Featured in the October 2022 Spartan Spotlight Newsletter
St. Joseph Catholic School has boasted an exceptional preschool program since 1993. Our preschool program is for children ages 3-5 years old and offers an education in a warm and supportive faith-based environment. We have two dedicated classrooms and teachers; Mrs. Kreir is our 3K Preschool teacher, and Mrs. Holthaus is our 4K Preschool teacher.
What is unique about our Preschool?
Our preschool programs offer specialist classes (Music and Physical Education) and they are offered weekly and taught by dedicated instructors. Our preschool students (4K) also attend Mass with the school children halfway through the school year which helps to prepare them for attending Mass as a kindergartener. Recess and outside play time is offered three times per day and many times students have recess with their siblings. Our Catholic faith is taught to students each and every day ensuring that they know that God loves them.
Our preschool classroom hosts nine different environments. Some of these environments are focused on sensory and fine-motor learning, social/emotional, stories of God’s love and cognitive and cooperative games. Our 4K preschool teacher, Mrs. Shannon Holthaus, collaborates closely with our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pat Western, to ensure students get a great start to their learning to be ready to excel in kindergarten.
We recently interviewed Mrs. Shannon Holthaus, our 4K preschool teacher to see what she had to say about being a teacher at St. Joseph School.
What are the pillars of learning in preschool?
Students are learning so much in preschool! They are learning their letters and numbers as well as very important social skills. They learn one letter a week and spend time learning letter formation (how to properly write the letter), letter sounds, and words that start with that letter/sound. When preschoolers learn about numbers, they use manipulatives (educational toys) to break apart the number and learn the basics of addition.
How does preschool set students up for success in kindergarten?
Preschool helps a child gain a better foundation for learning. We are teaching the child to increase their attention span and ability to follow directions and classroom rules. Helping the child with their social skills, and teaching them how to be a good friend, and using good manners are all important skills to prepare a child for kindergarten. We like them to know their letters and numbers well. They should have a good foundation with their letter sounds so they are prepared for blending and reading in Kindergarten.
What is your most memorable moment as a preschool teacher?
Every day has memorable moments! One thing that drives me the most is when I see the light bulb go off and the excitement on a child’s face when they “get it.” When a child starts to recognize that they have produced something great or when they show kindness to another, they are so proud. The bright eyes and smiles on their faces make every day as a preschool teacher worth it!
How is the Catholic faith intertwined and shared in the preschool classroom?
We use a curriculum called “Stories of God’s Love” © Copyright 2021 RCL Benziger. This program is designed for families and students to make connections between Scripture and daily life. Father Adam Laski, Associate Pastor, also visits our classroom bi-weekly. Our 4K preschool students start attending Mass with the Elementary and Middle School students in January each year.
About Mrs. Shannon Holthaus:
Mrs. Holthaus has been a teacher at SJS for five years but has been a part of the community for several years as a parent of two SJS alum. She received her degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She shares, “when you surround yourself with good people it helps you become the best version of yourself. As I watched my two daughters’ faith blossom while attending school at SJS I realized the importance of also being a part of this community too.”