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Choosing Preschool Instead of Day Care
 
Some parents want to know if they should send their children to preschool or to day care. These are both great options for children, but there are a few things that you should consider before choosing one. First, you need to consider the age of your child and your specific needs. Take a closer look at both preschools and day cares in your area to determine which option may be the best for you... Continue Reading

Hidden Valley Preschool LLC

606 Valley Dr
Duluth, MN
55804
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(218) 590-1220
 

Reviews

3 out of 5 stars
By Alix C from Duluth, MN
Posted Jun 5, 2017
 

My 4 year old son attended Hidden Valley Preschool from September 2016 through the end of May 2017. We found out about the school through a mom at the park shortly after moving to town from out of state. I will use a simple pro/con schedule with a summation at the end to help other parents choose if this school is right for their family.


Pros:
The classroom and school is clean, nicely appointed, and full of natural light.

The curriculum changes every week which is very exciting for the children. Fresh toys and activities keep things interesting.

There are many outdoor toys and activities for the children and a variety of hardtop and yard activities they enjoy.

The families and children are very nice with many repeat families and continuity of students.


Cons:
This is a business that targets working families. You are required to pay for a full time slot for your child, Monday through Friday from 7:30-5:30. Proceed with caution if you have limited flexibility with your job, as this preschool will be closed for breaks corresponding with the Duluth Public Schools, which does mean two weeks midwinter at Christmas. Expect morning-of notifications throughout the year that school will be closed for snow, ice, power outages, or lack of staffing.

Staffing: There are two part time teachers with the director on-call for backup. Be advised that most of the time there is only one adult present and 10+ children. If any crisis or disruption occurs, which with small children is expected, the sole teacher can quickly become overwhelmed. At this point, they will "hail Mary" the parent and director to immediately remove the child for the day, including for developmentally normal misbehavior's which do not include bodily harm to other students. ex. In our case, this amounted to phone calls to leave work and immediately remove our son for his threats to stand on the lunch table three times during the spring. With only 7 days of PTO for the calendar year, you can imagine this was highly inconvenient.

Communication can be spotty. The director is always available to be reached by phone or email, but when behavior problems occur, there is very little follow through to troubleshoot in person with parents and all teachers present a new plan for behavior management.


Overall assessment: Is this daycare terrible? No, far from it. But it is a home based daycare that is charging the going rate for established centers, but does not provide the accountability and reliability of a center. My neurotypical 4 year old was discussed like he was an out of control maniac. Our contract was terminated without fanfare 1 week before the end of the school year for his "unmanageable behavior." It seems poor business form to terminate a contract one week before the end of the year, so the termination was most likely in retaliation for a private facebook status I posted expressing my frustration with the frequently unreliable care, in which I never mentioned or alluded to the name of the business. The pettiness of uninviting a 4 year old from the end of year preschool graduation party one week prior is the cherry on top of a relationship which has been souring ever since the preschool staff caught wind we would not be re-enrolling and instead starting our son in kindergarten. Some families seem to love this school, but I am glad to see our sons time there in the rear view mirror.
 

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