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Old 03-12-2009, 10:32 AM
6 posts, read 14,690 times
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We recently moved to the Malvern area and are looking for pre school options for our soon to-be 4 year old daughter. We visited the Goddard school and also called up a couple of other schools/day care along Lancaster Ave (RT 30).

I'm a stay-at-home mom and the fees for these schools seem to take a big bite out of our family income. (Around $500+ pm for 3 half-days a week)

Do any public schools take children for pre-school at age 4? If they do, would their fees be any lower? I also noticed a Great Valley Montessori school on Rt 30 but I have not been able to find any reviews or recommendations on the internet. How does this school do?

Any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated!

Thank You!
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Old 03-14-2009, 12:16 AM
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2 Big Thumbs up for the Goddard School in Exton. They cost a lot, but it's worth it - Stay at home Dad here and we sent our son last year for 3 half days. This year because he didn't make the public school kindergarten cutoff he's going 5 half days to the state certified kindergarten there.

You can check out NAEYC.org which is the accrediting body that most metro parents in other cities look for when looking for preschools. Dr. Spock and other parenting experts and child educating bodies recommend that you go with a NAEYC accredited facility as well. You can also check PAKeys.org which is PA's accrediting body but not really rigorous or anything. I also visited Our Kids Academy? in Exton but was not impressed at all.

I've heard anecdotes about other schools but honestly the NAEYC accreditation is the gold standard and well worth paying for - even my wife finally came around to admitting what we pay is well worth it for the education my son is getting and the peace of mind vis a vis security, sanitation, and honestly even the quality of the other kids attending - the cost weeds out the riff raff and those who are just looking for a baby sitter on the cheap.

As for Montessouri, even though I went to one, school teachers generally dislike them because the kids don't learn any structure so they start kindergarten and think they can do what they want when they want - I wouldn't recommend a Montessouri school for this very reason.

Some other schools to check out would be Grove Preschool in West Chester, Bring Em Young in Exton/Malvern, Kesher Israel Jewish Preschool, Goshen Friends School, or other church affiliated schools. I would not recommend KinderCare, The Malvern School, or even Chesterbrook Academy although some folks reall feel it is worth the money; I've heard bad things about some of them, and have called others and, frankly, if a school can't bother to pass accreditation, I think it shows a lack of initiative on their part to be among the best institutions in the area; when I called Chesterbrook Academy, I asked why they weren't accredited, and the guy told me they were? That was enough for me!

And no districts will take a child under 5 years of age for Kindergarten - some cut off late September, others Aug 30. Not sure what Great Valley's cutoff is but it is probaby Aug 30.

Last edited by orrmobl; 03-14-2009 at 12:31 AM..
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:07 AM
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I'm posting and asking a question quite prematurely, but we very possibly may have an opportunity to leave NJ and move to the Malvern area as well. My son, who will be turning 4 in the summer, is currentl;y enrolled in the township's school district for preschool. he attends every day for 2.5 hours each day. The teacher is phenomenal and has really helped his speech. he gets speech therapy 3x/week and OT 2x/week. He is delayed in speech and has some sensory issues so, he qualified for the township's public school preschool and this is free for us due to his delays. Not sure if Pennsy offers anything like that. Does anyone have any info on this? Also, can anyone offer any info on the Great Valley HS? If this move occurs, she will be entering that HS as a Junior. Yikes...tough transition for her. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:28 PM
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I don't think PA offers free preschool unless it's based upon financial need. They do have what's called the Chester County Intermediate Unit which handles the special needs of preschool kids. You would get a social worker and have an evaluation for your child and they would provide recommendations and free services if your son qualifies, which it certainly sounds like he will.

Great Valley High School is in one of the best districts in this part of PA - right up there with Tredyffrin-Easttown, Radnor, Lower Merion and Unionville Chadds Ford districts. Your daughter should have no problem transitioning into school there as it's a very family oriented area and the kids should be quite welcoming.
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