By: Jeannette Bezinque
Main Line Parent Magazine hosted two Early Childhood Education Fairs to showcase some of the best learning centers in the area on the weekend of January 26-27. It offered a great opportunity to meet with representatives from each school to learn about their programs. Plus, UrbanSitter.com hosted a mingle to help families meet babysitters and nannies in the area. As usual, I brought my two co-correspondents to help.
The best part about taking your kids to an event like this is having the opportunity to see the creative ways the teachers will engage your children. As a parent, it’s important to get involved with the education program you choose for your kids. Although it wasn’t the usual setting, every school brought a little bit of the classroom to demonstrate a typical activity. I was instantly drawn to the large wooden activity at the Kimberton Waldorf School’s table because several kids of varying ages were all intently playing together. The Riverbend Environmental Education Center showcased an eye-catching display of skulls and pelts from animals on the table. The instructor enthusiastically greeted Hannah and then told me about the birthday parties and summer programs available.
I really enjoyed speaking with the Walden School. The teachers there have a great concept of focusing a Montessori education with a foundation of respectful social interactions. Even at a young age, their students grasp complex ideas of sharing and conflict resolution. Nearby in Chester Springs, the Montgomery School hosts a Mommy and Me program on the 1st Thursday of each month. Their fourth and fifth graders are the teachers for this FREE community activity. We are planning to attend soon and hope you can join us!
The School in Rose Valley has a terrific, natural concept for their education program. The students compost, garden, and participate in lots of outdoor activities on their Earthy playground. Many of the schools had multiple facilities. For instance, the Hildebrandt school of Berwyn is also in Exton, PA. In addition to school presenters, there were also programs designed to help parents learn these skills. SparkPark offers a ParentPark in conjunction with the kid’s activities.
If you are interviewing in the hopes of selecting a great pre-school, I have a handful of questions that you can ask to get a good understanding of the education program.
Top 5 Questions to Ask a Potential Preschool / Daycare/ Nanny in an interview
1. How would you describe the learning style?
2. What are the features that make your school unique?
3. How much time do the kids spend watching TV on average during the week?
4. Does the chef use fresh ingredients to prepare healthy foods for the children?
5. Do you offer enrichment programs to help parents better understand and implement the learning styles at home?
I was thrilled to meet Jen Capone (http://jencapone.com/), who took these beautiful photos. Not only is Jen an amazing photographer, but she is also living a green lifestyle and a community advocate. She shared about her experience raising four kids and saving beaucoup bucks by being conscientious and cheap. Her motto? “If I can’t compost it or recycle it, I don’t buy it.”
There were so many fantastic schools, after-school programs, and summer camps that I didn’t have a chance to meet them all so I want to share this handy list of sponsors from the Main Line Parent Website so that you can research the ones that may offer the best fit for your family’s needs. Thank you Main Line Parent for hosting a well-planned event to help parents find excellent childhood learning centers!
Agnes Irwin School Ithan Avenue and Conestoga Road | Rosemont | 610-526-1672 Agnes Irwin is a PreKindergarten through 12th grade all-girls independent school.
Baldwin School 701 Montgomery Avenue | Bryn Mawr | 610-525-2700 Established in 1888, The Baldwin School is an independent Pre-K through 12 school that develops “thinking girls” into accomplished women.
Brain Balance Centers of Wayne 250 West Lancaster Ave, Suite 110 | Wayne | 610-688-2700 Our program is intended for children who suffer from the effects of AD/HD, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, processing disorders, PDD and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
Bricks 4 Kidz King of Prussia, Main Line, Newtown Square, Phoenixville | 610-871-LEGO Bricks 4 Kidz teaches children ages 3-13+ an integrated curriculum of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through center-based activities, on-campus after school enrichment programs, spring break and summer camps, field trips, and more! Our social programs designed to stimulate young children’s minds and encourage technical and technological discovery include Kidz Nite Out, Birthday Parties and Challenge Days.
Bryn Mawr Hospital/Nemours 240 N. Radnor Chester Road | Radnor | 484-580-1037 Bryn Mawr Hospital and Nemours expand pediatric partnership to bring specialized pediatric care services to the five-county region of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Country Day School of Sacred Heart 480 S Bryn Mawr Ave. | Bryn Mawr | 610-527-3915 ext. 214 A Catholic, independent school, Sacred Heart educates, nurtures, and values one girl at a time. Flexible before and aftercare available.
Friends School Haverford 851 Buck Lane | Haverford | 610-642-0354 Founded in 1885, Friends School Haverford is a co-educational preschool 3s through eighth grade Quaker School. Friends School Haverford inspires the imagination and challenges the intellect.
Happy Family Brands 139 Fulton Street, Suite 907 | New York | 484-466-3084 HAPPYBABY is committed to providing families with the healthiest, most optimal nutrition possible. Besides using the best organic ingredients, we also incorporate the best nature has to offer when it comes to added nutrition, like our sustainable source of DHA, pre and probiotics, and supergrains like Salba and quinoa.
Hildebrandt Learning Center 1001 Old Cassatt Road | Berwyn | 610-390-8883 We are a NAEYC accredited, 4 star Keystone Stars program that provides an exceptional foundation for children infant to preschool aged.
ING Financial Partners 1880 JFK Boulevard, St 1600 | Philadelphia | 215-399-5558 ING Financial Partners offers a comprehensive range of financial planning services.
Kimberton Waldorf School 410 West Seven Stars Road | Phoenixville | 610-933-3635 x107 Kimberton Waldorf School serves approximately 300 children in preschool through 12th grade, and is the second oldest Waldorf School in North America.
Montgomery School 1141 Kimberton Road | Chester Springs | 610-827-7222 Montgomery School is an Independent School serving grades Prekindergarten through Grade Eight in Chester Springs, PA.
Our Lady of the Assumption Preschool and Kindergarten 135 Fairfield Lane | Strafford | 610-983-0310OLA is a Prechool, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Pre-First Grade School where children learn in a safe, nurturing and loving environment! It only takes a spark to get a fire burning! Our Lady of the Assumption Academy Excellence where sparks fly!
Open Connections 1616 Delchester Road | Newtown Square | 610-459-3366 Youth ages 2-18 attend our programs 1-3 days a week. We serve as a community base for families seeking an innovative, collaborative, and Process Conscious environment.
Riverbend Environmental Education Center (Gladwyne) 1950 Spring Mill Road | Gladwyne | 610-527-5234 Riverbend connects children to nature with quality programs for schools, family programs, year round holiday camps and Summer Exploration Camp.
The School in Rose Valley 20 School Lane | Rose Valley| 610-566-1088 The School in Rose Valley (SRV) is an independent, progressive school for children in preschool through sixth grade located on a beautiful, seven-acre campus near Media, PA. SRV’s program balances academic instruction, indoor and outdoor play, and the arts.
Spanish Workshop for Children PO Box 693 | Blue Bell | 610-489-5595 Spanish immersion program for toddlers, preschoolers, and young children.
SparkPark 950Montgomery Ave | Narberth | Enrichment programs for kids with classes in science, art, woodshop, and foreign languages: Spanish, French and Mandarin.
Upper Main Line YMCA Early Learning 1132 S. Leopard Road | Berwyn | 610-647-9622 UMLY Early Learning offers full and half day options. Our unique facility offers enrichment classes in arts/humanities, nature, sports, and swimming.
UrbanSitter.com Founded by four busy parents, UrbanSitter is an online resource where parents go to find & book babysitters recommended by people they know. Looking for the occasional sitter, full-time nanny, or last minute help? UrbanSitter will find available sitters—and show you the ones recommended by parents in your social circles (mother’s group, child’s school, sports team, etc.). Search sitters by date & time, book jobs, and even pay online—it’s quick, easy and efficient.
The Walden School 901 North Providence Road | Media | 610-892-8000 Founded in 1967, The Walden School is a Montessori-based pre through grade 8 independent school in Media, PA. At Walden, parents find academic excellence in a respectful atmosphere that inspires confidence and celebrates the uniqueness of each child.
Wayne Art Center413 Maplewood Ave | Wayne | 610-688-3553 Opening in 1930 as the first Art Center on the Mainline, the Wayne Art Center is a non-profit center dedicated to enriching our community through the arts.
West Hill School 1455 West Hill Road | Rosemont | 610-525-7660 The West Hill School is a unique co-educational Preschool designed especially for children ages 2.7 to 5 years old. We are situated on over two beautiful acres in Rosemont.
Disclosure: I received compensation to attend the event in exchange for social media coverage. All thoughts and opinions are my own.