This post and giveaway are sponsored by KinderCare. Thanks, KinderCare!
I am one of those people that has to extensively research every major decision. The amount of time I spend researching gets bigger with the enormity of each decision. Mike always makes a joke about how long it takes me to explore all the options. For example, house hunting took us two years because I spent at least half of that time investigating different lenders. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that I’ve spent the last six months looking into preschools for Annabel. I have deposits at three different schools because I don’t want to pick a place for Annie until I’ve seen every. single. option. for preschools in our area.
KinderCare invited Annie and me to come take a tour of the school in our area, and of course I said yes. The timing couldn’t have been better because they were one of the last schools left on my list. I have to make a final decision about Annie’s schooling ASAP. Summer is almost over, I can’t believe it.
When we arrived at the school, Annie was invited to watch a big science-based performance that was being put on in the big activity room. I worried that maybe she’d be anxious about watching the show alone while I toured the school, but she literally ran down the hall to the activity room without even looking back at me. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting that.
The school itself was really nice – brightly lit, with lots of windows and tons of kid-created artwork on the walls. Outside of each classroom door was a giant sign that outlined what each class was learning every day. I thought that was great, because Annabel already gives me the dreaded “I don’t know” when I ask her what she learned in swimming or gymnastics. And while I was pleased with how cheerful and activity-packed each classroom was, what I really wanted to see was an actual class in session. Luckily, Annie was able to sit in on a class, too.
Annie acted like she’d been going to preschool there for her whole life. She sat on the rug during circle time and quickly picked up the morning song and dance routine. I don’t think she even realized I was there until the end of circle time, when she caught a glance of me and yelled, “MAMA! I’M SINGING WITH MY FRIENDS!” We’re going to have to work on that whole talking-out-of-turn thing.
After circle time, the kids were able to go to the different learning centers throughout the room. I thought Annie’s head might explode from all the options (Beads! Dress up! Legos!) but she started with painting before she ran around and tried the other stations.
The kids were in the middle of a science unit, and Annie was able to take part in learning how a solid can become a liquid (with powdered juice mix and water).
When it was time for us to leave, Annie was NOT PLEASED. She wanted to stay and “learn play,” as she called it. I was really happy to have the opportunity to watch Annie in the classroom. It not only let me see what a typical class was like, but it also allowed me to see that Annabel is more then ready for preschool. It’s taken away all my anxiety about her starting
Every day since our visit last week, Annie has asked me if she can go back. When I said to her, “But Annie, won’t you miss me and James when you’re at school?” she replied, “No, Mama! Because I’m growing and I have to learn stuff so I can teach my baby brother.”
KinderCare has two awesome events/giveaways going on right now. First, KinderCare is holding Open House events at all of their learning centers across the country on August 13th, 2013. Families are welcome to visit during the Open House to see what quality early childhood education looks like and get to know their local KinderCare teachers and staff. I highly recommend checking them out, because if you tour your local KinderCare between now and October 18, you’ll be entered to win one of five scholarships for one calendar year of free tuition for one child at a KinderCare or Knowledge Beginnings Center. Pretty awesome! Visit KinderCare.com to see the Official Rules and find a center near you.
The second giveaway is for a $500 Amazon card for all of your Back-to-School essentials! I will be hosting a twitter party for KinderCare on Monday, August 12th from 6:30 – 7 p.m. PST, and anyone who signs up below AND participates in the twitter party (using the #TourKinderCare hashtag) is entered to win. Woo hoo! You can read all about the terms and conditions for this party and giveaway here.
KinderCare Twitter Party Sign Up
The first field (Link Title or Blog Title) is where you should enter your Twitter ID: @mamaspohr (example). In the second field, entitled Link, you should enter your Twitter URL: http://www.twitter.com/mamaspohr.
Research is good!
1.) Annie will LOVE preschool and you will love the time alone with James. (My Ryan started preschool when Charlie was a few months old and I loved just staring at my baby without things being thrown at us).
2.) I am not a blogger so I am not sure how to enter the contest. Tried just doing name and email but it wouldn’t let me. Suggestions?
3.) Happy Hump Day!
Hi Kate! You should be able to enter with your name and twitter handle in the url. If that doesn’t work, let me know and you can enter with my blog’s url and I’ll make a note of it!
In case anyone else needs to know, I entered my Twitter handle in both Link categories and it worked. Though, now my chances of winning are lessened. Hmmmm…
My husband and I put both our kids in Kindercare here in Michigan for almost 5 years and they loved it. They closed the center by our house and we have since moved on BUT we are still really close to most of the teachers from that center. They were great with our kids and we always felt comfortable leaving them there. They never wanted to come home when I went to pick them up at the end of the day. One of the best decisions we made as parents.
Okay, just cuz I tend to notice weird things, Miss A hands your hands (in the painting pic). I just enrolled my Youngest one (out of 5) is starting VPK which in FL is free to all 4yr to get them ready for Kinder, she is so excited and next week she will be destroyed since she starts school a few days later then all the rest.
Are you planning to enroll Annie at Kindercare?
Not sure yet – Mike wants to go on a visit there. It’s one of the three schools we’re considering!
Actually, we already go to Kindercare. I have to confess, it was my last choice, and the only one without a waiting list in our area. We’ve had good and bad experiences, it’s really depended on the teacher my kid has had at the time.
Most of their teachers have child development credentials, but some have more educational experience than others, and it makes a big difference: I remember one conference when my daughter was a early walker where the teacher stopped short of musing out loud if my daughter had developmental issues based on the fact that she didn’t talk much. “Well, do the other kids in your room talk much?” “Some.” “But not all…” “Yes, but she’s one of the oldest kids” “Has it occurred to you that maybe she’s just not feeling the need to, when other kids aren’t?” “…”.
Luckily the director was also present and decided it might be a good idea to move her up to toddlers to see. Lo and behold her toddler teacher (who loves her and has gone on “visits” to the preschool room just to say hi) was shocked by how much she talked, because she was led to believe my daughter was extremely quiet!
Again, not ragging on Kindercare, just pointing out that things like amenities are nice, but that what I’ve learned as a parent is that teachers are probably the most important and yet undervalued part of early childhood program (you’d think as a former elementary teacher I would have known this already).
Leah K. says:
I teach at a KinderCare location in Wisconsin. I teach Discovery Preschool (2s and 2 1/2s), but the 3 yr. preschool and 4 yr. pre-kindergarten programs are very well developed. The kids seemed to love the activities in any of the age groups. This Sept., KinderCare will begin new 3 and 4 year old programs that will encourage learning in a larger variety of areas including daily outdoor learning experiences and physical activity as part of the new curriculum.
Heather – your research shows that you care about your daughter’s education and picking the right pre-school *is* very important. It sounds like KinderCare could be Montessori based and if so – YAY! It’s very must about letting kids learn through experience and hands on. It’s about not helping the child do what they can do themselves. The program I work with was housed in a Montessori school and their educational program was phenomenal.
It’s not. Just FYI. And Montessori too has its good and bad points (I find that in the wrong hands it’s a poorly sterile environment).
PS: I would love to participate but my son and his new wife are to be here late Monday/early Tuesday so I won’t have the time.
LOVE the picture where Annie’s tongue is sticking out in concentration as she paints. I’m so glad your preschool anxiety is gone because it sure sounds like your very social little girl is ready to go!
It is great to hear you care so much about you kid to do such depth research on preschool. Your child should have nothing but the best.
I used to teach at kindercare when I was in college. I thought I would just be babysitting since it was called daycare back then, but we had to do lesson plans and long term curriculum and it was a great program. I know teach elementary school but my “most creative lesson plans” award from kindercare still sits on my desk! I loved my time there and adored the students who were in my class. They are all in their 20’a now that I think about it. Omg, I’m old. Annie will adore whatever school you choose, but if you do pick kindercare, she will be in great hands there, I’m sure.
Ugh please ignore my typos. Now, not know, etc. ughhhhhh way to go, teacher! Ha ha. That’s what I get for posting from my phone with a sleeping toddler on me.
My daughter went to KinderCare for almost 6 years. She loved it and so did we.
Our older daughter is 4 and goes to KinderCare in our area. I cannot emphasize how much she has learned in the year since she started (she goes full time). Even though she just turned 4 and won’t go to Kindergarten for a year, they’ve had her in the 4s and 5s class for the past year. She’s enrolled in Phonics and gets one on one time. She learns cute songs to help her remember colors and days of the week. Not to mention that the teachers are great – I love her pre-K teacher so much. She’s so sweet and caring that I’m sad that C is moving up to Junior K next week.
We’d send our younger one there, but it’s really expensive for infants, and I feel she’s better suited in an in-home daycare. But when she’s 2 1/2, we’ll be sending her there too.
We were very happy KinderCare customers from 2001 until my youngest started Kindergarten 4 years ago. All my boys loved it there and we were very happy with all of their teachers, the curriculum, – everything.
Clearly I can’t follow directions. my name is @qcmomma. It won’t let me re enter with the same url
Wish I could participate in the twitter chat, but going to be at a clarinet lesson for oldest…
Both my kids have went to KinderCare (my son is 14). My daughter is just finishing up her schooling there–starts kindergarten in a few weeks. Loved the KinderCare experience and thought they were always coming up with creative ways to help our children learn.
(If I can be put on the list for the Amazon prize, I promise to TRY to tweet at least once! @Delenn25)
You are set!! I hope you can tweet!
Hi Heather! I tried to do the Linky–said I was all set but it isn’t coming up on your list! Just in case I am @AimeeDos –I haven’t been to a twitter party in a WHILE and the best part is –there is a Kindacare in my town that I am looking at because I am going back to the working world!
You are all signed up!!
Momma Lioness Michele says:
I messed up my entry as well – sorry Heather! I am new to twitter parties but will try to participate tonight in yours. Thanks for the chance to win!
Michele, what’s your twitter handle?
Momma Lioness Michele says:
Momma Lioness Michele says:
Oops – missed the twitter party thanks to my 6 year old stalling his bedtime – “but it’s summer Mom” – thank you anyway for trying to help me Heather! Congrats to the winner!