Our Safari Friends classrooms are designed for children 3 years old by September 1 and who will turn 4 years by August 31 of the following year.

The student to teacher ratio does not exceed 10 children to 2 teachers. Throughout the year special field trips are planned to enrich learning.

While continuing to define the skills they learned in the earlier programs, these almost-four-year-olds are becoming more self-reliant. They can dress themselves and have achieved potty training with few or no accidents. They begin to make decisions and follow directions. They enjoy playing with others and are able to solve simple conflicts on their own. Four-year-olds are observant of the world around them with a fine attention to detail. They also strive to get things right and like to learn.

From an educational perspective, teachers begin to focus on fine motor mastery by helping students hold writing tools properly. Teachers provide activities to learn the alphabet and count to higher numbers with success. Dress-up clothes and life-like toys are provided, as children’s dramatic play becomes astonishingly “real”. In this class, we focus on the developing process of learning many skills, and not the finished product. These building blocks are the indicators of success in their Pre-K year. Teachers invest time in helping each child identify their emotions and express them appropriately. We also see separation anxiety cease as children become secure in familiar environments.

Ms. Julie

Lead Teacher, Fours

Team Member Since August 2018

Ms. Julie lived in her birthplace town of Columbus, Ohio for 6 weeks before being on the move with her navy dentist dad and family, but became a true Texan in 1984 when she began her college career at Texas Lutheran College, now University, earning a B.S. in Psychology in 1988. She married her husband after college and has 3 grown sons. Ms. Julie is often seen walking up and down the halls having conversations with our CDO children and singing songs with them! We are blessed to have her presence at our school! In her spare time, Ms. Julie likes to work out and sew.

Ms. Marina

Lead Teacher, Fours

Team Member Since January 2023

Ms. Marina is a CDO grandma that after a couple of years of her grandchild attending our program shared that she is a former elementary school teacher that has an elementary education degree earned at the University of Durango-Miguel Aleman Campus in Durango, Mexico! Besides her teaching experience, Ms. Marina also spent many years in the business world where she owned and managed properties in El Paso and in Central America. Ms. Marina joined our staff as an assistant teacher in January 2023 and has been an amazing team member since the day she arrived! Ms. Marina is hard working, always showing up early and staying late to be able to be the best team player doing whatever tasks need to be done! She is innovative and always looking for new ways to engage the children in activities in each of the classrooms she serves! We are blessed by Ms. Marina being a part of our team!

Ms. Alex

Asst. Teacher (M&W), Fours

Team Member Since August 2023

We welcome Ms. Alex to our St. Mark CDO teaching team! Ms. Alex is from the town of Thorndale, Texas where she attended school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Ms. Alex loves children and has always been a big hit with younger family members and decided to begin her part time career in early childhood education with us. Ms. Alex is currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin where she is a junior, pursuing an education in Public Relations, hoping to land a job with the University of Texas when she graduates in the Spring of 2025. In her spare time, very limited as a college student, Ms. Alex likes traveling, baking, and spending time with family. Ms. Alex looks forward to working in the 3-4 year old classroom beginning this fall and we look forward to getting to know Ms. Alex and all of the gifts and talents she will bring to that classroom!

Ms. Judy Brown

Asst. Teacher (T&TH), Fours

Team Member Since August 2023

Ms. Judy Brown is a ray of sunshine for our program. If you ask her any day how she is, she will always say “Just living the dream!” Ms. Judy has been active at the CDO as a grandmother volunteer since her now elementary school aged grandchild began at the preschool several years ago! Ms. Judy brings years of experience as a preschool teacher, parent, and now grandparent and we are blessed to have her at the preschool officially on staff! In addition to her experience in working with young children, Ms. Judy also worked for and retired from the Department for Homeland Security. With her combined real life experiences and Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Administration, Ms. Judy brings us many gifts and talents and we give thanks for her!

Ms. Isha

Asst. Teacher (M-TH), Fours

Team Member Since August 2023

Ms. Isha earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree in her home country of India before coming with her husband to the United States in California. She and her husband were introduced and later married after their mothers, who worked together, decided that the two should fall in love and get married, which they did! Ms. Isha has been married for 10 years and has three children. Before joining our CDO staff, Ms. Isha volunteered at the Lake Pointe Elementary School where her daughter attended and decided that part time childcare was where she felt called to serve during these years while her children are younger.

Contact our Director to discuss classroom availability or schedule a tour of the CDO.

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