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.
Want to tell someone about Grace Community School? Hit one of the share buttons below. We thank you!
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!
Want more from Grace Community School? Sign up for our email list! Get news, photos, special offers, and more right in your inbox. CLICK HERE.
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!
Helping Your Child Succeed in Child Care and Beyond
Every parent who drops a child off at child care has certain expectations of what will happen to that child. Each parent hopes that the child care experience will be a positive one, giving the child what he or she needs to grow, learn, and be happy.
These things include the basics: being kept safe from harm, fulfillment of physical needs, comfort, opportunities for friendship, fun. Most parents would also be happy if their children could learn something while away from home. These things aren’t the only things a child needs from child care!
Achieving Full Potential
Child experts agree that for the child to achieve his or her full potential – to rise above the median, to accomplish what is called “self-actualization” – the child must have more than the basics. You, as a parent, would no doubt like your child to do more than just survive – you want your child to thrive!
Unfortunately, if you bring your child to just any child care center, you will likely get just the basics – only the basics. It will be babysitting, for the most part. There is something not on that list of basics: love! It is not enough to merely take care of a child, the child who will thrive needs love, both at home and at school.
Remember: love is not just an emotion, it is also action! At Grace Community School, we know the parents of our students want the absolute best for their kids; so do we! Love means giving kids the best education possible.
Why Not School?
Here is where we see the very big difference between a daycare and a school; one is merely a place for children to bide the time where their parents are at work, the other is a real educational facility. Grace Community School is a school. We like to say, “College Can Begin at Two.” When children have the capacity to start genuine academics as young as age two, why not let them? Learning is fun! Let us take a look at some of the ways Grace Community School goes “beyond the basics.”
First, Grace Community School provides instruction in an area often neglected in child care: morality. You will not even see it listed as a domain in articles about child development. A truly great education must be built on a moral foundation. Virtues or character traits like self-control, diligence, and deferred gratification – characteristics of highly successful people – are actually all a part of moral training. A Grace Community School education includes moral training, both in our Bible instruction and integrated throughout the curriculum. Grace Community School kids learn the Golden Rule, as well as other Biblical principles like the Ten Commandments, and put them into practice. You cannot overemphasize the long-term importance this makes in the lives of children!
Second, Grace Community School teaches real reading! Reading is simply the most important academic skill you must learn in school; nothing else comes close. Society and technology have changed vastly in nature in recent decades, but the importance of reading has not diminished. Daycares might teach “reading readiness” or “emergent literacy,” but not Grace Community School. Our students learn the real deal. Accept no substitutions! Since reading is so vital to a child’s future, what better way to show love to a child than teaching him or her to read!
Our Math program is also second-to-none. Just as in the Grace Community School reading program, math students work at their own pace achieving various milestones and learning different skills. Children move on to the next Math Circle level when they master their current level. We celebrate both Reading and Math Circle achievements by sending home certificates and books with the kids so they can show off what they have learned! We put photos of students who have reached special milestones on our social media, too.
For children to perform at their best, their physical needs have to be met. Grace Community School provides FREE and nutritious breakfast, lunch, snack, and drinks for all students. Meals are prepared fresh onsite daily. Better nutrition means kids who are better able to learn. You can check out our USDA-approved menu any time on our website www.gracecommunityschools.com. Not only does the free meal program benefit 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!
We have a variety of extracurricular courses available for our students (ask your Grace Community School office how to sign up today!) The Grace Community School karate program is another program that benefits children both physically and mentally. Children ages three years and up have an opportunity to learn martial arts from an experienced American Kenpo karate instructor in a fun environment. The most important skill learned in karate is self-discipline. Self-discipline is sometimes called the “master virtue” because of its importance in everything a person does, and its use as in indicator of success later in life. More self-discipline leads to more success!
Along similar lines, our dance program enhances the lives of children in many ways. Children learn techniques of jazz and ballet while experiencing the joy that comes from moving their bodies to music. The kids are having so much fun they don’t even realize that they’re exercising and enhancing motor skills!
Piano and group music lessons are also available at some locations. Students learn both the theory and practice of playing piano as they progress through beginner’s piano lesson books, play games, and participate in fun music drill. The benefits of music lessons are many, even going so far as to boost SAT scores! Returning again to the topic of self-discipline, there is something about the immediate feed-back in playing music that improves discipline like nothing else. It’s a wonderful way to earn an instrument as well as increase overall self-control.
We also have Art Class! Each week our Art Class students create a special art project during thirty-minute lessons. It’s a different project each week (that goes along with our special theme weeks) that they take home. See why Grace Community School Art Class is one of our most popular extracurricular activities.
The various Grace Community School learning programs let children progress at their own pace combined with an orderly environment full of routines creates a comfortable, loving environment that makes kids feel safe. Parents need assurance, too! Updates via our social media pages and email list let you stay informed about what is going on at school, upcoming special events and theme weeks, and lots of other news. Also, our photo program lets you take home a printed photo of your child from school each week.
Set for Success
That’s a lot of extras! We know you love your child and want nothing but the best! That is exactly what Grace Community School gets you – the best possible education at the lowest cost, including the most important thing your child needs to succeed: love demonstrated through action. We are happy to have the privilege to serve you and your child. Don’t forget to tell your friends! Right now Grace Community School has an awesome referral program. Refer a child to any Grace Community School location and get $100! Find out more here or ask your location’s office for details.
Grace Community School goes beyond the basics to deliver a safe and caring environment, an unparalleled learning experience, and more extras than you will find at any other child care center in Southwest Florida. Most importantly, it sets your child down on a path that leads to success in child care and beyond. Find out more about Grace Community Schools and its programs at www.gracecommunityschools.com
If you’ve been to Grace Community School, you’ve probably seen the colorful, exciting learning certificates hanging on the wall, certificates that say things like “I’m a Reader Achiever.”What is all that? These are not things you will find in other childcare centers, nor are they mere participation awards. These certificates celebrate learning, real accomplishments. Our students are learning a lot, and learning is what sets Grace Community School apart from everyone else! We want everyone to know about our students’ scholarship, especially our parents. Our students are justifiably proud of their work. They can’t wait to show their parents what they have learned, and the certificates help them do that.
Learning Certificates Aplenty
There are a variety of accomplishments certificates can celebrate, such as:
Printing all those certificates each week takes a lot of time, as well as paper and ink. So why do we do all of this?
It informs parents of their child’s progress
Students love getting them and taking them home
It recognizes our students’ achievements
We want parents to have something to show their friends and coworkers
Demonstrated achievement is the greatest self-esteem booster. Grace Community School kids don’t just think they are special; they know they are special because of all the things they can do. The certificates just remind them. We want our students to be able to believe in themselves and be proud.
Real Learning = Real Self-Esteem
There is a lot for our students to be proud of! Grace Community School students often get into gifted classes when they go to public school, after having working multiple public school grade levels above their public school counterparts. Now it is clearer than ever that getting kids to learn to read early in life has dramatic importance for success later on. This success is what GCS students have to look forward to. Our Reading Circle program begins teaching children as young as two years of age the phonic sound of each letter and moves on from there to blends, words and reading books. There is no stopping them!
The GCS Math Circle program is similarly advanced. Math domain concepts are split into different levels. Math learning certificates go home when a level is mastered, and the child moves on to the next level.
Some of our longtime students have a hard time adjusting to government schooling because the material they already know entering kindergarten will not be taught until years later in the public school! (that is one reason why Grace Community School offers a kindergarten program for just $10 in tuition per week!)
Don’t keep all this goodness to yourself! Refer your friends and coworkers! We accept students from 6 weeks up through kindergarten for school, and up to age 11 for before/after school and summer camp. Show them some of your child’s certificates, and make sure they write your name down on the enrollment form as a referrer so you can get your $100!
What do you want most for your child? As parents, we want lots of things for our children. We want them to feel secure and loved. We want them to be healthy, and happy. We want them to have friends and social skills. We want them to be educated. In short, we want our kids to succeed. Success is an all-encompassing goal, and dependent on so many things. Some of these things are outside of our control as parents, but there are many things parents can do to aid success, and Grace Community School is here to help.