When we gain a sense of where children are developmentally (socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and creatively) we are then able to respond more effectively. Assessment will help us in 1) communicating with families relative to the strengths and needs of the child; 2) planning curricula and evaluating its effectiveness; and 3) identifying children who may have exceptional needs and therefore require specialized services or referrals.
Our expectations must be in keeping not only with their developmental level, but with our foremost concern that each child is happy and excited about school and the process of learning. All information about your child’s progress is confidential.
We will be assessing your child utilizing a variety of strategies. These strategies will vary from age group to age group and may include:
- systematic observation
- tape recordings
- anecdotal records
- photography/video taping
- collection of children’s work/creative experiences
- parent/teacher conferences
Our teachers utilize portfolios to document and celebrate your child’s developmental growth. Our conference times afford you (parents) and the staff opportunities to set goals and be included in the development of plans. Currently we use a notebook portfolio system and are transitioning to an “e-portfolio” system.
Consistent attendance is critical to the success of our early childhood program. Our program emphasizes “active learning” — firsthand experiences rather than drill, rote memorization or work sheets. Therefore, children cannot easily make-up missed class experiences. Families can strengthen our home/school relationship by seeing that their children are well-rested, well-fed and encouraged about our program. Trust us, please! We are working very hard to implement a developmentally appropriate program that is in the best interest of your child!
Because birthdays are important to young children and because children need continuous routine they can count on, we celebrate birthdays in the same way for all children. When a child has a birthday or a day designated as an “un-birthday” (for those whose birthday falls when the school is not in session), he or she is encouraged to decorate a crown or hat to be worn during the session. A parent’s presence is welcome at this 15-20 minute event (i.e. song, story, and snack). Due to licensing regulations, ONLY STORE PURCHASED TREATS MAY BE BROUGHT TO SCHOOL. Simple, “un-gooey” cookies are recommended.
Our parents have been most generous with donations in honor of their child’s birthday. Suggestions for gifts include puzzles, tapes, computer cartridges and discs, and playground items. We also have information available in the library describing how you may participate in our Birthday Book Club. Children love “giving” to their school. Check with the class teachers for items on their “wish list.”
It is a Board policy that no home birthday party invitations or presents or thank you notes be sent through the school. Due to the nature of carpool and safety concerns, birthday parties will not be assembled to leave from school.
Children should be dressed in serviceable, comfortable, and easily handled clothing that promotes independent, self-help skills. Simple, easy to manage washable play clothes are best. Children feel a sense of accomplishment when they can handle their own snaps, buttons, and zippers. All sweaters, coats, hats, and mittens must be permanently marked with the child’s name. All removable items should have name tags or be marked. We have found knit hats and mittens to be preferable and it is helpful to have the mittens attached to the coat or jacket. If your child likes to wear dresses to school, send a pair of elastic waist pants (no straps) to leave at school for outdoor play in winter.
Extra clothing is helpful, especially if your child is prone to having toilet accidents. Remember to accommodate for his/her growth and weather changes. Send appropriate clothing for both summer and winter. Put the clothes in a ziplock bag labeled with your child’s name. Please bring it to school during the Phase-In week.
Smocks are provided for especially messy activities but children are more comfortable when they do not have to worry about keeping “dressy” or new clothes clean and neat. Our classroom experiences are all about “messy” creative art experiences, sand and water experiences, outdoor activities and cooking. Clothes which parents are not concerned about soiling are best for helping children to freely participate in multi-sensory experiences.
Our activities will require closed shoes with some support. Tennis shoes (especially on Movement days), oxfords or other tie shoes are recommended. NO sandals, jellies, thongs, clogs, flip-flops, cowboy boots or patent leather shoes please.
Our curriculum centers around the whole child. This approach meets a primary goal of helping each child reach full potential in all areas of life. Providing an age-appropriate, clean, safe learning environment allows our curriculum to emerge. The curriculum is an emerging curriculum, and under the direction of well-trained teachers, allows the child to experience the joy of learning, time to enjoy the process and ensure the development of self-esteem, and provides the experiences from which children create their knowledge. We view the environment as “the curriculum”, thus everything in the school is planned with a child in mind. Within the environment, the child has both teacher-directed experiences and freedom of choice with a rich variety of learning experiences from which to choose. Every classroom has its own set of offerings which differs from age to age — curriculum is a tool that is organized so each child can proceed at his/her own pace. This is the reason you will see few “whole-group lessons”, “worksheet” papers or craft projects. Instead, the emphasis is on the PROCESS of learning more so than the product.
Research indicates that children thrive when they have real relationships and grow when curriculum activities are meaningful and geared to their interests and developmental and cultural needs. At the heart of children’s learning is active play – uninterrupted time to explore and contract meaning and represent their experiences and understanding. The school’s curriculum content areas are inspired by current research with NAEYC accreditation standards and an eye toward the Kentucky Early Childhood Standards. Staff engages in ongoing observation (formal and informal) and maintains portfolios of each child’s progress that are shared during the Parent-Teacher conferences.
The following content areas are used in observation, collecting data, reflecting, evaluating experiences, and responding to developmental needs:
- Personal and Social Development
- Language and Literacy
- Mathematical and Scientific Thinking
- Social Studies
- The Arts
- Physical Development and Health
The foundation of our curriculum planning and child guidance is the learning environment, creating a “…place for childhoods” (Jim Greenman) and reflecting this in our documentation. We strive to foster and encourage “children’s interests/themes” as a basis for planning to stimulate the emergence of children’s ideas and understanding. Our assessment strategies are based on the goals of curriculum and are inspired by the Creative Curriculum (Diana Trister Dodge) and Learning Together with Young Children: A Curriculum Framework (Marge Carter and Deb Curtis).
At many schools, holidays are recognized and become the focus of the program. The children enrolled in our school are young and often confused by the meaning of various holidays. Also, the children represent a wide range of ethnic, racial and religious groups. In order to be sensitive to our families and the developmental needs of the children for consistency in their lives, holidays are not the focal point of the program. Instead we attempt to ensure continuity of experiences. If holidays are recognized, certain criteria guide us: a) the routine continues; b) continuity of experiences and concepts are fostered; c) planned experiences are developmentally appropriate; d) information is historically accurate; e) food served is nutritional; and, f) gifts are not exchanged among children.
- Birthdays (see p. 21)
- Family Night – The first week of school we have an “Ice Cream Social”, an informal gathering of families.
- Get-Acquainted Celebration – Early in the school year, (late September or October) families are invited to participate by age groups (for example, 2s classes bring parents together to help make a scrapbook page to be included in a class book. On a different evening the 3s classes will host an event, etc.).
- Parent Meeting of Infants/Toddlers – Explore topic of interest and get-acquainted experience.
- Halloween – Individual 4s and Kindergarten classes may have a low-key class party (no costumes, a few activities, a snack and a story).
- Christmas – Children will make “surprise” gifts for their parents. Gifts for teachers are neither encouraged nor discouraged. If a child wants to give presents to their teachers, a simple gift in which s/he shares in the creation or choosing is fine. Room Parents may have group ideas which if is the case, will be strictly voluntarily.
- Valentine’s Day – Some classes will opt to exchange valentines. These will be more easily distributed if they are signed with your child’s name only (not addressed to a specific child) and enough for each child in the class.
- Derby Parade – This school-wide event is held the Wednesday before Derby where the different classes participate in a parade. This serves as a culminating event for a mission project also. Bring cameras.
- Spring Sing/Flings – For our 2s classes, parents will be invited to a participatory music class in May. For our 3s, 4s, and Kindergarten classes, parents will be invited to the Great Hall for a sharing of their favorite songs of the year.
- End-Of-Year School Wide Picnic – This is usually an evening the last week of school for the whole family at Robsion Park in the Lyndon area.
Snack time is a sharing experience…and a learning opportunity. Snacks are an important part of a young child’s day and diet…it is not just a “treat.” All parents will be asked to contribute nutritious snacks 2 or 3 times throughout the year for your child’s class. We encourage foods that are not sugary, salty, and fatty. For example:
- Cheese cubes with pretzel sticks
- Half banana with dry cereal mix
- Half hard boiled egg with an orange wedge
- Yogurt and graham crackers
- Raw veggies with low-fat dip
Licensing services (The Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services) requires that any baked goods come from a commercially approved kitchen (must be pre-packaged).
Each class will send out an “Assigned Snack Calendar” with noted allergies considered.
Licensing requires that “…snacks include two (2) of the following: Milk or milk product, Protein, Fruit or vegetable or Bread (whole wheat or enriched wheat)”
Nutritious snacks are provided by families throughout the year for the toddlers through 4s classes. Families of infants will provide individual offerings. Snacks for Kindergarten are provided via a snack fee. Each child receives a schedule designating his/her dates to provide the snack. Birthdays and “un-birthdays” will be marked on the list. The school will provide water at snack time. The school will provide cups as necessary. The child brings the snack to school on the specified dates in a “throw away” container. The snack should be labeled with both the child’s and the teacher’s name. Please note if refrigeration is necessary.
DUE TO STATE LICENSING REGULATIONS, SNACKS MUST BE STORE BOUGHT AND IN THEIR ORIGINAL CONTAINERS. NOTE: We do not serve nuts, whole grapes, peanuts or popcorn to preschoolers on the advice of pediatricians.
Show and Tell Times
It is often hard to share in front of the group and it is hard for others to sit and listen. Therefore, “Show and Tell” is not a daily preschool activity. Teachers may on occasion request a particular item from home. Articles such as books, CDs and nature objects (which would be of educational value) are always welcome. Mark all items with your child’s name.
We request that the following items remain at home: long dresses, costumes, umbrellas, toys, toy guns or other toy weapons, all glass containers, chewing gum, candy, money, pencils and pens, other valuables.
It is expected that all children entering our Three Year Old Program will have completed or be working on their “toilet learning/training”. Toilet training is not a requirement for the young toddlers and Two Year Old Program.
However, we do ask parents of our infant, toddlers and twos who are wearing diapers to provide disposable diapers for the classroom.
Toilet learning techniques in a group setting often differ from the home experience. This can be due to the differences associated with group dynamics or an inability to provide significant amounts of undivided attention to an individual child. Our teachers will attempt to incorporate your methods of training into the classroom. However, we request that you also support the teacher’s policies for toilet learning in a group setting.
Our tote bag ritual begins with our older toddlers. These bags, which are color-coded for the various classes, will be given to each child during their home visit and our youngest learners receive a special bib. Each child should bring their tote bag to school daily to hold artwork, notes, etc. Look through your child’s bag after school each day. Correspondence from the school will be sent home via these bags. They can be recycled for various uses at the end of the year or kept with selected mementos from your child’s school year. No backpacks, please! These do not hang well on our hooks and are cumbersome to manage.
Toys and Treasures
As a general rule, we ask that children not bring their personal toys to the school. We want the children to focus on the materials available here at the school and the relationships that build out of “common property” versus “mine”. We will welcome appropriate books, CDs, nature items (please label with your child’s name).
Regular attendance at 2nd Pres is important; please send your child regularly and promptly.
|Infants and Toddlers||9:00||12:00|
|2 year olds||8:55||11:55|
|3s, 4s, and K a.m.||9:15||12:15|
|All Day Kindergarten||9:15||3:10|
When your child arrives late, s/he will miss part of the initial morning offerings and it is disruptive to the experience of others.
Please Be On Time!