Preschool & Kindergarten

Where play is work and work is play.


Saint Margaret of Scotland offers two different choices for education at the preschool level:  The Montessori program and the Theme-based program.  Montessori and Theme-based share the same curriculum dedicated to guiding children to learn the basics of faith in God, reading, writing, and math.  All the children enjoy Art and Music classes, including the opportunity for parents to choose Suzuki violin lessons.  Whether it be the Montessori program or the Theme-based program, the children experience all the same extraordinary learning opportunities that will help prepare them to be exceptional students in the future.  Both programs are full-day preschools.


Saint Margaret of Scotland offers the only Montessori program among Catholic schools in St. Louis City and the oldest Montessori program in all of the City.  Our Montessori classroom provides engaging hands-on activities for children age three through five in a specially designed classroom to learn on their own, discover their natural capabilities and express themselves to others.  A Montessori preschool room is philosophically and physically set up to allow for multi-age groups.  


Saint Margaret of Scotland’s Theme-based program begin in 2000 and offers children the opportunity to learn in a more teacher-led environment as the children learn together with their whole class, as well as in centers.  The children learn social skills essential to becoming effective students and explore imaginative play as they think, learn, and work collaboratively.  Theme-based classrooms are structured better for a single age group.

The structure of the preschool rooms is set up in the following ways:

  • 1 themed-based preschool room for students ages 3-4 (who are 3 before August 1)
  • 1 themed-based preschool room for students ages 4-5 (who are 4 before August 1)
  • 1 Montessori preschool room is a multi-age group room (ages 3-5)



Our all-day kindergarten program serves the five year old students.  We utilize a hands-on approach in development a solid foundation in the core curricular areas of reading, writing, math, and religion.

Integrated enrichment activities encourage student creativity as well as motor and social/emotional development.  Students participate regularly in spiritual activities, music, art, mindfulness, and physical education.

Preschool Opportunities

With multiple classrooms, St. Margaret of Scotland School offers parents a choice of pre-kindergarten learning environments for their children. All classrooms are staffed by a fully-certified teacher and a qualified teaching assistant, share the same curriculum goals, and utilize the same methods to formally report assessments to parents. The Montessori classroom has been part of St. Margaret of Scotland School for over 30 years and are dedicated to using the methods for teaching children prescribed by Dr. Maria Montessori. The Theme-based preschool classrooms have a long and proven history of success in the United States as an approach to early childhood education, and in only eight years at St. Margaret, it has grown consistently in popularity among parents. The two models routinely employ distinctly different learning materials and the teachers design distinctly different learning activities. However, our teachers work closely together nurturing each child as he or she grows in body, mind and spirit. Perhaps it is because of the differences that each child is able to thrive – the differences in teaching and learning allow parents to choose the learning environment they believe is best suited to their child.

Components of the SMOS Preschool Classroom

The Child

The SMOS preschool classroom setting allows your child to learn the way he or she learns best and most comfortably: by doing things for him or herself. Within appropriate limits, your child can choose learning activities that appeal to his or her own interests. Gradually your child will build a strong sense of independence and self-confidence as skills increase.

The Environment

In any of the classrooms, your child will learn to work alone, while learning to respect other’s rights to work alone. Equally, your child will learn to work cooperatively in small and large groups while learning to be a respectful and active member of the community. Daily, your child will have opportunities to choose learning activities and work that interests or intrigues her or him, allowing your child a sense of self-motivation and self-direction. Your child will learn to follow classroom procedures and teacher’s directions, so necessary for being successful in the school setting, in the present and in the future.

The Teacher

The Montessori teachers each have Montessori certification; the Theme-based teachers each have certification in early child education. In each the teacher is not only the designer of engaging lessons, but more importantly, she is a keen observer of each student as means of responding to their learning needs.

The Curriculum

In language arts, your child will learn to recognize upper and lower case letters and associate sounds with those letters. Your child will play games, rhyme words, distinguish between similarities and opposites, and create patterns as she or he grows in reading-readiness skills. Those children who can already read will be encouraged to grow as young readers through lessons designed especially for them.

In mathematics, your child will learn to understand the abstract world of math through concrete experiences using manipulatives for creating patterns, counting, and recognizing numbers. By touching and interacting with specifically-designed materials, your child will grow in number sense, especially essential to any child for learning complex mathematical skills in later years.

Spiritually, your child will learn to pray, participate in prayer services, and join the larger school community for Mass in the big church.

Socially, your child will learn to learn in a setting that values community, cooperative play, and peace education. Your child will have a “buddy” from among the older students – the buddies read together, celebrate holidays together, and walk back in safety from church to school together.

The Differences

In the Montessori classrooms, your child learns through the use of specially-designed Montessori materials. These materials are crafted to be self-correcting, encouraging your child to work independently and to engage in complex thinking and learning.

In the Theme-based classroom, the teacher carefully chooses materials and lessons specific to that unit of study and learning – pumpkin seeds in the fall for counting; vegetable seeds for counting and planting in the spring.

Please note our policy on potty-training.

SMOS Letter & Policy Regarding Potty-Training