Handbook

 

Growing Together Playschool Table of Contents

 

Welcome…………………………………………………………2

 

Philosophy……………………………………………………….3

 

Discipline and Guidance Policy….……………………………4

 

Schedule and Daily Rhythm…………………………………..5

 

Drop Off and Pick Up: Goodbyes and Details…….…………6

 

Food: Snacks and Meals…………………………….…………7

 

Illness Policy……………………………………………..………8

 

Sick Days and Make Up Days…………………….……………9

 

Payment, Vacation, and Notification……………..…………..10

 

Things to Bring……………………………………..…………..11

 

Contract and Signatures………………………….……………12

 

 

 

Growing Together Playschool Welcome

 

Welcome to Growing Together Playschool.  We are so excited to include you and your child in our community.  At Growing Together, we strive to create an environment that allows children to play, explore and grow at their own pace, following their own interests while building relationships and community. Our goal is that each child feels respected, supported, and encouraged.  

 

We also hope parents feel respected and informed.  Parents are always welcome to stay as long as they would like, either with us enjoying our activities, or in the upstairs Parent Café listening in at their leisure (let me know if you will be using the parent cafe by the day before so I can make it available).

 

Each day, your child will have an update sheet that covers the general information about their day.  I try to include a list of the activities your child participated in as well as recording the foods offered, potty or diaper breaks, books read, and some quotes of things your child said, as well as notes about any “big events” that happened or thoughts I’ve had (i.e. an emotional interchange with another student,  a particular skill that was worked on).  While it is nice to catch a quote that is cute, witty or insightful, I always try to get some words so you can begin to “hear” your child’s voice in this environment.  Additionally, I try to capture photos that will allow you to “see” your child’s involvement, demeanor and  creations.  Photos are posted on a private classroom share site through Shutterfly. You will receive an invitation to the share site as soon as pictures with your child are posted.

 

We have three general “house rules”:  respect yourself, respect others, and respect the things around you.   Beyond these all-encompassing guidelines, the children are encouraged to think about, set, and communicate their own personal limits and boundaries.  The idea of allowing others the right to their own self-determination and finding alternatives if your desires infringe on someone else’s rights is encouraged and, if needed, enforced.  Whenever it appears “consequences” need to be used, we try to work together to determine appropriate and predictable consequences that are respectful, related, and useful.  If your child was involved in a situation that involved consequences or seemed potentially stressful or confusing to your child I will note it on your daily update sheet.   

 

When I make notes, my goal is not that your child be “lectured or punished” for the behavior, but simply to allow you as the parent to know that the child may have questions or need extra emotional support because of the situation.  Sometimes I may ask for support or advice if we have particularly tricky situations occurring.  Please keep in mind that I expect parents to be supportive partners in my guidance of their children.  If you have concerns please keep me informed.  Often I find that knowledge of the child’s emotional life outside of school can help me make appropriate choices regarding children’s true objectives or motivations, so occasionally I may ask you to fill in gaps in my knowledge of your child.  Please let me know if you are not comfortable in these situations.

 

 

Growing Together Playschool Philosophy

 

As children play, they explore their world with a curiosity that allows them to gain an abundance of skills and abilities.  At Growing Together, we believe that such play is the work of childhood.   In order to encourage this natural growth, we provide an environment that is supportive, engaging and novel.  We try to notice and encourage the concepts and ideas that children are naturally exploring and we construct our environment to nurture these explorations.  We also introduce new materials and themes regularly to keep the children interested in their “work”.

 

Our curriculum at Growing Together is emergent and based on the interests of the group, situations and questions that are occurring, and ongoing support of each child’s developmental path.  Teacher Liz chooses activities, books and games to offer with thoughtful consideration of the interests of the individuals and group.  Priority is placed on allowing the children to explore and question through their own initiative.

 

Our goal at Growing Together is to foster a love of learning.  We hope that children gain, from these first school experiences, the understanding that they can effect and know their world more deeply by approaching it through curiosity, interest and communication. We also want them to realize that their teachers are supportive guides and can aid in their learning.

 

We offer a structured schedule in the hopes that children will find the joy of participating with a group and recognize that they have responsibility and ownership over how their time in school progresses.  The predictability and easy group expectations will help children to begin to see the importance of working together with peers and teachers for the common good.

 

At Growing Together, we observe the natural growth and development of children without attachment to when milestones should be met.  We recognize each child as an individual on their own path of development.  We realize that it can be hard to know if your child is doing the things they should be at any given stage, and encourage parents to recognize and appreciate each accomplishment children make regardless of what other children are doing.  Twice a year we send home the “Ages and Stages Questionnaire” which has activities for parents to try with their children and questions regarding development.   This is a highly recommended, although optional, assessment tool individualized for your child’s age, which is designed to catch any serious developmental delays so children can get the proper services, if needed.  

 

We consciously create an environment that is aimed towards interrupting bias in all ways possible.  We try to balance our language, questions, images and ideas to reflect a society that is nurturing and accepting to all.  We encourage children to notice with interest the differences between people, to examine and investigate the situations of differing choices and lifestyles and to realize that there are many ways to be.  We encourage family support and sharing in these areas, especially if you feel your home culture is not being represented.

 

Growing Together Playschool Discipline and Guidance Policy

 

Our primary focus at Growing Together is to help all our population feel safe, respected and empowered.  In order to ensure the safety of all, Teacher Liz is dedicated to guiding children in understanding their own motivations and helping them learn to express their personal boundaries and desires.  Teacher Liz does this through close observation and interpretation of children’s meanings through their actions, body language and words.  She then shares appropriate words with the children so they can learn these skills on their own.  

 

As a community, we learn to respect each other’s communication and to express our own desires and boundaries.  From time to time, people are less receptive to listening to other’s boundaries and words.  In these situations, Teacher Liz will help children work through solutions verbally, if possible, or will help ensure safety through assisting children in taking a cooling-off time if they need it.  Occasionally, she may need to help aggressive bodies be safe until children are able to work through the situation or move on, as appropriate.  

 

We honor and respect natural consequences at Growing Together, and encourage children to make safe and appropriate choices on their own. Children are also encouraged to consider kind and compassionate responses even when their natural response may be more emotionally charged.  Likewise, community rules and expectations may be maintained through physical assistance, if necessary, to ensure that we can all play together smoothly and happily.

 

Growing Together Playschool Schedule and Daily Rhythm

 

At Growing Together we try to honor each child’s individual needs, and adjust our schedule to encourage success and comfort for each person.  Please feel free to let me know if you feel your child would be more successful with a different rhythm.   

 

Our day starts at 9:00 with a period of exploration and free play.  The morning is a time when the children are fresh and often full of ideas about what they want to do.    During the morning free play time, I also have “suggestive” offerings of art projects, group games, or less familiar toys and activities to engage in.  I respect that some children like time to sit back and observe before participating and will allow a child the space to do this if it seems that they are content in this pursuit. Please try to be prompt so your children can get the most out of this important time of exploration.

 

With the older children, often at some point during free play we will call a meeting to solve a problem.  Meetings are spontaneous and can be called by anyone in the group.  Children are encouraged to call and use meetings if they need to.  Sometimes meetings will be used by the teacher to provide a format for problem-solving or to redirect inappropriate play.  

 

Clean-up is a shared activity, which is scaffolded by the teacher, to help all children feel involved and successful.  After clean-up we meet together for  “Circle time” when a game, exploration or short activity is introduced to the group.  

 

Snack time is a shared experience when we all eat together family style and discuss stories of the “work” we did during free play.  This is a time when we will talk, read stories, sing songs, do finger plays and discuss any projects we are working on.  

 

After snack we have outside play time. Everyday we plan to spend a good amount of time outside so please pack accordingly.  We care for the chickens, check for eggs and do garden projects.  This is also the time we may walk to the park, ride bikes, play in puddles in the alley, build in the “river area,” or otherwise engage in community adventures.

 

Outside time is followed by lunch, books and rest time.  

 

Rest time is encouraged for all students.  Students are not required to sleep, but are asked to engage in quiet solitary play to refresh and renew their bodies.  Students who need to or prefer to sleep will be provided with a conducive environment.

 

Students who wake before pick up time are invited to play quietly in the classroom.

Pick-up time is 2:30.

 

Growing Together Playschool Drop-off and Pick-up:

Goodbyes and Details

 

Dealing with change and transitions can be hard for all of us, especially children.  I have found that communicating clearly with children regarding time schedules can make drop-offs and pick-ups easier.    If you prepare your child for what to expect, it is often easier for them to make the transition.  

 

You are always welcome to stay and play with us for as long as  you would like, but when it is time for you to leave you can prepare your child by making a plan (i.e. “I will play one more thing with you , then I will say goodbye.”) and stick with it.  If your child is having trouble with your departure assure your child that you will return (I can help you review the schedule so your child can predict by our activities when you will return).   I am always happy to help your child engage in positive activities during this transition if your child needs or wants it.  

 

Similarly, at pick-up please try to stick to agreed times, often we adults get to talking and the children are left to play without really knowing when they will be asked to leave.  If we need to have longer conversations, we can schedule a time to talk, or clearly let the children know an estimated time and our expectations for when it is time to leave (i.e. “We are going to talk for about 15 minutes, you can play here and I will let you know when it is 3 minutes left, when it is time to leave I will help you clean up and we will say goodbye.”)

 

Also be aware that I often have transitions that need to happen with the other children or with my family, so please text (or call) if you will be more than 5 minutes late so I can plan appropriately.  My number is 503 984 7112.

 

 

 

Growing Together Playschool Food: Snacks and Meals

 

Eating is a fun and social event.  At Growing Together, we meet around the table two times each day to nourish our bodies and share our ideas and stories.  During snack we practice numbers and letters (by determining how many of each thing we will eat); we draw and play games; and we review the things we have done and the things we want to do and sometimes we read stories.  

 

Snack is typically a grain and a fruit or vegetable.  For lunch, I try to find appealing, kid-friendly, and nutritious meals.  I always include two fruits and two vegetables in the offerings.

 

Meals are served family style, with children encouraged to take only what they will eat, but try things they are not sure of.   We use this time to practice our table manners, “please pass the…,” “may I be excused,” are encouraged and practiced.

 

I try to keep the children involved in all aspects of food from planting and growing fruit and vegetables, harvesting, preparing and learning about food from books and stories.   

 

Of course, special diets will be accommodated and children or parents who prefer to pack a snack and lunch are welcome to do so.  Please keep me up-to-date on your child’s specific dietary needs.

 

 

 

Growing Together Playschool Illness Policy

 

Unfortunately, with young children, colds will happen.  Since we play together it is hard not to pass around those nasty germs.  When your child is under the weather please consider what is best for them and for all of us.  If you suspect your child will be uncomfortable here, please do not send them.  If you suspect your child may have something other than a cold, please do not send them.  If it is just a little runny nose, we will do our best to keep washing hands, sanitizing toys and not share germs.  

 

Here are some general guidance perimeters:

 

If a child has had a fever of 100 degrees or more, they should stay home for 24 hours after the temperature returns to normal . (If no other symptoms are present and fever seems to signal recovery please check in regarding possible earlier return to school).

 

If a child has vomited or had diarrhea, they should stay home until 48 hours after the last episode (24 hours after last episode is ok if symptoms are clearly not due to an intestinal virus, please check in before returning to school).

 

If a child has had any rash that may be disease-related or the cause is unknown, check with family physician before sending the child to school.

 

If  I, or my son are under the weather we will also follow these guidelines.  I will let you know as soon as possible if it seems like I will need to take a sick day for myself or my children.  I will also attempt to get a substitute if it seems like it may be an on-going problem.

 

 

 

Growing Together Playschool Sick Days and Make Up Days

 

Sick days are hard on all of us.  When everyone has recovered please keep these options in mind:

 

If your child misses a day or days due to illness or schedule conflicts you are welcome to make up that time by sending your child on another day (if it works with your schedule and there is a space available).  

 

Unfortunately, if there are no openings in our schedule we will not be able to make up those days, therefore please let me know as soon as you decide your child will not be coming to school so I can offer the spot to others.  

 

I will do my best to be healthy and present for all our days together and look forward to all the times we will share.  Being human, sometimes this may not be possible, therefore:

 

I reserve the right to take up to six paid sick days a year to care for myself or my children, (no more than one per month in your schedule).  For any sick days I take over this amount (when a substitute is not provided and the day is not able to be made up) tuition will be refunded at a prorated amount.

 

 

 

Growing Together Playschool Payment, Vacation, and Notification

 

We love your children and enjoy their company, but do keep in mind we are also trying to make ends meet.  Here are some specifics of our payment policy:

 

Please pay tuition at the beginning of each month.  Let me know if there is some reason you can not pay in the first week of the month so we can make arrangements.

 

Payment by check is preferred.  Checks should be made out to Liz Gustafson.

 

Growing Together Playschool will be closed the following Holidays: Labor Day, New Year’s Day, a week for Thanksgiving, a week for Winter Break, A week for Spring Break and two weeks in Summer.  Any vacation days may be made up if it works with the schedule.

 

If your family is planning a vacation for a whole month, please let me know at least 1 month in advance so I can balance my schedule accordingly.  If your spot is filled temporarily, no tuition will be charged for the missed time.  If the spot is held unfilled, you will be offered make up days but tuition will not be reimbursed.

 

If your family situation changes and you need to withdraw your child, please let me know a month in advance.  If you withdraw without notice you may be charged for the complete last month.

 

Although I try to be flexible and try many different approaches with children, if I determine your child is not thriving in this environment I will ask you to find another situation.  Tuition will be refunded for any portion of the month that is unused.

 

 

 

Growing Together                                   Playschool                 

Things to Bring

 

At Growing Together Playschool, we play hard every day, so please dress your child appropriately in clothes they will be comfortable in and that are OK to get dirty.  

 

Bring an extra set of clothes and a plastic bag or reusable wet bag for soiled clothes to return home.  You may leave things here or to keep them in a backpack or bag that travels with your child.   Please know I will provide your child with coats/sweaters/boots etc. if I have any that fit, and your child needs them.  If allergies or borrowed clothes are an issue, please let me know.

 

If your child uses diapers, please provide diapers and wipes, either to leave here or travel back and forth each school day.

 

Please apply sunscreen, if needed, prior to arrival. Provide weather appropriate clothing, we do play outside everyday.  I can also apply sunscreen here if you sign our approval sheet.

 

It is great for each child to have their own water bottle, so whether we are here or on the go, they have water.

 

Your child may bring a special toy for rest time, if they prefer not to have other children play with it, please have them keep these toys in their cubbie.  

 

If your child wants to bring a special toy to share with the other children during the day they are welcome to, but they must be OK with taking turns with it.  Also, I will do my best to make sure it is not broken or lost, but make no guarantees.

 

It is nice for your child to have shoes that are easy to put on and take off, your child will be asked to remove the shoes in the mud room on arrival and put them on for outside time.  Velcro or slip-on are great.  I will help any children who want help (mostly through verbal guidance, if possible).

 

If you have special “just in case” supplies in your child’s bag (sun hat, sun glasses, rain boots, extra warm things, etc.) please let me know, I will not look for them if I do not know they are there.

 

Please tell me if your child has a new coat or shoes that do not have their name in them, the children are not always acculturate at identifying their things when they are new.

 

Growing Together Playschool Contract  and Signatures

 

I have read and understand the policy and payment obligations outlined in this booklet.   I will do my best to meet my obligations at the Growing Together Playschool by providing timely pick-up and drop-off, payment, and communication.  If there are times when I can not uphold my end of the contract I will let Liz know as soon as possible by phone, text or email.  

 

I understand that Liz will guide and protect my child to the best of her ability.  That said, I know accidents are always possible.   As long as Liz is sufficiently supervising my child I will not hold her or Growing Together Playschool responsible for those accidents of childhood that happen.

 

I would like to enroll my child ______________________ in

 

_____ 5 days, full day ($800/mnth)

 

_____ 4 days, full day  ($700/mnth)

 

_____ 3 days, full day  ($500/mnth)

 

_____ 2 days, full day  ($350/mnth)

 

_____ 1 day, full day ($200/mnth)

 

Signed:_______________________________________________    

 

Date: ____________________

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