting, classifying, graphing, measuring, addition and subtraction, probability, geometry, place value and problem solving.

Science and Social Studies
Concepts are taught formally through thematic studies; Students acquire knowledge through literature, multi-media, hands-on activities, and outside resources.

Enrichment Classes
Physical Education, Library, Religion, Music, Art, Spanish, Technology, and Chapel.

Before and After School Care

St. Mark’s offers before school care and after school care for students in Pre-K through 8th Grade. The before school care program begins at 7:00 AM and after school care is available through 6:00 PM.

Students in the Preschool 2s are with us for a half-day; school begins at 8:30 AM and regular dismissal is at 12:15  PM. We do offer a full day option for students in the Preschool 2s with dismissal at 2:30 PM.

Students in Preschool 3s are in school from 8:30 AM through 2:30 PM. We offer an Extended Day Program for a limited number of students in the Preschool 3s to extend their school day until 5:00 PM. Drop-in care is not available for this program.

Learn More About Before and After School Care