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!
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
You need a place for your kids to go this summer and Grace Community School is ready to help. Summers should be special times for kids. Thanks to Grace Community School, summers are now affordable, enjoyable, and safe! While we are open year round, we have special summer camp programs for school-age children, and now for younger students, too!
Who is Summer Camp For?
Grace Community School now has summer camp programs (subject to availability) for kids ages 1 years through 11 years. We are enrolling now, but space is limited. Once enrollment is full, we will take a wait list.
What Does Grace Community School Summer Camp Offer?
Hours of operation for full-time Summer Camp are 6:30 am to 6:00pm, Monday through Friday.
The 2017 Grace Community School Summer Camp runs May 30-August 11, with enrollment starting now.
NEW FOR 2017: PART-TIME SUMMER CAMP FOR AGES 1 TO 4, STARTING AT $60/ WEEK — Gracie’s Summer Splashtastic Camp!
Ages 1 to 4 years of age can enjoy the Grace Community School Summer Camp experience in a special part-time program. Choose either 8:30-11:30, or 2:00-5:00 each day, with plans starting at $60/week.
Summers are more fun at Grace Community School! We’ve been in operation since 1986. That’s more than 30 years experience in Southwest Florida! Complementing our year-round learning activities, some of the special activities include:
Keep scrolling to see the 2017 Grace Community School Summer Camp Theme Week Schedule
One of the best parts about the summer is the fun theme weeks we do. Every week has its own fun theme like Pirate Week, Hawaii Week, Carnival Week, and Super Hero Week. Along with the theme weeks we have parties, games, bounce houses, dress-up days, and other special events. A mix of student- and teacher-directed activities and art projects keep kids interested and occupied.
We anticipate a lot of demand for Summer Camp this year, especially the new part-time program, so sign up before we start a wait list! Enrollment forms are available now at all Grace Community School locations.
Beat the heat this summer and bring your summer camper to Grace Community School.
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’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about Pre-K and how to sign up for it, so here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
Q: How old does my child need to be to go into Pre-K?
A: Your child is eligible for this year’s Pre-K if he or she has turned or will be turning four years old by September 1.
Q: When should I sign up for Pre-K?
A: The earlier the better! We have to run wait lists for Pre-K at many of our locations, so you want to make sure we have a spot for your child. That means sign up now!
Q: What will my child learn in Pre-K?
A: Short answer: at Grace Community School, a whole lot! We wrote a whole post about this! You can check that out here, but understand that a Grace Community School education is an incredible opportunity for your child. In particular, Our Preschoolers Can Read!
Q: What do I need to sign up for Pre-K?
A: It’s easy! You will need your child’s health records (immunization record and physical form), a copy of the child’s birth certificate, and our Pre-K enrollment form. You can download that here. Bring these items into the Grace Community School location of your choice.
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.