|Berkeley Parents Network|
|Home||Members||Post a Msg||Reviews||Advice||Subscribe||Help/FAQ||What's New|
Based upon the visits I made to pre-k programs a year ago, the main difference between a pre-k program and regular pre-school(assuming the pre-school is a developmental, free play oriented school) is that the pre-k's are more structured timewise, (circle time, readingtime, free play time, "centers" time) spend more time on "academics" (alphabet, math manipulatives,some phonics, etc.) and assigned projects to improve fine motor skills (cutting, pasting,writing). If your child's pre-school already does some of this, there is probably no reason to switch to a pre-k program. Generally speaking, I found the pre-K programs attached to pre-schools to be very much like preschool, while the pre-k programs attached to elementary schools, RedwoodDay and one in Moraga whose name I can't recall, to be more "academic". The Moraga school in particular had a very structured routine, with flashcards and worksheets to be done daily.
We chose to send our son to a pre-k program because he has a late September birthday and we felt he needed to mature for another year before enrolling him in kindergarten. He had also been at his preschool (a totally developmentally oriented, play based school) since he was two and felt that he needed some new and different stimulation. Although we and he loved his pre-school, we felt that he had "done it all" there and would probably be bored if we continued for one more year.
We enrolled our son at Redwood Day's Junior Kindergarten program because it seemed like a good balance between the two kinds of pre-k programs. Lots of stimulating academics, but presented in a fun way and also a lot of "free choice" time and outdoor time. Unfortunately, this school has been a terrible "fit" for my son and our family. Although their program is a good balance between academics and play and the environment, materials, and curriculum are rich and stimulating, the school culture is extremely rigid and bureaucratic. Also, the JK teacher, although very competent in presenting the curriculum and providing stimulating and varied activities, is quite cold and critical. Although I admittedly have a very spirited and challenging child who tests every limit to the max and can push anyone's buttons, the parents of many of the other JK students feel the same way. Although my child has greatly enjoyed and benefitted from the academics at the school, he has had a difficult time socially and emotionally. I would avoid it if you have a "spirited" child, an extremely bright child, or a child that needs extra help.
A few notes re other pre-k's: The other pre-k I visited was at Heart's Leap School. I didn't care for the director or the teacher but you might feel differently.
I'd like to recommend Step One's bridge kindergarten program. Our daughter, with an October birthday, had a wonderful year there between preschool and kindergarten at Jefferson (in Berkeley). Great teachers (Marla and Gigi), nice school culture, and everyone in the class seemed to be really happy, learning, and enjoying themselves. It was a great decision for our October girl.
|Home | Post a Message | Subscribe | Help | Search | Contact Us|