St. James Lutheran Preschool provides preschool classes for children ages 2, 3 and 4 year olds. We also host a delightful Mommy (or Daddy) & Me Program for children ages 12 – 23 months. Our programs look to meet the needs of each child individually, as well as creating an environment where all the children, collectively, are given the opportunity to succeed.
Our curriculum is based upon creating positive self-esteem, nurturing the inner child and allowing the preschool experience to be a positive, learning experience. At two years old, we look to create a love of gathering together with friends, at three years old, we look to create friendships with other children, at four years old, we look to create friendships and focus on relationships that extend beyond themselves. Kindergarten preparedness includes increased independence, reading readiness and numerous math concepts. All the while, balancing play with learning!
"As a parent of both a special needs child (elementary school age) and a typical preschool child, I have felt my share of stressful parenting moments. As we were new to the area, we enrolled our youngest child in the two-year old program and we received a Parent Meeting with refreshments which made me feel welcomed and at ease. The meeting was incredibly informative and helpful as a new parent to the preschool. I not only received paperwork for reference, but there was an opportunity for questions and explanations. This morning after dropping off my daughter, however, I further realized that I am not only less stressed because of the typical child element, but also because of the environment at your preschool. There is a warmth and down-to-Earth feeling. In addition, your accessibility, your introductions, and communication put any parent (typical or special needs) at ease. I always say that all children have the same challenges. The special needs children just have exaggerated or exacerbated versions of those challenges. The same holds true for all parents. Special needs parents, for the most part, have an exaggerated and exacerbated sense of uneasiness resulting from the fear of the unknown. A lesser version of this concept holds true for parents of typical children and especially for first-time parents. Your welcoming preschool, accessible nature of you and your teachers, and your willingness to sit down and communicate with the parents as a whole has put our family at ease. Coupled with my daughter's typical development and Mrs. Beckwith's incredible experience and patience, I now understand that you need all of the pieces to the puzzle to secure that confidence in a child. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!" - Parent Testimony #1
"My daughter was in Mrs. Capone's 3 year old class and I would just like to say how amazing an experience this has been to be a part of such an wonderful school. Everyone at the school is so sweet and so genuine. It has been a true blessing to have our daughter and, God-willing, our other two children be members of this preschool and church. I can't even begin to explain the feeling I get when I come here – it's just such a warm and welcoming feeling. It's so great how the teachers allow the parents and extended family members participate in school activities. Sending our daughter here has been the best decision we made. Thank you for everything and have a blessed day!" - Parent Testimony #2
WHAT WE'VE HEARD FROM PARENTS….
Q: What is the age cut-off for my child to attend the preschool's programs?
A: St. James Lutheran Preschool follows the Smithtown School District age cut-off of December 1st (i.e. For Tiny Tots Two Year Old Program, children must be 2 by December 1st).
Q: Does my child need to be potty-trained for the Two Year Old Program?
A: No, your child does not need to be potty-trained, however, if there is a diaper that needs changing for "good reason", we will politely call you to come in to change it. Also, if your child is showing signs of potty-training, we will be happy to take your child to the bathroom as your child indicates.
Q: Does my child need to be potty-trained for the Three Year Old Program?
A: Yes, however, we understand that not all children are fully trained by September, therefore, we will accept children into the Three Year Old program who: 1.) Are well into their potty-training and not wearing diapers (pull-ups are acceptable), 2.) Have a very good understanding of his/her own body functions, and 3.) Are able to express his/her bathroom need to an adult.
Q: What if my child has a wet accident (potty or drink) at school? Should I send my child in with an extra set of clothes at the beginning of the school year?
A: No, there's no need to send in an extra set of clothing when your child begins school. Accidents happen and when they do, we will quietly make your child comfortable with an extra set of dry clothing that we keep on hand just for these times. If your child has a potty accident requiring "extra cleaning attention", we will politely call you to come in to change your child either in the building or back at home.
Q: Does the preschool provide an ease-in period for a child who is attending preschool for the first time?
A: Yes, we understand that this may be the child's first time away from his/her parent(s), so we modify the preschool class time at the beginning of the school year to ease the children from a home environment into a classroom routine. We also have extra "huggers" in the classroom who do just that – provide hugs, laps, and reassuring words for those children needing extra love during these first few weeks of learning to separate from a loved one. We will also provide hugs and reassuring words to parents who are "letting go" of their children for the first time.
Q: Does our family have to be Lutheran to attend the Preschool?
A: No, we welcome all faiths to attend our Preschool. However, as a ministry of St. James Lutheran Church, our Preschool curriculum is Christ-centered and instilled with family-values.
Q: Do I need to send in a snack with my child?
A: No – the preschool provides a nut-free snack and drink (water, juice, and/or milk) each day.
Q: My child has allergies to several food items and I would feel better if I could send in a special snack for him- would this be okay?
A: Yes, by all means – your child's safety is very important to us.
Q: Should I call the preschool if my child is going to be absent from school?
A: Yes, we very much appreciate this thoughtful call to the Preschool Office if your child will not be in school for any reason (sick, vacation, etc…). This communication allows us the peace of mind to know that your child is accounted for.
Q: How should I dress my child for preschool?
A: Comfortably! We are an active preschool where we finger paint, glue, and play outdoors often, so dressing your child comfortably for when things get messy is best for worry-free play! Also, for bathroom purposes, we encourage clothing that is easy for your child to pull up and down. Clothing requiring belts and buckles should be saved for non-preschool days.
Q: Are sandals and flip-flops allowed in preschool?
A: Flip-flops and sandals are not safe at school, especially for preschoolers who are still learning to navigate stairs, playground equipment, and their growing and developing bodies. Wearing sturdy shoes or sneakers is encouraged for all safety reasons.
Q: My child receives professional services - can these services be scheduled during the preschool class time?
A: Yes, we welcome your child's SEIT to work with your child during class time.
Q: Do you take field trips?
A: Yes, we do, in both the three- and four- year old programs. Field trips during these formative years are one of the most important things our preschool provides its children. Field trips are an exciting and very important extension to our curriculum as they help expand children's learning and experiences and increase their knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live. Field trips also help our children develop a comfort and confidence that helps ease their later transition into Kindergarten.
Q: What about parent-teacher communication? How will I know how my child is doing?
A: We consider ourselves partners with parents, and we take that partnership very seriously. From exchanges at drop-off and pick-up, to weekly newsletters, classroom bulletin boards, parent-teacher conferences, and more, we want to share this experience as much as possible, and work together to ensure the best possible preschool experience for your child!
Q: How involved can parents be? Are we welcome in the classroom?
A: Parents can be as involved in our classroom and school community as they would like to be! Each classroom provides ample opportunities for parents to take part in their child's learning experiences. From mystery readers to class party volunteers to field trip chaperones, parents play an important role at St. James Lutheran Preschool. Our preschool cherishes and values the bonds we make with our preschool families!