In the school year 2019/2020, the City of Bayonne started offering Pre-K classes at public schools for all children who are or will turn 4 years old by October 1 of each year. Whether you already decided or you are still in the process of thinking what to do, there are a number of reasons you might want to consider with the decision if your child should attend public preschool or stay or enroll at Prodigy.
The Bayonne School District uses the “HighScope” Curriculum. The program includes literacy development, mathematics, social studies, science as well as physical education, music and art (depending on the teacher availability). The curriculum is based on an interactive program that approaches learning with children demonstrating initiative, engagement, and persistence, children showing creativity and imagination, children identifying and solving problems and children applying what they have learned to new situations.
Prodigy’s preschool program offers exactly the same. Prodigy’s program also includes language arts, mathematics, social studies (cultures, history, geography), science, physical education, music and arts. While we don’t follow a specific curriculum, we borrow elements from the “HighScope” curriculum, in particular the interactive parts and also elements from the “creative” curriculum.
So from an academic point of view, we can guarantee that after graduating from Prodigy’s preschool program, your child will have learned and will know at least as much as children learn at the public preschool program and your child will be more than well prepared for Kindergarten.
The student-teacher ratio required by the State of New Jerseyfor Pre-K (4 years olds) is 12:1. So there are two teachers assigned to a typical Preschool classroom and also Pre-K classrooms at public schools with up to 24 children.
At Prodigy, we believe that more teachers should take care of fewer children. Prodigy’s student-teacher ratio in both Preschool classrooms is 8:1. This allows us to really teach the children, do more small-group activities or help one child individually if needed; in other words, each student gets more attention!
While public schools may offer a ‘field day’ (in the school backyard) towards the end of the school year and maybe a “walk-around-the-block” trip, Prodigy offers theme-based field trips, our traditional “Pumpkin Picking Trip”, parties for Christmas, Easter, Halloween and a variety of other occasions. Our Preschool students go on many “walk-around-the-block” trips and with nice weather in spring, summer and fall they also go regularly to the playground (on 8th or 16th Street) or the water park.
Prodigy offers a lot more than just the daily academic schedule as students in Prodigy’s Preschool program learn a lot and also have a lot of fun at the center and outside the center!
Public schools are only open from 8.45 a.m. until 2.40 p.m. Monday through Friday (they may or may not offer before and after-care for a fee). The school calendar includes school breaks, many closure days, many half days and every pubic holiday. In winter the school district is also required to add snow days (for instance public schools have to be closed when the Governor of New Jersey declares a “State of Emergency”). All in all, as a working parent, there are many days when you have to take off from work in order to accommodate the school calendar.
At Prodigy, we are open from 7.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are open throughout the year as we do NOT follow the school calendar. We are also only closed on the major holidays and in winter, the weather conditions have to be severe and dangerous until we decide to close the center.
So if your child is enrolled at Prodigy’s Preschool program, you don’t have to change your own schedule or take days off and you don’t have to worry about school openings or before or after-care because we are here to help you and you are able to fully focus on your busy schedule at work or school from early morning until late afternoon.
It is certainly your choice to select the preschool program that you think is the best for your child. “Free” public preschool sounds tempting and interesting but we are sure you already realized during your decision process that there are a lot more factors to think about. Therefore we tried to summarize the most important advantages of enrolling your child or keeping your child at Prodigy.