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Old 06-21-2014, 03:23 AM
 
3 posts, read 10,853 times
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Hello,

We've lived in McKinney for just over a year now, our daughter was born June 28th, 2012 which means she will be 2 yrs old and about a week. We're wanting to put her into a pre-school to get her more socialization and an early start on academics.

I, Dad, normally watch her most days while my wife works. I go to College on my wife's days off (never finished school when I was younger, so trying to finish now so that we can have a better life in the future). My wife is Chinese and we're raising our daughter to be bilingual in both English and Chinese. She understands what we tell her in both languages, and can count to 10 in both languages as well. We'd love for her to be around some other mixed, or Asian kids, but it's not a requirement.

We live on Virginia Pkwy between Stonebridge and Ridge.

We've toured the following facilities and I'll include my thoughts, I'd love to hear other people's opinions and recommendations on pre-schools around the area:

1) Xplor - Address: 3153 S Stonebridge Dr, McKinney, TX 75070 - I liked the facility, the staff seems nice as well, but at the time that we toured I wasn't able to see how the teacher was in the classroom as they were outside doing their "splash time". One concern, they brought the kids wet back into the classroom where the AC was on, and some of the kids were shivering and cold. We left shortly after that, so I was unable to see the results of that incident. I don't recall the tour guide stating they did any sort of nature activities (gardening, touching soil, plants, etc) which is something I'd like my baby to enjoy. I'm also not too thrilled with the menu (for that week) that I requested serving things like: Cheese Pizza, Salad w/ Ranch, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Chicken Nuggets. Many of which sound processed and not entirely healthy.

2) Children's Lighthouse - Address: 4095 Eldorado Pkwy, McKinney, TX 75070 - This place was recommended by one of my wife's employees as they have their son there. Upon touring the facility we quickly marked it off our list. The place seemed dirty, one of the rooms smelled like urine, the kids that were outside for play time looked unhappy just clinching the fence and standing there. Wasn't impressed.

3) The Prep - Address: 5317 W University Dr, McKinney, TX 75071 - I went and toured this facility on my own. The facility is really nice, but that's easy when it was only opened Nov. 2013. They seem to have an air of arrogance about them though. One phrase that was repeated multiple times was "We think we are the best of the best and we know what kind of customers we want." Fairly new company, about 2 years old out of Austin, TX. Run by 4 people, one of which builds medical buildings (like all the ones around this pre-school). Another works for homeland security and does FBI background checks on their employees, and constantly visits. Teachers from 2 yrs old and up all have 4-year degrees. Hospital grade air ventilation system, front facing diaper changing station in the classrooms so the teacher doesn't have to turn their back, ventilation system to take the smell of the diapers out. Has a small splash park (not just a lawn sprinkler). Say they are green some examples include using plates that they wash. I asked if they captured the water from the splash park and they said they didn't because they were too far along in construction to fit the water tank underground. Wasn't too happy about that since we're often in lvl 3 draughts. They did say it was on a timer though (15 mins). Like that they send pictures of your child throughout the day to your email. Uniform required (really?), has a tech room w/ a white board, ipads, and a gym w/ a basketball court. Really has a lot going for it, but I didn't like the arrogance, the required uniform, saying their green but not capturing that water, and it's really expensive. Also not impressed w/ the menu: Steak fingers, cheese pizza, beefaroni. Also, even though it was opened in November of 2013, the fingerprint reader to open the door wasn't working, and in the parent's area the TV screen to view the cameras in the classroom had an error prompt over the top of it. Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence if they can't keep these basic things working in such a short amount of time.

4) Primrose of Stone Brooke - Address: 5651 Virginia Pkwy, McKinney, TX 75071 - Also went to this place on my own. It's really close to our home and our daughter's pediatrician. I liked how caring the staff were, but the building is quite old and pretty small overall. I noticed that some of the circle rugs had stains on them and inquired about them. The guide said they had just switched cleaning vendors so they may have missed a cycle and all of their rugs were looking pretty rough so she needed to get on top of it. I appreciated the honesty, but it is a slight concern. The kids seemed really happy, smiling and having a good time. Teachers are young, meaning most are not holders of 4 yr degrees but receive ongoing training and are CPR certified. The cook was cooking and my gosh the food smelled so good - it was making me hungry and I had just eaten! I like that they use sensory activities like bringing in plants for the kids to touch and the soil, as well as gardening. Seems to be academically driven with lots of extra curricular activities. Wish the facility was a little bit more modern though.

I have a tour scheduled for Monday to see the El Dorado location of Primrose, which I'm excited for.

I just found a new place called "The Learning Experience" Address: S Ridge Rd, McKinney, TX 75070 - I think I've seen the sign where it's being built (mentally picturing it), but it's hard to find any reviews. Reviews from other states (like NJ) aren't so hot but that may not mean anything. Their website (the video specifically) seems like a mix of 'The Prep' and 'Primrose' which I think is a good thing.

I can't seem to work out a date to tour 'Daffodils Preschool 'A Progressive Montessori' Address: 4901 Arroyo Tr, McKinney, TX 75070 - The times that I have available they aren't, and vice versa.

Castle Montessori is really close to me, but they have an open house tomorrow which I'm unable to attend. Also reviews online are mixed.

Wonderland Montessori never got back to me.

Apple Creek I think is too far away.

Heritage Learning Center - Address: 200 Jordan Rd, McKinney, TX 75070 - seems nice by their website, but there is a fairly recent review on Google reviews saying that they LOST a mother's son. The reviewer, Tiffany claims:

Quote:
HERITAGE LOST MY SON: My son, a 3 1/2 yr old toddler was enrolled at Heritage Learning Center off of Jordan Road in McKinney. On Tuesday, June 3, 2014, the Director of the learning center left him alone in her office. She did not notify anyone that she was leaving. After she left him, he opened her office door, walked through the lobby and out of the front (and unlocked) door. He ran across Jordan Road and into a bank parking lot before he knocked on the bank door asking for his "Mom and Dad." I don't know exactly how long it was that he was missing (2 minutes or 10)...or how long it took for Heritage to know that he had easily walked out the front door and was gone.
That's pretty alarming, even if it's half-true.

The Goddard School of McKinney - Address: 3952 S Ridge Rd, McKinney, TX 75070 - I haven't contacted also due to a bad review claiming that they observed the kids (both boys and girls) in a line w/ their underwear down waiting for the bathroom. I can't seem to find this review again, so it was either taken down or I'm mis-remembering it.

Just read about Joyous Montessori, might check them out - thoughts on them?

Trying to stay away from Church run pre-schools.

Thanks
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:25 AM
 
12,199 posts, read 23,114,652 times
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I can't speak to any of the facilities you toured; they all sound like basic daycare facilities vs a true preschool environment with the exception of Primrose....I would just encourage you to not rule out all church-run preschools on principle alone. An appropriate amount of preschool is considered 1 half-day per week for every year old the child is....therefore, a 2 year old should be in a 2 day a week (half day) program, not a 5 day, full time program.

Many area churches do a very good job with these kinds of traditional preschool programs and you don't have to worry about them "indoctrinating" your child if you are of another faith or no faith. Yes, your child will have some religious based activities but the majority of the program is crafts, music, nature, basic intro academics & getting used to school, and play. I live in Dallas so can't recommend any close to you, but the church run preschools around here have an excellet, decades-long track record of preparing kids for admissions to top private schools and well as top public districts like HP.
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:33 PM
 
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Even Primrose is really a day care, though they do sell their school as more of a preschool experience and people are generally pleased with the chain. It sounds like you may be open to Montessori. Check out Good Shepherd Montessori. Although it has been many years, my now college age daughter still is nostalgic for her experiences there when she was 4 and 5. The school let her move through the curriculum at her own pace. When we moved and she entered a more conventional school, she was significantly ahead of the other kids in first grade -- able to read fluently at a third or fourth grade level and multiply and divide. (Obviously since it has been many years, I cannot speak to whether the school has maintained its high standards.)
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:13 PM
 
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I have friends who are happy with Star Creek Montessori. It may be a little too far from you though. It's just south of 121 on Watters Road (Watters changes names to Lake Forest north of 121).
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMS_Parent View Post
Even Primrose is really a day care, though they do sell their school as more of a preschool experience and people are generally pleased with the chain. It sounds like you may be open to Montessori. Check out Good Shepherd Montessori. Although it has been many years, my now college age daughter still is nostalgic for her experiences there when she was 4 and 5. The school let her move through the curriculum at her own pace. When we moved and she entered a more conventional school, she was significantly ahead of the other kids in first grade -- able to read fluently at a third or fourth grade level and multiply and divide. (Obviously since it has been many years, I cannot speak to whether the school has maintained its high standards.)
Good Shepherd is about as close to me as Castle Montessori, just in the opposite direction. The name 'Good Shepherd' implies religious based though. Is that not the case?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaintex View Post
I have friends who are happy with Star Creek Montessori. It may be a little too far from you though. It's just south of 121 on Watters Road (Watters changes names to Lake Forest north of 121).
I'll look them up. What do your friends like about it? Thanks for clarifying that Watters turns into Lake Forest, if you knew me in person you'd know I'm horrible at directions! I usually go the Cinemark around there, is it near there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
I can't speak to any of the facilities you toured; they all sound like basic daycare facilities vs a true preschool environment with the exception of Primrose....I would just encourage you to not rule out all church-run preschools on principle alone. An appropriate amount of preschool is considered 1 half-day per week for every year old the child is....therefore, a 2 year old should be in a 2 day a week (half day) program, not a 5 day, full time program.

Many area churches do a very good job with these kinds of traditional preschool programs and you don't have to worry about them "indoctrinating" your child if you are of another faith or no faith. Yes, your child will have some religious based activities but the majority of the program is crafts, music, nature, basic intro academics & getting used to school, and play. I live in Dallas so can't recommend any close to you, but the church run preschools around here have an excellent, decades-long track record of preparing kids for admissions to top private schools and well as top public districts like HP.
Thanks, the reason I'm trying to avoid church run pre-schools is because of "indoctrinating". As my child is of mixed race, with her Mom's side of the family living in China, religion just makes an already complicated relationship even more complicated.

The activities you listed sound very similar to many of the pre-schools/daycares that I've toured. Is there any other advantage to them other than a long track record? Are they typically cheaper? My 2nd cousin went to a Church run school (she just turned 10yrs this month) and part of her homework was having to memorize bible verses - that's an example of what I don't want my child having to do when she's older.


A couple people in this thread have already said that these "preschools" (what they label themselves as) sound more like a traditional daycare. As this is my first and only child, I'm a little lacking in the knowledge department. What are the differences between a preschool and daycare then?
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:04 PM
 
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*Generally* the differences between preschool and daycare are as follows:

-Daycare is a childcare/ babysitting solution for working parents and is all day, every day.
-Preschool's purpose is to prepare children for school (mainly, kindergarten). It is for a few hours per day, a few days a week (like a mini version of "big kid school"....again, preparing for school).

-Daycare takes kids of all ages, starting a few weeks after birth.
-Pre-school doesn't start until age 2 or 3. When a child is old enough to begin preparing for school.

-Daycare does diapers, feeds kids 1-2 meals + snacks per day, administers nap time(s), and generally does everything a child would need between the hours of 8-5ish.
-Pre-schools typically want kids to be potty trained before starting. There may be a daily snack or not depending on how many hours the program is. No naps or meals (typically).

-Daycare is *traditionally* more childcare-based, although as you have noticed, some centers are focused on academics and learning, too.
-Preschool's purpose is to prepare the child for school and the daily activities reflect that. Many preschools follow certain methods of learning such as the Montessori or Waldorf methods. Others blend the "three R's" along with fine motor skills, discovery activities, arts & music, etc.

-Both daycares and preschools *can* be accredited by national or regional early childhood education groups. Read up on accreditation and what it takes to become accredited. It gives you a basic understanding of what the centers & schools must offer to be recognized.
-My guess is that it's far likelier for preschool teachers to have 4-year college degrees than daycare workers. Daycare workers are typically paid hourly, but preschool teachers are on salary (like K-12 teachers).
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:28 PM
 
3 posts, read 10,853 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
*Generally* the differences between preschool and daycare are as follows:

-Daycare is a childcare/ babysitting solution for working parents and is all day, every day.
-Preschool's purpose is to prepare children for school (mainly, kindergarten). It is for a few hours per day, a few days a week (like a mini version of "big kid school"....again, preparing for school).

-Daycare takes kids of all ages, starting a few weeks after birth.
-Pre-school doesn't start until age 2 or 3. When a child is old enough to begin preparing for school.

-Daycare does diapers, feeds kids 1-2 meals + snacks per day, administers nap time(s), and generally does everything a child would need between the hours of 8-5ish.
-Pre-schools typically want kids to be potty trained before starting. There may be a daily snack or not depending on how many hours the program is. No naps or meals (typically).

-Daycare is *traditionally* more childcare-based, although as you have noticed, some centers are focused on academics and learning, too.
-Preschool's purpose is to prepare the child for school and the daily activities reflect that. Many preschools follow certain methods of learning such as the Montessori or Waldorf methods. Others blend the "three R's" along with fine motor skills, discovery activities, arts & music, etc.

-Both daycares and preschools *can* be accredited by national or regional early childhood education groups. Read up on accreditation and what it takes to become accredited. It gives you a basic understanding of what the centers & schools must offer to be recognized.
-My guess is that it's far likelier for preschool teachers to have 4-year college degrees than daycare workers. Daycare workers are typically paid hourly, but preschool teachers are on salary (like K-12 teachers).
Very informative and helpful! Thank you a lot!
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:42 PM
 
170 posts, read 230,711 times
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It's right next to Cinemark. I've never asked them what they like. I live in Star Creek and I know several of the families here use it. I have my 4 year old at an in home daycare but she does preschool work. He's my third child, and I've determined for him that it's more important he plays and enjoys childhood. School is so regimented now, he has plenty of time for structure later. If I had to put him in preschool, I would lean towards Montessori. I've become much more laid back in my old age and realize they grow up too fast anyway.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:21 AM
 
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Good Shepherd Montesori did have a non-denominational faith component when my children attended. If you are trying to avoid faith based schools, Good Shepherd probably would not be for you.

Adding to TC's comments regarding day care vs. preschool, even most day care settings will incorporate preschool type learning activities so you often cannot really tell the difference based on the curriculum -- the major difference is how long the children spend in the facility and, often, whether meals are included in the price. The facilities that have hours that span from 7:30 a.m. (or earlier) until 6:00 p.m. (or later) or that don't have a specific "beginning of the school day" and "end of school day" times when all students are expected to be in attendance and that provide a hot lunch (as opposed to having the children bring their lunches) tend to be day care centers rather than true preschools. If you need day care, they can be a blessing, but the structure of the program may be different in a day care vs. a preschool based on the longer hours that the children spend in the day care setting.
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Old 09-07-2014, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Dallas
200 posts, read 556,379 times
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vpr555,
Out of curiosity, what were the price ranges if you don't mind??

We are just starting our search as well... :-)
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