Coed, independent, PK-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Kindergarten Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • Art & Music

    The newly redesigned choice-based art studio allows students to create and learn using a number of different media: paint, sculpture, textiles, pastels, etc. Similarly, music classes integrate a number of instruments. Students delve into art and music history, learn about famous artists and musicians, and how to express themselves creatively. Students showcase their artwork regularly and have a number of opportunities to perform for their peers and families.
  • Developmental Guidance

    Through Responsive Classroom and weekly lessons with the Lower School Guidance Counselor, kindergarteners learn peacemaking skills, build self-esteem, and learn to show respect for one another and their school community. Guidance is a component of the social-emotional learning program, which is integrated in all facets of the curriculum.
  • Language Arts

    Kindergarten faculty use a research-based approach called Reading & Writing Workshop to cultivate students for reading and writing success. Through this approach, students develop good reading and writing habits, learn to read and write list and pattern books, get to know characters, learn from authors as mentors, and more. They also engage in regular book clubs, word work with weekly sight words, phonics, vocabulary, spelling and word families.
  • Mathematics

    Using the Everyday Math curriculum, kindergarten teachers take a problem-solving approach based on everyday situations. Over the course of the year, key mathematical ideas are repeated in slightly different ways to maximize understanding. Through age-appropriate, playful activities, children learn number and numeration, operations and computation, data and chance, measurement and reference frames, geometry and patterns, function and algebra, at the kindergarten level.
  • Physical Education

    Four times per week kindergarten students enjoy PE lessons, both outdoors and indoors. Students play cooperative games, are introduced to team and individual sports skills, and build positive attitudes toward lifelong physical fitness. 
  • Science & Social Studies

    Science and Social Studies are often the jumping off point for in-depth investigative projects. Students study solids and liquids, organisms, gardening, community building, families, homes, famous Americans and more.
  • Service Learning

    Kindergarten teachers work to integrate service and the importance of community into every lesson and project. The Shorecrest kindergarten has an ongoing partnership with the Salvation Army Shelter, performs annually for residents in a neighboring retirement community, donates fresh, school-grown produce to community food pantries, and more!
  • Spanish

    Kindergarten students have Spanish instruction twice a week, which includes the building of basic vocabulary and pronunciation. Through songs, games and other developmentally-appropriate activities, students develop a foundation for daily Spanish language lessons, which begin in first grade.
  • Technology

    Technology is thoughtfully integrated into all parts of the kindergarten curriculum. Students may program simple robots to play a word game, use iPads to record data for a project, Skype with a guest expert, and so much more. Through regular visits to the Learning Lab, however, students practice appropriate keyboarding, digital literacy, and digital citizenship.

Kindergarten Faculty

Megan Kotsko

Megan Kotsko has 15 years of teaching experience, 6 of which have been in the Shorecrest kindergarten. A graduate of Stetson University, Mrs. Kotsko majored in Elementary Education, with a minor in Spanish. She is currently a graduate student at USF working toward a Master’s Degree in Reading Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Kotsko, along with fourth grade teacher Sarah Finnemore, leads summer teacher training courses in Reading & Writing Workshop for teachers all over the Southeast.

Mrs. Kotsko’s favorite part of the teaching day is when she reads aloud to her students. She says, “Sharing stories with enthusiasm, allowing my own excitement to shine through in my voice, and building suspense as to draw readers in... It amazes me every time how the wonderment of story can captivate children and bring about their closest attention and highest enthusiasm.”

Through teaching kindergarten at Shorecrest, Mrs. Kotsko has learned a number of new things herself, including how to build a butterfly garden, how to sew, and how to make a quilt. She and her husband live in St. Pete with their 9-year-old American bulldog named Toby.

Jessi Acosta

Jessi Acosta, a native of Panama, has been teaching for over a decade and has been at Shorecrest since 2007. Ms. Acosta is bilingual and loves to help her kindergarten students practice their Spanish. Of teaching kindergarten, she says, “I love the energy and enthusiasm of the kids and our teaching team. There are no limits to learning at this age! I love the smiles and joy when they learn new things.”

Ms. Acosta has two children, Alexander and Katerina. Alexander is currently a sophomore at Shorecrest while Katerina, a Shorecrest Class of 2015 alumna, attends the University of Alabama.

At the end of a long teaching day, Mrs. Acosta unwinds by running, spending time with family and friends, and cooking.

Joanne Minke

Joanne Minke has been teaching at Shorecrest for more than 30 years and has taught kindergarten, first, and second grades. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Wayne State University and an MEd in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University. Mrs. Minke relishes the energy her students bring to the classroom. She says, “It's exciting to watch the children's growth in confidence, independence, responsibility, social skills, and academic skills. It's such a fun age!”

Mrs. Minke has a passion for community service, quilting, and reading, all of which she loves to share with her students. Before starting her busy day with students, Mrs. Minke and her husband take their black lab Buddy on 2 mile walks most mornings.

Darla Kiernan

Darla Kiernan, a native of Jamestown, NY, has enjoyed the Florida sunshine since 1983. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Health Services Management from St. Petersburg Junior College and a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida. Formerly a second grade teacher at Bay Point Elementary, Mrs. Kiernan joined the Shorecrest faculty in 2007 as a tutor in The Learning Center. She went on to join the Kindergarten Team as an Academic Assistant, where she’s taught happily since 2010.
Mrs. Kiernan has two children, Meredith and Brian, both of whom attended Shorecrest. Meredith is currently attending the IB program at St. Pete High. Brian, a Shorecrest senior, has been accepted to the Elliot School of International Affairs at The George Washington University.

According to Mrs. Kiernan, “My favorite part about teaching kindergarten is observing and sharing in their academic growth.”

Alissa Vigue

Alissa Vigue, herself a Shorecrest graduate, has 14 years of kindergarten teaching experience, 8 of which at Shorecrest. She holds a BA from Elon University and both a BA and MA from the University of South Florida.

Mrs. Vigue has two daughters currently attending Shorecrest, Rylee in the first grade and Avree in Alpha.

According to Mrs. Vigue, “The student is the most important aspect of teaching. While the subject matter needs to be challenging yet encouraging for all students, it is important to listen to your students and guide them in a direction that will bring about growth.”

In addition to teaching kindergarten, Mrs. Vigue has taught swim lessons and coached a number of swim teams over the years. In her free time, she loves to enjoy the outdoors hiking, whitewater rafting or skiing.

Donna LaDuke

Donna LaDuke has been teaching since 1973. She’s spent 20 of her teaching years in Milan, Italy, and the last 16 years at Shorecrest. Mrs. LaDuke holds a BS in Education from the University of Cincinnati. She is the mother of three children, two of whom attended Shorecrest, and all of whom have followed in her professional footsteps and are now teachers.

According to Mrs. LaDuke, “I love how fast kindergarteners learn, and I especially appreciate how cooperatively the kindergarten teachers work as a team.”

When she’s not teaching, Mrs. LaDuke loves to dance, particularly swing dancing, and is always looking for the opportunity to practice her Italian.

Allison Hawley

Allison Hawley began teaching in 2002, and has spent the last five years at Shorecrest. With an undergraduate degree in English literature from The University of Denver, and a masters degree in Literacy Education from New York University, it is clear that literature, literacy, teaching and education are at the heart of what makes her tick. She has taught numerous grade levels throughout her teaching career in New Orleans, New York City, Barcelona and Denver before coming to Shorecrest, and always finds herself pulled back to teaching early elementary. She finds the kindergarten and first grade years to be truly magical.

“My greatest passion is opening up the world of literacy for those littlest learners. Sharing my love of books and passion for learning, especially as students embark on developing as readers and writers - that is my favorite part about teaching,” said Ms. Hawley.

After a day of teaching, Ms. Hawley looks forward to taking Matilda, her 3 year old grey poodle mix, to the dog park or dog beach and spending time outside in and around beautiful St. Pete. She has a passion for travelling overseas and counts Greece, Colombia, Italy, Spain and Hungary as some of her favorite places she has visited.
 

John Schiaparelli

John Schiaparelli earned a BA from California State University, Los Angeles, in Social Sciences, and a teaching certificate in Secondary Social Studies from Montclair State University in New Jersey in 1996. Originally from New Jersey, John and his wife have lived in NJ, CA, WI, MA, CT, NE, Toronto, AZ and Florida. As a stay-at-home Dad in most of those locations, John spent lots of time volunteering at his daughters' schools.

The last time the Schiaparelli family live in Florida, John climbed the ranks at Shorecrest from Room Parent to substitute to full time as Instructional Assistant. "If I had known how much I enjoy elementary education, I would have started there at the beginning. I love the instant feedback you get from younger students and seeing their amazing progress in short periods of time," he said.
 
After learnig of their return to Florida, the first thing the Schiaparelli's younger daughter, Emma, asked was, "Am I going back to Shorecrest?" She will be rejoining her friends in seventh grade. Their older daughter, Kara, graduated from Shorecrest in 2014, and is about to start her junior year at American University in Washington, DC, dual majoring in French and Public Relations. 


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A Day in Kindergarten

School Information

Shorecrest Preparatory School
5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.