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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
As 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
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.
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?
You Can Know Exactly What Your Child Eats at School
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.
Nothing sets Grace Community School apart from other childcare centers more than our learning program! We want to give you a brief overview of the learning programs here at Grace Community School. Our program starts at age six weeks and continues through kindergarten, and so does the learning. First and foremost, we are far more than a daycare.
Instead of Daycare, Why Not School?
Most people think of daycare as mostly babysitting with some social interaction thrown in for good measure. This is pretty much true, but not here. That’s why we are Grace Community School, emphasis on school. Instead of just daycare, we are an educational facility. But that doesn’t mean we’re boring. Many people think that play and learning are mutually exclusive. This isn’t true!
Learning can be fun, and it has to be — for children to learn, they need to be interested. We do all our teaching with interactive games and fun activities. Each game and activity goes along with the week’s theme.
Infants and Toddlers
Grace Community School’s learning program for infants and toddlers starts with the foundation of helping the child know he or she is loved and will be taken care of. Safety — both physical and emotional — is our priority. This is the basis for our infant and toddler educational program. Our caring and loving caregivers use developmentally appropriate techniques to aid in growth and stimulation of our youngest students.
Activities for infants and toddlers involve:
music and movement
These activities help the students:
learn to communicate verbally and non-verbally
develop gross and fine motor skills
build eye-hand coordination
develop socially and build trusting relationships with their caregivers
build problem-solving strategies
express their independence
As children grow and develop, they are ready for more advanced educational activities.
College Can Begin at Two
For children two years and older, we have our unique curriculum, College Can Begin at 2! This curriculum includes a special theme for each and every week of the year, and features dress-up days, parties, special events, art projects and themed learning activities.
College Can Begin at Two. Really! We start teaching kids as young as two years of age the basics of reading and math. The first group of letters our kids learn is the vowels — A, E, I, O, and U. But our students don’t just learn the letters; they learn the sound that goes with each letter along with a clue word to help kids remember everything. Once they learn the vowels, they tackle the next letter group and progress through the alphabet.
There is basic math instruction, too. Our kids learn their basic shapes like circle, triangle, rectangle, star, and heart, along with their colors. Our curriculum covers positional words like up, down, inside, outside, and so on. As students get older and learn, we introduce more concepts. Learning progresses at each student’s personal pace.
Kids at this age continue to build their social and emotional skills, learning about feelings and how to resolve problems. They develop relationships with other children and the adults in their lives, including their caregivers. They are getting better at controlling their bodies. They need practice with writing and drawing. Daily directed writing practice is part of the College Can Begin at 2 program.
Children are learning to speak more and increasing their vocabulary. Story time, poems, and conversations with their classmates and teachers build language skills.
Some of the things integrated into the College Can Begin at 2 Curriculum are:
non-denominational Bible Time
letters and numbers of the week
work sheets and coloring pages
interactive learning experiences
individualized phonics and math instruction sessions
take-home learning certificates and books so parents can keep track of their child’s progress
Our Preschoolers Can Read
This isn’t just a catch phrase! When developmentally-appropriate teaching methods are combined with one-on-one phonics instruction, the result is kids who can read. That’s right; we use phonics. It works! We send books and certificates home to keep parents informed of their children’s progress and help them celebrate their achievements.
Check out this link for a more detailed look at our phonics program.
Similar to Reading Circles, Grace Community School Math Circles provide students with mathematical instruction. Just as with reading, we start with the basics. The “1’s Family” introduces children to the numbers 0-9. We build from there and add counting to higher numbers, object sets, and more advanced math concepts.
Should Young Children Be Taught to Read? (Part 2 of 2)
In part 1 of this 2-part series, we talked about the need for childcare programs to go beyond just talking about early literacy and to teach kids to read using proven time-tested methods, especially phonics. In part 2 we’ll discuss “whole language” and how Grace Community School sets our students up for success.
The Whole Truth
Whole language sounds good. It is supposed to be a holistic approach to learning to read and write, taking words, sentences, and books and dealing with them as a whole, rather than breaking words down into phonetic parts and learning to read those before moving on to bigger parts of language. Unfortunately, in practice, the emphasis in whole language instruction is on getting kids excited about reading and reading aloud to children, without formal direction. With whole language, kids are supposed to learn how to read and write by being exposed to and getting excited by these manifestations of language. Here’s the thing: enthusiasm isn’t a substitute for teaching how to read!
Whole language does not work as a method of reading instruction because it does not give kids what they need to be able to read. The English language encodes the meanings of words in the sounds that make up the words. Phonics lets kids “decode” the letters in a word, so they know what it is! Grace Community’s reading program (“Reading Circles”) starts at the most basic level, with the vowels. Teachers add other letters in small groups as the kids progress. Children learn the name of each letter, as well as (most importantly!) the sound of each letter, and a clue word. “A says ă as in apple.” “E says ĕ as in elephant,” and so on. After the individual letters are learned, the kids learn to blend them together, and then to make words. It’s a natural, developmentally appropriate progression that works for all children.
Adults reading aloud to children is a wonderful thing. But we can’t forget that the goal is for children to be able to read for themselves! And learning to read doesn’t work like osmosis – kids won’t “soak up” the ability to read like a sponge. This is exactly how whole language is supposed to work. Unlike learning to speak, learning to read doesn’t “just come” with experience. We must teach reading, and this is what Grace Community School does.
Actions, Not Just Feelings and Good Intentions
Whole language attempts to create enthusiasm for reading without giving the skills needed to read. While enthusiasm for reading is very important, you need skills, too! The child who knows how to read will have fun reading. The child who does not, will not. The better they read, the more fun they will have. It’s that simple. Reading will not be enjoyable for a child unless they have the skills to do it easily. Would you enjoy bowling if you rolled a gutterball every time? Unlikely! That is what it is like for the child who cannot read well. Reading becomes a chore, frustrating and hard. Not enjoyable. You don’t want that!
Progressive educational experts believe something similar with handwriting. Just as exposure to books and printed words is somehow supposed to turn into literacy in children sometime down the road, they claim that writing will spontaneously emerge from a child’s scribbles. Not so – kids need instruction and practice! Children learn to write best with lots of practice, worksheets, and direction from teachers.
We also celebrate the reading accomplishments of our students in several ways. Certificates and reading books make each step in the learning journey special. We also send home framed photos of the kids holding their new reading books. You will never find happier children than the ones in those photographs! In addition, we recognize our Reader Achievers on our social media.
At Grace Community School, Our Preschoolers Can Read, and we couldn’t be happier about it! If you found this article useful, please click one of the share buttons below and tell your friends.
Should young children be taught to read? Most people will say, “Yes!” We want children to read, and we want them to love reading. However, saying we want kids to read is not enough.
More Than Words
Looking at promotional and educational literature for early learning organizations and public schools seems to indicate a great emphasis on reading. That’s good, right? Sure, everyone is talking about reading. Special reading and literacy events are everywhere. There are “Literacy Buddy” events, and we even have Accelerated Reader programs in the public schools. Everywhere we are assured that “early literacy” is a top priority. The experts would like nothing more than for all children to learn to read at as young an age as possible. It’s a wonderful public relations campaign.
These efforts are not always what they seem. Unfortunately, the techniques advocated by many childcare experts will not result in children reading at an early age, or even at all in many cases. Instead of using phonics, early education experts claim that all we need to do is expose kids to reading and printed words (the “print rich environment”) and that this will eventually result in children reading – like magic! Many people involved in early childhood don’t want kids to read at an early age — they say it’s “developmentally inappropriate.” These people don’t give kids enough credit!
Watch out for the phrase “reading readiness.” If a child is ready to read, they can read! Reading readiness, or “emergent reading,” is what is taught at virtually all preschools except Grace Community School. Children, deliberately or not, are held back, on the advice of so-called early learning experts. Other daycares (they don’t call themselves schools!) use what is known as “whole language” instruction — more about that later.
The Grace Community School Difference
And now we have Grace Community School. We don’t teach reading readiness or emergent reading, just reading! Why wait for kids to learn? College Can Begin at Two! Children are natural learners. They want to learn! They just need some help. The Grace Community School reading program uses phonics, the only method proven to consistently teach children to read. In addition, we provide constant training in our phonics program to our teachers. Our facility directors are career managers, and we’re here year after year ensuring that our students get the education they deserve. It’s all about standards – and we exceed them!
It’s About Standards
Speaking of standards, you might be interested to know about the State of Florida’s educational standards for young children. The Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds (2011) encapsulates what the State of Florida says children are supposed to learn in their Pre-K year. State-funded VPK facilities use these standards to decide what and how to teacher their Pre-K classrooms. It is telling that it does not include real reading, only something called “emergent reading” or “emergent literacy.” Essentially this means changing the environment around the child so that, through play and talking and practicing, they will “pick up” reading almost through osmosis.
This is what the typical preschool is aiming at – getting kids so they will be ready to learn to read when they enter elementary school, although, in reality, they aren’t great at this, either. On the other hand, students who go through Grace Community School’s entire reading program have test scores far beyond what is typically achieved or even considered possible. Our students enter Kindergarten reading! Kids entering public school Kindergarten are not tested on their reading skills – because children who have attended a typical Pre-K program cannot read! Grace Community’s average Kindergarten graduates score on national standardized tests at the second-grade level, and bright children often read at the fifth-grade level! These are real, tangible results, full achievable when children are given the chance to fulfill their potential.
In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at whole language instruction, handwriting, and more ways that Grace Community School prepares your child to succeed We want to spread the word about education and quality childcare. If you enjoyed this post, please click one of the share buttons below and let your friends know!
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.