Our Approach to Families
While we pride ourselves on having an outstanding student program, we intend to deliver an innovative family experience that is second-to-none. We call it our 6 C’s, each described in more detail below.
We recognize that all families have different educational preferences and values. A “one size fits all” approach to education would be, by definition, out of sync with some families’ preferred approach. For this reason, we have developed a thoughtful way for Croft families to customize certain parts of the school program we deliver to their own children – without sacrificing the student community that is naturally built through shared experiences. During the 2018-19 school year, families will have the option of customizing the following program attributes. (Please note that we will have a ‘default’ plan for each of these attributes for families who are not interested in customization.)
- Morning Activities – How do you want your child to start their day? Reading a book? Building with blocks? Imaginative play with their classmates? Some academic warm up exercises? Eat breakfast? We allow families to fully customize the “drop off” hour. During this time, we thoughtfully group students in spaces with other children who have a similar morning routine.
- Homework – We introduce a small amount of homework within our kindergarten program. Working in partnership with each family, we customize the type and amount of homework students receive to match parental preferences.
Skill-Based Experience Choices – Four days per week, in kindergarten, the last hour of the school day engages students in a dynamic skill-oriented experience. Read more about this part of the program here. Parents are encouraged to work closely with their children to select their top choices from our twenty-five experience options, which last between two weeks and the full school year.
- Student Technology Access – Beginning in kindergarten, a limited part of our program puts technology in the hands of students. However, we recognize that some families wish to keep their children away from any technology until they are older. We respect this approach. And for that reason, families can “dial up” or “dial down” their child’s access to technology when they are at The Croft School.
- Incentive Programs – In pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms, we believe it is vital to partner with our parents to align and collaborate on the best approaches to encouraging positive child behavior. While Croft uses its own strategies for our full classroom approaches, we can customize the individual incentive programs we use with each child in a way that fits with parental values.
School-parent-student communication is critically important. Here is how we approach communication at The Croft School:
- Real-time updates from child and teacher. Using the Seesaw app, children and teachers will provide regular updates to parents throughout the day.
- Daily summaries. Each day, our teacher will send a group email to the classroom’s parents providing a description of highlights from the day.
- Weekly parent prompts. We believe that student-parent communication about school each day is an important part of the afternoon and evening. We take an extra step to help parents facilitate this communication by distributing “prompts” that parents can ask each day to jumpstart conversation with their 4- or 5-year old.
- Biweekly teacher-parent ‘dialogue.’ We have designed our teachers’ schedules to allow for ample time for them to communicate with parents for at least 15 minutes every two weeks. Some families may prefer a detailed email from the teacher, while some may prefer a standing phone call. Other families may choose to “save up” their dedicated time and grab an hour-long afternoon coffee with their child’s teacher every eight weeks.
- Transparent view into student social and academic progress via online portal. Families will always be able to track their child’s achievement and progress through an online portal that provides a snapshot of their child’s most recent developments.
- 2x/year in-depth teacher-student-parent meeting. Twice per year, we’ll reserve an hour to dive deep on each child’s progress by arranging a meeting among the teacher, child, and parents. We prepare our students to play an increasingly large role in leading these meetings as they grow older. We’re always happy to host this meeting at The Croft School, but we are also glad to meet around your kitchen table as well.
We know families with young children are very busy – and we’ll do everything we can to make school as convenient as possible. How do we do so?
- Drop Off. We offer an hour-long daily drop-off window (7:30am-8:30am) and we have drop off routines that can enable families to efficiently and quickly “get in and get out” should that be their preference.
- Extended Day Options. We offer extended day programming for low cost relative to many other child care options. Instead of our standard 3:00pm end-of-day, families can choose a 4:15pm or 5:30pm daily pick up time.
- We Come to You. Our teachers would be delighted to come to your family’s home for our bi-annual family-student-teacher conferences.
- Making Parent Life Easier. Here’s our point of view. Parents are the most important teacher. Parents are busy. If our school can make it a little easier to be a parent, then children get a better education. So, we want to pilot things that we don’t see any other schools doing, which make parenting easier. Offering monthly “Date Night” babysitting services at the school, utilizing third-party (“Task Rabbit”) delivery services (e.g., we’ll pick up your essentials at CVS so it’s waiting for you when you pick up your child), dry cleaning drop off, etc.
- “Classroom Café.” We’ve always thought that it is strange that you can watch your child’s soccer practice, piano lesson, theater rehearsal, doctor’s appointment, yet not your child’s typical day-to-day school experience. Our teachers want to welcome parents into the school. Thus, we have a nice wooden table and Keurig machine, along with a free parent Wi-Fi, where you’re welcome to come sit, work on your laptop, and be able to look up and see what’s happening in the school.
- “Meaningful Volunteer.” Most parents are busy with work in this day and age, and can’t volunteer that much. Some parents, however, have a flexible enough schedule that they can commit one or more mornings a week into meaningful volunteer work in the school. Some schools don’t welcome that — they want to nudge parents to bake sales and other parent council type things. We feel differently! If you want to help children learn, that’s great. Maybe you’re a parent who works two days a week and would find it gratifying to spend two more days in your children’s school; or maybe you’re a parent on sabbatical and want the additional bonding time. We have parents work closely with the teacher to invent a win-win volunteer arrangement, with meaningful involvement for the parent.
We know that many families look to their children’s school as a way to engage in a tight-knit family community. We endeavor to facilitate the development of these bonds among our families. We believe that one way to do so is to host regular events that our families will value and appreciate. To start, we will host a monthly weekday potluck dinner conversation that will include a facilitated conversation (with our Lead Founder or a guest speaker) on topics of primary relevance to parents of 4- and 5-year olds in and around Providence. We will also promote opportunities for families and their children to come together outside of school for special Croft-sponsored events (e.g., apple picking, picnic in the park, sledding).
In our quest to become the most parent-centric school in the world, we will stop at nothing to deliver exceptional “service” to parents who are part of our school community. The foundation of good service is a strong teacher-parent relationship; our teachers will therefore invest the time to develop deep, trustful relationships with our families so that we can fully understand your needs, preferences, and values. Of course, we’ll measure family satisfaction with our overall program, including the service they feel like they are receiving, on a regular basis. And we’ll always use this feedback to refine and improve our approach.