My fourth nursery school visit was to Creative Beginnings Preschool located at 36 Gould Street in the basement of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been in that basement when school was not in session and what a difference it makes to see the lively activities and hear the children’s voices.
The preschool has three open classrooms, each with a different focus. In the center is an open play space where the children can ride bikes and trucks when it is too cold to go outside. Its curriculum is based on learning through play, focusing on bi-weekly themes that change according to the school year and seasons. The children influence the amount of time spent on each theme and if the teachers see great interest, a theme will be continued beyond two weeks. There is structure to each day, starting with the large group while the children sing opening songs and salute the flag. Parents are encouraged and welcome to visit at any time.
Creative Beginnings will have its open house this Saturday, January 23 from 10 a.m. to noon. With so many returning students, a majority of the openings are for the 2 ½ year old incoming children. Unlike most of the other preschools I’ve been to, Creative Beginnings doesn’t have a Web site, so here’s the information you need:
School Days/Hours: Children can participate in either half days or full days. A half day runs from 8:45 to 11:45 a.m. and a full day is from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Lunch and before care are available and billed in addition to the regular tuition.
Payment: Tuition is billed monthly with 2 mornings for $220 per month, 3 mornings for $311 per month, 4 mornings for $382 per month, or 5 mornings for $444 per month. Full days are $368 per month for 2 full days, $535 per month for 3 full days, $678 per month for 4 full days or $795 per month for 5 full days. Additionally, there is a non-refundable $30 registration fee.
Class Size: There is one class area for each age group (2 1/2, 3 or 4 year olds). The school has a ratio of 1 teacher and 2 assistants for the 2 1/2 year old class which has a maximum of 12 students, the 3 year old class with 18 students, and the 4 year old (Pre-K) class of 22 students. The teachers, as well as many of the assistant teachers, are all New Jersey state certified with a combined tenure of 25+ years.
Special Programs: Each day there is an art project as well as music and movement.
Snacks/Food: The school provides healthy snacks for the children and operates a nut-free environment with the exception of lunch. For children with food allergies, parents are asked to provide snacks for their own children each day. Additionally, the teachers are all trained in how to use an EpiPen if one were ever needed.
My favorite things about this school are that the children seem happy and the environment is one of energetic fun and learning. I like that the children’s interest in a subject will determine the length of study time and I also appreciate that parents can choose which days of the week to bring their child based on the parent’s need rather than the school’s schedule. The teachers will change diapers for the younger children and encourage whatever potty training practice is happening at home. I have two more schools to see and I invite to you continue to follow along.