Welcome to Pre-K
with Mrs. Stark
- paper plates (need large and small)
- small Styrofoam cups
- gallon size Ziploc bags
- Wet Ones
- Clorox Wipes
- Lysol spray
- thin stick pretzels
- graham crackers
- Alpha Bits cereal
- Navy sweatpants (elastic waist) or navy gym shorts (Spring/Fall)
- Logo t-shirt (available in 10 colors)
- Navy blue logo sweatshirt
- White ankle socks
- Sneakers (white or mostly white/no lights/no wheels)
- Girls navy skort (from Flynn & O’Hara) (Spring/Fall)
- Logo tote bag
Refer to Page 9 of Uniform Guidelines – Quick Reference (http://stmarycatholicschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Uniform-Guidelines.pdf) for Pre-K uniform.
We study and practice our Catholic faith daily. Our Pre-K program, Stories of God’s Love, has many engaging activities including prayers, songs, stories, and craft projects. A leaflet is sent home each week and includes a variety of activities to foster integrating what the children have learned into everyday family life.
Skills are taught through hands-on activities and discovery. We work towards teaching the children to recognize and print their name; recite the alphabet; name uppercase and lowercase letters; recognize and produce letter sounds; produce rhyming words; name opposites; sequence pictures; recognize shapes; identify colors; recite the days of the week and months of the year; learn their address and telephone number; count to 31; recognize numbers to 20; classify and sort objects; recognize patterns; identify position and location; compare lengths, heights, and weights; add up to 5 objects; and subtract 1 – 5 objects from a set. Our units of study include Learning about Ourselves and Others, Seasons and Holidays, Health and Safety, Homes and Families, Food and Nutrition, Community Workers, Transportation, Animals, and Nature. We subscribe to Weekly Reader.
Physical exercise is important to your child’s health and well being. Every day we provide opportunities for the children to use all the large muscles in their bodies by riding bikes; climbing; running; jumping; playing with balls, beanbags, and hula hoops; pulling the wagon; walking on the balance beam; and parachute play. When children play on climbing equipment they learn physical strength, coordination and balance; to cooperate with others; to solve problems; and to have self confidence as they develop new skills.
Our morning meeting includes the calendar, weather, alphabet, songs, and stories. We do a lot of singing and creative movement. Singing and moving to music give the children a chance to hear and appreciate different kinds of music, express themselves through their movement, and practice new skills. The children love our daily time for singing together, and it helps them learn to cooperate in a group. We use chants to teach concepts and help us get through the daily routines. When children participate in Circle Time they learn calendar skills; letter and number recognition; following directions; listening skills; using vocabulary; organizing their own thoughts; telling a story with a beginning, middle and end; and making up their own stories.
Small Group Time
The children work individually or in small groups daily with the teacher and assistant. Fine motor skills, learning concepts, and unit studies are reinforced through art and crafts. When children scribble and draw they learn to hold a pencil (or crayon) and to control the pressure; to have eye-hand coordination; to exercise their creativity and imagination; and to express themselves with words. When children cut, glue, and collage they learn to control the small muscles in their hand; how to create patterns and designs; concepts of shape, size, and location, which are relevant to math skills and reading.
Classroom Areas and Learning Centers Children learn by exploring, touching, feeling and experimenting. Through play, music, art, and stories they will begin to develop all the skills and concepts they need before entering kindergarten.
The Library area is a very important part of our classroom and of your child’s life. It’s where children gain the foundation for reading and writing. We read stories to the children every day. We encourage children to look at books, to retell stories, and to write throughout the day. When children look at books they learn that books are important and enjoyable; that print is written down words. They learn to express their own thoughts, feelings and ideas; to make up their own stories; to realize that pictures tell just like words; to recognize certain words; to use more complex language patterns in their own speech. Reading introduces new ideas, helps children learn how to handle problems that come up in life, and mostly encourages them to develop a love for books.
Art is an important part of our curriculum. Every day, children use a variety of art materials. Drawing, painting, pasting, molding, and constructing are not only enjoyable but also provide important opportunities for learning. Children improve their coordination, learn to recognize color and textures, see how colors mix and make new colors, express original ideas and feelings, and develop creativity and pride in their accomplishments by exploring and using art materials.
Sand & Water
Both sand and water are natural materials for learning. When children pour water into measuring cups, they are exploring math concepts. When they drop objects into water, they are scientists exploring which objects float and which sink. When they comb sand into patterns, they learn both math and art. When children play with sand and water they learn how to use tools; to solve problems; to play socially with others; to observe changes; to create systems for classifying, sorting, and arranging; and concepts of full and empty, shape, and volume.
In our classroom, the Discovery Area is a place where children can explore and investigate. They learn important concepts in science as they study plants, animals, magnets, our body, our senses, and more. In addition to learning science content, they learn to appreciate nature and communicate with others.
When children play with playdough they learn concepts of shape, sizes, length and height; to express their imagination and creativity; to see negative space when cookie cutter shapes are taken away; to express feelings by squeezing and pounding; to recognize that the quantity of something remains the same even when the shape changes.
Toys & Games
Toys and games include puzzles, various table blocks, lace cards, beads, legos, board games, math manipulatives, and collections of objects. When children use toys and games, they explore how things work; learn to be creative and use their imaginations; strengthen and control the small muscles in their hands; work cooperatively and solve problems; and learn math ideas and concepts like more and less, longer and shorter, patterning skills, sorting and classifying, use of number words, and one to one correspondence.
The hardwood unit blocks in our classroom are one of the most valuable learning materials we have. They come in exact sizes and shapes. For this reason when children build with blocks they learn math concepts such as the number of blocks that fill a certain space. They compare the height of their buildings and learn about geometric shapes (triangles, squares, and rectangles). When they lift, shove, stack, and move blocks, they explore weight and size. Each time they use blocks, children are making decisions about how to build a structure or solve a construction problem. They work together and learn to cooperate and make friends.
In the Dramatic Play Area children take on different roles and recreate real-life experiences. They use props and make-believe to deepen their understanding about the world they live in. The ability to pretend is very important to your child’s development. When children play in the Dramatic Play Area they learn to express themselves with their words; to try out different adult roles; to sort and organize play things; to make decisions; and to dress themselves. Children who know how to make believe develop a good vocabulary, which is important for reading. They learn to cooperate with others and solve problems, and are able to think abstractly – all important skills for success in school.
When children play with puppets they learn to express their ideas; how it feels to take on the role of someone else; to use their voice tones as well as words; and to use their imagination.
Children explore the alphabet, play letter games, look at books, and write at the Literacy Center. They learn to recognize and name some upper and lower case letters; associate the letters with the sounds they represent; recognize their name and other words; that letters are parts of the words they say, and that letters make up all those magical words that are read from books.
We are delighted to have Ipads, a document camera, and a Smart Board as learning tools for the children. When children use these tools they learn to be comfortable with technology. They learn beginning reading and writing skills; math skills and concepts such as counting and numerical relationships; and how to express themselves creatively.
Pre-K Daily Schedule
Our day begins at 8:15. Students and parents should come to the gym upon arrival.
Half day dismissal is at 11:30. Parents should pick up students from the Walnut Street parking lot unless it is inclement weather. We will dismiss from the Primary Lot during heavy rain or snow.
Full day dismissal is at 2:45. Children are dismissed from the Primary Lot.
- 8:15 – 8:20 Arrival
- 8:25 – 8:55 Gross-motor Time
- 8:55 – 9:15 Circle Time (Calendar & Weather, Alphabet, Songs & Story)
- 9:15 – 10:00 Learning Centers / Small Group Activities
- 10:00 – 10:15 Snack
- 10:15 – 10:45 Cooperative Play
- 10:45 – 11:05 Religion
- 11:05 – 11:25 Group Activity (Math, Science, Social Studies)
- 11:30 Half day Dismissal
- 11:30 – 12:00 Recess
- 12:00 – 12:30 Lunch (in classroom)
- 12:30 – 12:45 Table Activity
- 12:45 – 1:15 Story & Follow-Up Activity (Author Study)
- 1:15 – 2:15 Rest Time
- 2:15 – 2:30 Enrichment & End of Day Meeting
- 2:45 Dismissal from Primary Lot
The children have Gym on Thursdays from 8:30 – 9:15. We go to the library on Thursdays to check out books.
This is my ninth year at St. Mary Catholic School, but I have been teaching for over 20 years! I graduated from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts and accepted a teaching position in Virginia. Being young and adventurous, I packed my Ford Escort and headed south. I began my teaching career in fourth grade and met my husband, Carl, who is also in education. Together we have traveled and experienced many unique opportunities. We moved to Hagerstown 18 years ago with our two children, Andrew and Ariane. We are members of St. Ann’s Catholic Church . I have been fortunate to teach many grade levels throughout my career from preschool through fourth grade as well as adult education. My enthusiasm for teaching has continued to grow with each passing year and new experience. I am very excited to be teaching Pre-K at St. Mary’s. I feel blessed to work in an environment where we can live and teach our Catholic faith. If you have any questions or concerns throughout the year, please feel free to email me.Mrs. Stark