Our “” article took in quite a large number of votes, along with very good amount of comments and ratings this week from town readers on what they like about their preschool.
As I wrote in a comment beneath the story on Thursday, "The poll here will help me narrow down the field, and the comments here help even more. What's very helpful are the ratings people put on the Patch 'Places' listings for individual preschools."
Four preschools each received a good number of votes by the 9 a.m. close of the voting today: St. Thomas More Happiness Preschool (325 votes), The Holly Pond School (214 votes), St. John Preschool (108 votes) and The Methodist Family Center Preschool (85 votes).
Few other preschools got many votes, and no editors commented on any of them, except Noroton Presbyterian Nursery School, which received two ratings. So it was easy to narrow this down to the four with significant votes.
Of those four, St. John Preschool had no comments or ratings. Holly Pond Preschool had two comments and two ratings (with no overlap—so four editors participated in telling us about the school).
Two other schools, St. Thomas More Happiness Preschool (TMHP) and the Methodist Family Center Preschool (MFCP) each received five comments under the survey story and more ratings on their "Places" directory pages.
A comparison of the ratings of those two, shows MCFP getting seven reviews and TMHP getting three—and that's the most important part of the contest. There was some overlap, but MCFP received reviews or comments from 10 editors while TMHP received a total of six editors writing comments or ratings.
Methodist Family Center Preschool won our Reader's Choice survey
For their specifics and for addressing such varied parts of the program, we found these two reviews the best ones of the bunch. One was by about the :
I have been at MFCP for the past 6 years. Both of my sons have been through all of their programs from the Toddler 2's all the way through Pre-K. The school does a wonderful job preparing children for elementary school. The teachers are well trained, highly accredited and have a passion for their jobs that is shown in their classrooms. The environment of the school is very warm, nurturing and friendly. In addition to their general program, they also have a great extended day program which includes spanish, science and karate. My Pre-K son has excelled in the spanish curriculum this year. I can only hope spanish will be included in the elementary schools next year so he can continue with his learning in this area! Overall I would highly recommend this preschool to anyone! It has been a wonderful experience for my children. A great way to start their educational journey in life!
The other was by , commenting on the :
All three of my kids have attended Happiness Preschool and each one has had an incredibly positive experience (two are currently enrolled - 4s program and the new 2s program). The staff is smart, compassionate and energetic. The school has recently purchased a Smart board to use in the classrooms. Spanish is now being taught to the 4-year-olds. The school brings in many special guests, including Animal Embassy, the Darien Library, EMTs and firefighters, etc. My second grader was well-prepared for Kindergarten after attending Happiness, both academically and socially, and Happiness played an important role in her success. Being part of a parish, the preschool also takes advantage of the many family social events the parish organizes - Easter Egg hunt/pancake brunch, Breakfast with St. Nicholas, Children's Tag Sale, etc.
Patch users Marina Davey, Virginia Gallagher and K. Calderwood also posted great reviews—all of them for MFCP—with specifics and reasons that parents would want to know in picking a preschool.
In the end, a voluntary survey only goes so far in helping to pick a preschool for a child. Visits to the preschool, discussions with the staff and other parents, and a parent's own research are all much more important, but reviews, comments and even poll responses can help a parent think about where to look twice or what questions to ask.
In the end, it's safe (even trite) to say that whatever edge a great preschool can give a child matters less than how well a child does in elementary school, which matters less than how well that child does in middle school, which matters less than what that teenager does in high school, which matters less than what that young adult does in trade school, college or graduate school—which matters a whole lot less than how that adult lives his or her life.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s Readers’ Choice. Next week’s Readers’ Choice category: Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Until then, Slán go fóill!
Patch regional editor Michael Dinan contributed to this article.