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Preschool Discussion Panel Notes

November 22, 2017

Earlier this month, we held a Preschool Discussion Panel. Below you will see information on all of the preschools that attended our panel, as well as their contact information, thoughts from parents, and any discounts to these preschools if offered. A huge thank you to the preschools that attended and shared valuable information to members that attended our event!

 

 

 

Compare Notes

Parents may compare notes, pricing, and contact parents of children who attend the school. [If you would like to view this spreadsheet, please email vicepresidents@geminicrickets.org.] Parents may contribute information about their own school or notes they take on school visits to share with others.

 

Education for Toddlers at Home

Want some educational ideas, but your kids are not ready for school yet?  Here are some ideas on home educational playdates.  

 

Searching for a School

 

Questions/steps in searching for a preschool

  1. What is your family philosophy?

  2. What is your approach to discipline?

  3. What are important health and safety measures taken at the school?

  4. What is your vision for your child?

  5. Trust your instincts and the feeling you get when you first visit the school.

  6. Ask how multiples are treated.  

  7. Ensure the school will be a good fit for all of your multiples.  

  8. Get to know the teachers.

  9. Talk to other parents whose children attend that school (especially POMs—see directory for contact info)

  10. What hours do you need?

  11. What is your budget?

  12. Ask about sibling or multiples discounts.

  13. Ask about your obligations as a parent of multiples at the school.  Will you be expected to volunteer twice as much for twins?

 

 

 

Info From Our Q&A Panel

Five schools representing various educational philosophies participated in a Q&A panel for our members.  By no means were all of the possible categories of schools represented, but it gave attendees a good idea of some of the different aspects of these types of schools and what types of questions to ask when searching for the perfect preschool for your family.

 

 

San Jose State University

 

Location/Contact Info:

San Jose State University
One Washington Square,San Jose, CA 95192

Sweeney Hall room is 117 J and the Preschool Program is CCB 117 (campus map)

Email: toni.campbell@sjsu.edu
Phone:  408-924-3725

Application and Instructions:  http://www.sjsu.edu/chad/docs/Application-%20CD%20Lab%20Preschool%20v5.06.15.pdf

http://www.sjsu.edu/chad/studentresources/chad-preschool/index.html

 

Notes from Preschool Panel:

-School is only in session when San Jose State is in session during the semester.

-Hours are:  

-Toddlers - Mon and Wed 9-11 a.m.

-Preschool – Mon-Thurs 9-11:30 a.m. or 12:30-3:00 p.m.

-It is a lab for students at San Jose State who are studying child development.

-Potty training is not required and they don’t do actual potty training there because hours are so limited.

-Play-based.

-There is an observation room with two-way mirror windows so parents can watch without their children seeing them, or they may leave the site.  

-There is usually a short waiting list and new children are admitted throughout the year.

 

Hear from a parent:

“SJSU's Child Development Lab was the perfect "toe dip" into preschool for my 2-year-old twins.  The short day (9-11am) was plenty for them at that age and helped build their confidence around other adults and children.  The program is play-based and focuses on helping the kids develop important social skills in a low-pressure, fun environment.  The best part is the classroom is staffed by child development students who are full of energy and excitement for teaching.  SJSU also offers a slightly longer preschool program (9-11:30) for children 3 and older.”

-Katie Schneider, mom to Maddie and Ella (2 years)

 

 

Centro Armonia Preschool

 

Location/Contact Info:

Santa Teresa Address:  196 Martinvale Ln, San Jose, CA  95119

Phone:  408-609-3383

Campbell Address:  531 Rincon Ave., Campbell, CA 95008

Phone: 408-866-2585

https://www.facebook.com/CentroSantaTeresa/

www.armoniapreschool.com

 

Notes from Preschool Panel:

-Two locations—Campbell and Santa Teresa

-100% Spanish language immersion school.  Teachers teach lessons and speak to children only in Spanish throughout the day.  

-Children may attend Centro Armonia through kindergarten.

-Children are not required to be potty trained.

-There is no additional charge for children who are not potty trained.

-Positive discipline is practiced.

-Play-based.

-Summer camps and after-school programs are also available.

 

Hear from a parent:

“We found Centro Armonia, a Spanish immersion preschool in the south side San Jose. What I love about this preschool is that from moment our twins walk in to the preschool, teachers, teacher’s aids and all staff members speak mainly Spanish.  The teachers and staff are bilingual, caring, nurturing and very welcoming to all the children.  After two months attending, I was impressed on how much Spanish they learned and saw growth in both maturity and social skills.  As working parents we are so thankful to the teachers and staff for the love they pour to our children to educate and care for them while we work.  We feel very confident that we made the right choice when we see how excited our twins love attending Centro Armonia.”

-Karen Belnas, mom to Jayden (4) and Brayden (4)

 

Discounts:  

10% discount for sibling

 

 

Bright Star Christian Academy

 

Location/Contact Info:

Address: 1513 Kooser Dr,  San Jose, CA 95118

Phone: 408-266-7600

https://www.facebook.com/brightstarca

https://www.facebook.com/brightstarcapreschool

http://brightstarchristianacademy.org

 

Notes from Preschool Panel:

-Brightstar is a faith-based Christian preschool with an after-school program for older children.

-A majority of the children’s day is spent outdoors in a large outdoor facility.

-There are 3 different age/skill levels.  2-3 year olds, 3-4 year olds, and 4 year old pre-K.  Children may move to the next level whenever they’re ready at different times throughout the year.  

-Brightstar is green school, using non-toxic cleaning products and pest control, practicing composting, recycling and encouraging families to pack lunches in reusable containers.

- A combination of self-directed and teacher-directed experiences are used, recognizing that young children learn fundamentally differently than older children, and that play constitutes a deeper form of learning.

-The Bible will be taught as an integrative part of the curriculum, and biblical principles are applied in daily interaction with the children.

-Brightstar has observed that personalities of multiples differ and there is often a more shy sibling.  They engage in constant dialog with parents and often make a deliberate decision to move one twin up a level slightly before the other to allow them space and time to develop more confidence.  

-Families interested in Brightstar can schedule a tour and a playdate where their children may try out the classroom environment.

-Potty training is not required.

-Play-based.

-Philosophy for potty-training is repetition.  Children are asked to go to the potty between almost every activity, creating a routine.

 

Hear from a parent:

“At Brightstar, my children have not only learned so much academically and socially, they have begun to learn about and develop their own spirituality and a love for nature.  The school's day is ideally structured so that kids can still be kids, while they make their own choices between their favorite types of activities to learn science, letters, numbers, different cultures, cooking, nutrition, art, bible stories, music, and physical movement--much of it outdoors.  The school helped tremendously in potty-training and has always been super flexible with changes on our end. The teachers and staff model caring behavior, positive discipline, and healthy decision making, which shows in my childrens' interactions with others.  They also foster the development of each of my twins as individuals. “

-Karla Holmes, mom to Alex (2), Hanna (4), and Anika (4)

 

Discounts:  

10% discount for sibling

 

 

Primrose Willow Glen

 

Location/Contact Info:

Address:  1496 Hamilton Ave, San Jose, CA 95125

Phone: (669) 273-6169

https://facebook.com/primrosewillowglen

www.primrosewillowglen.com

 

Notes from Preschool Panel:

-Hours are Mon-Fri, 6:30AM-6:30PM

-Educational-based school encompassing various teaching philosophies.

-New school

-Heavy emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)

-Offers learning about technology for preschool

-Year-round school.

-Prospective students may spend a day at the school to try it out.

-Ages 3 months-5 years.

-Potty-training not required, but to move to preschool level, children must be potty-trained.

-Daily reports of lesson plans, what children ate, bathroom/diaper activity, and photos are offered on the school’s portal throughout the day.

-Songs from the music lessons may be downloaded so that parents can play music at home as well.

-The school will eventually have higher grade levels.

-Extended hours are available.

 

Hear from a parent:

“My 27-month-old twin boys have been attending Primrose Willow Glen since the day it opened in June 2017 - first in the Toddler room and now in one of the Early Preschool rooms.  They love the teachers, the staff, and the director (who they call Mr. Jackie) so much!  Having caring and educated instructors was very important to me in my preschool search, as was a stimulating curriculum.  My boys are very active and need a lot of different activities, or they get bored.  Primrose has a set curriculum, which I liked, and it is based on STEAM principles and is research-based.  I like that their educational approach takes the best parts of many philosophies, and that they are constantly evaluating to make sure that things are working well.  My boys love the art projects, sensory play, and especially the physical play (they get lots of outside time in the beautiful new playground that is attached to the classroom).  If anyone has questions about the school or our experience there, I'm happy to talk to anyone about Primrose!”  

-Sheila Collins, Mom to Theo (2) and Alex (2)

 

Discounts:

Please use code PrimGemini17, to receive special discounts.

 

 

Mulberry School

 

Location/Contact Info:

Address: 220 Belgatos Road, Los Gatos, California 95032

Phone: (408) 358-9080

Fax: (408) 358-9082

Business Hours: 8am-3:30pm M-F

https://www.facebook.com/MulberrySchoolLosGatos/

https://mulberry.org/

 

Notes from Preschool Panel:

-Mulberry is a parent participation school, meaning parents must volunteer to help in the classroom on a regular basis.  If both parents work, grandparents or helpers may substitute for them in the classroom or other duties may be done after school hours, such as taking home school laundry.  

-On a given day, there will be 4 teachers and 6-8 parents in the classroom.  

-For families with twins, parent participation is on a per-family basis—not a per-child basis, as it used to be. (Parents don’t have to do twice as much participation if they have twins, but only the amount a parent of a singleton would do).

-Mulberry has a large outdoor area as well as many indoor areas.

-It is a multi-age environment with different preschool ages mixed together throughout the day.  There are no different “levels” that kids move through during preschool.

-Mulberry is a positive discipline school and a very specific philosophy by Dr. Jane Nelson is followed (https://www.positivediscipline.com).

-Parents are educated about their childrens’ phases of development and how to work with them.

Play-based.

-Home visits by teachers are available, so teachers can get to know the children in an environment where they’re comfortable.  

-Hours are 9 am- 4:30 pm for preschool (ages 2-5 yrs).  No extended care is offered yet.  

-Children may attend Mulberry through middle school now.

-Children are not required to be potty-trained to attend.

-Potty learning is child-led.  If the child does not want to sit on the potty, they are not forced to do so.  They may go when they are ready.

-Prospective students’ families may attend “shadow days” to try the school out.  

 

Hear from a parent:

“We love Mulberry preschool. It's a parent participation school, so I can still be in a part of my children's school life once a week, and give them space without me around on other days. Mulberry is all play-base, and strive on positive discipline. As a parent, I love that I get to learn how to resolve conflicts and tensions with children using the positive discipline methods. My children learnt many useful lessons through play and practice, be it in a real working kitchen where they use kids knife to cut up food and pouring water into their own cups and doing dishes afterwards, or exploring nature in the biggest preschool yard that I've ever seen, to asking for a turn to play with a toy, and checking in with a friend who got hurt. Also, I highly recommend this school for the flexibility on days to attend, or having grandparents or nannies to participate on working school days.”

-Florence Woo-Prives, mom to Olivia (3) and Amelia (3)

 

For more info, or to talk to these parents directly about their experiences, please email vicepresidents@geminicrickets.org.

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