PreK C

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Welcome To Pre-K C!

Hi, my name is Ms. Shakima Renee and I am the PreK-C teacher! This is my sixth year teaching at Notre Dame Catholic Academy of Ridgewood and I am really excited to be working with Mrs. Nelida Santos again this year.  The children can address us as Ms. Renee and Mrs. Santos, we are both really happy about getting to know your little one this year, and watching them explore and grow.  Every year is special, but this year is especially different because we are a hybrid class with 3 and 4 yr olds!

I can be contacted via ClassDojo and by email at . I will be checking the ClassDojo messages periodically throughout the day, however, I will not be responding to messages after 3:30pm.

Thank you!

Unit 1– Welcome To Pre-K

The first few weeks of the pre-K year children and families are w

ondering about the upcoming year and what it will bring.  We will be developing partnerships and fostering communication with families throughout this first month of the pre-K program.  We will be providing structure and support during this time of transition, knowing that some children have experiences with a childcare program for some children this will be their first experience.  Throughout this unit and the units ahead, we will have the exciting opportunity to set the tone for children’s pre-K- 12 educational experiences and lay the foundation for critical thinking and inquiry skills that they will use from our classroom forward.  In pre-K we follow the  New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards (NYSPLS).  These standards have carefully developed early learning expectations linked to K-12 standards that contribute to a more cohesive unified approach to young children’s education.  The NYSPLS is organized into five broad developmental and interrelated domains, which provide the structure for the common core.  A brief description of each domain appears below:

  • Approaches to Learning- How children become involved in learning and acquiring knowledge.
  • Physical Development and Health- Children’s  physical health and ability to engage in daily activities.
  • Social and Emotional Development- The emotional competence and ability to form positive relationships that give meaning to children’s experiences in the home, school, and larger community.
  • Communication, Language, and Literacy- How children understand, create, and communicate meaning. 
  • Cognition and Knowledge of the World- What children need to know and understand about their world and how they apply what they know.  This domain is a direct reflection of the content competencies and knowledge of the Common Core Learning Standards.

Unit 2– My Five Senses

Now that we have introduced the children and families to the program with the first unit, we will continue our journey of exploration and learning with an exciting topic focused on how we use our five sense to explore, investigate, and understand ourselves and our world.  Children naturally explore the world around them through their senses.  In this unit we encourage support cognitive and language development by encoura

ging children to observe things in their immediate environment and begin to describe them in detail.  In this unit there is a focus on developing the Physical Development and Health Skills described in Domain 2 of the PKFCC.  Throughout the unit, children will use their senses to assist and guide learning.  Children will demonstrate increasing awareness and understanding of safety rules through discussions about how we use each sense to make judgements about safe situations or objects.  Throughout the unit, there are activities and discussions about how life might be different for people who have disabilities that affect their senses.  There are children’s books that introduce different disabilities and explain how people with disabilities might interact with the world differently.  

Week 1 was introduced by asking the question “How do we use our sense of sight?” We made glasses out of pipe cleaners!.. We also continued to discuss the fall and the differences that they are beginning to notice in the trees. 

Week 2 was introduced by asking the question “How do we use our sense of hearing?” I asked what could be heard around the classroom. We also  made instruments using the cardboard from paper towel rolls, beans and cupcake liners.



Week 3 was introduced by asking the question “How do we use our sense of taste?” and “How do we use our sense of smell?” We numbered jars that were packed with cotton balls and introduced 1 new scent each day, going around the room I asked everyone when they smelled in the jar.  On the fourth day the scents were revealed to be Lemon, Peppermint, and Cotton Candy, all essential oils and safe for smelling.    

 Week 4 was introduced by asking the question “How do we use our sense of touch?”  Using our “feely box,” which is a closed box that have 2 openings on each end, I put a different item in daily and ask each child to describe what they feel.  Using words like bumpy, scratchy, hard, soft, smooth, and fluffy to describe the secret that is in the box.  At the end of the week we will get to finally see what we have been touching in the “feely box.”

Unit 3– All About Us

During the pre-K year, children develop a concept and awareness of themselves as unique individuals.  A strong sense of self supports children’s success in pre-K and lays the groundwork for realizing their potential throughout their school and life experiences.  Unit activities such as self-portraits and like/dislike activities invite children to think about and express their ideas about who they are.  Throughout the unit there are also opportunities for children to explore the attributes of their names.  All About Us is designed to support and embrace the diverse populations of New City City Pre-K’s for All program and help children develop the positive self-concept and confidence to take on new tasks, think critically, remain persistent in the face of challenges, pursue interests and realize their potential as individuals as well as members of various communities.  It is an opportunity to celebrate each an every member of the class both inside and out and set a tone of acceptance. 

Week one was introduced by asking “What makes me important and unique?”  We sent a project home for family engagement, and asked parents to help their children complete an “All About Me” chart. When all of the projects were completed we asked each child to tell us about what their chart and some of their favorite things to do. 

We played the game “Who Am Eye?” where we had pictures of the children’s eyes up in the Science Center, the pictures were available for the children to go over and play the game freely while in that center. We also discussed our fingerprint as something that made us important and unique.  We put all of the children’s fingerprints on papers and hung them in the Science Center, we put out the magnifying glasses and encouraged the children to notice the difference between their prints and their friends.

Week two we asked the question “What feelings do I have and why?” Children were introduced to an interactive feeings chart.  They are able to match how they are feeling from an aray of labeled pictures.  The chart has become part of the morning routine but is also available for children to access throughout the day as desired. 

Week three was introduced by asking the question “What makes my class important and unique?”  We discussed what jobs are, why they are important and different types of jobs.  After discussing the importance of jobs in the classroom we introduced the job chart. The job chart includes the operational need of the classroom. 

Week four was introduced by asking the question“What makes my family important and unique?” Children were encouraged to bring in pictures of their family members that were hung up in the classroom.  We discussed who lived in their home and also different features that made them unique from their friends in the class. 

Unit 4Where We Live

In Unit 4, children move from inquiring and thinking critically about themselves, their classmates and their family to the spaces that those people inhabit. This unit is designed to reflect the diverse places where people live in neighborhoods across New York City. There are opportunities throughout the unit for you to tailor discussions and activities to reflect the children and communities you serve. Additionally, in this unit children inquire and learn about the homes of animals, both pets living in homes with the children and those animals that create their own homes. This unit is designed to reflect the diverse places where people live in neighborhoods across New York City. There are opportunities throughout the unit to tailor discussions and activities to reflect the children and community they live in.   

Week one was introduced by asking the question“Where do I live? Where do my family members live?”  Together, we read about different kinds of homes, including apartments, houses, etc. and discuss where different members of their families live.

Week two was introduced by asking the question“Where do people and animals live?” After children considered the different kinds of homes in which they and the people they know live, they were able to start to investigate a more abstract concept: animal homes.

Week three was introduced by asking the question“What types of homes do the people in my city (NYC) live in? In this unit, the children developed a concept and awareness of the diversity of living environments and explore how New Yorkers live in many types of homes and buildings.

Week four was introduced by asking the question“How do people and animals make homes?” Through this structure we mirror the process by which young children explore and understand the world; starting with themselves then moving outwards and from concrete to abstract. Because this unit was a remote week, we encouraged the families to have their children build 3D models of a home or a bridge to bring into school.








Unit 5Transportation

In this unit children will more from inquiring and thinking critically about the places where animals and people live to exploring how people move from place to place using vehicles and other methods of transportation.  This unit provides opportunities for children to observe objects and phenomena in their environment with increasing complexity through hands-on activities in the classroom and in the community.  Children will also have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of a major part of New York City life across all five boroughs.  The full diversity of our city is reflected in this unit through the examination of trains, boats, cars, airplanes, buses, specialty vehicles, and more. 

We begin the first week by considering the focus question“What kinds of transportation do I use and why?”  We read about and discussed what modes of transportation they use including; motorized vehicles, non- motorized vehicles and other modes like walking.  We created a chart titled “How Did I Get to School?”

In week two, we asked the question“How are various modes of transportation similar and different?”  Children began to think about what made different kinds of transportation similar and different.  We made a chart where everybody get a chance to participate in placing the vehicles on either land, water, or in the air.

Week three was introduced by asking “Who operated the vehicles in my community?”In this week children observe and explore vehicle operators such as bus drivers, conductors, taxi drivers, pilots, fire fighters, police officers, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and other community helpers.  

Week four was introduced by asking the question “How do we stay safe when using transportation?” During this week we introduced ideas such as safety, traffic and rules that become more real for them through games or arts and crafts.  Each child made a traffic light after reading the book Go! Go! Go! Stop!– By Charise Mericle Harpe. 


Unit 6– Light

In this unit, the children move from exploring various modes and aspects of transportation to inquiring and thinking critically about light, darkness and shadows. This unit will provide opportunities for children to observe objects and experiences in their environment with increasing complexity.

During week one we asked the question “What kind of light are around us?”  We were able to observe, discuss, and explore what the children knew about natural and artificial lights.  During the time we explained to the children that we would continue to learn in the classroom with the lights off and flashlights would be provided in each center.  As a class, we came up with special “Flashlight Rules” to ensure that we kept each other safe.