Preschool in Philadelphia, PA 19104
3916 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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School Transportation : Penn Assisted Sch – Escorted to/from school Penn Assisted Sch – Pick-Up service to/from school
Public Transportation : Bus Subway/El Trolley
Language(s) Spoken : American Sign Language Bengali Chinese – Cantonese Chinese – Mandarin English Japanese Other Russian Spanish
Part Time / Full Time : Full Time Part Time
St. Mary’s is a non-profit cooperative day care center founded in 1964. We provide day care for children from 18 months to 5 years. Our core belief is that family and community involvement in our program fosters a caring trusting healthy environment for our children. Our unique parent help program work days and our diverse board of directors all exemplify this cooperative approach. Each member takes an active role in making St. Mary’s a great place for our children to learn and grow. While we share the wonderful and centrally located St. Mary’s Church building we are not associated with the Church. We are a separate entity and non-denominational.
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St. Mary’s nursery offers a no-pressure environment in which children have an opportunity to be the agents of their own learning. This philosophy of respect for children and their ability to make choices builds self-esteem and creates a foundation of learning that is purely positive; therefore the child’s relationship to school will be positive as the child moves on to grade school. Children will always choose to learn when they are ready for the challenge. Forcing a child into an activity that may be beyond their developmental abilities only teaches a child that the activity is difficult and should generally be avoided. Consequently we employ game playing teaching techniques freedom validation and abundant support and affection to generate enthusiasm for learning. Saint Mary’s Nursery School graduates are invariably ready for kindergarten.
Our mixed-age open classroom stimulates complex socialization in a completely stable environment. The children do not find themselves among strangers as they are trying to develop their sense of the world. They are never moved from classroom to classroom as the years go by. This stability encourages exploration in children because the safety net has been established through the constancy of care. For certain activities including pre-K preparation “meetings” library visits or certain cultural events we do split the group by age.
The Saint Marys Nursery School offers children an early educational experience embracing family continuity and development as a basis for learning. Children are nurtured and educated in a community classroom that includes children from 18 months to five year of age skilled teachers parents and other involved family members. The educational curriculum is carefully planned to be developmentally appropriate based in play creativity and the arts with an emphasis on the social-emotional health and development of each child. We are committed to the family environment and the stability and community that generations of children enjoyed before they were placed into age groups and graduated classrooms. Our children also enjoy a single and stable classroom that does not change from year to year . It is our experience that all of these elements create a homelike environment that allow children to relax and open up to all aspects of learning.
Our teaching philosophy is centered upon the childs individual needs. The arts are the cornerstone of our educational program. Our curriculum is very closely aligned with the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy in which the themes and concepts that we communicate to our students are supported and documented through their creative products. Art projects construction projects and theater performances are individually catalogued photographed and otherwise recorded to follow and document each child’s development.
During the Academic Year Program our children three years of age and older will visit the Philadelphia Free Library at 40th and Walnuts streets the Annenberg Center for child-friendly performances and walking expeditions throughout the University of Pennsylvania Campus. Families are welcome and strongly encouraged to join us on all of our trips away from the nursery school facility.
During the Summer Program our children three years of age and older will attend field trips that require transportation from the facility.
The Saint Marys Nursery School has designed a preparatory course for kindergarten that enrolled children attend in the year prior to their kindergarten year. In Philadelphia kindergarten enrollment is only available to children that will be 5 years of age prior to September 1 of the year they will attend kindergarten. In our experience this age cut off is not flexible in Philadelphia and therefore we only allow children to enter our pre-kindergarten program in September if they are 4 years of age prior to September 1.
The goal of Saint Marys Nursery School Pre-Kindergarten Program is to develop or further develop the academic and pre-academic skills of our children. This is achieved through a classroom experience designed to mimic and introduce the kindergarten classroom experience in content and expectation while ensuring enough flexibility to accommodate all the skill levels of its students. The pre-kindergarten or pre-k students are separated from the larger classroom for these lessons.
In addition to the classroom experience the pre-k students also engage in a complete theater arts program that begins with attending performances at the Annenberg Center and culminates in putting on their own productions for the school and its families. The play productions require the children to adapt a story and characters and develop a script create the sets and perform before a live audience of friends and family. The children perform two to three plays per academic year. Only pre-k children are involved in the live performances though all children three years of age and older attend the Annenberg Center performances.