WELCOME TO STMPG!
St. Thomas More Play Group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020!
STMPG has grown from a small group of twos and threes, originally organized to serve the needs of a fast growing community of young families.
Today our school enrollment consists of 110 students, aged 2-5 years. We have been fortunate over the years to attract an exceptional and dedicated group of teachers, who maintain the fine tradition of early childhood education for which the school is known.
We welcome your interest and look forward to sharing a glimpse of STMPG with you soon.
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Typical Day Schedule
8:45 – 9:25 Outdoors
The children engage in gross motor activity by running, climbing, playing ball and riding bicycles. They have an opportunity to use the chalkboards, sandbox, and playhouse. There is much dramatic and imaginative play during outdoor time.
9:30 - 10:05 Enrichment
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday the classes alternate in half groups for Movement with Jessica in the music room. The other half engages in small group activities with their teachers. This time may include guided math work, extended letter study or library time. Tuesday and Thursday mornings will be spent with Lena, our music teacher. On Monday and Friday mornings, our classes enjoy science with Professor Planet. Spanish immersion is taught with Mariana on Wednesdays and Fridays.
10:05 - 10:40 Circle/Snack/Story
Typically, during circle time we discusse the attendance, calendar, weather, and news of the day. Conversation plays an important role during our circle time. Language and listening, respect and turn taking are considered as equally important as our daily jobs. Snack follows our circle time. Our “Snack Helper” serves snack each day. The simple task of serving snack helps to develop one-to-one correspondence, a sense of responsibility, and pride in a job well done.
10:40 - 11:15 Play Room
There is much physical, dramatic and imaginative play, as well as quiet, independent choice time in the play room. During this free play children may choose to read books, build with blocks, dress up in the house corner, draw, use puzzles and manipulative toys.
11:15 – 12:15 Project/Lesson/Art
This time is used for classroom project pertaining to our curriculum. Also available is our drawing/writing center, math center, easel painting, listening center, puzzles and manipulative rug toys. During this time, small groups of children will rotate through the art program with Bill and/or Spanish with Mariana.
12:15 - 12:40 Lunch
Children bring a packed lunch from home. We are a nut-free facility.
12:40 - 1:00 Story
Each day the children participate in various enrichment classes that may include yoga, science, music, art, woodworking, library and Spanish. Each of the disciplines is taught by a specialist teacher. The school is located close to Central Park and many museums, allowing for visits to enhance the curriculum.
The art program at STMPG is designed to foster the inherent creativity children are born with. The children are led in activities that engage and grow their problem solving skills. The goal is to have students leave STMPG with a broadened, more creative mind. Activities are designed for open-ended outcomes so that children encounter projects that can be resolved with their individual solution. Activities are enriching and satisfying for a whole range of work styles and abilities. Each child concludes with work over which they feel ownership and pride, regardless of individual skill level.
Discovery and investigation of the physical world is a central part of the curriculum. Experimentation and searching for individual solutions help to broaden conventions of thinking and keep children’s minds actively engaged.
Children are natural movers and are insatiably curious. They need to move, vocalize, touch, listen and watch in order to process the world around them. Neurological pathways within our bodies connect our thoughts to our actions. This conversation between the mind and the body allows us to apply knowledge and self-regulate behavior, making children successful learners, movers and functional members of society.
Our movement program provides the opportunity to help children harness their natural ability, boost their executive function, develop fundamental movement skills and apply them successfully. It will help them to develop physical skills, become efficient movers, gain confidence and learn about their body’s movement potential.
Yoga, creative movement and drama are so complimentary of each other, each support a child’s need to play while focusing on their physical, creative, social, emotional, and behavioral development. Pairing this with the fundamental movement skills and creating the foundation of sports has created an amazingly rich curriculum and fun learning environment.
Our music program blends a variety of techniques that include Kodaly, Orff and Dalcroze. The Kodaly method has a strong emphasis on singing and listening which will aid in developing the young voices of our students. The methods of Orff and Dalcroze are strongly associated with movement and psycho-motor development. The compilation of these styles will help our students discover and enjoy many musical concepts, tasks and games.
St Thomas More Play Group prides itself on its incredible library. Supported by parents through donations and volunteer opportunities, STMPG's picture and chapter book collection has more than 6,000 titles. Once a week, each class (including our youngest Twos), has the opportunity to browse through age appropriate selections. Children check out and bring home books strengthening a home-to-school connection. Exposing young children to picture books in which protagonists represent the widest variety of children paves the way for discussions about how children around the world and our friends can look, act or feel, and how we all share so many of the same wants and needs. This leads to greater understanding and empathy and provides the foundation for future conversations.
Blending extensive classroom experience with her native Argentinian background and Spanish fluency, our master teacher of 20 years has crafted a dynamic and interactive program for the children to enjoy. Learning to speak more than one language boosts problem-solving skills, listening skills, memory, creativity and concentration. A child’s brain is receptive to language learning at a young age, therefore it happens organically. Children who learn language at an early age are more likely to reach proficiency in the language as well. The children at St. Thomas More Play Group experience a natural immersion in Spanish language and culture. Each class includes movement, music, stories and visuals as well as tactile materials to engage each child and encourage learning.
Our science teacher aims for the children to recognize that science is around them every day. They explore with a sense of wonder, as they’re introduced to marine biology, animal habitats, human anatomy, botany, astronomy, and geology.