St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School is a Nursery to Grade 8 school enrolling approximately 475 students on two campuses in the Palisades section of northwest Washington, D.C. Located on the main Whitehaven Campus, the Nursery School includes Nursery and PK classes, with approximately 50 students enrolled. The Nursery School is one of three divisions, along with the Lower School (Kindergarten to Grade 5) and the Middle School (Grades 6 to 8), that comprise St. Patrick’s. Our students, whose families live throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, go on to a variety of schools—including local independent day schools, boarding schools and, less frequently, public schools—upon graduation.
The Nursery School enrolls children ages three through five. All PK students attend a full-day program, which begins at 8:30 am and, Monday through Thursday, concludes at 2:50 pm. On Fridays, the PK program concludes at noon, providing shared professional time during the afternoon for Nursery School teachers. There is an 8:30 am to noon program, plus optional afternoon classes until 2:50 pm except on Fridays, for three-year-old Nursery students, although most Nursery families choose to enroll their children in the full-day program. A Head Teacher and an Assistant Teacher lead each of the Nursery School classes.
Nursery School Teachers arrive by 7:45 am in order to set up classroom centers, prepare materials, and have time for Head Teachers and Assistant Teachers to confer. Head Teachers and Assistant Teachers share responsibilities supervising the 7:45 (on a rotating basis, 7:35) to 8:15 am student arrival. Similarly, after dismissal and attendant carpool
While each Nursery School Head Teacher has the ultimate responsibility for designing and
implementing classroom curriculum. The Head Teacher relies on the involvement of the
Assistant Teacher in planning and implementing activities in the classroom and elsewhere. The Nursery School curriculum is exploration- and play-based, grounded in a thorough knowledge of early childhood development, and incorporates school initiatives—i.e. Responsive Classroom; Positive Discipline; global and multicultural awareness; equity, diversity, and inclusion; character education; and community-building. Thematic units address the needs and interests of the children and promote the development of individual social-emotional, cognitive, language, and motor goals. To promote the smooth implementation of planned curriculum activities, the Assistant Teacher helps the Head Teacher build classroom community, establish effective routines and structure, and foster rapport with each child.
In truth, curriculum is “everything that happens” within the walls and on the playground of the Nursery School. To that end, the Assistant Teacher engages in curriculum work in helping to maintain a smooth classroom routine and effectively attending to specified classroom duties. As noted above, the Assistant Teacher arrives at school by 7:45 am in order to confer with the Head Teacher before beginning arrival duties. On a rotating basis with other Nursery School Teachers, the Assistant Teacher arrives at 7:30 am to supervise 7:35 am early arrivals, mostly children of faculty and staff. At the start of the regular school day, the Assistant Teacher joins the Head Teacher in greeting each child and helping the child settle belongings. The Assistant Teacher remains alert to the needs of the children and intervenes, as necessary, to provide assistance.
Among the daily activities in which the Assistant Teacher may become involved are:
- The Assistant Teacher may be needed to set up materials during group time or snack
during story time, or a team may decide that the Assistant Teacher needs to participate
with the group at these times, modeling appropriate responses and attending to children who need particular support.
- When children leave the classroom for special classes, the Assistant Teacher may be
asked to accompany them and participate in the class or to remain in the room and attend to routine cleaning and rearranging.
- In all circumstances in the classroom, in special classes, and on the playground, the
Assistant Teacher actively interacts with the children to support their development and
supervises them to ensure their safety.
- Further, the Assistant Teacher actively observes the children and shares observations
regarding their skill, behavior, and development with the teacher.
- At the end of the day, the Assistant Teacher helps clean and organize the room.
The Nursery School Assistant Teacher assumes specific responsibility in the classroom with
regard to conferences and other record-keeping:
- The Assistant Teacher helps create anecdotal and formal written records regarding all children in the class before each of the three scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences.
- In one’s first year, the Assistant Teacher prepares Parent-Teacher Conference notes for three children for March and May conferences. An Assistant Teacher who has completed a year in this capacity and those with prior teaching experience prepare three or more sets of Parent-Teacher Conference notes for each conference, November, March, and May, with the Assistant Teacher taking the lead in those conferences. (The Head Teacher makes all interim calls.)
The Nursery School Assistant Teacher helps to maintain formal and informal communication
with parents regarding classroom curriculum and student progress in the following ways:
- Assistance with the Back-to-School Night presentation;
- Participation in scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences;
- Maintaining the class Sutori and SeeSaw online pages
- Periodic participation in special events and faculty committees;
- Other appropriate means that reflect the Assistant Teacher’s proactive stance and
professional level of confidentiality regarding communication with parents about their
children’s progress and any difficulties encountered.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
The Nursery School Assistant Teacher fulfills a variety of other important duties as part of the position. These duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- becoming familiar with and observing the Day School’s policies and procedures as set forth in the Faculty Handbook;
- meeting requirements for participation in school events outside school hours such as Graduation, certain parent and professional development opportunities, and other special performances and gatherings;
- assuming a role in the larger school community;
- working towards schoolwide goals and curriculum decisions;
- serving as an advocate for the school in the wider community;
- maintaining vigilance regarding the physical plant and notifying the Head Teacher or Division Head of safety or other maintenance issues;
- participating in daily playground, early arrival, carpool, lunch, and assigned rest supervision; and completing the required criminal background check, fingerprinting, drug and alcohol testing, and the annual health examination requirements and maintaining required first aid, bloodborne pathogens, and sexual misconduct training.
Nursery School Assistant Teachers assume responsibility for their own professional growth in keeping with the criteria listed in the St. Patrick’s Faculty Handbook. In addition, Assistant
Teachers are responsible for staying current with all Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)-required training and professional development. Assistant Teachers are expected to participate in the New Faculty Workshop program during their first year and in all regular faculty meetings and to pursue professional development opportunities that support their growth and development in the field of early childhood education. They are also expected to attend school events where faculty attendance is required. Assistant Teachers also demonstrate a commitment to professional growth both in setting annual goals and in their collaborative involvement in the school’s evaluation process.
A successful candidate for the position of Nursery School Assistant Teacher will demonstrate:
- the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree;
- a determination to engage in and learn more about the education of young children, particularly between the ages of three and five years old, including their cognitive, social-emotional, spiritual, and motor development;
- an enjoyment of working with young children, in all of their wonderful diversity and across those developmental domains, and the patience, good humor, and developing insight to help them grow as individuals and members of a larger community;
- a highly collaborative and collegial manner and a willingness to work under the direction of the Head Teacher, as outlined above; and
- the ability to express ideas effectively both verbally and in writing
Candidates with experience, training, and/or undergraduate or graduate work in early childhood education will receive preference in the appointment process.
Candidates for the position of Nursery School Assistant Teacher should email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) a cover letter, resume, and list of names and telephone numbers of at least three professional references to Paul Lorenzo-Giguere, Head of Nursery School at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School.
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School strives to create a diverse and inclusive learning community of students, faculty and staff, and parents who recognize the infinite value of every individual as a child of God. We are committed to developing character, advancing human understanding, and promoting academic excellence to shape engaged citizens who live with integrity, empathy, and purpose.