CHALK Preschool is one of the most technologically advanced early education programs of its time. Its online program is totally convenient and totally free. If parents prefer a more traditional, in-person option for their child, they’re invited to opt into one of CHALK’s five in-person preschools, located in Chicago and Los Angeles.
The CHALK Preschool Mission
CHALK Preschool believes that every child deserves access to an early education. That’s why, in addition to offering several in-person locations in both the Chicago and Los Angeles areas, it’s also available to preschoolers around the world through CHALK’s online preschool program. And because CHALK knows how vital those first few years of learning are, it offers its online curriculum for free.
CHALK’s Teaching Philosophy
Teachers at the in-person centers believe in a warm, welcoming environment where children learn by embracing the arts and achieving classroom goals, based on studied learning standards. CHALK focuses primarily on a hands-on learning style. Even the online courses are about much more than screen time. This hands-on teaching approach means preschoolers learn both inside and outside, with both the online and in-person options. The curriculum focuses on primary learning objectives centered on literacy, math and science. But CHALK goes beyond the books. Preschoolers in the program hone their creative skills through art projects and perfect motor skills through music and dance activities.
The Nitty Gritties of CHALK
The online courses are available on regular computers, as well as on smartphones and tablets. While age varies, based on the needs of each individual child, most are ready to join the preschool program somewhere between the ages of two and five. While they’re first separated into classes by age, if a parent feels it’s not a perfect fit, staff members are happy to switch children to more suitable class groups.
The idea for CHALK was first established in 2004, but the first center went up in Illinois the following year. For the next few years, more and more centers were opened in the Chicago area and in 2009, the first Los Angeles CHALK Preschool was established. Since then, the centers have continued to multiply in both cities. Because the founders of CHALK wanted their preschools to reach across the country, and even the world, they decided to launch the online preschool option. With this digital curriculum, even those who don’t live in Chicago or Los Angeles can still reap the benefits of a CHALK early education.
Parents are welcome to enroll their child in the online program at any time, simply by visiting CHALK Preschool’s website. In-person programs accept applicants year-round, so Chicago and Los Angeles-based families are also welcome to enroll at any time.
At MomTrusted, we have a lot of favorites when it comes to preschools. We devote our time to spreading word of outstanding programs and helping match parents with child care and education options. One of the preschool programs at the top of our list is CHALK Preschool, available at several locations in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas. Here’s why we love them:
CHALK’s belief in the learning process
At CHALK Preschool, staff strives to appeal to all parts of learning in an effort to provide a well-rounded education and preparation for kindergarten. CHALK supports each child’s emotional, physical, social and cognitive growth through carefully chosen lesson plans. A warm and welcoming environment is what staff members of CHALK work to provide for every preschooler in the program. They stress hands-on activities, including, but not limited to, a wide variety of songs, games and crafts.
CHALK prepares children for the leap into school
Teaching is the main goal at CHALK Preschool, and each center focuses on preparing its students for kindergarten, prepping them for a long road of academic success. While the lessons focus on math, science and literacy, a CHALK education reaches beyond the traditional sense. The preschools also work to help young ones perfect their motor skills and help children acquire social skills.
CHALK offers an online program
CHALK Preschool gets a ton of bonus points for spreading knowledge around the world by offering an online preschool option. Parents can login whether or not their child is already enrolled in preschool. The lessons, which are focused around key points like literacy, math, science and more, can be used as bonus learning material for those already in a tradition preschool, or a unique, digital preschool option for those who don’t go to preschool every day. The online version is even free for parents to enroll their children in and use.
CHALK Preschool has a total of five locations spread between Chicago and New York. The first went up in 2005 and popular demand for the program resulted in more and more preschools. Children between the ages of two and five are welcome and the preschool accepts applications year-round, so don’t wait until next year to enroll. Schedule a tour and see if it’s a good fit for your child. Click here to find the closest Chalk Preschool to you.
See more examples of just one day of their online preschool program below.
Whether your child is already enrolled in a separate preschool program, starting next year or learning at home until they begin kindergarten, the CHALK Preschool online curriculum can help children expand and enhance their early education for free. All you need is your computer, smartphone or tablet to enroll and get started.
The CHALK Curriculum
CHALK Preschool focuses on preparing preschoolers for kindergarten. Lessons revolve around learning numbers, letters, shapes, sizes, colors, pattern recognition, weather, days of the week and more. The best part? There’s constantly new, challenging material for your little one. With a new lesson list every day, your child can expand his or her knowledge by exploring new games, songs and activities.
The CHALK Learning Approach
Despite being an online program, CHALK Preschool is about much more than sitting in front of a screen, clicking a computer mouse. The curriculum is centered on hands-on learning, involving both indoor and outdoor play and discovery. From art projects to song and dance, CHALK gets little ones up and moving, learning through exploration, the way that they learn best.
Here’s how to use CHALK Preschool to enhance your child’s learning:
To get started, all you need to do is enter your email information and your child’s name and birthday on CHALK’s website.
2. Select a lesson to focus on.
Choose a topic on the left hand side of the screen. You can opt for dailies, which changes every day, weather, literacy, math and science or art. Each comes with videos, games or activities. Some even feature all three.
3. Print off printables.
Next, check out the printables available on the left side of the screen, under the lesson options. Here you’ll find coloring sheets, graphs and more that your child can draw or write on.
4. Free play!
If your little one still wants to learn and you’ve already covered his or her daily lesson plan, click on the free play link on the top right of the screen. Here, you and your little one can watch videos and learn fun, educational songs to sing along with.
5. Stop by the Parent Portal.
This section of the website, located on the top right of the screen, is completely dedicated to parents like you. Here, you can learn more about the CHALK Preschool program and leave helpful feedback for the staff. You can also head to the advice corner to find helpful tips on everything from teaching about manners to helping smooth out the bedtime routine.
We promise it’s not too good to be true. CHALK Preschool offers an online curriculum to children across the world for absolutely no cost at all. With preschool tuition on a seemly constant rise, the option for free learning is key.
In recent years, preschool has gotten so expensive that it’s even been compared to college tuition costs. Depending on location and which specific program parents choose, preschool for just one child could set them back anywhere between $4,400 and $13,000 each year. The average cost of tuition at a public college is under $9,000. That means that parents could actually pay more for their child’s preschool education than they do for their college. And as a country, we can’t afford these steep tuition costs. College students and grads owe around $1 trillion in student loans, begging the question, if we can’t afford to pay for our children’s college tuitions, how can we afford to pay around the same amount for their preschool education?
That’s where CHALK comes in. Because of this interactive preschool option, children across the world are able to attend preschool. The online, free curriculum through CHALK Preschool is accessible to everyone, regardless of household income. It gives children across the world access to a quality, early learning education. The program is open to any child, but primarily aimed at kids between the ages of two and five.
Learning is vital within those first five years. It can pave the road for academic success in the future. Kids who attend preschool enter kindergarten with a higher understanding of vocabulary, math and pre-literacy skills. And a preschool education goes beyond the books. It teaches children to socialize and can even help develop motor skills. Later in life, preschool matters. Studies show that adults who attended preschool are less likely to be held back in school, placed in special education, rely on welfare or even break laws. There’s no doubt that preschool plays a big role in both the immediate and future success of children.
Everyone should be given the advantage of preschool. Because CHALK knows the importance of an early education, they strive to make it accessible to all children. To enroll your child in CHALK Preschool’s free online program, simply visit the site and register today!
-“Preschool: How much does it cost?” Baby Center
-“What’s the price tag for a college education?” College Data
-“Why preschool matters” Parents.com
With the steep costs of preschool, many parents are searching for lower costing options or even eliminating pre-k altogether. Those in Los Angeles County may have a more affordable option at their fingertips. The Un Mundo de Amigos Preschool offers free and affordable preschool to kids in the LA county.
Un Mundo de Amigos offers free half-day preschool without any financial restrictions. The only requirements are that the families live in LA County and children fall within the birthday perimeters. Un Mundo de Amigos does, however, still offer affordable childcare to families of kids who are younger than four or those who’d like their kids to participate in the full-day program. Families who fall into those categories are welcome to opt for the program’s private pay option, which costs $5 per hour, still much lower than most other pre-k programs.
Laurie Peterson, who had previously worked in the business of PG golf tournaments, founded Un Mundo de Amigos after seeing the joy her own son got from starting school. “I realized that not every child had had the same beginnings as he has had,” said Peterson. “And yet every parent loves their child as much as I love him.”
Most of it is funded through the Los Angeles Universal Preschool, a non-profit dedicated to increasing preschool affordability and access in the LA area. In 1999, as a result of a 50-cent tax law on cigarettes and other tobacco products in California, more funding was put toward early childhood development. Eighty percent of the new revenue was distributed among counties in California and backs organizations such as LAUP, working to improve the lives and education of children from the age of birth to five years old.
The program has been going strong and just graduated its fifth preschool class. Un Mundo de Amigos enrolls about 130 students each year and this year is no different. With the school year officially beginning in September, Un Mundo de Amigos has a handful of spots available in its free program and only one private place still open.
For more information about Un Mundo de Amigos Preschool, click here.
This fall, 57,000 children in need of preschool through the Head Start program will be out of luck. This year, Head Start program saw big budget cuts, in fact, the biggest the program has seen in history.
The White House said the lack of funding is due to spending cuts, resulting from the sequestration. Head Start has been around since the mid-1960s and this is by far the largest cut it’s ever seen. Many worry that this dramatic loss of funding will hurt the ones who need help the most: low-income families struggling to afford preschool. In 2012, Head Start served over one million families, but now, nearly 60,000 less will be included this school year.
Kids aren’t the only ones who will suffer from the cuts. Around 18,000 Head Start employees will lose their jobs due to the lack of funding. The grand total of funding loss sits at a heavy $400 million. Cuts are expected to take place by the end of September.
The good news? Those looking for affordable childcare and preschool programs in their area have come to the right spot. At Mom Trusted, we’re always sad to hear about less funding for great programs like Head Start, but we’re still here to help parents in need find the best possible match for their families. Visit MomTrusted.com to start your search now!
-“Head Start hit with worst cuts in its history” USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/19/stateline-head-start/2671309/
-“57,000 fewer children will be in the Head Start program because of spending cuts, the White House says” NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/budget-cuts-whack-head-start-article-1.1431355
-“Head Start budget cuts cost kids, jobs” LA Daily News: http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20130814/head-start-budget-cuts-cost-kids-jobs
-Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
The first day of preschool is a scary one, both for you and your child. Here are some ideas for how to make that big step easier on both of you:
1. Pay a visit.
Visit the classroom with your little one to get them excited. This will not only create excitement, but help eliminate the first day nerves. Meeting his or her new teacher will also help by giving them a familiar face on the first real day of school.
2. Discuss the activities.
Tell your child what they’ll be doing every day. Think of it as explaining their schedule, even if they don’t have a firm grasp on time just yet. This way, when their teacher says, “OK. It’s snack time,” it will be an activity that your child remembers from their schedule. Schedules provide comfort and make the day flow more smoothly.
3. Pack their favorites.
A lunchbox filled with your child’s favorite snacks is a surefire way to chase some first day jitters away.
4. Leave a love note
First days are always a little scary so let your little one know you’re thinking of them. Leave a note in their lunchbox. Picture notes are great for those who aren’t reading quite yet.
5. Read books about preschool.
Reading stories out loud about how exciting preschool is will give your little one something to look forward to.
6. Buy the gear.
Go out together to shop for a new backpack, notebooks and crayons. New school supplies that he or she helped pick out will make them feel extra prepared and look forward to the big day.
7. Ask them.
Ask your child how they’re feeling. Are they excited? Are they nervous? Not only will talking through feelings prove therapeutic, but you may be able to put some of their worries to rest.
8. Set up play dates ahead of time.
If you receive a class list before preschool starts, give some of the parents a call. If your child has the opportunity to play with one or two of his or her new classmates before preschool even starts, she or he’ll be able to spot a familiar face on the first day.
9. Talk about the potty routine.
Many kids have just finished potty training when they start preschool. They may feel nervous about having to go while they’re in a new place. Talk about this before hand. Make sure they understand what steps to take. “Ask your teacher first.” “Don’t forget to wash your hands.”
10. Consider sending a comfort item.
If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, send it along with them. It will comfort them, especially during naptime when they’re trying to fall asleep in a new place. Just be sure to double check with the preschool to make sure it’s OK first.
11. Start bringing preschool up in day-to-day activities.
If your child draws a colorful picture, say “I bet you’re going to get to make other art projects like that at preschool.” If you see your little one share a toy, applaud them by saying, “Great job! Your new school friends are really going to love when you share with them.”
12. Share your own stories.
Reassure your little kiddo that when you started preschool, you were scared too, but then tell them about all of the fun you had and friends you made.
13. Goodbye routine.
Create your very own goodbye ritual. Maybe you sing a little song or give each other a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Maybe you recite a goofy poem. Routine makes kids feel safe so figure out your parting ritual and practice it before the big day. That way, when it comes time for the real deal, all the drills before hand will make using it for real, a treat.
14. Don’t linger.
If you look afraid, your child will pick up on it. And if you stick around too long when dropping them off, they’ll sense that something is wrong. You need to be as brave as you’re telling them to be. So put on a big smile and let your child know how excited you are for them to be taking the next big step!
15. Be on time.
Be on time when you pick up your child. Not only is it scary to watch all of the other classmates leave with their parents, while yours is nowhere to be found, but showing up late looks just plain irresponsible. So be there when you are supposed to be to pick up your child and hear all about their preschool adventures.
-“10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for School.” Parents.com
-Fox, Isadora. “First Day Jitters: Getting Kids Excited About Preschool.” Parents.
-“Tips for the first day of preschool.” Babble.
-Photo courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net