Playschool, our program for two-year-olds, is built around the concept that play is the work of young children; our program is fun! Within a flexible and developmentally appropriate thematic curriculum, our students sing, dance, play, create, and learn social skills. We also focus on language development, self-expression, and self-care tasks.
Our Playschool is a unique program in Bowie, providing parents the opportunity to choose from either part-time or full-time care. This means that some parents use our program to introduce the school setting to their child for a few hours at a time, while others choose this program to transition their child from home day care to an academic child care center. One Playschool classroom is for potty-trained two-year-olds who turn three by the end of January. In the second classroom, students do not need to be toilet trained.
Preschool for three-year-olds and Prekindergarten for four-year-olds compose the foundation of our program. In warm and secure classrooms, students are introduced to the rhythms and routines of a school environment. A variety of schooling options are available. We offer 2-day, 3-day, 5-day, morning and afternoon classes. Offerings change year-to-year, so please check our website for the latest information.
Our Preschool curriculum is theme-based and nurtures the innate curiosity of young children through play, art, music, movement, and individualized instruction. Preschoolers are introduced to early literacy skills in an organic method gaining familiarity with letters, sounds, and numbers in their play and teacher-lead circle time. Students must be potty-trained to participate in our program.
Our Prekindergarten program uses the dynamic curriculum called Let’s Begin With the Letter People. This well-known and exciting program facilitates explicit instruction in literacy, reading, language arts, science, math, and social studies. Most importantly, our prekindergarteners continue to play, experiment, explore, and create in a secure but challenging environment. At the end of the year, they are thrilled about school and well prepared to enter kindergarten with confidence and the essential skills for success.
In cozy classrooms with a student:teacher ratio of 7:1, our kindergarteners begin their academic careers with inspiring curriculum and individualized instruction. Emphasis is placed on developing strong reading and thinking skills and encouraging children to be themselves – curious explorers of the world around them!
We provide explicit instruction in reading, writing, math, science, social studies, music, Spanish, art and P.E.. We also balance this instruction with time to play during recess and free-choice activities at the end of the day. Kindergarten is a full-day program with before- and after-care available.
Our kindergarteners leave St. Matthew’s with the academic skills, and self-confidence to SOAR in a wide-range of public and private schools. In the last several years, we have sent students to Bowie public schools, Crofton public schools, and the following independent institutions: Bowie Montessori, Cornerstone Academy, Grace Christian, Holy Trinity, Indian Creek, Key School, St. Andrew’s, St. Anne’s, St. Martin’s, St. Pius X, and School of the Incarnation.
Science and Music
Each class in our Playschool, Nursery School and Kindergarten programs has at least two specials classes each week. Students studying Science focus on such age-appropriate topics as growth, hygiene, recycling, the environment, and seasonal subjects. In Music, students are introduced to rhythm, singing, movement, and dance. Students also participate in two music performances a year.
Child care is available for our current students as an addition to their school day. Before care begins at 7 A.M. and after care is available until 6 P.M.. Child care teachers supplement our school programs through planned activities and routines that reinforce academic, social, emotional, and physical growth and development. St. Matthew’s EEC provides two snacks daily, one in the morning and the other in mid-afternoon. Parents provide lunch. Please note: We have limited refrigerator space and no facilities for warming foods. All children not attending P.M. school will lie down to rest for at least one hour each afternoon.
Over the summer, we continue our child care program from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M for children ages 2 to 5. Using weekly themes as our inspiration, teachers plan special art projects, games, songs, books, snacks and activities. Our schedule is more flexible during the summer, but the underlying structure of the school day provides the continuity and security our children have come to expect. Summer session is open to students from all schools.
Summer Enrichment Program
The Summer Enrichment Program is the latest addition to our comprehensive child care program. Children in grades 1 through 3 participate in 2 to 3 field trips per week to such places as the Glenn Dale Splash Park, Pirate Adventures, Pump It Up, the National Zoo, Bowie Baysox and more. In addition, the Summer Enrichment Program follows the same weekly themes as the Summer Session and participates in a variety of thematic academic, artistic, and athletic activities. Our Summer Enrichment Program strives to find the right balance between structure and adventure for our independent school-aged friends.
Faculty and Staff
Our faculty and staff are the reason our school is so successful and our students are so happy. Through strong partnerships with families, our dedicated and experienced staff provides a nurturing, loving, and enriching environment for young children. Currently, our faculty and staff have been with St. Matthew’s for an average of seven years. They are certified through the Office of Child Care and background checks are processed through the FBI and Maryland’s Criminal Justice Information System. Each lead teacher in the nursery school and kindergarten classes has a bachelor’s degree, each teacher assistant has their 90-Hour Early Childhood Development and Curriculum certification, and 70% of our child care aides are senior staff qualified by the Office of Child Care and the Maryland State Department of Education. In addition, St. Matthew’s requires teachers and aides to be certified in First Aid and CPR and to complete professional development classes each year. St. Matthew’s EEC program is highly respected because our staff is experienced, well-educated and devoted to their students.
The EEC Community
Educating young children takes a village, so the daily involvement of our families is an essential factor in our success. Parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, babysitters, nannies, and friends participate in a variety of COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES. We call on active members of our community to govern on our school board, to organize as room parents, and to assist us with fundraising. Parents share special talents such as photography, music, and art. Other parents provide special snacks and classroom items. We thrive on the energy and talents of those around us!
The EEC Community is also a part of St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church. While we do not participate in worship services, our teachers, students, and families contribute to several church missions. In the last few years, EEC families have given food to the Bowie Interfaith Food Bank, given Christmas stockings to children whose mothers are incarcerated, and purchased sweatshirts for disadvantaged children in Prince George’s County. We are very proud of the generosity of our families!