Prospective parents considering VCS rightfully have many questions about the Classical curriculum, how the collaborative model works on campus, and what to expect on home days. We have also found that many are curious about the Pre-K program and wonder if it would be a good fit for their child. Below, several Pre-K families share about their experience at VCS, and answer some of our most-asked questions.
There are many options for preschool. Why did you choose VCS?
Sammi L. : For us, we absolutely love the classical education model! We plan to continue that model throughout our children's educational careers and so it makes sense to start as early as we can! I'm so glad that my child is one of nine in a classroom rather than one in a sea of children's faces. The kids all know one another and their teacher knows them.
Lucy B. : There was no question where we would send our daughters. VCS provides the spiritual and character development that we have hoped for, and the "lightbulb" moments have been wonderful to watch. She has learned ~55 verses already this school year, and so many of the memorized catechism questions/answers are applicable for even a 4-year-old. I love having the opportunity to teach, watch her learn, and be a part of her education already in Pre-K.
Erin Y. : We've always wanted to homeschool our children, but when VCS opened, we loved the collaborative model, and we saw it as an opportunity for our children both to grow in maturity by learning from other adults and to make new friends with others who homeschool like us.
What is your child's favorite thing about PreK?
Sammi L. : My son loves the tactile approaches to math - geoboards and using shapes for patterns.
Lucy B. : Definitely the crafts. On campus and home days, it's her favorite part. When she can be in a room surrounded by her peers doing CRAFTS....she is beside herself! We all enjoy the curriculum "sharing", and at home, we sometimes even repeat the crafts. PE class with Mrs. Kirstan is outstanding. She's energetic and fun, and our daughters both love the creative games she comes up with that really mean ... exercise!
Erin Y. : My son loves spending time with the other children and teachers. His favorite things are recess and PE.
Would you share a little about the teacher/co-teacher relationship you've experienced at VCS?
Sammi L. : Mrs. Anderson has been wonderful! Our son started out slowly, struggling to adapt to a classroom setting. Mrs. Anderson was in communication with us constantly about his progress even going so far as to send a weekly email update for him so that we could all do what it took to help him succeed.
Lucy B. : From the very start, I knew that our campus teachers were praying for our children. It is so comforting knowing that the people that we drop off our daughters with love Jesus even more than our children. We haven't had our children in an educational environment up to this point. I feel very comfortable emailing the campus teachers about anything, even about things/behaviors happening at home that may or may not be seen at school. They are quick to respond, and I really appreciate the guidance about home day homework or such. It is sometimes easy to think of myself as just the mom, homework nagger, etc. But everything I do helps our daughters succeed on campus days. So we really are co-teaching with our campus teachers.
Erin Y. : Mrs. Anderson has been amazing. She has been very helpful at giving me a vision for what Pre-K should look like and what I should expect from a four-year-old. Any time I have a question, she quickly responds to my emails.
What are home days like for you?
Sammi L. : Home days are some of my most and least favorite times. It's a challenge and a delight to be the person responsible for educating a child. But whenever I'm able to see the light bulb go off or to witness him complete a new task successfully, I get to share in his joy first-hand.
Lucy B. : Fun, challenging, easy, relaxing, crazy, enjoyable. :) Pre-K is often easy to incorporate into our daily lives because so much of the curriculum is stuff we already do. Read, crafts, Bible time, music, etc. Most challenges come from her sibling's school work - more involved work to do each home day. So if I don't focus on the Kinder work first, then it makes things difficult later in the afternoon. Our Pre-K daughter does a great job working on the Kinder worksheets for fun while I'm working with the Kinder student. Or she'll work in her Alphabet and Numbers book mentioned in the lesson plan. We also come up with fun ways to review/learn some of the skills.The other two sisters participate and enjoy the activities also. Plus, always fun to have recess and PE time at home. One warm day last fall, we even had "recess" and "PE" in the baby pool in the back yard.
Erin Y. : We usually review phonograms, the abacus, and the numbers learned that week, and we always read the World Discovery book for that week. This is one of my son's favorite activities. We often also do the optional worksheets for the letter and number learned that week. We try to keep it short and interesting so I can maintain his attention.
In what ways has PreK challenged your child? In what areas have you seen your child grow?
Sammi L. : I've seen Marshall grow in his ability to interact with others and also in his ability to understand social norms. All the while learning in a safe and positive environment where his peers and the VCS community cheer him on and celebrate his wonderful personality.
Lucy B. : Our daughter has grown in her compassion towards others. Already a very tender, generous girl, but she has expanded that in so many ways. As parents, we care much more about her love for and knowledge of God than educational success. That being said, academically, she has soared these months. VCS has made it possible for her to learn beyond what she's expected to, and it's much more than I could've independently provided her to at home.
Erin Y. : My son has really grown in his confidence and ability to communicate with others. He has also really grown in his ability to recognize letters and to begin writing them on his own.
What advice would you share for a family considering VCS PreK for their child?
Sammi L. : If you are lucky enough to be able to participate in the VCS community, it is certainly worthwhile to check it out! There is so much joy in being an integral part of your child's education and the bonds of your family will only strengthen as your children learn elements of academia while simultaneously learning depth of character and a love for the Lord.
Lucy B. : Pray for discernment about the decision. Ask to meet with some VCS families to ask questions similar to these. If you decide yes, pour into it - get involved, serve when you can, get to know the other co-teachers/families, and even though some of the Pre-K may only be recommended, try to do as much as possible because it's helping the children/campus teacher with everything you do. It is worth it.
Erin Y. : VCS PreK is an excellent place for your child to get their first taste of school, to learn what it will be like in the classroom, and to begin making new friends in a safe environment without having a huge amount of work for that age level. In a nutshell, VCS PreK makes learning fun and playful, while teaching them how to interact with both children and adults alike.
We hope this helped provide insight into the Pre-K program here at Valley Classical School. If you’d like to know more, we encourage you to attend an Info Meeting or our upcoming School Tour! You can find more information on those events here.