Primrose preps preschoolers for future academic success
The newest addition to the Primrose family in Colorado is located in Lafayette and offers a curriculum committed to planting seeds in young minds that grow into future academic success.
Primrose School of Lafayette, a franchise of Atlanta-based Primrose Schools Franchising Co., serves children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a current enrollment of 60 children. The center plans to expand to more than 200 students, said Britney Gower, who along with her husband, Chris, own Primrose of Lafayette. It opened in January.
“It’s a different breed of child care,” Gower said. “The focus is making sure every child hits their milestones and making sure they are at the right place for their age.”
Primrose was started 30 years ago by a mom searching for the kind of care she wanted for her own child. Chris Gower attended the first Primrose School in 1989 in Marietta, Georgia.
“It was actually a very different school then,” Chris Gower said. Little cabins and live farm animals were part of the hands-on experience. Since then, he said, Primrose Schools refined its curricula, with solid research and proven approaches.
“Today, with it being franchised and corporate backed, there is a lot of background and foundation,” he said. “The curriculum has to be proven before it’s implemented.”
Chris Gower’s mother and father own two Primrose schools. Britney Gower became interested in Primrose while working with her mother-in-law after leaving a sales job in corporate America, she said.
Educational researchers, hired by Primrose, design and oversee Primrose curricula with a trademarked approach called Balanced Learning.
“It’s a hands-on and balanced environment where we give children the tools to learn something, then give them freedom to learn on their own,” Chris Gower said.
Rather than making learning entirely teacher-driven or solely allowing students to steer their own education, Primrose’s balanced approach incorporates both methods into the classroom, said Britney Gower. The program offers education across subjects, even for very young children, including math, science, Spanish, sign language for infants, art and music, as well as reading and writing. Lessons are designed to be age appropriate and focus on a child’s character development, too.
“It really takes all of it to create a well-rounded child” prepared for elementary school, she said.
It’s an educational philosophy that makes Primrose of Lafayette a dream job for longtime educator Deborah Schmitt.
“I love my job and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven,” Schmitt said. An early-childhood educator for years, Schmitt started at Primrose in January. She was drawn to the school’s organization, welcoming feel and happy faces of the staff and management.
“It’s a beautiful school with a great curriculum,” she said. She values the shared materials for use in the classroom and outside. The standard curriculum allows teachers to focus on teaching rather than creating new lesson plans every night, Britney Gower said.
Age-appropriate playground equipment fosters gross motor development in children. Rotating, shared equipment such as sand and water tables or parachutes provide variety. Independence is encouraged by teachers and through peer-to-peer learning.
“It just warms my heart when I see the smile on one of my children’s faces when they have accomplished their task and I know I’ve done my job,” Schmitt said. She teaches 3-year-olds and said she has a passion for such impressionable and interested students.
That kind of passion, positive communication and willingness to work the Primrose curriculum made Schmitt a good fit for the school, Britney Gower said. The school employs 18 teachers and plans to hire dozens more. Finding properly certified, committed and passionate educators isn’t always easy, she said, and they are currently searching for new hires.
Materials and curriculum are standard across all Primrose centers, maintaining a consistency that allows students to transfer from one Primrose school to another without the challenge of learning a new system.
“We’re not just one school doing it one way,” Chris Gower said. “If you are a family who moves, and there is a Primrose in the neighborhood, the only thing that is going to change is the face of the teacher.”
Primrose believes in building community, too.
“It’s not just about the kids; it’s about the family and we want them to feel comfortable,” Britney Gower said. That’s one of things that attracted parent Amy Chase to Primrose of Lafayette. Her daughter, Violet, began attending when she was 4 months old and has been going ever since.
“I visited many, many child-care facilities,” Chase said. “They had the strongest curriculum. They were one of the safest environments and a family-inspired environment.” The teachers not only teach Violet, but also helped Chase with issues such as transitioning her daughter to new foods and assisting with Violet’s physical therapy needs.
Weekly child-care tuition at Primrose ranges from $200 to $330 per week, Gower said, but it’s a price that pays dividends in happy, school-ready children. Primrose is a decision Chase is glad she made.
“They are the warmest, most caring people and my daughter loves going.”
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