Smilie PreK Parent Handbook












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Pre-Kindergarten Parent Handbook

2016-17




MMMUSD Pre-Kindergarten

MMMUSD Pre-Kindergarten programs acknowledges that the early childhood years are a critical time for development of foundational skills that children will need to succeed in school and in life.  To this end, the program is committed to providing a high quality preschool experience that meets the needs of a diverse group of learners.  

Philosophy and Goals
Our Philosophy is to provide developmentally appropriate activities, which allow children the opportunity to experience social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth.

Our program goals are:
  • To be inclusive of all children.
  • To build connection between the child/family and public school, to facilitate early intervention and kindergarten readiness.
  • To support children as active learners who learn best from activities that they help plan, carry out, and reflect upon.
  • To engage children in a variety of experiences that help them to make choices solve problems, and actively contribute to their own development.
  • To provide a safe environment where each child can build strong, positive relationships with adults and peers.

Contact Information
Parents are welcome to contact Smilie Memorial School at any time.  (802) 899-4608

Licensing
All of our Pre-K Programs in our district are fully licensed by the State of Vermont, meeting all health, safety and fire regulations. Parents/Guardians may access Early Childhood Program Licensing Regulations and/or Early Childhood Program information by contacting the State of Vermont at 1-802-241-3110 or: www.state.vt.us/srs/childcare/licensing/license.htm
The following admission criteria for enrollment in the Preschool Program are necessary before you child can attend:
• Initial enrollment to ensure Act 166 funding for your child.  This can be found on our website or you can ask the school's admin assistant for a paper copy.
• Submit a completed registration packet.  All School Secretaries can assist you with this.  This is done through a program we use online but paper copies are also available.  Some things we will need prior to your child attending the preschool program:
  • copy of your child's birth certificate,
  • release forms,
  • immunization record,
  • recent completed physical examination record,
  • completed school entry health questionnaire.

Withdrawals
Please notify your school in writing if you wish to withdraw your child from the preschool program.

Preschool Staff
MMMUSD Preschool staff consist of caring, skilled and licensed teachers and early childhood professionals certified in First Aid and CPR.

Curriculum
The curriculum in our Preschool programs reflects our commitment to best practices in Early Childhood Education. Our goal is to create an environment that is rich in language and learning opportunities, and to balance teacher directed and individual learning experiences so each child is challenged at a level s/he can meet. Learning is taking place in everything that children do, and we want children to enjoy learning.
The typical daily schedule is filled with opportunities which balance quite, active, large group, small group, indoor, and outdoor activities. Activities are planned based on a curriculum theme, taking into account the life experiences, interests, and developmental levels of all the children in the group. Chosen themes are relevant to children's lives, frequently brainstormed by the children themselves, and often incorporate customs, diversity awareness, health, and safety issues into the program. Children have the opportunity to talk and hear about the theme, listen to stories (both read aloud by staff, or at the listening center), look at books by themselves, sing songs, engage in activities, and work with varied materials relevant to the theme. There is simultaneously time for children to explore activities unrelated to the theme, encouraging individual choice and expression.
Staff support children's efforts to problem solve within their social setting, to express their feelings and emotions, to make choices and follow directions, to expand their self help skills, and to represent their knowledge of the world in multiple ways.
The preschool staff will collect children's work throughout the year through various methods (photo’s, drawings, writing etc.). The work and photos are used to capture the child's growth over time. We include these observations and work sampling in a Data system called Teaching Strategies Gold.  This system is used to track your child’s progress through the year and helps us design our curriculum according to your child’s developmental level.
Program Schedule for Smilie Memorial School
Morning Session 7:15 - 10:15 am, M, T, Th, F
Afternoon Session 11:15 - 2:15, M - F
Our daily schedule includes choice time, morning/afternoon meeting, small group activities, read aloud, library, snack or lunch, and recess.

Separation
It is common for a child to have difficulty separating from his/her parent. This can be a tremendously difficult issue to deal with, not only for the child, but for the parent/s as well. It is just as challenging for a parent to leave preschool hearing the sound of their child's cries, as it is for the child to be "left" at preschool. In fact, it may be even more challenging for the parent, as the child soon stops crying and becomes involved in activities, while the parent remembers only that their child is crying! While it is never a simple issue to resolve, there are several steps that can ease separation:
• Talk with your child about preschool before s/he comes. Explain to the child that s/he will be going to preschool, and that there will be other children to play with, activities to participate in, and adults who will care for and play with them.
• Talk about what will happen during your child's day: "You will have free choice, circle time, activities, recess, then snack," etc. to help reassure your child about the consistency of his/her day.
• Try to keep arrival consistent by following the same routine every day. Young children appreciate knowing what will happen next.
• When you say goodbye, it is important to tell your child that you are leaving, and that you will come back to pick them up later, specific to your situation (i.e. at school, daycare etc.).
Please do not hesitate to ask staff for assistance when your child is having difficulty separating. We are always available to assist and offer suggestions, and are prepared and able to help a child deal with separation. Feel free to call during preschool to see how your child is doing.

Clothing and Rest Time
  • Label clothing to keep lost items to a minimum.
  • Have your child dress appropriately for the weather and outdoor play.
  • Please keep an extra set of clothing in your child's backpack, in case of spills, accidents etc., and help your child remember to bring their backpack daily.
  • Sneakers are a safe and comfortable choice of footwear for school - remember they will be running and climbing outside.
  • Your child is welcome to leave a pair of shoes at school during seasons where boots are needed.
  • If your child is staying for our full day program we provide sleeping mats.  Please send any sleeping/rest blankets or pillows that would make them more comfortable.  If you need help obtaining these items please let us know.

School Tools
All school tools (crayons, markers, pencils, paper etc.) will be provided for your child.

Food
Pre-Kindergarten Students eat snack and lunch at school daily (if their schedule allows). They may bring a lunch from home or opt for our delicious, nutritious hot lunch program. Lunch menus are sent home monthly and are available on the school website. Please ask about our free and reduced lunch program.  

Transportation
School bus schedule information will be on our web-site before the start of school or you will be called. When dropping off your child please bring your child to the classroom for drop off. If we have already headed to the classroom, we ask that you say goodbye at the door. We are fostering independence and know your child is capable of unpacking their belongings.  When picking up your child please come straight to the classroom.  If you are picking up your child early, please go to the front office. Any change in the regular transportation routine will require a parent/guardian note or phone call. Please provide the name, street address, and phone number of the person/s responsible for your child.  

Field Trips
Parents/Guardians will be notified in advance and will be required to sign permission slips if their child plans to join the group. Parents/Guardians are welcome to attend.

Parent Volunteers/Involvement
The Preschool program is much more successful with the help of volunteers. Parents are welcome in the classroom, and there are many ways you can help. Here are just a few ideas: come into the classroom to help with special activities or projects, help students check out books at library time, make classroom games, chaperone field trips, share an occupation, read a story, share a song, or play a musical instrument.

Parent/Teacher Conferences
Parent/Teacher conferences will be held in October and March (or at any time you wish to ask for a parent teacher conference). If you have any concerns at any time, please call or send a note to schedule a meeting.
Family Communication
There are many avenues for communication between school and home. Parents are encouraged to speak directly to the teacher or call the school to discuss any issues/concerns. There will be a newsletter sent home weekly or the teacher may have a social media page or blog that they use for communication.  Updates around units of study, special occasions and the comings and goings of the preschool program will be communicated with you on a regular basis.

Progress Reports
Information about your child will be shared in the fall and spring through progress reports.  These reports can also be discussed at parent teacher conferences.  

Confidentiality
Students and their families are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Parents have the right to review records, must be notified and must give consent for specific records (written or verbal) to be released to another party. An Education Record is any and all information which is directly related to a student or a former student that is maintained by an educational agency in any recorded way.  Teachers and school officials who work with students and schools to which students apply for entrance may have access to Education Records without the consent of parents if there is a legitimate educational interest or need to know. Generally, school officials or persons contracted by schools have a legitimate educational interest if they need to know what is in a record in order to fulfill their professional responsibilities.
Inclusion
CESU shall provide for all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment in compliance with current federal and state laws.
Behavior Management
Our goal is to provide safe and appropriate care and education for each child. We recognize that every child has different needs and responds to different interactions. We strive to work with families to provide the best experience possible for all children in the program. Children are encouraged to reflect on their behavior and make choices to redirect inappropriate behavior, with adults acting as the mediators, rather than the problem solvers. It is the goal of the program to empower children to learn to make appropriate choices. Our school embraces the Responsive Classroom approach which applies a proactive component to classroom regulation, as well as logical consequences. Children are an integral part of the process.
Parents/Guardians can help by keeping staff informed of any changes at home, which may affect behavior (i.e. medication, sleeplessness, change in family situation, illness, death of a significant family member or pet). Our staff will keep parents/guardians informed of any incidents which happen during the program. Should a concern arise, a staff member will contact the parent/guardian. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to communicate with staff and should feel free to schedule a conference at any time. It is our goal to work with the family until we find a mutually satisfying solution.

Child Abuse and Neglect
All CESU employees are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. This means that they are required by the law to submit to DCF an oral or written report within 24 hours if they have a reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact us.
Grievances
Parents/Guardians are encouraged to discuss any concerns regarding the program with the classroom teacher. If the grievance is not resolved to satisfaction, parents/guardians should speak with the principal of Brewster-Pierce School. If concerns are still present, parents/guardians have the right to call or write the Vermont State Licensing Department:
Agency of Human Services
Department of Children and Families
Child Care Services Division
Child Care Licensing
2 North St. Waterbury, VT
05671-2642
(802)241-3110 or
(802)649-2642
and/or Child Care Consumer Concern Line 1-800-540-7942

Medical Policy
It is our preference that medications be administered to children prior to school attendance. If your child requires medication during program hours, we ask that you follow these regulations:
1. Medicine must come in an original prescription bottle and be given directly by a staff member.
2. Medication must with written instructions from the doctor specifying:
  • Child's name
  • Purpose of medication, and medication name
  • Dosage and time needed
  • Duration
  • Special conditions or instructions
  • Warning signs of conditions, if any
  • Possible reactions that may occur from the medication

No child may be admitted to the Preschool Program in the following instances:
1. If it is the opinion of the teacher and/or medical professional that the child is too ill to participate in the preschool program.
2. If the child is diagnosed with any of the following:
  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Chicken Pox
  • Campylobacter
  • Salmonella
  • Giardia
  • Polio
  • Impetigo
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Rubella (german measles)
  • Streptococcal infection
  • Tuberculosis (active)
  • The child may only return when a medical professional indicates that it is safe to do so.
3. If the child has any of the following symptoms:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Severe cough
  • Pink-eye
  • Jaundice
  • Rash with fever or behavioral change
  • Other symptoms of possible severe illness (lethargy, irritability, persistent crying, difficulty breathing, persistent abdominal pain).
  • The child may return 24 hours after symptoms have disappeared. If the child presents with any of these above symptoms while at school, you will be immediately contacted.
4. If the child is diagnosed as having any of the following conditions:
  • Lice; may return after appropriate treatment is completed.
  • Scabies, Pinworm, or Ringworm, may return 24 hours after treatment is initiated.

Accidents/Incidents
We will always inform you if your child is exposed to any contagious illnesses during the program. Our staff is trained and certified in CPR and First Aid to handle most emergencies. Our policy is to first call emergency numbers or the rescue squad. We will then attempt to locate the parent/guardian. Upon recommendation of emergency staff, children may be taken to the emergency room of the hospital for treatment prior to parental contact. Please know that we will continue to attempt to contact you while your child receives emergency care.
Accident/Incident forms will be filled out for any injury or incident occurring within program hours. A copy will be kept in your child's file and parents/guardians will be given a copy.
Smoking Policy
Smoking is not allowed on the grounds of, or in the buildings of of any of our Chittenden East District Schools.
Medication Permission
The Preschool will only administer medication in the original container and with written instructions from the doctor.  This will done in the nurse's office and delivered
Child's Full Name
Purpose of Medication, and Medication Name
Time of day to be administered and amount administered”
Duration to be administered
Special conditions, instructions, warning signs, reactions
Signature of Parent/ Guardian Date
*Please be sure the dosage agrees with the dosage on the medication label.


Please do not hesitate to contact your school with any questions you may have about your child’s Pre-Kindergarten Program.  

Thank you!

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