Pre-K or Kindergarten? Public school or private school? Choosing the Right School for Your Family

It’s preschool registration time, and we know that lots of families are deciding where their children will go to school next year. For our families with 4-year-olds especially, we know that many of you are deciding between Pre-K and Kindergarten; and we know that many of you are exploring your options for Kindergarten, be it public or private school or homeschooling.

Today at TPK, we had an information session designed to answer some of those questions for you. For those of you who couldn’t make it to today’s meeting, we are providing a recap for you. We’ve put together a document that will help you learn more about Pre-K and Kindergarten as well; you can download it here: Kindergarten & Pre-K Information Packet

Why would I choose TPK’s Kindergarten?

Small class size.
Christ-centered learning.
Developmental approach to learning.
Sense of community.
Shorter day than public school.
One more year of TPK’s warm, loving environment.

What’s the difference between Truro Preschool’s Pre-K and Kindergarten programs? How do I know which is right for my child?

Pre-K is designed for children who have gone through a 4’s program but who for whatever reason aren’t ready for Kindergarten. Those factors could be social/emotional, cognitive, language, fine or gross motor skills, or because a child is just young for his or her age. The purpose of Pre-K is to give a child an additional year of developmental, play-based, hands-on learning before entering Kindergarten.

If you’re wondering which class is right for your child, a good place to start is by asking your child’s current teacher, who will have gotten to know your child well over the first half of the year and will be able to tell you what she’s seeing in your child’s development. You can always contact us in the office too, and we’ll be happy to help you decide.

What is Kindergarten at TPK like?

Kindergarten at TPK is a developmental approach to teaching academics. Its foundation is the idea that God made the whole world, and that He has a good plan and purpose for our lives.

Our Kindergarten class uses the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) objectives with learning goals for literature, math, science, social studies, art, music, and physical education – all with a Biblical perspective. We seek to provide a loving, nurturing atmosphere which prepares children socially, emotionally, spiritually, and academically for elementary school. The curriculum is designed to be interactive and hands-on, with a balance of instructive approaches in large groups, small groups, and one-on-one.

See more about the curriculum in this document: Kindergarten & Pre-K Information Packet

With the half-day Kindergarten program, how do you ensure that all the curriculum goals are met?

It’s true – our Kindergarten runs 9a.m. – 1p.m. (with an extra hour on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons), so the day is about three hours shorter than the day in FCPS. The biggest reason we can do this is because the Kindergarten classroom is more or less self-contained, and because some of the “specials” (art, music) are woven into the rhythm of the school week, rather than being conducted in other classrooms. Between the reduced time “in transit” and the combination of art and music into the day, we’re able to cover all the curriculum standards in the context of a reduced day. The smaller class size is a help, too!

If my child comes to Kindergarten at TPK, will there be extra hoops to jump through when I enroll him or her in public school?

No. You should find registering your child in public school to be seamless. We send your child’s report card to your new school, and this is sufficient documentation.

How can I help make the transition easier for my child if I enroll her in first grade in public school after staying at TPK for Kindergarten?

In the spring before your child begins school, call your public school. Oftentimes you can find a time to visit the school, see the playground and the cafeteria, and get a feel for what it’s like. We also suggest trying to meet some neighborhood kids who are attending the same school and having some playdates during the summer. Something you may find comforting on this front is that each year, FCPS schools shuffle their students in all grades, so every year your child will get to know new peers and have opportunities to develop new friendships.

What’s it like transitioning from TPK’s Kindergarten to private or classical school models?

This will vary a little bit depending on where your child will go to school the following year. The Kindergarten curriculum is very well rounded, with instruction in phonics and whole language, large group and small group activities, art, STEM, social studies and science, and so we are confident that the instructional foundations of Kindergarten will prepare your child for whatever schooling experience comes next.

My child isn’t a current student at TPK. How do I register for one of these classes?

Call the TPK office at (703) 691-1006 and we will be delighted to help. If you’re enrolling in Pre-K or Kindergarten, we might ask to meet your child and have a very informal assessment with him or her to get to know you and your child a bit and be sure we’re serving your child to the best of our abilities.

What are registration deadlines for classes at TPK?

If you’re a current student, please have your forms to us by 9 a.m. on January 26. Alumni families – those who have had a child here before and are now enrolling a younger child – by 9 a.m. on January 27. (Missed your registration day? Call the Preschool office and we’ll help.) Open registration begins at 9 a.m. on January 31. Inclement weather may change these dates; check the TPK homepage for information.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

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