Recently I talked with several pre-kindergarten-school directors whose schools are “home based.”
They all had entered the preschool business because they wanted to stay at home with their kids. It was a family thing and it still is, even though their own kids are grown.
I saw a good example at the graduation ceremony at the Vacaville Children’s Garden pre-kindergarten school. I saw 45 4- and 5-year-olds graduate. Children’s Garden provides both full scholarships and reading scholarships to families who can’t afford to pay full tuition. All were there for the graduation. You would have been impressed – caps and gowns, valedictorian and salutatorian. It was almost like a high school graduation with the added feeling of family.
It started with the children leading the audience in the pledge of allegiance. You wouldn’t believe that 45 4- and 5-year-olds would be so quiet and orderly. But they were. That was one of the many things they learned at Children’s Garden.
They also learned about protecting the environment and they sang a song about it. They learned to tell time, understand the calendar, days of the week and months of the year. All 45 children were able to read, most at a first-grade level. Many were reading at a third-grade level. I will have to admit I was especially proud of that achievement because the nonprofit I head provides the Frontline Phonics materials that they used to learn to read.
The entire graduating class sang the “Vowel Song” from the Frontline Phonics system for the crowd. Yes, I am proud and happy. Five-year-old Thaddeus, the valedictorian, read some fourth-grade material for his family and the audience. Joshua, the salutatorian, also read material of the same difficulty.
The children were proud and happy. The parents and other family members were pleased with the achievements of the children. It was a real family affair.
It was a family affair in more than one respect. Four generations of the Roe family played parts in graduation day. After the graduation ceremony, it became a fun picnic event.
Stacie Roe had done her thing as director of Children’s Garden. The ceremony went off with only a small hitch – the sound system didn’t work well. Stacie’s husband, Ron, was the master barbecue grill chef, cooking literally hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Every parent brought a picnic dish – salad, beans and the like. All good.
Ron’s mother and grandmother were there to help out. Stacie’s 19-year-old son was the lifeguard, watching the young children at the pool. It was a full day for the kids, the families and for me, as well.
My hat is off to Stacie Roe and her staff at Children’s Garden of Vacaville for the truly outstanding job they do in preparing children for success in life. Her home-based school has a sense of loving family about it. Children’s Garden is enrolling kids now for the next school year.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or email@example.com.