pre-k boost

Duration per session: 45 Minutes

These play-based sessions with SCK’s Lisa Schalk, a seasoned early childhood educator, are designed to explore literacy, mathematical functions, the process of scientific inquiry, social/emotional intelligence, and creativity. In these sessions, your child will receive focused individual attention that is so powerful for all young children.

Following each section, you will receive a recap that will:

  • explain the “what’s” and “why’s” of work from each session
  • identify strengths and areas of growth to focus on
  • offer specific guidance on simple ways to build your child’s confidence and abilities

Phase 1 – Lisa works with your child to sow the seeds of early literacy, by reading together, analyzing stories in terms of sequence/structure, theme, character development, and action, and writing an original one-page story. The focus is on the joy of language, wordplay, vocabulary, and letter awareness.

Phase 2 – Through the use of manipulatives including blocks, geometric shapes, and small animal figures we will create dramatic play scenarios that foster numeracy awareness. Lisa will focus on basic concepts of one-to-one correspondence, simple mathematical concepts (including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), fractions, patterning, and measurement. We will also work with geometric shaped tiles to build an awareness of proportion, symmetry, balance, and area.

Phase 3 – Lisa will explore the cognitive skills involved in the process of scientific inquiry by designing a simple scientific experiment, making hypotheses, identifying assessment measures, and testing out our guesses. Designed to foster curiosity, logical reasoning, critical thinking, and positive risk-taking.

Phase 4 – To build on your child’s social/emotional intelligence, Lisa will focus on emotions. Using picture books and other materials, she will work with your child to identify, name, and analyze various emotions familiar to your child. They will discuss how emotions feel, how we can manage emotions, and how it is possible to feel more than one emotion at the same time.

Phase 5 – Fostering creativity, imagination, and collaboration your child will work with Lisa to create a detailed play scenario with families of animal figures. Materials used will include wooden train tracks and trains, artwork, and found treasures in our play area. We will focus on imagination and creative expression through storytelling, singing, movement, and visual art.

Other Divisions


Lisa Schalk

Educational Specialist

Lisa has been drawn to serious writing since the ripe old age of nine, when after reading Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy, she mapped out her own Spy Route and began earnestly writing about her neighbors’ lives.

After moving to New York City, with English degree in hand, Lisa worked as a writer in the worlds of advertising and marketing on accounts ranging from Hershey’s Chocolate Milk to American Express. When she became a mother she continued writing on a freelance basis, but shifted her primary focus to parenting her three children. As she accompanied them on their educational journeys, she served on such Friends Seminary school committees as the Diversity Committee and the Learning Differences Committee. She began to write about education – and all of this led to her decision to become a teacher.

Lisa accepted a teaching position at Chelsea Day School and became a graduate student at Bank Street College of Education, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. At Chelsea Day School she worked closely with her teaching associates to create and maintain a warm, nurturing, and challenging environment for her students with specific focus on social and emotional safety, creative expression, and cognitive development. She led a dynamic teaching team to plan and execute curriculum that was relevant, engaging, and developmentally appropriate. She wrote informative Daily Recaps and Monthly Newsletters to parents, highlighting the momentum of her curriculums and explaining the what’s how’s, and why’s of her work. She wrote detailed progress reports for each student twice yearly.

Additional roles, accolades, and activities:

Served as Director of the CDS Summer Program for four years, leading a staff of 23 teachers in a six-week program that served an average of 100 families with children aged two to seven years old.
One of 15 New York City teachers to receive a 2014 Blackboard Award for Teachers.
Served on the governing board of the New York City Chapter of National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC).
Attended an intensive, weeklong North American Study Group for Teachers in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

In 2001, Lisa also began working with Smart City Kids families, helping clients navigate the often daunting school essay process. After 18 years of a remarkably fulfilling teaching career, Lisa has begun a new chapter by officially joining the Smart City Kids team as an Educational Specialist. She is thrilled to continue her work with families, pulling from her experience as a professional writer, a mother, and an educator, helping them in their search for the best school fit for their children.


Don’t miss our monthly newsletter! Sign up below to view our favorite tips & tricks to help you get through the admission season!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.