Calvert School Pre-K program

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Angela J

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
  • Grades Used: pre k
  • Dates used: Sept 2014
I know if you ask most people they will say you don't NEED a prek program. But for those us who WANT one, there isn't a lot out there, especially if your secular. I have to say, I looked long and hard for a curriculum I was atleast 90% on board with. With all that in mind we choose prek based on the recommended age:/ and there was our mistake!
DO NOT buy the prek if your children comfortably know 1-10, colors, basic shapes because that is what the first 150 out of 180 lessons go over and over and over!
HOWEVER as a first time homeschooling mom I will say I LOVED the teachers manual. It made me so secure and gave me a feeling of empowerment that 'yes I can do this'. The confidence the teachers manual gave me was awesome!
My Son LOVED the poems and short stories. LOVED! but he would have preferred individual books with pictures. But im sure cost does not allow for that:/ its all in a chapter book format in black and white, not thrilling, but as I said he did love the content.
The music:/ VERY outdated... VERY. AT times borderline not politically correct. He wasn't into it, I ended up having to find our own music, same songs just from other artists. And the music book, made no sense why give it to them if there wasn't one single lesson to do anything with it..
VERY little 'math' probably only in the last 40 lessons did you actual use your math counters or even have anything in the lesson to do with math.
No phonics at this age! which I should have read more closely when looking at the curriculum because it does a quick introduction to each letter and that's all you get:)
And I hope you like coloring! EVERYDAY it was ' color a picture of your choice' or 'color a picture pertaining to the story we read' .. Again he wasn't into it and it was unfortunate because it was in the lesson EVERYDAY!
Its a very short day, not what we were used to. Its literally opening, read a story/poem, color, MAYBE a SIMPLE worksheet ' underline this' or matching worksheet, Dramatic game ( which would be nice if you have other kids to participate in but with just the two of us it wasn't a hit) and your DONE till tomorrow:(
SO all in all if your looking for atleast a hour of school at home, maybe think about bumping up to kindergarten or something else! BUT I will say we love Calvert In general. We love the complete curriculum all packaged and thought out and ready to go! The materials are high quality and its worth every penny! Just make sure you get the appropriate level for your child, please don't just go by age as you might be disappointed as we were:)


  • Reviewed on Monday, December 31, 2012
  • Grades Used: Prek
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
I bought this curriculum for my son when he was four years old. At this time I was not aware of how much he was reading. So, the first thing I'd like to point out is that this curriculum assumes that your child still needs to learn things like colors and letters, in depth. Twenty or thirty years ago, the level of knowledge they assume for Prek would have been normal for a four year old child, but since the advent of the Internet and (a whole lot more of) educational TV and dvds for kids, this assumption is outdated. Accordingly, if you have a 4-5 year old, I would start them in Calvert Kindergarten instead of this program. For 3-4 year olds, this program would be fine.

About the program itself: it is very thorough and developmentally appropriate. My son loved the games, activities and music but devoured the stories (traditional stories, fairy tales and poems) and quickly became bored with the academics. If I'd just bought it a year earlier...

I have another son with special needs and would also recommend it to anyone who might be a little worried about their child's development, I thought it was that appropriate. It had a nice mix of fine motor, games, reading readiness and math readiness activities each day. My "normal" son sailed through these activities, but I could see areas where my other son might have struggled. I think it's important to note this because so many moms of prek kids sometimes feel a little uneasy about their child's development, but for a variety of reasons, don't get them evaluated. If a developmental delay exists, this curriculum would flush it out.

I loved having everything together in a box. It was so easy to pull out the Teacher's Manual whenever we were ready to work. The pictures are a little dated, but I didn't care and neither did my son. I understand they are revamping the curriculum right now in any case.

Calvert Prek is a lovely, easy, gentle way to start your child's education!


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, March 24, 2010
  • Grades Used: pre-k
  • Dates used: 2010
My son is a 4 year old who is very bright, although has trouble with attention (particularly listening). Like many bright kids he is developed unevenly. On some subjects he is a full 1 or 2 years ahead of his peers and with others right on target. I was unsure if i should get the pre-k or the k program. Initially i hestitated to get the calvert pre-k system after reading some of these reviews. I was worried that the system might be too simple for him. However, what i have found is that for someone like him the curciculum worked VERY well. Of course, many things he could do with his eyes closed (ie, colors, mazes, playdough work, fine motor skills work). But I felt really good knowing that calvert ensured i didn't miss anything (for instance he is learning to read with no prompts from me and his father but he had trouble with left and right, which i did not know. in a few lessons we were able to quickly remedy the situation) He sometimes had trouble with absorbing the longer stories and discussing them. The stories themselves are classic. Yes, they are somewhat outdated like others may say, but i took it as an opportunity to learn. when he did not understand a concept discussed ina story i went online and showed him (on youtube or another simular website) how the action or concept would have taken place. I love history, and i think he's absorbed quite a bit of history. Additionally the stories are as simple or as complex as you want them to be. I remember taking a course in college called "comparative folktales" where we read simular stories, so you can make them rather complex based on your child's needs. I did love a collection of classics like these easily accesible and lesson plans that inspired me and gave me ideas as to how to move forward. The math he already knew everything, so eventually i got the saxon kindergarden math and we used that instead. The music cd was great. My son is not musically inclined or interested in signing and this helped him develop that side of his potential. we listened and sang along with the cd in the car (intially we'd learn the words together so that we made sure we sang the right words in the car). Overall, a great program that helped me fill the gaps. Was it expensive? yes, but if you think of how long it would take you to put a program like this together yourself from scratch and ensure that no subject is missed, i think you'd find it worth it. certainly was for us. we finished it in 4 months (not rushing) and are moving on to kindergarden now.
I'm confident that my child is fully prepared for kindergarden, and that he will not experience a level of frustration he would have had we skipped pre-k and moved straight to kindergarden.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, July 5, 2008
  • Grades Used: Pre-K
  • Dates used: 2007-2008
We bought Calvert pre-K for our 4 year-old son, but ended up using it with our 3 year-old daughter as well. I have very mixed feelings about pre-k. There are many positives and negatives about this program, and I think whether or not it will work for you largely depends on what you are looking for in a curriculum, and what your child is capable of.

Having used it with a 4 and 3 year old simultaneously, I will say that I agree with several other reviewers that have said this program is better-suited for a 3 year-old as opposed to the 4 or 5 year-old age range that Calvert targets. Calvert is very upfront that this program is a play-based program, and NOT an academic program. Like many parents, I debated whether or not to use this, or start my son with kindergarten a year early. Although I felt that pre-K was far too easy in most regards for my son, I do not regret using it and holding off on kindergarten for another year. My son has fine-motor delays, and a short attention-span. My goal this year was to improve both his fine-motor skills and his attention span, as well as get him used to a school schedule. I was able to accomplish these goals with Calvert pre-K. Both children improved their fine motor skills greatly.

The program puts a lot of emphasis on fine-motor skills. Every lesson has some focus on building fine motor skills whether it was cutting with scissors, lacing beads, tracing shapes, modeling with clay, painting, or drawing. The lessons were well-organized thanks to the excellent lesson manual. Both of my children had ample time to get up and play with this program, but they also learned to sit still and stay on task.

If you are looking for an academic program, Calvert pre-K is NOT a good fit. Literally the first half of the course focuses on shapes and colors. Keep in mind that this program is designed for 4 and 5 year-olds. I don't feel my children are gifted or anything, but they knew their shapes and colors when they were 2, certainly no later than 3. All of their friends also knew their shapes and colors by 3 or so. I can understand reviewing this material in a pre-school course, but spending almost half of the lessons on this is overkill, in my opinion. Both of my kids were extremely bored by the constant repetition, so towards the end we ended up either skipping the color and shape stuff, or we would go over it quickly.

Letters and numbers are not taught until the end of the course. Numbers 1-10 are taught fairly well and in-depth. There are usually a couple of lessons on each number, and the kids learn to write the numbers. I was pleased with the way numbers were covered, and only wish that it had been covered earlier on. The way letters were covered was very disappointing. Letters were covered 3 at a time on a single page. The page would have two columns -- one with letters, and one with objects that started with the letters. These pages were just for illustration -- the kids didn't even need to draw lines from the letters to the pictures. If a child didn't know their letters, chances are high that they would leave pre-K in the same boat. Pre-K barely introduces letters, and it certainly doesn't teach them.

There were a lot of stories in pre-K. Some of them were wonderful classics. My kids especially liked "Three Billy Goats Gruff," and the activities that accompanied it. Other stories were a bit dated, to the point where my children just had no concept what was happening. The stories are in 2 books, and there are very few pictures (all of the pictures are simple line-drawings) so unlike some dated stories we have at home (I'm thinking of Robert McCloskey's books as an example) there were no real pictures to help my children visualize that era. Most kids now have no clue that people would spend a whole day washing clothes, and that they would scrub them on a washboard. They need pictures of those things.

The curriculum is very complete. As I said, the lesson manual is very clear, and lays out everything you need to do each day. The top of each lesson lists all the books and supplies you will need that day, so you can literally crack the lesson manual and go. There is little prep-time involved. They give you a lot of supplies. Even using this with 2 kids for the year, most of our supplies are still left. We haven't opened even half of the paper they sent!

Calvert says that the lessons take approximately 2 1/2 hours/day, and I did not find that to be the case. I heavily supplemented the material with Hooked on Phonics pre-K and K, and with Calvert's Discoveries in Music program (which was excellent -- I highly recommend it!). Even with our daily opening (we usually read a poem and discussed it) and working with my kids individually on the different supplements, school never took us more than 1 1/2 hours. On most days it took only an hour. If you don't supplement and plan for 45 minutes, that should be ample time on most days to complete the lessons.

As I said, if you are looking for an academic program, you will not want this unless you are willing to put the time, effort, and money into supplementing the course. If you choose to do that, I will say that Calvert is easy to supplement. The lesson manual gives you ample space to take notes or make additions. If you are looking for a light, play-based program with several arts and crafts, you'll probably find Calvert pre-K to be a good fit as-is. If I had to do the year over, I wouldn't have done it differently. I am glad that my daughter joined us in pre-K because she would have been bored doing this program at 4, and having the exposure to Calvert's structure at 3 has definitely prepared her for kindergarten in the fall.