Preschool Frequently Asked Questions…
Q: What is special about the Early Childhood Education preschool programs?
A: These are the only preschools in Northville housed within public elementary school buildings. Our preschools are accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which is recognized as the mark of quality in early childhood education. The result is an exceptional, enriching, fun learning experience for preschoolers.
Q: What are the credentials of the teaching staff?
A: Most Head Teachers have a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development or a teaching certificate with an Early Childhood endorsement. Support staff (Lead Assistants and Assistants) are required to have a Child Development Associates degree (CDA) or higher. The teaching staff participates in annual professional development which includes CPR and First Aid certification.
Q: How many staff members are in each classroom? What is the teacher-to-student ratio?
A: We staff at a 1:8 adult to child ratio. The class size is 16 children. Staff teams include a Head Teacher, Lead Assistant and/or Assistant(s) to maintain the ratio.
Q: What are the hours of operation of classes?
A: The Full-Day Pre-K classes begin the day after Labor Day and close in mid-June on the last day of elementary programs. Full-Day Pre-K Classes are in session the week of Spring Recess but are closed other times the district is closed.
School-Day Pre-K, Pre-K PLUS and Half-Day Pre-K 3’s start the second week after Labor Day (the week after the elementary schools start) and close mid-June. Parent/Child classes start the second week after Labor Day and close at the end of May.
We have four class options so parents can decide what will work best for their family:
• Full-Day Pre-K: Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (2 day minimum)
• School-Day Pre-K: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:00 a.m.-3:15 p.m.
• Pre-K PLUS: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
• Half-Day Pre-K 3s: Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
• Parent/Child: Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday 9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. (each class meets once per week)
More details can be found on our website:
Q: Is there a summer program?
A: Our department offers a Full-Day Pre-K Summer Camp program during the summer. The schedule is Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (two-day minimum) The program ends about two weeks prior to school starting in order to provide time for staff training, classroom cleaning, and building maintenance. For more information, please visit our website:
Q: What is the curriculum?
A: Our curriculum is child-initiated and teacher-framed. Intentionally planned learning opportunities are designed based on the interests and needs of individual children in the class. Our licensed and accredited programs are committed to help each child develop to his/her fullest potential, socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and creatively. Children have opportunities to develop and learn in small group activities, one on one work with an adult and large group experiences.
We recognize and respect each child’s family background, learning style, thought process and unique developmental level. We know that children accomplish their best learning through play and social interaction.
The role of the teacher is to create an atmosphere of respect and autonomy; a climate in which there is a balance of reason, choice, trust, spontaneity, appropriate limits and challenge. Adults view children as competent and full of potential. The teacher’s knowledge of individual children, materials, and effective teaching approaches help support children’s growth to the next levels.
Our daily plans emerge from the interests of the children so the activities will vary. The mix of activities allows children the freedom to make choices throughout the day. A typical day provides learning centers that include building, creative expression, dramatic play, reading, small manipulatives, group time, meals and snacks, and rest time for full-day programs. There is a focus on developing a life-long love of learning and building a strong foundation for development of skills necessary for future learning such as communication, problem solving, questioning, and collaboration.
We promote hands-on exploration and manipulation of materials in a safe, cooperative, and challenging environment. Research tells us that this is how children learn best. We plan for the different levels of play and use topics that children are interested in to introduce letter and numbers. Through research we know that rote memorization and worksheets are not how young children learn best and therefore are not used in our programs. Learning takes place each day. Throughout the year, the teachers will help to make the learning visible through discussions, newsletters and by posting documentation.
Q: What is the Reggio Philosophy all about?
A: Reggio Emilia is a region in Northern Italy. Several years ago a study was conducted on the best preschools in the world and Reggio’s preschools were ranked at the top of the list. Understandably much interest followed the study. The approach focuses on children’s thoughts, ideas and interests. Children are viewed as competent and strong individuals. We utilize these practices in our work with children. Much of our research and professional development focuses on better understanding their principles.
Q: Do you celebrate holidays?
A: We are not a holiday or theme driven program. Keeping that in mind, we believe that celebrations can enrich classroom experiences. All families are encouraged to share their unique traditions and customs with the class. Again each classroom is different and ideas are taken from children’s interests.
Q: Are there “specials”? Who teaches them?
A: The Four-Year old children who are in their last year of preschool visit the “Studio” weekly. In the Studio, there is a Studio teacher who works with small groups on extended projects that provide children with opportunities to express themselves, problem solve and work in collaboration with their peers.
Q: How much time do children spend outdoors?
A: Since children benefit tremendously from fresh air, exercise, and gross motor play, the preschoolers play outdoors each day, during all seasons, except in the case of extreme temperatures. The preschool classes use the Pre-K/Kindergarten playgrounds at the elementary schools. We look at the outdoors as an extension of our classrooms.
Q: How do you discipline the children?
A: We view mistakes as learning opportunities and young children are expected to make mistakes. Children make choices and are responsible for their decisions. We address situations as they arise and on an individual basis. Our goal is to help the children develop self-control and make positive choices for the right reasons.
Q: At what age can my child begin preschool?
A: Children must be 36 months old by December 1st of the school year to enroll in the Full-Day Pre-K program. To enroll in the other Pre-K classes, children must be age 3 or 4 by September 1st of the school year. To enroll in Parent/Child, children must be 2 years old by September 1st of the school year.
Q: Who can attend the Northville Public Schools preschools? Are these programs only available to families living in Northville?
A: Families residing in the Northville Public Schools district receive priority for enrollment. We welcome families that reside outside of the Northville School district. Out-of-district families are placed after Northville District residents are placed.
Q: Does my child have to be toilet-trained to attend?
A: Yes. All preschoolers must be toilet-trained and self-sufficient. No pull-ups are allowed. The only exception is our Parent/Child class where parents attend class with their child.
Q: How do children get to and from school? Is busing provided?
A: Families transport their preschoolers to and from school, no busses are provided. Parents walk children into the building and sign-in at drop off and return to the classroom to pick them up and sign them out at the end of the day.
Q: Will my child be able to move from the three year old program to a four year old program when he/she turns four in the middle of the year?
A: No, all three-year olds will remain in the Half-Day 3’s program until the end of the program year in June. We transition children on the first day of school in September.
Tuition & Enrollment
Q: How much do the programs cost? Are there any fees aside from the tuition?
A: All of our programs are tuition based. Families pay a non-refundable registration fee at the time of enrollment. Tuition costs vary based on the program. Please see our website for more detailed information. http://earlychildhood.northvilleschools.org Additional fees may be assessed for late payments, returned checks and late pick-ups. There are some additional fees in the summer programs (t-shirt, water bottle, activity fee).
Q: I'm not sure we can afford this preschool. Is financial assistance available?
A: We do have limited scholarship funding available for families with children that are four years old and in their last year of preschool. If your family household income is $60,000/year or less and meets certain risk factor criteria, you may be eligible. The first step is to complete the application which is available on our website: http://earlychildhood.northvilleschools.org
Q: How do I enroll? By what date?
A: To enroll, please complete the Program Request Form which is available on our website during our enrollment period each March. This form expresses your interest in one of our programs. A member of our office team will contact you via email to complete the registration process once all of the Program Request Forms are processed. Otherwise, please contact our office at (248) 465-2550 to determine space availability in the program you are interested.
Lunches & Snacks
Q: How does lunch work?
A: All children enrolled in our Full-Day Pre-K classes eat lunch at school. They may either bring a packed lunch from home or purchase a hot lunch from school.
Children in School-Day Pre-K and Pre-K PLUS classes bring a lunch from home.
Q: How do we pay for the hot lunch?
A: Each month you will receive a menu from your child’s teacher. You will select which day(s) you want to purchase lunch in advance. You will submit the menu choices and a check to the classroom staff.
Q: How do snacks work?
A: In our Full-Day Pre-K classes each child is provided a morning breakfast and afternoon snack.
In our School-Day Pre-K, Pre-K PLUS and Half-Day Pre-K and Parent/Child classes children bring a snack from home.
Visiting & Volunteering
Q: Can my child and I come for a visit?
A: Yes! Please call our office to schedule a classroom visit. Classroom visits typically last about 10-15 minutes. You’ll have the opportunity to see the classroom in action and staff actively involved with children. The child who may be attending the class may visit with the parent however it’s difficult to accommodate additional siblings.
Parents are also welcome to attend our New Family Pre-K Parent Open House that happens just prior to our New Family Registration period.
Q: Will there be opportunities for parents to volunteer in the classroom or school?
A: Absolutely: Parent participation is welcomed and encouraged! Families will receive a Pre-K Parent Participation Interest Survey form prior to school starting which provides lots of options to get involved in the classroom. Our Motor Skills Program is run primarily through parent volunteers - training is provided.
Q: What resources are available to preschoolers with special needs?
A: We work closely with the district’s special services team to meet the needs of preschoolers with diverse needs and abilities. For example, certified speech therapists, special education supervisors, social workers and district nurses will support the classroom team to as needed to support individual children.
Q: I have some more questions. How can I get in touch?
A: We encourage you to view our informational webinars which contain information on our program offerings, curriculum and registration procedures. We welcome questions and comments from families! Feel free to email us at ECTEAM@northvilleschools.org or call (248) 465-2550. We look forward to hearing from you.