Tina Lomas’ lesson about the color green began before her preschool students arrived for class. As part of their homework, students were asked to wear a green article of clothing. When they arrived, a bulletin board asked, “What can be green?” Lomas pulled a plastic army jeep, vest and leaf out of a “mystery box,” then asked students to guess green items. The guesses came – apple, alligator, turtle and Power Ranger. The repetition continued, as the students mixed glue and water to make “slime.” When they leave Lomas’ class for kindergarten, her students will be able to recognize colors and shapes. They will learn up to 30 numbers. And they’ll be able to recognize 10 letters plus the ones that spell their names. Lomas – selected Teacher of the Year for 2007-08 in LAUSD’s Local District 8 covering San Pedro to Watts – teaches at Eshelman Avenue Elementary School in Lomita. Lomas teaches two classes a day, each running two hours and 20 minutes. Preschool isn’t mandated by the state, but Eshelman has been offering it for almost a decade. Typically, children learn to read by the end of kindergarten or early first-grade. “It’s not expected that we’re teaching them to read,” Lomas said. “It’s getting them ready to read.” In her class, children trace U-shaped broken lines. They learn how to hold a pencil. In the three years she’s been teaching 3- and 4-year-olds, Lomas has won a following among Lomita families. “We have a waiting list for Ms. Lomas’ pre-K class every year,” Principal Millie Mladinich said. “It would be wonderful if every child could benefit from a pre-kindergarten experience, such as the students in Ms. Lomas’ class.” Lomas, 37, has been teaching at Eshelman since 1996. Three years earlier, she took a job teaching for the Los Angeles Archdiocese. She attended Holy Trinity School, Mary Star of the Sea High School and Mount St. Mary’s University, where she earned a teaching credential. Her father, a longshoreman, and mother, a cake-maker, raised her in San Pedro, which she still calls home.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!