Program » Early Childhood

Early Childhood


St. Matthew’s Early Childhood Division is located in the heart of the campus’ pastoral setting. Four classrooms and three spacious play areas provide an arena where 3-5 year old children are introduced to developmentally appropriate activities and concepts. We believe young children gain a sense of their identity and self-worth when they explore at their own pace and experience success at their developmental level. Learning at this age is through experiential interactions with materials, ideas, and other people.

Play is one of the major ways in which young children learn about the world around them. Through play, children learn about language, develop intellectual concepts, build social relationships and understandings, strengthen physical skills, foster independence, and master concepts through learning experiences that feature:
  • Time for children to play, to explore, to test out physical and social skills, to express their own ideas and listen to others
  • Active, hands-on learning
  • Teacher-directed and self-directed learning
  • Whole group, small group, and individual experiences
  • Curriculum that is emergent and integrated around themes meaningful to children
  • Learning centers
Our Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten programs nurture growth in all areas of human development: cognitive, physical, personal, social, creative, and spiritual. We respect each child’s pattern of development, recognizing the uniqueness of each young person while creating a supportive and caring peer group and school setting.
Hours and Schedule
The base program for Preschool runs Monday through Friday from 8:30am-11:45am. Children may be dropped off as early as 8:10am and picked up by noon.  
An afternoon LEAD (Lunch, Enrichment, and Academic Development) session is available five days a week until 2:40pm. Students staying for LEAD explore topics including cooking, foreign language, science and gardening, fine arts, movement, and much more. Children staying for LEAD eat lunch and have a rest time before the afternoon excitement begins. 
We are delighted to announce that our Pre-Kindergarten program will be a full-day program starting in 2022-2023. Our incredible Pre-K teachers will provide a full-day learning experience for the children grounded in our play-based philosophy that focuses on the development of each child. In addition to more time for play and social interaction, a more extended school day affords additional time for teaching and enrichment opportunities. 
A Typical Preschool Day:
Preschool is designed for children turning 3 before August 1.
A Typical Pre-K Day**:
Pre-Kindergarten is designed for children turning 4 before August 1.
Chapel and Service Learning
Our Early Childhood students attend a special weekly chapel in the St. Matthew’s library facilities and several special chapels in the church. The school minister or a member of the clergy leads chapel. Stories from the Bible or secular sources are used in the chapel program to reinforce the concept of God’s inclusive love and the uniqueness of each individual as a child of God. Thoughtful and responsible behavior, honesty, kindness, consideration and empathy for others are important qualities that teachers reinforce daily at every given opportunity throughout the program.
A vital part of each child’s education at St. Matthew’s Parish School is participation in our grade-level and school-wide Service Learning programs. Early Childhood partners with the children of The Early Learning Center of St. Joseph Center - a bilingual, dual-immersion childcare program for toddlers and Pre-K children - with mutual visits between schools to celebrate the seasons.
Parent Involvement
Parent participation is an important part of the program as is the formation of a cohesive parent community. Through periodically scheduled parent events and meetings, parents of our youngest students get the chance to form connections and establish relationships both with the faculty and each other.
Teachers welcome ongoing communication with parents and send home newsletters, summaries of class activities, and current photos of the children engaged in activities. Conferences and classroom visits are regularly scheduled throughout the year. Parents are also encouraged to become active in the many volunteer opportunities.