1220 E Lake Rd S, Tarpon Springs, FL | Directions 3468828.127605 -82.697146
Be careful of this school – Buyer beware. This school, while quite inviting from the outside, is another story once enrolled or employed. There are a ton of hidden fee's and it is very poorly run. The owner is so concerned with the bottom line of the business that student's and staff alike suffer on a daily basis. Summer camp fee's are collected month's in advance and are non refundable, regardless of the situation that may arise or reasons surrounding a family's change in heart. Teacher's are constantly shuffled around and bounced from room to room.
The VPK program is poorly run, understaffed and out of ratio more often than not. Once the key hours for drop off have passed the teacher and student shuffle begins. This leaves rooms out of ratio and under equipped to provide the services as advertised.
Rumors and gossip are the norm, and confidentiality of staff and student's alike is broken on a daily basis. For the employee's promises of pay, vacation, and sick time are ignored or changed at the whim of the owner to fit her agenda of the day. Once an employee has found their way to the bad side of the owner their hours will be cut, schedule changed, room moved or whatever will cause the employee the most grief at the time. All of this with no regard as to what is in the best interest of the children they are entrusted to care for.
In short, I would not recommend enrolling your child or seeking employment at this establishment. Other schools are less expensive and actually put the children and staff first. Read everything before you enroll at this location and make copies of everything you sign. Prior to and after enrollment, make several unannounced visits throughout the day and see for yourself what goes on.
A Team Effort – I am responding to “Mixed Feelings”. I strongly feel that education must involve the student, school and family. It is sad to read that this mother felt her son’s preschool experience was negative, yet she did nothing to change the situation. Did you park your car and walk into the school, request a conference, ask questions, state your concerns, write a note or call the school? Administrators and teachers cannot read your mind. I feel certain that they want you and your child to be happy! I find it interesting that this mother is so focused on finances. She sent him to a school that has students that pay tuition and students that are exclusively VPK. Her son’s class was exclusively VPK. That class must, by law, follow VPK rules. Perhaps riding his bike for St. Jude’s Trike-a-Thon was not in her son’s VPK approved curriculum. Did she ask anyone? I think she should be appreciative that his teachers set up an obstacle course so he could have a special activity for the day. I am very familiar with Oak Crest Preschool. They do not have field trips, parties and puppet shows for any of the students. The special presentations that they have are limited to educational speakers such as firefighters and McGruff the Safety Dog. In addition, a traveling theatre troupe puts on children’s plays. These presentations are not limited to only tuition paying students. Again, if she felt her son missed out on something, did she speak to his teacher? She complains in her review about Scholastic Book Orders and a photographer. These are optional programs. Maybe she should be grateful that she had the opportunity to purchase quality books at an inexpensive price or to have her son’s picture taken by an on-site professional photographer.
I am confused by her reaction to the last day of school. I was at the school on that day. I saw two teachers helping students sing songs and put on a play. The set had canvases painted by the students. The children wore butterfly “wings” that they had made from paper towel tubes and crepe paper. They acted out the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. No, this was not a traditional “graduation ceremony”. It was a celebration of the progress the children made from apprehensive 4 year olds that arrived in August to confident students who showed parents that they could create, learn, listen, follow directions and sing! This was followed by a family picnic. I saw families, students and teachers eating, playing and having fun.
I am happy that this mother’s son is successful at his new school. I have read that the most successful kindergarten students are those that have had a positive preschool experience. Maybe his current success may have something to due with his time at Oak Crest Preschool? Maybe his mother has learned to be a team player.
Mixed Feelings – I finally had to leave a review after my firstborn son graduated preschool from Oakcrest in the VPK program last year. After just a couple months in kindergarten at Cypress Woods Elem. down the road, I can't believe the difference in types of education for children. We once mechanically went through the school day routine, and now we have been embraced by a warm, loving school and find the days filled with social activities, communication with the teachers and principal and my son literally gets up excited every day to go to school. It wasn't "bad" before, but now I have a relative perspective and wanted to share.
At first I was impressed with the scholastic curriculum and "clean" environment at Oakcrest, and downplayed my gut instinct that it was not so much a "warm and fuzzy" place for my child. Once we decided to go with VPK (I'm a SAHM and saw no reason to pay beyond that great program) I saw an immediate change in reception to me as a prospective client. I say client b/c as the year progressed it was clear to me (a former teacher myself) that the exclusively VPK students were second-class citizens. The straw for me was the prep and fundraising for the St. Jude's Trike-a-Thon. My son was so excited--we raised money--we got his bike ready and helmet, and then we got a note home informing us that the trike-a-thon was going to be an obstacle course instead. No biggie, I helped my son understand the change--until we pulled up to drop off and saw that the "paying" students were doing the trike-a-thon complete with parents videotaping it, etc. while the VPK kids were shuttled inside past the other kids and bikes. My son was heartbroken and kept asking me to please go get his bike so he could ride with the other kids. How do you explain to a kid that the other kids can do field trips, have parties, puppet shows, special presentation, etc. and they are left out?
There was also very little contact with the teachers and staff as VPK students are exclusive drop off and pick up circle (for traffic flow, okay, but still--no smiles, no quick update, no waving--geesh). But we sure got a steady supply of notes home asking for $ for scholastic books, raising funds for a classroom computer (which my son never had in the VPK class, btw), and a private photographer was there every other month it seemed to take photos of the kids to sell to parents.
Another disturbing situation for me was the two or three times I came early to get my son, I entered the lobby to wait and there was no one around and once I was alone there for up to 15 minutes. When the owner/director finally appeared, I recall the welcome as being somewhat lukewarm. Now I am a naturally friendly person, so I mulled that it might be that they just don't like me--until I've now met a handful of parents of preschool graduates who confessed they had felt the same way all year!!!
The last day confirmed my worst fears. Sure my son was challenged academically all year--by scholastic pre-packaged lesson plans, but his teacher showed no interest in him during the closing school play, walked away from us while he tried to get her attention to say good-bye and we ultimately left on the last day feeling a bit empty. I even taped the play and closing graduation ceremony and the grandparents remarked that it seemed awfully clinical--Where was the celebration? Did my son notice the particularly cold air in the front office or from his teacher? I don't know. But I did.
I suppose there are individual teachers that might make a difference in that kind of business-like environment, but overall I sensed negativity, a real disdain for VPK in general, and a tangible lack of warmth and affection for the children and families.
I don't write this to be rude to the school, they are a business after all. I just urge parents to find a location that they truly believe puts children first--not money. Follow your gut instinct--a pretty coat of paint can hide a lot.
EXCELLENT SCHOOL – Wow! I could not disagree more with the previous hostile bulletin. I can’t find enough wonderful things to say about this GREAT school! I have had children at Oak Crest over the last five years, and I wouldn't change a minute of it! The school itself is lovely, always kept in great condition. The pristine first impression here was definitely a plus, and I’ve been impressed ever since! As for the staff, the teachers are professional, caring, and knowledgeable. It really shows that their heart is in their work. The curriculum is fantastic, and they find so many ways to make it fun and keep the kids interested. My girls were always so excited to tell me about their day at school - sometimes they didn’t want to leave when I would come to pick them up! Might I add - I have most certainly seen teachers get stern with the children (including mine) when necessary - and I am glad to see this! Any parent who does not want their child reprimanded for unacceptable behavior is not doing their child any favors! A smart person who truly cares about their child (parents and teacher alike) should know that children need boundaries and reinforcement for behavior in order to succeed. Furthermore, I have heard nothing but praise for Oak Crest from schools all around the area (Brooker Creek, Cypress Woods, even Berkely Prep) as I’ve searched to place my daughters in Kindergarten and beyond. In fact, at Kindergarten testing, staff have said that they love having former Oak Crest students in their classes because they’re always so eager to learn and well prepared for primary school! As for the price, my philosophy is that you get what you pay for. Yes, other schools may be less expensive, but in reality - one of the schools mentioned in the previous bulletin is a high school program staffed by sixteen-year-old interns. While I’m sure this is a great learning experience for the high-schoolers, I personally wanted my children to be in a safe, secure environment where they would be cared for by experienced professionals who would teach as well as guide them through their early learning years. I definitely found a school that met all these requirements and more. This school is WELL worth every penny! If you are looking for a preschool, I urge you, please check this place out for yourself - don’t let one person’s unfortunate, inaccurate views give you the wrong impression. I am so appreciative of all that Oak Crest did for my children during their formative years. “The first step in school readiness is a positive first experience” and that is exactly what Oak Crest provides!
very bad experience and reputation – Having worked in child care myself for ten years I was drawn to this place because of the clean atmosphere and based on the teacher my child would have. I was very happy with the teacher for our child, she was professional, loving and kind, she however left shortly after I enrolled my daughter. I found the owner and several other teachers to be cold, and uncaring. I don't know why several of them ever chose to work in childcare. I removed my child and we had an amazingly wonderful experience at Young Days preschool right down the street. ( and it was a much lower price!) Now that my child is in kindergarten I hear that OakCrest has a bad reputation for yelling at the children and for being overly strict and stressing them out, to the point that they fear school. Several kindergarten teachers at my daughter's school told me this is what they see with the children coming from Oak Crest. I can also say that I have seen several teachers act one way in front of parents and another while with the students. I arrived in the middle of the day several times to pick up my child and saw the teachers ignoring children and talking to each other and also being overly stern and nasty to the children in their care. I have since learned that there are several options in this area for childcare that are excellent and have great reputations, such as Little Eagles in East Lake High School and St. Ignatius' preschool which I visited but did not have room for my child at the time, the schools both have great reputations are wonderfully staffed and are half the price of Oak Crest. Please I urge you if you are looking for childcare for your child to investigate FULLY!! I am taking the time to write this because early childhood is such an important time and you really want to make sure that your child is well cared for and loved, along with being taught the skills needed for school readiness. The first step in school readiness is a positive first experience and the effects of a negative one can last a lifetime!!
Highly Recomend! Great Preschool, loving and educational – I would highly recomend this preschool! Both of my children have been through this school and we have a third child that is just about ready to start. They have a great program, they are very caring and the children are always happy. They do have some vacation time but doesnt everyone! As for that holiday time off we always enjoy our children and wish all the teachers a great vacation. Our children have been placed in the gifted program at their school. If you want your child to have music and art and education while learning how to be independent, this is the school for you! We would like to thank the wonderful staff at Oak Crest for being such a GREAT SCHOOL!
A wonderful exoerience for my children! – I have been absolutely thrilled with this pre-school for the past two years. My children thrive in this environment! They have very well trained "teachers" and staff who I always find caring and nurturing. I have not had a problem with fees or paying for the few weeks they are closed. Every other daycare or preschool I have used also charges for weeks and or days they are closed for the holidays. And just like any other daycare provider or establishment I have used, the fees are the same regardless of whether your child is out sick. I find this preschool's policies to be no different than any other. I do find their curriculum, staff, and educationally enriched environment to be far better than most and would highly recommend this place to anyone with children of preschool age!
***Be very careful of hidden fees***
PLEASE read every little line in your contract.
ASK about additional fees. ASK about ALL fees!
Tuition for "Summer Camp" is due up to 6 weeks in advanced and your decision to stay thru the summer is due in February! You have to pay all money in advanced.
If for some reason, whatever, reason EVEN MEDICAL, you have to withdraw your child they still make you pay for the ENTIRE SUMMER. or threaten you with legal action.
They are CLOSED for 2 weeks during holidays and another week in August and you have to pay tuition for this time as well. Let me repeat,
**You have to pay for three weeks of tuition that your child is NOT being cared for***
I have never in all my life been so utterly disappointed in a child care / preschool setting.
We paid the ridiculous fees just to been done with the staff and this ridiculous "preschool"
We put so much into this pre school, volunteered, we were active in every aspect of our daughters enrollment and it tore us in two to leave her friends and the wonderful families we had met.
The whole experience was so very disheartening.
Be careful, very careful with this place.
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