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Old 01-22-2009, 06:46 AM
3 posts, read 16,323 times
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I live in Eastchester and am looking for a good daycare for my daughter. She currently goes to the YWCA in White Plains which is awesome, but I switched jobs and the commute up to White Plains is really sucking up my time. So I am looking to move her to a daycare closer to our home. I have visited these daycares :
Alcott Montessori (where they can't even tell me if she could get a spot by September)
Eastchester Early Child Development Center, which is in Tuckahoe
Woodlot Christian Preschool, where my two older kids already go to the afterschool program.

Alcott looks exactly like what I want, but it sounds like it is very hard to get in. I don't know if I can wait for the *possibility* that she might get in by September 2009. The Eastchester Early Child Devleopment Center is very small, and looks friendly, but doesn't have as nice facilities as the YWCA. They *might* have a spot in June. Finally, Woodlot is very friendly, but their facilities are awful and they are more oriented towards being a traditional morning-only preschool - they don't have that all-day mentality. I fear that the afternoons could just descend into babysitting rather than being educational.

Does anyone have experience with these programs? I would love to hear reviews. Also, am I missing any good programs?

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Old 01-28-2009, 10:05 AM
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Reputation: 11
Woodlot Christian Pre-school: A Loving Environment
Last year, it would seem, our daughter Ella Joy had one of her dreams come true when she began attending Woodlot Christian Pre-school, the school she had previously known her brother to attend. After years of observing the many ways Woodlot has brought out the best in our children, it is our pleasure to recommend the pre-school, along with its programs for school-age children.
A major question parents face when choosing a pre-school is how “academic” they want their school to be. How much do they want the emphasis to be on preparing the child for the academic work of kindergarten and first grade? How much, on the other hand, do they want their school to emphasize creative play and self-expression? These aims, of course, are not mutually exclusive, since play can promote learning, and learning can and should be fun. At Woodlot, however, we found a school where pre-school children are enticed into learning through creative play, rather than indoctrinated into the rules of an education which teachers then attempt to make enjoyable. Though we know sophisticated reasons can be given for Woodlot’s approach (and such have occasionally been given), we suspect the basic reasoning behind the Woodlot Way is quite simple. Notwithstanding all the experts and the theories they generate, the people who run Woodlot have a simple, intuitive grasp of what makes for a happy childhood full of growth and a positive sense of self. Woodlot runs on the premise that a genuinely happy early childhood is the one most likely to prepare a child for being successful at learning and the other tasks of life. What do we mean by “sense of self”? At Woodlot, the children are taught, by word and deed, that each one of them counts as a unique member of our human society. This is communicated in three ways. First, since Woodlot is a school, the children discover in the process of learning that they are little people of dignity, people of great worth. Whether in dressing up or in learning the sounds of the alphabet, the boys and girls come to believe that they are deserving of good things because their teachers are so intent on enriching their lives with these good things – and on impressing upon the children that learning is indeed a gift of which the children are worthy and capable. Secondly, the people at Woodlot instill in the children a strong sense of self with their child-centered philosophy of education. As teachers ourselves, both my wife and I know that the future holds plenty of time for our children to be confronted by the rules and regulations of schools. “Don’t stand up.” “Don’t call out.” “Don’t touch.” “Don’t talk while I’m talking.” Obviously, Woodlot does not operate without rules. But in our estimation the school places more emphasis on allowing the child’s gifts to emerge in the context of a life-giving environment, rather than stifling the child’s expression with an over-emphasis on teacher-driven rules. Through positive interaction – approval, affirmation, humor, laughter, and love – the boys and girls learn that they have selves which are valuable. Thirdly, Woodlot is different from so many other pre-schools precisely because it is Christian. Though our family is not formally affiliated with Woodlot’s “mother church,” we have had many opportunities over the years to enjoy their congregation’s Spirit-filled commitment to Christ. Does dedication to Christ always make for a more loving school? That would have to depend first of all on how loving that commitment is. In the case of Woodlot Christian Pre-school? Over and over we have witnessed at this pre-school how God’s unconditional love comes to be embodied and shared among the staff and children alike.
Woodlot’s Director
A word about Woodlot’s directors would be appropriate here. For over five years we have known Father David Flores and his wife Yvonne. David and Yvonne inherited the pre-school this year, materially and spiritually, from Alice McCullough, who devoted forty selfless years to running it at its former Eastchester location on Woodlot Road. Alice still works at Woodlot, and the easy way in which the torch of leadership has been passed on from Alice to David and Yvonne is testament to the loving environment they provide for the children. Normally, it would seem unusual for a long-time director to stay on and work for her successors – but Alice, David, and Yvonne have served together in their church for decades, and they are united in wanting what is best for the children they care for at Woodlot. We have been privileged to know Alice, David, and Yvonne in a variety of settings over the years and feel very qualified to recommend them personally and professionally as trustworthy and talented educators.
Making choices
Our imagination tells us that every pre-school inspires in its visitors wonder and awe. How could that not be the case, when the students of these schools happen to be three and four years-old!?! These children bring with them such life and joy that it is almost hard to fathom a pre-school going wrong. The children themselves are so full of goodness, it would seem guaranteed that every pre-school would flourish. It would be wonderful if this were true, that teaching small children automatically goes well simply because children themselves are so precious. My wife and I suspect otherwise, however, and the several decades we ourselves have spent as educators support our conviction that some schools really are better than others. When our son John was preparing to graduate from Woodlot, his mother and father shared the exact same feeling: What a shame that John could not remain a student at Woodlot forever! It is a telling fact that, although John’s education since then has been very good, the only time my wife and I have regretted that John had to move on to the next grade was when he was required to leave the self-enriching, love-giving environment of Woodlot Christian Pre-school.

Last edited by EastchesterDad; 01-28-2009 at 11:13 AM..
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