In 2005, the State of Florida required a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program to be available for those interested in preparing their children to enter kindergarten, hopefully, creating a better foundation for their educational success. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, has a new pre-k program starting in August. This new program moves St. Mark’s preschool focus to fulfilling the requirement for a voluntary pre-k for four year olds while blending several models of Early Childhood Education and ‘The Totten Method’.
Mrs. Peggy Totten is the director and lead teacher. Peggy has a long list of academic credentials and experience including being a certified teacher in Florida and Wisconsin. She has taught prekindergarten at Community Day School, been in charge of three year olds at Mother’s Morning Out and has taught every level of education from pre-k to adults at one time or another in her career.
So, what is the Totten method? The hand-out explains the basic philosophy. It is based upon science discovery through experiments and outdoor exploration and enjoyment. It also includes literature that is incorporated into every lesson plan from science to social studies. When studying the alphabet and phonics, great literature is included to better understand words and their meanings and context.
The Totten family is highly regarded by parents in this area. Peggy’s husband, Shane, is a popular teacher at Marco Island Charter Middle School and has received both the Teacher of Distinction Award and the Golden Apple award. The new pre-k program is another step in the Tottens’ commitment to bettering the education of the children in this community.
So far, 20 children are enrolled in the program which will begin on August 24th. It will run four days per week, Monday-Thursday, 9:15 – 1:15PM. Monica Fernandez will be assisting with the children. Peggy suggests parents read the book Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. Her promise to parents is to read three books a day to the children. In turn, she asks the same of the parents.
Curriculum will include the alphabet and phonics, reading and writing, but there is so much more! Math games, science experiments, great books and culture are part of what the students will see or do, creating an atmosphere of fun while learning. Plans include Mystery Mondays, Tongue Twister Tuesdays, Wacky Wednesdays and Try Me Thursdays.
Peggy commented, “Each day we will enjoy fun activities that will teach the children to develop their higher level thinking skills and nurture their creative spirits. We are excited at the prospect of igniting young imaginations and instilling a pure joy of learning!”