ST. MARK'S SCHOOL
Serving San Diego families since 1968
St. Mark's Nursery School - A loving place to grow
Community Care License #372000557and #372005237 (infants)
Director: M'Lu Colbourn
All too often we give our children cut flowers
when we should be letting them grow their own plants." (unknown)
Children . . .
We have "skin hunger," a basic need to be
touched and held, at least four times a day.
Everyone needs a cheering section.
Everyone needs to know they are capable and special.
Model what you are and share yourself
and your faith with them.
Rev. Dr. Faith Conklin
About St. Mark's School . . .
We believe that the greatest gift we can give each child is an enduring sense of self-worth.
Each child must feel valued. We are responsible for providing a nurturing, safe
environment in which each child may find pleasure, success balanced with challenges, and
pride with increasing independence. We work and play in an atmosphere of God's love
where we are free to reach our full potential. St. Mark's Nursery School is accredited by
the National Association of Early Childhood Education, which demonstrates “adherence
to the highest comprehensive standards set for caring and guiding young children.”
"I'll bet nobody else in the whole wide world can do this as good as I can!"
(Justin, 4 yrs.)
To allow each child to grow socially, emotionally, physically, and academically, in an
atmosphere promoting feelings of self-worth and self-sufficiency. We achieve this by:
• Providing opportunities for your child to experiment, explore, and investigate.
• Setting the stage for your child to learn new ideas and concepts and encouraging
him her to work out feelings while building relationships with others.
• Allowing your child to master the environment through events that allow him or
her to respond, feel, mold, invent, and manipulate.
• Helping your child to reach full potential while accepting the limits of life.
• Encouraging your child to enjoy books and regard them as sources of enjoyment,
good resources, and valuable information.
• Introducing your child to a wide array of ideas and facts daily to satisfy a growing
need for knowledge that is magical in every young child.
"When I approach a child, he inspires me in two sentiments: tenderness for
what he is, and respect for what he may become." Walt Whitman
Our Relationship to St. Mark's United Methodist Church
St. Mark's School opened in the fall of 1968 as a service of St. Mark's UMC. We accept
families from all religious and cultural backgrounds. We believe in a loving, caring God who
made us in His image for us to care for each other and our world. Our school is housed on
church grounds and this does inspire children's natural curiosity. Monthly chapel time will
support our beliefs. We celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus and you will hear us
singing songs which speak of God's beautiful world and the gifts we have been given for
which we provide care.
The relationships children have with others foster their understanding of themselves and
others. A child who feels loved and accepted as a person with dignity and worth and in
whom adults are genuinely interested is building a foundation for faith. By helping children
experience this support, we give them the security to expand knowledge and
We teach equality of all persons, regardless of physical, racial, cultural, or religious
differences. We include cultural and religious festivals throughout the year and ask that
parents participate with celebrations from their own cultures or beliefs.
Teacher: How do you think the Praying Mantis got its name?
Child: It’s because they wanted God to help them.” (Paris, 4 yrs.)
St. Mark's is licensed by the State of California (License #372000557 and #372005237),
Dept. of Social Services. We are permitted to have 75 children in our care between the
hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. We are licensed for an additional six infants and twelve toddlers
in our nursery rooms from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We are unable to take additional
children who are not registered or allow children to make up missed days as our classes
are filled to capacity each day.
Programs at St. Mark's Nursery School
For younger children: Brochures for these programs are available upon request.
Infant Program- Caring for children 4 to 18 months; offered from 8:30 to 3:00,
weekdays; offering individualized care based upon your infant’s own needs.
Toddler Program - Serving children 18 months to 2 ½ years or developmentally ready
for nursery school; weekday classes from 9 - 12 ; optional care from 8:30 to 9 each
morning and 12 to 3:00 p.m. each afternoon.
For Pre-School children: Serving children n 2 1/2 and potty trained to kindergarten entry.
Morning Classes - Offered weekdays from 9- 12, grouped according to age and
development in classes of 15 children with two teachers.
Extra Care - Available 7 - 9 a.m. and 12 to 6 p.m. Planned enrichment activities are
available each afternoon to any child each weekday, regardless of morning enrollment.
(Pease read below.)
Both morning and afternoon sessions include: structured group time (for greeting, sharing,
singing, and literature), art projects, free choice indoors and out, snack time, and clean-up
time. Teachers plan activities for crafts, nutrition, literature, dramatic play, manipulative
skills, math, science, sensory experiences, large-motor skills, and group games. Teachers
structure the environment to allow children the freedom to make their own choices, which
caters to the children’s growing independence. All plans are posted to keep you informed.
"Imagination is like having a toy box in your brain." (Unknown)
Extra Care in the Nursery School is Additional Enrichment
Additional care is offered from 7 to 9 a.m. and again from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through
Friday. Any child may use our extra care any day of the week, regardless of which
morning session the child is enrolled. Children staying after 12:00 need to bring a lunch
packed with an ice pack, if necessary. Any child remaining in our care at 12:15 will be
served lunch, at the parent's expense, if he or she has no lunch.
Extra care is recorded to the quarter hour until such time that the parent takes
responsibility for the child. Charges for extra care will be tallied at the end of the month
and added to your tuition statement prepared for the first day of each new month. Final
extra care is deducted you’re your deposit before the balance is refunded to you.
Lunches must include one serving from each food group - small servings are best. We
encourage children to eat their healthy foods. We ask that you minimize sweets—please,
no candy allowed—not even after Halloween or Easter. St. Mark's has a "NO PEANUT"
Policy, so peanuts and all peanut products are forbidden. Children will bring home what
they don't finish so you are aware of their appetite.
Children signed up to nap will sleep in Room 6 where their rest mats and blankets are set
out. Parents need to supply a crib sheet and cover, clearly labeled, which we will store at
school and send home for regular laundering. We help children get to sleep and allow them
to wake on their own, unless you request that they be woken earlier. WE RESERVE THE
RIGHT TO PLACE CHILDREN IN THE NAP ROOM WHEN WE KNOW THAT
THEY ARE TOO TIRED TO PLAY COOPERATIVELY WITH OTHERS. Those not napping will
have a "quiet rest" from 1:30 to 2:00 in an adjoining classroom.
Our afternoons are packed full of added enrichment. Detailed plans are written and
executed to encourage children to explore ideas different from those they are studying in
their morning classes. Curriculum focus ideas are presented at our literature circle and
supported through science and math activities, art projects, and snack. Bulletin boards are
displayed to keep parents informed of our monthly afternoon lesson plans.
Safety concerns us all - we must have your cooperation
Drive through our parking lots and back up very slowly observing the
CHILDREN AT PLAY sign. Parents and children will be going to and from their cars at
all times of the day.
Open and close the gates yourself. This is NOT a job for your child. You must help
insure that your child will not open the gate and run into the parking lot when he or she
sees you coming.
Use caution when exiting from our parking lots. Check closely for pedestrians and
bicycles, as well as cars, and don't cross the double yellow line on Clairemont Drive
(it's an expensive fine!)
Please don't leave valuables, including children, in your car while escorting your
child to and from school. Why let yourself or your children become a victim of an
accident or theft?
Always sign your child in and out. Our sign-in sheet is the ONLY complete list of
attendance each day. It is our primary checklist should we have an emergency and need
to evacuate the school. By state law, your full signature is required when signing your
child in and out. You must provide us with a phone number each day where you can
be reached if needed.
"This is the bestest life I ever had at school!" Katie (4 years)
If someone other than yourself is picking your child up from school, you must
provide written, dated permission, clearly stating the individual's legal name so we can
check their ID. You can use the "Comments" column on the sign-in sheet or our notepad
for these instructions.
Keep all forms updated and complete, especially phone numbers, your current
address, and secondary contacts. It is important to list someone other than yourself to
pick up your child in case you can’t be reached.
Please keep your child at home when he or she is not feeling well. We cannot
accept children who do not meet the "Morning Health Check" requirements. This is
important for the well being of your child and as a courtesy to others. We will call you to
pick up your child from school if we suspect illness during school. Please call us when
your child is absent with anything contagious so we may notify other parents.
Visitors to the school must check in with the administration before touring
"I got my chicken pox from my baby brother." (Ana, 3 yrs.)
"I got my chicken pox from a chicken!" (Devin, 4 yrs.)
To administer medication during school, we must have you sign our release form.
Medications must be stored in our refrigerator, never in a cubby or lunch box. We
ONLY administer medications in original containers with your child's name on the label.
Sunscreen should be applied before you leave your child in the morning.
We will re-apply school-supplied sunscreen, with your signed approval, before playing
outdoors in the afternoon.
Field trips away from school may be planned occasionally. Children are required to be
escorted by their own parent unless written permission is given to another parent who will
be responsible for your child during the trip. All children must have a permission slip.
Children, who for any reason, cannot attend may join another classroom for the duration
of the trip. If your child may not attend we will place him/her in another class of our
choosing. Permission slips are not required for walking trips in the neighborhood.
If a child should ever be left at school after hours we will remain here for two
hours. State law requires us to turn the child over to Children's Protective Services.
It's wise to keep your phone card current so that we always have someone we can call
in an emergency. If your child is picked up after 6 p .m. there is a late fee per fraction of
each quarter hour.
"Mommy, can we just stay here all day for one minute?" (Megan, 3 years)
Parents and School Working Together . . .
Communication between home and school is essential. Successful education must
involve parents. We do our best to include you. Besides this handbook, you will learn
School newsletter and calendar
Parent bulletin board and sign-in area
Messages on classroom doors
Parent Group/School Board Updates
Fliers in your child's cubby
Our school web site:
Classroom display boards
All our staff
Your child will be provided with a cubby. All parent messages and artwork will be
placed there for you to take home. You can help your child be responsible for his or her
own things by giving your child a cloth bag to carry "all by him or herself." Please visit
your room each day.
We hope you get to know other parents, too. Many of our families' closest
friendships have grown from their nursery school experience. You can make more of
your child's school experience by getting to know the families of your child's friends.
You will have a much better idea what goes on at school when you know other parents
well enough to inquire.
Parent/Teacher conferences are offered in the fall and as requested anytime during
the year. We discourage discussions with teachers during class when our focus must be
on the children, but we are happy to return your call, respond to written notes, or
schedule a conference as needed.
Learning appropriate behavior is an on-going lesson in nursery school. Our
children are generally on their best behavior while at school, so verbal reminders or
redirection is usually effective. Children may be excluded from play for a short time if
they are highly distractive or hurtful. We discuss behavior with our children and
encourage them to work out their own disagreements. If we’re not making progress
using these methods, we will talk to the parents to work together toward a solution.
By working together we can make great strides children’s behavior.
Stephen, if someone hits you do you think it's a good idea to hit them back?
"No, it’s a good idea to hit them in the front!"(4 yrs.)
Be on time. Young children have a difficult time walking into a group that has already
begun—please don't subject your child to this. Picking your child up on time builds
trust, so please try to be on time returning for your child.
Tuition payments must be made regularly. You will receive a statement at the
beginning of each month. Your statement will include tuition for the current month, extra
care charges for the previous month, and additional charges such as pizza or extra classes.
Checks may be placed in the locked box at the sign-in area. Cash (correct change only)
must be given to the Director and a receipt given. Please honor the due date printed at
the top of each statement. After that time a Late Fee will be charged. Children may not
continue extra classes nor begin a new session if there is an unpaid balance remaining on
Tuition is broken into equal monthly installments (June, only, is pro-rated.)
Tuition remains the same, regardless of extended holidays, vacations, or the length
of a month in all our programs. Your tuition holds your child’s space in the class, and is
not based on attendance.
If you find yourself facing a financial crisis you must approach the School
Board for financial aid consideration. Registering for a new session (summer or fall)
will be prohibited if you have an outstanding debt to the school and have not
approached the Advisory Board. No child with an outstanding balance may be added
to extra-curricular programs (Dance, Tumbling or Pizza Days). You are responsible for
all debts incurred through your enrollment. If you neglect a past due balance you will be
responsible for collection fees in the event of a legal action.
Financially speaking . . . We are a non-profit organization (Tax ID #95-1998489),
dependant upon your timely payments and your support of repairs and renovations,
which are outside the realm of our annual budget. We have always had a good response
from our parents for fundraising and help, allowing us to provide for our program.
If you are ever in a situation to make a tax-deductible donation, we hope you will keep
St. Mark's School in mind. Gifts may be designated for specific programs, projects, or
Label everything if you wish to keep track of your child's belongings at school.
If you want your child to keep his feet on the ground,
put some responsibility on his shoulders.
Toys from home create problems at school. If your child's teacher includes “Share
Days” they are specified to encourage children to speak about themselves in front of their
friends or to show an item that has educational value. Toys brought from home create
problems at school because all our toys are intended to be used by all our children
without favoring particular children.
Appropriate clothing for school includes: Close-toed athletic shoes (sandals and
hard-soled shoes are NOT good for climbing, running and sand play); loose-fitting
clothes which allow your child to dress independently. Please don't hinder your child in
clothes that "can't get dirty" as those clothes DO NOT BELONG at school—we cannot
keep paint off children's clothing. Be glad when your child has obviously been involved in
activities. Sensory experiences from mud, sand, paint, etc. is essential for growth and we
offer it everyday. Keep a labeled bag of extra clothing in your child's cubby just in
case a change is needed. And please remember this is a NO SUPER HERO ZONE.
Please help us keep children focused on cooperative play by NOT allowing super hero
clothing, shoes, or lunch boxes at school.
Snack time is very special and is an important social time and part of our health,
science, and nutrition education. The children help prepare our snacks and we strive for
flavor variety, nutritional value, multi-cultural understanding, and distinct cooking
experiences. Children often eat very well at snack time and may only "nibble" at lunch.
NUTS WILL NOT BE SERVED. We must be aware of food allergies.
Wheel toy days are popular each Thursday and Friday. Your child may bring a wheel
toy(tricycle, two wheeler, in-line skates, scooter) and helmet from home to use during
outside time. They must be labeled with your child's name or initials. No one else will
be allowed to use your child's wheel toy without his or her permission. Helmets must be
fitted properly to be effective.
"My new mountain bike is so fast!! I can’t go slower than nobody!"
Connor (4 years)
It is fun to celebrate birthdays at school. We hope you will want your child to
celebrate with his or her friends at school and we ask that you inform your child's
teacher when it is near. We will work with your child to plan a favorite snack on his or
her special day and make it special. Please, NO party hats, favors, etc. If you are
having a party at home, send invitations through the mail rather than classroom
cubbies. Children omitted from your party list get very hurt feelings when it is obvious
that others have an invitation.
Our Birthday Book Club is a special way to honor your child. A tradition began years
ago whereby children give a book to the school on their special day. We have been
blessed with many beautiful books given in honor of the children who grew here, and it is
especially nice to think of them each time we read them. Books come wrapped so your
child can open it at circle time and have it read. An inscription is added in honor of your
child. It is storybooks that will be read and re-read often. Occasionally families
choose to donate a CD, game or toy.
Teacher: "How old are you David?"David: "Just a little bit three."
Teacher: When are you going to be a whole bunch four?
David: "When I'm five."
Donations are always gratefully accepted. There are a number of things you can help
provide that can save us time and money. We are always in need of:
Bright colored yarn
Sheets, crib sheets, blankets
Small wood scraps
Beads, feathers, glitter...
Dress up clothes & heels,
Buttons & counters
Used wheel toys
Small, broken appliances (that we can "fix" permanently in our kid's fic-it shop!)
Clothing and household things representative of other cultures
Anything you think we could possibly use, please bring it in—we'll decide if we can use it!
Through imaginative play children try out roles and learn about themselves and their |
feelings. We especially like things from parents' occupations, as children love to mimic
adults at work.
Volunteers are always needed. We need Room Parents, Board Members, and parents
to help on special days, to repair things, for sewing projects, and helping with our annual
carnival. We like parents to join us just to share a special talent or hobby. Every parent
is expected to volunteer during the year. St. Mark's is a special place, because, over
the years parents and staff have always worked together for the children.
"No one makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could
do so little." Edmund Burke
The School Board oversees our program, handling all matters including the budget, our
facility, and the well-being of our children, staff, and families. Any parent or class
representative may present concerns that have not been resolved by the teachers or
director. All meetings are open. A parent volunteer will represent each class. The church
pastor may be contacted if you have an issue that has not bee resolved to your
Child abuse, if there is any reasonable suspicion, must be reported to Children’s
Protective Services by teachers who are legally mandated to do so, without warning the
The school cannot recommend our staff or their children as babysitters and
they are forbidden, through our employment policy, to perform childcare for families in
To withdraw your child at any time during the school year or summer we require a full
month’s notice and appreciate knowing earlier if possible. You are responsible for
tuition during this time. All childcare costs must be paid at the time of withdrawal. If
for some reason we feel your child would do better in another program, we will give
you the same notification after all other efforts have been exhausted. All "extra"
programs (Dance, Tumbling, etc.) require a two-week cancellation notice
"Why can't I just stay here 'til I'm old?" (Marguerite, 4 yrs.)
Children are like sponges
Who at length, slowly but surely,
Soak up your strength,
Leaving you listless, limp as a sack.
But just squeeze them gently to get it all back!
Updated April, 2013