Please take a peek at my parent handbook by clicking on the link above, as it contains more specifics about the preschool. Thank you for your interest in The Learning Lodge!
Q: Is Preschool really necessary? What are the biggest benefits?
A: Preschool is certainly not mandatory in the state of Montana, but most elementary schools recommend that children have at least some preschool before entering Kindergarten. The reason is that at this developmental level, socialization skills are equally as important, if not more important than academic readiness. There are some social skills that simply cannot be learned at home, even if the child has several siblings, cousins, etc. that they interact with regularly. Sharing with numerous children, cooperating within a group, working on a task independently, and respecting and listening to an adult other than the child’s parent are all very important skills that will be learned in preschool. Along with socialization skills, students at The Learning Lodge should expect make significant academic progress by the end of the year, including: learning and reading alphabet sounds, blending sounds together to read short words, counting (up to 100), name writing, knowledge of the world and it’s continents, learning about and studying animals, learning about and studying plants, addition, and subtraction just to name a few. Some students who progress quickly may be able to read short sentences, and thus short, decodable books by the end of the year. In Kindergarten, it will be an expectation to be able to read, therefore pre-reading skills are imperative for a preschool age child. We have to remember that when WE were young children, Kindergarten helped prepare us for school. Now, Kindergarten IS school. The bar continues to rise as far as eductional standards go, and children need to be prepared for that. I am dedicated to helping children reach their full potential, both socially and academically.
Q: Is 4 days a week going to be too much for my child? Most programs are only 2 or 3 days a week.
A: I have learned from my experience in teaching preschool, that a typical 3 or 4 year old is very capable of attending school for 4 days in a row, as long as the time is kept to 3 or 4 hours a day, breaks are given, snacks are offered, and activities are changed about every 20 to 30 minutes. Most children love being at school, and a 4 day week gives them an opportunity to experience a consistent schedule, much like the one they will encounter in Kindergarten. Also, more time with their teacher and classmates gives them the chance to better form bonds and make friendships, and get used to being away from their parents for a more significant amount of time. If a child is going to be attending Kindergarten the following year, I don’t believe that going to preschool only a couple times per week is going to prepare them as well for the schedule that they are guaranteed to have. I also understand that they ARE still young children, and there needs to be a balance of work and fun. That is why I have made Thursdays a more hands-on, “discovery” day at The Learning Lodge, so that we can all end our school week on a fun, exciting note that is also more laid back.
Q: I have seen preschools that are both less expensive and much more expensive than The Learning Lodge. How did you determine your pricing?
A: I researched all the preschools in the area, and found that there are some as inexpensive as about $100 a month, and some as expensive as around $400 month. My advice for parents would be to do the same, and research several preschools before you chose one. The cheaper programs were for fewer days per week, and less hours per day, or were usually in a “drop-in” setting. The very expensive ones were usually schools that followed a particular methodology, such as Montessori schools. I love Montessori materials and include them in my curriculum, however, I am not a certified Montessori teacher, so I do not label my school as “Montessori”. I do hold a degree in Education and also Special Education. My 7 years of teaching experience have been invaluable to me, and have helped me in developing my teaching and discipline styles, and also helped me to realize that organization, patience, and understanding are vital in education. I have been a teacher in a Montessori school, and have learned how to teach the Montessori materials that I will include in my curriculum. I came up with a fee that I felt was average for preschool prices in Billings. Many preschools don’t employ certified teachers, and many are in a daycare setting, which can be more unstructured for children. Keep in mind what is important to you for your child’s first educational experience. I realize that private education is a financial investment for a family, and want to keep tuition costs as reasonable as possible, while also meeting the fiscal responsibilties of the school and providing the best curriculum and experiences possible for your child.