Thursday, August 19, 2010

Positively the Best Preschool

I mentioned several times that I moved to Westborough, primarily because of the public schools.  My mother-in-law is a retired public school teacher from Connecticut and my mother is a retired public school teacher from New York.  Both have over 37 years experience an experience in almost every grade K through 12.  I have a great amount of respect for public school systems and the community that helps it run.

BUT…when I moved to Westborough, my oldest was just over 2 and my youngest was only 7 months old.  Since both my wife and I work we needed to find a preschool/daycare to take care of our children.  We had some help at home for the youngest.  I don't think at the time, I could have told you the difference between a daycare and a preschool.  To me it sounded like the "preowned" and "used" debate.   I have learned the basic differences. 
    Both have the same requirements for licensing and accreditation. You can always evaluate each using the same criteria. Both cost roughly the same. Good quality preschools and daycare centers will offer activities designed to stimulate your child's physical, social and cognitive development.
    Preschool is typically designed for children between the ages of 2.9 and 5 or 6. Daycare is aimed at children of many different ages (infant to elementary school age). Some preschools have more limited hours (typically 3 hours at a time, 2 to 5 times a week). Curriculum: most preschools are organized around a specific educational approach (i.e. Montessori, Waldorf), whereas most daycares are viewed as being more custodial than educational.
Ok...enough of that, back to my experiences. 

While living in Marlborough, my oldest went to the KinderCare facility on Rt 20.  Both my wife and I liked the daycare.  It had great hours and Chase was always happy to go.  When we moved Westborough, the drive to Marlborough didn't make sense so we looked into other options.  After learning the information above and a quick survey of options, we decided to focus primarily on Westborough area preschools rather then daycares.  Web research, phone calls, and talks to other parents in the area helped us accumulate mountains of data.  Then we visited several of the options: the Boroughs YMCA, Miss. Tonya's, the Westboro Area JCC (now called the Boroughs JCC), the Methodist preschool, Mulberry (now Knowledge beginnings), Jenny Williams (now closed but Positively Preschool has taken their space), and Next Generations.  There are a lot of options in the area so there was a lot to research.

Some places seemed small.  Children should have room to run around even if it is raining outside.  Some buildings seemed old and unkept.  Sure new paint and some nice furniture can make it look sharp in one room but if I look around the edges of the building and see mold, I know that is also growing elsewhere.  And some places just didn't seem to be anything more then child watching.  I want my boys to enjoy preschool and school, and I want them to gain something from the experience, friendships, knowledge, and great memories.

All this lead us to one place, the Westboro Area JCC Preschool (now the Boroughs JCC Preschool).
  • The Facility - the Boroughs JCC facility is amazing.  Over 12,000 square feet of indoor space.  A huge 1600 square foot "big room" reserved for activities when the weather is too wet or too cold is a rarity in preschools.  The 7 classrooms themselves were also great.  Large open spaces with activity tables and stations.  It is obvious that people put a lot of thought into the layout of the Boroughs JCC Preschool.  Each room is designed to cover all aspects, computers are in each classroom as well as separate sinks for washings and snack preparation.
  • NAEYC Accreditation - There are few places that take the time to become NAEYC accredited.  NAEYC (The National Association for the Education of Young Children) is and independent organization dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC is committed to becoming an increasingly high performing and inclusive organization.  NAEYC certification are over and above the state mandated Early Education and Care (EEC) certifications.  It takes years to become NAEYC accreditation and that certification encompasses things from building security, teacher ratios, curriculum, and several other areas.
  • Preparation for Kindergarten -  My oldest starts kindergarten in 2 weeks.  I know he is better prepared than some of his friends strictly because of the Boroughs JCC Preschool.  The PreK class at the Boroughs JCC Preschool was amazing.  Kids would sign their name each day when they arrived.  There was lots of writing.  Counting by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s well over 100.  Basic math foundations, reading fundamentals, and social maturity were all focuses of this class.  Referring back to my mother, and her almost 4 decades of teaching, she always seems to evaluate my kids when she visits.  The educator in her still shines through.  She commented several times that she observed Chase and the others in his class as more prepared for kindergarten then many of the students she saw as a teacher.  I don't have the education  background to make that kind of assessment but I know she does and if he wasn't ready I know she would be harping on me to get him there.  Thank you Boroughs JCC Preschool for this one.
  • Curriculum -  When I first visited preschools I was always turned off when people talked about curriculum.  I wanted the kids to be kids, play with paint, get messy, and enjoy the new experiences they find.  Again now I am a little older and wiser and I realize curriculum is not a bad word.  Children can have these great experiences and get messy and enjoy life with guidance and planned activities.  Both of my boys have learned so much from their teachers and classmates.  They have experienced all of the fun of being a child with organization and planned activities that help them socially interact.  A large aspect of primary and secondary education is structured.  Sure we all should use our imaginations and be creative but more and more I realize there needs to be some guidance and options presented.  Just being a safe location doesn't make it a preschool…they left out the "school" part.
  • Ages  The Boroughs JCC Preschool is certified to accept children ages 15 months to 5 years.  This allowed me to have my boys at the same facility.  They also divide ages so my boys who are only 19 months apart were always in different classes.  There are differences between 3, 4, and 5 year olds and even the best teachers would be better off if they could facilitate programs for just one age group.  The Boroughs JCC has the space and staff to create classes for each age.
  • Community -  I always tout the value of community.  The Boroughs JCC and the Boroughs JCC Preschool is an amazing community.  The school structure fosters iterations with other parents.  We have met some great friends through the Boroughs JCC and I am proud to have their children and my children forming lasting friendships as well.  Someone asked me if you had to be Jewish to go to the Boroughs JCC Preschool.  About 50% of the Boroughs JCC Preschool is not Jewish, I personally was not raised Jewish.  The Boroughs JCC is truly a community preschool, there are Judaic elements to the program and I am proud to have my son excited when he does a mitzvah (a good deed) or when he wants to give Tzedakah (charity) each week.  From everything I have seen first hand the Boroughs JCC Preschool contributing to the value and honor it means to be living in the Boroughs.
For any parents looking at preschool options in Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, or Hopkinton, I strongly recommend a visit to the Boroughs JCC Preschool to see first hand how incredible are the facility, the staff, and even the other parents (myself included).  :-)  All photos are curtsy of the Boroughs JCC website, and there are a ton more.  I encourage you to check them out.  One definitive mark of a good preschool is how happy the kids are.  For more information on the Boroughs JCC Preschool contact them directly:

Boroughs JCC Preschool
45 Oak Street, Westborough
(508) 366-6121 ext 23 - Lisa Linehan, Preschool Director

There is also a community open house scheduled for next week.  I will be there with my boys and I would be happy to talk more about the Boroughs JCC Preschool, positively the best preschool I could find.

August 25th - Preschool Open House
4:00PM - 7:00PM
FREE - Open to the Public
Pizza, Friendly's ice cream
Bounce house, tumblebus, open playgrounds tours and more

School is starting soon and I am eager to get behind the scenes at Fales where my oldest is attending, but I am proud to have 2 more years of the Boroughs JCC for my youngest.  The experiences couldn't be better.


  1. Thank you for all the info. We're in the process of moving to Northborough and I'm looking at childcare and preschool options. I checked out the JCC website and was saddened to see that there is no full-day option (past 4pm), which my husband and I would need due to our work schedules. Do you have any info about the other programs that others have maybe recommended?

  2. Anne,

    So sorry for not replying earlier. I agree, I too would prefer longer hours, but I was so impressed with the school we hired an after school nanny rather then look for a full day option. I have heard that they are looking at expanding the hours next year.

    I some parents who use Scribbles in Northborough for the longer day and like it.

    Thanks for the comment and I hope this helps.

    1. The hours of the preschool vary and children can come as early as 8 and stay until 530. This preschool is by far the best in the area. Both my sons attend and I could not imagine them going an other place.

  3. POSSITIVELY the BEST PRESCHOOL in the area!!! I have been a parent at the JCC for over 5 years, and I could NOT imagine sending my children to any other preschool. They have such a wonderful program, and enrichment programs. They also have a varying schedule, so you can pick and choose the days you want to send your child. What more could you ask for, when choosing a preschool for your child. You get the best of anything, and you will NEVER find anything like it!!!

  4. Although I have been teaching for many years, I just began working at the Boroughs JCC in August 2011. I quickly learned why it is such an outstanding school; all the teachers were so kind and welcoming to me, so I could tell right away how thoughtful and caring they must be with their students. The families, too, help make up the wonderful community that exists here. I am grateful to be part of this special school.

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