Daycare Vs Preschool


This past week I have had a few situations which have forced me to make some decisions that might not be well received by some stakeholders. I think of myself as a reflective practitioner: I constantly think about and analyzing the "whys" behind what I choose as far as the administration of KCA. Today, I can sum up my big moments last week with the difference between daycare and preschool.  

When Jonella and I purchased Kid City, it was named, "Kid City Daycare and Preschool". After we got our feet wet (and nearly drowned!) we determined that we needed a name to reflect the vision we had for this entity. I remember suggesting "Academy" as an option. Jonella questioned if this change in name would reflect what we were trying to convey to the community. Our vision was to be a school in which families could trust to educate their children academically, socially, and emotionally. We have never wanted to be a replacement for the parent, but want to partner with the parent in the early educational journey. Although the entity we purchased has several technical issues regarding state guidelines, we took our focus to the educational aspect: we wanted to focus on what children learn; how children; and opportunities for this learning. Over time, all the other aspects of state regulation took care of themselves. The children under our care in this Academy became students who were exceeding their parents' expectations. As time moved forward, we worked as teams of teachers to identify assessments to best measure student growth. We looked deeper into what is developmentally appropriate for our students and adopted Bucket Filling as our social emotional/ discipline plan. Over the course of time, we believe that we have created the Premier Preschool Experience for Johnson and Surrounding Counties.  

In my exploration to ensure that our rates continued to be reasonable, I learned that most of the preschools in our surrounding areas use packaged curriculum that is created off site. Their schools are franchises or corporately owned where the curriculum is created for all the centers and then distributed for the local teachers to implement. Please know that this type of creation is a strategy for teaching and learning and I am not criticizing this practice. I am merely pointing out that our teachers are creating their own curriculum that is founded on Indiana Academic Foundations to match our school weekly themes. This is a personalization for your students and targets the learning objectives we see in our classrooms.  

This week, I toured a family who thought we might be part of the Kid City USA franchise. Yes, this group has popped up in our surrounding areas and unfortunately due to their sheer numbers, some are viewing them as us and vice versa. Know that we are not part of that group and we are the original Academy. I was approached by another couple who wanted stable care for an infant. She had been on the waitlist for quite some time, but upon our sitdown, she was not interested in continuity of care, but rather only interested in the short term till a grandmother could watch on a more permanent basis. I explained that we are a school with a continuity of care, not interested in the short term. Yes, I know, that is a tuition check for us, but Jonella and I have never taken families in the short term; we know that continuity of care is key to long term growth and understanding of foundational concepts for the construct of schema. This includes those that wish to transfer to Cub Academy. Jonella and I recognize(d) that some parents want their children in the "big" school, but know that their model of instruction is far different than ours. This change in how to "construct" understanding will create a lateral move that takes time for the learner to make connections, rather than an upward movement of core understanding of concepts. KCA is not a holding zone for children to be potty-trained, then move on; that is simply not fair to the learner nor the remainder of our students.    

Please know that we are not those who wish to have short term relationships, nor are we interested in simply "caring" for your child. What we offer is so much more than that. We welcome academic conversations. We welcome social/emotional conversations. We are working to ensure that our students are prepared for their further adventure in education. Note: I said "further" not start to education. KCA lays the foundation through preschool education that lasts a lifetime.

So I ask.....are we a daycare or a school? If you believe the answer is school, then let's use that language for our learners to show them that we believe in education and acknowledge their personal achievements in this amazing adventure.  



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