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Archive for the ‘Preschool’ Category

The Goddard Experience

Children learn best through experience. We embrace this philosophy by helping children explore and discover their interests through play, so they become SCHOOL-READY, CAREER-READY and LIFE-READY.

This is part of our promise to you.

The Goddard School® Announces its Leading Educators For The 10th Annual Teacher Of The Year Awards

Premier Preschool Recognizes Six Educators For National Teacher Appreciation Week 

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (May 2, 2016) – Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School®, the nation’s premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children six weeks to six years old, names honorees for their tenth annual Teacher of the Year award. In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, happening May 2 to 6, GSI acknowledges more than 10,000 teachers nationwide and presents six extraordinary teachers with a plaque that commemorates their passion, dedication and enthusiasm for early childhood education.

“The teachers that have been selected as this year’s honorees for Teacher of the Year have spearheaded long-term projects that have positively impacted the children in their classroom, their families, the Schools and the broader community,” says Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at GSI. “The Teacher of the Year recipients engage students in learning opportunities that are both unique and effective. We are delighted to honor these six outstanding educators, who continue to lovingly guide and prepare children for success in school and in life.”

Projects from the selected Goddard School educators include Family Game Night which is designed to continue fostering Kindergarten skills outside the classroom; Kindness Mission, which guides students to understand how small acts of kindness make a big impact; Intergenerational Project, which educates children about different generations while  befriending residents at the Avalon Assisted Living Facility; and Happy Gonzo which first involved taking care of a class pet frog, Gonzo, and later introduced engaging learning opportunities for the preschoolers.

GSI honors the following teachers:

Anna Pecoraro – Elgin, IL

Anna Pecoraro, kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Elgin, IL, introduced her students and Elgin image1families to Family Game Night. In an effort to continue to teach kindergarten skills such as reading, number recognition and critical thinking outside the classroom, children had the chance every Friday to check out a new game from the game library to take home and play with their families. When the children returned to school on Monday, they were to write a journal entry about their Family Game Night experience. All journal entries were collected and included in a class book, which helped the students choose which game they would check out next. In May, the board games will be given to children and families that reside in Home of the Sparrow, a local shelter for women and children. The hope is that Home of the Sparrow can also learn through The Goddard School’s learning through play philosophy!

Pamela Gijanto and Sabrina Piotrowski – Marlboro, NJ

Pamela Gijanto and Sabrina Piotrowski, pre-kindergarten teachers at The Goddard School located in MarlboroMarlboro IMG_20160427_122307042 (School Road East), NJ, created Kindness Mission. Through this project, Gijanto and Piotrowski guided and encouraged children to be kind to others. With the goal of showing  the children that small acts of kindness can have a big impact on others, the teachers helped the children develop identities as learners while promoting positive self-image. The teachers extended Kindness Mission beyond the school and into their community by organizing a gently used toy collection that benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to children in need. It is Gijanto and Piotrowski’s hope that the Kindness Mission will continue to connect their students to the community and make others feel good while feeling good about themselves.

Christina Mruskovic – Hillsborough, NJ

Christina Mruskovic, kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Hillsborough, NJ, organized inter-DSCN1327generational activities for children to participate in throughout the year, such as visiting the residents of the Avalon Assisted Living facility. Mruskovic spent the first few months of the school year laying the foundation for the project by incorporating lessons about different generations into all the learning domains. The kindergarten class read books about grandparents, learned songs and discussed manners and etiquette before visiting the Avalon Assisted Living facility. On their first trip to the facility, the kindergarten class worked with the residents to help them make love bug pins, share snacks and sing songs. The students’ next visit will be in May to do a Mother’s Day activity with the residents.

Roswell Presentation 2016

Paige Hardwick and Erika Posey – Roswell, GA

Paige Hardwick and Erika Posey, co-lead preschool teachers at The Goddard School located in Roswell, GA, embarked on an adventure in learning by focusing the majority of their activities on the children’s best friend, Gonzo, a tiny tree frog. Through efforts to keep Gonzo alive, learning opportunities were born. Students were soon producing songs, authoring a Gonzo “baby book” and learning about the Save the Frogs foundation, which later encouraged the establishment of a local chapter of the amphibian conservation organization at the School. Since Gonzo was born, the teachers worked together to maintain an engaging and exciting learning environment for students.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.   

About The Goddard School®

Learning for fun. Learning for life.® For nearly 30 years, The Goddard School has used the most current, academically endorsed methods to ensure that children from six weeks to six years old have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life. Talented teachers collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners. The Goddard School’s AdvancED- and Middle States-accredited F.L.EX.® Learning Program (Fun Learning Experience) reaches more than 50,000 students in more than 430 Goddard Schools in 35 states. The Goddard School’s comprehensive play-based curriculum, developed with early childhood education experts, provides the best childhood preparation for social and academic success. To learn more about The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day is September 17. You can use creative ideas and activities to celebrate the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787 and help your children understand what being a good citizen means.

  • Talk about the definition of good citizenship or illustrate good citizenship with images or books;
  • Share stories about exhibiting good citizenship. These might include stories about welcoming a classmate to the classroom, helping to recycle, donating their unused clothes and toys to charity or cleaning up a neighborhood park;
  • Seek out opportunities to experience civic events with your child. Go to hear a local politician speak, attend an event or fundraiser that your local fire department or police department holds, etc.;
  • Talk about the American flag, what it means to us as citizens and how we are supposed to care for and display it;
  • Find volunteer opportunities that allow you to participate as a family.

Hungry Minds: How Curiosity Drives Young Learners

Susan Magsamen is the Senior Vice President of Early Learning at global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt She is a member of the Educational Advisory Board for the Goddard School and senior advisor to The Science of Learning Institute and Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University.  This piece was originally published on HMH’s blog.

“Curiouser and Curiouser” cried Alice after she ate the cake, and then suddenly shot up in height “like the largest telescope, ever! Good-bye feet” she exclaimed!

For some children, that iconic scene, shortly after Alice lands in Wonderland, is their introduction to the term “curiosity.”  But for us — well, take a moment and see what comes to mind when you consider curiosity…

I recently did a random “man on the street” survey, asking for single-word responses, and found that people associate curiosity with many things. I heard the words necessary, intelligent, spark, engaged, open-minded, open-ended, creative detective, and seeker.

Personally, I’ve been consumed with curiosity for decades, believing that it is the secret sauce to learning and to a fulfilling life.  So what is curiosity?

Einstein’s comment, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious,” provokes even more questions:  Is curiosity a skill or a talent? Is it innate or learned? Can it be taught or cultivated? How does it shape how we learn, especially early learners? What is the primary role of curiosity?

Regardless of how curious we are about curiosity, it is difficult to study. However, contemporary neuroscience has revealed some insights.  In a study published in the October issue of the journal Neuron, psychologist and researcher Charan Ranganath at the University of California, Davis explains that the dopamine circuit in the hippocampus registers curiosity.

“There’s this basic circuit in the brain that energizes people to go out and get things that are intrinsically rewarding,” Ranganath explains. “This circuit lights up when we get money, or candy. It also lights up when we’re curious.” When the circuit is activated, our brains release dopamine, which gives us a high. “The dopamine also seems to play a role in enhancing the connections between the cells that are involved in learning.”

Ranganath’s research, covered in this fascinating piece in Mindshift, gives us a working definition of curiosity, as an intrinsic motivation to learn. It also presents us with an exciting challenge – how can we create learning environments and experiences that will engage young children and ignite their innate curiosity?

The early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers and communities to encourage curiosity. And it really matters. Curiosity increases knowledge and knowledge makes learning easier.

Nurturing curiosity in ourselves and in young children is easy to do. Here are my top ten ideas for the home and the classroom:

  • Slow down: In an age of immediacy, slow things down and encourage discovery. “I am curious about,” or “just out of curiosity” are great conversation starters.
  • Don’t have all the answers: Declaring you don’t know something, but that you want to find out together is an invitation for curiosity.
  • Put kids in the driver’s seat: In classroom activities or at home, let kids make decisions – this leads to uncertainty quickly and will encourage exploration.
  • Get real: Curiosity can’t be nurtured in the abstract – it’s messy.  Get kids investigating a topic or solving a mystery.
  • Delve deep: Hold your own Boring Conference in class – it’s a fantastic one-day celebration of the obvious and the overlooked, subjects that become absolutely  fascinating when examined more closely.
  • Encouragement matters: Acknowledge a question by saying “That is a wonderful or interesting question.”
  • Talk shop: What, why, how? Let kids explore how things are made. “How Things Work” is a great example.
  • Identify role models: Curiosity is also highly contagious.  If you set the example for being curious you will be amazed at how the world changes. Also, seek out others doing interesting things.  Chances are they are using their curious natures to guide them.
  • Practice: Make a list of things you want to know more about and carve out a little time to explore.

As for curiosity being the secret for lifelong learning in the 21st century, the “New York Times” magazine recently profiled productive people from various fields, including politics, art and science, who were 80+ years old. When asked by the “New York Times” what kept him intuitive, architect Frank Gehry, still going strong at 85, said “…. stay curious about everything.”

Preschool: More than simply childcare

by Michael Petrucelli, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Darien, IL
As seen in Suburban Life Magazine

There are many benefits to children attending preschool; two of the most important being: the nurturing of a life-long love of learning, and the development of important social and life skills that we all need to successfully navigate in the world around us.Children%20with%20Teacher_jpg

Childcare centers or preschools (the differences to be explained) are an option for working parents who need care for their children while they go to work, or for any parent seeking a group atmosphere for their children. Childcare centers and preschools may accept infants and toddlers, along with children 3-5 year olds, for part or full time programs.

What separates a top quality preschool from a childcare center?

A top quality preschool will provide: well-trained teachers, age and developmentally appropriate curriculum that prepares children for kindergarten and beyond, stimulating activities for children that will hopefully develop a life-long love of learning, a setting that allows each child to grow and gain confidence as the unique individual they are, and a dynamic environment that helps in the development of important social and life skills.

A quality preschool should provide a basis for academic learning, but even more important is helping to develop a passion for learning. School should be about making learning fun. Young children learn best by engaging in activities they find interesting, such as story time, playing with blocks or drawing. Children may listen to and interact with stories and songs – building blocks needed to grasp phonics and reading skills when it is developmentally appropriate. Play-based learning such as hands-on activities with water, sand, and containers, form the foundation for understanding some basic math concepts. Matching, sequencing, one-to-one correspondence all are activities that are done over and over in preschool settings and help children get ready for kindergarten and beyond. Puzzles, and games like “I-Spy” and chess help develop critical thinking, along with analytical and reasoning skills. It also helps children to understand that “doing your best” is important, and that not everyone wins all the time. Watching and collaborating with other children on the playground, or while working on a classroom task is also an important part of a learning process.

A quality preschool will also provide the opportunity for children to learn and interact in a group, to learn and interact with a classmate(s) in smaller groups, and to learn as individuals. Some simple but important life skills that can be developed by interacting with other children include: learning how to wait, how to take turns, how to listen and follow directions, collaboration, compromise, sharing, empathy and respect for others, advocating for one’s-self, and conflict resolution. Preschool also provides a place where your child can gain a sense of confidence while exploring, learning about new
topics, and playing with his or her peers. Children in a quality preschool will develop a healthy sense of independence; discovering that they are capable and can do things for themselves – from small tasks like pouring their own juice, to working on bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time or who to partner with on a particular classroom project.

Whether you “need” “childcare” or not, every child can benefit from a quality preschool experience, where learning should be fun, and can help foster a life-long love for it. A quality preschool experience also will help children in developing important social and life skills that every child needs to reach his or her fullest potential in the life ahead.

Five Fun Ways to Limit Screen Time for Your Preschooler

Guest Post
by Amber O’Brien, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Forest Hill, MD

I am an onsite owner of a Goddard School, an education-based franchise preschool, and my faculty and I recently noticed that one of the three-year-old students had become increasingly tired in the morning and started having frequent meltdowns in the classroom. She had also become more difficult to wake after naptime. Communication between the parents and the teachers produced the reasons for the child’s change of behavior. The parents revealed that they had recently started giving an iPad to their daughter at bedtime and were letting her put herself to sleep. We explained the negative effects of too much screen time, especially at night, and encouraged the parents not to hand their child a device at bedtime.

In our increasingly technological world, devices are here to stay. Set boundaries and limits now so Preschool Computerdevices become teaching tools instead of detracting from precious interactions with family members. The introduction of smaller devices creates more opportunities to increase children’s screen time and a greater temptation for tired parents to hand their children a device. In parenting, the easy thing is often not the best thing, and we must always think about the long-term results of our choices.

As a parent of three teenage children, I know firsthand how difficult it is to stop devices from slowly creeping into our home life. My advice is to set boundaries now, because when your children are older and have cell phones, it will become increasingly difficult to monitor how much they use their devices. Habits children learn as preschoolers can pay dividends long into the future. Setting boundaries that you and your spouse both agree on and providing many fun and enriching alternative activities may be the key to a happy home where the children are not overtired and healthy relationships can grow.

You may be thinking to yourself, “I already know that too much screen time is not healthy, but what I need is some practical help. How can I limit my child’s screen time, and what are some fun activities we can do with our preschooler at home?” I believe the answer is balance. At The Goddard School, we provide a variety of interactions for the children so screen time does not distract them from other fun and stimulating activities. Consistency between the home and school is very important, and the expert and professional teachers in our classroom environments can teach us all a lot.

  1. Limit your child to only 15 minutes of screen time.

    Students at The Goddard School receive a limited amount of screen time. The tablets and computers in the classroom are teaching tools and only contain educational apps and games. Since students must take turns in the classroom, the students quickly learn that they cannot use the computer or tablet for more than 15 minutes.I suggest setting your phone timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, or a few minutes before it goes off, remind your child that he or she should be finishing the game. Setting a 15-minute limit teaches your child that individuals are in control of electronic devices and not the other way around. Remember that these educational games are great teaching tools, but they should never replace the human interaction of snuggle time at night, and you shouldn’t use them to end a tantrum or to babysit a child.

  2. Make bedtime the most special time of the day.

    Not only was using the tablet depriving the above-mentioned three-year-old of enough sleep at night, but it also deprived her of precious snuggle time and the experience of sharing books with a parent. While educational games are a wonderful supplement for helping your child learn basic skills, they can never replace the joy of sharing a funny or touching book.Studies have recently shown that the blue light on computer screens interferes with the melatonin that helps people drift off to sleep. A sleep-deprived child is not a happy child. According to Charles Czeisler from the Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts, “Children become hyperactive rather than sleepy when they don’t get enough sleep, and have difficulty focusing attention, so sleep deficiency may be mistaken for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”1

    Ensuring that your child has enough sleep will give him or her a better chance for a more successful day with better behavior. Spend a little extra time at night to ensure that your child receives a warm relaxing bath, a chance to debrief and lots of snuggle time, which may help encourage a happier morning the following day. Make bath time fun with lots of bath toys and foam letters, and make story time special by asking questions and use different voices as you read to your preschooler.

    Don’t allow a TV in your child’s room, and take away all devices before bath and story time. Bedtime should be a time to unwind and slowly prepare for a deep refreshing sleep.

  3. Create an imaginative play area in your home.

    At The Goddard School, the students have so many fun, hands-on activities available that they are excited to start the next activity when their tablet or computer time ends. Look around your child’s classroom and take mental notes. Try to include similar materials and activities in an accessible area of your home to encourage your child’s imaginative play.Collect costumes, clothing and accessories your child can use to play dress-up. Create a play kitchen where your child can imitate you as you prepare dinner. Include clean boxes, containers and utensils from your kitchen. Add an easel and art supplies to a craft area. You could also create areas with a cash register so your child can learn about money, matching sets of cards for playing memory games to increase concentration, coloring books, clay or kinetic sand.

    Provide bins with different types of manipulatives, such as puzzles, LEGO, Lincoln Logs and other building materials. I would often give my children old magazines and child-safe scissors, and then I would watch as they happily cut out pictures and letters while developing their fine motor skills. Just as your child’s teachers put out different centers each day, take out new items and put away other items to pique your child’s interest. The more non-electronic activities you have available, the easier it will be for your child to hand over the tablet or turn off the TV.  If an adult comes down to the child’s level and plays with the child, the chances of a tantrum-free transition increases.

  4. Make meal times meaningful.

    Meal times should be about more than putting nutrients in our bodies. They should also be a time to reconnect with our family members and talk about one another’s days. At The Goddard School, teachers sit at the table with the children and eat with them. The children are encouraged to wait until everyone has their food, and they learn good table manners from watching their teachers.Make sure you read the daily activity report and use this information to ask your child about his or her day. Ask about the book that the teacher read, the fun outdoor activity or the messy process art activity. By asking questions about your child’s day, your child simultaneously learns lifetime lessons about communicating and extends the learning of the school day. Some families have each member describe a high and a low for the day. This enriching exercise helps all the family members learn to listen and share the successes and challenges of their days. I often ask my family, “What was something good that happened today?” I want my children to realize that each day has some good in it.

    At meal times, turn off all TVs, cell phones and other devices and give all of your attention to one another.

  5. Use physical touch and exercise.

    Preschoolers need touch and fun physical interactions with the people who love them. Children, like adults, receive and perceive love partly through physical touch and quality time.For our monthly icebreaker at our last PTO meeting in January, I asked the parents to describe their favorite non-electronic activity to do with their preschoolers. Parents smiled while describing playing hide and go seek and tickle monster with their children. One parent has set up tunnels to create an obstacle course in the basement, and the entire family goes downstairs to run races and play together.

    Children love to dance, so try putting on some dance music and dancing together as a family after dinner every night. Try playing a variety of musical genres as we do at school. The children’s favorites include “Let It Go” from Frozen, the dance song “I Like to Move It” and, of course, the chicken dance and the hokey pokey. A fun game of freeze dance, where everyone freezes when the music stops, teaches concentration and produces lots of giggles and smiles.

    Play classic games, such as duck, duck, goose; ring around the rosy; and London Bridge. All of these games include physical touch and whole body movement, and they provide valuable social interactions.

One of our most important goals as parents is to build healthy, close relationships with our children that will last a lifetime. We want our children to have more memories of reading bedtime stories and playing hide and go seek with us and fewer memories of us texting on our cell phones. Show your child that you are in control of all media and devices, provide alternate activities and choose to set boundaries, especially for meal times and bedtime.

 

1 Czeisler, C. (May 23, 2013). Perspective: Casting light on sleep deficiency. Nature, 497, S13. doi:10.1038/497S13a

Goddard Systems Honors National Teacher of the Year Award Recipients

Four Passionate Educators Recognized During National Teacher Appreciation Week

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – May 4, 2015 – Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, honors four extraordinary early childhood educators as their ninth annual “Teacher of the Year” award recipients during National Teacher Appreciation Week on May 4-8, 2015.

Each “Teacher of the Year” honoree from The Goddard School developed a long-term project that has benefitted their classroom, school or community. Projects from the selected teachers include a Good Manners Musical to inspire and reinforce polite behavior; Pen Pal Patriots for children to connect with members from the Armed Forces and learn about patriotism; STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Parent Workshops designed to educate parents on how they can support learning at home; and an Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help raise funds for childhood cancer research.

“At The Goddard School, our Educational Advisory Board and Goddard Systems University push for the highest standards in early childhood education,” says Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at Goddard Systems, Inc. “With more than 10,000 Goddard School teachers nationwide, we employ the very best teachers around and we are thrilled to be recognizing this year’s recipients for their passion and dedication in enlightening young minds for future success.”

The following teachers are honored:

Angie Petrillo – Wayne, NJ

Angie Petrillo, pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Wayne, NJ, created a playful and educational program named “Good Manners – A Medieval Quest for Polite Behavior.” Students dance and sing their way through lessons as they follow two eccentric knights on a quest to reinstate good manners in a cursed kingdom. With over 60 cast members from 6 weeks to 6 years old and a full set and costumes designed for the Middle Ages, the 30-minute musical play guides the children in discovering polite behavior in a creative and entertaining setting.

Gerianne Holl – Cranberry Township, PA

Gerianne Holl, pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Cranberry Township, PA, created Pen Pal Patriots, a program for children to learn about patriotism and build empathy. Motivated by her family’s military background, Gerianne provided opportunities for her students to send cards and monthly care packages to troops in the U.S. Navy stationed in Bahrain. Conducting “Skyping Days” several times a year, children work together to develop and write questions to learn about the service members as well as wear red, white and blue in support of those away from home.

Ryan Mayes – Goodyear, AZ

Ryan Mayes, preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Goodyear, AZ, spearheaded STEAM Parent Workshops to educate parents and provide tools for them to reinforce STEAM concepts at home. Because children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun, Ryan incorporates this philosophy into every aspect of teaching.

Valerie Schmitzer – Doylestown II, PA

Valerie Schmitzer, kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Doylestown (Farm Lane), PA, developed a hands-on approach to creating a difference in the world. Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charitable program designed to help fight childhood cancer, has inspired Valerie and her students in creating a Lemonade Stand of their own. With the hopes of raising awareness and helping to find a cure for children battling cancer, Valerie and the children have collaborated in creating the stand, making and selling lemonade. Donating all proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the children learn that they can make a difference by providing hope, and work to set an example to encourage and empower others to do the same.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

The Goddard School® Announces Stephanie Lane As Director Of The Year Honoree

Educational Director Of The Goddard School Located In Exton, PA Celebrated With Prestigious Award

KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – April 29, 2015 – The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, today announced the Director of the Year honoree and selected Stephanie Lane from The Goddard School located in Exton, PA to receive this outstanding recognition.

Stephanie Lane, Educational Director at The Goddard School located in Exton, PA, has been a valued, loyal member of the administrative team for over six years and was a dedicated teacher prior to taking on a managerial role. Working side by side with her teaching team, Stephanie’s passion for early education, along with her mantra for making learning meaningful, ensures The Goddard School children receive lesson plans that are purposeful, fun and cohesive. She regularly looks for resources to support and challenge the teachers while acting as a mentor, skilled communicator and active listener. Stephanie and her faculty were energetic participants in the Chess at Three pilot program, a story-based curriculum of enjoyable and fun stories that teaches chess to children starting at 3 years old. Her work with Keystone STARS, an initiative of Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning, supports her mission to always improve the quality of early childhood education. Thanks to her dedication to excellence and completing her Director Credential, The Goddard School located in Exton, PA has been awarded  STAR 4 status (the highest status available)  by the Keystone STARS program.

“Working alongside passionate and enthusiastic professionals, I am proud to lead The Goddard School in providing outstanding, quality early childhood education,” said Stephanie. “It is an honor to have been chosen as Director of the Year and I look forward to continuing to uphold the standard of excellence that has been set by The Goddard School.

The Director of the Year award program recognizes a director with a minimum of two years of experience, GSI-approved Director Mentor status, consistent Quality Assurance scores of at least 95% in all areas, an education plan that exceeds standards and ongoing participation in Goddard University for the award recipient and faculty.

“For the past seven years, we have recognized on a daily basis the dedication Stephanie exhibits towards the children, the teachers and our Goddard families,” said Wendy Cohen and Melissa Capodanno, co-owners of The Goddard School located in Exton, PA. “Our school has extremely high standards which Stephanie consistently exceeds. This is evidenced by her receiving this distinguished honor of Director of the Year and we are so proud Stephanie is part of our Goddard School family!”

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

Six Things to Look for in a Kindergarten Readiness Program

Kindergarten is an important, fun and rewarding step in a child’s educational journey, but starting
kindergarten can be intimidating to a child who isn’t prepared for it. That is why it’s important to choose a preschool or pre-k program that fully prepares your child for kindergarten. A well-rounded kindergarten readiness program should accomplish the following:

  • Build your child’s confidence through playful learning activities;KindergartenGirl_jpg
  • Promote communication between the home and the preschool, which helps to establish a home-school connection. A strong home-school connection often helps children have greater success academically, behaviorally and socially;
  • Be taught by a credentialed teacher;
  • Transition your child into a more structured schedule;
  • Encourage your child to focus, manage time well and complete assigned tasks, which may include homework;
  • Help you and your child adjust to kindergarten requirements, such as always completing work, being on time and attending school every day.

Tough Questions Reap Rewards for Preschool and Child

by Michael Petrucelli, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Darien, IL
As seen in Suburban Life Magazine

Selecting your child’s first school may be one of the most exciting, yet intimidating decisions that you will have to make. Children in quality preschool programs improve their social skills, are better at following directions, waiting turns, problem-solving, participating in activities, collaborating, and relating to other children, teachers and parents. In addition to providing a warm, safe, and nurturing environment, a top quality preschool program should provide a well-rounded experience that helps children become confident, joyful and fully prepared students, while developing a life-long love of learning.

IMG_3304_philly_00535There are a variety of teaching philosophies that you will learn about as you research child-care options. Many may seem difficult to apply to a young child where things like safety and security may be your primary concerns. Terms you may hear include: Reggio Emilia approach, Montessori Method, Activity or Play Based Learning, Waldorf approach, and others. The common theme is that all of these methods should focus on children as individuals, getting them enthused about learning, and having them prepared for kindergarten and beyond.

Some important questions to ask before, during, and after a visit to the school:

  • Is there a warm and nurturing atmosphere in a physical environment that you can envision your child in?
  • Are there safety and security measures in place that are followed, practiced, and actively reviewed?
  • Are there health and safety standards in place, and what is the “wellness” policy?
  • Does it offer a wide range of enriching activities to meet the individual needs of each child including a focus on building each child’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical skills?
  • What size are the classes and what is the student teacher ratio in the different classrooms?
  • Is the school convenient to your work or home? Happy parents help make happy children.
  • Are there age appropriate outdoor play areas that are maintained in a safe condition? Does it offer multi-cultural and developmentally appropriate materials and equipment, and do you feel a sense of respect for diversity and respect for various cultures?
  • Is there a professional faculty committed to early childhood development, and do they have access to on-going training and continuing education credits?
  • Are the teachers CPR and first aid certified?
  • Can I visit my child any time during the day?
  • Does the school have references available?
  • Do you feel a sense of community among the teachers and parents in the building?

Choosing childcare is a very personal decision in which there are no right or wrong answers. Do your best though to ask the right questions.