Young children are avid STEM investigators, eager to explore and invent. Spend an hour with a Pre-K student and you will field an astounding array of questions, as their own natural curiosity leads them towards STEM inquiry. “How can we all get a fair share of these cookies?” “How can I make my block tower tall—but not fall over?” “How can a stick float on top of a puddle?”
At St. Monica we provide a child-directed program that gives our early learners three hours of free play time each day (2 indoor and 1 outdoor) to explore their interest, stretch their imaginations, make peer connections, practice negotiating and team work and exercise fine and gross motor muscles.
We also have several academic periods throughout the day to give our students ample opportunities to explore early reading, writing, science, math, and art concepts. We believe this balance between active, free exploration and teacher-led academics allows our students to develop a love of school, curiosity for learning and academic drive that will reach way beyond preschool.
Being a child-directed program means going with the flow, designing the classroom around the natural interest of the students, setting out materials and creating projects based on the subjects the students show an interest in. We place high importance on play and the developmental rewards play has for children; speech and motor development, compassion and empathy building, independent problem solving, and above all “outside-of-the-box-thinking”.
St. Monica teachers have received high-quality pre-service and in-service training focused on STEM disciplines and Project Based instruction and curriculum. At St. Monica Catholic School we seamlessly integrate these STEM lessons with Arts Education; Spanish, Drama, Art, Movement & Music to educate the whole child.