Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


Celebrating a decade of educational excellence

by Cristi Sanchez

These three students, who were enrolled at Primrose when infants, <BR>will graduate from its kindergarten this spring.

These three students, who were enrolled at Primrose when infants,
will graduate from its kindergarten this spring.

Milestones are to be celebrated. They mark progress, successes and new chapters in life. On April 19th Primrose School at Cahoon Commons will be marking all of the above as they celebrate the milestone of their tenth anniversary as a premier private education center in Chesapeake.

For the past 10 years, Primrose, an AdvancED accredited school, has provided educational programs in a nurturing environment for children from infancy through kindergarten. For children in grades one through five, Primrose also provides summer programs and before and after-school programs.

Long-time friends Claudia Macon and Tonya Gill started Primrose 10 years ago, working from the ground up. "We've been friends for 28 years," Tonya says smiling. "Claudia had always wanted to own her own business and she urged me to go into business with her." Finally, after 19 years of working with the United Way, Tonya decided to take the leap.

Ten years later, this dynamic duo is still going strong, providing educational programs committed to academic excellence. Primrose's tenth year sees two new, exciting additions to the curriculum.

"We've added a program for our pre-K and kindergarten classes that introduces S.T.E.A.M. concepts through activities and play," Tonya says enthusiastically. "There's also our Rhythm and Notes® curriculum-based music program that nurtures language, social, and memory skills- all of which are key to future academic success,"

Primrose has also enhanced the technology used by students and parents alike. "We've gone from 14 desktop computers for the whole school 10 years ago to iPads in our preschool, pre-K and kindergarten classrooms as part of the technology component of the curriculum," Tonya explains.

But technology isn't used only to educate children. Understanding that parents are increasingly tech-savvy, Primrose has implemented technology apps to make communication faster, easier, and more relevant. "Over the years we've increased the level of technology in communicating with parents," Claudia explains. "We do all that electronically now. Everything, from daily teacher documentation to daily parent communications, can be done now with push apps and parent portals."

Soon, parents in Hickory will also be able to give their children these new Primrose experiences when the school opens its Edinburgh campus. "We're really excited," Claudia smiles. "Our new campus is going to be Primrose School at Edinburgh Commons and we're hoping to have it open by the spring of 2020."

During  circle time,  these young Primrose  students  practice  sign language <BR>with their teachers. <BR>Photo by  Michele  Thompson

During circle time, these young Primrose students practice sign language
with their teachers.
Photo by Michele Thompson

Despite all of the growth and changes over the past 10 years, there are two things that remain constant at Primrose: commitment to excellence and community service. "We've always been consistent in our goals, practices, and expectations," Tonya says. "That is something that never changes."

Claudia agrees. "Yes, we always strive to deliver excellence to our students, our parents, and to the elementary schools the children attend after leaving Primrose." In fact, Primrose has received very high marks from area public and private schools who note that Primrose students come more than prepared for first grade.

Academic achievement, however, isn't the sole focus at Primrose. The Primrose philosophy is to focus on nurturing the whole child. "This isn't a score-driven environment," Claudia says with conviction. "Our focus is the children. Academics are important, but loving and nurturing are equally important," she emphasizes.

"Our focus is the children.
Academics are important,
but loving and nurturing
are equally important."

- Claudia Macon

Part of that nurturing is cultivating a high level of character development that helps connect the children to Primrose's focus on philanthropic giving. Each month, teachers focus on a different character development trait by using engaging puppets.

"Every day, teachers use the puppets to talk about the character trait and how you can show it," Tonya smiles. Some of the character traits taught include honesty, conservation, courage and leadership, kindness, and generosity.

Generosity is a key trait that Primrose develops, as one of its core foundational values is philanthropic giving, and it's a value they promote with their students and families. As a former employee of the United Way, giving to charitable causes has always been near and dear to Tonya's heart.

"Over the past 10 years, with help from families, the community, and businesses that support our events, we've raised over $34,000.00 for local non-profits like CHKD, Ronald McDonald House, and Susan G. Komen. We also fundraise for our Primrose Foundation which supports Reach Out and Read, a national literacy program," Tonya happily reports.

In fact, on May 17th, Primrose is hosting its annual Spring Fling, dedicated to fundraising for a local charity selected by families through a survey. "Allowing the parents to choose the charity allows them to be invested and involved," Tonya explains.

Because of the good relationships fostered between school and parents, even families who no longer have children at Primrose are invited to the event and happily come. Parental satisfaction with Primrose is evident from the praise they give.

"I could not have made a better decision for my children," Camille Cunningham-West enthuses. "The staff is incredibly caring and loving. They go above and beyond to treat every child as if they were their own. I cannot thank Ms. Gill and Ms. Macon enough for helping to lay the foundation for their future."

Dr. Linda Mathison-Ezieme agrees. "My daughter received a great education with warm, loving teachers. She became very well prepared for first grade. It was a great decision to send her there!"

Heidi Koski is a parent to a special needs daughter "It's an experience like no other. The staff is unparalleled in accommodating special needs children to make sure they reach their potential. They're fantastic!" she shares.

Claudia finds such praise for Primrose's staff deeply gratifying.

"In the end, the credit for Primrose's must go to our outstanding teachers and leadership team," she concludes. "They are all sincerely dedicated to whatever is in the best interest of the children entrusted to our care. A decade of such heartfelt dedication is something that is truly worth celebrating."

Primrose School at Cahoon Commons

660 Grassfield Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23322