Pre-Kindergarten

 

(For children age 4 or older by August 31)

St. Louise School’s Pre-K teacher, Mrs. Wendy Blank, begins a joyful journey of learning and growing for children in a four-mornings-a-week preschool program. (An optional afternoon session is available for parents who want their child in a full-day preschool.) The Pre-K program is based on the development of the whole child, and the goal is to provide opportunities for every child to grow spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and academically. The Pre-K classroom is a warm, supportive, and productive learning community where each child’s faith, character and intellect can grow and thrive.

 

The curriculum is child-centered and taps into each child’s innate curiosity about the world, laying the foundation for a life-long love of learning. Through meaningful, hands-on experiences, students are encouraged to explore, experiment, and take risks. They have time to become absorbed in their chosen work and play, constructing meaning from their own discoveries. Classroom experiences foster self-confidence and independence; students know that they are able thinkers who can make decisions, solve problems, and get things done.

 

The Pre-K classroom provides a safe place to learn and a fun place to grow and interact with peers. Students collaborate, cooperate and compromise. Together, students and teachers join together to build a sense of community and promote commitment to service in an environment that encourages students to care for themselves and those around them.

 

The regular half-day Pre-K program offers:

  •  An 8:15-11:45AM class that meets Mondays through Thursdays.
  • An atmosphere designed to nurture Catholic faith and values and celebrate each child’s relationship with God.
  • An intentional curriculum richly infused with literacy and math content.
  • Whole group, small group, and individual learning experiences, including opportunities for choice and play.
  • Inquiry-based projects linked to science and social studies themes.
  • Music, movement, and art enrichment.
  • Service opportunities.
  • Weekly music lessons with our school music teacher.
  • Head teacher Mrs. Blank is joined by an instructional assistant, Donna Neil; thus with a maximum of 18 students, the student:teacher ratio is 9:1.
  • An 11:45AM-2:00PM Monday session and 11:45AM-3:00PM Tuesday through Thursday session for up to 14 of the morning preschoolers whose parents choose this option (which includes a higher tuition).

 

The optional extended-day Pre-K program offers: 

  • An 11:45AM-2:00PM Monday session and 11:45AM-3:00PM Tuesday through Thursday session for up to 14 of the morning preschoolers whose parents choose this option which includes a higher tuition.
  • An atmosphere designed to nurture Catholic faith and values and celebrate each child’s relationship with God.
  • Whole group, small group, and individual learning experiences, including opportunities for choice and play.
  • Music, movement, and art enrichment.
  • Lunch time, quiet time, and movement/recess time scheduled for each afternoon.
  • Instructor Mrs. Maria Zambrano, and her assistant Mrs. Marilu De La Torre, supervise a maximum 14 students; thus, the student:teacher ratio is at 7:1.

 

Service Projects:

In connection with their study of trees and plants, the Pre-K students have opportunities to tend plants and gardens on school and parish grounds. The Pre-K students also work together with the entire school on two school-wide annual service projects:

  • The November Thanksgiving Basket collection teaches the importance of stewardship and giving to others. With the leadership of the sixth-graders, the entire student body creates about two dozen complete, traditional Thanksgiving meal baskets. Together with the Parish and St. Vincent de Paul, the baskets are delivered to needy families in the community. 
  • Throughout February and March, each homeroom teacher promotes "Operation Rice Bowl," teaching the importance of fasting and almsgiving during the Lenten season; students donate to Catholic Relief Services, helping the less fortunate in our community and worldwide. This 40-day season of giving begins on Ash Wednesday with a schoolwide “Soup Lunch,” when all the students and staff give up their usual lunch that first day of Lent for a simple cup of soup, and the money they would have spent on an ample meal is donated to Operation Rice Bowl.

 

Classroom Enrichment/Special Projects/Events:
 
Dramatic Play The dramatic play area provides rich, open-ended opportunities for kids to imagine, pretend and problem-solve while developing a range of essential social and language skills. Special themes tied to curricular units and infused with literacy and mathematical concepts include a farmers’ market, space station and zoo.
Author Studies Several author studies throughout the year focus on important print concepts, including understanding the meaning of and relationship between print and pictures. Kids make text-to-text and life-to-text connections, all while enjoying quality literature by favorite children’s authors and falling in love with good books!
6th Grade Buddies Pre-K students partner with their 6th grade buddies for special activities including read-ins, letter writing and math enrichment. The buddy relationship is a true highlight for all of the students.

Trees Through the Seasons A key component of the science curriculum is a year-long, integrated study of trees and things that grow. This hands-on, investigative, cross-curricular study taps into kids’ innate curiosity and appreciation for the natural world.  They think like scientists as they question, observe and explore trees throughout the seasons.  Fun, outdoor activities include a fall leaf hunt, a winter evergreen hunt and a spring bark hunt.

Fieldtrips Engaging, interactive fieldtrips bring to life classroom studies of space and animal habitats. Pre-K students visit the Pacific Science Center, where they take-in a planetarium show and visit the Tropical Butterfly House, and Woodland Park Zoo, where they participate in a special preschool program to learn about animals of the African Savanna.
Eating the Alphabet The Pre-K students enjoy a Thanksgiving feast—with a twist! Tying together our study of trees and plants, our author study of Lois Ehlert and lessons about Thanksgiving, the class enjoys a bounty of fruits and vegetables from A to Z.  Parents are invited to join the class in giving thanks for our many blessings.
Planting a Rainbow Inspired by the children’s book, Planting a Rainbow, and as part of their year-long study of trees and things that grow, students plant a variety of bulbs on campus. Parents are invited to join the students in this special project, which combines the scientific study of plants, service to the school and parish community and a connection to our author study of Lois Ehlert.
Butterflies As a way to help our youngest learners connect to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the class raises 10 caterpillars, watches them transform into beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies and releases them during Holy Week. The process is an accessible symbol of Christ’s journey, as well as our own, and provides powerful opportunities for meaningful discussion during the Lenten season.
Washing of the Feet Central to our Holy Week lessons is our own washing of the feet activity. Children learn about the Last Supper and the example Jesus gave for loving one another as He loves us.  Then, they walk a path with dirty (painted) feet, and Mrs. Blank washes their feet, reminding each child of Jesus’ call to love and serve others.
May Crowning In a special procession from the classroom to the Mary Garden, students sing, “Oh, Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today!” Once in the Mary Garden, they place a crown of flowers on the statue of Mary, lay individual flowers at her feet, and sing and pray to her and for all mothers.  Parents are invited to join the class for this celebration of Mary, Queen of the Saints.
Pre-K Zoo The final unit of the school year is a six-week exploration of zoos and animal habitats. Grounded in dramatic play and inquiry, this unit is rich with cross-curricular learning, and emphasizes the scientific process of questioning, researching and recording findings.  Along the way, the class hosts various guest pets and animal experts, including a veterinarian.  The project culminates in a zoo tour for families, hosted by animal experts:  the Pre-K students!
Musical Performance Under the creative guidance of music teacher, Mrs. LB, students delight their families with a spring concert. They prepare for months, learning the lyrics and movements for this musical treat!

 

 

To see photos and more information of our Pre-K program, please visit Mrs. Blank’s webpage.