Pre-Kindergarten expanding with new leadership

In response to high interest and a genuine need, Colorado Academy Pre-Kindergarten is expanding and adding significant enhancements at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The program will also have new leadership, as Pre-K Director Mary Karst relocates to California to take advantage of specialized educational opportunities for her own daughter, Molly, who is an award-winning writer. Karst will be replaced by Lizzie Rockmore, who is a 1990 alumna of CA.

Ryan Fossel presents incoming Pre-K Director Lizzie Rockmore with some Play-Doh cookies, fresh from the oven!
Ryan Fossel presents incoming Pre-K Director Lizzie Rockmore with some Play-Doh cookies, fresh from the oven!

New leadership

Rockmore, who has been substituting in CA’s Pre-K program and has lengthy experience as a Pre-K and Lower School teacher, will take on the role of Director of the program.

Rockmore taught Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood programs at My School Preschool from 2011-2015. She also taught Sixth Grade Science at Horizon Community Middle School and Fourth Grade in Cherry Creek Public Schools. She holds licensure from the State of Colorado in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education (K-6), and Science Education (7-12). She also has worked as a coach in the sports of Field Hockey and Lacrosse, coaching teams from Pre-K to 12 for the past 25 years.

Rockmore attended Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and the University of Colorado Boulder. She earned a Master’s in Education from Lesley University in Boston, Mass.

“I feel so fortunate to be part of the CA faculty,” says Rockmore. “I am equally excited to be teaching with such a wonderful Pre-K team and can’t wait to meet our new CA Pre-K students and families next fall!”

Karst has led CA’s Pre-K program since 2015, during a time when interest in the program has grown dramatically. “It is CA’s Pre-K through Grade 12 environment that helps to make this school such a remarkable place to learn and for children to grow,” she says.  “I am so excited for the future growth of CA’s Pre-K and know that our talented and dedicated staff will continue to make this an exceptional program for our youngest students.” 

Pre-K program to expand

For several years, CA has discussed how to best respond to the high degree of interest and real need for early childhood education within our community. In the fall of 2019, CA will act on that discussion by shifting from a one-section, four-teacher structure housed in a single Pre-K cottage to a two-section, five-teacher structure housed in two Pre-K cottages.

The two-section model allows for continued low student-teacher ratios. At the same time, the larger total number of Pre-Kindergartners offers an opportunity to provide more age-specific programming for both students and parents.

The Pre-K existing teaching team of Stacey Boyd, Sarah Jeske, and Roy Mills will be joined by one other teacher and will be led by Pre-K Director Lizzie Rockmore. They will be  supported by CA’s Lower School Principal, Counselor, and math and literacy specialists on curriculum planning and development. The scope and sequence of the Pre-K curriculum will continue to connect to our Lower School curriculum as a whole.

Pre-Kindergartners will continue to attend class with specialty teachers Jeff Goldstein for science, Bill Witt for technology, and Allison Peters Jensen for library. Art and PE specials continue as well.

Outdoor Learning Space 

Both Pre-K cottages have attached playgrounds. However, CA plans to create a new outdoor learning space that will connect the two Pre-K Cottages. Teachers are excited to develop curricula for this new area, which will allow Pre-Kindergartners to use their senses to build connections, develop motor skills, enhance language development, and practice scientific thinking and problem- solving skills. The concept embraces the idea that for children’s healthy development, they must have the chance to explore and grow with nature every day. 

At CA, we are devoted to nurturing the development of children in a learning environment that values intellectual curiosity, originality, authenticity, motivation, and teamwork.  We believe that these Pre-K structural and programmatic changes and additions will support the growth of young children as they begin their CA journey.