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Maryland Knows The Value Of Preschool

Maryland Knows The Value Of Preschool

Free preschool is an invaluable resource most find easy to support. Maryland is leading the way by instituting expanded free pre-K for many families who live in the state. Many other states have also launched free pre-K programs or are in the process of doing so. Through a variety of quality learning experiences in pre-K, kids develop skills, knowledge, and behaviors essential to being successful in school and life.

About Pre-K for Your Kids in Maryland

Maryland offers state-funded pre-K programs for three- and four-year-old children. Pre-K helps all children, but Maryland’s free programs are specifically designated for families who are economically disadvantaged or homeless. Programs offer experiences in language and literacy, math, social foundations, science, social studies, fine arts, physical well-being, and motor development.

Free pre-K for all the state’s three- and four-year-olds in need has been a major focus for Maryland Governor Wes Moore. Requirements in the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act say that local school systems should enroll all income-eligible three- and four-year-olds whose parents or guardians seek to enroll them. Maryland’s programs are administered through the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant. In 2023, almost 28,000 students were enrolled in free pre-K in Maryland.

Kids Need a Strong Start

Expanding access to preschool and pre-K gives all kids a stronger start. The Children’s Guild knows that any preschool education can substantially increase a child’s chances of thriving in school and life. Programs teach social skills through interactions, mentoring, and direct teaching—and often can shrink racial and economic education gaps in children’s development.

“Early learning programs play a crucial role in laying the foundation for a child’s future success. These programs provide essential cognitive, social, and emotional development opportunities that are fundamental for a child’s overall growth and readiness for formal education. Investing in quality early learning programs not only benefits individual children but also contributes to building a strong foundation for a more prosperous and equitable society.  For many years, this has been an unmanageable expense for families. Now, there are widely available and affordable programs that enhance equity to access and opportunity for all young learners,” says Jenny Livelli, M.Ed., President and CEO, The Children’s Guild.

Parents have access to many preschool programs in Maryland, including two provided by The Children’s Guild in College Park and Annapolis. Last year TCG was proud to educate 170 preschoolers.

“What sets The Children’s Guild preschool programs apart is their unique blend of innovative educational approaches and a nurturing environment. The dedicated and passionate staff genuinely care about each child’s individual growth and development. Their focus on personalized learning ensures that every child’s needs and interests are met, fostering a love for learning from an early age. The integration of project-based activities and hands-on experiences has been particularly beneficial, allowing our children to develop critical thinking skills and a deep appreciation for the world around them,” says Krissie Taylor, Preschool Director, The Children’s Guild.

How Does Pre-K Work?

Some pre-K programs run a half day; some are full day. Many run on the same calendar as your local school system.

Each session can have about 20 kids, with a state-certified early childhood teacher and a full-time assistant. They use Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards and the Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating & Improvement System. If operated by qualified vendors, programs also meet the highest levels of quality and follow a curriculum recommended by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Are You Eligible?

Find out! Maryland cities and counties have different eligibility requirements, rules, and regulations. Kids should be three or four years old by September 1 of the current school year for which they are enrolling. There are other qualifications, too, and you need to be able to document their age. Check with your school district, or see this list of Pre-K programs, sorted by city and county.

After initial enrollment of economically disadvantaged kids, local school systems may fill any remaining vacancies by enrolling kids who exhibit a lack of readiness in foundational skills, knowledge, and behaviors.

Start by registering your child at your neighborhood or local school system’s Board of Education by completing a registration packet. Your local Board of Education will notify you before the start of the school year if your child will be enrolled.

Preschool Through The Children’s Guild

TCG offers two preschools in Maryland. Monarch Academy Annapolis is free for qualified families and Anne Arundel County residents and offers education programs from pre-K three- and four-year-olds through fifth grade. Monarch Preschool College Park offers project-based learning pre-K for children ages 3-5, along with financial aid and paid tuition options.

Application information for Annapolis is here. Application information for College Park is here.

Set Your Kids Up Now for the Future

When analyzing the long-term effects of Maryland’s public pre-K programs, results show a positive effect on the participants’ school performance through elementary and middle school.

Summer Principal Series with Mr. Johnson!

Summer Principal Series with Mr. Johnson!

Principal Johnson is excited to share some fantastic updates about what Monarch Academy Annapolis has been working on around the school and some tips for students to keep their brains sharp throughout the Summer! Mr. Johnson will check in with students at least once weekly or every two weeks on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Don’t miss out!

July Gym Reveal

First, a big announcement! “In July, we’re going to show how awesome our new gym looks!”. We know many of our students are looking forward to seeing the improvements, it will be amazing. The new hardwood floors, scoreboards, and other enhancements will create an incredible space for all our physical activities and events.

Teachers’ Lounge Makeover

In the meantime, we are working to make our teachers’ lounge more comfortable and inviting. Our teachers work hard every day, and we want to ensure they have a pleasant space to relax, eat lunch, and recharge. “We are going to make sure it is much more comfortable for our teachers to eat lunch and have a great time in and take a break.” A cozy and welcoming lounge will make a big difference for them.

Classroom and Carpet Cleaning

Cleanliness is a top priority. We are thoroughly cleaning all the carpets and classrooms to ensure everything is spotless and ready for your return. A clean and tidy environment helps everyone feel good and ready to learn.

Outdoor Improvements

We haven’t forgotten about the outside of the school either. The playground is being cleaned and spruced up, along with the surrounding outdoor areas. We want the school grounds to be just as welcoming as the inside of the building.

Share Your Summer Adventures & Keep Learning!

Summer is a time for relaxation and enjoyment, but it’s also important to keep our minds sharp. But it is important to keep learning, Mr. Johnson said, “Let’s make sure we continue to keep all of the knowledge we learned this school year”. That’s why Mr. Johnson is here to remind you of a few key activities to keep your brain active and engaged during the summer months.

  • Keep Reading! One of the best ways to maintain your learning is by diving into some good books. Reading not only helps improve your vocabulary and comprehension skills but also transports you to exciting new worlds and adventures. Whether it’s a thrilling mystery, an inspiring biography, or a fascinating science fiction story, make sure to set aside some time each day for reading.
  • Practice Math Facts! Math is another area where consistent practice can make a huge difference. Spend a few minutes each day working on math facts to keep your skills sharp. This can be as simple as practicing multiplication tables, solving math puzzles, or playing math-related games.

We would love to hear about the exciting things you’re doing this summer. Whether it’s a new hobby, a fun trip, or just a relaxing day at the pool, share your summer adventures with us and tag @MonarchAcademyAnnapolis on Facebook and Instagram.

MAA Expands ’23-’24 Prek Spots for County Students

MAA Expands ’23-’24 Prek Spots for County Students

ANNAPOLIS, MD, August 8, 2023 – Monarch Academy Annapolis announces the expansion of its free, high quality Prekindergarten program for children in Anne Arundel County. Funded through a grant for the third consecutive year from the Division of Early Childhood at the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the school offers six Prekindergarten classrooms for three-and-four-year-olds for the 2023-24 school year. The program follows the MSDE admission guidelines.


“We are thrilled to announce that we have additional Prekindergarten openings and invite all parents who are looking for a safe, nurturing and quality program to submit an application or schedule a visit to tour our school,” said Shae Johnson, Principal of The Children’s Guild Monarch Academy Annapolis. “By adding two new PreK classes it also affords our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders the opportunity to be leaders.”

The PreK program is based on Maryland State Department of Education Pre-Kindergarten guidelines for admission. Families must meet the following qualifications to be considered for these openings:

  • The Prekindergarten program is available only to Anne Arundel County residents.
  • Seats will be only filled with students from families who meet the AACPS income guidelines.

Priority consideration will also be granted to applicants:

  • Who are experiencing homeless
  • Have an active IEP
  • Or speak a language at home that is something other than English

Monarch Academy Annapolis (MAA) is a free public contract school which runs from Prekindergarten through 5th grade and offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme World School (PYP) authorization. The IB PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum that builds conceptual understanding through a student-centered approach to education. MAA is currently the only IB PYP school in the county with open seats for ’23-24. The school also offer bus transportation to the entire county and teaches students both Spanish and English in a safe and fun environment.

For more information contact the admissions team for enrollment & eligibility questions:

Monarch Academy Annapolis is part of The Children’s Guild (TCG), founded in 1953 and celebrating its 70th anniversary. TCG is a leading MidAtlantic nonprofit organization focused on helping students and families find success socially, emotionally, educationally, and developmentally through special education and charter schools, school-based mental health services, treatment foster care, autismb services, family mental and behavioral health services, and workforce development programs.

Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild, Inc., Baltimore Campus, The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, The Children’s Guild – Prince George Campus, Monarch Academy Glen Burnie, Monarch Academy Global – Laurel, Monarch Academy Annapolis, Monarch Preschool College Park, The Children’s Guild- Transformation Academy, The Outpatient Mental Health Clinic (OMHC), Treatment Foster Care, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships. For more information, visit

AACPS Names Johnson MAA Principal

AACPS Names Johnson MAA Principal

ANNAPOLIS, MD, October 31, 2022 –  The Anne Arundel County Public School District has announced the appointment of Mr. Shae Johnson as the new principal of The Children’s Guild Monarch Academy Annapolis (TCG MAA), an International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme World School serving students in pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. Mr. Johnson is an accomplished and energetic school administrator with 17+ years’ experience in both public and private, elementary, middle, and secondary schools providing outstanding leadership and a culture of value and integrity.  He will be the first principal of color since the school’s inception.

“We are thrilled that Anne Arundel County has appointed Shae to lead Monarch Academy Annapolis,” said Jenny Livelli, President and CEO of The Children’s Guild.  “We are confident in Shae’s abilities to implement effective strategy and programs, transform the school’s culture, and respond to the unique needs of every child, family and the entire community.  Shae is already showcasing his leadership ability as he was instrumental in the school’s new IB PYP designation.”

Most recently Shae Johnson had been Assistant Principal of Monarch Academy Annapolis, where he oversaw the implementation of academic curricula and data driven instructional decision making as well as co-managed the $8 million annual budget.  Prior to joining Monarch Academy, Shae was Vice Principal/Academic Facilitator of Imagine Lincoln Public Charter in Prince George’s County and Vice Principal of Imagine Hope Public Charter School, part of the District of Columbia Public Schools.  Shae began his career as a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System.

“It is extremely exciting for me to have the chance to lead Monarch Academy Annapolis.  I am grateful to Anne Arundel County Public Schools for having the trust in me to be able to lead.  We have had a strong start to the 2022-23 school year, and excited to receive the  International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme World School designation, identifying us as a leading primary school in the region,” said Shae Johnson, Principal, Monarch Academy Annapolis.  “I grew up in Prince George’s County and have been an Anne Arundel County resident for more than 20 years. My children went to school here, so I am pleased both personally and professionally.  I am committed to Monarch Academy and the citizens of Annapolis to make sure that our teachers and administrators have the tools they need to be creative and grow and pass that energy onto the children in our school,” added Johnson.

In July 2022 The Children’s Guild Monarch Academy Annapolis received the official International Baccalaureate (IB) designation for the Primary Years Programme (PYP) World School.  IB World Schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to improve the teaching and learning of a diverse and inclusive community of students by delivering challenging, high-quality programs of international education that share a powerful vision.

Monarch Academy Annapolis is part of The Children’s Guild’s schools and programs which respond to the unique needs of every child, family, and community it serves. The organization is one of the largest providers of charter schools, special education, autism services, treatment foster care, and family mental and behavioral health services in the region.

Affiliates of The Children’s Guild include The Children’s Guild, Inc., Baltimore Campus, The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School, The Children’s Guild – Prince George Campus, Monarch Academy Glen Burnie, Monarch Academy Global – Laurel, Monarch Academy Annapolis, The Outpatient Mental Health Clinic, Treatment Foster Care, The Children’s Guild- Transformation Academy, Monarch Preschool College Park, TranZed Academy for Working Students (TAWS), and TranZed Apprenticeships.  For more information, visit

MAA School Counselor Nikki Pritchett-Johnson Authors First Book

MAA School Counselor Nikki Pritchett-Johnson Authors First Book

ANNAPOLIS, MD, September 28, 2022 – Anne Arundel County Public Schools School Counselor Nikki Pritchett-Johnson, who provides counseling services for The Children’s Guild Monarch Academy Annapolis, wrote and published her first children’s book Purposed Through Joy.  With the mental health challenges facing many children post-pandemic, Purposed Through Joy is being released at the perfect time to help teach children to have a resilient attitude, while equipping parents and teachers with insightful tools to inspire kids of all ages to keep their joy.

The 30-page book for children of all ages is focused on Grace who questions her purpose for the day. A mountain of problems crowds Grace’s heart and mind stealing her very joy and causes her to question, “What is my purpose for today?” This charming story reminds children to never let the cares and concerns of the day rob them of the strength they need to succeed. With the support of her Nana, Grace learns to toss her heavy loads aside and get her joy back!

“I look forward to sharing my new book with our 5th graders during Mental Health Awareness Week (Oct. 2-8).  I published this children’s book during my service as School Counselor at Monarch Academy Annapolis as I came to love the foundational beliefs that drive the many intentional things that the Children’s Guild puts forth to educate the minds and hearts of children.  I’ve always lived by the ‘Educate th

e Heart’ quote by Aristotle and working at TCG’s Monarch Academy Annapolis has reminded me that there are still educators that believe in the power of educating ‘the mind AND THE HEART’,” explained author Nikki Pritchett-Johnson.  “It is truly my goal to get a copy of this book into the hands of all teachers in our system.  I want our scholars across this county to know that social-emotional wellness is a PROACTIVE practice and not reactive.  Preparing our scholars with skills to problem solve; self-love; and cope with the cares of life is key.”

We’re Proud to be an Affiliate of The Children’s Guild