Thank you, Southwest Florida — we’ve been voted Best of Cape Coral (again!) and the Best of Naples.
Grace Community School has been Southwest Florida’s leader in early childhood education since our first location opened in 1986.
Is Grace Community School right for your child?
Most advice about choosing the best daycare center focuses on credentials, accreditation, and fancy toys. These things are not enough! In the real world, results are king. Education is crucial, particularly in the subjects of reading and mathematics. Grace Community School students learn to read as preschoolers, something unheard of in other centers. Grace Community School preschool students are literate, and our kindergarten students graduate reading multiple grade levels ahead of their public school counterparts.
Our phonics program, along with our math instruction, makes a tremendous difference in the lives of children. Reading and math instruction at a young age is vital to success even much later in life.
Some things, like a great education, are too good to keep to yourself! Referring a family to Grace Community School is a tremendous way to do yourself and someone else a favor. Let your associates know that along with our low introductory rates and no registration fee, there is no better time to get on board with Grace Community School. And you can earn $100 for referring a student to our school!
It has been our privilege here at Grace Community School to serve the Southwest Florida community for more than thirty years. Again, THANK YOU for the opportunity to serve the Southwest Florida community.
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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.
It’s a new year, and that means New Year’s resolutions! While we probably can’t help you with your weight loss goals, we may be able to help with some other stuff. Here’s how can Grace Community School help you be better this year.
Wait, Grace Community School Will Pay Me?
Getting the family finances under control is a critical resolution! We have worked hard to keep our prices as low as possible, including offering extra-low introductory rates for new students. We think being kinder is another great thing to aim for in the new year. Here’s how we can help: the Grace Community School referral program makes helping out friends and coworkers a piece of cake, and it helps you with your financial goals! Refer a family to any Grace Community School location, and once the child has attended for two weeks, you will receive $100 on your account! There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make. That’s right: we will pay you! That’s being kind to both yourself and others. The $100 referral is a great deal, and it’s even better because students at Grace Community School enjoy so much more than basic care!
There’s No Way All of That is Free!
When we list all the things you get at no charge as part of Grace Community School’s programs, people are often skeptical. All of that can’t really be free, can they?
But they are! We’ve even had people call us up and ask, “How do you do it?” The “freebies” offered at Grace Community School include free yearbooks, weekly photo program, twice-yearly school programs, free food, and non-denominational Bible Time.
To Your Health!
Maybe the number one New Year’s resolution people have is to live healthier. You’re on your own with that one, personally, but we can help your kids! All Grace Community School students receive FREE breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks. Our USDA-approved food program does so much! Kids who eat healthy meals are less at risk for getting sick and have more energy to play and learn. These benefits last long past childhood. In addition to tasty, healthy food, Grace Community School students enjoy physical exercise and our beautiful playground areas. We all know the importance of physical activity, and we make it fun for the kids!
New Year, New Fun For Your Kids
Have more fun in the new year! Learn something new! Your kids can do both of those things at the same time with Grace Community School’s special classes.
Grace Community School’s Karate Class helps kids build self-defense skills and discipline while getting exercise in a fun environment with an experienced instructor. Dance Class teaches the basics of ballet and jazz while improving coordination, motor, and social skills with an experienced instructor. Art Class gives your child a fun art experience and project to take home each week. Our students explore instruments and express themselves creatively in Music Class while they learn the basics of reading notes and rhythm.
We are enrolling now in these classes, so ask your location’s office for the sign-up forms!
Do you want to be more organized in the new year? Staying organized is tough for families. Do you have kids in elementary school? With the kids spread out all over the place, the day gets hectic. But wait! Grace Community School has before and after school programs — we pick up from many local public schools (you can find a full list on our location pages here). Instead of making multiple trips to pick up the kids in the afternoon, imagine getting all of your kids in one spot!
The Best Resolution A Parent Can Make
Money, health, fun, and organization are all wonderful thing, but let’s be honest: as parents, we make our kids the number one priority. Here is an excellent New Year’s resolution: “I want to do everything I can to help my kids succeed, now and in the future.” That is something worth doing. What is most important for a child’s future success? Some things stand out. These include having a loving family, support from parents, and something Grace Community School is famous for teaching: reading! We can help with that.
Reading is the foundation for every other academic pursuit. Without fluent literacy, all subjects are hard. Superior reading skills make even challenging academic topics approachable. The benefits extend beyond school, however. Kids who learn to read well and learn to read early do better in life in general and a love of reading provides a lifetime of enjoyment. Grace Community School’s phonetic reading program gives kids the tools they need to succeed.
Along with our advanced math program and the rest of our curriculum, our students participate in an unmatched whole-life education.
We thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you and your children. Remember: we’re more than a school, we’re a family! We hope and pray that you have a blessed and happy new year!
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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.
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!
Are you ready for kindergarten? It’s never too early to start planning! The pre-K year goes by so quickly. Finding a kindergarten program for your child can be stressful. Let us help! Good news: Grace Community School has kindergarten! Don’t worry about going to School Choice; your child can continue with Grace Community School in the safe, friendly environment your child is used to. Why should you choose our kindergarten program?
Is Learning Important to You?
Grace Community School students graduate pre-K reading — something public school students often don’t achieve until the 3rd grade, if then. The Grace Community School kindergarten program has demonstrated results. If learning is important to you, and you want an uncompromising education, this is the way to go. This is an advanced program! The phonics instruction at Grace Community School gives kids what they need to succeed, in reading and other areas. Students who have attended our school since they were young graduate our preschool program reading multiple grade levels ahead of public school kindergarteners. Our kindergarten graduates are reading at a third-grade level. The average public school kindergarten graduate cannot even be tested for reading skills! That’s why we have to give our kindergarteners a 1st-grade standardized test.
The Grace Community School math program continues into kindergarten, too. Your child will move seamlessly from the pre-K Math Circles right into the kindergarten levels. Our kindergarten students learn their addition and subtraction families, story problems, and more. Get a comprehensive list of what is learned here.
It’s more than just academics. All our learning instruction is done with fun games and interactive activities, including our famous theme weeks. There are parties, dress-up days, and special events throughout the entire school year. Get weekly photos including digital photo copies through the GCS Memories program. Grace Community School kindergarten finishes in a musical program complete with graduation ceremony and diploma presentation.
What Does Grace Community School Kindergarten Include?
Grace Community School Kindergarten includes:
all care 6:30 am to 6:00 pm, including before and after school care
breakfast, lunch, snack and drinks
the advanced reading and math program
weekly photo program
spring and Christmas programs
And of course, our special classes — Art Class, Dance Class, Karate Class, and Music Class — are also still available.
How Much Does it Cost?
Here’s the really awesome part! Everything is just $85 per week. That price stays the same throughout the whole school year, including many days that public school is closed.
What Do I Need to Do?
Let us know you want your child to stay here for kindergarten! Sign-up forms are available at your Grace Community School location.
Your Child Deserves the Best
For more than thirty years, we’ve been providing the ultimate in early childhood education. We want to make things easier and better for you and your child. You can find out more about Grace Community School’s learning programs at our official website.
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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.
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.
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.
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!