Preschool Questions for the East Orlando/UCF/Oviedo Area

Updated on September 08, 2007
R.R. asks from Orlando, FL
10 answers

Hi Moms,
I am doing my research into VPK, Prek. programs and the private school sectors for my daughter who will be going to preschool next year 2008. I know it may seem wierd to some people that I am doing this a year ahead, but I was born a planner. I think I was planning and researching from the time of conception (LOL). Anyway, I need help, this whole looking for schools is quite a learning curve. I am visiting a few schools in the Sept., pertaining to Prek. programs and I would love some tips on what to look for in a PreK. program. I have a list already- VPK questions, phonics, curriculum stuff etc., but would it be dumb of me to ask if the kids get naps, how much free play they have, do they get snacks etc... I do have to find a full day program for my daughter. I am not limiting myself to a private school, I think all schools have the best potential, given they have the right educators with a real love for teaching. Thanks in advance. R.

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P.G.

answers from Orlando on

My son has been in a Montessori program (Maitland Montessori) since he was 3 and it has been wonderful. He's now entering the 4th grade and has excelled in every academic area--testing in the 80th percentile or above in all academic subjects. All of his friends are Montessori kids and they are the nicest, most polite, and engaged children. There is no bullying or teasing at his school and the children possess an innocence that I don't see in many kids today.

I love Montessori. The child is given freedom in the classroom within a structural framework that is designed to help them learn at their own pace. The classroom uses mostly tactile and other sensorial techniques for the younger kids. The child is actively engaged with the materials in the classroom rather than completing worksheets. Also, there is a real focus on resolving conflict peacefully and cooperatively. All of my son's teachers have been gentle and kind. In the preschool the child can nap when he's tired and snack when he's hungry. They have ample play time, even in the older grades.

What I love most about Montessori is that the children are taught how to think rather than what to think. They are taught the concepts before they learn the applications of the concepts. For example, before learning the times tables they have to grasp the concept of multiplication. Before learning how to read they have to grasp the concept of symbols and sounds going together. Basically they go from the concrete to the abstract (which is how their minds develop). I also love that there is absolutely no pressure on the child to learn within a certain timetable. Each child in the classroom is learning at his or her own pace.

The co-founders fo Google credit their early Montessori education for their success. There is a lot of information on the internet about Montessori.

Good luck on finding the right school for your daughter.

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M.

answers from Orlando on

Hi
Not sure where you are but my daughters are 4(5in Oct.) and 2 My four year old started at A kid's Gym in Oviedo. She started in the 3 class and is starting VPK tomorrow. I know you are saying a gym? They believe that the kids learn better with exercise and gymnastics. Their teachers are exuberant and the classes are small. They get lots of one on one attention. My 2 year old starts the 2s class on tuesday. She will be going twice a week ###-###-####. They get a snack which each parent has a day of the month to bring in, then your child is line leader and flag carrier for that day. They get tons of art and letter learning, colors everything you expect in a preschool as well as 2days of free play in the gym and 3 days of coaching. Where they learn to follow patterns and instuctions. Which I have to tell you is totally preparing my almost 5 year old to go to kindergarten next year. They have great christmas and end of the year shows. I can't say enough that I found this little treasure. My kids are learning with no pressure. They love it here. Email me with any questions and go vistit. By the way i do drive 20 minutes to get there and they do have all day programs. Good luck in your search. I visited many schools and even enrolled here in one for a year, until i found this. If you want a family atmosphere with lots of friendly people, where all the staff know your kids names, not just their one teacher. Look into a kid's gym in oviedo. No I don't work for them. LOL Just a really happy parent.

1495 Evans Street
Suite 400
Oviedo, FL 32765
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

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A.L.

answers from Melbourne on

You have a lot of good questions. ou should also ask about the teachers qualifications (have they been through the VPK standards training? When you've narrowed your search visit a few times at different times of day to get a feel for routines and consistency. For more information you could go to www.elcbrevard.com or www.myflorida.com/childcare. I am a preschool director and we have a VPK program. I love when parents have done their homework and have their list of questions. It feels good to be able to give parents the answers they need so don't be afraid to ask anything! Good luck!

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L.S.

answers from Orlando on

Hello R.,
It's a good thing that you are looking ahead of time. I had to make my decision unexpectedly. I was a home childcare provider and wasn't getting paid on time. I need to pay bills and had to work outside the home. I knew exactly what I was looking for, as far as a school for my two children (ages 2 and 4 yrs old). They attend the Fabulous, Union Park Christian School. It's off E. Colonial Drive, between Dean and Rouse Rd. It's a Christian school and has the ABEKA curriculum. Two snacks and nurtious lunch are provided. It also happens to be cheaper (for a full day) than daycare centers that offer VPK. My children loved their first visit and still love it there. I'm so happy with our decision. It's not the most high-tech school, but it's sanitary, safe, educational and loving school. I'm a neat freak, therefore sanitation is a must. This school has met our needs and I highly recommend it to everyone. They take children ages 2 - 5/6 yrs old. You may want to check it out. They also offer FREE parenting classes, which we will be attending this Friday. I can go on and on about the school. It's a keeper.

L.

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L.D.

answers from Gainesville on

In choosing a school for our daughter, starting VPK this year, I went with the school that seemed to have the happiest, most well-behaved kids. It helped that a taught a fitness class at several preschools in our area, so I could see the kids interacting with each other and their teachers on a regular basis. I felt like my daughter would be able to learn the basics (letters, colors, numbers) anywhere, so I was most worried about her learning to respect others and learning positive ways to resolve conflicts. It doesn't necessarily take the most modern curriculum and equipment to teach those basic values. The school we chose is very modest but clean. It has three classes and is run by a church (not of our own faith). Nothing super special visually, but the staff is amazingly caring. The classes are small, and the children are happy and well-adjusted.

L.L.

answers from Fort Myers on

Hi
I am a preschool teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Cape Coral! We have the Abeka (Christian) curriculum intertwined into the state run vpk. We have an awesome school and offer a lot of activities during their day and also a program for before and after school times! Call Trinity and come see me! L. LoSauro

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T.F.

answers from Orlando on

I don't think any of your questions are unusual. It's better to ask now than to assume something and be wrong!

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A.S.

answers from Gainesville on

R.,

I think your questions are right on target. I asked the same and probably more when my son when to Pre-k 2 years ago. My son when to O2B Kids in Gainesville (Hunter's Crossing) and he was also signed up through the VPK program. It reduced my weekly rate about $30. They were very accomodating and their curriculum is geared towards what the children will be exposed to in kindergarten. Danielle was my son's teacher and she was wonderful. I hope this helps.

Good Luck.

A.

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V.

answers from Melbourne on

It's really good that you are checking on this a year ahead of time. I did the same with my daughter. I checked several preschools that were close buy, cause the one she was already in was great but took over 2 hours out of my day to go to and from. I knew she may want to stay where she already had friends, so I included her on the decision to make sure she was comfortable with whatever choice we made. I pre-screened several schools for safety, comfortable environment for kids, good curriculum, safe fun playground,nice atmosphere, camaraderie among the staff and kids, learning materials at the children's level, nap and snack time, flexible schedule, affordable rates and free VPK, secure grounds, and friendly fun atmosphere and curriculum.

There were a few that met these standards that were close buy. I brought Haley with me to visit them again and see what she thought. We were both tied between two for a while. One had naps with quite music playing throughout the whole building, which Haley and I really liked, but the other won out in the end because it really had everything else we were looking for except the quite music throughout the building. The teachers did provide a nap time in the afternoon with the lights dimmed and music playing on a cd player, which was good enough for me and Haley. I made sure I asked her several times if she was sure where she wanted to go cause I really wanted it to be her decision as well, and there were times that she wasn't sure she wanted to leave her old school, but I tried to make that transition as easy as possible.

She is now ready to start Kindergarten, her first day is tomorrow and she is very well prepared. My son is going to the same preschool now and I couldn't be happier. I think it was a very good thing to do a lot of checking early on. You may also want to keep in mind that some of the public schools that offer VPK have full day programs for free if you live in the schools home area, yes I checked public schools as well. The other preschools should offer a good discount for full days if they are under the VPK program, and I found the church based preschools often cost less for better environment and services then other regular preschools.

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J.W.

answers from Orlando on

R. - What I found when I went looking for schools is that you will know which school is the best when you start looking because you will feel a comfort level with one over another. The one I chose for my oldest daughter didn't have the most modern building or the super high tech security system - but it had the most caring staff and I felt comfortable from the moment I walked in. It happened to be one of the least expensive that I looked at just because it did not have all of the bells and whistles, but they had an Abeka curriculm and taught Spanish one day a week so it met my needs. They fed the children a nutritious breakfast and lunch daily so I didn't have to pack a lunch and this also helped me out! My daughter would eat what was served because all of her friends were eating it and this allowed her to try many new things. Another determining factor for us was that the playground had alot of shade. There was a school that we were impressed with curriculm wise - they had alot of creative and imaginative play props but their playground had absolutely no shade. Not something you would think would be a deciding factor - but in Florida a necessity as they go outside for 2 play sessions a day. Make a list of your priorities and good luck!

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