Where Should I Start?

Child in astronaut costume with ccomputer
Image: Canva

The Official Grace Community School Blog (you’re on it now!) has been running since 2015. We’ve got a lot of content. If you’re new to the blog or haven’t poked around here in awhile you may be asking, “What should I read?”

You Must Be New Here

We’ve put together a list of some of our best articles from the blog archives, sort of our “greatest hits.” Just click the links below.

The Good Stuff

Your Child Deserves This!

How to Sign Up for Special Classes at Grace Community School

What is Grace Community School?

15 Reasons Why You Should Give Your Kids Music Lessons

Why Did Grace Community School Build New Playgrounds at Every Location?

Boost Your Child’s Learning With This One Thing

What Will Your Child Learn at Grace Community School?

Should Young Children Be Taught to Read?

Grace Community School Kindergarten

The Joy of Reading

Get More From Your Grace Community School Education

Helping Your Child Succeed in Child Care and Beyond

Unlocking Success at Grace Community School

Why I Love Grace Community School Photos

How to Get $100 and Follow the Golden Rule

More for Your Money at Grace Community School

Daycare or School: What’s the Difference?

Take Your Pick: Your Preschooler Reading Real Books… or Not Reading at All

What Are Reading Circles?

Success Through Early Literacy at Grace Community School

All About Math Circles!

If you find anything here useful or interesting, please click one of the share buttons and let your social networks know!

Your Child Deserves This!

How to Give Your Child a Head Start

What if You Could Give Your Child a Head Start?

The good news is, you can!

We all want to be better parents. We realize that there is nothing more precious than our children. In them, we seem to see all our hopes and fears realized. However much we do for our children, we would like to do more.

If you ask any parent, they will likely have a list of things they want for their child. There are limits to what we can do, but surely there are some things every parent can agree on. We want our children to succeed. We want our children to have the best we can give them. We want to give our children the tools they need to be self-actualized. They need a firm foundation, a head start.

So How Do You Do That?

The big question is, how do you do that? There is no better way than a great early childhood education! While people try to rank daycares and preschools in many different ways, usually in a haphazard way, the essential measurement is this: do the kids learn?

Since 1986, Grace Community School has a proven track record of measurable success. Other Pre-K programs use vague and arbitrary “success indicators” to supposedly measure whether or not the school is successful. But we use learning as our standard, and the results are impressive! Grace Community School students routinely score multiple grade levels ahead of where they “should” be. Children are capable of so much more than we usually give them credit for, if we only give them the opportunity and the tools they need!

Grace Community School students are frequently put in gifted classes when they enter public schools, and for a good reason. Our students, working at multiple grade levels ahead of where they would be in the public school, are frequently bored when they enter “regular” school; the material they already know entering Kindergarten will not be taught until years later in the public school!

The Skill Your Child Must Have

Of all the things children need to learn, it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of reading. Reading is the skill upon which all others are based. If you can read, you can learn almost anything! More, teaching kids to read well is the best way to instill a love of reading in children. You wouldn’t enjoy doing something you couldn’t do well, would you? Unfortunately, millions of American children find reading to be a struggle. It should be no surprise that many kids don’t want to read – it’s hard! Children who learn to read early are more likely to become active readers when they are older. It also boosts children’s self-esteem; kids are justifiably proud of themselves when they can do something so monumental as reading.

Our Preschoolers Can Read!
Our Preschoolers Can Read!

The first five years of a child’s life are by far the most important developmental years — don’t waste them! The education given to a child in these birth-to-five years is the most far-reaching he or she will receive. Play is important, but so is guided learning. Grace Community School is far more than just babysitting!

Reading is the skill upon which all others are based.

Children at Grace Community School learn at their own pace. Because of this, they never become bored, and the level of instruction is always at the child’s developmental level; there is always something new to learn! Grace Community School does not teach “reading readiness,” only actual reading, with phonics. The one-on-one attention given to students during Reading Circles is key to the success of this program.

Foundations for Life

Students can continue their Grace Community School education by enrolling in our Kindergarten program. Our test scores indicate that bright students graduate their Kindergarten with as high as a fifth-grade reading level!

For children to succeed, they need a firm foundation, not only of academics but morality. The non-denominational Bible program at Grace Community School provides this. In addition to daily Bible Time, morals, virtues, and manners are incorporated into the curriculum. Children learn the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This moral learning is just as important for children’s development as the academic material; moreover, moral learning is the framework for social-emotional development. Kids are better able to learn when children behave courteously and work together in a safe environment.

Better playgrounds mean better learning!
Better playgrounds mean better learning!

The Grace Community School educational program also extends to children’s physical well-being. Physical development and learning about health are part of each day. Optional dance and karate programs are offered as well. Did I mention the free food? Healthy, USDA-approved meals prepared in an on-site kitchen help kids stay healthy and happy; kids who eat better, learn better. This great nutrition is brought to your children at no cost to you! Free food and time not spent packing lunches means more family time at home.

Kids and achievement

Get Paid to Help Your Friends!

Essentially, what Grace Community School does is give kids a big head start in life! You as a parent can give your child a great advantage that no one can take away, something they will always have with them — a great education. You would think that for a parent to give this kind of an advantage to his or her child would cost a fortune. At Grace Community School, the answer is no! Not only does Grace Community School offer a better education than any other preschool program you will find, but they also do it at the lowest cost to you! Even more, the Grace Community School advantage is something you can share. Right now, refer your friends and family to Grace Community School, and you will receive a $100 referral bonus! Instead of daycare, why not school? With your child at Grace Community School, you will experience the peace of mind that our more than twenty-five years of experience brings. As Southwest Florida’s leading childcare center, they are ready to serve you and your children.

Download the Grace Community School Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Childcare Center. If you’re not sure what to look for in a childcare center, or just want resources to help you out, this is the guide for you!

How to Choose the Perfect Childcare Center

Choosing Your Perfect Childcare Center Guide
Image: iStock

Choosing a childcare center can be an intimidating task. That’s why we’ve created a FREE downloadable Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Childcare Center.

In this exclusive Grace Community School guide you will:

• Learn how to choose the perfect childcare center for your child and your family
• Get help with deciding what you are looking for
• Get tips for building a trusting relationship with your childcare
facility
• Get additional childcare resources to make your childcare experience the best possible

 

Get your FREE copy of the Choosing Your Perfect Childcare Center Guide!

* indicates required




How to Sign Up for Special Classes at Grace Community School

Plus: Why You’d Want To!

Special Classes at Grace Community School
Special Classes at Grace Community School

Karate, Dance, Music, and Art Special Classes at Grace Community School

In addition to the Grace Community School core curriculum, we have special classes available!

Grace Community School Special Classes for your child!
Grace Community School Special Classes for your child!

These special classes are for Grace Community School students ages three years and up (for Karate Class and Dance Class) and two years and up (for Art Class and Music Class). Experienced instructors come in once a week for half-hour instructional periods with the kids. Each class is just $10 per week per child. Your child can participate in one, two, three, or all four classes. Classes run year-round, and enrollment is always open as long as we have space (wait lists are taken if a class is full)

How to Sign Up

Signing up is easy! Just ask your Grace Community School location for the sign-up form, fill that out, and you’re all set. You can start and stop at any time.

We make fun creative projects each week in Grace Community School Art Class!
We make fun creative projects each week in Grace Community School Art Class!

Our Whole Life Approach to Child Care

We have a “whole life” approach to child care. There are many aspects of a child’s education and development that our program helps with. Core classes include our phonics and math programs, as well as Bible Time, physical education, and much more. We want children to learn as much as possible, and have fun at the same time! Our special classes contribute to these goals. One thing that all of our classes have in common is an emphasis on self-control. To be good at dance, or martial arts, or music, or art, you need to be able to control yourself. This is something we teach children in our special classes as well as our day-to-day activities. Self-control is so important that experts have called it the “master virtue” because of its importance as a predictor of future success in every area of life.

Schedules and Availability for Special Classes

You can see the specific special classes schedule for all our locations and get more information on our website pages at the links below. Ask your location for the sign-up form today!

Karate Class

Dance Class

Art Class

Music and Piano Classes

What is Grace Community School?

What is Grace Community School?

What is Grace Community School?

We’re glad you asked! While you can “settle” on many things, you don’t want to settle on childcare. Since 1986, Grace Community School has been offering the best childhood education that money can buy. We are the Southwest Florida community’s recognized leader in early childhood education.

Infants and up at Grace Community School!
Infants and up at Grace Community School!

We accept children from infants through age 11 (for after school and summer camp), with full-day Pre-K and Kindergarten programs.

Instead of Daycare, Why Not School?

We’re different! Instead of babysitting, our school days are filled with active, engaging, intensive learning; organized games, music instruction, and more.

Child with Math Achiever certificate
Grace Community School’s advanced learning program gives your child the tools to succeed.

We are proof that a program can be academically advanced, developmentally appropriate, and fun at the same time.

Bright children graduate from Pre-K at Grace Community School reading at the fifth-grade level. Even average children are reading at the first-grade level, as proven by nationally-recognized standardized tests. This is because our phonics education program is second to none.

Child with reading books
Our Preschoolers Can Read, and they are very proud!

At Grace Community School, children learn to read as young as three years of age. Students not only learn the letters but more importantly the sound that goes with each letter, along with a clue word to help them remember. By breaking the alphabet down into smaller sections and providing individualized instruction, children learn quickly and progress through the Reading Circles at their own pace. Because the kids learn at their own pace, they are never pushed too fast or held back; the instruction is always right at the child’s individual level. The result: kids who read! The certificates and books the kids take home keep parents informed of their children’s progress, and the kids love them!

Grace Community School also has advanced math instruction along with a variety of certificates and levels to celebrate our student’s mathematical achievements. Karate, dance, and music classes are available, too! Most importantly, Grace Community School provides daily non-denominational Bible instruction and curriculum-integrated character development study – an uncompromisingly Christian education.

Child on monkey bars
The best education and the best playgrounds!

There’s More!

We have Kindergarten, too! You can choose Grace Community’s top-notch learning program, which builds upon what your child has learned during Pre-K, continues the fantastic Bible instruction, and helps your child to achieve ever-higher levels of academic and developmental success. Just think about how advanced your kindergartener will be after graduating from Grace Community’s Pre-K and Kindergarten programs. You can continue giving your child the education and care he or she deserves, including Grace Community School’s reading program. An uncompromising education shouldn’t be unaffordable. We understand how tough things are in this economy, and we want to help. Grace Community School has a variety of ways to help parents via our financial aid program, multi-child discounts, and referral program.

Grace Community School is open year round, and we have Summer Camp!
Grace Community School is open year round, and we have Summer Camp!

And we have Summer Camp!

All this, and a whole lot more: free registration, free breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks, free after school transport from some local public schools, free weekly photo program, free yearbook, and free twice-annual musical programs.

Stop By Today!

We invite you to call any of our nine beautiful facilities. We’d love to give you a tour so you can see firsthand how Grace Community School can offer the ultimate in early childhood education for less money than competing daycares. We look forward to serving you and your family!

We are family at Grace Community School!
We are family at Grace Community School!

See More About Grace Community School’s programs at http://www.gracecommunityschools.com

15 Reasons Why You Should Give Your Kids Music Lessons

15 Reasons Why You Should Give Your Child Music Lessons

Are you on the fence about whether or not to enroll your child in music lessons? Here are 15 reasons why you should give your kids music lessons!

1. All Kids Can Benefit to Some Degree from Music Lessons

Even kids who don’t grow up to be Mozarts can benefit! This includes children of all ages, backgrounds, and talents. While children have many different interests and abilities, the benefits listed here still apply. Here are some more reasons to give your kids music lessons!

Child with trumpet.
There are so many benefits to kids music lessons!

2. Music Lessons Boost Skills in Areas Beyond Just Music

You might think that learning music just leaves you with children who have music skills, but there are many areas that benefit children way beyond just being able to play an instrument or sing. These skills help children in a multitude of ways. From improved social and language skills to increased concentration, people who take music lessons have improved quality of life.

3. The Benefits of Music Are Long-Term

Like riding a bicycle, many things you learn from music classes stay with your whole life. While a child might forget certain specifics of music, the cognitive and other benefits remain into later childhood and adulthood.

Child at keyboard
The things kids learn in music lessons stay with them throughout life.

4. It Builds Discipline and Self-Control

Being able to play an instrument is no small achievement, and one that doesn’t happen without improvements in self-discipline and self-control — considered to be one one the most important traits for success in every area of life. You’ll be better at everything with more self-discipline.

5. Kids Music Lessons Sharpen Children’s Senses

Participating in music is a multi-sensory experience! A good musician has to use ears (to listen), eyes (to read music and pay attention to the instructor/conductor), and touch (to work the instrument). Every sense improves with practice, and this spills over to other areas that kids use those senses.

Kids with rhythm instruments
Making music sharpens kids’ senses!

6. Music Lessons Boost Children’s Language Skills

Not just because of singing, but the area of the brain that handles music includes language skills. When kids get better at music, they get better at language, too. Also, the self-discipline required to learn an instrument boosts overall learning capacity.

7. Music Is an Area of Learning With Immediate Feedback

When you are playing a piece of music, and you make a mistake, you know right away! It’s unmistakable. Few areas of endeavor have such amazing immediate feedback.

Child playing a keyboard.
Few things provide such immediate feedback as music lessons!

8. It Can Boost a Child’s IQ

All that increased cognitive ability from kids music lessons we’ve been talking about? It actually boosts IQ scores That’s amazing! While high IQ is by no means the only indicator of success in life, it is important.

Kids music lessons can provide boosts in IQ, math, and language scores.
Kids music lessons can provide boosts in IQ, math, and language scores.

9. Music Allows Kids to Express Themselves

Few things give children the opportunity to express themselves like music does. Kids love music, and music lessons help them do it better. In particular, kids who are more introverted or find difficulty expressing themselves in other ways can turn to music as a creative outlet.

Kids express themselves through music!
Kids express themselves through music!

10. Music Lessons Can Physically Improve a Child’s Brain

The increased concentration ability, self-control, and math-language skills that come along with kids music lessons are the result of actual physical changes in the brain — which is why these benefits are long-term.

11. Performing Music in Front of Others Helps Kids Become More Confident and Helps Them Overcome Shyness

The best cure for stage fright is practice at performing in front of others! And the earlier kids gain access experience doing this, the better. They learn that making music is fun, and not something to be intimidated by. A by-product of this is increased confidence in other social settings.

12. Kids Music Lessons Boost Math Skills

In addition to helping with language abilities, music lessons boost math skills. In particular, learning how to play a musical instrument has been shown to help kids do better solving math problems. Even listening to music during a math test seems to have some benefit!

13. They Boost Standardized Test Scores

Really! This effect has been documented in multiple studies. It’s almost incredible how something as seemingly ordinary as music lessons can do so much. And don’t forget…

14. It’s Fun!

Maybe we haven’t pointed this out enough yet, but music is fun. Music — performing it, listening to it, and learning it — provides enjoyment. Music makes kids happy!

So much fun!
So much fun!

15. Music Provides a Lifetime of Enjoyment

Unlike more physical activities, music isn’t something that requires great athleticism to perform and enjoy. Nor is it something most kids will “outgrow.” The benefits and fun of music lessons are here to stay for a lifetime.

So What Else?

Here’s a bonus reason to give your kids music lessons: we have them here at Grace Community School! That’s right: Grace Community School has music lessons! These are fun 30-minute sessions where students learn the basics of music theory and get experience with a variety of musical instruments, including piano. Learn more about Grace Community School kids music lessons here.

Further Reading

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-benefits-of-music-education/

http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/twelve-benefits-of-music-education/

http://www.wheaton.edu/CSA/Lessons/Long-Term-Benefits-of-Music-Study

A Field Guide to Grace Community School Social Media

GCS Whale Surrounded by Social Media

Where can you find Grace Community School online? Pretty much everywhere! Here’s a few places you can find us online and reasons why you’ll want to connect with us there.

Bonus: How to Make Sure You Always Get a Notification When We Post on Facebook! Keep reading…

Facebook

This is our big one! We post here every day, with lots of photos especially on special event days. This is THE way to keep up on Grace Community School news. If you only follow us on one social media network, this is the one. Be sure to Like our page, and click on the Follow button. Check out these screenshots to make sure you are following us AND getting notifications so you won’t miss anything that we post!

[screenshot] Follow Grace Community School 's Facebook from your mobile device.
On your smart phone, click on the follow button on our Facebook page and change your settings so you’ll always get our notifications!
[screenshot] Follow Grace Community School's Facebook from your desktop computer.
Here’s how to follow and turn on Facebook notifications on your desktop computer.

Instagram

This photo sharing network is perfect for us! We love photos, and Instagram lets us share some of our best photography with you. It’s also a great way to keep up on school news and upcoming events. Follow us and be sure to turn on notifications as shown in the screenshots below so you won’t miss a photo!

[screenshot] Turn on Grace Community School Instagram notifications.
Follow us on Instagram, then click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner and turn on post notifications.

Twitter

Twitter is where you can find out about all that Grace Community School offers, along with news, photos, and videos. We keep our Twitter up to date constantly so you don’t miss a thing! You can also turn Twitter notifications on like in the following screenshots.

[screenshot] Twitter mobile notifications.
Use the Twitter app on your smart phone to Follow us and turn on Tweet notifications!
;screenshot] Here's how to turn on Twitter notifications from your desktop.
Here’s how to turn on Twitter notifications from your desktop.

YouTube

We love creating and sharing videos of what your kids are doing at Grace Community School! Visit our YouTube channel and subscribe so you’ll get all our videos as soon as they are uploaded.

[screenshot] Grace Community School YouTube.
Your kids are the stars of our YouTube channel!

Pinterest

This is where we collect all the cool and useful stuff we find on the internet, including recipes, kids activities and art projects, home hacks, baby clothes, and more. Follow us to see all our collections!

[screenshot] Pinterest
Pinterest is so cool!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the professional social/work network, and we’re here, too. Connect with us by following our company page and get our official updates and blog posts.

[screenshot] LinkedIn
Keeping it professional on LinkedIn.

Snapchat

Snapchat is where the cool kids are! Follow us for Snapchat Stories from our special events and school fun.

[screenshot] Snapchat
BOO! Follow us on Snapchat.

Our Official Website

www.gracecommunityschools.com is our home base on the Web! Everything from the school calendar to monthly menus to downloadable supply lists to info about our special classes can be found here. It’s a super parent resource.

[screenshot} Main website.
Visit www.gracecommunityschools.com for in-depth info about our programs and all we offer.

Email Newsletter

Last but not least, many of our parents still prefer to receive school updates directly in their inbox via emails. We can do that! Just click right here and subscribe to our email list and newsletter. You’ll always know what’s going on with our comprehensive emails.

Laptop with email.
Email is still a great way to stay informed!

Did we miss anything? Are there any other social networks you would like to see Grace Community School on? Leave us a comment below to let us know!

What Does My Child Need to Sign Up for Pre-K?

Kids excited about sign up for Pre-K
Image: Shutterstock
We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about Pre-K and how to sign up for it, so here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

Q: How old does my child need to be to go into Pre-K?

A: Your child is eligible for this year’s Pre-K if he or she has turned or will be turning four years old by September 1.

Q: When should I sign up for Pre-K?

A: The earlier the better! We have to run wait lists for Pre-K at many of our locations, so you want to make sure we have a spot for your child. That means sign up now!

Q: What will my child learn in Pre-K?

A: Short answer: at Grace Community School, a whole lot! We wrote a whole post about this! You can check that out here, but understand that a Grace Community School education is an incredible opportunity for your child. In particular, Our Preschoolers Can Read!

Q: What do I need to sign up for Pre-K?

A: It’s easy! You will need your child’s health records (immunization record and physical form), a copy of the child’s birth certificate, and our Pre-K enrollment form. You can download that here. Bring these items into the Grace Community School location of your choice.

Q: Are meals included in Pre-K?

Yes, and they are free! Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks are provided free of charge.

Q: When does Pre-K start?

A: The 2017 school year starts August 14.

Q: What if my child is going to Kindergarten?

A: We have that, too! You can download the Kindergarten registration form here, and learn more about our Kindergarten program here.

Again, we are enrolling now for this year’s Pre-K program, and you should sign up as soon as possible. Download the Pre-K Sign Up Form here and bring it to your Grace Community School location.

Boost Your Child’s Learning With This One Thing

Happy Kids with SunglassesAs parents, we want to give our kids all the advantages we can. Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference. For example, there is a simple way to boost a child’s learning that is neglected by many parents but can make a huge difference, not just in a child’s education, but in nearly every area of a child’s life. This one thing:

  • boosts learning and mental well-being
  • helps prevent obesity
  • increases energy
  • reduces childhood illness and aids recovery from sickness and injury
  • builds stronger muscles and bones
  • increases life expectancy

Even better: this is something Grace Community School helps our students with automatically, and at no charge! This one thing is your child’s nutrition.

Is Food Really That Important?

Is the food your child eats on a regular basis really that important? In a word: yes. Food is fuel. You are what your eat. From ancient times we have known that food is vital to good health, just as important or more so than physical exercise. The World Health Organization estimates that almost half of all childhood deaths are linked to malnutrition.

"Better nutrition means kids who can tackle all the challenges of childhood with ease."

Even when it doesn’t endanger the life of a child, less-than-optimal child nutrition has a negative impact on kids — even affecting academic performance. Conversely, eating healthy foods and not skipping meals has been shown to boost test scores. Let’s not forget that kids who eat better have more energy to play and have fun!

Doesn’t That Cost a Lot?

Normally, eating healthy is not cheap. There’s a heated debate right now as to why healthy foods cost so much more than junk food. What’s a parent to do? Let us help!

Grace Community School offers FREE breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks. Our nutritious USDA-approved meals are prepared fresh onsite daily. For free. Better nutrition means kids who can tackle the challenges of childhood with ease. The result is kids who play better, learn better, are sick less often, and have more fun! Did we mention that it’s free?

Child nutrition
Child nutrition. Yes, it’s that important! (Image: Canva)

You Can Know Exactly What Your Child Eats at School

We keep Grace Community School parents informed of the latest school news and upcoming events with our website, social media, and email newsletter. This extends to our food program, too. You can always check out the month’s school food menu at this link.

I Want That!

The simple-yet-powerful technique of providing healthy meals for kids is a superb way to boost a child’s learning and increase the overall quality of life, including improved energy levels and resistance to illness. Again, this program is free at Grace Community School!

We provide this breakfast, lunch, snacks and drink program for all Grace Community School students ages one year and older. Not only does the free meal program benefit our 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! You’re busy. And we help by providing it all free! Learn more about enrolling your child in our programs at www.gracecommunityschools.com.

Does your child already attend Grace Community School? We will reward you for sharing the great news about a Grace Community School education! The Grace Community School referral program pays YOU to refer families to us, $100 at a time!. Click one of the share buttons below top share this with your friends, and make sure they write your name down as a referral when they come into any one of our nine convenient Southwest Florida locations.