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Some information we thought you’d like to know about Kindergarten at St. James…

Your Child’s Needs Are #1…
Quite frequently, prospective parents wonder how we select the students for our Kindergarten program. Our fundamental goal is to best meet the learning needs and maturity levels of the children. Although all kindergartners may be within several months of each other in chronological age, they can differ widely in their developmental age. Our selection process provides us with a picture of a child’s physical, social,and emotional maturity. Very bright youngsters may be quite immature in terms of their ability to function in a group, follow directions, work independently, and pay attention. In order to place a child in a program which best meets his or her developmental age, we carefully screen him or her, using the Brigance screening. Youngsters who have the greatest developmental maturity are usually offered a seat in our full-day program, which requires a greater attention span and independence level.
The Brigance Screening
When you register your child for kindergarten, we will arrange a day and time for one of our teachers to administer the Brigance screening to him/her. Our seasoned teachers have been administering readiness screenings for more than 12 years. The screening process itself is a series of tasks which show us your child’s verbal, kinesthetic, and listening abilities. The child is having a fun experience, while the evaluator is looking for how the child tackles each task. It is the way in which a child performs each activity that gives us insight as to his/her developmental age. This is not an intelligence test nor is it the kind of assessment that children can be prepared in advance for, and you shouldn’t try to do that. Parents are welcome to sit in on the screening, although we encourage the children to assert their independence and do the screening on their own. Following the screening, the teacher will score the screening and write a brief report. Kindergarten screenings are typically held in March, and acceptances will be mailed out approximately two weeks later.
How many kindergarten classes do you have?
There are 2 Kindergarten classes at St. James and both are full-day sessions, which begin at 7:50 a.m. and dismiss at 2:10 p.m..
How do you place children in the kindergarten program?
Academically, we expect our kindergarten children to be fully prepared to move from Kindergarten on to our First Grade program. Therefore, it is essential that children begin their academic careers in a program that best meets their developmental maturity level in order to ensure that they will make the necessary progress, socially and academically. Children applying to kindergarten are screened for readiness using the Brigance screening method. Children showing the developmental readiness for the full-day program are offered placement in concurrence with our acceptance policy. Developmentally younger children may opt to consider our pre-school program, depending on availability of openings. For more details on the preschool, please click HERE.
What is your criteria for acceptance?

At St. James, the most fundamental criteria is readiness. Each child must be screened and demonstrate readiness for the program that we offer. Of those children who we consider, first priority goes to any children who have brothers or sisters already registered at St. James.

What are your school hours?
The school doors open at 7:30 a.m. with classes getting underway at 7:50 a.m. and our school day ends at 2:10 p.m. Families have the option of enrolling in our on-site After School program, which is in operation until 5:30 p.m. Enrollment into after school is on a first-come-first-serve basis and is open to students in grades K-8 and there is a separate weekly fee payable directly to the after school director.
How many students are there in each kindergarten?
There are 22 maximum available places in each kindergarten, which means that a total of 44 kindergartners may be admitted each year. After screening, many of our own 4-year Preschool students are advanced into Kindergarten, which to some degree, limits the total number of new families that we can accept each year. Again, all Kindergarten applicants, including our pre-school students are also required to screen for Kindergarten readiness.
What are the qualifications of your kindergarten teachers?
Our kindergarten teachers are: K-107: Mrs. Beth McCormick has been teaching at our school since 1993 and is our lead Kindergarten teacher in homeroom 107. She is a fully certified and holds a Master Degree in Education. K-108: Mrs. Karen Arena and Mrs. Kathleen Dudzinski both joined our “official” teaching staff in 2005, after many years of volunteering and substitute teaching. They co-teach the other class in homeroom 108. Mrs. Arena is a certified teacher with her Master’s Degree in Health Sciences. Mrs. Dudzinski has a Bachelor’s degree and is currently enrolled at Sacred Heart University and working towards her Master’s Degree.

KINDERGARTEN SCHEDULE: This is a brief descriptive outline depicting a day in K. It is designed to give you a sense of what kinds of activities we undertake in Kindergarten at St. James — although we don’t want to give away too much of the adventure! To view, click HERE.



Please call us at 203-375-5994 or e-mail us if you have any additional questions.