Parents and applicants often ask us ten questions. Here are the answers.
1. What is the age cut-off at GFNS?
The State of Connecticut CT mandates a December 31st age cutoff for all preschools.
2. What is the difference between your 4’s & Pre-K classes?
The Fours Classroom at GFNS is designed for children and/or parents who may not yet be ready for the longer day, and who wish to have their child’s stamina built gradually, as the year progresses. The Fours Day runs from 8:45 – 12:15 Monday through Friday in the Fall, and extends to 1:30 on Tuesdays in the Winter, then to 1:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Spring. Some families in the Fours Classroom plan to proceed on to Kindergarten the following year. Others wish to keep the option of Pre-K open for the following year, prior to starting Kindergarten.
The Pre-K Classroom is designed for children and families who feel ready for the longer day, and who plan to proceed onto Kindergarten the following year. The Pre-K Day runs from 8:45 – 1:30 Monday through Thursday, and ends at 12:15 on Fridays.
3. GFNS believes that early childhood learning happens best through play. What about academics? Will my child learn what they need to be optimally prepared for Kindergarten?
Pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-math skills are all embedded in the playful lessons and activities at GFNS, from age one to four or five. Our teachers skillfully and intentionally plan every day to facilitate the growth and development of each learning domain in each student. Through social, self-help and science skill development, our students are provided with rich and playful learning experiences which help them grow into confident and competent Kindergarten-ready four or five year olds.
4. Why do you only offer 5-Day Fours Class?
Within recent years, the Westport and Fairfield Public Schools have changed over to five-day, full-day Kindergarten. The feedback we have received from the Kindergarten staff is that their incoming Kindergarten students are better prepared by increasing their stamina with a longer Pre-K day. We believe that our five-day Fours program benefits children in building and establishing the comfort and ease of a full week of school, better preparing them for the year ahead in Kindergarten.
5. What about security? How safe is your school?
GFNS’ comprehensive security measures and procedures were developed through consultation with the Westport Police Department as well as private security organizations. Safety is our number one priority and we have every measure in place to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for your child.
6. How do you handle discipline? Do you give time-outs?
A big part of what we value and what we are here for is to help children learn to get along – to share, to use their words, and to treat one another with kindness and respect. GFNS teachers use redirection to help peacefully navigate and resolve conflict between children. Once a situation is diffused, teachers turn the conflict into a learning opportunity for the children and class, no time-outs needed.
7. Do you provide snack?
Each child and family has his or her own unique dietary preferences and needs. Many of our students have food allergies. We therefore ask families to send in a (nut-free) snack from home each day. This ensures everyone’s needs are met, and snack time remains a fun and educational time for all.
8. Do you take field trips?
Field trips are an exciting and important part of our Fours and Pre-K curriculum! On their way to and from the farm, post office, or store, children learn about bus safety, and develop a comfort and confidence that eases the transition to Kindergarten.
9. What about parent-teacher communication? How will I know how my child is doing?
We consider ourselves partners with parents, and we take that partnership very seriously. From exchanges at drop-off and pick-up, to emails from teachers, weekly newsletters, parent-teacher conferences, and more, we want to share this experience as much as possible, and work together to ensure the best possible preschool experience for your child! Our app-based program, Kangarootime, helps us keep in close and consistent communication with families.
10. How involved can parents be? Are we welcome in the classroom?
Parents can be as involved in our classroom and school community as they would like to! Each classroom provides ample opportunities for parents to take part in their child’s learning experiences. From mystery readers to class party volunteers to field day, parents play an important role at GFNS. A strong Parent-Teacher Volunteer Network and Social Committee extend that community, with room parent assignments, parent-run weekly Monday Morning Coffees, Monthly Mom’s Night Outs, and numerous fun family events throughout the school year! GFNS is an extended family, and we cherish and value all of our members!