Our play-based program welcomes every child from where they are and develops them through exploration, discovery and a love of learning. The preschool allows for flexibility and balances familiarity with new learning opportunities. For us, play is our work. Our lesson plans reflect the intentional work necessary for academic growth and faith-filled character building. All of this takes place in a nurturing, joyful, kind and safe environment.
Preschool classrooms: 3 year old classroom, younger 4 year old preschool, and Junior Kindergarten (for those who need another year of social or academic success before entering kindergarten, or whose birthday misses the cut-off to begin kindergarten). All students must be fully potty trained as we haven’t the license or the facilities to change diapers; however, we expect accidents occasionally!
Class size: There is a certified teacher and assistant assigned to each classroom of no more than 18 students. While our classrooms are larger to accommodate exploration and discovery, we prefer to maintain a class size of less than the recommended ratio for students to adults (1:10), so that we can give individual attention to each child.
Faculty: All staff members meet and/or exceed requirements set forth by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood and the Colorado Department of Education. Every staff member has a current background check on file, CPR/First Aid certification and Medical Administration training. In addition, all staff members participate in at least 17 hours of professional development each year.
Flexible Block Schedule: You choose the schedule that best meets your family’s needs with our flexible block schedule. Choose any mornings of the week (academically focused curriculum) and then supplement the day with an afternoon enrichment block (12 pm – 3 pm) that includes lunch, rest and enrichment activities including Spanish, library, cooking and games. Lunchtime, afternoon enrichment, SMEED or additional days (depending on availability) can also be added on an as-needed basis. We can accommodate last minute requests if your schedule changes or you need care for a longer part of the day.
Uniform: Beginning fall of 2020, students in preschool will wear uniforms similar to that of the K-8 school to build community and continuity among our students.
Program Additions: We are part of our larger school community! Preschoolers have “buddies” from older grades who join us for activities and bring us to Mass and the library. We go on field trips or bring in “special educators” to help reinforce units of study; we offer a number of family events to bring families into the classroom including Grandparents Day, Mother’s Day picnic, Science Day with Dad or Family Story Night.
Curriculum: While we do use a number of curricula that come in a box (Creative Curriculum for critical thinking and problem solving, CR Success for phonics, Learning without Tears for writing and scaffolded writing, Everyday Math for mathematical concepts, Scholastic for science and social skills support, etc) and help us introduce academic objectives, we believe that our curriculum begins when a child walks into the building and says “good morning” until he/ she leaves hand in hand with a parent talking about his/ her day. Our curriculum is heavily child-centered and virtue-focused, so that we begin to teach the child character building skills, and reinforce who your child is as we support parents as the first educators.
Fatih Focus: Our preschool utilizes the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd curriculum to guide our teaching of the Catholic faith. This series is steeped in the Holy Scripture together with tradition. The faith is presented in a very hopeful and joyful way, showing the children how to live their faith every day and explaining Catholic practices in a developmentally appropriate manner.
Differing ability resources: From the first day, and each day, we assess your child’s progress by recording observations as well as working with parents to complete developmental screenings. We also offer speech, language, vision and hearing assessments to ensure your child is developmentally ready for school. Research confirms that the more information and assistance we can give at an early age, the better chances your child has to succeed academically. We are committed to helping you through this process with a loving, skilled and licensed staff.
Parent Support: Twice a year, we offer parent training on subjects that relate to your current concerns and your child’s development. Our staff is always available for additional and specific questions.
8 am – 12 pm includes:
- Intentional centers (1 hour of deep discovery and exploration with scaffolded questions to enhance curiosity and problem solving skills).
- Focused centers (30 minutes each of music and math, also interspersed with science, foreign language and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd/religious instruction).
- Snack (emphasis on the art of eating – understanding food, health, conversation and manners).
- Gross motor/movement (30 minutes of structured gross motor activity including skill building, teamwork, following directions and cooperation; 30 minutes of unstructured outdoor play).
- Small and large group work (experiential activities to differentiate learning in all subjects).
12 pm – 1 pm – Lunch Bunch. Optional or additional hour to eat lunch with friends and enjoy more time playing outside.
1 pm – 1:45 pm – Rest time. Younger students sleep a bit longer; older students and non-nappers rest.
1:45 pm – 2:30 pm – Large group games, fine motor practice or small group games.
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm – Enrichment: Spanish, library, cooking, STEM, Bible stories (rotates daily).
SMEED (before and after school care) is available from 7am – 8am and 3pm – 6pm for families who need additional care. Students attend SMEED at the preschool instead of being mixed with the elementary and middle school students.