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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Again, we want to say THANK YOU for all the testimonials you sent in! We love hearing from you. (See our previous post here. Here are a few more:
”My son started going there at the beginning of the summer and will be continuing for this school year. Grace Community is his first experience with school and he loves it there. It is nice to know my son is going to a school where is he excited to learn and is developing a fondness for school. The staff and teachers are very friendly, and we love the different theme weeks!” – Jessica M.
”I can’t tell you how glad we are that we found Grace Community School. Going back to work after having a baby is so stressful, but that first few days, seeing how quickly my son took to the teachers made the transition so easy! I love the theme day pictures and more than anything, I love that I can tell how much the staff loves my little guy! We recommend Grace to everyone!” – Tiffany Z.
“My daughter loves Grace Community School and all the teachers that she’s had.” – Sandy M.
“My 3 year old daughters feel right at home Grace Community School. They have only been attending school for a short time but are already learning so much. Plus, you can’t beat the price!” – Katie S.
Recently we sent out an email to our email list asking for you to tell us what you thought about Grace Community School. The results were overwhelming! Here’s a sampling of the testimonials we got back:
”My child has been with Grace since she was 6 weeks old. She is now almost 3. I have had peace of mind knowing that my child is being taken care of with compassion and love. Also the things she has learned and can do from what she has been taught already is PRICELESS. ABC’s, Almost counting to 20, can count to 10 in Spanish, knows all kinds of songs by heart. I LOVE GRACE!!!!” – Jennie V
“There are no other schools where a child can get such a good education for such a great price and with fantastic teachers. Every teacher in the school knows my son’s name. He loves going to school where learning is made fun. I love that he is exposed to religion, music, art, sports, a foreign language, teachers that are like family, and that he has learned so much while having so much fun. This school has it all! We are family at Grace Community School!!” – Kristin R.
“My daughter has been in Grace Community School since she was 6 months old and we both love it! She is always happy and playing with all the toys and kids. The teachers are very sweet and caring, always paying attention to the children and their needs. Theme days are always fun as well since they get to take pictures.”
”We love Grace Community School for many reasons… Our daughter loves her teachers, she is happy at Grace Community School and she has learned so much. At 3 years old she is reciting the pledge of allegiance, she is counting to 20, she knows the alphabet and recites it daily and pronouncing each letter. She is learning to speak Spanish, too and so much more. Not to mention that the cost for everything Grace Community offers is extremely low in comparison. They have great hours, they serve a healthy breakfast and lunch with snacks twice a day. We Love Grace Community School!!!”