St. Mark's United Methodist Church Preschool
225 Claremont St., Petersburg, VA 23805 (804)733-0420
Preschool Handbook

St. Mark’s Preschool


St. Mark’s United Methodist


225 Claremont Street

Petersburg, Virginia 23805




Established in 1989, St. Mark’s offers an exciting preschool program in a Christian atmosphere.  The staff and the Board of Directors have formulated a quality program utilizing the excellent facilities of St. Mark’s Methodist Church.  Our dedicated purpose at St. Mark’s is to provide group interaction, which aids in the development of the young child.




Our main objective is to help each child have a positive beginning school experience in a Christian atmosphere.  We are a developmentally appropriate program in which the children have a balance of structure and free choice and where the focus is in the process of their endeavors, rather than the finished product.  By exposing the children to many different educational experiences, they will increase their understanding of the world and develop social skills and build confidence to help in their over all development.  We encourage the children to think, problem solve, make decisions and follow through with many hands-on minds on experiences.


General Information


Our school offers the following classes:


  • 2-Day – Days to be determined (by enrollment needs)
  • 3-Day – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • 5-Day – Monday through Friday



For the following ages:


TOT program (2 ½ and Younger threes) 2-Day only

Program for three year olds – Choice of 2, or 3 Day

Program for four year olds – 3 or 5 Day



Eligibility:  A child must be three or four years old before September 30 of the school year for enrollment in the respective classes for the fall term.  Based on availability a child may enter the TOT program the month they turn 2 ½ years old. 



Enrollment Process:  Parents wishing to enroll a child should submit an application form with a $40 registration fee.  St. Mark’s United Methodist Church members are exempt from this fee.


If there is space in a particular class, a copy of the contract can be printed from our web site or can be sent to the parents.  The contract should be signed and returned with the non-refundable deposit by the date indicated on the contract.



If the class is filled, the parents will be notified and the child’s name will be placed on the waiting list.  An application must be filed for a child’s name to be on the waiting list. 



Classroom Assignment:  Each child is assigned to a classroom according to age and maturity level.


Staff Ratio and Class Size:  Staff ratio and class sizes vary according to age group.  In the 2 ½ year old groups the ration is one to 8 or less.  The 3 year old classes have a maximum of 12 students with a teacher and an aide.  The 4 year old classes have a maximum of 10 students.  The overall staff ration is one to ten or less for ages 2 ½ through 4 each day.

School Hours:  9:00 – 12:00 for all classes.


Physical Facilities:  The Preschool meets in the east end of the educational wing of the church building.  The classroom sizes are approximately 670 square feet.  We also have the use of other rooms for music and special activities.


Our playground, which is easily accessible from the classrooms, has a variety of play equipment including sandbox, jump riders and several climbing structures.  We also have a large area that is free from obstructions which makes it excellent for gross motor activities such as running, skipping, and ball play.


The Virginia Department of Social Services has licensed St. Mark’s Preschool as a religious exempt center for up to 50 children in compliance with the code of Virginia.  Our building is inspected annually by the fire marshal and health department.


Consent Forms:  Parents are asked to sign a consent form for the child’s participation in trips or other activities off the bounds of the church property.  The consent form releases St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and St. Mark’s Preschool from any liability.  The consent includes a statement of agreement to comply with all policies of the school.


Staff:  Each staff member is required to have a yearly physical and to be free of any disability that would restrict her work with children.  Our staff members are college educated.  Their experience has demonstrated their ability to work with Preschoolers.  They continue their education in the field through seminars, workshops, and classes.  All staff members must undergo a criminal background check when hired as well as be certified in CPR and first aid.


Student Health:  For each child enrolled, a state-approved health form must be completed by a physician and submitted with the first tuition payment on August 15.  Please keep an unwell child having a fresh cold, cough, sore throat, pinkeye, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or has ran a fever within the last 24 hours at home.  The child should be well enough to participate in the entire program, including outdoor activities.



Student Information:  An information sheet with emergency phone numbers and other important information must be on file in the Preschool office by August 15. 



Arrival and Departure:  School will begin at 9:00 am.  The driver must accompany children to the classroom.  School will dismiss promptly (except as noted on the Preschool calendar) at 12 noon.  Please do not keep the children waiting.  Dismissal instructions will be given at parent orientation.


Transportation:  The Preschool does not provide transportation.  Parents are responsible for transportation to and from school.  A list of the entire enrollment will be available to you at orientation to help form your carpools.  If you child is to leave school with anyone other than the regular driver, it is required that you send a note to the teacher.



Toys from Home:  Please do not allow your child to bring toys from home.  Sharing problems usually arise if toys, play guns, whistles or other mouth toys appear.  However, we welcome books, C.D.’s, cassettes, and materials, which contribute to the classroom discussions or units of study.


Dress:  We recommend play clothes for the children so their creativity will not be hampered and so they will feel free to participate in all activities.  Also, include appropriate clothing for our outdoor activities.


Parent-Teacher Conference:  Conferences will be held as noted on the school calendar for all classes during November.  You will receive a notice of the conference day and time.  If parents or teachers feel a spring conference is necessary, they will be assigned a time.  Conferences are scheduled, but may also be initiated by either parent or teacher at any other time as warranted.  Please do not discuss your child in his presence, either during a personal conference with his teacher, or during a phone conversation.


Calendar:  We will keep you informed of the children’s projects and activities through a calendar sent home monthly.


Snow Arrangements:  St. Mark’s will be closed if Prince George is closed or if they open late due to bad weather.  Please check radio or TV announcements for Prince George closings.


Discipline:  Management of behavior at St. Mark’s consists of discussing the inappropriate action with the child involved.  The teacher will explain to the child why the action cannot be permitted and will discuss with him alternative behavior that will accomplish the desired objective.  If the child repeats the offense, a “time out” chair is provided for him to think about his actions.


If a child continues to infringe upon the rights of others, then the parents will be consulted and a course of action acceptable to both the parents and the school will be planned.


Problems:  Please feel free to call your child’s teacher if there is a problem or if you have questions.


Snacks:  We will have a snack break with each child bringing a healthy snack to share.  Your child will also need a cup with their name on it for water.  From time to time we cook a snack with the children to tie in with a particular lesson or unit of study.  You will be sent a notice when your child will do this.



Home Visits:  If you choose to have a home visit, it will take place the beginning of September.  Your teacher will contact you to arrange the day and time.                                                                                                                           


Program Description and Curriculum


Programs for two, three, and five day Classes



Program Description:  The curriculum is creative, varied and thematic, designed to meet the needs of each child.  Each child is taught to work on independent learning activities and to choose activities that will challenge him.  In group situations we stress the importance of taking turns, sharing, and cooperating, as well as listening and following directions.  The children are also taught to respect teachers and each other.


Curriculum:  Our curriculum includes the following:


1.     Group and individual activities

2.     Diversified indoor and outdoor play

3.     Story time

4.     Health habits

5.     Music and rhythms

6.     Creative arts and crafts

7.     Age appropriate readiness activities

8.     Science activities

9.     Number concepts

10.  Creative thinking

11.  Social studies activities

12.  Field Trips



The curriculum in the classes for four-year-olds is designed to prepare the students for Kindergarten in either public or private school by focusing on social and emotional development with an introduction to academics. 



The program in the class for the three-year-olds concentrates on social and emotional adjustment as well as the ability to work independently on projects and activities.  Activities are designed to stimulate creative thinking and problem solving.


The goals and objectives for the 2 ½ year old children will be to learn to play and cooperate with peers, adjust to separation from parents, develop self help skills, to become aware of the world around them, to sit and listen and follow directions for appropriate periods of time, learn manners and respect for others and to  work on fine and gross motor development.


Children are natural learners who develop at different rates.  Our aim at St. Mark’s is to let each child work at an individual rate and level of interest.  A child is never pressured into working on a task that is too difficult.  Most of our activities are presented in a game, discussion, or fun situation where the children are seldom aware of being taught important concepts.


The Role of Play in the Curriculum


Music:  Music is a daily experience that includes circle time songs and recorded music for the children’s enjoyment.  Our music teacher comes 3 days a week for a structured music experience using group participation and rhythm instruments.  We have four music (singing) programs during the year as well.

Preparation:  Please mark all coats, hats and mittens with your child’s name.  Each child should have a tote bag for carrying items to and from school.  Tote bags should be easy for the child to manipulate and large enough to hold their “masterpieces”.  Backpacks and bags with buckles and clasps are not suitable.  The best tote bags are the large rectangular cloth or plastic bags with handles


Change of Clothes:  All children should have a change of warm and cold weather clothes in a plastic bag marked with their name to be kept at school in case of water spills or any other accidents.  If your child has just recently been potty-trained, please keep in the tote bag a complete change of clothes including socks and underwear for at least the first few weeks.


Use of Umbrellas:  The use of an umbrella is lots of fun and makes a child feel very grown up.  However, they can be dangerous in the hands of young children.  Please do not let your child bring an umbrella to school.


Star of the Week:  Starting in January on certain assigned weeks each child will be given the opportunity to be STAR OF THE WEEK!  This will be a very special, exciting week for your child.  They will bring a “ME” poster (collage) of cut-out magazine pictures of what they like best, to be displayed at school during the week.  The star of the week will also bring from home another poster displaying family and baby pictures to be shown to classmates.  The Friday before they are to be star of the week, your child will bring home a mystery bag in which he brings an unnamed object, which he will describe to the other children so they can guess the identity.  On Wednesday of his week your child is asked to bring a special snack to share with everyone in the class, which he choose or helped make.


Field Trips:  Before each field trip, we will send home a notice with information about the trip.  If you wish to help, a sign-up sheet will be posted outside the classroom a few weeks before the trip.  Since each driver will be needed as a chaperone, please make other arrangements for children who are not part of the class.  On the day of the field trip, drivers will be asked to sign a statement that they are not using any medication that would impair safety.  All children under the age of six must use child-restraint seats, and all must use seatbelts.  The adult who is responsible for bringing your child to school shall also be responsible for placing your child’s car seat in the car your child will be riding in for that field trip.




School Calendar



Orientation:  We will have orientation on Thursday and Friday following Labor Day.  Thursday night at 7:00 pm we will have a parent meeting for all parents, with baby-sitting provided.  Please plan to attend, even if you have attended in previous years.  Friday morning between 9:30 and 11:00 is Open House for parents and children to explore the classrooms.  Please plan to stay for about half an hour, and come at your convenience during that time frame.



The following dates are subject to change, and parents will be notified if a change is made:


Thanksgiving:  School closes after Chapel service and pumpkin pie sharing for family and friends the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving.  School reopens the following Monday.


Fall Parent-Teacher Conference:  Students do not attend school on the first Friday in November.


Teacher Workdays:  One will be held in January and one in March, to be announced.


Christmas:  School closes after the Christmas Tea for mothers and reopens the first school day after New Years Day.


M. L. King Day:  School is closed.


Spring Conference Day:  Date to be announced.  Students do not attend school.


Good Friday:  School is closed.


Spring Vacation:  School will close in accordance with the public school calendar for this break.  You will be notified of the exact dates.


Last Day of School:  The fourth Thursday of May with a school closing program that night.




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