The Pre K Scholars Story
Why I Created Pre K Scholars: A Letter from Amy Schwary
To all moms of pre-school age children...
Several years ago. I was concerned that my oldest daughter might not be ready for the new demands of kindergarten. As a former kindergarten teacher, I knew kindergarten had become yesterday's first grade.
Amy with her family
I searched the Internet and my community for a comprehensive pre kindergarten curriculum to no avail. Many preschools were focused primarily on socialization. Online I found phonics for children, handwriting drills for preschoolers, reading development exercises, and so forth, but each was an isolated, stand-alone product. Nothing readily connected one skill development effort to the next. Where should I start with my four year old—with the phonics kit or the alphabet recognition program, the handwriting drills or the counting pages? It was impossible to choose.
I knew I wanted a comprehensive, integrated series of short fun lessons that my daughter would love. Lessons that built upon each other, reinforce each other, use common household items, and are playful yet relevant. With nothing available in the marketplace, I started creating it on my own, a process that took more than two years to complete.
My first kindergarten readiness course started in 2003, buddy-teaching in my home with a friend. I have been refining and teaching this program ever since. In 2008, I offered concurrent 22-week sessions for eight four-year-olds in 90-minute classes, one day a week. The results were overwhelmingly positive. The kids loved the classes and looked forward to their home activity assignments. The parents were delighted with the results and learned to how to create teachable moments at home. I was pleased to contribute to my family budget, earning $280 per 90-minute class each week. Today, I have a waiting list of moms wanting to enroll their kids.
Before starting Pre K Scholars my son was still struggling with identifying his numbers and letters and very rarely wrote his name. Almost immediately after he started the Pre K Scholars program I noticed a remarkable improvement with his writing and letter identification. His writing now is legible and he feels so proud when he can share with his older siblings his knowledge of the alphabet and numbers and write his own name.
My father, Dr. Alan Pierrot, felt that my community likely reflected hundreds of communities around the country. He believed that parents everywhere are concerned about their child's readiness for kindergarten and would love a comprehensive course they could use at home with their preschoolers. Even further, he thought other educators turned stay-at-home-moms like me would be delighted to have a curriculum and course materials to teach preschoolers in their communities. A series of focus groups with moms confirmed his assumptions and Pre K Scholars was born on March 24, 2008.
My father and I agree that the purpose of our company is to make learning fun for children. I invented Scholarville and the Scholarville characters, the core of the Pre K Scholars phonics course. We asked Portland, Oregon art teacher and illustrator, Carson Abbert, to draw the characters and bring Scholarville to life. Our friend and graphic designer, Michele Mathiesen and her artist mother, Vicki Mathiesen, were hired to produce the Guessing Game, a favorite of my students. Many other excited contributors, all parents themselves, joined us to bring Pre K Scholars to you! It's been a joy and delight to create something so meaningful.
While teaching kindergarten I observed first-hand how many children could not keep up with the others. It is my goal to level the playing field so that all pre-kindergarten students are ready to start smart. They need to feel successful in school right off the bat.
Help your child discover the fun of learning. Join our Pre K Scholars community of moms! Start ahead, and they'll stay ahead.
~ Amy Schwary