Darlington School: Podcast Episode 28: A Look Into Pre-K & Kindergarten 
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Podcast Episode 28: A Look Into Pre-K & Kindergarten

October 14, 2021 | 123 views

Welcome to Episode 28 of The Darlington Podcast! 

In this episode, Pre-K to 8 Director Hopes Jones talks with Pre-K teacher Beth Smith ('87, LD '12) and Kindergarten teacher Jody Deaton about what a skills-based curriculum and active learning look like for our youngest students. Together, Smith and Deaton have a combined 43 years of experience teaching in the primary grades at Darlington.

Hope Jones has served as director of Pre-K to 8 since 2014 and has more than 30 years of experience in education. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and English from the University of Alabama – Huntsville as well as an M.A. in Middle Level Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. During her career, Jones has served in teaching and administrative roles in Alabama, Virginia, Washington, D.C., California, and Georgia. 

Beth Smith ('87, LD '12) has taught at the Lower School since 1994 and has more than 30 years of experience in education. She holds a B.S. and an M.Ed. from Auburn University.

Jody Deaton has taught at Darlington since 2005 and has nearly 30 years of experience in education. She holds a B.S.Ed. from the University of Georgia and an M.Ed. from Berry College. 

About the Primary Grades (Pre-K to 2):

Special care and attention is paid to the littlest learners at Darlington School. Here, we open the world of creativity and independence as children develop and grow in a safe, secure and academically nurturing space. 

All Darlington primary grades teachers and teaching assistants are Orton-Gillingham Classroom Educator trained. This advanced training draws on developmental neuroscience to provide an optimal education experience. 

Additionally, all pre-K to second grade students enjoy classes dedicated to art, music, Spanish, physical education and regular visits to the library. They also explore the world through technology designed to enhance learning, including iPads, 3D printers, and STEM activities integrated within the MakerSpace.

Click here to explore the Primary Grades at Darlington.


The Darlington Podcast is a collaboration between the communication, advancement, and I.T. teams, and is hosted by various members of the school community. Episodes are released each Thursday morning and available on most podcast platforms (search for The Darlington Podcast in your podcast player). Once new episodes are posted, you'll also be able to find them at www.darlingtonschool.org/podcast. Please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so that you'll get the latest episode each week! 

The Darlington Podcast intro music was written and performed by Elliot Luitweiler ('22) and Katherine Davidson ('22). Carson Raymond, director of major gifts, lends his voice, and editing and production is handled by Tannika King, director of communications.

If you have ideas for future episodes or have any questions about The Darlington Podcast, please email communications@darlingtonschool.org