Mission Statement

Saint Rita Early Childhood Education mission is to provide a quality, caring, diverse, child-centered and developmentally appropriate program (for children ages 3,4 and 5) in an environment which promotes cultural values and supports positive relationships and respectful interaction. We strive to nurture a love of God, respect of self and others, and a spirit of learning and sharing through a cooperative relationship with our school and parish families. Saint Rita Preschool is a part of Saint Rita Catholic School and operates under the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s early childhood programs.

Early Childhood Education Program

Peek into a St. Rita Early Childhood Education classroom you’ll undoubtedly see students having a lot of fun. They are strengthening their social and emotional skills through play and work while experimenting with age-appropriate pre-reading, pre-writing and math activities all within an innovative play-based curriculum. Collectively, the environment and curriculum build the foundation for long-term success.

Children are placed according to their ages as of Aug. 1 of the school year.
• Three-year-olds Schedule options include Half-day Preschool, and Full-day Preschool.
• Four-year-olds/five-year-olds (also known as Pre-K) meets five days; schedules offered are Half-day Preschool, and Full-day Preschool.
Class Size and Ratio:
• Threes: 12:1 ratio, one teacher per room
• Fours/fives: 20:2 ratio, two teachers per room

Program Options:
Half-day Preschool, from 7:00 – 11:30 invites your child’s active mind and body to participate in a safe, engaging, discovery-driven program. Opportunities for purposeful work and play with classmates support social and emotional development. St. Rita’s dynamic learning environment and well-qualified teachers nurture, support and challenge your child with dignity and respect. Hands-on center activities are blended with theme studies that lead to incredible cognitive discoveries in art, early reading and writing, math and number sense, science, movement, music, and dramatic or pretend play. For Fours’ students, differentiated activities meet the needs of individual learners in early reading and writing strategies and skills, such as phonemic awareness, beginning letter-sound association, and language experience stories. Special classes include movement/physical education, art, Spanish, and music. Children are nourished daily with a healthy snack and milk and with physical exercise through outdoor and indoor play, movement classes.
Full-day Preschool, from 7:00-2:30, promotes new discoveries, deeper exploration, and expanded learning with a longer school day. In addition to the Half-day program and special classes your child will have additional time for theme study through independent and group work, expanded learning centers and other physical development opportunities. The rich experiences of the Half-day Preschool are doubled in the Full-day option. Differentiated learning activities are continued to meet the needs of individual learners. Additional Options: For families seeking more flexibility, students can arrive at school and have breakfast as early as 7:00 a.m., and our after school program will be offered. With these extra options, programs are available from 7:00 a.m. – 6 p.m. for children ages 3 through Grade 8.

A Typical School Day Includes

Group Times
As preschool begins, teachers greet students with engaging group activities. One gathering may introduce new materials in the room or center choices for the day. Another may encourage discussions that promote listening and sharing. Others include reading a story or singing a song.

Learning Centers
Students follow their curiosity and select a learning center. Choices include building with blocks, dressing up for dramatic play, creating a masterpiece in the art center, reading a book, digging into the sensory table, exploring a science topic or playing a game with a new friend. Centers promote exploration, decision-making, and social interaction as an extension of their studies.

Literacy Development
The journey to literacy is an exciting one at St. Rita. In addition to learning opportunities at centers, experiences include:

Group read-alouds that let students experience meaningful literature as an extension of their studies. Class discussions stretch students to grow in comprehension, recall and reasoning.

Writing practice that helps students make important connections. The youngest writers create stories using scribbles, stamps and pictures. Soon they are associating sounds with symbols. The grouping (patterning) of letters becomes words and then sentences.

Math Development
Students explore, investigate and problem-solve with hands-on math activities that make abstract ideas concrete.

Group time featuring real-life experiences, the calendar, weather graphs and games make math learning come to life. Preschoolers may assist with a demonstration or talk about some interesting observations.

Math practice takes place in learning centers, with a small group or on an individual basis. Students explore new concepts at their individual levels of understanding by using hands-on materials. Teachers offer guidance and extra support.

Theme study
Preschoolers love to examine the world in which they live. Teachers generate topics of study based on children’s interests and life experiences. The exploration makes use of all the subjects, from writing and math to art and music. Teachers plan themes that are exciting and relevant to young learners, such as Family, Seasons, Animals, Transportation, Senses and All About Me.


Laura Gatrell

Director of Early Childhood Education Program and Aftercare

Laura Gatrell

Laura is in her second year as the Early Childhood Education Program Director at St. Rita Catholic School. She has been a k-5 teacher in the state of Kentucky for the past 17 years. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at St. Rose Catholic School. She has taught all grades k-5 with the majority of her time teaching Kindergarten. Laura received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Arts in Teaching at Bellarmine University.

Lisa Heggie

Early Childhood Teacher (4 yrs)

Lisa Heggie

Lisa completed her Associates in Applied Sciences & Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Technical Studies at Jefferson Community College. She also holds a certificate for Early Childhood Administrator, Childcare Assistant, and Kentucky Childcare Provider from Jefferson Community College. Lisa has 6 years of experience in the classroom as both a teacher and an aid.

Elise Woods

Early Childhood Teacher (3 yrs)

Elise Woods

Elise has a bachelor’s degree in Literature from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a Master’s degree in Writing from St. Joseph’s University. Elise has 10 years of experience working with children doing volunteer work and teaching educational camps at Temple University. Mrs. Woods is bilingual with English as her first language and Spanish as her second language.

Maria Eaton

Early Childhood Teacher’s Assistant

Maria Eaton
Julyanna Ortiz

Early Childhood Teacher’s Assistant

Julyanna Ortiz

Julyanna is bilingual with Spanish as her first language and English as her second language.

Schedule A Tour: Early Childhood/Pre-K

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