Action Based Learning

Our students will discover when arriving at the preschool, the stations of Action Based Learning. By moving through our stations, we give young minds the opportunity to develop and activate their kinesthetic learning.

Brain science strongly supports the link of movement to learning. The brain and body’s movement and learning systems are interdependent and interactive. For example, motor development provides the framework that the brain uses to sequence the patterns needed for academic concepts. The body’s vestibular system controls balance and spatial awareness and facilitates the students ability to place words and letters on a page.

The preschool has incorporated the ABC Pathways Stencil into the surface as you enter the playground. Based on our Action Based Learning concepts, this is an excellent way to reinforce letter recognition and proper formation. This will be incorporated into our playground time and/or added as an activity at anytime during the preschool day.


When a student walks or crawls on the ABC Pathway in specific patterns, the brain’s ability to encode symbols is increased. The four visuals fields needed for eye tracking is strengthened. Proper development and remediation of these systems are critical to a childs’ ability to learn.
To learn more about Action Based Learning and the benefits of Movement to Brain Development at the earliest of ages, please visit

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Back to School 2014

Our Back To School forms have been posted online.  Be sure to check out our newly revised Parent Handbook and Snack Policy as there are major changes this school year.  We appreciate the effort all of our parents make to keep our children safe and healthy, and look forward to a great year of learning and fun!

2014 Student Forms (for our registered students)

This year, we are asking parents to supply children with a reusable water bottle for use at the school.  Something like this bottle pictured below would be helpful, with a clip to attach it to the bags.   Of course, we won’t let any one go thirsty, but are trying to minimize thousands of paper cups per year.

Tranz 16 Oz Narrow Mouth-1

Another change this year is that we are asking parents to pack an individual healthy snack for their child in a separate container than their lunch labeled with their name.   This will ease confusion and stress associated with providing a snack for the entire class, however, when packing the lunch and snack we ask you to adhere to the snack policy for approved foods.   No peanut and tree nut products are allowed in the classroom.


Thanks for your willingness to help us safe and reduce waste here at the preschool!


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Adventures Camps at St Francis Preschool

orientation 2013 (1)

This exciting program uses a different fun theme each week with age appropriate activities for children during the summer.  These camps are open to all children ages 3 – rising Kindergarten.  Register now at  All camps are held in Elizabeth Hall, from  9am-12pm.  The Camp Fee is $120 parishioners $135 non-parishioners weekly.

June 16 – 20 Digging for Dinosaurs

Find your inner explorer this summer at a camp that lets you discover science first hand. Whether you’re digging for dino fossils or getting up close and personal with wild animals, it’s sure to be a summer you won’t forget.

July 7-11  Pirates & Princesses

Set sail for the land of make believe. Young buccaneers and princesses take in tall tales and create a fantastical world of treasures and tiaras.

July 14 – 18 Going Buggy

Come and learn about many different bugs such as caterpillars, beetles and ants…oh my! Explore the world of bugs and other creepy crawly critters!

 July 21 – 25 Underwater Adventures

Put on an imaginary snorkel and explore life under-the-sea. Learn about sea creatures that swim, slither, sway, and crawl. Don’t forget about underwater plants and seashells, too! Splash your way through art, and science activities.

Categories: Summer Camps | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Thank You!

We offer our thanks and sincerest gratitude to all who planned and attended our recent Harvest Moon Festival. This annual event raises money to support the Fr. Dan Kenna, O.F.M. and
Nancy Bourke Endowment Funds and other programs at the Preschool. It also provides an opportunity for fellowship among the families and children. In addition to fun games and great food, our young children also stuffed 175 Halloween treat bags for the children at Duke Hospital. It was such a beautiful Fall day to spend together as a community! Thanks to all who
donated their time, talent, and treasures to make this year’s Harvest Moon Festival the best one yet!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chores for all ages…

Here is a helpful list of chores that are age appropriate. Chore

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cathy’s Corner – End of School Year – May 2013

Cathy’s Corner
Dear Parents,
As I reflect on my year at St. Francis of Assisi Preschool, I am overwhelmed by the
blessing this community has been in my life. From the joy of seeing your little ones
come bouncing in each morning; to the admiration I feel for each of you as you make the
long trek from the parking lot to the door in all types of weather, lugging bags and
siblings; to the utmost respect I have for the fabulous staff I have the pleasure to work
with each day – I am overwhelmed. I am humbled by the all the extra time and energy
you all invested to make our Harvest Moon, Advent Retreat and International Day so
successful; by the generosity we experience in all the wonderful food and gifts you have
given us though out the year; by the quality of education you help provide through
Science Sparks, Little Chefs and Helping Hands; by the artistic touch you add to our
school through the Stewardship bulletin board and outdoor beautification; and last but
not least, by the fabulous writing and editing that Jennifer Trabulsi has done on this
monthly Preschool Press newsletter that we all enjoy! You and your children have
radiated the light of Christ to me in your hospitable welcome and acceptance. I look
forward to working with many of you again next year as we strive to continually improve
the quality of education we provide. I wish those who are sending children off to various
kindergartens a safe and successful year. In the words of Ms. Mary Lou, “How do you
say goodbye to them at the end of the year?” My hope is that we don’t! We really hope
that you will keep us posted and come back to visit often. You ALL are what make The
Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi so very special.
May God bless you,
Cathy Ashton

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cathy’s Corner – March Nutrition Awareness

March is National Nutrition Month. The National Nutrition Month® 2013 theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,”
encourages personalized healthy eating styles (Based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendations and MyPlate messages and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic
traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. Registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people
eat right, their way, everyday.
National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of
Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing
sound eating and physical activity habits. This year is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month®.
With our Little Chefs and Action Based Learning Curriculums, we are hoping to help children learn how important nutrition
and exercise are to, not only their health, but also their ability to learn. More and more research is being done that supports the
link between healthy eating, learning and behavior in children. If you are interested in reading more, the following links share
some interesting information.

Additionally, I hear more and more personal stories from parents attesting to the fact that when they have changed their
child’s diet to eating less processed foods and more fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains, they have seen improvements in
language development and behavior; and in some cases even medical conditions.
This month in Little Chefs we learned about the benefits of “rainbow” foods and enjoyed an “Eating of the Greens” Party.
Children were encouraged to taste a variety of green fruits and vegetables. We were amazed at how many enjoyed eating raw
green peppers! Hopefully, if the children can develop a taste for these foods at this young age, they will have fewer struggles
with their weight and health in the future.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preparatory Kindergarten

New! Preparatory Kindergarten Class

Beginning next Fall, the preschool will offer a new class to respond to the needs of our parish community. Depending on the birth date of the child, sometimes one either just misses the cut-off for Kindergarten or may make the cut-off, but not really be ready for the rigor of a full day kindergarten program. In response to this need, St. Francis of Assisi Preschool will offer a Preparatory Kindergarten class. This class will run from 9:00am-2:00pm, Monday through Friday. In addition to the continued emphasis on improving developmental skills in all five areas of a child’s development: Spiritual, Social, Emotional, Cognitive and Physical, increased focus will be given to developing the fine motor skills needed for forming letters and numbers; the skills needed for successful reading such as letter and phonemic awareness; and the skills needed for future success in mathematics such as number sense, beginning awareness of money and the basics of computation. If you have any further questions about this program or would like to visit the preschool, please contact Cathy Ashton at or 919-847-8205 ext. 240.

Categories: Catholic Education | Comments Off

Cathy’s Corner – Happy New Year!

With the New Year upon us, we often make resolutions. We want to eat
better, be more physically fit, spend more time with loved ones, etc. One of
the areas that we have resolved to do better in at the preschool is
incorporating action into learning. The rationale for starting the day with
physical activity is that the brain and the body’s movement systems are
interdependent and interactive. Certain physical movements stimulate the
brain for learning. We all recognize that there are many factors involved in a
child’s ability to learn, such as, environment, genetics, curriculum delivery,
teaching techniques, and learning differences to name a few. However, brain
research indicates that if all other factors are equal, a physically active
student has an advantage over a physically inactive student. Why? You might
ask. Well, during physical activity, more blood and oxygen reach the brain,
which feeds the brain the oxygen and glucose it needs to work more
efficiently. Repetitive movements help to strengthen the neuro-pathways in
the brain and therefore better prepare the brain for learning. Ms. Deb has
been incorporating similar activities into her Music and Movement classes
and has been seeing significant large motor development as well.
This month, we will be modifying our morning Action Based Learning
stations slightly and offering the research to help parents understand what
benefit each different station offers their child. To gain the maximum benefit
from the stations, children are encouraged to move slowly and carefully
through the stations and complete them as directed. If you arrive early, you
are welcome to repeat the stations as often as you like and even do them
yourself! Join us in moving into the 2013!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Footprints in our Sandbox

Dates: January 16th and 17th
Time: 9:00am – 10:30am (right after drop-off)
Place: Parish Community Center
What: Free Coffee and Doughnuts

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment