Happy New School Year!

In a recent conversation with a parent, I likened a teacher’s first few days of school to childbirth- an anxiety and pain ridden experience the horrific details of which you forget about so completely that you choose to do it again.
We are only a week and half in to a new school year and I am actively reminding myself why I decided to be, what often times feels like, a professional cat herder.

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If you are enrolled in our program, you too may be questioning your sanity these past few days, asking yourself things like- Why did I decide it was time for school? Is my kid really ready for this? Am I ready for this? Why did I choose this crazy school with so many parent requirements?

I’ll tell you one thing I know for sure- there is nowhere else I would rather be run circles around than right here at James Marshall Preschool, and while it is not necessarily the best fit for every family, I am sure you will soon see that the benefits out weigh the work involved.

What makes James Marshall so special?

Parent Participation.
This is a unique opportunity for you to be hands on in your child’s early education. At a typical preschool, you are encouraged to drop off at the door and go, but here you get to paint with your child, play with your child, watch them make friends and play with others. You get a front row seat to their development as they bloom both academically and socially right before your eyes.

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Parent Education.
As many a parent has lamented, babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Through our parent education classes you will come to understand what you can reasonably expect from your 3 and 4 year old, how their hearts, minds, and bodies develop, as well as how to incorporate early literacy activities into your home, how to limit screen time, and which discipline style fits your family best. People spend hundreds of dollars attending parenting seminars and retreats, but being enrolled in this program not only gives you monthly classes, but also an open line to the teachers of the program when specific questions or situations arise and you need support, encouragement, or just someone to reaffirm that you are not, in fact, doing irreparable damage to your child, and that everything will turn out alright if you just keep giving your very best to that tiny human.

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Building a Parent Peer Group.
Recently on Facebook a group of families (with a total of 28 kids!) shared pictures from a camping trip where they were connecting and maintaining relationships that had started right here at preschool. Not only are you watching your child build relationships, you are also getting to know other parents who are in similar times of life, having similar struggles, looking for the same support and answers that you are. I know it’s early in the year, but this place really provides a special environment for the grown-ups to generate life long friendships. Some of my closest friends came from when my own children were at James Marshall.

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We set the stage for future educational success.
Our blend of routine and structure with play based education will provide your child with exactly the foundation they need to enter Kindergarten. Also, cultivating relationships between the children and the adults in the room will translate to better teacher/student relationships in elementary school and beyond by using these early years to teach respect, verbal expression, and the courage to ask for help. By requiring you to participate, we are getting you in the routine of being an active part in your child’s education, which studies show will have a positive and lasting effect. In a report by the Center for Public Education looking at how parent involvement affects student achievement, the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL, 2002) “found that students with involved parents, no matter their income or background, are more likely to: earn higher grades and test scores, and enroll in higher-level programs; be promoted, pass their classes and earn credits; attend school regularly; have better social skills, show improved behavior and adapt well to school; and graduate and go on to post-secondary education.”

Standing in the play yard, watching 25 little people run amok, I challenge my career choice, but then I take a closer look. I see 5 kids who didn’t even know each other two weeks ago, navigate a game in which one is the sea monster while the rest sit in the boat. I see two unrelated grown-ups work together to get shoes on and sand brushed off another 5 pack. I see a group of parents and grandparents standing off on the sidewalk, watching wide-eyed as their children chat, run, and experience life together in our little play yard. James Marshall is more than a preschool. We are an educational experience. We are a safe place for both kids and adults. We are a family.

Welcome to James Marshall Parent Participation Nursery School.

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