Pacelli offers early childhood opportunities

Published 10:31 am Friday, October 7, 2016

Pacelli Catholic Schools provides a number of early childhood opportunities that are available to anyone in the Austin area community.  From drop-in childcare to kindergarten prep, there are a variety of programs that fit the evolving developmental needs of our three, four, and five year old children.

Tiny Shamrocks

By Arielle Anderson

Pacelli Tiny Shamrocks Preschool Teacher



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Tiny Shamrocks is Pacelli’s 3-year-old preschool program. A typical day in our classroom includes, large group, snack, large motor activities, a multitude of projects and activities where we enhance basic skills and focus on a weekly theme. We end our day with free choice exploration and a “goodbye” group to wrap up our day and talk about what the students will see the rest of the week. In Pacelli’s 3 year old program, we concentrate especially on one shape and one color per month and incorporate these into the classroom around us, books we read, and activities we complete so the students are able to make connections and not rely solely on memorization skills. We begin number and letter recognition, focusing on one letter per week. Along with recognition, the students begin to develop fine motor skills such as properly holding a pencil and using those skills to trace and write their name. Social emotional growth during the early stages of life is also very important. Our staff give the students proper tools for their tool belt, so to speak, to guide them as they learn to share and communicate with their peers and teachers. We begin teaching kindness, and other crucial values that contribute to a versatile student. We are fortunate to have access to a well-rounded school environment including the gymnasium, cafeteria, use of technology such as ipads and a SMARTboard, along with the support and guidance of other preschool classes up to students in the 12th grade. Tiny Shamrocks uses a faith based curriculum that sprinkles religion in throughout our day through praying before eating and acknowledging that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” At Pacelli, our goal is to partner with parents as the young students begin their educational journey.

Kindergarten prep

Robyn Bickler

Pacelli Kindergarten Prep Teacher



Pacelli also offers a kindergarten readiness preschool class that meets five mornings a week or four afternoons. The goal of our Kprep preschool program is for every child to leave with the social, emotional, and academic skills necessary to succeed in kindergarten. We accomplish this goal through a faith based curriculum that focuses on the whole child and the world around them. Our preschool program has many unique advantages because we are part of the larger Pacelli K-12 family. Our students have access to a full library to borrow books once a week, we utilize a computer lab for students to become familiar with technology, and we pair our students with 2nd and 3rd grade reading buddies that read to them once a week. The Pacelli music director works with our preschool classes on basic music concepts and the art instructor includes them in a special art project that is entered in the spring Art Show. Pacelli preschoolers participate in the events hosted at Pacelli throughout the year such as homecoming, the annual walk-a-thon and fall carnival, Halloween parade, Read-A-Thon and more. The Pacelli Kprep program offers children a strong academic environment but more importantly provides them with the entire Pacelli experience. Our hope is that this positive experience provides them with a love of learning that translates into life-long success.

Shamrock Zone Childcare

By Sara McMahon

Director of Childcare and Shamrock Zone



Pacelli Shamrock Zone offers quality drop-in childcare for ages 33 months (and potty-trained) through 5th grade. We are flexible with before, during and after-school care; 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, and only closed on major holidays. Christianity is sprinkled throughout each day as we model how to be respectful and kind towards ourselves, others and our world. Our trained staff care for children in a learning environment that embraces structure as well as exploration of their imaginations. Play is an important part of young children’s lives.  We make sure that we not only observe them in a safe environment, but we assist in guiding them and responding to them throughout their play. By doing this, we are increasing their learning and helping them develop their skills.


Initiating play

Child-initiated play allows the child to decide what and how they want to explore. Simple examples of intense learning taking place: when a child builds a tower out of blocks, playing house and asking peers who wants to be what part of the family, or making their bodies move or talk like a person or animal. These example show skill development in areas like physical, social, emotional, thinking and language. Stand back and observe a child during play, you’ll be surprised how comfortable and happy the child is; next, you’ll instantly smile just by witnessing it happen.  Stop by Pacelli Shamrock Zone or call the office 507-433-8859 and get more information on how to enroll in quality, flexible childcare that nurtures how your child learns and grows.

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.