Grace Community School American Kenpo Karate Program

The Grace Community School American Kenpo Karate Program combines martial arts, physical exercise, and fun!
The Grace Community School American Kenpo Karate Program combines martial arts, physical exercise, and fun!

The Grace Community School American Kenpo Karate Program has been teaching kids martial arts and self-discipline for nearly twenty years. It is our most established special class, and still one of our most popular! Each week our karate instructor, Mr. Pete, comes to every GCS location and does half hour classes for all participating students. Our karate class runs year-round, and while space is limited, we are accepting new students.

Students who participate in martial arts programs like Grace Community School’s have improved reflexes and focus, among other benefits.
Students who participate in martial arts programs like Grace Community School’s have improved reflexes and focus, among other benefits.

One objection we often hear from parents is, “I have enough problems with my child roughhousing and fighting at home without adding karate to the mix!” What we have seen is the exact opposite. What if you could do something to help your child with aggression and improve many other areas of their life, for just $10 per week? You can! The Grace Community School American Kenpo Karate Program builds discipline and self-control. Students who participate in martial arts programs like Grace Community School’s have improved reflexes and focus, among other benefits. Kids need to move, and martial arts are a great outlet to help young bodies get exercise and get rid of pent up energy in a constructive way.

Kids need to move, and martial arts are a great outlet to help young bodies get exercise and get rid of pent up energy in a constructive way.
Kids need to move, and martial arts are a great outlet to help young bodies get exercise and get rid of pent up energy in a constructive way.

Self-discipline has far more than just physical benefits. Students have a sense of accomplishment when they find themselves mastering their bodies more and more. This builds confidence. Possessing more self-discipline and confidence improves other areas of life like school work and interpersonal relationships. The American Kenpo variety of karate the GCS karate program uses is characterized by an emphasis on self-defense and self-discipline, not attacking. It teaches kids to avoid trouble whenever possible, but to be ready to handle it should it arise. This goes along with Grace Community School’s moral training, including the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Much like Grace Community School’s Reading Circles and Math Circles, the Grace Community School American Kenpo Karate Program is in levels. Kids initially earn stars (up to 8 stars), then work their way up through a series of belts. Karate stars are celebrated with certificates. Students earn stripes as they master a particular belt, then celebrate with a ceremony before taking home their belt.

Grace Community School has a whole-life curriculum, combining academics, non-denominational Bible lessons, and fun extracurricular activities: Karate Class, Music Class, Art Class, and Dance Class. Find a FAQ section and more information on our website. Sign up for one class, or all four! We look forward to helping your child have fun and exercise while building self-discipline, confidence, and physical skills.

2016-2017 Grace Community School Theme Week Schedule

Ever wanted to know ahead of time when special dress-up days are coming? You can!
Ever wanted to know ahead of time when special dress-up days are coming? You can!

At Grace Community School, the learning AND the fun don’t stop! We have year-round theme weeks that include special days like parties, dress-up days, and special activities. Check out the schedule below to see all the fun coming up.

See what fun is coming up next with the 2016-2017 Grace Community School Theme Week Schedule!
See what fun is coming up next with the 2016-2017 Grace Community School Theme Week Schedule!

Downloadable PDF —> GCS-2016-2017-Theme-Week-and-Event-Schedule

Remember, you can also access a special Google Calendar to see our theme weeks and special events at www.gracecommunityschools.com/calendar.html

Holiday Week Facebook Graphic
Theme weeks like Holiday Week keep learning fun. There is always something new to do!

Keep the 2016-2017 Grace Community School Theme Week Schedule handy, and you’ll always know what is coming next!

Hey, did you know that we’re on Instagram? Follow us there to get the best of school photos, behind-the-scenes videos, and school news!

Ready, set, HUT 🏈

A photo posted by 🐳Grace Community School🐳 (@gracecommunityschool) on

 

The Joy of Reading

Reading is one of life's great joys! The best way to instill a love of reading is to make reading easy and enjoyable.
Reading is one of life’s great joys! The best way to instill a love of reading is to make reading easy and enjoyable.

How Do You Get Kids to Love Reading?

I love reading. I have ever since I was a child. A love of reading has been a part of my life for so long that sometimes I feel like it’s always been there. This isn’t actually true.

I came from a very literate family. My mom and dad are both readers. As I grew up, we always had books everywhere. I knew reading was something I was supposed to do. I picked books off the shelves at home and made an attempt to read them. It wasn’t as easy as my parents made it look! At school, I also tried to read. I was met with frustration until my kindergarten teacher showed us something that made everything easier: words are made up of sounds. You can look at the letters in a word, and know that these letters represent the sounds you need to say to make the word. If you can decode the words into their component sounds, you can read the word!

All of a sudden, reading clicked for me. Instead of frustration, it was fun. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was learning to read using phonics much as the students at Grace Community School learn.

One story that happened soon after illustrates how this translated into my love of reading. My family went on a camping trip, and my mother brought along the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia. I considered this a big grown-up book. She started reading it to my brothers and me. I was very interested in it and kept begging mom to read more. When my mom didn’t read to us from the book as much as I wanted, I took the book myself and looked at the pages. To my surprise, I found out that with phonics, I was able to read most of the words! I soon completed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and raced through the other Narnia books.

I haven’t looked back. Reading has been one of the great joys of my life. If I weren’t a good reader, that would not be true.

Kids don't have to wait until kindergarten or elementary school to learn how to read!
Kids don’t have to wait until kindergarten or elementary school to learn how to read!

Our modern early childhood education system has moved away from the proven phonic methods of reading instruction and substituted things like the “whole language” method and the “print-rich environment.” Current educators have this idea that you can just surround a child with books and magazines and printed labels and posters (that’s the print-rich environment) and they will just naturally become literate. That did not work for me. It took someone who cared enough to show me the right way to read. To teach me. The environment didn’t teach me to read, a teacher did! You can’t learn to read by osmosis; it just won’t work. Reading to your child is good and can help instill a sense of wonder. There is something about hearing the written word spoken aloud (I also enjoy audio books!), but this can’t replace having the skills necessary to read. As a consequence of abandoning phonics, children don’t learn to read until elementary school, if ever. We don’t need to wait!

Instill a Joy of Reading the Grace Community School Way

Reading is something anyone can learn to do, but they need the correct tools. Now as a grown-up, I help kids learn to read at Grace Community School. We start with the basics, just like my teacher and later my mother did.

Unlike me, kids don’t have to wait until kindergarten to learn to read! Grace Community School students as young as two years of age learn that each letter of the alphabet has a sound. The alphabet is broken down into five groups. Vowels are the first group. Once the vowels and their sounds are learned, the children move on to the next until they master the entire alphabet and its sounds.

Learning certificates celebrate children's achievements and keep parents informed.
Learning certificates celebrate children’s achievements and keep parents informed.

This is all at an individual pace, so it doesn’t matter if your child just started at Grace Community, they will begin at the beginning — and we don’t hold kids back, either. They can go as quickly or slowly as they need to. After this the kids learn to put the sounds together (these are called “blends” We send certificates home to help you celebrate your child’s achievements.

Grace Community School’s own letter book program is next. There are 32 books covering all the alphabet, each with blends for the letters the book covers. This book system along with one-on-one phonics instruction produces children who can read fluently, and who as a consequence love reading!

The joy of reading lasts a lifetime. Unlock your child’s full potential and create a life-long joy of reading with a Grace Community School education. Find our more about the GCS Reading Program here, and if you enjoyed this article, please click one of the share buttons below. We appreciate it!

 

Have a Blast With the Grace Community School Kids During Song and Dance Week!

Song and Dance Week Video ThumbnailCheck out our YouTube video playlist below. As you can tell, the kids did a great job learning our special song, Meghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancin.”

We even did some glow in the dark dancing!

We have found that the best way to keep kids interested in learning is to make it fun! This is one reason why every week is a theme week at Grace Community School. Song and Dance Week is just one of almost thirty different exclusive theme weeks we have for our students. Every single week has its own activities, art projects, themed educational activities, and coloring papers. Many of these weeks also have dress-up and other participation days.

Awesome dress-up days (like you see here from School Spirit Week) allow for maximum participation by Grace Community School students.
Awesome dress-up days (like you see here from School Spirit Week) allow for maximum participation by Grace Community School students.

One question parents ask frequently is how they can keep up with all our planned activities. In addition to signs and notes in each location’s office and elsewhere, there are other resources to keep parents informed:

The learning never stops, and neither does the fun!

We’re the Best… Again!

Thank you for voting Grace Community School Best of Cape Coral, Bonita's Best and Best of Southwest Florida for 2016!
Thank you for voting Grace Community School Best of Cape Coral, Bonita’s Best and Best of Southwest Florida for 2016!

 

Our parents have been busy! You voted Grace Community School the best daycare and preschool in three different awards so far this year: Best of Cape Coral, Bonita’s Best, and Best of Southwest Florida.

We are thrilled to see the Southwest Florida community recognize us for our more than 30 years of child care excellence.

Now more than ever, parents are asking, “Instead of Daycare, Why Not Grace Community School?”

Best of Cape Coral

Grace Community School was voted Best of Cape Coral for 2014, 2015, and 2016!
Grace Community School was voted Daycare and Preschool in the Cape Coral Breeze Best of Cape Coral Awards for 2014, 2015, and 2016!

Bonita’s Best

We were voted Best of Bonita 2016 in the News-Press Readers' Choice Awards!
We were voted Best Preschool and Best Child Care in the News-Press Bonita’s Best Readers’ Choice Awards!

Best of Southwest Florida

News-Press Readers chose Grace Community School as Best Child Care and Best Preschool in the 2016 Best of Southwest Florida Awards!
News-Press Readers chose Grace Community School as Best Child Care and Best Preschool in the 2016 Best of Southwest Florida Awards!

Thank You!

We couldn’t have done it without you.

Help us celebrate! Right now we are running a Flash Sale for new customers. Get Grace Community School child care for just $99/week through November 11. It’s a fantastic deal! Even better: current customers who refer a family earn a $100 referral bonus. Get details here. You and your friends can get the childcare voted Best of Southwest Florida for the best price ever!

Photo Recap and School Spirit Week Schedule

Emoji Masks Art Projects

From our awesome emoji mask Art Class project to our Summer Camp activities, we stayed busy last week!

Here’s a recap of our recent social media photo albums:

Golden Gate Pirate Bounce House

Fort Myers Bounce House

Lehigh Water Wednesday

Golden Gate Water Wednesday

Emoji Masks Art Class

Lehigh Bounce House

Bonita Water Slide

What’s next? School Spirit Week! This is one of our most popular weeks, with lots of student participation. Here is what we have in store:

Wear a different special item every day for School Spirit Week!
Wear a different special item every day for School Spirit Week!

 

We’ll be taking LOTS of photos, so stay tuned to our social media and GCS email list. Have a great week!

What Kids Need in Child Care

Happy Kids With Whale Shirts
At Grace Community School, we know the parents of our students want the absolute best for their kids; so do we!

Helping Your Child Succeed in Child Care and Beyond

Every parent who drops a child off at child care has certain expectations of what will happen to that child. Each parent hopes that the child care experience will be a positive one, giving the child what he or she needs to grow, learn, and be happy.

These things include the basics: being kept safe from harm, fulfillment of physical needs, comfort, opportunities for friendship, fun. Most parents would also be happy if their children could learn something while away from home. These things aren’t the only things a child needs from child care!

Achieving Full Potential

Child experts agree that for the child to achieve his or her full potential – to rise above the median, to accomplish what is called “self-actualization” – the child must have more than the basics. You, as a parent, would no doubt like your child to do more than just survive – you want your child to thrive!

Unfortunately, if you bring your child to just any child care center, you will likely get just the basics – only the basics. It will be babysitting, for the most part. There is something not on that list of basics: love! It is not enough to merely take care of a child, the child who will thrive needs love, both at home and at school.

Remember: love is not just an emotion, it is also action! At Grace Community School, we know the parents of our students want the absolute best for their kids; so do we! Love means giving kids the best education possible.

Instead of daycare, why not school?
Instead of daycare, why not school?

Why Not School?

Here is where we see the very big difference between a daycare and a school; one is merely a place for children to bide the time where their parents are at work, the other is a real educational facility. Grace Community School is a school. We like to say, “College Can Begin at Two.” When children have the capacity to start genuine academics as young as age two, why not let them? Learning is fun! Let us take a look at some of the ways Grace Community School goes “beyond the basics.”

First, Grace Community School provides instruction in an area often neglected in child care: morality. You will not even see it listed as a domain in articles about child development. A truly great education must be built on a moral foundation. Virtues or character traits like self-control, diligence, and deferred gratification – characteristics of highly successful people – are actually all a part of moral training. A Grace Community School education includes moral training, both in our Bible instruction and integrated throughout the curriculum. Grace Community School kids learn the Golden Rule, as well as other Biblical principles like the Ten Commandments, and put them into practice. You cannot overemphasize the long-term importance this makes in the lives of children!

Our Preschoolers Can Read!
Our Preschoolers Can Read!

Second, Grace Community School teaches real reading! Reading is simply the most important academic skill you must learn in school; nothing else comes close. Society and technology have changed vastly in nature in recent decades, but the importance of reading has not diminished. Daycares might teach “reading readiness” or “emergent literacy,” but not Grace Community School. Our students learn the real deal. Accept no substitutions! Since reading is so vital to a child’s future, what better way to show love to a child than teaching him or her to read!

Our Math program is also second-to-none. Just as in the Grace Community School reading program, math students work at their own pace achieving various milestones and learning different skills. Children move on to the next Math Circle level when they master their current level. We celebrate both Reading and Math Circle achievements by sending home certificates and books with the kids so they can show off what they have learned! We put photos of students who have reached special milestones on our social media, too.A truly great education must be built on a moral foundation.

There’s More!

For children to perform at their best, their physical needs have to be met. Grace Community School provides FREE and nutritious breakfast, lunch, snack, and drinks for all students. Meals are prepared fresh onsite daily. Better nutrition means kids who are better able to learn. You can check out our USDA-approved menu any time on our website www.gracecommunityschools.com. Not only does the free meal program benefit students at school, but family life improves at home since parents do not need to spend time and money packing lunches. It’s a win-win situation!

We have a variety of extracurricular courses available for our students (ask your Grace Community School office how to sign up today!) The Grace Community School karate program is another program that benefits children both physically and mentally. Children ages three years and up have an opportunity to learn martial arts from an experienced American Kenpo karate instructor in a fun environment. The most important skill learned in karate is self-discipline. Self-discipline is sometimes called the “master virtue” because of its importance in everything a person does, and its use as in indicator of success later in life. More self-discipline leads to more success!

Along similar lines, our dance program enhances the lives of children in many ways. Children learn techniques of jazz and ballet while experiencing the joy that comes from moving their bodies to music. The kids are having so much fun they don’t even realize that they’re exercising and enhancing motor skills!

Piano and group music lessons are also available at some locations. Students learn both the theory and practice of playing piano as they progress through beginner’s piano lesson books, play games, and participate in fun music drill. The benefits of music lessons are many, even going so far as to boost SAT scores! Returning again to the topic of self-discipline, there is something about the immediate feed-back in playing music that improves discipline like nothing else. It’s a wonderful way to earn an instrument as well as increase overall self-control.

We also have Art Class! Each week our Art Class students create a special art project during thirty-minute lessons. It’s a different project each week (that goes along with our special theme weeks) that they take home. See why Grace Community School Art Class is one of our most popular extracurricular activities.

The various Grace Community School learning programs let children progress at their own pace combined with an orderly environment full of routines creates a comfortable, loving environment that makes kids feel safe. Parents need assurance, too! Updates via our social media pages and email list let you stay informed about what is going on at school, upcoming special events and theme weeks, and lots of other news. Also, our photo program lets you take home a printed photo of your child from school each week.

Set for Success

That’s a lot of extras! We know you love your child and want nothing but the best! That is exactly what Grace Community School gets you – the best possible education at the lowest cost, including the most important thing your child needs to succeed: love demonstrated through action. We are happy to have the privilege to serve you and your child. Don’t forget to tell your friends! Right now Grace Community School has an awesome referral program. Refer a child to any Grace Community School location and get $100! Find out more here or ask your location’s office for details.

Grace Community School goes beyond the basics to deliver a safe and caring environment, an unparalleled learning experience, and more extras than you will find at any other child care center in Southwest Florida. Most importantly, it sets your child down on a path that leads to success in child care and beyond. Find out more about Grace Community Schools and its programs at www.gracecommunityschools.com

Happy 4th of July 2016!

Independence Day Graphic

Enjoy your day!

If you need something to do today, check out these photos and videos from the past week at Grace Community School.

📷Fort Myers Pirate Ship Bounce House

📷North Fort Myers Bounce House

📽Golden Gate Slip n Slide Video

📷Golden Gate Slip n Slide

📷Pirate Dress-Up Day

📷Bonita Springs Bounce House

📽Lehigh Slip n Slide Video

📷Lehigh Slip n Slide

📷Port Charlotte Bounce House

📷Port Charlotte Hawaii Dress-Up Day

📷Red, White, and Blue Dress-Up Day

 

Red, White, and Blue Dress-Up Day at Grace Community School!
So patriotic!

Before and After School Care at Grace Community School

Before and After School Care Van at Grace Community School
We pick up from many local public schools!

Many people don’t know that while Grace Community has a great daycare program, we also feature wonderful before and after school care programs as well, for a great price! We welcome kids up through 11 years of age at all of our nine convenient locations in Southwest Florida from Port Charlotte to Naples. In the commuting age, it’s very common to work in one city and live in another. And neither of these places may be close to where your child attends school. With the job market being what it is, you probably don’t have a choice. It’s important to have a safe place for kids to be able to go to after the school day is over. School hours don’t mesh well with the shifts many people are asked to work, and for many people, there are no friends or relatives who can pick up the kids. Let Grace Community help!

Grace Community School provides free transportation to and from many local public schools. You may have seen our fleet of vans driving around town. It’s our job to make sure your child has a fun, safe experience.

Before and After School Care Benefits

We keep the kids busy! Grace Community School before and after school care includes:

  • help with homework
  • self and teacher-directed activities
  • non-denominational Bible time
  • free afternoon snacks and drinks
After homework is done, Grace Community School after school care students have a choice of fun activities.
After homework is done, Grace Community School after school care students have a choice of fun activities.

After homework is done, the kids have a range of options open to them: computer time, art, games, outdoor play, and more! You can be secure knowing your child is in a safe, healthy, caring place. Work is hard. Finding a great place for your child to be while you work shouldn’t be!

Many of our parents tell us how convenient it is to pick up all their children including the older kids at one place! Students who move from our Pre-K and Kindergarten can continue the Grace Community School Bible Program.

Public Schools Served

Click on the links below to see the public schools each Grace Community School location provides service for:

Another thing to consider: Grace Community School has Kindergarten! When you factor in the cost of before and after school care and other costs included in Grace Community School Kindergarten, you can have our Kindergarten for $10 per week!

Before and after school care at Grace Community School is convenient, low-cost, and available throughout the school year. Interested? Give us a call today and we can help you set it up!

New Grace Community School Calendar and Website

Grace Community School has a NEW website!

The new Grace Community School website!
The new Grace Community School website!

If you haven’t already, do check it out. As always, our home on the web is www.gracecommunityschools.com. It’s colorful, friendly, and packed with useful information about our various classes, curriculum, and instructional programs. You can see what the week’s theme is on the home page. Find useful supply lists, the month’s lunch menu, the financial aid form, and other documents on the Downloads page. What’s my favorite part of the new site? The Grace Community School Calendar!

Grace Community School Calendar

The Grace Community School Calendar, on our new and improved website, is updated frequently with parties, dress-up days, special events, programs, photo days, and more!
The Grace Community School Calendar, on our new and improved website, is updated frequently with parties, dress-up days, special events, programs, photo days, and more!

Get directly to our calendar by clicking here. You can see at a glance the upcoming theme weeks, parties, special events, photo days, and more. While we do our best to keep our parents informed through our social media (also linked to on our site) and email list, the calendar is a new way to make sure you never miss a thing. You can even add it to your Google Calendar, iPhone, or other calendar software using the instructions on the calendar page. We think you’ll find it a great tool.

P. S. We’re now on Pinterest! Follow us for art project ideas, learning materials, recipes, kids activities, and a bunch more stuff. It’s fun!