Is the Preschool program a full day or half day?
We are a half day educational preschool and kindergarten for children ages 2 years nine months through age 6. We have Two Day, Three Day, Four Day and Five Day classes. We follow a traditional school year calendar, September through May.
My child turns 4 after the start of the school year. Would she still be enrolled in a 3 year old class?
Five of our preschool classes have mixed age groups, with students three and four year olds, carefully balanced by age and gender. Four other classes are age specific: Kindergarten for five year olds, the Five Year Old Class for children turing five in the summer who need a little more time and also for those turning five in the fall; and theTwo Day Classes for three year olds and those turning three in the fall.
What is your teacher/child ratio?
When fully enrolled, the class sizes and ratios are as follows: (Class sizes may vary, due to demand, but the ratios will remain similar.)
• Two Day Tu/Th AM, Three Day M/W/F AM, Three Day AM T/W/T, Four Day PM, and Five Day AM classes have 20 children with 4 teachers, for a 5/1 ratio.
• Two Day M/F, Three Day PM, and Five Year Old classes has 12 children, for a 6/1 ratio.
• Kindergarten has 20 children, with 3 teachers, for a 7/1 ratio.
• Each class is carefully balanced by age and by gender, as much as possible.
What is the educational philosophy?
Our school philosophy is based in child development theory. Children learn through play; as they engage directly in the many varied activities they have the opportunity to explore, discover and learn. The program teaches to the whole child, covering the cognitive areas, as well as large and fine motor, creative art, dramatic play, social and emotional development. Each child learns on their own timetable, crawling, walking, speaking, learning letters, learning to read, etc. when they are ready. Our school classroom environment provides enriching experiences for many levels. More information can be found on our Educational Philosophy/Curriculum page.
What is the curriculum like?
The Acorn offers developmentally appropriate activities that allow children to explore, discover, and learn in center based classrooms. Materials in the classroom are rotated weekly, so there are new interesting activities offered continually. Our degreed teachers create the daily curriculum under the developmentally appropriate philosophy of the school. They meet with the director weekly to discuss curriculum and the children’s experiences in the classroom. Individual goals are set for each child. Please read our Curriculum page for more information.
What is a typical preschool day schedule like?
Each class offers a well-balanced schedule. A day starts with greeting and play on the playground. After coming inside there is a large group time, featuring story, music, discussion of a particular theme, topic or concept. Then the children have free choice time with the manipulative room, dramatic play and block room, large motor skills room and creative art room available. After a second large group, the children are divided developmentally into small groups for a more directed activity. That could include something to do with a particular theme or concept, cooking, a more directed motor activity, etc. The children then spend the end of their day in activities on the playground, from which they are dismissed.
The teachers have a pre-session to discuss each day, and a post-session after each class to discuss the children and their reaction to the activities offered. Teachers set individual goals for each child to encourage and expand their learning.
What are the hours of operation?
Morning Classes are held from 8:40 - 11:30 A.M. Afternoon Classes are held from 12:40 - 3:30 P.M. Kindergarten class is held from 8:40 - noon three days, and 8:40 - 2 two days a week, adding a 3rd longer day in the second semester. The Acorn follows a traditional school year calendar, from September through May. Normal scheduled holidays include the following:
• Columbus Day
• Thanksgiving week
• Christmas Break
• Martin Luther King Day
• Presidents’ Day
• Spring Break
• Good Friday
• Battle of Flowers Day
Tell me about the afternoon classes and why I would choose that schedule?
Sometimes the thought of sending your child to an afternoon class can catch you off guard, but there are a number of advantages to that schedule.
• Some children are just not morning children; they like to get up and take their time with a more relaxing morning schedule at home. For those who feel rushed waking up, having breakfast, getting dressed, and racing off to be at school by 8:40, the afternoon is a good schedule to consider!
• Children who rise in the morning may have lots of ideas for things to do; it’s in the afternoon when they are looking for activities and sometimes feel bored. An afternoon class will fill that “what can I do now” gap!
• Children really do give up their naps between 2 ½ and 3 ½ years old. Children that are dropping their naps just as school is starting in the fall may fall asleep in their car seat on the ride home from school for a while, but quickly adjust to their new schedule. In our forty years of afternoon classes, only three or four children have had trouble adjusting to an afternoon schedule due to tiredness.
• Families that live father away from The Acorn often prefer afternoon classes, so they don’t have to contend with rush hour traffic.
• Some families seek out an afternoon class, since it fits their schedules so well. And most of the families that go into an afternoon class with some doubts fall in love with the afternoon schedule, because it is so family friendly.
What is your nutrition policy?
All of our snacks are nutritional foods that support our belief in healthy eating habits. We encourage good habits of health and hygiene, and provide a safe environment for the children. Depending on needs of children enrolled, The Acorn may provide a nut-free environment. Nutritious snacks are served, and each child will also have the opportunity to cook about once a week. We have a “no sugar” policy, so snacks could include whole fruit juices, milk, cheeses, crackers, fruits and vegetables, etc. Also, special restrictions may be made as we accommodate particular students with allergies. Complete details are in our Policy Information.
What is your discipline policy?
We handle all our guidance and discipline in a positive manner, and, in fact, are careful to phrase everything positively. We suggest alternate appropriate behaviors, set reasonable limits, and are consistent in enforcing the limits. Our goal is to help our students learn to make good choices, to share, take turns, and problem solve. Consistency is important, and we communicate regularly with parents.
What are the steps a parent must take to enroll their child?
• Call the school office or request information through our website to put your name and information on our Master List. Order for enrollment is based upon the date of your first contact with the school.
• Attend a tour of the school. Tours are offered three times a year, usually in late October or early November, late January or early February, and late April or May. Tours are on a Saturday morning, at 10:00 AM, and usually last approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Tours are for adults only. On the tour, Rich Lange, the head director, along with director Wendy Starnes, will show parents the different interest areas of the school and explain the philosophy and programs in detail.
• Complete an application form and submit an application fee for each child. Fees are $50 for the first application, and $40 per each additional application in the family.
• Call the school in January to inform the school of your continued interest. This is a very important step; with so many families on the list, we rely on you to keep us informed of your plans.
• Enrollment for new families takes place in late January or early February for the following school year beginning in September. On enrollment day, appointments are set throughout the day, based on the date of your original phone call. If a space is available for your child, you will complete an enrollment form and submit an enrollment fee.
When would you recommend a tour?
Tours are scheduled three times a year, each January, late April or early May, and late October or early November. Parents can attend any time before the January their child turns 3. If one is available and the date is good, it is recommended to attend earlier rather than later, so it is not left to the last minute.
If a space becomes available during the school year, a brief personal tour can be arranged. If a family enrolls their child at that time, parents will be required to attend the next available full tour.
What if a space is not available for my child on enrollment day?
Waiting lists are kept by age and gender. Names are placed in the order of the original phone contact with the school. Most changes for the following school year occur in mid-summer, when the first tuition payment is due. At times vacancies are made available during the school year.
Is there parent involvement at The Acorn?
Parents are welcome at any time at The Acorn. Besides driving on field trips, parents can share time in the classroom offering help, sharing hobbies, talents and interests, reading, or helping with activities. Each class has a get to know you picnic at the beginning of the school year, and we have a school wide picnic or similar, usually in the fall. There are also class Thanksgiving events, Fiesta, etc., to which the families are invited. Parents can also assist with office duties, repairs and upkeep, and with our fundraising efforts. As a non-profit school we rely on every family to participate in our annual fundraiser.