Sunday, July 11, 2010

Choosing a Preschool: KinderCare Learning Centers

How did you choose the right preschool for your child? What things were important to you? Curriculum...class size...location?

Me? I was looking for somewhere in our hometown, where ER would be with potential future classmates and get to know children in our community. I wanted the curriculum to be play based. For her to have lots of opportunities to be with her peers for socialization, learn how to resolve conflicts with them, and become familiar with school rules.

ER's teacher was very kind and nuturing. While she got the main things I wanted in her three year old preschool class, next year I am definitely looking for the educational component to be ramped up. She should've been pushed more.

I was really surprised that more academics weren't incorporated as she was in a multi-age class. The needs of the four year old in her class definitely weren't met. At times preschool seemed more like play group. I want every thing the kids to do have a reason, a purpose and for it all to be tied back into sound educational fundamentals and most importantly for the teacher to know what those are.

Being part of a Cooperative Preschool, has many positive points. As a former teacher, I liked the idea of assisting in the classroom and having an active role as a board member. As a parent sending my child away to school for the first time, I'll admit I felt more comfortable being able to come in and check things out. The downsides were that I didn't always love the curriculum and activities being implemented, which I was very aware of since I was at the school all the time.
I am sure every placement has ups and downs but we put a lot time and thought into whether or not ER would return there next year. We didn't look into KinderCare, but I just found out that one is on our neighboring town. I really like what I see on their website. Their emphasis on age-appropriate curriculum, customized experiences and overall school preparedness, and making the back to school or start of school process a whole lot easier.

KinderCare Learning Centers provide low teacher to student ratios, strong communication between families and teachers, and a safe, nurturing atmosphere. Offering projects designed to excite children's imaginations, KinderCare provides a stimulating environment for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary school aged children alike. And with over 40 years experience in childcare and education, KinderCare provides peace of mind so parents can feel confident in their choice.

It all looks like a program I need to check out. If your child has been to KinderCare I'd love to hear your thoughts! Either way, I hope you'll share with me the things you think make up a successful preschool experience.


Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of KinderCare Learning Centers and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

3 Friends Said:

Lynn said...

It's a hard balance between play and academics. I feel like my son loves to learn new things, be quizzed, etc., and his mind is so open right now to learning. So I wouldn't want a singularly play based curriculum either. Anyway, for us, food allergies mean no preschool. I'll homeschool until kindergarten. At least, that's the current plan! Still enjoyed your post, though. :)

The Activity Mom said...

We are on a waiting list at a preschool I fell in love with. I'm SO hoping the 5 people ahead of me find a different place to go before more spots open up =). What I loved about it was the day was scheduled, they had music and art. There were centers for play and I saw a ton of great manipulatives in the room for potential learning. Now whether they are being used, I won't really know until we are in. The director did say that in the 3 year old program they don't focus very much on letters and numbers besides an intro because it is a time to learn to socialize, follow rules, etc (like you were saying). I can appreciate that and also, like you, still want a bit more. Anyway, like you said there are pros and cons to both and it feels like such an important decision.

Annette W. said...

Well, I think you know we chose our first preschool based on M's need for speech intervention (more than just therapy).

She is doing well now, and I needed something in our town, with strong academics to challenge her, and not a ton of seat/busy work...and fun. Ideally Christian...but not necessary.

We found it...I hope!

For myself, I don't care for play-based schools because of the weakness in academics...but if I was a working mom I might love it.

Good luck!

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