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FAQs

Where can I find a First School of the Desert?

We currently own and operate three First Schools. Our campuses are conveniently located throughout the Coachella Valley. We have schools in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and La Quinta. Soon we will open our fourth school in the city of Indio. Click on the crayons next to the addresses for a site location map.

What are the ages of children that you teach and care for?

First School Palm Springs and First School Cathedral City enroll children as young as 24 months and teach and care for children through the pre-kindergarten years. First School La Quinta starts enrollment of children as young as 18 months and teaches and cares for children through their pre-kindergarten years.

What schedule(s) do you provide at your schools?

First School Palm Springs Provides part-weekly as well as full time care. At First School Palm Springs you have the choice of a two day (Tuesday & Thursday) schedule, three day (Monday, Wednesday & Friday) schedule or five day (Monday through Friday) schedule. We open our Palm Springs facility at 7:00 am and close at 6:00 pm Monday through Friday 12 months out of the year.

First School Cathedral City Provides part-weekly as well as full time care. At First School Cathedral City you have the choice of a two day (Tuesday & Thursday) schedule, three day (Monday, Wednesday & Friday) schedule or five day (Monday through Friday) schedule. We open our Cathedral City facility at 7:00 am and close at 6:00 pm Monday through Friday 12 months out of the year.

First School La Quinta Provides part-weekly as well as full time care. At First School La Quinta you have the choice of a two day (Tuesday & Thursday) schedule, three day (Monday, Wednesday & Friday) schedule or five day (Monday through Friday) schedule. We open our La Quinta facility at 6:30 am and close at 6:00 pm Monday through Friday 12 months out of the year.

Do you provide a half-day schedule for parents that do not what their child to attend all day?

At First School of the Desert we do not offer a morning/afternoon split day. You should know that we have explored this question thoroughly and we have reached sound conclusions as to why it is not in the best interest of our students and our program to offer half days. We do not offer a half-day program due to the fact that we are early childhood educators focused on administering a comprehensive curriculum with the purpose of achieving realistic developmental, academic and social skill goals. The most effective way for us to achieve our objectives is through the avenue of full days. Half-day programs make for awkward breaks in the teaching of the daily curriculum. Having a morning group of students requires having an afternoon group of students. (This balance of morning and afternoon scheduling is necessary due to income flow requirements of any private school business). Having two sessions (morning & afternoon) presents some serious compromises in teaching. For example: do we stop our educational unit at the end of the morning session and re-teach it again in the afternoon? If so what about the students that are attending full-time...must they be subject to a redundant teaching approach for the sake of the part-time students? Mornings are always in substantially greater demand than afternoons...so do we charge the morning clients disproportionately more than the afternoon clients? As a business how do we cover our losses for the lost enrollment for the unused afternoon enrollment? It doesn't make much sense to charge close to a full day rate for only a half day. Our solution: offer a part-weekly full day schedule and allow the client to pick and choose the hours their child will attend. This approach avoids any teaching compromise on the part of our program. The parents still have the prerogative to limit their child's academic hours if they choose. Full days allow us to focus on our teaching ideals and principles. Unfortunately this all comes with a cost...not all clients are going to like the limits of our schedules. We accept this reality in the interest of our mission as educators.

How many children are in your classrooms?

First School of the Desert maintains a six to one ratio (six children to one teacher) in its toddler classes (18 months). First School maintains a 12 to one ratio (12 children to one teacher) in all preschool classrooms.

Where do your teachers come from and what are the qualifications of your teaching staff?

With very few exceptions most of our teachers come from right here in the Coachella Valley. College of the Desert has an excellent Early Childhood Development program that routinely produces educated teachers. Although First School rarely hires unseasoned teachers (newly graduated) it is good that our community has a ready supply of Early Childhood specialists entering the labor market. When we conduct a "Teacher Search" we interview extensively and do background checks. We conduct a Justice Department and F.B.I. clearance prior to hiring.

If you do not already know, the state of California governs minimum standards for state licensed preschools/childcare facilities. Teacher education requirements are among the many areas of compliance centers must adhere to. Teachers in California childcare centers (preschools) must have a minimum of 12 units in early childhood development as recognized by the state of California. First School of the Desert requires teaching experience in a quality facility and places a premium on extended education.

What are your schedules?

First School Palm Springs (all age groups)

Two days: (Tu & Th)
Three days: (M, W, F)
Five days: (M - F)
 
 

First School Cathedral City (all age groups)

Two days: (Tu & Th)
Three days: (M, W, F)
Five days: (M - F)
 
 

First School La Quinta (all age groups)

Two days: (Tu & Th)
Three days: (M, W, F)
Five days: (M - F)
 
 

What holidays are you closed for? and for how long?

New Year's Eve and day: (2 - 3 days)
Martin Luther King Jr.:  
Presidents Day:  
Good Friday:  
Memorial Day:  
First School pre-kindergarten graduation: All schools will close early at 5:00 pm.
Independence Day: (1 - 2 days)
Labor Day:  
Columbus Day  
Veterans Day:  
Thanksgiving Holiday: (2 days)
Christmas Break: (2 -3 days)
 
 

First School of the Desert is a year-round facility. We do not close for any extended period of time. We are first and foremost early childhood education specialists but our program exists to serve your family childcare needs as well. To accomplish both of these important goals our facilities remain open throughout the entire year. We trust you will appreciate First School's commitment to the family as well as our dedication to the child.

Does First School provide lunches or meals?

We have elected not to provide lunches in our programs. Our experience with this service has been less than successful. Cost constraints coupled with lukewarm client participation has guided us away from this service. Parents are responsible for packing a nutritious lunch each school day. First School of the Desert does provide snacks and juice in the morning and in the afternoon.

Does First School conduct any kind of background check on its employees?

Absolutely! First School requires all of its employees to be finger printed. All First School of the Desert employees must receive clearances from the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.) in order to work at our facilities. On a local level we conduct a careful reference check.

Does First School accept children that are not yet potty trained?

Yes we do! All three First School of the Desert programs have always accepted children that are not yet potty trained. We have a diaper changing policy that has been reviewed and approved by the state of California and consequently it allows us to provide this service to families. It is our belief that toilet training is a delicate process and must be handled with a great deal of sensitivity. The First School staff has been trained to facilitate and promote successful toilet training.

What is First School's payment policy?

Tuition payments are due on the first of each month. Tuition payments must be made on or prior to the fifth of each month or an administration fee will be charged to each delinquent account. First School will allow for special payment plans if the client’s personal situation requires such a plan. All special payment plans are handled on a discreet basis and are approved by the owners of First School of the Desert.  First School of the Desert special payment plan provision applies to all private and subsidized payment programs.

Is there a multiple child discount?

This is an excellent question and I am sorry to inform you that there is not a multiple child discount. Dorothy and I have four children of our own and consequently we can truly appreciate your interest in the request. The reason we do not have a discount for more than one child is because we choose not inflated our rates to account for subsidies.

Do you provide a vacation discount?

We provide a modest once a year vacation credit of 10 percent of one month's tuition for absences of two consecutive weeks or more. This credit is small due to the fact that our tuition rates are low and First School cannot recoup income from a student's absence.

Please note that the information contained in this web site is subject to change at any time. Please contact one of the First School of the Desert facilities for current updates. Thank you.

 

 

Our Locations

Palm Springs
2300 E. Racquet Club Road,
Palm Springs, California 92262
Phone: 760 327-5005


Cathedral City
69-440 McCallum Way,
Cathedral City, California 92234
Phone: 760 321-0090


La Quinta
44-996 Adams Street,
La Quinta, California 92253
Phone: 760 772-2996

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