Getting to Know Fox Hill Preschool
Frequently Asked Questions
How long has the preschool been open?
Fox Hill Preschool opened in 1995.
What kind of school is it?
Private, secular & non-profit
What ages are served?
2s, 3s & 4/5s
What school districts do we feed into?
Fox Chapel Area, Riverview, Allegheny Valley, Highlands & Hampton
What is the typical enrollment of the school?
About 50 – 60 students attend Fox Hill Preschool
What are the school’s demographics?
We have a culturally diverse student body. Families live in Fox Chapel, O’Hara, Aspinwall, Allison Park, Tarentum, Oakmont, & Springdale.
What is the student/teacher ratio?
Typical student ratios are 2 teachers to 10 students in the 2s, 2 teachers to 14 students in the 3s, and 2 teachers to 15-18 students in the 4/5s. Teachers share in planning and executing lessons and activities with the students.
How many years have the teachers been teaching?
Fox Hill Preschool is staffed by a dedicated team of teachers, most of whom have been teaching for ten years or more. All teachers have required clearances and are CPR and first-aid certified.
What kind of curriculum does the school use?
Our school follows the Standards for Early Learning for Pennsylvania. These standards are embedded in our thematic activities for each grade level. The learning targets each day are executed with hands-on or play-based learning activities. We focus on learning activities that support having highly engaged students.
Our diverse student body inspires many opportunities for learning. For example, the winter holiday season allows for sharing of various celebrations through literature, music, food, and parental sharing of family traditions. This encourages cultural understanding and community building.
How are the classrooms designed?
Our 2s and 3s have classrooms in our Faith House. This building, our former parsonage, is more home-like, offering the benefits of being part of a school with multiple classrooms and school wide activities. The rooms offer a wide-variety of developmentally appropriate materials, a traditional in-home bathroom, and use of a common kitchen.
Our 4/5s classrooms are in the main building and offer a more traditional school-setting that allows children to feel like the big kids on campus. The classrooms include learning centers, circle time areas with whiteboards, and art areas. These classes have access to girl’s and boy’s room and a shared kitchen off the common area.
All classrooms are rich with materials and décor related to our thematic units and student made projects. It is important for children to have ownership of their classroom and be able to show pride in their learning by displaying what they can do!
What are the school’s enrichment offerings?
An extended day program is offered until 3:00 p.m. each day for our 3s and 4/5s students. During this time their thematic activities are extended and they are supported in activities based on the children’s interests. This time allows for more depth and complexity of current units of study.
Each fall we have a major theme centered on our farm and harvest event. This all-school learning time is wrapped up with having a petting zoo and pony ride event where the children get to feed and pet baby farm animals. They also create foods for our farmer’s market, go pumpkin picking, and participate in fun activities and games for their age level.
Former full time teacher, Ms. Aiken, joins classes regularly to provide special music and science activities. She works with our thematic activities to enrich our programming. During her visits students often get to utilize our nature trail and outdoor classroom environment. Teachers often do follow up activities based on her lead.
A children’s librarian from the Cooper-Siegel Library joins us monthly throughout the year. She brings special stories to life which enhance the students’ love of literature.
Does the school require homework?
Occasionally, the students are asked to bring items from home such a items for show-and-tell, family photo, or a favorite book. They are not given assignments to complete.
Does the school offer special education services?
We partner with community agencies such as DART to support student needs in the classroom setting. We are happy to work with private providers as well. Our 3s and 4/5s classes are invited to on-campus vision, speech and hearing screening annually with parental approval. It is important to us to be advocates for children’s success in learning. When a teacher observes behaviors (academic, social, and/or emotional) which impede learning in any way, we partner with parents in order to determine if an intervention is necessary and then to support a plan for strategies to address the behaviors. Our goal is to improve the preschool experience, as well as to support a successful transition into the elementary school years.
What is the discipline policy?
By keeping the children engaged in high-interest, play based learning, opportunities for behavior difficulties are reduced. However, preschool is a place to learn the boundaries for behavior in a group or school setting. Teachers guide students for success by discussing and demonstrating appropriate behavior choices. If a child makes a mistake, they are guided into making a better choice. If an inappropriate behavior continues, the child may be directed to a quiet spot away from the situation for a few minutes. The teacher will then coach the child for success and give the opportunity to re-engage. If a student acts in an unsafe manner, parents will be contacted and, as a team, we work towards success. The director of the preschool assists teachers in supporting children and parents and in helping a student learn behavioral skills.
Do the students have recess?
Yes! The 3s and 4/5s play for about 45 minutes daily. The 2s playtime is generally a bit shorter based on their schedule. We love to go outside to play, walk our grounds, and explore our nature trail.
Does the school have a playground?
We have a playground for each grade level. This allows for the children to access developmentally appropriate equipment.
Are the grounds well maintained?
Outdoor equipment is monitored each day to ensure that it is safe, dry and clean. Mulch is placed in play areas to the correct depth for safety. A professional landscaping service maintains our grounds to ensure that standards are met.
Does the school have gym space?
If the weather is inclement, we utilize our Fellowship Hall space or common area to get moving. Teachers take turns creating exciting activities with embedded gross-motor skills, such as creating an obstacle course for our whole school, to challenge their balance, timing, and spatial relations. We love to play children’s music during this time to integrate music and movement.
Does the school have a parent organization?
Parents are always welcome at Fox Hill. Our parents often lend a helping hand in the classroom. Some ways that parents can participate are to act as special teachers for different thematic activities, lead cooking activities with whole and small groups, teach an arts/crafts activity, share their culture, and read stories. Parent coffees are help by the director on a monthly basis for discussion and social engagement.
Does the school provide transportation?
No. When we go on field trips a parent or their designee must transport and stay with their child.
What is the pickup/drop-off policy?
We offer a curb side service where students are dropped off and picked up by parents or guardians from their private vehicles. Parents may also park and walk into the building with their child. Safety is important during this process and drivers are expected to follow procedures as outlined by the parent handbook.