Choosing a Pre-School for Your Child: Come to the Coalition on Race Schools Committee Pre-school Open House

Thanks to Suki & Heather Real Estate for their support of this event!

One of the most important decisions that we make as parents for our young children is selecting a high quality pre-school program. On Monday, November 13, 2017 from 7:00 p.m. till 8:30 p.m., the Schools Committee of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race will sponsor a pre-school open house at the Montrose Early Childhood Education Center, 356 Clark St., South Orange. This event will provide the opportunity for parents to explore many local options in one evening, and to hear a presentation on what to look for in a pre-school. This important presentation will be given by Renée Joyce, Director of the Montrose Early Childhood Center of the South Orange Maplewood School District.
Preschool experiences have a significant impact on our children’s social, emotional, and academic development– all so very critical in this challenging world. The quality of such experiences has the potential to provide advantages (or disadvantages!) that linger on past kindergarten, into later elementary school years. This was reflected in the successful national Headstart Program was created in the 1960’s to address an achievement gap in the early years and to provide readiness for later years. New York City has recently chosen to put its resources into public preschools, and the South Orange/Maplewood public schools now have the Montrose Early Childhood Education Center.
In Maplewood, South Orange, and the surrounding communities, we have many childcare and early education providers who are caring for and educating our young children. The programs in these pre-schools and day care settings vary greatly in their approaches to childcare and to early education.
We all want our children to achieve in school. We are concerned about their social and emotional well-being. We want them to develop a disposition for enjoying learning. General language and knowledge development are hallmarks of early pre-academic development. High quality programs work with families in this spirit. The National Association for the Education of Young Children, the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children, supports play-based learning with limited direct literacy instruction, since this approach appears to be the most effective in helping children develop an eagerness to participate actively in their own learning.
As we consider what is best for our children, use this opportunity at our Preschool Open House to look beyond the marketing materials. Ask questions and arrange a visit to the early childhood environments. The National Association for the Education of Young Children suggests the following:

Make sure the provider focuses on children.
Notice how separation between child and parent is handled.
Watch to see the interaction of children with other children and adults.
Ask how long teachers and staff have been with the program.
Ask how information and concerns are communicated to families.
Ask about child to teacher ratio.

Come to the pre-school open house on Monday, November 13, 2017 for a look at many of our local pre-schools and day care providers with tables of information and people to answer your questions. As you see the many alternatives for your child’s school or care giver, think about the quality of the child’s preparation for future schooling experience– and think about your child’s happiness, well-being, and general progress.

Lisa Novemsky, Ed.D., a long-time member of the South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race Schools Committee and recently retired from the faculty of Education at Brooklyn College, is a resident of Maplewood. Her children attended and grandchildren currently attend the South Orange Maplewood School system.

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