It’s that time of year again, preschool registration! We Smarties always need to remind each other of key dates like this. The planning process for the 2010-11 Weekday School Year is underway, so if you’re new to this process, get motivated! Most preschools start accepting applications in mid-January and mail out their acceptance letters in February/March. If you are a first-time mom and you have a child turning one year by the summer, then this applies to you. Most preschools have toddler classes for children turning one by August and go up to transitional kindergarten, which I can’t speak highly enough if your child has a summer birthday.
Preschool is not just for stay-at-home moms to run out and play tennis after a bon-bon feast (yeah, right, that’s exactly what we SAHM’s do!). Seriously, preschool is for the good of the children and mommy too! School provides a structured, loving, educational environment that improves socialization, self confidence and learning ability. And moms need a break sometimes – there I said it! Yep, sometimes I just want a block of time when I don’t have twin monkeys hanging off each leg and I can sneak a run in without having to push 70 lbs in my BOB! Or go to the grocery store without the extra bags of Oreos or mystery Depends undergarments that always seem to make it in my cart and completely humiliate me at checkout! Preschool might also be a good option for working moms who need to get creative with their child care situation. Sometimes you can balance a part-time nanny and preschool and come out ahead than if you put your child in traditional daycare. Regardless of your reason, I can assure you it will be one of your best decisions in the early years.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’m going to link to Charlotte Parent’s impressive comprehensive directory of preschools in Charlotte and surrounding areas. As you begin your search, I would recommend you start by looking at some of the weekday schools close by your home. There is something to be said about a neighborhood school, even at this young age. Plus, you don’t want to spend half of your free time driving to and from, which is usually a skimpy three hour stretch, max anyway. Make sure you interview the director, teachers and take a tour of the school. All of the schools will be happy to accommodate you and will look forward to the chance to sell their school to you. Make sure you inquire about licensing and rating information provided by the North Carolina Division of Child Development of the Department of Health and Human Services. Look at the teacher/student ratio and the curriculum. Many schools offer foreign languages which I think is huge. Most importantly, ask around. Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. – word of mouth is one of the most important references you can get. Make sure you get on a few waiting lists because these schools fill up quickly. This year might be easier to get in than in years past due to the economy, but it’s best to be safe and apply to more than one.
I would love for each of you to take the time to leave a comment about your preschool, why you love it, what your experience has been there and a web address. This is your chance to toot your school’s horn! I’m sure your director will be extremely thankful! Good luck with your decisions!
My preschool is FABULOUS! We go to Sharon Presbyterian Weekday School, a little hidden gem tucked in the heart of SouthPark. Director Beth Merchant is one of the most incredible women I've met. She has a gift with children and with leading our school. The entire staff is wonderful as well as all of the families. My three children have attended for 8 years now and I am so grateful for the learning environment that SPWS has provided. I have made some of my closest friends through SPWS. I know I will cry my eyes out when we graduate. I can't even think about it! Thanks, Jen P for the opportunity to "toot this school's horn!"Sharon Presbyterian Weekday Schoolhttp://www.sharonpcusa.org/weekday_school.htmPhone: 704-554-0882
I totally agree with the comment about Sharon Pres! It is such a loving, close-knit environment where I feel like my child is not just a number. I was wowed by Beth when I went on a tour last year and have been more and more impressed by her approach this school year. My child LOVES going to school.
I 2nd SPWS!! IT is Awesome!
It's a 5 day a week option, but I highly recommend EasterSeals/UCP opn Marsh Road. The classes are 50% kids with some kind of disability and 50% kids without. The cirriculum is geared towards normal children, but they teach a very valuable lesson of inclusion at a very young age. My son goes there due to his cerebral palsy (he's not cognitively delayed but has considerable motor issues) and I'm always in awe at the parents who do not have disabled children who chose this place to send their kids for preschool, because they're learning such an important lesson early on. The teachers are amazing, and I cannot say enough how much Gabe has learned since he started attending at age 2.
We're HUGE fans of Calvary's preschool/day care. We drive over 30 mins to attend. There are a lot of enrichment activities (science, music, computer, Spanish, etc.), but delivered at a preschooler's pace. It is not overwhelming or over-scheduled. The kids love the playgrounds, indoor playroom and gym too. But, any school can have a good facility and an interesting curriculum on paper. It's all about the teachers. The staff at Calvary genuinely love kids and love to watch them grow. The kids thrive with all the positive reinforcement and benefit from having so many lovely role models in their lives. Calvary offers all the educational requirements (letters, numbers, days of the week, etc.), but the emphasis on healthy socialization is its best lesson. I have been telling all my friends that new student registration begins Feb. 1 – go to their web site for more info.
If you are looking for a full day option, try Cranfield Academy. It offers Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday options, too, if you don't need a full week. They have loving and well educated teachers, and both my girls were reading when they left their TK! http://www.cranfieldacademy.com
We go to Myers Park Baptist Church Preschool and it's fantastic. Both of my children have attended this school and I can't say enough about how wonderful it is. All of our teachers have been very nurturing and have taught my kids so much. Our family has made lasting friendships with the people we have met there.
We are on our 3rd year at Calvary and nothing else compares IMO. I toured over 10 places and when I saw the facility,I wanted to go there! Each grade level has their own playground, their are indoor playrooms, a gym, a kitchen serving hot nutritious meals, classes offered that are part of the core day (spanish,music and movement, drama, science , multicultural class, etc. They also have add on's like cooking class, etc. I love how things come to the facility (the pumpkin patch is brought to the school and they get hayrides on the grounds and the dentist will visit etc). We feel it is such a wholesome loving environment and even though it's a large facility, my child's teacher from 3 years ago still remembers everything personal about him.
Mommies – don't forget it's also time to sign up your rising Kindergarteners and register for summer camps before all the good ones are full!! All those deposits add up though :(Wow – we sure have to plan ahead don't we?
We love Weddington Christian Preschool!!! 6 years and counting with preschoolers enrolled there!
We go to University City United Methodist preschool off Harris Boulevard and they are wonderful. I can only hope that my daughters elementary school teachers are as wonderful as her preschool teachers are.
I second the recommendation for Myers Park Baptist Church. We've been there for four years and it's a fantastic preschool.
we LOVE Sharon Presbyterian! Beth is awesome and the school environment is nurturing and educational. The teachers are terrific. They always take the time to give reports on the kids. They do really fun activities and even had a magician come to school today. Carpool is so easy and quick here. It does not eat away at your time like some other schools. Thanks SPWS
Sharon Baptist Weekday School is where we have been for the last 8 years, I will cry my eyes out next year when we are done. The most wonderful place you could ever imagine. We feel so blessed to have had two kids go through such an amazing place. In kindergarten the 3 top readers in my son's class had all been through Sharon Baptist, cant say enough good things about them.
Weddington Christian Preschool has loving teachers and great staff. My children have learned so much and had great fun. Plus, I know they are in good hands. I highly recommend them!
Open Door School. Their philosophy is based on discovery learning. The teachers are knowledgeable, loving and enthusiastic about every child and ODS family. The staff is organized and helpful. The Parent Education and volunteer opportunites are plentiful, and encouraged. This is my 3 year old's second year at ODS and I could not ask for a better preschool experience.Open Door's Prospective Parent Orientation is Tuesday, February 2, 6:30-8pm. Children are welcome.http://opendoorschool.org/
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