For as long as we can remember, there have been daycares—that is, full-day child care centers—and there have been half day preschools. One was purely for working parents who needed care for their children, and the other was purely educational. But the quality, comfort, and educational experience of a half-day Preschool program with the convenience of full time hours? That just did not exist.
We’re Remembering Our Roots
When we chartered this little Preschool 23 years ago with Highlands Presbyterian Church it was with the clear vision of never becoming “just another daycare.” We wanted to set our program apart by providing high quality care in an educational atmosphere that was entirely age appropriate and play based.
So, we decided to follow the long-standing Preschool model of 4 and 1/2 hours per day—based on brain research indicating that this span of time in the morning encompassed the highest probability of successful “teachable moments” in a normal child’s day.
But in the years since our Preschool began, the East Arlington and greater Jacksonville communities have changed drastically. We’ve seen that the existence of stay-at-home-Moms or parents with part time jobs has become few and far between. Especially in recent years, our decreased enrollment has been a hint that we needed to take a fresh look at the Jacksonville families we were serving.
Working Parents, We See You
Over the last few years, we have lost the opportunity to share our great program with many of you—families we care deeply about; families who care deeply about the quality education of their young children—because you needed longer hours.
We see you. We hear your concerns, and for years we’ve been rethinking the way we do things to better suit your needs.
At the same time, we’ve been taking into consideration the most up to date research on early childhood brain development and suggested models for teaching in the early childhood setting, looking for the best way to make these needs coexist for the best interest of the children in our community.
We’re Changing to Meet Your Needs
And so, it’s with great anticipation that the Preschool Advisory Committee, the HPGP Staff, and I proudly announce the restructuring of our little Preschool to better suit your needs.
Beginning when school starts this August, our hours will be extended from 7:00am to 6:00pm, Monday through Friday to meet the needs of working parents.
We’re Keeping Our Full-Time Preschool Program Flexible
“But, what if we liked the original half-day model?”
“But what if my child likes to sleep in?”
Don’t worry, friends! Just because we’re open 44 hours a week, doesn’t mean your child has to join is the whole time. We’ve purposed to create the most flexible preschool/daycare program out there to fit a variety of family schedules—including that of working parents needing quality full-time care.
In fact, we’ve had a tough time figuring out exactly how to explain our new options to you, because they are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Essentially, we want each and every one of you to build the preschool-childcare hybrid experience that works best for your lifestyle.
Want to stick with the traditional preschool model? You got it.
Do you need full-time care three days a week, but preschool only the other two days? We can do that.
Do you need mornings on Mondays, afternoons Tuesdays, full days Wednesday, Preschool only on Thursday, and we won’t see you at all on Fridays? Yep. We can do that, too.
Basically—between the hours of 7:00am and 6:00pm Monday through Friday, we invite you to build whatever schedule your family needs. Just stop by the HPGP office, and we’ll work together to create a plan!
Our New School Day
Do you know what part of this is really the most exciting? Want to hear the biggest difference between us and most of those other full-time programs around us?
We plan to retain the Preschool portion of our day exactly as-is.
That means you get the same high-quality preschool experience you have come to know and appreciate. We will simply offer two other “modules” from which families can choose.
Here’s a sneak peak of our new school day:
7:00am — 9:00am The Morning Module
First thing in the morning, our early risers will participate in activities that reinforce fine motor skill enhancement, as well as literacy reinforcement.
9:00am — 1:30pm The Preschool Module
Based on 23 years of tried and true success, we’re retaining our traditional 4.5 hour preschool module just as it’s always been—emphasizing development of the whole child through a play-based curriculum, and focusing on kindergarten preparedness through developmentally appropriate activities that foster early literacy and pre-math skills.
1:30pm — 6:00pm The Afternoon Module
After a short rest period and an additional snack, our afternoon students will have some additional outside time for large motor skill enhancement, as well as some additional art and literacy activities in the classroom.
We’re Maintaining Our Educational Focus
But at every time of day—whether your child is joining us just for a few days of Preschool, for the full 44 hours per week, or somewhere in between—you can rest assured that your child is experiencing the same high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood education experience that our community has come to expect from HPGP.
By lengthening the hours we are available, we are not changing what we are. We are simply becoming MORE of what we already love to provide for our HPGP families.
Interested in what we can offer your family? Come on in for a visit. We always love to make new friends.