Mustard Seed Preschool
Thank you for considering Mustard Seed Preschool. We hope you will find all the information you need here to help you in your preschool selection process.
This page summarizes the information found in our Information Packet, which you can download in PDF form. After reviewing our information packet, if you have further questions about the school, or have a specific concern or need that you would like to discuss with us, please do not hesitate to contact us here.
We provide a rich and varied school environment that encourages the physical, cognitive, social, emotional, creative and spiritual growth of children.
Our program balances structure and free-choice, child initiated play and teacher directed activities, adult training and self-regulated development, creative expression and following directions, form and freedom. Our curriculum is structured to help children develop a sense of love and respect, as well as relatedness with their peers and teachers.
We respect children’s individual needs, skills, and interests and allow them to explore and grow at their own pace. We treat each child with love and respect as a unique individual, created in the image of and loved by God. We encourage children to love themselves, others, and all of creation. We are a non-denominational, non-profit Christian school and we welcome families from all backgrounds and faith traditions.
The program structure of Mustard Seed Preschool consists of the Toddler Option (20 months—2.9 years old) and the Preschool Option (2.9—5 years old). Both options have flexible schedules: 2 days (TTh); 3 days (MWF; TTh and one other day); or 5 days a week. A school year includes 180 school days, 10 weeks summer session and 1 week holiday care. School is closed on national holidays observed by the school.
Our regular program includes the morning sessions (9:00AM-1:00PM) and/or extended care hours, which includes early morning drop-off (7:30AM-9:00AM) and afternoon extended care (1:00PM-6:00PM). Nap time begins at 1:00PM and rest time begins at 2:00PM.
Toddler Option (20 months—2.9 years old)
The philosophy for both toddler and preschool options is the same but the structure is flexible to meet the developmental, and especially the emotional, needs of the toddlers. Toddlers in the morning sessions are placed in either the “20-30 months” classroom or the “2-2.9 years” classroom. The teacher-child ratio is kept low. Toddlers who stay for the afternoon program will nap in a room separate from the older children. Unlike older children, toddlers may have emotional needs that require a longer process to transition them into the nap routine. Therefore, the afternoon teacher-child ratio is 1:2 with a group size of 4. Toddlers may rejoin the mixed age at 4pm when the class returns to a small group size.
Children who are not yet 2.9 years old but are able to fully transition to the afternoon program with the older children may be considered for enrollment in the Preschool Option and its tuition rate. With the afternoon head teacher’s approval, these children will have a one-month trial period to transition into the afternoon program with older children. During this trial period, your tuition rate remains at the Toddler Option rate. If your children are able to fully transition at the end of the one-month trial period, your tuition rate will then switch to the Preschool Option rate.
Preschool Option (2.9—5 years old)
Older children who stay for the afternoon program will nap or stay outside for an additional hour or attend elective classes, and then rest. The teacher-child ratio in the nap room is 1:5 with a group size of 8-10.
Extended Care Program
The extended care program consists of early morning drop-off and afternoon sessions. The Extended Care Program provides an opportunity for children to work and play in small mixed age groups. Children have many opportunities to practice their social and communication skills in a family-like setting. Children are given choices and are able to explore activities planned to meet their needs, including experiences with creative arts, large and small motor activities and more. A more specific description follows:
- At 1:00PM, the “nappers” go to their nap room. The “resters” remain on the play yard for an additional hour for art activities, books, sand, and sometimes water and structure play, or attend elective classes.
- At 2 PM, the resters move from the play yard to the resters/nappers classrooms for a rest time. Some children fall asleep. When children wake up from nap or rest time, they have a snack at the tables and enjoy conversations with one another! Children are then able to choose from a variety of developmentally appropriate activities both indoors and outdoors.
Throughout the afternoon many transitions occur as children say good-bye to Mustard Seed and rejoin their families. Every transition is carefully monitored so that children have a positive and growing experience throughout the day. We believe in allowing children to settle into an excellent rhythm for their day so that they return home to be wholesome and relaxed individuals, ready to spend quality time connecting with family members. We believe that the pace of the morning program, if extended to the end of the day, will be less than optimal for children’s emotional development and for essential bonding with family members.
We offer a 10-week summer session (usually 2 wks in June, 8 wks in July and August) with similar hours, fees and curriculum. Summer session registration and tuition are separate from that of the 180 school days. Priority for registration is given to children already enrolled in the regular school year.
Holiday care (HC) is signed up and billed at an hourly drop-in rate. There is one week of HC in spring (usually the Easter week).
We have five classrooms, grouped primarily by age. Classes have an excellent teacher to student ratio and group size. Our goal is to place your child in the class that is developmentally appropriate for him/her, to the best of our ability.
Music, Gym and Elective Classes (optional)
Music and gymnastic classes, taught by a specialist, are offered to all the children at no additional fee. It is an integral part of our morning program. Elective classes — Dance, Martial Art, Messy Art, Cooking, Science and Spanish — are also taught by specialists and offered in the afternoon (1-2PM) for children ages 2.5 years and up, for additional fees. Class sizes are kept at a maximum of 6-8 children per class so that children will get individual attention and thrive in the classes.
We believe that children actively learn from engaging the environment through play. Words, numbers, letters, and abstract concepts are presented to children as part of the world around them and not as “academics” they have to master. By presenting concepts and symbols repeatedly in developmentally appropriate ways, a majority of our students learn the letters, letter sounds, numbers, seasons, etc., by the time they complete the Pre-K class, but there is no pressure or time-line involved.
We offer children developmentally appropriate experiences in: art, music, language & literature, gross and fine motor activities, pre-reading & pre-writing, mathematics, music, science, dramatic art & creative expression.
Our academic goals include fostering intellectual curiosity, keeping children excited about learning, and helping them develop a sense of confidence and competence in a school environment.
Our steps toward reaching these academic goals include:
- Providing developmentally appropriate opportunities for children to grow in independence, responsibility, and self-expression.
- Nurturing intellectual curiosity and a disposition for learning.
- Developing self-esteem through social-emotional growth and the development of competencies.
- Maintaining limits on behavior in a way that nurtures children’s inner impulse-control and appropriate self-regulation.
- Stimulating an awareness of God’s love.
A consistent yet flexibly followed daily schedule offers children the opportunity to develop routines, prepare for transitions, and play and learn in a low-anxiety environment.
|9:00-10:15||Free play time (inside or outside)/project|
|11:00-12:00||Outside free play|
|12:00-12:30||Lunch/stories and conversation|
Actual schedules are posted in the classrooms and each day will allow time for all of the following activities:
Indoor Free Play, Projects and Station Play
We employ a structure of station play to support young learners in choice play at one of several creative stations for a sustained period. This facilitates intensive teacher observation and teacher support so that children can work on their developmental milestones and skills such as cooperative play, communication, and conflict resolution.
Each day begins with free-choice play. Children may choose from blocks, puzzles, dress-up clothes, dolls, books, playhouses, science activities, manipulatives, and art projects—all within their reach. Children are given ample time and space to imagine, explore, and play cooperatively. Children are also given an opportunity to work on multi-level, multi-sensory, multi-objective projects, which have been designed and presented with an emphasis on process and exploration rather than product.
Circle time/Bible Stories/Godly Play
During our morning sessions, children gather in a group for singing, cognitive skills games, musical instruments, drama, and movement exercises. While the teacher directs this activity, children have many opportunities to be involved—they are not a passive audience. It is a time to teach children problem solving skills, especially in areas of social interactions, emotional expressions, and conflict resolution. During Circle Time, the teacher may share simple Bible stories through books or storytelling using the Godly Play curriculum (using props). The stories teach morals shared across cultures such as love, compassion, honesty, etc. The teacher or resource teacher will normally utilize Bible stories/Godly play once per week.
Outdoor Free Play
Our large outdoor yard provides opportunities for gross motor development, social, creative and dramatic play. It is equipped with several climbing structures, slide, sandbox, vegetable and flower garden, play house, dramatic play area, basketballs with hoops, tricycles, art and water play.
On rainy days, older children (4-5 years old) remain in their classrooms, while younger children in Roo, Piglet and Pooh Bear classrooms share a large Fellowship Hall for indoor active play.
Lunch is a warm, social time for teachers and children. Children bring their own lunch to school. We also use this time to read or listen to books together.