Primrose preschool receives highest level of accreditation

LAWRENCEVILLE - Long before they can speak a word, infants are taught hand signals to show when they are hungry or tired. Children as young as 4 years old have Spanish lessons every day. It's standard for kids to be a grade level ahead in reading and math.

These are some of the reasons the Primrose School off Sugarloaf Parkway-East received the highest level of accreditation this month. Its staff prioritizes not only taking care of kids, but focusing on their learning before they go to elementary school.

Angela Howell, the mother of two young children, looked at three schools before deciding on Primrose. She credited the school with helping her daughter, who is now in kindergarten, be socially and academically advanced for her age.

"I like to have my child in an environment that I would feel comfortable in," Howell said. "Primrose takes pride in being a leader in the well-balanced child."

The school received accreditation this month from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation. It is the same level awarded to colleges and schools, but it is very rarely given to preschools.

John Davis of the SACS Board of Directors said that in the 15 years he had been accrediting schools, Primrose was one of the best he had visited. He also confessed it was difficult for him to make recommendations on how to improve the school.

It had been a lifelong dream for school owner Tanisha Turner Webb to open her own early education school. She was ecstatic when she heard the accreditation news.

"What it means basically is that parents can decide and know automatically that they have chosen the best place possible for their children," Webb said.

Parents have the option at Primrose to enroll their kids in dance, music, sports and karate classes during the day without the hassle of having to take them to after-school programs.

By logging into a Web site, parents can view lessons and do activities with their kids at home. Each week, the Primrose schools emphasize a different topic to address with the children. This week, it is "Manners and Feelings."

Kids participate every month in different charitable events at Primrose, including canned food and book drives. Children also give back by taking monthly field trips to visit their "adopted grandparents" at the Eastside Gardens facility in Snellville.

"My families - when they say they leave the school and don't worry about their kids, that means a lot to us," Webb said.

Primrose serves children starting at 6 weeks old. Even the youngest children have a structured school day. Infants are taught a variety of signals so they can let employees know what they need and communicate with their families.

Though the learning is advanced, the school tailors its curriculum to address the unique challenges of teaching very young children.

"What's really great about this age is that everything is new for them. Everything is an experience," said Celestte Dills, the school's director.

Two days after receiving accreditation, Gwinnett magazine called Webb to tell her the school had been voted the "Best Pre-School in Gwinnett County" for the second year in a row, also its second year of existence.

For more information, call the Primrose School of Sugarloaf Parkway-East at 770-513-0066 or visit the Web site at http://www.myprimroseschool.com/sugarloaf.