Readers Recommend: Marriage Counselors

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Marriage%20Counselors
Published: 03/30/2014
We had a reader request for a good marriage counselor in Prince William County.  Good work asking- marriage is hard, but it's worth the work!! Obviously I have not tried all of these, and you should always check your insurance benefits before booking.

*I have heard great things about Prince William Family Counseling. They have several offices around NOVA. God Bless those referees!
--I don't like PWFC either. I tried several times to get help from them with other things They are mean on the phone and told me to look else where.
--I would go against pwfc. I was in contact with them for my son and even the basic contact from the receptionist and one of their therapists was unprofessional and nasty.

*The preist at the catholic church always helps.

*Dr. Carol Walsh with Life In Balance.
*I agree with Dr. Walsh!!! 

*Pastoral Counseling. There used to be a counselor named Becky (can't remember her last name) and she was really good!

* Also in Tackett's Mill Janine Cosentino! She is absolutely wonderful (703) 490-3210

* I am a marriage therapist in Manassas, you can look me up at www.wendyboyer.com And I would actually advise against PW Fam counseling, unless you have a good name of someone specific there...

* Occoquan counseling center http://www.occbc.org/

* I have heard nothing but wonderful things from several sources about Dr. Paul Jenkins. He's based in the west, but works with people all over the country. http://www.drpauljenkins.com/ 

* Therapy and Life Counseling on Hereford Rd (Dale City area) 

* My son uses phoenix family counseling. They have an office is Gainesville and woodbridge. I've been nothing but impressed.

* Richard A. David he's in Manassas and Old town Alexandria 703-541-6270.... He's awesome! 

All recommendations are freely offered by readers.  Your needs and preferences may vary.  Have a recommendation to add? Leave a comment!  

Readers Recommend: Developmental Pediatricians

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Developmental%20Pediatricians
Published: 03/23/2014
We had a reader ask for recommendations for developmental pediatricians near or in Prince William County.  Our Moms never fail to have an answer!!  Developmental Pediatricians specialize in a wide variety of behavioral, cognitive, and physical difficulties, including but not limited to ADHD, Autism, Tourette's, Cerebral Palsy, and more.

*All Pediatric in Lake Ridge, Dr. Farber is supposed to be a developmental pediatrician (x4 comments and x4 likes)
 
*Children's in Fairfax (x4)
 
*Kluge Center at UVA (Charlottesville) 
 
*We love the entire pediatrics department at Georgetown and think they are worth the drive!
 
*For military moms at Ft. Belvoir- Dr. Shropshire. You have to love any doc that gives you his cell phone to call in between appointments for concerns, med refills, etc. A coworker raves about Dr. Bachelor also at Belvoir. We had seen 3 (others kept getting deployed) before Dr. Shropshire.
 
Have a doctor recommendation to add? Leave a comment, and be sure to include a link or contact email/phone number! 

Updated Readers Recommend: Preschools 2013-2014

Permalink to Updated%20Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Preschools%202013-2014
Published: 01/28/2014
Our old "Readers Recommend: Preschools" was getting old.  Some of the reviews were five years old, and places can certainly change quite a bit in that time!! If you'd like to submit a review for your preschool, email it to me!

The reviews we've received are from individual parents.  We don't recommend any particular preschool although now that all of my children have left, I will tell you that we were happy with Cloverdale School for all three of our children.  However, preschool should make you comfortable and fit your family and the experience type you want for your children.
In Alphabetical Order by School:

(**And, as always with our "Readers Recommend" posts, these do not necessarily reflect the views of PWC Moms.  They are voluntarily submitted by our readers and we do not edit them.  Please always visit a school.  None of the listed recommendations serve as an endorsement by PWC Moms.)

4R's Preschool (Haymarket)
I thought I would let you know about 4 Rs Preschool in Haymarket. My son is 4 yrs old and is in the 3 days a week program there. We LOVE 4 Rs so much. There are 3 teachers total and they are so nice, experienced, and easy to communicate with. They are a smaller preschool and that’s what we like about it. They do field trips and holiday programs too. My son always comes home having learned so much and having had so much fun. They have various programs/ times to accommodate ages 3-5. I highly recommend them and have nothing but good to say about them.

All Saints Catholic (Manassas)
We have nothing but wonderful things to say about All Saints Catholic School and their Pre-K program.  The programs is lead by Mrs. Caroline Kardaras, a veteran of the school for several years.  Mrs. Kardaras and her staff are exceptional teachers and care givers of our young children.  There are (3) classes.  Two classes in the morning and one class in the afternoon.  The morning session runs from 8am until 11am and the afternoon program runs from 12 noon until 3pm.  There are (18) children in a class with one teacher and one teaching assistant.  All Saints is accredited through the Virginia Catholic Education Association in coordination with the Virginia Council for Private Education.  Additionally, the Pre-Kindergarten Program is licensed through the Virginia Department of Social Services and complies with all state and diocesan policies regarding early childhood education. In 2009, All Saints Catholic School was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.  The school accepts all families, including non-Catholics.   We currently have a son going through the program and an older son who already went through the program and is currently enrolled in first grade at All Saints.  We have been very impressed with their spiritual, educational, and emotional developments throughout the year.

Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool (Manassas)
I am writing to let you know about Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool in Manassas, VA.   "A Cooperative preschool is owned and/or operated by a group of parents and staffed by professional teachers.  Parents help the teachers in the classroom and contribute some of the daily work necessary to operate a successful school.  We have highly dedicated and impeccably trained teaching staff to ensure your child's success"  It is a really unique experience in that they are the only co-op preschool in PWC, which I love because it allows me a chance to be involved in my son's preschool experiences.  Everyone there is so great with the kids and have made my family feel so welcome.  My son comes hoe every day telling me about what he did, and wakes up every morning asking if it's time to go to school. I would recommend this school to anyone that is interested in a co-op.  It doesn't take much time at all.  There are a few "clean-up" days and parents volunteer a few times each month and bring in snacks.  There are also fun field trips, activities, etc. It is really a great preschool to look into.


Chesterbrook Academy (Multiple Locations)
Our oldest daughter is attending The Chesterbrook Academy on Troupe St. She absolutely loves it. She is learning so much. She comes home speaking/singing in Spanish. The teachers are so nice. However, I don't think we will send our youngest there next year. Our oldest is so naturally smart that I believe the Chesterbrook curriculum is perfect for her. Our youngest not so much. The tuition is high but we were willing to pay it (we pay $196 a week for 3 days, I think it's $220 or $260 for five days). Our youngest will probably be doing a part time school with a much lower tuition. So I look forward to the other reviews.

Christ Chapel Preschool (Woodbridge)
Where do I begin, from the beginning we made the right choice by making an investment in Christian Education when we spoke with the Pre-K Director Mrs. Sheila Nelson.  The partnership begin. From early learning to us planting a Godly seed at home and the teachers and staff cultivating it while our daughter is in school is priceless. We have commented to attend again in the fall for her kindergarten year. As a father to see your daughter read, write and spell as she articulates her thoughts and express herself is amazing.  The moral and values of Godly principles are taught not only at home but here at CCA.  I work in the evenings so I spend a lot of time at school observing and listing and they truly are commented to our children academically but for me more importantly stressing biblical principles of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Their Reaching, Teaching and Unleashing our Future which is our children.  I recommend any parent who is willing to comment, invest and make a sacrifice in your child’s future you have to see what CCA can do for you.

Daytime Playtime (Gainesville)
Just wanted to let you know about Daytime Playtime in Gainesville/ haymarket area. It is a preschool for 2,3 and 4 year olds with mornings and afternoon preschool, a Jr kindergarten and mommy morning out program. The class sizes are small and staff are all great and helpful. They do family field trips, extra curricular activities for the whole family and summer camps.
My 2 year old loves it and is always bringing home art projects and doing many activities during her time there. They use a playground, nature classroom which is outside, music and movement room and a science and math room. A lot to offer and very affordable!!

Greenwich Presbyterian Preschool (Nokesville)
I just saw your post and wanted to add that Greenwich Presbyterian Preschool is awesome. It is small, cozy and the teachers are wonderful. Mrs. Rood is the director and also the 3 year old teacher and has been there for about 23 or 24 years. The kids love her. Both my sons went there and now my daughter. Mrs. Arbus, the 4 year old teacher is equally awesome! 
Just wanted to give them some props!  It is in Nokesville. I am not sure if it is in PWC or not or right on the border. We live in Bristow and it is just a few minutes away - on Vint Hill by Patriot High School (Sort of)


Holy Family Preschool (Dale City)
Holy Family Preschool is attached to Holy Family Catholic School. We are military and while looking for schools for my then 4 year old, they were recommended. He finished his preschool there last year(half day Tuesdays through Friday) and we could not have been happier.  It is a play based curriculum. They also learned the alphabet and numbers and performed weekly science experiments. 
The preschool has an outside playground for daily play. When the weather is bad, the preschool plays in the gym. This was another important part of our decision because we did not want our children stuck in a small classroom. 
The preschool director, Mrs Judi Peacott, is wonderful. The minute that my husband and I met her, we knew that this was the place for our sons. Now my 3 year old is attending the Tuesday and Thursday class and he loves it. We are so lucky to have found this wonderful, caring school for our boys!

Little Sprouts Preschool (Bristow)
This school has a wonderful, caring group of teachers and staff who are some of the warmest people we've met. The directors were formerly with Little Graces Preschool in The Plains and they have moved over to expand the preschool program at Linton Hall School. My children adore their teachers and we've been thrilled with the incredible nurturing environment and the family atmosphere within this school. The teachers recognize the fact that every child has their own set of talents and they appreciate each of these and are committed to helping to cultivate them. The school offers a wonderful, well-rounded preschool education that also incorporates important (and fun) elements such as Music & Movement, Art, Hands-on-Science, Spanish and Technology. I highly recommend this school to everyone in the area and hope that you will consider joining this wonderful "family" within Linton Hall School's Little Sprouts Preschool.

Manassas Presbyterian Early Learning Center (Manassas)
We LOVE Manassas Presbyterian Church Early Learning Center. My daughter went for 3 years and my son is in his second year. They have a Parent's Morning Out program for 2 year olds that doesn't have any sort of potty training requirements. Then they have classes for 3 year olds, 4 year olds, and a Pre-K program, all of which require bathroom independence. They have options for 1, 2, 3, and 5 day programs, depending on the age of the child. All of their programs are morning only. 
While they are a church-based preschool and they do celebrate and discuss traditional Christian holidays, they are open, inviting, and accepting of children and families of all faiths. Older classes do have Chapel Time once a month. 
Why do we love them so much? Where to even start? The teachers of course! The teachers truly care about your children! The teachers remember children from previous years and ask how they are doing when they move on to elementary school and beyond! They create a positive, happy place for learning. Most of the teachers have been there for several years. They work in teams - each room has a lead teacher and an assistant. They are creative and energetic, patient and nurturing, mature and professional. 
The classrooms are bright and filled with great toys and materials. They are organized and not cluttered. They have child sized tables for seat work, a rug for circle time, bookshelves filled with appropriate books, and centers for playing and learning. The hallway is lined with creative art projects. 
The children go outside to play on the playground (swings, wooden train, slides, etc.) every day unless it's actively raining. If the playground is too wet to play, they go for a walk. 
This is their 50th year - as a school they have developed traditions (like an annual art show) and have learned and grown wiser in their ways over the years. They have a board and Director and are supported by a PTO. They are a peanut free school.
One of their greatest strengths is the diversity of the students. Since they are located on Ashton Ave. in Manassas, they have students from Manassas, Bristow, Gainesville, and Woodbridge. The children are like different pieces of a patchwork quilt, representing different economic backgrounds, speaking different languages at home, coming from a variety of faiths, all working together to create an amazing little preschool. 

Old Bridge Preschool (Lake Ridge side of Woodbridge)
I have to recommend Old Bridge Preschool in Woodbridge. My daughter who had only been home with me, was very against going to school, but after the first day she was asking to go. The teachers and staff are very friendly. The class sizes are perfect and have more than one teacher per class. My daughter is never bored, which for 4 and 5 year olds is important. The tuition is reasonable, but I do believe that they also offer tuition assistance for those who may need it. I would recommend this school to anyone who asked.


St. Francis Preschool (Triangle)
The teachers, Mrs. Land and Mrs. Peitler, have been teaching together for quite some time and are passionate about it. Their goal is to help the children feel safe and have fun while learning social skills as they prepare academically for kindergarten. The teachers are grounded in the Christian faith, and it shines in all they do. Both teachers work closely with the parents to share joys, successes, and concerns about every student. Parents are invited to stay and watch and participate so you can be a part of this precious time of your children's lives. 
Class starts with prayer, praise, and saying the pledge. The regular routine provides such comfort for the children. Children take turns having special jobs each day, including holding the flag and being line leader. They learn responsibility for self and to others as they learn the proper way to share and play kindly.
I was astounded that, although the focus isn't primarily academic, how very well prepared both my children were for kindergarten. Each child in preschool is at a different level, so the teachers spend a lot of individual time with them. 
A young neighbor (4th grade) heard that my children were attending St. Francis and he said, "My all-time favorite teacher was my preschool teacher there. Her name is Mrs. Land." He had learning disabilities, and he remembered her patience and kindness towards him. I told Mrs. Land about this conversation, so she came and surprised him with a visit one afternoon. She just cares that much!

St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School (Lake Ridge)
I absolutely love St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School. Both of my children went to the three day program and really enjoyed it.  St. Matthew's is a play based preschool which means there is a lot of free choice center time.  Some of the centers include housekeeping, library, blocks, science, math, writing, and art.  During this time, teachers pull students aside to work with them individually and in small groups.  Some days they are working on forming letters with blocks and other days they are baking.  The kids go outside every day except in instances of severe weather.  The teachers take photos of the kids at work and email them to parents weekly.  I loved this because my son is the type of kid that will say he didn't do anything at school.  I was able to use the photos as conversation starters.  The preschool is also very family friendly.  They host a Mother's tea, Dad's night, and Grandparents sing along.  Parents are welcome to volunteer in the class in a variety of ways.  I can't say enough good things about St. Matthew's.

St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School (Woodbridge)
I have a four year old daughter.  She is an only child and in hopes of exposing her to other children we placed her in part-time daycare at the age of 2.  We took her to Kindercare on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.  We shopped a few options around town and chose this school because the director of the school genuinely seemed to care and there seemed to be structure in the curriculum even though it was just a daycare.  Within a month of enrollment, my daughter came home with a black eye and a scratched up face.  No one even bothered to call us to report the incident.  Needless to say we were very disappointed and after numerous mishaps and 3 months later we pulled her out of there.
We then shopped again, this time looking at big daycare/preschools and small non-chain ones as well.  We narrowed our list down to Minnieland Academy on Prince William Parkway and Prince William Academy in Lake Ridge.  We chose the latter simply because they offered foreign language classes.  Prince William Academy was okay.  We enjoyed the projects, communication from the teachers and shows/events.  I had gotten to know some of the parents.  I would hear mixed reviews about the teachers which I didn't really encounter.  The owner/director got sick during the school year and all of sudden everything just went into a downward spiral.  They kept switching teachers to the point where you didn't know who the person was at the head of the classroom.  It got to the point where my daughter would sometimes wake up and ask if she could just stay home.  She didn't enjoy school anymore.  For the money we were paying (about $7500 for 3 full days a week), we didn't have enough faith in the school that the $9000 for full time preschool would not be money well spent.  So, this lead us into another search...
Do we home-school for preschool or find a preschool program?  We discussed long a hard and decided to search again.
The search didn't take long.  I am an alumni of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional school in Woodbridge.  I attended school there in the 80s.  I made life long friendships, memories and learned valuable lessons that I still carry with me today.  My husband of years, remembers my happy stories of my childhood.  The elementary and middle school years were spent there.  So, we applied for our daughter to enter Pre-K for the 2013/2014 school year.  She is currently enrolled and loves it.  Her teacher, Mrs. Leckey actually taught both of my brothers in the late 80s/early 90s.  There are many teachers like her that have spent most of their careers in that school (like the librarian Mrs. Beda...she was there when I was there).  I even have a classmate from Aquinas now teaching there!  Mrs. Metzler is the assistant teacher and she is just as wonderful.  My daughter always raves about school.  She comes home with her completed worksheets and art projects.  There are also children in my daughter's class that were previously with her at Prince William Academy.  The parents of those students say that "this experience is so much better- in so many ways."  It is a half day, 5 day a week program in a Catholic school (being Catholic is NOT a requirement).  We love the fact that there is daily communication with the teachers, lots of fun activities for the kids which leads to volunteering for me and it's just a wonderful parent/student community to be part of.  I could go on and on about this wonderful school, but instead I'm happy to report that our search for the best school for our child is over....well, until 9th grade!


Readers Recommend: Gymnastics in Prince William County

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Gymnastics%20in%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 01/13/2014
We recently had a momma looking for gymnastics and Prince William County, and, as always, you all had plenty to say on the subject!!  If you'd like to add your thoughts, please leave a comment on the bottom of this post!! Love to hear from you! 



Apollo Gymnastics x12- "Apollo Gymnastics right off of Hoadly and PWPkwy." "APOLLO especially if they are serious and want to compete." "3 of our 4 have gone to Apollo and we have really liked it a lot.  My one daughter had a teacher one session we did not like, but other than her the experience has been great." "My son does gymnastics at Apollo.  He has had great coaches." "Apollo is great, but there are some instructors who work better with different kids.  The parent area is great to watch and ask around about instructors (and can be visited before you sign up to research)." "I am a former gymnastics coach and currently a personal trainer.  I highly recommend Apollo.  My daughters love it and have improved by leaps and bounds.  It is expensive, but one of the best around here." "Very well run"
Apollo is located at 12700 Apollo Drive, Woodbridge and offers classes for ages 18 months and up, and birthday parties for ages 4-12. Their phone number is 703-580-9144.  45 minute classes are $80/month at the time of publishing. 


Dale City Rec Center- "My daughter does tumbling at the dale city rec center and loves it! All the 
instructors are great!"
The Dale City Rec Center is located at 14300 Minnieville Road, Dale City, and offers classes through the Prince William County Park Authority.  They offer tumbling for ages 1.5-4 years.  703-670-7112. Classes range from $42-$68 for a 6 class session.

Freedom Center-  If you're just looking for a quick intro class to see if your preschooler/toddler likes it at all, Sally at the Freedom Center funds a great class and the sessions are short and inexpensive"
The Freedom Center is located at 9100 Freedom Center Drive in Manassas, and offers classes through their recreation department.  They offer classes for children ages 3.5-12 years old, and classes appear to be $10 per class in 4 or 5 week sessions at the time of publishing. 703-993-8444.

GMS x4- "GMS in Manassas off Balls Ford.  They have beginner and rec classes and stuff for girls that want to compete in a team.  Great all around gym." "GMS by 66 in Manassas great for competitive and has brand new facility for rec classes." "GMS is the best around!! They have been around for years and years and the owners are amazing. You can't find anything better for sure."
GMS is located at 7226 Newmarket Court, Manassas and offers classes for ages almost 3 and up.  1 class/week is priced at $150 a month at the time of publishing.  703-369-7800.

Novaks x6- "Off stage coach rd Dumfries" "We've done Youth Sports and Novak...like both" "Novaks is great" "Affordable, with a world championship to back them up."
Novaks is located at 17535 Old Stagecoach Road, Dumfries.  They offer open gym, play gym, classes, competition team, birthday parties and camps for ages 5 and up, with a special play gym for ages 5 and under.  Class prices are not listed. 703-221-5833

World Gymnastics- "I love coach Isben at World Gymnastics.  I can't vouch for any others.  He has figured out how to work with five kids on the autistic spectrum and it is better than any OT."
At the time of publication, their site was down.  

Youth Sports Gymnastics x 11- "Love youth sports gymnastics near BJs in Wdbg!" "We checked out quite a few and really liked Youth Sports....the coaches there are really great." "I've heard great things about Youth Sports, we did not have a good experience with our children at Apollo." "We've done Youth Sports and Novak...like both" "Great for girls and boys." "Most have a free trial class; however, Apollo does not.  I did not want to sign up for a class without trying it first.  We have been at novaks, world, and youth sports.  Most impressed with youth sports. It is clean and does not smell like feet!" "My daughter goes to Youth Sports.  She loves it." "My son has been at Youth Sports for 6 years.  Clearly we love it there."
Youth Sports is located at 14023 Noblewood Plaza, Woodbridge.  They offer classes in tumbling, cheer, rhythmic gymnastics, jumprope and regular gymnastics starting with parent/tot.  Sessions are 5 weeks, prices aren't listed online.  They also offer birthday parties, camps, and special events. 703-590-8400


Distance recommendation- 
Dulles Gymnastics Academy- "Dulles gymnastics academy is great.  For under 5yo, $8, 11-12pm on Fridays.  It's great because your kid can try everything out and they have two instructors present." 

Readers Recommend: Haircuts for Kids (and Grownups!) in Prince William County

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Haircuts%20for%20Kids%20%28and%20Grownups%21%29%20in%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 10/15/2013
"Where can I get a good haircut" or "where should I take my kids for haircuts" in Prince William County is a really common question!! Here's what our readers recommend!



For Kids:
Famous American Barbershop (By Wegmans Gainesville)
"Long sleeves Steve takes care of my boy and girl!"

American Barber Shop
"My boys ages 4 & 10.5 love to go to the American Barber Shop.  We've yet to have a bad experience w/haircuts, 9 years & counting"

Bubbles (Near Wegmans Woodbridge)
"Nina at Bubbles is the best!"

Cartoon Cuts
"I just took my son to cartoon cuts in Woodbridge about 2 weeks ago.  The stylist took my son to his seat and sat him down (I followed), he loved his hair cut.  He never got a chance to cry and now every time we drive by- he says "my haircut store!". He is 4 and before taking him there it was family who did his hair. It was a bit pricey but it was the day before we were getting pictures taken."
"We go to Cartoon Cuts in Woodbridge (and have, since his first hair cut) w/o any problems.  I see two specific stylists now b/c another I am not a huge fan of (her personality, not her work lol).  The kids can watch movies while getting their hair cut and they are really nice w/the kids."
"Went to Cartoon Cuts in Woodbridge, but it wasn't a great experience for my son, I think it was just all too fast, and the girl didn't interact with him, but I don't think that's the 'norm'.  Went to see King at a Barbershop in Old Town Manassas and he was WONDERFUL with my 2 year old.  No tears.  Hair cut was a bit shorter than I wanted, but I was happy that he enjoyed it so much.  Went to Cartoon Cuts in Fair Oaks the next time and it was really really good.  The woman showed him the clippers first and talked to him (he was so nervous he was shaking, he's a bit scared of clippers)."
"I go to Cartoon Cuts in Woodbridge for my almost 3 year old. Got his first haircut there"

The Hair Cuttery
"My MIL takes mine to the Hair Cuttery"
"Mapledale Hair Cuttery!! Ask for Natalie Marie Van Lith!"


Old Town Barbershop (Old Town Manassas)
"Went to Cartoon Cuts in Woodbridge, but it wasn't a great experience for my son, I think it was just all too fast, and the girl didn't interact with him, but I don't think that's the 'norm'.  Went to see King at a Barbershop in Old Town Manassas and he was WONDERFUL with my 2 year old.  No tears.  Hair cut was a bit shorter than I wanted, but I was happy that he enjoyed it so much.  Went to Cartoon Cuts in Fair Oaks the next time and it was really really good.  The woman showed him the clippers first and talked to him (he was so nervous he was shaking, he's a bit scared of clippers)."


Out of County-
Cartoon Cuts in Fair Oaks Mall
"we went to Cartoon Cuts in Fair Oaks Mall for our daughter's first haircut and it was great.  The hairdresser was super quick so our daughter didn't have time to panic :)"
"We've been going to cartoon cuts in fair oaks since our sons first cut (he's 4 now). [Love] it there, but it depends on the stylist. We always see the same person. Manazza"
"Went to Cartoon Cuts in Woodbridge, but it wasn't a great experience for my son, I think it was just all too fast, and the girl didn't interact with him, but I don't think that's the 'norm'.  Went to see King at a Barbershop in Old Town Manassas and he was WONDERFUL with my 2 year old.  No tears.  Hair cut was a bit shorter than I wanted, but I was happy that he enjoyed it so much.  Went to Cartoon Cuts in Fair Oaks the next time and it was really really good.  The woman showed him the clippers first and talked to him (he was so nervous he was shaking, he's a bit scared of clippers)."



Reviews: Pa Nuang Thai

Permalink to Reviews%3A%20Pa%20Nuang%20Thai
Published: 01/15/2013
Highly recommended on the "Readers Recommend: Restaurants in Prince William County" is Pa Nuang Thai.  I actually thought I'd written about it before, but apparently, I haven't.  Or, maybe I have, but it's so good that I'm going to do it again. (Edit: I found it! It was for PotomacLocal.com)

It's my website, people, and I'll do what I want to.

So, Pa Nuang is amazing, and I like it better than all the other Thai restaurants in the county that I've tried.  Hands down. No, I don't care that you like the other one by the Safeway.  Typically there's room for everyone's opinions, but right now I am taking a firm stand on Thai.

 Their menu is extensive, and everything on it is amazing.  I love the crisp, fresh green papaya salad, and the Tom Kha Soup which is both sweet and salty, spicy and sour, and just generally amazing.  Hubby and I went their for a date night the other day, and we ended up with these:
 This is chicken with bell peppers and basil.  I'm sure it has an actual name, but it's number 3 down on the "Entrees" section.  Yeah, I know that.
This is the soup I now want anytime there's anything wrong or right with me.  I've had a migraine and been in bed for days, and reflecting on it, I'm actually ticked off that my husband didn't bring me soup.  I know I wasn't eating, but it would've reheated when I wanted it.  Originally, this was "Korean Noodle Soup", but apparently now it's "Clear Noodle Soup".  It's broth, ground chicken (or you can get it vegetarian or with shrimp...maybe? I don't like seafood so I don't reserve space in my brain for it) vegetables, and noodles, and it's amazing.  If you're a glutton for punishment like we are, they'll even bring out crushed red peppers that are waaaay spicier than anything you've ever shaken on your pizza.  Next Level Delicious.

(Yes, we ordered two entrees just for the two of us.  It's important to have leftovers when the food is this good.  Don't judge me until you try it.  Even then, don't judge me.)

Dishes can be ordered "American Spicy", which I would call "not spicy", "Regular Spicy" which is probably spicy enough for most people, or "Thai Spicy", which will clear your sinuses and make your tongue tingle.  I personally enjoy Thai Spicy, but recommend starting a little further down the scale until you know what you're getting into.

For the kids, I recommend the Thai Sweet and Sour, or, if they're more adventitious, the fried tofu with sweet chili sauce is really good.  The sweet and sour comes with the chicken in chunks and crispy (a la "nugget" but with recognizable meat) and the sauce on the side. My kids actually like the Pad Thai with shrimp and the tempura carrots from my Green Curried Vegetables.  They're not normal, though.

This is a really long post about how much I love Pa Nuang at this point....but it's really, really, really good.  They're not paying me to write this....I am, in fact, paying them.  For soup.  Which I could really use right now- I wonder if they're open....

Readers Recommend: Preschools 2012/2013

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Preschools%202012%2F2013
Published: 01/10/2013

The Lake Ridge Moms' Club is sponsoring its annual Preschool Open House on January 26, 2013 from 3-5pm at Tall Oaks Community Center; 12298 Cotton Mill Drive in Lake Ridge. Several of the Preschools listed here will be present.  This event is FREE and open to the public, not just members of LRMC.

**Disclaimer:  These reviews have been submitted by individual parents who are representing their experience with a school.  PWC Moms does not necessarily endorse any or all of these schools and encourages parents to visit a school before enrolling their child.  After much consideration, it is our policy when asking parents to share their experiences with schools or play areas, or businesses, to share those opinions to aid other parents, even if our personal experience contradicts the views of another parent.  Please always conduct your own research and site visits in addition to looking at the experience of other parents at any particular school.**

Please note this list is added to every year.  The oldest reviews are from 2010, and the most recent were received this month. The Schools we received feedback on, in alphabetical order by name of school are:

ALPHA-BET COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL (2 Reviews)
10047 Nokesville Rd, Manassas VA 20110. 
My son goes to the fabulous Alpha-Bet Cooperative Preschool in Manassas.  It's on Centreville Rd in between Godwin and Wellington. We have an open house February 1 from 12-2.   Being a cooperative school, the parents are active in their children's education. I help out 1-2 times a month in the classroom, and I'm on the board. My son is so happy there, and the different parents helping really adds to the dynamic of the classroom.  :)  I had checked out many in the area and fell in love with Alpha-Bet. 

Myself along with 3 other mommy friends cooperatively taught our children for their first year of preschool. After looking at some other preschools in the Manassas area, I decided that a cooperative preschool was the perfect fit for us. It allowed me to be in the classroom but gave her the formal classroom that she needed to get accustomed to. And we both love it.
As the children arrive the day starts manipulative time, circle time, center time, and the rest of the day flies by with bathroom break, snack and recess. The last 15 minutes are circle time again where the themes of the day are reinforced, calendar and weather are talked about. Class ends at 12:15.
My daughter has really taken to her teacher and the friends she's made in the class. She's eagerly awaiting the return to class tomorrow. The ideas presented in class really stick with her and she's constantly telling me what Ms Jo said. Even if it's something that I know was introduced to her last year by me. Don't know if that is because someone else is explaining it, she's a year older, or Ms. Jo is really that good. :) Also, my daughter is always excited when she knows that I will be in the classroom. I love that I get to see exactly what's going on in the classroom. I don't have to pull teeth to know how her day went (as I've heard other Mommies mention). Plus I feel like I'm holding onto her just a little bit longer. Now the logistics. This is the part that parents always worry about. How much commitment there is. Before school starts every parent that will volunteer in the classroom is subjected to a background test and must obtain a TB test. Only one parent is required, however both parents are given the opportunity to volunteer. A parent will typically have to volunteer 2, possibly 1, times a month. One of those times you will provide snack for your class.  You must sign up for one parent "job". It can be as simple or involved as you wish. For example, organizing a family night, classroom parent, fundraiser coordinator, board president, etc.  In addition, a parent must attend 6 pre-determined dates for setup/cleanup or training. For those of you with younger siblings, the school will assist you in pairing up with another parent to trade babysitting services while the other volunteers. And ensures that you will not volunteer on the same day. I have a 3 year old (not old enough for school) and have found it very easy to trade with another mother and he loves going with her.  (Click Here for Website)

Note from the School: Please visit Alpha-Bet Preschool on February 1, 2013 from noon - 2 pm to meet teachers, tour the school, and register your child for an excellent preschool experience.  Alpha-Bet is a unique, collaborative school with excellent, developmentally appropriate academic and social experiences for 3 and 4 year olds.  Our students leave the school well-prepared for kindergarten, and our parents have an incredible opportunity for involvement in the school. We are the only cooperative preschool in Prince William County. We are also a non-profit, parent-run school with well-educated and excellent teachers. 


CHESTERBROOK ACADEMY
Various Locations- Reviewed Location is 12960 Troupe Street  Woodbridge, VA 22192
I recommend Chesterbrook Academy in Woodbridge.  My daughter began at summer camp when she was 3.  She had been home with me and it was a hard transition.  They encouraged me to call and check on her the first week and even called me with updates. She attended two years of preschool.  We have been very pleased with the progress she has made.  They teach Spanish, sign language, computer skills and more. I feel that Chesterbrook has prepared her well for Kindergarten.  I would recommend the school to everyone! (Click Here for Website)

CLOVERDALE PRESCHOOL (2 Reviews)
13506 Minnieville Road  Woodbridge, VA 22192
I love, love, love the 2 1/2 year old and 3 year old program offered by Cloverdale.  The teachers are superb.  They have a very real, effective way of interacting with the children, and to say they are gifted in teaching is an understatement.  These ladies are the kind you want your children to have teaching them EVERY year because of their true interest in the kids.  I can't say enough good things about these teachers.  Besides their basic preschool classroom learning (language skills, art, counting, etc.), the kids also had music and P.E.  My kids LOVED music day in the "Big Room".  The staff I interacted with were pretty phenomenal as well.  They always got me information I requested and were nice people to have around.  Cloverdale has a great program going on, and it's quite affordable.  I highly recommend it.

We absolutely love Cloverdale for many reasons, and have used it for both of our older children, our youngest will begin attending, too, in the fall.  With programs beginning at 2 and a half years (Half days Tuesday and Thursday) ranging up to an outstanding Pre-K program, Cloverdale has a well-established program that focuses on literacy readiness, core competencies, and social skills.  They offer German to the students in the 4 and 5 year old programs, which all of the kids seem to love.  The teachers are all amazing and most of them (the exception being the teacher for the relatively new 2 year old program) have been at the school for many years which speaks to the happy, cohesive teaching team at this school.  The teachers are as patient and understanding as they are qualified, and have the skills and calm, even tempers needed to help even the most clingy children adjust to being away from their primary caregiver while they learn to function in a school setting.  Cloverdale also offers "Stay and Play" for $10, which allows students to remain until 2pm (the normal day is from 9-12) and has been a lifesaver for me on a few occasions where I was volunteering at the elementary school or had a doctor's appointment.  Also, Cloverdale offers private K-3 grades if you are looking for a school where your child can stay for the early years of elementary school.  We love it at Cloverdale and would never leave if we could keep our kids preschool aged forever!! (Click Here for Website) 
From the school: Tours and class observation welcome Appointments recommended but not
required.


DAYTIME PLAYTIME:
14680 Gap Way Gainesville, Va 20155
A shout out to Daytime Playtime in Haymarket too, they are awesome!  We love their summer camp and they were a top contender when i was touring preschools.  So much so that we have sent our son to their summer camp 2 years running! (Click Here for Website

From the School: Registration for the 2013-2014 school year will be open to our current families at 9am on Tuesday, January 22nd. Open registration will begin on Monday, February 4th to the public. Contact the office for more information. The registration fee is $100 and class prices will remain the same.

FREEDOM CENTER PRESCHOOL (2 Reviews):
9100 Freedom Center Boulevard  Manassas, VA 20110
We sent both of our children to the Freedom Center for preschool. We were very happy with the teachers and curriculum.

The Freedom Center preschool is small, really tiny, and that's its strength and its weakness.  There is only one small classroom, so there are only 4 classes---3 am, 3 pm, 4am, 4pm.  The same teachers teach all the children (the three year old teacher is the four year old PE teacher, the four year old teacher is the three year old PE teacher) and the aides work for all the classes.  As a result, the children know their teachers very well and the teachers and aides know the children very well.  There is a very warm, family atmosphere that makes even the shyest kids feel comfortable.  Miss Phyllis, who is the director, is warm and accessible and laid back, and her attitude really permeates the whole program. The classroom is tiny, but the children leave at least once a day for PE elsewhere in the building and often times more frequently for activities.  There is a big emphasis on physical education and the children are taken outside whenever weather permits (even on chilly days, they bundle up and go out).  There is no pick-up/drop-off and the preschool room is in the very back of the large building.  This means on rainy days, you have to hustle through a huge parking lot and then through the whole building.  Pick-up/drop-off takes a lot longer here than I imagine it does at other schools. The curriculum is play-based and there is definitely a big difference between the 3 year old program (which has little academics and is more focused on teaching children what school is and how to be a student) and the 4 year old program (where there is a heavy emphasis on pre-reading skills).  There are little to no worksheets and lots of hands-on activities.  My son came into the program a bit wild and unfocused.  He struggled a bit towards the end of the 3 year old year but has really excelled in the 4 year old program.  I think the caring, relaxed atmosphere and the ton of physical activity provided have really helped him. (Click Here for Website)

From the school: Open Registration for the general public begins February 13, 2013.

GOOD SHEPHERD PRESCHOOL (5 Reviews):
14999 Birchdale Avenue  Woodbridge, VA 22193
Pros: low tuition, kind teachers, private classrooms, walk-in drop-off and pick-up. Cons: very little communication/organization from teachers or director, no outside play (even though there is a playground.) (**Note from PwcMoms- I get an angry email EVERY year that Good Shepherd does offer outdoor play.  I don't know anything about the program, so I can't comment)

I had such anxiety about sending my quite shy 3 year old to preschool last year but our experience at Good Shepherd had been so wonderful.  The director is amazing and from the first moment, she made my daughter and I feel so welcome and reassured.  It's not as "high-tech" as many parents would like, but the wonderful teachers and the caring and attention they provide the children (and the parents) cannot, in my opinion, be beat.  There is a feeling of "family" at Good Shepherd. They pay close attention to the safety of the children and as a "worry wart" mom, that has helped ease much of my anxiety.  I also like the smaller teacher to student ratio.  This is our 2nd year there and my daughter attends the 5 day a.m. 4's program (they're teaching the Handwriting Without Tears program which I love) -- she is SO happy everyday I pick her up that it really does warm my heart!  I KNOW she'll be ready to start kindergarten (both academically and socially) in the fall and I owe the majority of that knowledge to Good Shepherd.  I really believe that the majority of parents who choose Good Shepherd are 100% satisfied with their decision.  

I sent my two sons to Good Shepherd UMC for two years. I chose GSUMC when it was recommended by one of the teachers from their preschool in Florida, which I ADORED. We were very pleased with their preschool experience in the two years they attended GSUMC. 
My sons are only a year apart and one thing I Appreciated about GS was the boys could be in separate classes. They offer more age group options than many of the other schools, including classes specially for kids who just miss the K cutoff. I liked that they offered both morning an afternoon classes. I was pleased with the level of academics. 
The teachers and director were all extremely friendly, nurturing and kind. I never had any issues with the level of communication from either. In fact, when I was experiencing behavioral issues with one of my sons, his teacher and the director kindly sat down and listened/tAlked with me while his TA looked after my 3 children, all on their lunch break. His teachers then did everything they could at school to provide the structure an continuity he needed to address the issues at home.
GSUMC does have a playground and they had outdoor time every day, weather permitting. They also had a weather plan in place so that there was indoor physical activity available for those inclement days. 
To me, the only thing I was somewhat disappointed with was the balance of secular/religious for a Christian preschool. There was one short chapel talk and chapel music per month. I felt like there could have been more and I wished there had been more of a focus on the religious, especially at Christmas and Easter. 
Overall, we were extremely pleased with GSUMC as a preschool and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.


We are thrilled with Good Shepherd on Birchdale. The teachers are fantastic, and they work with an exciting and fun curriculum. There's a perfect mix of play and learning. The kids are outside everyday, and there are a lot of activities, such as a pumpkin patch trip, visit from fire fighters, and an outing to a holiday concert. They engage the kids with different crafts and activities and my daughter loves attending school!


The curriculum at Good Shepherd Preschool stresses all aspects of growth and development.  They work on physical, social, and emotional development, as well as academic development. They believe that children learn through their senses, activity, curiosity, imitation, conversation, imagination, and widened experiences. There is a fifteen minute chapel time monthly taught by GSUMC's Christian Educatoror her designee. (Click Here for Website)
 

HAYMARKET BAPTIST CHURCH PRESCHOOL & KINDERGARTEN:
14800 Washington Street  Haymarket, VA 20169
Can't say enough good things about the teachers and staff at Haymarket Baptist Church Preschool & Kindergarten.  Love them!  Great school, great programs.  (Click Here for Website)
         

KIDS IN MOTION PRESCHOOL (4 Reviews):
Kids N Motion offers an amazing preschool program.  My daughter attended the preschool during the 2010 to 2011 school year and my son currently attends the school.  The teachers are excellent and what I like best is that they make learning fun! Before I had children, I worked as a Prince William County school teacher, so education is very important to me.  I was looking for a school that would prepare my kids academically and socially for kindergarten and just as importantly be a place that they loved and looked forward to going to! Kids N Motion does just that, and I would highly recommend the school to other parents.


My son attends kidsnmotion preschool. The teachers are kind and personable. I have had trouble trusting anyone other than family with my children and I have become so confident in kidsnmotion. My son loves the projects they complete almost daily and I always proud to show off his work. They also offer "gym" time first which allows the kids to run off some energy so that they are ready to learn. The price is GREAT for the quality care and knowledge they teach. I will be sending all of my children to kidsnmotion and you should too!


A year or so ago, I asked my friend, who is a kindergarten teacher, what children need to know before starting school.  Expecting her to say that they should know their alphabet, their numbers, and how to write their name, I was surprised by her response.  She said that academics can be taught in kindergarten and are all part of the kindergarten curriculum.  What children really need to know is how to share, take turns, and take responsibility for their actions.  According to this kindergarten teacher, who has a Master's degree in literacy development, it is most important for preschool-aged children to have as much imaginative and creative play as possible.  With this in mind, I decided to pursue a preschool program that encouraged gross and fine motor skill develop, with more emphasis on play and physical development than on academics.  Kids N Motion has been the perfect balance for us, offering free play time on their inflatable bouncing equipment, structured exercising time to work on gross motor skills (i.e. jumping on one foot, balancing on a balance beam), pretend play with traditional preschool toys (i.e. play kitchen, trucks, and blocks), and one-on-one instructional time on fine motor skills (i.e. writing and drawing).  My 3-year-old twins have made many new friends and practice their skills and sing their songs every evening at home.  Also, the price is extremely reasonable.  Sending twins to preschool means that every cost is doubled, and yet we are able to manage the tuition within our budget.
My daughter attends kids n' motion twice a week.  It is a great preschool and accepts children starting at 2 and 1/2 and they do not have to be potty trained!  My daughter started at 2 and 1/2 and is 3 now.  They do play, craft time, snack, read books, learn letters, etc.  It is a really great program.  My daughter has learned so much already and loves making crafts. (Click Here for Website)

KIDS ON THE MOVE PRESCHOOL:
Kids on the move is great. Can't say enough good things about them (Click here for Website)

LAKE RIDGE CREATIVE PRESCHOOL- 4 Reviews:
Love the Lake Ridge Creative Preschool, located on the corner of Old Bridge Road and Oakwood Dr.  Explorers class for 3-4 year olds is Tuesday and Thursday, either 9:15 - 1:30 or 9:45 - 2:00.  PreK for 4-5 year olds is M, W, F, same times.  The curriculum is the perfect mix of fun and learning.  The children do art projects, sing songs, do puzzles, learn to use the computer, go on field trips, learn Spanish, play outside daily, etc - it is amazing to me the creative ways they get the children engaged in learning.  There is an after school reading program for children that show they are ready to begin reading independently, though learning the alphabet and writing skills are taught to all almost from day one!  The preschool is open to everyone - non-Lake Ridge residents pay a bit more in tuition, though it is very reasonably priced - last year, Explorers were $120/month for residents, $130 for nonresidents, and PreK was $170/180.  Contact the Lake Ridge Recreation Department at 703-497-7112, or stop by the office, located in the vicinity of the preschool at the back of the big parking lot. 

I follow your posts via Facebook and read that you were looking for preschool reviews.  I saw you had a recommendation for Lake Ridge Creative already, but I decided to send in another one.  The following is excerpted from a letter I wrote to the Lake Ridge Board of Directors a few months ago in support of the preschool program.  My daughter attended for both preschool and pre-K, and I am very pleased with the school and highly recommend it to others.

We left St. Matthews for Lake Ridge Creative preschool. We were looking for something longer and more comprehensive...we have loved every year! Ms Jean gives her heart to these kids and truly prepares them for kindergarten. She has reading and math groups after school for children who are ready to take that next step. She does this on her own time, without an extra charge. It is definitely a great balance between social/fun time and instruction.

When I was looking to choose a preschool for my daughter, my main focus was on the school's reputation and the quality of the program.  I had narrowed it down to two schools - the LRPRA preschool and one other local preschool.  LRPRA's preschool appeared to be more well-rounded in its activities and learning opportunities, and in preparation for kindergarten.  What finally "sold" me was the fact that I heard nothing but good things about the program.  My mother, who is a past LRPRA board president, told me that during her time on the board she received many positive reports from parents about the program.  A friend who is an elementary school teacher said that the children coming from the LRPRA preschool were generally better prepared for entering the structured environment of elementary school and excelled in their academics.  She said there was a notable difference between the LRPRA pre-school graduates and those of other preschools.  Nothing beats positive word of mouth "advertising" and opinions from other parents, and to me this spoke volumes as to how good the school is.My daughter has thrived at the preschool, academically and socially.  Her teachers are excellent, and I have no complaints.  I am already looking forward to when my one year old son is old enough to attend the program as well. (Click Here for Website)

LITTLE HANDS PRESCHOOL (2 Reviews): 
14391 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge
We've had our youngest in Little Hands Preschool for the past two years and we love it!

This will be my sixth year at Little Hands (all three of my children will have been through here!) and I cannot say enough good things about it. The teachers are wonderful and the curriculum is the same as most other preschools. The other great thing is that they do have a class for early threes (2 and a 1/2 year olds), which is where we started with our oldest, and they also have a great Pre K class for those kids not quite ready to go to Kindergarten or who just miss the cut off. (Click Here for Website)

From the school: Registration forms will be considered "timely" through 2/1/13. The preschool lottery will be held on February 4th.  

LITTLE LAMBS VILLAGE PRESCHOOL:

We enrolled our child at Little Lambs after researching a variety of preschools in the area and having several educational professionals recommend it for our child.  They said its play-based, active learning approach with a staff who are supportive of children of differing backgrounds and abilities would be perfect for our child’s strengths and weaknesses.  And they were right! Our child had a poor experience at a previous preschool and was quite leery about the whole school experience.  He is a smart child who learned at a very young age how to tune out people who talk down to him.  The staff at Little Lambs has been warm and welcoming to our child, taking him in and showering him with love to bring him out of his shell.  He has changed from a sullen child who was unable to recite the alphabet to a bright and happy boy who can write his own name, finds letters in his world on a daily basis, and counts everything he can touch.  He talks about his friends constantly, and participates in classroom activities with gusto. We can’t say enough positive things about our experience at Little Lambs.  Other parents of children at the school talk about how it’s the hidden gem of preschools in Western Prince William County, and we wholeheartedly agree.  The learning experience, teaching ability, and administrative leadership are second to none. (Click Here for Website)

NIKKIS CHRISTIAN LEARNING CENTER:
Nikki's Christian Learning Center in Dale City is great. My kids will be more than ready for kindergarten. They know bible verses, celebrate holidays and truly care about the students. My kids love school and have flourished since September.

OLD BRIDGE PRESCHOOL (5 Reviews): 
Old Bridge Preschool, associated with Old Bridge Methodist Church, has been open for 4 years. Besides being a great preschool with very caring staff, the also have a mission of accepting students with special needs. They have special staff for students who qualify for services through the county, and although they aim for 30% special needs, they also do amazing things with typically developing children. Their academic program appropriately prepares students for kindergarten and helps them develop a love of learning. I have had a great experience with the school, with both of my children attending during the 4 years since the school has been open. I highly recommend Old Bridge Preschool. 

I am thrilled with Old Bridge Preschool in Woodbridge. The staff Is so caring and very educated. The environment is fantastic as well. The school has so many activities for the children and families so you always feel involved! Though my son is not special needs the school does have a good program for those that need it. Being our first year of school we are very pleased and my son loves it! We'll be back next year too!

I wanted to share a review for Old Bridge Preschool. We've had a great experience so far! A few reasons why we like them: the teachers and staff members are very kind, student teacher ratio is 4:1, potty training is not required, they're an inclusion school with 20-30% special needs students, offer tuition assistance/ scholarships, and have opportunities for parent involvement/volunteering.The only downside is that they only offer 3hr classes, no full day program available.  

Our experience with Old Bridge Preschool this past year has been fantastic.  The staff is dedicated, friendly and truly caring.  The facility is clean, well organized, and a fun environment for learning and play.  Our son is currently enrolled in the 2 year old class.  He also has special needs, and the staff have gone out of their way to accommodate his learning and participation in both everyday learning as well as special events and activities.  He has come to love this school and his teachers, and can't stop talking about it when he's at home.  We will be sending our son here for the next two years and feel confident that he will be well prepared for the transition into kindergarten.  I recommend Old Bridge to all parents considering a preschool program.

Both of my kids have gone there and I can't say enough good things about the school and staff. We have loved every one of our teachers and both kids have learned so much through play that they didn't know they were in school. They also accept special needs children which really teaches the children compassion for others.  (Click Here for Website)

PRINCE WILLIAM ACADEMY (2 reviews):
Prince William Academy is a wonderful school. We currently have two children attending the school (toddler & Jr. K) & we have been more than happy with the quality of the education they have received. The school is NAEYC Accredited & has low student-teacher ratios, a well-rounded curriculum, qualified & caring teachers, flexible schedules & clean facilities. A testament to the school being so great is the joy our children have going to school each & every morning. If you're looking for a comprehensive program that offers creative outlets (art, music, play) & strong academics (language arts, math, science & languages), this is the school for you. We have been most impressed with the latter. Our Jr. Kindergartener is reading, writing & doing math at the Kindergarten level & we're considering testing her into 1st grade next year. This is a great school & would recommend it to anyone!
 
We had a horrible experience here and pulled our child out mid-year.  The program sounds so great on paper, but the classrooms are dirty and the teachers over-stretched without aids.  The preschoolers have indoor gym at the same time as older children and my child came home badly bruised one day when a 4th grader bowled them over and I didn't even recieve a note from the school or the teacher.  It's not worth the money. (Click Here for Website)

RIVERVIEW BAPTIST DAY SCHOOL:
Riverview Baptist Day School in Woodbridge. They offered different day options for parents which was nice, they have a dresscode of navy or burgundy polos and khaki or navy pants/skirts I liked this too, I know some parents may not. The staff was friendly and so was the director and their "nurse" was accommodating (my daughter has epilepsy). However my daughter absolutely hated the school and would wake up in the middle of the night begging me to not make her go back, she would never tell me why she hated it so much, but she had nightmares. It got so bad that she was having panic attacks in the middle of the day on the weekends that led to full blown asthma attacks, I tried asking her teacher for help but she tried to tell me it was normal for kids and just separation anxiety. I went along with it for maybe five weeks before I couldn't do it to my daughter any longer and pulled her out. She has been terrified of the idea of school since. And to put it in perspective my daughter is not super clingy and goes to daycare during the day so it wasn't her first time away from me by any means.  

RUSSELL ELEMENTARY (MCB QUANTICO) PRE-K PROGRAM:
My eldest has really enjoyed the 1/2 day, 5 day-a-week program for 4 year-olds offered by Russell Elementary School aboard MCB Quantico.  Each of the two classrooms fits 16, and there are three teachers permanently assigned to each class.  That makes for a great teacher:student ratio and provides ample attention to each student.  There are "out of classroom" classes, including art, P.E., and computers.  The class is run on a routine, and my eldest really gets into it.  She especially enjoys the big and small group times, where she can choose from a variety of activities provided by the teachers.  The school staff is a pleasant crew, and there are ample opportunities to volunteer in the classroom.  This is a good first look at "real" school (e.g., all the fundraisers, PTA, expenses, etc.), and I've appreciated getting my feet wet slowly.  Finally, there is a bus that picks up the kids. Only students from the same grade ride, and there is a teacher aboard the enter time to supervise seatbelting and that the proper adult is picking the students up.  It's a great program, and I'm thankful to have it. (Click Here for Website)

 SEVEN OAKS ACADEMY:
My son goes there, and he loved it from day one.  He is 4 and can already read a little bit.  They actually teach them there, not just babysit them.  The teachers are 'real' teachers, with degrees and certificates, and each class has it's own room with a door.  This is all great to me because he used to go to (other school name deleted) which is crap compared to this place.  He gets a newsletter sent home once a month with 'homework' and it tells the parents what they are working on, and helpful print outs to use at home, like sight words and refrigerator stories.  The preschool is from 9-12:30am I believe, but my son does go full time from 9-5:30pm.  But the actual 'school' part of the day mostly takes place in the morning before lunch.  They offer full time and part time preschool (you can choose 5 days a week or 3 days a week, but they only offer morning preschool, not afternoon).  They are affordable compared to other places, and offer morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack..  Their summer camp is GREAT, lots of field trips (about 2 times a week) and other fun activities for a reasonable summer fee.  (Click Here for Website) 

ST. MATTHEWS DAY SCHOOL (3 Reviews):
We love St. Matthews and feel like it is everything a preschool program should be.  It is structured enough for the kids to feel secure, free enough for them to explore, and loving so they feel safe in their first school experience.  We love that there is a carpool line because with a preschooler and a new baby this past year it was great not to have to get out of the car in the rain or snow with the baby! St. Matthew's was the only school we looked at because on our tour, our child walked right in and acted like they'd been in class there since day 1.  It's been great and we're military so we're not sure when we'll have to leave, but we'd be very happy if our youngest child was able to go here, too.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Day School in Lake Ridge has been wonderful for our Pre-K child. Great teachers and a wonderful environment.

Pros:Teachers seemed awesome and school seemed well-organized.  Cons: No handwashing (just wipes), no snacktime at a table (they eat on the floor,) no walk-in drop-off or pick-up, open/mixed classrooms. (Click Here for Website)


ST. PAUL'S SCHOOL/MDO (3 Reviews):
Loved the mom's day out program at St. Paul's in Haymarket.  The lead teacher there is amazingly loving and great with the kids!

We came to St Paul’s based solely on its reputation in the area.  We were new to the area, and everyone told us it was “the best” academically and “guaranteed” placement in the Gifted program once the children moved to PW schools.  As parents of extremely bright students, it seemed to be a great fit.  Unfortunately, the school did not work well for our children at all.  In fact, it was extremely detrimental to our children and we’ve spent the ensuing months trying to fix the problems caused.What didn’t work for our children was St Paul’s insistence on rote teaching.  The children come in, sit down, and are instructed/lectured for most of the day.  They are given worksheets to reinforce the lessons, and are expected to quietly fill in the worksheets at their tables.  There is very little collaborative learning amongst the children – even during playtime, the children each choose a toy and play quietly by themselves.  They don’t interact, play together, pretend or share things between each other.  There is almost no gross motor play/exploration/learning, as there quite simply is no room on the campus.  The classrooms are extremely small and have no room for typical preschool things like centers or active pretend play.  The outdoor play area is extremely small and very limited in activities.  Arts & crafts, a preschool mainstay, are virtually non-existent.  So are teaching methods such as sensory play and manipulatives.  You learn to count by repeating what the teacher says and writing numbers repeatedly, not by counting physical objects.  You learn your letters by writing them over and over again with a pencil on paper, not by acting out the letters, drawing them with a variety of media, or exploring how they start different words with different sounds. If the children do not learn well by rote teaching, there is no personalization of lessons to a child.  There is no time taken to determine if a different learning/teaching style would reach the child, if something could be explained differently. The child is simply labeled as unteachable, a trouble maker, or just left behind while the rest of the class goes on.  Our children learned virtually nothing in their time at St Paul’s, and are now playing catch-up to their peers who were able to learn the basics of letters and numbers in other environments.



We've been extremely happy with the PreK program at St. Paul's and highly recommend the school! (Click Here for Website)




Readers Recommend: Bad Weather Fun

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Bad%20Weather%20Fun
Published: 10/30/2012
So we all made it relatively unscathed by Frankenstorm, thank God.  As we go about the next few days, please keep an ear out for opportunities to help those who were not so fortunate.  The pictures of New York and New Jersey are heartbreaking.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post.  Check out their storm coverage here
Also, if you're of the praying persuasion, you could continue to offer petitions on behalf of the first responders and National Guard who will be continuing to pick up the pieces today.

In the meantime, it's mushy and grey outside, which means that we've all got to keep our kiddos happy inside.  Well, almost all of us- some of us are going to make them do schoolwork anyway because we're mean horrible people sent here to ruin their childhoods responsible homeschoolers.

I asked yesterday what you guys recommended to beat the weather-based blues, and here's what you guys sent me:

For the Adults:
*Poker tournament with the neighbors
*Wine
*Crocheting
*Wine
*Online Shopping
*Wine is a great idea!
Sounds like you guys rather enjoy your vino.

In the Kitchen:
*Baking- apple pie,
*Make Stone Soup
*Quesadillas
*Fresh Ice Cream Sandwiches with homemade cookies (hey, Beth! You sent a picture!! Email me your address and I'm mailing you something cool.)
Kickin' it Frankenstorm-Style

With the Kids:
*Reading books
*Stacking the tea lights
*Glow Bracelet War
*Uno
*Indoor Tent

For Those Who Like to Live Dangerously:
*Monopoly
(If you don't have little ears around and aren't easily offended, I tend to agree with Dane Cook's assessment of monopoly- but he does drop an f-bomb, so watch out.)

Bonus Points To:
Jennifer Peterson Singh who did a whole Pinterest Board! I've got a PwcMoms one, too, but that's not news.

Thanks for sharing what you did this Frankenstorm!

Readers Recommend: Pool Memberships in Prince William County

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Pool%20Memberships%20in%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 06/26/2012
If you don't live in a neighborhood with a HOA, you may find yourself in need of a pool membership!! Luckily, our Prince William County resident moms have some recommendations for swim clubs in the Woodbridge, Manassas, and in-between areas of our county!


1- Lake Ridge Swim Club (x6) The pool is "great and equipped with WiFi, sand volleyball, ping pong tables and a snack bar", "very kid-friendly" with swim lessons and a swim team, parties on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. "Plenty for all ages!" Memberships for returning members are $385 and there is an initiation fee. The pool is available for rentals by community groups.

2- Oak Ridge Swim Club (x) off Khan's Road offers swim memberships and lessons.  The pool can also be rented by church/scout/community groups for private events.

3- Prince William Community Pools include Birchdale in Dale City, Graham Park in Dumfries, Hammil Mill in Occoquan, and Veteran's Park in Woodbridge, with rates starting at $3.50 and evening discounts of $1.50 from 4-6pm.

4- Sudley Club in Manassas (x3) Has tennis, a lake with fishing, swimming, swim lessons and a swim team.  "Tucked up in the woods by Manassas Mall". Dues are $750 a year and there is both an application fee and an initiation fee.

5- Fairfax County Water Parks- "surprisingly affordable- passes for my two kids and I are only $235 and you can bounce between all 5 parks!

6- Prince William County Water Parks- buy a WaterWorks pass for $120 and get 20 punches (save $1) and Splash Down has a $75 per person season pass.

Readers Recommend: Best Pizza in Prince William County

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Best%20Pizza%20in%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 06/22/2012
When I asked a reader question about the Best Real Pizza in Prince William County, I got a TON of responses! From Deep Dish in Dumfries to Meat Lovers in Manassas, you guys have some serious feelings about Pizza!! Here are the responses!  If you have a favorite location for the Best Pizza in Prince William County, be sure to leave a comment!!


Tony's in Bristow/Manassas/Bull Run/Haymarket x25
(Manassas Location is the Best, We moved to Manassas from Woodbridge to be closer to that place!) 



Astoria's 123/Route 1 in Woodbridge x15
(My husband's favorite and he went to culinary school! Best in the area!) 

Amici's Pizza off Hoadly Road x5
(Run by an Italian Family.  If you pick it up you get Buy One Get One free for Large One-Topping)

Presto Pizza in Merchant Plaza x5
(Woman is from Sicily, Run by Italian Family, Great Customer Service, grows her own basil)


Padrino's in Dale City x4

Pizza Margherita in Gainesville x4

Lake Ridge Pizzaria x3

Brooklyn Brothers in Gainesville (x3)


Papa Petrone's Take and Bake x3

zPizza x3

Brothers in Montclair x2

L&B in Dale City x2

Costco Pizza x2



Ledos of Liberia

Pizza Time in Manassas

Vocelli's

Bella Vita in Manassas on Liberia

Roma Restaurant in Lake Ridge

Big Joe's in Manassas

Pizza Spot in Manassas Park

Joe's Pizza and Subs on Route 1

Armetta's

Pizzarama in Manassas


Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

Permalink to Where%20do%20MamaMafia%20Dons%20Dine%3F
Published: 05/25/2012
Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

It sounds like there should be a punchline to that question- but the answer is anything but a joke.

This week I was able to spend some time (okay, almost 5 hours) at Carmello's in Old Town Manassas.  Y'all recommended Carmello's on our Reader Recommendation Restaurant Guide, and I've been wanting to try it ever since!  Andrea from Real Housewives of Northern Virginia set up a tasting, and from the moment we walked in, I was completely sold.  

Walking into Carmello's you'd never know that you're feet away from the Train Depot. Its warm colors and gold chargers invite you in, and even the sign glistens.  This would be the perfect location for a wedding or rehearsal dinner meal, and they are able to offer multiple room sizes to meet group needs.  Joining our dinner were Denise from Let Mommy Sleep/Mission Sleep, Rebecca from 3 Tiny Tyrants/Maguire Media Group, Laura from BeltwayBargainMom, and Micaela from SuperNovaMommy.  
Denise, Me, Micaela, the awesome manager Jacob, Rebeca, Laura, and Andrea
Rebecca selected a bottle from their extensive wine list for us.  There was what can only be described as the Cheesecake Factory Menu worth of wine on their list, but she picked out a fantastic red.  Twice :) (Please note- all photo credit is to Real Housewives of Northern Virginia who shared with me since I forgot to charge my phone before dinner) 
We were able to tour the restaurant.  This is the wine room.  Just for the reds.  
We had so much fun chatting with the manager, Jacob.  He selected a few dishes for us and I quickly shocked everyone since I love to cook and will try just about anything because I had never eaten ANYTHING that we had. I decided to try to handle it cultural-exchange style and just eat it :) It was all amazing, and I think I'm in love with scallops.  (Yeah, say that you've never had a scallop before at this table of women and you get 5 horrified gasps followed by two "Well you can pass them over here if you're not gonna try them!")


Okay, cell phones don't do food justice (sorry Andrea). This is shrimp and scallops over saffron rice with artichokes in a delicious creamy sauce.  I had never had a scallop before (gasp!) and am very selective about my shrimp, and since I'm not a seafood lover, let me say I loved all the seafood dishes here.  Everything was fresh and not the least bit "fishy".  Next we had veal medallions wrapped in bacon with a mushroom sauce, also over rice.





 I had (shocker) never had veal.  Also, let me confess to typically eating my meat "Well done, please, and then cook it a little more".  I didn't lick the plate....but I thought about it. This literally melted in your mouth.








Next we sampled the seafood ravioli, which had salmon (never had) and lobster cream sauce (never had lobster, either).  The salmon was probably the most out of my comfort zone, but the lobster cream sauce and I are now BFF's and I'm following it on twitter.





Now, all of this is very fancy and amazing, but it's of course special occasion/date night food.  And, when you have your next special occasion, this is where you should go.  Besides the food being amazing and the manager being friendly and knowledgable, the staff was attentive and I didn't see a single table that wanted for anything from water to clean forks.

But if you just need a little cocktail hour, Carmello's has you covered, too.  This delicious Pizza Margharita (yeah, I'd actually had this before!) Is actually from the adjoining bar, Monza.  If you're looking for a place for lunch, a light supper, or drinks with the girls, Monza has got to be it.  In addition, let me share something with you:
On Mondays, Monza has $5 martinis from a list about a mile long.  We sampled the pear, root beer float, grapefruit, a few I can't remember, and the awesome bar tender Jeff's espresso martini, which, if it were available at Starbucks, would land me in AA.  Meeting up with a few friends after work (even if work involves chasing toddlers!) at Monza would be epic. With the same warm and upscale feel, but substantially more flatscreen TVs (playing the hockey game!!) Monza is a great guy-friend or girl-friend meet up.

Also, now that summer is approaching, keep in mind that on Friday and Saturday nights, the patio is open and the side street shut down to accommodate live music.  What a great way to spend a warm summer night!

Carmello's- Entrees $23-30, elegant warm atmosphere. Going to the Hylton Performing Arts Center? Call ahead and bring your tickets and take advantage of their $35 Theatre Special before 6pm (Appetizer/Soup/Salad, Entree, Dessert).  Plan Carmello's for your next occasion and you definitely won't regret it!

Monza- $5-$17, fun upscale atmosphere, great for meeting friends! Don't forget the $5 martini Mondays, and that pasta is $4 off before 4pm, so a late lunch is an option!
Denise, Rebecca and me.  We like to segregate our Blondes and Brunettes when we dine out ;)




My group was provided with products or services for this review, however it represents my honest opinion, and I'd have written the same thing either way.  Just saying :)

Readers Recommend: Child Therapists/Family Therapists

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Child%20Therapists%2FFamily%20Therapists
Published: 03/23/2012
Looking for a therapist in Prince William County for who's kid-friendly? Here's what our readers recommend!

Dr. Boosalis
Phoenix Family Counseling 
             -Another recommendation for Phoenix.  Very Highly Recommend.
             -Phoenix Child and Family Counseling.  They all specialize in play therapy and are excellent.  They are in
                 Gainesville, Heritage Hunt
             -We go to Phoenix Family Counseling, too. My daughter loves it there and can't wait to go see Ms. Sue.
 Psychological and Life Skills Associates (Minnieville and the Parkway)
              -Dr. Michael Shellsmith
Fran Herron
Sylvia Haydash Manassas.  Super.



PwcMoms has not tried nor do they endorse any of these doctors.  These are re-posted from reader recommendations posted to Facebook.  Please use your best judgement and ensure your insurance participates with the doctor you select for your family.  PwcMoms is not responsible for injury, malpractice, or negative experiences with any counselor you choose.

Readers Recommend: Dentists and Orthodontists

Permalink to Readers%20Recommend%3A%20Dentists%20and%20Orthodontists
Published: 03/12/2012

Hello, again, readers! I've compiled 2 Facebook conversations into one convenient location here, providing recommendations from our moms on Dentists and Orthodontists.  We have some great in-county recommendations, and we have a few of you that apparently like I-95 a whole bunch and drive as far as Alexandria to get your teeth all sparkly! Hey, when you like someone, you like them!

Speaking of shiny- here's a shiny red disclaimer! My oldest kid is only 8, and our insurance covers 2 visits per year, so we have NOT been to all these people personally, soooo:
(DISCLAIMER AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE SO YOU KNOW IT MUST BE IMPORTANT!!  PWCMOMS.COM DOES NOT CLAIM TO HAVE, NOR DO THEY HAVE A MEDICAL DEGREE OF ANY KIND.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR, NOR DO WE ENDORSE ANY PARTICULAR COURSE OF TREATMENT FOR YOUR CHILD.  THESE REVIEWS WERE MADE VOLUNTARILY BY READERS OF OUR WEBSITE, AND SHOULD BE USED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!

Dentists
In-County Recommendations
**County Center Dental Group (Woodbridge)- have been a patient for 3 years

**Brite Stars (Lake Ridge) is great
        Brite Stars!! Dr. Pham is awesome! I started taking my daughter to her when she was 2 and 
a half and we just love her!
        We go to Britestars pediatric dentist in Woodbridge VA, 3 of my kids go there, ages 9, 5 and 2.  My 2 year old had her first visit a couple of weeks ago and loved it! She is very shy but she looked very comfortable during her visit! They let the kids choose a toy, give them a balloon, and of course they give them a new toothbrush and toothpaste. We started going there because my 5 yr old then 4 yrs old would not let our general dentist even look in her mouth. We went to britestars and she was so comfortable there that she let them clean her teeth and take xrays! She needed to have 3 fillings done and was a trooper during them too! She didnt even need "gas" to get them done! Oh, and they have tv screens on the wall and let your child watch a movie while they have their check up or procedure done.
         BriteStars lets you go back with your children.
         Another shootout for Dr. Pham!
         Dr. Pham was able to ease all the fears that [another dentist] put into my child.

**Dr. Golden and Associates (Dale City, Burke, Quantico) LOVE them!!
         My children love Dr. Al!
         I had to take my daughter for an emergency visit as a new patient.  Dr. Golden stayed late to fit us in and did a fantastic job.  She had to go back for 3 more visits and still loves him, even though she was getting major dental work done!
         Dr. Al loves us!! 

**Dr. Mary Catherine Dvorak (Woodbridge) I love Dr. Kiki! 
      Another shout out for Dr. Kiki...hands down best ped and adult dentist ever. 

**Dr. Dawn Crandall is superb.  Our family dentist, whom we adore, referred us to her when we ran into an issue with my daughter.  Two years later, my daughter is still talking about "My friend the dentist"!

**Dr. Creamer (Woodbridge). He is at the intersection of prince william pkwy and old bridge in the plaza across from Minnieland . His mother runs the office and tells the kids stories, photos too, of Dr Creamer as a child. The first time I took my kids there I walked in the door she said my name hugged and kissed me on the cheek introduced herself to my kids. Walked them around the office showing them around making them as comfortable as she could. Her son is a very gentle and kind man. Both of my kids had an incredible visit. He will allow parents in the room, I bounced from the room to the waiting room where my daughter was sitting. It's a small practice and the dr, hygienist and his mom watch everything going on. My friend has gone there for years and swears by him and now I do to. It's a wonderful 

Out of County Recommendations
**Dr. Skordalakis (Sterling/Vienna) I hunted high and low for a pediatric dentist that was gentle and allowed parents in the exam room with their child. Took 8 years to find the guy but struck gold with Dr. Skordalakis in Sterling (and Vienna). I know it's a hike but he is soooo worth it. He has this amazingly caring and gentle demeanor that has even the littlest ones opening wide! He was able to do 2 fillings in my 2 year olds mouth with no novocaine or laughing gas! Every other pediatric dentist suggested full sedation (which we did with my older son and was frightening for me and super expensive too). But Dr. S was quick and gentle and we couldn't be happier. I've recommended him to a number of friends and everyone has said he's phenomenal. 
Doesn't hurt that he's super hot too. ;-)

**Smile Ville (Alexandria)      


Orthodontists:
In-County Recommendations
**Dr. Saleh (Lake Ridge) is great.  HIm and the office staff are wonderful and genuinely care.

**Dr. Harold Frank (Mid County)
      Love Dr. Harold Frank- he is wonderful

**Dr. Dunegan in Manassas.  Love all the staff. Efficient, too. 
      Dr. Dunegan was my husband's orthodontist (he recently had braces) and my daughter is starting her treatment this month.  Watiting room and entire office are very nice and they did a nice job with my husband's teeth. 

**Dr. Daczkowski "Dr. D" (Manassas)

**Dr. Stern (Woodbridge and Manassas offices)- I saw Dr. Stern and loved him!! 

**Dr. Hessamfer (Woodbridge)- Dr. Hessamfer and his staff in Woodbridge have been fabulous.      
         My son began treatment in August and we've been very happy with his treatment. 

**Dr. Rosenberg (Gainesville and Burke) is the best! 

Non-County Recommendations
**Dr. Bagden (Springfield) he is pretty renowned, but his prices reflect what I would have spent at another location for the work I needed.  

**Dr. Metzdorf (Fair Lakes) Dr. Metzdorf is worth the drive.  IT's a father-son team.  He did my braces when I was a kid and I had a very difficult case! 

**YesBraces Orthodontics for Children and Adults (Springfield) is wonderful and they are worth the drive. My daughter has Invisalign Teen and she enjoys going to their office.

**Dr. Hamman at  Kingstowne Orthodontics (Alexandria) is awesome n has been around ortho her whole life- very honest n caring Dr U r a family member as soon as u walk n that door


Are we missing your favorite? Leave a comment and let us know!! Want to give an additional shout-out to your favorite? Leave a comment for that, too!! (You may also respectfully disagree with one of these, but please ensure your comments are not slanderous and keep them PG rated with the language)

Pediatricians in Prince William County

Permalink to Pediatricians%20in%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 02/13/2012


Finding a good doctor is way more complicated than it should be!! I always have trouble finding a doctor that makes me feel comfortable with my parenting decisions (I actually had one yell at me about giving my daughter soy milk because she breaks out in a rash when given cows milk!) or that seems competent (another one kept demanding I feel the same milk-allergic child "cream, butter, and cheese" to "fatten her up".  Um....no?) or that has an office staff that's pleasant to deal with!!

Some of our moms, however, seem to have great luck finding doctors!! Here's what our readers recommend in terms of Prince William County kid friendly, mom happy Pediatricians!  While the responses were overwhelmingly in favor of ALL Pediatrics, we promise this wasn't a paid ad for them!!

(DISCLAIMER AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE SO YOU KNOW IT MUST BE IMPORTANT!!  PWCMOMS.COM DOES NOT CLAIM TO HAVE, NOR DO THEY HAVE A MEDICAL DEGREE OF ANY KIND.  WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR, NOR DO WE ENDORSE ANY PARTICULAR COURSE OF TREATMENT FOR YOUR CHILD.  THESE REVIEWS WERE MADE VOLUNTARILY BY READERS OF OUR WEBSITE, AND SHOULD BE USED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY!)

ALL Pediatrics
"been going since my daughter was born she is now 7 and I have a 3 year old!! WE LOVE THEM!!!! They have an office in Lakeridge, Lorton and Alexandria and open 7 days a week including holidays!"
" I second ALL Pediatrics. They're wonderful."
" I was looking for recommendations not too long ago myself, and ALL Pediatrics got the most recommendations, but they refused to see my kids because of an error 2 years ago (they said I never cancelled an appt. for my son, and they won't see people who no-show on their 1st appt.). The appt for my son and daughter were at the same time, so why would I cancel one and not the other? They said they'd see my daughter, but not my son. What kind of sense does that make, since I'm the responsible party for both of them??"
" I have to "second" the recomendation for All Pediatric's! NP Cooney is who my kids see, and we LOVE her!"
"ALL pediatrics is where we go and are very happy!"
Another vote here for ALL Pediatrics - their Lake Ridge office is practically across the street from our house, so they get top marks for convenience :) We usually see whoever is available, and I've been happy with everyone we've seen so far in the 3 years we've been going there...
 LOVE ALL Pediatrics, especially Dr. Caplan and Dr. Farber, but you can't go wrong with anyone there-they are all very nice!
 I use All Pediatrics in Lake Ridge as I see many of you do too :) No complains so far
All Pediactrics here!
ALL Pediatrics is who we use (for 11 years now). Only thing is to schedule a "wellness" visit takes 2-3 months. And then they couldn't schedule my two boys together - plus I need to take them to the Alexandria office. But up until this point we've been very happy with them. Dr. Kaplan is great!
All Pediatrics....for almost 10 years! Lakeridge and now a newer office in Lorton. Alexandria office just too far away. I heard they now have a block of time set aside for walk-ins.
We switched to ALL Peds and LOVE it!!!!

Dr. Indira Sindha
"My kids go to Dr. Indira Sindha...I like her :)"

NOVA Pediatrics
I actually go to NOVA Pediatrics. Not my fave.
I actually like NoVA pediatrics. I have twins and they have taken good care of them. I especially like Ginger Bietrich. The nurses are wonderful, especially Amber and Dawn.
I go to NOVA and really like them. You can always talk to a nurse if you need advice, and everyone is really nice. They can always squeeze us in in an emergency. I am not fond of 2 of the dr's, but the good news is there are lots that I do like (and I second Michelle's recommendation of Ginger Beecher. She's awesome!)
I love NOVA peds - Just not Dr. Seidman (one of the partners) Dr. Hamilton does all of our well baby/physicals and we LOVE the Nurse practioner Ginger Beecher for our two with - Ezcema, Asthma and allergies! Also Dr. Rodgers and Dr. Meyers. Very down to earth, do not push drugs,antibiotic or meds if not neccessary. I have four kid 7, 4, 4, and 3. We switched from Woodbridge Peds when my oldest was two and a Dr [performed a procedure without explaining]
I DESPISE NOVA Pediatrics. They take FOREVER to get you in a room and to see the dr. It also just has such an old and outdated feel. We switched to ALL Peds and LOVE it!!!!


The Pediatric Group
We've gone to The Pediatric Group for almost 21 years now ~ I have to tell you ... the doctors and nurse practitioners are great, but the front desk staff is not very friendly at all.
"We use The Pediatric Group - Lake Ridge. I like all of their docs except Dr. Tham, I ask to see anyone but her. The front desk staff is generally okay, but don't be late for your appt. or they do tend to get grouchy."
I love The Pediatric Group!



Dr. Touchette
"offices next to PW Hospital...he was our pediatric dr. for my now 10 yr old twins!!! He is the best!"



Woodbridge Pediatrics
I take Katie Marie to Woodbridge Pediatrics. They are on Opitz Blv.
Woodbridge Pediatrics at Opitz.
We also use Woodbridge Peds. I know they do work with parents on the vaccination sched, but I don't have any exp with that - we just vaccinated our kids when the doctors said we needed to. One thing I really like about the prac is one side is for sick kids, and the other side is for well kids.



Restaurant Recommendations

Permalink to Restaurant%20Recommendations
Published: 02/05/2012




When you guys ask....sometimes I'm overwhelmed at the responses!!  Remember, I'm always happy to publish your work, so if you've got a full review, email it over!!  I've put stars by the restaurants I personally like, and I've bolded the names of restaurants that were enthusiastically recommended multiple times.


Question: "I guess my question is, where do people like to go locally? I know there have to be some [restaurants] around here for date nights and family dinners, but I haven't discovered them yet."


Answers:
Al-Zaytoun Kabob (Afghan, 13871 Smoketown Rd WoodbridgeVA 22192 (703) 730-0410)


Amicis (Italian, 12623 Galveston Ct Manassas, VA 20112 (703) 878-6652)
                -Mom notes: There is a kids night, however some moms felt this place was pricey. 


Bad to the Bone (BBQ, 8045 Stonewall Shops Square Gainesville, VA 20155 (703) 753-5551)


Bistro L'Hermitage (French, 12724 Occoquan Rd, WoodbridgeVA 22192 (703) 499-9550)
               -Date night location- very expensive, very tasty


Carmellos (Portugeuse, 9108 Center St ManassasVA 20110 (703) 368-5522)
               -Mom notes: Very pricey, but great!


**Cock and Bowl (Belgian, 302 Poplar Alley, OccoquanVA 22125 (703) 494-1180)
               -Mom notes: Outdoor seating, band in the summer! Watch your beer tab!! 


**Dixie Bones (BBQ, 13440 Occoquan Rd WoodbridgeVA 22191 (703) 492-2205)
               -Sunday buffet is VERY popular, get there before "the Baptists get out" if you can! 


**East Moon Asian Bistro (Pan Asian/Sushi, 13352 Minnieville Rd Woodbridge, VA 22192 (703) 878-2688)


El Valquero West (Mexican, 14910 Washington St Haymarket, VA 20169 (703) 753-0801)


Georgios/Wine Styles(Greek/American, 4394 Kevin Walker Dr DumfriesVA 22026 (703) 580-8500)


Harold and Cathy's Dumfries Cafe (Diner, 17670 Fraley Blvd DumfriesVA 22026 (703) 441-1465)


Katarina's (Greek, 9212 Center St ManassasVA 20110 (703) 361-4976)


Korean Grill (Korean, 3131 Golansky Blvd Woodbridge, VA 22192 (703) 680-3500)


La Capilla (Mexican/Tapas, 9329 Main St Manassas VA (571) 379-8185)
              -Mom notes: Bring your own wine for a $5 corking fee! 


Madigans (210 Mill St Occoquan, VA 22125 (703) 494-6373)
           -Mixed reviews, one says the Lobster Mac and Cheese is amazing, others messaged to say they'd had issues


**Mateos (Santa Fe, 5081 Waterway Dr DumfriesVA 22025 (703) 670-7477)

Montclair Family Restaurant (American, 17001 Dumfries Road, Dumfries VA (703) 221-4097)
             -Mom notes: Play local and call it "Montclair Chicken"

Naru (Sushi/Asian, 8409 Centreville Rd Manassas Park, VA 20111 (703) 365-0708)

Okra's (Creole, 9110 Center St Manassas, VA 20110 (703) 330-2729)

**Padrinos (Pizza, 14506 Smoketown Rd Woodbridge, VA 22192 (703) 494-6000)

**Pa Nuang (Thai, 12651 Galveston CtManassasVA 20112, (703) 878-8899)


Pho 75 (14437 Potomac Mills Rd Woodbridge, VA 22192 (703) 494-7777)


Pizza NY Margherita (Pizza/Italian 5115 Wellington Rd Gainesville, VA 20155 (703) 753-0744)


**Ricky's Chicken (Peruvian, 5840 Mapledale Plz Woodbridge, VA 22193 (703) 897-1616)


**Roma Restaurant (Italian, 4130 Merchant Plaza, WoodbridgeVA 22192 (703) 590-9999)


Season Sushi (Sushi, 6850 Piedmont Center Plz Gainesville, VA 20155 (571) 248-6648)


Siam Bistro (Thai, 4129 Merchant Plz Woodbridge, VA 22192 (703) 878-8988)


**Taste of Tandoor (Indian, 13836 Smoketown Rd Woodbridge, VA 22192 (703) 897-7200)


Tizianos (Italian, 16918 Dumfries Rd DumfriesVA 22026 (703) 445-0046)
                 -Mom notes: This place looks like a hole in the wall, but inside you'll feel underdressed!


Tony's NY Pizza (Pizza/Italian 9108 Mathis Ave Manassas, VA 20110 (703) 330-8909)






Disclaimer: These are not paid ads, they're a reflection of a Facebook conversation among the PwcMoms fans.  Restaurant experiences may change over time.  PwcMoms.com is not responsible for individual dining experiences or differences in palate.  Have a differing opinion or want to agree with a recommendation? Leave a comment- it makes my day! 


Preschool Reviews 2011/2012

Permalink to Preschool%20Reviews%202011%2F2012
Published: 01/04/2012






**Disclaimer:  These reviews have been submitted by individual parents who are representing their experience with a school.  PWC Moms does not necessarily endorse any or all of these schools and encourages parents to visit a school before enrolling their child.  After much consideration, it is our policy when asking parents to share their experiences with schools or play areas, or businesses, to share those opinions to aid other parents, even if our personal experience contradicts the views of another parent.  Please always conduct your own research and site visits in addition to looking at the experience of other parents at any particular school.**

The Schools we received feedback on, in alphabetical order by name of school are:

ALPHA-BET COOPERATIVE PRESCHOOL
Myself along with 3 other mommy friends cooperatively taught our children for their first year of preschool. After looking at some other preschools in the Manassas area, I decided that a cooperative preschool was the perfect fit for us. It allowed me to be in the classroom but gave her the formal classroom that she needed to get accustomed to. And we both love it.
As the children arrive the day starts manipulative time, circle time, center time, and the rest of the day flies by with bathroom break, snack and recess. The last 15 minutes are circle time again where the themes of the day are reinforced, calendar and weather are talked about. Class ends at 12:15.
My daughter has really taken to her teacher and the friends she's made in the class. She's eagerly awaiting the return to class tomorrow. The ideas presented in class really stick with her and she's constantly telling me what Ms Jo said. Even if it's something that I know was introduced to her last year by me. Don't know if that is because someone else is explaining it, she's a year older, or Ms. Jo is really that good. :) Also, my daughter is always excited when she knows that I will be in the classroom. I love that I get to see exactly what's going on in the classroom. I don't have to pull teeth to know how her day went (as I've heard other Mommies mention). Plus I feel like I'm holding onto her just a little bit longer. Now the logistics. This is the part that parents always worry about. How much commitment there is. Before school starts every parent that will volunteer in the classroom is subjected to a background test and must obtain a TB test. Only one parent is required, however both parents are given the opportunity to volunteer. A parent will typically have to volunteer 2, possibly 1, times a month. One of those times you will provide snack for your class.  You must sign up for one parent "job". It can be as simple or involved as you wish. For example, organizing a family night, classroom parent, fundraiser coordinator, board president, etc.  In addition, a parent must attend 6 pre-determined dates for setup/cleanup or training. For those of you with younger siblings, the school will assist you in pairing up with another parent to trade babysitting services while the other volunteers. And ensures that you will not volunteer on the same day. I have a 3 year old (not old enough for school) and have found it very easy to trade with another mother and he loves going with her.  (Click Here for Website)


CHESTERBROOK ACADEMY
I recommend Chesterbrook Academy in Woodbridge.  My daughter began at summer camp when she was 3.  She had been home with me and it was a hard transition.  They encouraged me to call and check on her the first week and even called me with updates. She attended two years of preschool.  We have been very pleased with the progress she has made.  They teach Spanish, sign language, computer skills and more. I feel that Chesterbrook has prepared her well for Kindergarten.  I would recommend the school to everyone! (Click Here for Website)

CLOVERDALE PRESCHOOL (2 Reviews)
I love, love, love the 2 1/2 year old and 3 year old program offered by Cloverdale.  The teachers are superb.  They have a very real, effective way of interacting with the children, and to say they are gifted in teaching is an understatement.  These ladies are the kind you want your children to have teaching them EVERY year because of their true interest in the kids.  I can't say enough good things about these teachers.  Besides their basic preschool classroom learning (language skills, art, counting, etc.), the kids also had music and P.E.  My kids LOVED music day in the "Big Room".  The staff I interacted with were pretty phenomenal as well.  They always got me information I requested and were nice people to have around.  Cloverdale has a great program going on, and it's quite affordable.  I highly recommend it.

We absolutely love Cloverdale for many reasons, and have used it for both of our older children, our youngest will begin attending, too, in the fall.  With programs beginning at 2 and a half years (Half days Tuesday and Thursday) ranging up to an outstanding Pre-K program, Cloverdale has a well-established program that focuses on literacy readiness, core competencies, and social skills.  They offer German to the students in the 4 and 5 year old programs, which all of the kids seem to love.  The teachers are all amazing and most of them (the exception being the teacher for the relatively new 2 year old program) have been at the school for many years which speaks to the happy, cohesive teaching team at this school.  The teachers are as patient and understanding as they are qualified, and have the skills and calm, even tempers needed to help even the most clingy children adjust to being away from their primary caregiver while they learn to function in a school setting.  Cloverdale also offers "Stay and Play" for $10, which allows students to remain until 2pm (the normal day is from 9-12) and has been a lifesaver for me on a few occasions where I was volunteering at the elementary school or had a doctor's appointment.  Also, Cloverdale offers private K-3 grades if you are looking for a school where your child can stay for the early years of elementary school.  We love it at Cloverdale and would never leave if we could keep our kids preschool aged forever!! (Click Here for Website) 


DAYTIME PLAYTIME:
A shout out to Daytime Playtime in Haymarket too, they are awesome!  We love their summer camp and they were a top contender when i was touring preschools.  So much so that we have sent our son to their summer camp 2 years running! (Click Here for Website)
           From the school: We are going to have open Houses on January 28 at 1pm and February 1st at 6pm. We will be opening registration for the 2012-2013 school year the first week of February.

EVERGREEN NURSERY SCHOOL (2 Reviews):
My children attended Evergreen.  Without going into too much detail, the director is overbearing to work with and frequently told me that she knew my child better than I did.  There was a great deal of drama and while she definitely seems skilled at what she does and is especially great and knowledgeable with  children who have special needs, I'm not sure it was worth the difficulty dealing with her and her never ending string of issues. 

My 3 year old son attends Evergreen Nursery. We started right when he turned 3 and have only been going for a few months, but it is a magical, magical place. Ms. Jody Boronkay is the director of the 12 child max school in the basement of her home (don't let that be a setback, I questioned it for a moment and it is more set up for child learning than many of the preschools we visited- and we visited A LOT). There is a 1:4 teacher:student and the focus is really on children getting excited about learning. When they learned about the rain forest she put a huge pool in the main classroom, hung vines all around, turned the thermostat up so it would be humid, and brought in animals found in the rain forest- FOR A WEEK! so the kids would get the full effect of the rain forest while learning. She also has a part of the program swimming lessons and ice skating lessons. They visit a pond weekly in the spring to watch the changes that happen. I could go on and on. A major selling point for us (as if that wasn't enough) is my son has a severe dairy allergy and has us worried being away from the protective world we are in and not having a full understanding of "safe" foods yet to protect himself. Ms Jody has taken extensive measures to guarantee his safety. She also has chilren with cerebral palsy and autism and the children flourish (dare you to find the child!) and so the children learn how to care and embrace and understand children of handicap. This school is a warm, exciting place that I wish I had as a child. I am feeling very limited in 2 paragraphs in the sharing of just how wonderful this school is. (Click Here for Website)


FREEDOM CENTER PRESCHOOL:


The Freedom Center preschool is small, really tiny, and that's its strength and its weakness.  There is only one small classroom, so there are only 4 classes---3 am, 3 pm, 4am, 4pm.  The same teachers teach all the children (the three year old teacher is the four year old PE teacher, the four year old teacher is the three year old PE teacher) and the aides work for all the classes.  As a result, the children know their teachers very well and the teachers and aides know the children very well.  There is a very warm, family atmosphere that makes even the shyest kids feel comfortable.  Miss Phyllis, who is the director, is warm and accessible and laid back, and her attitude really permeates the whole program. The classroom is tiny, but the children leave at least once a day for PE elsewhere in the building and often times more frequently for activities.  There is a big emphasis on physical education and the children are taken outside whenever weather permits (even on chilly days, they bundle up and go out).  There is no pick-up/drop-off and the preschool room is in the very back of the large building.  This means on rainy days, you have to hustle through a huge parking lot and then through the whole building.  Pick-up/drop-off takes a lot longer here than I imagine it does at other schools. The curriculum is play-based and there is definitely a big difference between the 3 year old program (which has little academics and is more focused on teaching children what school is and how to be a student) and the 4 year old program (where there is a heavy emphasis on pre-reading skills).  There are little to no worksheets and lots of hands-on activities.  My son came into the program a bit wild and unfocused.  He struggled a bit towards the end of the 3 year old year but has really excelled in the 4 year old program.  I think the caring, relaxed atmosphere and the ton of physical activity provided have really helped him. (Click Here for Website)



GOOD SHEPHERD PRESCHOOL (3 Reviews):
Pros: low tuition, kind teachers, private classrooms, walk-in drop-off and pick-up. Cons: very little communication/organization from teachers or director, no outside play (even though there is a playground.)


I had such anxiety about sending my quite shy 3 year old to preschool last year but our experience at Good Shepherd had been so wonderful.  The director is amazing and from the first moment, she made my daughter and I feel so welcome and reassured.  It's not as "high-tech" as many parents would like, but the wonderful teachers and the caring and attention they provide the children (and the parents) cannot, in my opinion, be beat.  There is a feeling of "family" at Good Shepherd. They pay close attention to the safety of the children and as a "worry wart" mom, that has helped ease much of my anxiety.  I also like the smaller teacher to student ratio.  This is our 2nd year there and my daughter attends the 5 day a.m. 4's program (they're teaching the Handwriting Without Tears program which I love) -- she is SO happy everyday I pick her up that it really does warm my heart!  I KNOW she'll be ready to start kindergarten (both academically and socially) in the fall and I owe the majority of that knowledge to Good Shepherd.  I really believe that the majority of parents who choose Good Shepherd are 100% satisfied with their decision.  

The curriculum at Good Shepherd Preschool stresses all aspects of growth and development.  They work on physical, social, and emotional development, as well as academic development. They believe that children learn through their senses, activity, curiosity, imitation, conversation, imagination, and widened experiences. There is a fifteen minute chapel time monthly taught by GSUMC's Christian Educator or her designee. (Click Here for Website)


HAYMARKET BAPTIST CHURCH PRESCHOOL & KINDERGARTEN:
Can't say enough good things about the teachers and staff at Haymarket Baptist Church Preschool & Kindergarten.  Love them!  Great school, great programs.  (Click Here for Website)
            Note from the School: Open House on Jan 30th. If parents have a child that will be 2 1/2 and potty trained by Sept or one that will be 3 by Sept, they can attend at 9:30 for a meeting, a tour, meet teachers, find out how to do the online registration etc. I will be answering lots of questions! They can bring children to this meeting. If they have a child that turns 4 or 5 by Sept, and are thinking about the 4's program or private Kindergarten- 10:30 is the time to show up for their meeting.Registration for new families is Feb 6 at 7 am, using our website. 


KIDS IN MOTION PRESCHOOL:
My daughter attends kids n' motion twice a week.  It is a great preschool and accepts children starting at 2 and 1/2 and they do not have to be potty trained!  My daughter started at 2 and 1/2 and is 3 now.  They do play, craft time, snack, read books, learn letters, etc.  It is a really great program.  My daughter has learned so much already and loves making crafts. (Click Here for Website)

LAKE RIDGE CREATIVE PRESCHOOL- 3 Reviews:
Love the Lake Ridge Creative Preschool, located on the corner of Old Bridge Road and Oakwood Dr.  Explorers class for 3-4 year olds is Tuesday and Thursday, either 9:15 - 1:30 or 9:45 - 2:00.  PreK for 4-5 year olds is M, W, F, same times.  The curriculum is the perfect mix of fun and learning.  The children do art projects, sing songs, do puzzles, learn to use the computer, go on field trips, learn Spanish, play outside daily, etc - it is amazing to me the creative ways they get the children engaged in learning.  There is an after school reading program for children that show they are ready to begin reading independently, though learning the alphabet and writing skills are taught to all almost from day one!  The preschool is open to everyone - non-Lake Ridge residents pay a bit more in tuition, though it is very reasonably priced - last year, Explorers were $120/month for residents, $130 for nonresidents, and PreK was $170/180.  Contact the Lake Ridge Recreation Department at 703-497-7112, or stop by the office, located in the vicinity of the preschool at the back of the big parking lot. 

I follow your posts via Facebook and read that you were looking for preschool reviews.  I saw you had a recommendation for Lake Ridge Creative already, but I decided to send in another one.  The following is excerpted from a letter I wrote to the Lake Ridge Board of Directors a few months ago in support of the preschool program.  My daughter attended for both preschool and pre-K, and I am very pleased with the school and highly recommend it to others.

When I was looking to choose a preschool for my daughter, my main focus was on the school's reputation and the quality of the program.  I had narrowed it down to two schools - the LRPRA preschool and one other local preschool.  LRPRA's preschool appeared to be more well-rounded in its activities and learning opportunities, and in preparation for kindergarten.  What finally "sold" me was the fact that I heard nothing but good things about the program.  My mother, who is a past LRPRA board president, told me that during her time on the board she received many positive reports from parents about the program.  A friend who is an elementary school teacher said that the children coming from the LRPRA preschool were generally better prepared for entering the structured environment of elementary school and excelled in their academics.  She said there was a notable difference between the LRPRA pre-school graduates and those of other preschools.  Nothing beats positive word of mouth "advertising" and opinions from other parents, and to me this spoke volumes as to how good the school is.My daughter has thrived at the preschool, academically and socially.  Her teachers are excellent, and I have no complaints.  I am already looking forward to when my one year old son is old enough to attend the program as well. (Click Here for Website)

LITTLE LAMBS VILLAGE PRESCHOOL:

We enrolled our child at Little Lambs after researching a variety of preschools in the area and having several educational professionals recommend it for our child.  They said its play-based, active learning approach with a staff who are supportive of children of differing backgrounds and abilities would be perfect for our child’s strengths and weaknesses.  And they were right! Our child had a poor experience at a previous preschool and was quite leery about the whole school experience.  He is a smart child who learned at a very young age how to tune out people who talk down to him.  The staff at Little Lambs has been warm and welcoming to our child, taking him in and showering him with love to bring him out of his shell.  He has changed from a sullen child who was unable to recite the alphabet to a bright and happy boy who can write his own name, finds letters in his world on a daily basis, and counts everything he can touch.  He talks about his friends constantly, and participates in classroom activities with gusto. We can’t say enough positive things about our experience at Little Lambs.  Other parents of children at the school talk about how it’s the hidden gem of preschools in Western Prince William County, and we wholeheartedly agree.  The learning experience, teaching ability, and administrative leadership are second to none. (Click Here for Website)


OLD BRIDGE PRESCHOOL (2 Reviews): 
Old Bridge Preschool, associated with Old Bridge Methodist Church, has been open for 4 years. Besides being a great preschool with very caring staff, the also have a mission of accepting students with special needs. They have special staff for students who qualify for services through the county, and although they aim for 30% special needs, they also do amazing things with typically developing children. Their academic program appropriately prepares students for kindergarten and helps them develop a love of learning. I have had a great experience with the school, with both of my children attending during the 4 years since the school has been open. I highly recommend Old Bridge Preschool. 

Both of my kids have gone there and I can't say enough good things about the school and staff. We have loved every one of our teachers and both kids have learned so much through play that they didn't know they were in school. They also accept special needs children which really teaches the children compassion for others.  (Click Here for Website)

PRINCE WILLIAM ACADEMY:
We had a horrible experience here and pulled our child out mid-year.  The program sounds so great on paper, but the classrooms are dirty and the teachers over-stretched without aids.  The preschoolers have indoor gym at the same time as older children and my child came home badly bruised one day when a 4th grader bowled them over and I didn't even recieve a note from the school or the teacher.  It's not worth the money. (Click Here for Website)

RUSSELL ELEMENTARY (MCB QUANTICO) PRE-K PROGRAM:
My eldest has really enjoyed the 1/2 day, 5 day-a-week program for 4 year-olds offered by Russell Elementary School aboard MCB Quantico.  Each of the two classrooms fits 16, and there are three teachers permanently assigned to each class.  That makes for a great teacher:student ratio and provides ample attention to each student.  There are "out of classroom" classes, including art, P.E., and computers.  The class is run on a routine, and my eldest really gets into it.  She especially enjoys the big and small group times, where she can choose from a variety of activities provided by the teachers.  The school staff is a pleasant crew, and there are ample opportunities to volunteer in the classroom.  This is a good first look at "real" school (e.g., all the fundraisers, PTA, expenses, etc.), and I've appreciated getting my feet wet slowly.  Finally, there is a bus that picks up the kids. Only students from the same grade ride, and there is a teacher aboard the enter time to supervise seatbelting and that the proper adult is picking the students up.  It's a great program, and I'm thankful to have it. (Click Here for Website)

 SEVEN OAKS ACADEMY:
My son goes there, and he loved it from day one.  He is 4 and can already read a little bit.  They actually teach them there, not just babysit them.  The teachers are 'real' teachers, with degrees and certificates, and each class has it's own room with a door.  This is all great to me because he used to go to (other school name deleted) which is crap compared to this place.  He gets a newsletter sent home once a month with 'homework' and it tells the parents what they are working on, and helpful print outs to use at home, like sight words and refrigerator stories.  The preschool is from 9-12:30am I believe, but my son does go full time from 9-5:30pm.  But the actual 'school' part of the day mostly takes place in the morning before lunch.  They offer full time and part time preschool (you can choose 5 days a week or 3 days a week, but they only offer morning preschool, not afternoon).  They are affordable compared to other places, and offer morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack..  Their summer camp is GREAT, lots of field trips (about 2 times a week) and other fun activities for a reasonable summer fee.  (Click Here for Website) 

ST. MATTHEWS DAY SCHOOL (2 Reviews):
We love St. Matthews and feel like it is everything a preschool program should be.  It is structured enough for the kids to feel secure, free enough for them to explore, and loving so they feel safe in their first school experience.  We love that there is a carpool line because with a preschooler and a new baby this past year it was great not to have to get out of the car in the rain or snow with the baby! St. Matthew's was the only school we looked at because on our tour, our child walked right in and acted like they'd been in class there since day 1.  It's been great and we're military so we're not sure when we'll have to leave, but we'd be very happy if our youngest child was able to go here, too.


Pros:Teachers seemed awesome and school seemed well-organized.  Cons: No handwashing (just wipes), no snacktime at a table (they eat on the floor,) no walk-in drop-off or pick-up, open/mixed classrooms. (Click Here for Website)


ST. PAUL'S SCHOOL/MDO (3 Reviews):
Loved the mom's day out program at St. Paul's in Haymarket.  The lead teacher there is amazingly loving and great with the kids!








We came to St Paul’s based solely on its reputation in the area.  We were new to the area, and everyone told us it was “the best” academically and “guaranteed” placement in the Gifted program once the children moved to PW schools.  As parents of extremely bright students, it seemed to be a great fit.  Unfortunately, the school did not work well for our children at all.  In fact, it was extremely detrimental to our children and we’ve spent the ensuing months trying to fix the problems caused.What didn’t work for our children was St Paul’s insistence on rote teaching.  The children come in, sit down, and are instructed/lectured for most of the day.  They are given worksheets to reinforce the lessons, and are expected to quietly fill in the worksheets at their tables.  There is very little collaborative learning amongst the children – even during playtime, the children each choose a toy and play quietly by themselves.  They don’t interact, play together, pretend or share things between each other.  There is almost no gross motor play/exploration/learning, as there quite simply is no room on the campus.  The classrooms are extremely small and have no room for typical preschool things like centers or active pretend play.  The outdoor play area is extremely small and very limited in activities.  Arts & crafts, a preschool mainstay, are virtually non-existent.  So are teaching methods such as sensory play and manipulatives.  You learn to count by repeating what the teacher says and writing numbers repeatedly, not by counting physical objects.  You learn your letters by writing them over and over again with a pencil on paper, not by acting out the letters, drawing them with a variety of media, or exploring how they start different words with different sounds. If the children do not learn well by rote teaching, there is no personalization of lessons to a child.  There is no time taken to determine if a different learning/teaching style would reach the child, if something could be explained differently. The child is simply labeled as unteachable, a trouble maker, or just left behind while the rest of the class goes on.  Our children learned virtually nothing in their time at St Paul’s, and are now playing catch-up to their peers who were able to learn the basics of letters and numbers in other environments.





We've been extremely happy with the PreK program at St. Paul's and highly recommend the school! (Click Here for Website)




daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow