The Early Education Center
If you’re looking for a high-quality Christian preschool in York, PA, consider Christian School of York. Our Central PA campus contains our Early Education Center (EEC), a 12,000 square foot facility built specifically for preschool education. Our large, bright classrooms are designed with preschool children in mind, and our building features a dramatic playroom, oversized recreation room and 4,000 sq. ft. fenced-in, rubber-tiled play yard, allowing students to play and learn in a safe, fun, welcoming environment.
We employ several levels in our preschool program, each of which comes with its own interactive curriculum, consisting of developmentally appropriate material for development of the whole child. We seek to cultivate skills through cooperative play, group and individual instruction and sensory engagement. Students ages three and four enjoy exciting off-campus field trips, while our two-year-olds participate in fantastic on-site experiences. Special classes like Music and Physical Education, as well as the teaching of Spanish and sign language, contribute to our amazing program. At the heart of all we do is a Christ-centered curriculum that accesses the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards while seamlessly integrating biblical Truth. Our loving and respectful discipline system is based on Scripture and seeks to train the heart of each child.
What to Look for in Early Childhood Education
Ensuring the wellness of your child is your most important task as a parent, and part of their wellness is a proper education. Many studies have shown that quality preschool education can make a difference in children’s academic lives in the future, especially in kindergarten, first and second grade. A strong early learning experience can help set the stage for a more successful academic future.
The benefits of early education do not end with stronger academics. Children who formally receive a quality preschool education show improved social skills, and longer attention spans than their non-preschool educated peers. Much of this is due to the rapid brain development children experience from birth until age eight. During this time, children build basic cognitive functioning, creating a solid foundation for academics, social skills, physical awareness and emotional balance.
The benefits of preschool are numerous, but it can be extremely difficult to choose a program for your child. Many parents fear that their preschool of choice won’t be good enough for their child, or won’t give their child a good enough head start.
To help you in your search for early childhood education, we’ve compiled a list of necessary factors for a quality preschool.
Preschool often looks like simple play to parents and observers, but a well-trained preschool teacher can explain what a child is learning in each activity. For example, a child playing with wooden blocks is learning spatial reasoning and basic physics, while children playing with paints or dyes are learning about color theory. Children working in groups are learning about cooperation and communication, while a child pretending to be a doctor learns empathy and practices their language skills as they think about what a doctor would say and how they would behave toward a patient. Activities like these can help children develop an intuitive understanding of basic concepts and ideas, which they can build upon later in life.
Simultaneously, teachers should allow young students appropriate time for self-directed activity under positive teacher supervision. Young children generally have shorter attention spans, and they may lose interest in an activity quickly if they are not adequately engaged. To maintain their attention, an effective teacher recognizes the need for child-directed activity. Highly trained teachers are able to facilitate the learning environment in a way that builds on each child’s developing skills. Self-directed activity time is dispersed throughout the day to enhance learning.
A well-educated and qualified teacher should have a deep understanding of early childhood development. Additionally, teachers should be qualified to serve the community needs of their preschool. Christian School of York employs teachers with degrees in early education and early childhood development, who are committed Christian believers attending Bible-teaching churches. Our program is accredited with the Association of Christian Schools International, and our staff receives ongoing professional and spiritual training.
To determine if a preschool you are considering has a quality teaching staff, ask about teachers’ educational background and certifications. You should also ask to observe a class, and ask your child’s prospective teacher or program leader to describe the lessons and activities they present throughout the day. Effective teachers will have thorough plans and be able to describe the purpose of each activity. Additionally, look for a variety of activities that allow students choice and creativity. For example, open-ended art activities that emphasize the process, not the end product, are vital in high quality early education. Effective teachers are prepared, planned, and flexible, recognizing how they can cultivate some of the deepest learning moments throughout the day as children’s curiosity and excitement is sparked.
A quality preschool should look at all aspects of a child’s wellness and education. The early years are the formative years of a child’s life, and they benefit from a well-rounded curriculum. Preschools should focus on the primary areas of wellness, which typically include the following:
- Spiritual: Faith-based families should expect their children to receive the best in a Christian early education program. High quality Christian preschools seamlessly weave biblical Truth through all parts of a child’s day, developing their spiritual growth from an early age.
- Cognitive: Students should receive education in language arts, math, science, and social studies – foundational academic building blocks of their future education. Your child deserves a head start on their future learning. Curriculum including foreign language and music provide an even stronger environment for learning.
- Social: Smaller class sizes give children vital opportunities to work on developing social skills as well as develop meaningful communication skills through interactions with their teacher.
- Emotional: A child learns emotional regulation skills in the early years. Preschool teachers are trained in helping children develop these critical skills, as well as in identifying and working with children who may struggle with behaviors and emotional regulation.
- Physical: Gross (large muscle) and fine motor skills (small muscles) are developed early in life, which is why quality preschools incorporate age-appropriate development of these skills throughout their curriculum.
Christian School of York created and employs a “Give Me Five” philosophy in its early education program, focusing on the above five domains in every student. Visually, each domain can be depicted as each of five fingers on a hand. We place the spiritual domain on the thumb, because it touches every other domain. The cognitive domain is on the pointer, the social on the middle, the emotional on the ring finger and the physical on the pinky. When all domains are intentionally developed and fostered to grow, the hand as a whole functions best. This represents our desire to grow our students across all vital domains of development, so they, in turn, can function to the best of their ability.
Look for a program with a similar focus on a child’s whole wellbeing. Seek out a program designed to grow each of these aspects of your child’s health, and ask any prospective center about their philosophy. If they focus solely on the cognitive domain of a child, neglecting other important areas of development such as social and emotional development, it may be best to find another program.
Healthy Classroom Environment
The preschool building and classroom setup should be appropriate and safe for your child. Quality preschools include an age-appropriate landscape, with age-appropriate shelves, tables and chairs, and easily accessible bathrooms, allowing teachers to monitor students at all times.
In addition to easy visibility, preschools should be designed with the safety of a small child in mind. Furniture corners should be rounded and surfaces should be clean, minimizing the chance for students to injure themselves or pick up germs. Basic safety features should also be included, such as covered electrical sockets and safe storage for potentially hazardous materials. The building should also be secure with a system including locked doors and cameras to ensure optimal safety of the environment.
The environment should promote rich opportunities for play, offering diverse and engaging activities. A wide variety of educational resources and materials that children can use for meaningful play should be easily accessible to promote student autonomy.
Christian School of York has large, bright classrooms, each with their own bathroom and two sinks. The half-carpet, half-tile flooring is clean and welcoming for students, with classroom arrangements helping to create a safe, friendly, optimal learning environment. . Our Center also has a G.R.E.A.T. room (for Godly Recreation Education and Togetherness) used for large muscle development time each day, as a lunchroom for full-day students, and for our morning and afterschool care program.
Additionally, our Early Education Center has an Imagination Station, an entire classroom dedicated to dramatic play with growth opportunities in all developmental domains. In addition to our excellent rooms, the building is safe and secure, with a full security system and cameras.
Attention to Performance
While preschool testing is often a subject of debate due to inappropriate and misapplied evaluation measures for of young students, strong preschool programs understand and utilize developmentally appropriate evaluation tools to have full knowledge of each child’s progress. Unlike the standardized paper-pencil testing familiar to grade school, quality preschools use assessments that most accurately capture each child’s development in critical areas of growth. These assessments that are most often gathered through observation, gauge each child’s development in the cognitive, language, social/emotional, physical, and self-help domains. Appropriate evaluation and assessment is vital in understanding children’s strengths and areas of needed growth, and creating the best educational plan for every student.
Trained professional early educators who know how to evaluate developmental benchmarks, are of immense value in the early education environment. Identifying areas in which individual children may struggle and knowing what action to take to help the child grow, is a key to successful early education. Early identification of developmental concerns can lead to early intervention, which is extremely important in helping children who struggle.
Kindergarten expectations involve all developmental domains, so having a strong preschool experience for your child, with highly trained professional early educators, is paramount in helping children experience success in future learning environments. Preschool assessments and evaluations are built around these expectations. Quality observations, evaluated by knowledgeable educators, help to ensure all students can be prepared for their first day of kindergarten.
As an example, Christian School of York’s Early Education Center utilizes progress and observation reports:
- Progress reports, produced in November and March, are written anecdotal observations of each child’s strongest areas of development, as well as identified areas of needed growth. The reports also include what the classroom teacher will be doing to help the child in these areas and, as needed, a follow up plan for parents.
- Observation reports, produced in January and May, are class-specific checklists of age-appropriate skills in each developmental domain. These serve as workable goals for every student.
Both assessments are designed to provide excellent communication to our families to ultimately help our children experience success in the preschool environment, their formal school career, and their life.
Look for similar assessment and communication methods in your child’s preschool program. Ask the Center’s leaders how they track development in each of their students. They should be able to show you a detailed list of items teachers assess throughout the year. They should also be able to tell you how the skills and traits they teach and assess directly relate to preparation for school as well as success as a life-long learner.
Our Curriculum & Assessment
The Early Education Center curriculum accesses the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards to develop the highest level of expectations for our students, preparing them for each new step in their journey.
Our “Give Me Five” philosophy encompasses the whole child, capturing the five domains we seek to grow in every student: spiritual, cognitive, social, emotional, and physical. Children experience language arts, with a strong emphasis on readiness skills and love of the written and spoken word, math, science, and social studies. Bible lessons teach truth with meaningful life application woven throughout every area of our curriculum. Special classes for Music and Physical Education are included in the tuition, enhancing student learning. Spanish and sign language are also taught in the classroom. Our hands-on, sensory rich, developmentally appropriate atmosphere, coupled with our small class size and professional staff, create a loving, effective environment in which children thrive.
EEC students are assessed through observation, classroom work, and age-appropriate verbal and hands-on evaluation. Progress reports for early education are issued at the end of the first and third marking periods, observation reports are issued at the end of the second and fourth marking periods, with teachers available for conferences throughout the entire school year. Open, accurate communication is vital to the healthy partnerships we have with our families.
Christian School of York Program Options
Every level of our preschool program has an interactive curriculum with a focus on each child as a unique learner. These skills are developed through cooperative play, theme-based large and small group instruction, one-on-one individualized learning, and hands-on discovery. Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards are foundational to our curriculum development, strengthened by our biblical integration throughout each area of learning. Our teachers help their students begin to develop a biblical worldview, as we strive for our children to not just be informed of God’s Word, but to be transformed by it.
Parents have the choice of:
(Age 2 before September 1)
- Two mornings (T/Th or M/W 8:15 – 11:15 AM)
(Age 3 before September 1 or age 4 on or after September 1, and potty trained)
- Two mornings (T/Th 8:15 – 11:15 AM)
- Three mornings (M/W/F 8:15 – 11:15 AM)
- Five mornings (M-F 8:15 – 11:15 AM)
- Two full days (T/Th 8:15-3:15 PM)
- Three full days (M/W/F 8:15 – 3:15 PM)
- Five full days (M-F 8:15 – 3:15 PM)
(Age 4 before September 1st, and potty trained)
- Three mornings (M/W/F 8:15 – 11:15 AM)
- Five mornings (M-F 8:15 -11:15 AM)
- Three full days (M/W/F 8:15 – 3:15 PM)
- Five full days (M-F 8:15 – 3:15 PM)
Why Choose Christian School of York
Our high quality Early Education Center in York, Pennsylvania is designed to grow the hearts and minds of our young students. We warmly welcome students into our part and full-time classes, ensuring all children receive what they need to take their next educational steps. Additionally, we offer an Extended Care program for our Hoppers and Leapers (3 and 4 year old class students) before and after school, from 7 AM until 7:45 AM and 3:30 PM until 6 PM, respectively. We provide our children with the safest, most loving, academically and developmentally strong preschool program. Our students love coming to school!
In addition to developing your child cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically, we are very intentional in helping children to develop spiritually, fostering both a love of learning and a love of the Lord. Biblical Truth is incorporated in every learning domain. We help our students develop a biblical worldview, recognizing and embracing that all Truth is God’s Truth, and flourish in the knowledge that they are uniquely created, gifted, and fully loved.
Our teachers are all accredited, professional educators with degrees in early education, elementary education and/or child development. Our faculty and staff hold CPR/First Aid Certifications. Our Center is accredited with the Association of Christian Schools International, ensuring we are upholding best practice in every area of the school, from curriculum to physical environment, teaching training and certification to health and safety standards.
If you are searching for a Christ-centered, high quality, developmentally appropriate and academically strong early education program in Central Pennsylvania, consider Christian School of York’s Early Education Center. Our family of professionally trained educators who are committed to Christ, provide the best education for our students. We care for them deeply through love, prayer and encouragement, as we support them and their families in reaching their full, God-given potential.
We invite you to contact a member of our CSY admissions office today (717-767-6842 x269) to learn more about our Early Education Center. We would love to make your family a part of our family!
Contact a member of the CSY admissions office today to learn more about our Early Education programs and enrollment. We’re happy to schedule a tour as well so you can see our facility in person!