PreKindergarten Curriculum

Children learn through play. What looks like play to adults is active learning by children.

At Santa Catalina, we have a strong belief in creating a PreKindergarten program that is balanced and child-centered. Our program offers children many opportunities for free exploration, as well as plenty of exposure to structured direct instruction and guided learning. Our teachers pay close attention to each child’s social development as our youngest Cougars explore their new environment at Santa Catalina.

Children applying to PreKindergarten must turn 4 years old by July 15 of their enrollment year.

A boy and girl working on a project with glue stick and scissors.
PreK students pretending to work at a pumpkin store.

Full day option

Students have the option to attend PreKindergarten for a half day or a full day five days a week. Students enrolled in the full day program participate in fun, thematic, and interactive learning. The specially designed curriculum gives students the opportunity to delve deeper into the academic areas covered in the morning session by continuing their learning adventures through science, math, music, and movement. We especially enjoy this time with our students as they learn to create tasty recipes, partake in Readers Theater, explore science and nature, and express themselves through individual and group art projects.

Our curriculum


Students are given daily directed and free expressive opportunities to explore and create using paints, stampers, scissors, paper, glue, and more. A well-decorated classroom is one covered in our students' masterpieces!


Students enrolled in our full day program receive weekly dance lessons with the dance instructor for the Middle and Upper School in the Mary Johnson Dance Studio.

Dramatic Play

Students are given daily opportunities to dress up in costumes, put on puppet shows, and play make-believe games such as working in a restaurant or selling food at a market. Students also enjoy engineering with our large and small building blocks.

Language Arts

Our phonics program is a thoughtful combination of a multi-sensory approach to phonetic concepts, based on the Orton-Gillingham method, as well as a guided reading program where the children apply the strategies they have learned to decode text. Students continue explicit instruction of this program as they move into kindergarten and throughout the primary grades.

Using the Handwriting Without Tears program, students learn concepts of print and beginning letter formation through multi-sensory experiences, such as sand, Play-Doh, songs, whole body movements, and chalk.


We begin laying the foundation for math using the Singapore Math curriculum. This curriculum emphasizes a logical progression of new mathematical concepts from the concrete through the pictorial phase, and finally, to an abstract understanding of each concept. The concepts taught include counting, sorting and classifying, patterning and graphing, as well as an introduction to addition, subtraction, and place value.


Music is based on the ​Orff-Schulwerk method, a completely integrated approach as it relates to the developmental age of children. Non-pitched and pitched percussion instruments, as well as Orff instruments, are introduced for use with age-appropriate songs and movement. Students are introduced and exposed to the concepts of sound/symbol relationships (such as musical notation), pitch, rhythm, and meter throughout the year. Songs and singing are also part and parcel of all the learning that takes place in PreK!

Outdoor Play

Students enjoy recess daily in an enclosed yard where they can climb, slide, ride bikes, run, jump rope, dig, and play imaginative games. Students also have opportunities to explore the larger campus that Santa Catalina has to offer, like walks to lessons in the school garden and visits to the Performing Arts Center to enjoy special assemblies, concerts, and theatre productions.

Physical Education

Students attend physical education classes in our school gymnasium. The physical education teacher guides the children in age-appropriate gross motor development while teaching skills such as skipping, galloping, catching and throwing a ball, balancing, and developing teamwork skills.


Our religion curriculum focuses on the creation of the world, gratitude and mindfulness, friendships, feelings, and religious holidays. Daily morning prayers are led by the teacher, and children are encouraged to add their prayers to the group prayer. Students attend Mass regularly with the rest of the school, in addition to their once-weekly regular lessons in the Rosary Chapel.


Our science curriculum is based on FOSS (Full Option Science Session), a hands-on, experiential science program with units designed for each grade. Our Trees and Weather unit invites students to explore the world around them. Additionally, children are guided to continue their exploration through many integrated and thematic teacher-designed units throughout the year.

Boy holding chalkboard that says "sock"