Everything you need to know about preschooling at SJNCS Saturday

Tenth Annual West Knox Preschool & Activities Fair, sponsored by MOMS Club Knoxville-Northshore, will again be hosted by St. John Neumann Catholic School from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 30, in the school’s gymnasium, 625 St. John Court.

“It’s free for families to attend, and they can meet over 20 preschool (representatives) with other activities for preschoolers,” said Kate Lee, event spokeswoman. “So they can come and speak to (administrators) from those preschools and find out about availability cost, philosophy of teaching, curriculum. They can just ask all kinds of questions about the schedule, any preschool questions they have for the different programs. Like shopping for preschool.”

And its not just preschools. Other presenters will include sports businesses. Parents “might just want to ask about how their sports programs are structured,” Lee said, adding this includes “taekwondo, gymnastics. …. So they’re going to come and talk about what they do for preschoolers. And parents just walk around the tables and visit with whomever they want to talk to.”

In addition to SJNCS, the following schools, churches, organizations and businesses have signed up: ABA Interventions, Bricks 4 Kidz, Bright Knox Explorers, Calculating Minds Math Learning Center, Concord United Methodist Weekday Preschool, Cool Sports, The Episcopal School of Knoxville, Farragut Church of Christ Preschool, Farragut Community Center, Happy Holler Circle, Hola Knoxville Bilingual Academy, Kiddie Kottage, Kids Cove Childcare Drop-In Center, Knoxville Moms, Lenoir City Christian Academy Preschool, Little River Montessori School, Maryville’s Play Station, MOMS Club of Knoxville-Northshore, Pride and Joy Academy, Soccer Shots, Stephen Strouss TaeKwonDo Knoxville, Tennessee Elite Gymnastics and Trinity Learning Center.

Lee emphasized parents aren’t obligated to sign up for anything or commit to attending a certain school, business or organization, adding, “It’s just informational. It’s just helping people out no matter what school they attend.”

As for questions a given parent may ask, “‘What is the philosophy of the school? What’s important to them in their curriculum?’” Lee said. “‘What is your cost structure? What’s your schedule?’ Some preschools just do a few mornings a week. Some preschools do every morning. Kind of what the schedule is like, what the costs are like.”

This process “is easier than trying to Google everything you want to find out,” Lee said. “You can just come and talk to people directly with your questions. You don’t have to try to search a bunch of websites and track down information.”

As for personal experience, “I know I went to it when we were looking for a preschool many years ago, and it was just really great being able to pick up all the brochures and just talk to people right then and get ideas and find out what was out there,” Lee said.

Such information can be vital because “preschools are getting harder to get into these days with all the people moving here,” Lee said.

“You end up on a waiting list if you want to get into preschool,” she added.

Looking back, “I can tell you that before the pandemic we had several hundred attendees,” Lee said. “ … So that’s what we’re hoping for.”

No sign-up is required, but parents can visit the SJNCS Facebook page if they want to learn more about the event: Facebook.com/westknoxpreschoolfair

While the parents talk, “We’re going to have some free snacks for the kids … and there will be a lot of hands-on activities for kids to do,” the spokeswoman said about activities near the tables.

“Soccer balls to kick around and maybe blocks to play with or just things they could handle, things they can do,” Lee added.

“There should be some hands-on activities, if you want to put it that way, for the whole family. Kind of keep the kids engaged while the parents are trying to talk.”

This can be a total family event.

“So, bring the whole family; bring the little kids and we’ll make sure that they’re happy while the parents are speaking,” Lee said.