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Crystal Cathedral PreschoolBad experience

We chose the Crystal Cathedral Preschool based upon excellent recommendations from friends and family. Our son had just turned 3 years old, never been exposed to playing with other children without parent supervision, and we thought that the Crystal Cathedral Preschool would be a great place to introduce him to not only social skills, but a little religion, too. He already knows his ABCs, colors, shapes, can count from 1-20, and speaks well for his age. Basically, he knows more than your average 3 year old. I addressed my concerns with the administrator about him being lost in the shuffle if he's ahead of his peer group. They reassured me by telling me that all factors would be considered (intelligence, social and emotional maturity), and that things would be fine. After one month, we are extremely disappointed with the Administration of the Preschool. The vibe we felt during our acceptance interview was that they were only interested in accepting our money (how fast can we get him potty trained, how soon would we want to bring him in to five days a week). Our child was not completely potty trained, and the only spot they had for potty training involved attending 2x/week. Nothing else was open. After six class sessions, my husband and I were told that he was "ready" to go to either 3 or 5 days a week based on his potty training. We thought it was a little quick to move him to an older class that didn't accommodate potty training (3 year olds turning 4 this year), but figured that the administrators were the experts. Without thinking about his emotional and social maturity (and only thinking about monetary), they moved him over. The following week, my husband and I found ourselves sitting in the office because our son is exhibiting aggressive behavior to students and teachers. After listening to the teachers and observing the class without our son's knowledge, we quickly noticed that the teachers were not taking a proactive approach to teach him how to be social with the other children, and introduce to him skills necessary for getting along with his peers. They were more reactive to children’s actions, and just as passive with discipline.

One example I can share is that our son was reprimanded for moving a child's wagging finger away from his face. The teacher did not see what the little girl did, and basically removed our son away from the little girl and then wagged her own finger in his face to reprimand him. I told my husband to wait and see how this incident would be documented on our "daily note home" of our son's "good choices and poor choices". We had been placed on a contract to modify 2 days of behavior issues, and were now required to receive daily notes home of our son's progress. Sure enough, the incident was listed ("he hit with his hands during AM gym") but it was obvious that the teacher only saw our son reacting to what the girl did. NO mention of the girl's actions were in the note, which basically implied that our son's action was unprovoked. Something we would have believed if my husband had not witnessed the incident himself. When this was brought to the administrator’s attention the following day, the administrator told us that she did not find that action offensive, and kept interrupting my husband to "control" the conversation. Rather than discuss the issue at hand (one-sided reprimands and obvious lack of staff unity), she kept insisting that she was more concerned about red flag behaviors. I thought parent/teacher or administrator conferences were supposed to be productive discussions where parents and staff work together for the best interest of the child, not an hour of "I have been in this business for many years and know better than you."

Within a span of three days, we received four notes, one of them 4 pages long, detailing our son's actions for the day. If the school is able express themselves regarding our son's actions, why couldn't they assist with guiding him in social development? Our son was accustom to adult interaction, which is why we decided to place him in a preschool. I'm not saying our three year old is an angel, but he is three years old! This is the age where they need guidance. My husband and I would "drill" into our son's head rules he needed to remember (i.e. that hitting and kicking are not okay), but then we realized that it seemed like we were "brainwashing" him when he would reply back what the rules were. How could we continue to enforce the drill when he wasn't doing it around us, at least enforce it to the degree that we were with him? I understand repetition is important at this age, but it's not as effective as teaching him when the incident occurs.

I think the Preschool is great for children who have been exposed to regular play dates, played with other children their age on a playground or park (not just independent play). The curriculum is great, and the atmosphere is nice. For kids who have had minimal to no exposure...I highly recommend that you spend the extra money and take them to a Montessori school. It will be well worth it because their administrators have successfully acclimated children and taught them a variety of skills necessary to succeed in school and life. That's what we're going to do, and I truly believe that our son will have a better chance at success learning and mastering those skills from teachers and administrators who take the time to teach instead of concerning themselves over how many kids they can fill a classroom.


  • Sc
    scottmatt Apr 15, 2010

    CCP is a good preschool with great teachers.

    Beware, however, parents with preschool-age children about to move on to kindergarten. You might be disappointed. Why?

    CCP uses a testing system called "Chancy-Bruce" developed by two child-education experts in Huntington Beach. This test screens for a variety of skills, including Gross Motor, Visual Memory, Comprehension, etc. That's standard fare for a 4-5 year old entering kindergarten.

    What's not standard is the fact that this method seeks to get the results of a 5 1/2-year-old. In other words, the bar is set higher than the actual age of most preschoolers.

    My son, for example, was 4 years, 8 months, when he tooks this test. All his results came out 4 yrs, 9 months or even much higher. Upon initial examination, my wife and I were happy with that.

    But then we got into the parents meeting, where the Preschool Administrator opened the evening by talking about the "gift of time." It made us wonder what was going on. Very quickly, we realized that Crystal Cathedral Kindergarten is looking for kids who are working beyond grade level. In other words, it is their unspoken policy to hold children back a year, even those who are working at the level they SHOULD be at.

    I asked Mrs. Bruce herself if most kids who turn 5 between May-Sept fail this test, and she said yes. If your child's birthday is late summer, that number goes up to 75 or 80 percent (exact number not given by Mrs. Bruce).

    My deduction? CCP wants you to hold your child back. Is it so they can get another year of tuition? Is it because they want high test scores for their kindergarten class? Or is because both the Preschool Principal and Mrs. Bruce herself have kids who were held back and therefore are advocates of this theory?

    Again, CCP is a good preschool, but parents, be ready to be blindsided if you think you child is moving on to kindergarten there.

    0 Votes
  • Ca
    Carol Milner Mar 22, 2010

    I LOVE the Crystal Cathedral Preschool. My son NEVER cries when left and talks about his teachers and friends like they are family. As a parent who home-schooled my first three children, putting my last son in preschool was a very difficult decision. Though I miss having my time with him at home, I wouldn't change the CCPS alternative for anything. The staff at CCPS are the only reason I don't grieve round the clock having to say "Good-bye". My son has been at the school for 1.5 years. I can say that it does make a difference, in my opinion, if you put a child in when they are used to being at home. I know this from my first children. I have to admit, after seeing both sides, I think my youngest is better socialized and he is LOVING life. CCPS rocks!

    0 Votes

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