I have received compensation for this content as part of an Early Childhood Education promotion for Pittsburgh Public Schools. As I am an educator and the mother of two, I wholeheartedly support and advocate a strong early childhood education program. For more posts and info about Pittsburgh Public’s program, follow #ppsafterschool on Twitter.
My husband and I researched preschools for our son as most folks research a college: class size, curriculum, price, etc. To say that I was obsessive about it is an understatement, especially because my priority wasn’t even his formal education, but his social development and exposure to a structured environment.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you may remember that despite my steadfast commitment to finding the “perfect” preschool, I failed. Miserably. Fortunately, we fixed the problem, enrolled the boy in a school that meets his needs and my high standards, and everything is rainbows and sunshine in our world.
Why, oh why, is preschool such a big deal to me? Lots of perfectly intelligent and well-adjusted people never attended preschool and excelled in their higher education and careers. My husband is one of them. He was reading and writing and making straight A’s without ever having step foot into a preschool classroom.
And that’s just dandy. For the 1980’s.
Increased global competition.
The aforementioned are all factors that affect students today, whereas when my handsome hubby was beginning his education, the most pressing issue he faced was properly navigating his way through The Oregon Trail on a 50-pound Macintosh. (Editor’s note: if you remember that game, you’re awesome. If you don’t, you’re too young. Get out.)
That is not what school is like today. I have tutored elementary school students and have been absolutely flabbergasted by the amount of work expected of these little people. And I won’t lie: sixth grade math is not my friend.
So, yeah, I’m a little apprehensive about my kids’ early education. Which is why I am Super Helicopter Parent on Steroids when it comes to starting them off on the right foot.
Thankfully for my psychotic self, Pittsburgh Public School District’s Early Childhood Education Department has implemented a program that supports students when it counts most: in the beginning.
The Early Childhood Education Program is held after school for students in Pre-K through grade 5. Because the program is directly after school until 6:30 PM, it functions as an extension of/addition to the normal school day. Parents, this is HUGE. Your kiddos are cared for and educated by highly qualified and certified staff. I’m talking a research-based curriculum, tutoring, homework help, AND in-class enrichment activities courtesy of community leaders like Gateway to the Arts, the Carnegie Science Center, Jump Start and more. ALL of this in a safe place? Yes, please!
Now more than ever, our kids need that little bit of “extra,” right? And they certainly deserve it. Pittsburgh Public understands that despite parents wanting to give our kids the sun and the moon, sometimes life gets in the way. That’s why the district took things like convenience and finances into consideration; the program is hosted at five different sites throughout the Pittsburgh Public School District, one of which is the Carnegie Science Center! How ridiculously awesome is that?! AND the Early Childhood Education Program is half the cost of other top PreK programs in our beautiful city.
Take a look at this fabulousness:
The Early Childhood Education Program is only $650 a month. That’s what some of us drop on a year’s worth of Starbucks tall Hazelnut Macchiatos with soy milk and a dollop of whipped cream. Oh, and if you’re income eligible, the price tag is…FREE.
Small class sizes. Supplemental resources and lessons. True student engagement. A chance for kids to learn without high stakes testing being held over their little heads. As a teacher, this is a dream classroom! As a student, this program looks like a big ol’ play date. And that’s just FUN!
As was previously mentioned, I wasn’t too concerned with my son’s formal education when he began preschool; my focus was his confidence level and budding social skills. While working cooperatively with others is certainly important, I also wanted my boy to have the opportunity to discover himself. What was he good at? What did he enjoy? Where did he excel? When the opportunity for self-discovery and learning coincide, as they do in the Early Childhood Education Program, it’s not only an investment in our children’s education, but in our future.
If you’re a Pittsburgh parent whose child/ren reside in the Pittsburgh Public School District, take advantage of this invaluable opportunity! But hurry, the application deadline is August 9, 2013!
Applications are available online at www.pps.k12.pa.us/earlychildhood or parents can request a hard copy by calling the Early Childhood Department at 412-325-4291. Contact: Heather Hopson, Office of Public Information, (412) 622-3617/(412) 298-1870