FAQ’s

We update the list of FAQs below to address as many of your questions as possible. If your specific question is not answered below, please email us at admissions@thefirstschool.org

 

 

What are your hours of operation?

The First School is open Monday-Thursdays from 8:30am to 4:00pm (Fridays 8:30am to 2:30pm). Our program hours at each campus are as follows:

Regular day

-Ocean Park (first year preschool): Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 12:00pm

-Broadway (second year preschool): Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 12:30pm

-Pine Street (transitional kindergarten): Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 2:30pm

Extended day

Some families need a longer day of preschool for logistical reasons, while others may want their child to have the extra time to work on a special project or to play with their school friends. For those students who are ready for a longer school day, we offer several ways to extend the school day.

Children may opt to stay until:

-2:00 pm or 4:00 pm at Ocean Park Monday-Thursday (2:00 pm only Friday);

-2:30 pm or 4:00 pm at Broadway Monday-Thursday (2.30 pm only Friday);

-4:00 pm at Transitional Kindergarten Monday-Thursday (2.30 pm only Friday).

**Extended hours depend upon available space and require an additional fee payment.

Additionally, all campuses have teachers available for parents to drop children off as early as 8:30 am.

What is your teacher/child ratio?

There are no more than 14 children per group at our Ocean Park and Broadway campuses, and 4 groups per campus. There is one teacher for every seven students. For our transitional kindergarten program, there is one teacher for every 7-8 children.

What are your vacation days and holidays?

We generally follow all Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District designated holidays. We close two weeks for Winter Break and Spring Break and about two months for Summer Break. Summer session is offered for approximately 8 weeks during July and August at an additional fee. There are also two special days set aside during the year for parent/teacher conferences. All these dates, along with planned school events, will be posted on a calendar which will be given to you during the first couple weeks of school.

Do you have a summer program?

We offer an optional summer program at each site. Summer session is offered for approximately eight weeks during July and August at an additional fee.

What are your application fees?

There is a one-time, non-refundable fee of $75.00 for each child to be included with your application.

There are no parent association fees, earthquake supply fees, registration fees or added fees for materials.

What are your tuition fees?

Ocean Park Campus

-Regular Program $1,300/month

-Full Day $1,700/month

Broadway Campus

-Regular Program $1,300/month

-Full Day $1,700/month

Transitional Kindergarten Campus

-Regular Program $1,700/month

Extended Day Programs are offered for additional fees.

For all programs there will be no refunds nor can a child make up missed days.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes. The First School Financial Aid Trust, a non-profit created in 1999, makes financial aid available to eligible students in all programs at The First School, from toddler groups and preschool through transitional kindergarten. Aid is awarded in amounts up to 98 percent of full tuition based upon assessed financial need. Additionally, the Trust generally makes funding available to eligible children during each year of their participation in the program at The First School, subject to continuing need as assessed each school year.

For more information, please contact the Trust at financialaidtrust@thefirstschool.org.

Does my child have to be toilet trained?

No. The First School believes that potty training like many developmental milestones should be approached at a child’s own pace so that he or she can experience a sense of mastery. We do not require our applicants to master toileting prior to admission.

How do you help my child adjust to her/his first school experience?

The First School considers separation a very important part of the preschool experience for both parents and children. We ask that a parent or an important caregiver plan to be available for the first two weeks of school during this separation process. The teacher/child bond gradually begins to form in these first few weeks. Soon after your child starts school, your child’s teacher will arrange a convenient time to come to your home for a twenty-minute visit. We find this brief visit to be a very useful part of the separation process because it helps your child understand that his or her teacher is a family friend.

What is your sick child policy?

The health of children, as well as staff, is important to us so each child must arrive at school with no symptoms of illness. If your child should become ill while at school, you will be notified to come pick him or her up.

Do you offer parent education workshops and host events?

Yes. We offer a wide variety of excellent Parent Enrichment talks throughout the school year on a range of topics, many of which are supported by guest speakers. Topics include child safety, discipline, technology, private and public elementary school choices, and brain development, to name a few. If you would like to hear about our ongoing speaker series, please email crystal@thefirstschool.org to be added to the mailing list.

How do parents receive school information?

A weekly newsletter jam-packed with pictures and highlights from the previous week’s activities at the campuses is emailed to each family, along with what to expect in the upcoming week. Other notices highlighting upcoming activities are also sent out throughout the school year.

What kind of communication do teachers provide with regard to my child’s progress?

Our teachers are available for meetings with parents as needed throughout the year as issues come up for you. We ask that you please keep your teachers informed if there are issues at home that could affect your child at school (such as sibling rivalry, a new baby, an impending move, parental stress with work or family, etc.) The teachers can provide some great insight into how to handle certain situations, and make a plan to best meet your child’s needs. In addition to informal meetings as needed, there are two formal conferences each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. These conferences with your child’s teachers will provide one-on-one time to go over a written evaluation documenting your child’s small and large motor skills, social skills, writing, reading comprehension, speech, and much more. You may also request additional meetings with the teacher or school director as needed.

Do you do any fundraising?

In the spring we hold our annual fundraiser to benefit The First School Financial Aid Trust, a non-profit created in 1999. The event is completely run by parents eager to volunteer their time, effort, and expertise. The fund is relatively unique among preschools. All the money raised goes exclusively towards aid for qualifying families. It has helped to make us a very special, inclusive community.

Are you teachers CPR trained?

Every year all staff members are required to successfully complete CPR/First Aid Training at the Red Cross.

Are caregivers allowed to attend toddler groups?

We want to get to know the parents of each of our preschool children, so we encourage parents to attend whenever possible. However, we recognize the important role that caregivers play in many children’s lives. Caregivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other special adults who help to take care of your children are always welcomed, valued, and considered part of the First School family.

How can I find out more about your school?

The easiest and best way for you to find out all about The First School is to come to a tour. Tours are scheduled once a month. To schedule a tour please call (310) 450-5022 or email at admissions@thefirstschool.org. Also, please take a look at our Admissions Page for more information.

Where do First School kids go to Kindergarten?

Our graduating classes have been accepted into Brentwood, Carlthorp, Curtis, Echo Horizon, John Thomas Dye, Mirman, New Roads, P.S. #1, Seven Arrows, St. Paul’s, The Village School, The Willows, Turning Point, Westside Neighborhood School, Wildwood and more. Public Schools include Canyon Charter, Castle Heights Elementary, Franklin, Grant, Kenter Canyon Charter, La Ballona, El Marino, Mar Vista Elementary, Overland, Palisades Charter Complex/LAUSD, Roosevelt, SMASH, Walgrove, Warner, Westwood Charter, Will Rogers, and more. We love all of our neighborhood schools! Visit our Kindergarten Preparedness page to learn more! 

If I enroll in the Toddler Program, will my child automatically get into the preschool program?

While families that attend our toddler groups are likely to be offered a space in the preschool and we do our best to accommodate, we do not guarantee it.

What is the age cutoff for applying?

There is no cutoff date. We offer rolling admissions throughout the year.

Are siblings guaranteed a spot?

Yes, we do guarantee siblings a spot at the school.

When do I need to apply?

Most families apply when their child is about 8-14 months old; however, you may apply earlier and can continue to apply as long as your child is eligible for preschool. Occasionally, there are openings throughout the year, if a family decides to move, etc.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

You may request information about Financial Aid when you complete the school application. Learn More.

When are acceptance letters sent out?

Acceptance letters are sent out at the end of January.

I am a working parent. How will The First School work for my family?

Most parents at our school are working parents. We provide flexible hours and opportunities for parents to participate outside of school hours.

Is there snack time or lunch time for children?

Yes, each campus has a snack time in the morning and lunch mid-day or prior to pick-up. Snacks are provided by the school, but children are expected to arrive with a lunchbox. Those children in extended day programs with have a second snack as well. 

Do you require parent involvement?

No parent involvement is required, however, we welcome parents to share any activities or traditions that are meaningful to your family/child. Visit Our Community page for more info.