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St. Paul Early Childhood Learning Center

2256 Bahia Vista St.
Sarasota, FL 34239

(941) 955-6480


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The Peaceable Kingdom

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Activites are planned in advance, but a good teacher will throw her plans out the window if children become engrossed in something else. Our storytelling experiences begin with shared reading, but don't be surprised if the teacher helps the children choose costumes from the characters and then act out the story over and over again. And if there's a bridge, like in Billy Goats Gruff, we might find something for the childrene to construct the bridge and then do the story again! You will see very active participation. What you won't see or hear is our teachers saying, "Criss cross applesause, bottoms on the floor, I'm talking and you're listening, mouths zipped." We are not the right school for your child if you are looking for that sort of thing.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught peacemaking skills

From the Director:

A large part of our program is based upon a one-of-a-kind Peacemaking curriculum, cooperative materials, like our two to three person trikes and easels, multicultural paint, paper, crayons, markers and playdough.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Each child has a binder of anecdotal notes, individual activity plans and goals (parents help set the goals, and so do the teachers - we work together as a team in everything!). Each student also has a portfolio of work samples. We expect that each child comes to us with his own strengths and areas to work on. So do adults! We celebrate and enhance the strengths and work together on filling some of the gaps. Most of all, we accept each child for who he/she is.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our philosophy follows from "Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9. We live in a world that is filled with conflict and rivalry. Every level of society is affected. And in the midst of such strife, God calls us to be "peacemakers." Peace speaks of wholemess and well being that includes our relationship with God and loving harmony with each other. To live in peace doesn't mean that all differences are eliminated, but it does require that we all work, play, learn and grow together despite our differences. So, our children must see and hear and feel peace in action.

A Typical Day

Early drop-off starts at 8 am and includes calm activities before school begins. Classrooms open at 9:00. The day is made up of individual choice and teacher directed learning activities, things like circle time, center time, outdoor time (with planned motor activities and materials, not just running around). Our children come to have a real connection with their teachers and the other students. They help guide the curriculum with their interests. We look for teachable moments in everything we do!

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We have Parent Orientation, Home Visits, Parent Teacher Conferences, daily notes home, phone calls, emails, lesson plans with letters, newsletters, suggestion box, survey of volunteer opportunities and parent involvement. Whew! We value parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and invite them to be a part of the program whenever possible.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

We use love, kindness, bunnies, bears, blankies, a nice article on separation in our parent handbook, calls to and from work or home to check on how the child is doing, some tears, some special artwork and activities. We do not want a child to spend his or her day here if he or she is crying all day. If a child doesn't calm down, relax and seem happy here in pretty short order, we work with the parent on a plan to help ease the child into the program. We want the child to trust and enjoy us - not fear us. We do not ask for bunnies, bears and blankies to go away after the first month of school. We welcome these special friends at all times. We might even take pictures of them and help a child make a "Goodbye Book." We get creative when sad children are involved!