Storyland Family Handbook Page 4

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Field Trip and Transportation Policy

Children in All-Star Alley (School Age Children Only) are eligible to go on field trips.  You will be notified at least 48 hours before the field trip in writing with notices posted at the front of the building. 

Field trips are planned around the various themes that are being studied and fun activities that complement the daily programming in the summertime.  Each child will be restrained in the appropriate seat belt or child restraint seat depending on their age.

Water Activities

During the summer months, we provide several types of water activities for children to enjoy.  These include sprinklers and classroom water tables.  

Your permission on the enrollment form is necessary for your child to participate in any such events.  We follow the State of Texas Minimum Standards for child/caregiver ratios during all water activities.  

Naptime Routine

Children who are present in the afternoon will participate in the naptime program.  Naptime is generally a quiet time where children can rest or sleep. If children are still awake after one hour, they will be allowed to participate in an alternate quiet activity until naptime is over for the other children.  

Fresh bed linens are provided for infants and laundered once per week or more frequently if necessary.  Older children will need a blanket, pillow, and a king size pillowcase.  

Pillows should be small, camp-size pillows, as we do not have the room to store regular bed-size pillows.  Everything that is brought from home must fit comfortably in your child’s cubby.  Please mark everything you bring into the building with your child’s first name and first initial of last name. These items should be taken home each Friday, laundered, and returned to school on Monday. 

NAPTIME ROUTINE REMINDER

  • All children present in the afternoon participate in naptime
  • Children 12 months and older need their own vinyl mat, blanket and small pillow
  • We provide crib sheets; No blankets allowed in cribs
  • All linens must be taken home on Friday’s, laundered and returned on Monday

Outdoor Playtime

Children love and benefit outdoor play in many ways.  Most experts in the field of Early Childhood Education will agree that daily outdoor play is essential for the health and well-being of every child.  

Contrary to popular belief, children do not get sick from being outdoors; rather they get sick from coming into contact with a contagion.  We follow the State of Texas laws, regulations, and guidelines when developing our outdoor play policy.  

We play outdoors each day, once in the morning and then again in the afternoon, weather permitting.  Generally, weather permitting means temperatures with the wind chill factor taken into consideration above 32 degrees and clear. If the wind chill causes the air temperature to go below 32 degrees, we will remain indoors. Please visit the chart below for guidelines on outdoor play in very cold or very hot weather. 

By dressing your child appropriately for the weather, your child will be able to enjoy his/her outdoor experience.  If the temperatures go above 95 degrees, we will limit the amount of outside time or remain indoors.  All children are expected to participate in outdoor play if they are present at the center.  

Children are welcome and encouraged to bring a water bottle to school to be kept in their cubby.  They may take the water bottle outside when they have recess.

Outdoor Temperature Guide

All temperatures include wind chill factors

Under 40 degrees, outside time is limited to 5-10 minutes
Under 50 degrees, outside time is limited to 20-25 minutes
50 degrees – 85 degrees outside time remains the same
Over 85 degrees, outside time is limited to 20-25 minutes

Discipline and Guidance Policy and Procedures

Guidance consists of direct and indirect actions used by the adults to help children develop socially acceptable behavior. Effective, positive guidance maintains the child’s self-esteem and produces growth and desired changes in the child’s behavior.

The long-term goal of guidance is inner self-control, appropriate behavior, and the social/emotional skills needed to succeed in elementary school and beyond. Teachers provide a respectful, supportive climate in which children are helped to make decisions, observe the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for their own behavior.

Our teachers are trained to positive guidance, praise and encouragement, redirection, and the setting of clear-cut limits that foster the child’s own ability to become self-disciplined.  We encourage children to respect themselves and other people, to respect property and to learn to be responsible for their actions.   

Some typical basic rules that each classroom follows include:

  • We use walking feet.
  • We keep our hands and feet to ourselves.
  • We use inside voices indoors.
  • We respect the rights of others.
  • We take care of our toys and belongings.
  • We learn to return materials to their proper places.

We believe that social and emotional development is extremely important for children’s overall success.  Therefore, teaching social skills is an integral part of each day’s curriculum.  Learning to control one’s emotions in socially acceptable ways is an ongoing process that children must develop in order to be happy and successful. 

Our discipline program involves teaching character and self-control.  Under no circumstances do we use physical punishment or abusive language in the center.  We use redirection and encouragement of appropriate behaviors. 

We provide opportunities to be successful and many warnings for those who may forget the rules.  If warranted, a brief, supervised separation from the group might be used.  This method is used when children are “out of control”, hurting themselves or others, or deliberately destroying property.

Once the child has calmed down, they will be asked if they care to rejoin the group.  This will be limited to one minute per age of child.  With older children, we also use logical consequences as appropriate.  (Ex. “If you draw with crayons on the walls, your job will be to clean the wall,”)

Conscious Discipline

Storyland is in the process of implementing a system of discipline called Conscious Discipline.  Created by Dr. Becky Bailey, Conscious Discipline® is based on current brain research, child development and developmentally appropriate practices, and is built on the foundation that discipline should not be applied to children, but rather should be developed within the child. 

This is a new program that we started in August 2013 and is equally effective in the classroom and in the home.  Many parents are beginning to apply the principles outlined in this approach.

In a nutshell, Dr. Bailey's program is research based and integrates social-emotional learning and development into a process that teaches self-regulation to children, as well as adults.  This approach is not like traditional attempts at disciplining a child that uses rewards and punishments, but rather relies on setting achievable goals, managing emotions, understanding personal boundaries, teaching mutual respect and conflict resolution.

Most of us are familiar with the traditional approaches that rely on rules that are upheld through consequences.  The goal of consequences is to obtain obedience from the child.  If a child is compliant, he is rewarded, if he is not, he is punished. 

This traditional approach is based on the premise that we are capable of controlling others through changing the environment in some way.  This is very familiar to most parents and teachers, but Conscious Discipline offers a new approach that empowers the adult to venture onto a lifelong process of personal growth.

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Unacceptable Discipline Practices

Unacceptable Discipline Practices

Under no circumstances will harsh, cruel, or unusual treatment of any child be permitted at Storyland.  Examples of discipline and guidance that are always prohibited include:

(1) Corporal punishment or threats of corporal punishment;

(2) Punishment associated with food, naps, or toilet training;

(3) Pinching, shaking, or biting a child;

(4) Hitting a child with a hand or instrument;

(5) Putting anything in or on a child’s mouth;

(6) Humiliating, ridiculing, rejecting, or yelling at a child;

(7) Subjecting a child to harsh, abusive, or profane language;

(8) Placing a child in a locked or dark room, bathroom, or closet with the door closed;

(9) Requiring a child to remain silent or inactive for inappropriately long periods of time for the child’s age.

Discipline Action Steps

If your child is having difficulties in the classroom, we will let you know.  If discipline problems persist, we reserve the right to perform the following actions:

  • Daily verbal communication between your child’s teachers and you.
  • Notify you in writing through notes home from your child’s teacher
  • Phone call to you by center Director
  • Request a conference
  • Devise a cooperative behavioral action plan between home and school to help your child improve his/her behavior
  • Dis-enrollment

No one likes the thought of expelling a toddler or preschooler from a child care more than we do.  We believe that all children deserve to play and learn in a high-quality program such as Storyland Preschool.  From time to time, however, we do encounter a child with extreme behaviors usually in the form of aggression towards others or him/herself. 

When a child is at risk of hurting other children, we must evaluate the situation immediately and determine if this child would be better served in another setting. This does not happen very often because in most cases there is complete cooperation between the school and the parents where both parties work diligently and with the help of outside professionals to help the child improve. 

Sadly, this cooperation does not always occur, and the ending is not as positive.  For this reason, we want you to be aware that all children deserve to attend child care free of the fear of being hurt by another child.  If we cannot resolve the matter in a timely manner, the aggressor will be dis-enrolled. 

If you need to discipline your own child while on the premises of Storyland, please do so in accordance with the above policies.  This means that your discipline methods must take into consideration the restrictions placed on child care facilities in the state of Texas.  No corporal punishment of any kind.  Should this discipline policy ever change, we will notify you in writing of such changes. 

Child Abuse Reporting and Law Enforcement

Storyland Preschool and Childcare staff are REQUIRED by Texas State law and licensing requirements to report immediately to Family and Protective Services any instance when there is reason to suspect the occurrence of physical, sexual, or emotional child abuse, child neglect, or exploitation. 

The staff may not notify parents when Family and Protective Services are called about possible child abuse, neglect, or exploitation.  Please remember this mandatory reporting when interacting with your own children while on the premises of Storyland Preschool.

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Video Monitoring System

A digital video monitoring system is in place at Storyland Preschool.  Information is recorded during all hours of operation.  It records all classroom activity areas as well as playground areas.  There are many uses for the system including monitoring and training. 

It also allows the staff to review images on video in an attempt to proactively address safety issues, teacher-child interactions or busy transition times within classrooms.  It is important that parents are aware that this system is in use and that children’s activities are recorded on a daily basis.  Due to confidentiality, we are unable to allow parental access to live or recorded videos.

Parent Involvement

We strongly encourage parents to become involved with their children’s education and activities.  A sign of a quality program is the extent of parent interest and involvement in all aspects of the center operation.  

Even though we are a for-profit center, we always encourage and hope that you will get involved in some way.  Parents are always invited to drop in and visit.  

There are many ways to get involved with your child’s education.  These include but are not limited to participation in field trips and classroom activities, donation of used items such as dress-up clothes, or volunteering to plan or assist with a classroom party.  

Regular classroom volunteers will be asked to fill out a criminal history background check as required by Minimum Standards of the State of Texas.  You will also need to participate in an orientation program.

School to Home Communications

BULLETIN BOARDS

We like to keep you up to date on everything that is happening at Storyland Preschool.  Please check the bulletin boards outside your child’s room regularly.  We post menus and lesson plans there for you to see.  We also post notices of field trips and special events on the window near the front door.  

CALENDARS AND NEWSLETTERS

We post our monthly calendars and newsletters on our internet site, https://www.storyland-amarillo.org that provide information on all of the activities.  Please provide us with an e-mail address that you check regularly as this has become our Number One way of communicating with current families.   From time to time, we also send notices home with your child.  Please check their cubby or backpack regularly.

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES AND CHILD ASSESSMENTS

Your child’s educational success is extremely important to us, and we use current knowledge of child development and sound educational principles to provide the best learning opportunities for your child.  Ongoing assessment is part of this procedure.  

ASSESSMENTS

Children’s progress is assessed informally and formally throughout the school year through direct observation, checklists, and anecdotal notes, portfolios, and computer assisted assessment measures.  If, at any point in the year, you require a conference with the teacher and/or directors, please do not hesitate to call.  We will make every effort possible to set up a time that is mutually agreeable to everyone.  If we feel that a conference is needed, we will contact you and arrange a time to meet.

We also send home a written assessment of your child’s progress three times per year in September, January, and May.  If you ever have any questions about your child’s progress, please talk to your child’s teacher.

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