The 2017 school year is done, and with it our Pre-K and Kindergarten graduation programs!
Our theme this year was “Broadway” featuring medleys of classic showtunes and movie songs, and the children’s performances did not disappoint.
Along with the DVD’s going on sale in our offices (just $5 each!) we’ve put all our photos from the programs online for your viewing pleasure. Just click the links below, and don’t forget to like and share!
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.
We love doing these musical programs! Click here to see some of our past shows. You will get to see all our Pre-K and Kindergarten students performing their musical acts and showing you the things they have learned this school year. Some other classes will also participate, so be sure to ask your location or look for the signs up in the office.
The shows are free, and you can bring as many people as you want. Tell the grandparents! Just come early to make sure you get good seats. Please note that performers need to be there thirty minutes before show start times.
It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Going along with our program are the new 2017 Whale Shirts, available now at all locations. These are the dress code for the Showtime! program.
We will have more details about the shows as it gets closer. Stay tuned to our social media and sign up for our email list, so you never miss a thing.
2017 Showtime! Program Locations, Dates, and Times
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!
We are limited in the number of students we can accept, especially at these great prices, so you need to register as soon as possible. Your child is eligible for next year’s pre-K if he or she has turned or will be turning four years old by September 1, 2017.
Some locations also have spots available for the current Pre-K school year. Again time is of the essence.
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!