BEGIN Program Policy 18.0 Child Care Plan
CHILD CARE PROGRAM PLAN
The program plan is reviewed annually by a Teacher qualified staff member.
The program plan is designed with the child’s individual cultural, social, intellectual, physical, emotional needs based on a manner that is developmentally appropriate for the child (ren). St. Mary’s School Begin Program exists to enhance the emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and language development of children and to help them gain confidence and self-esteem while learning to function in a group setting. We believe children learn through a structured environment as well as through play.
The needs of the children can differ from period to period so planning sheet are posted in each classroom weekly so parents can view what activities are planned covering the areas:
Developmentally appropriate activities and materials are planned/available DAILY:
- Language and Literacy
- Large Motor
- Fine Motor
Developmentally appropriate materials are available DAILY and activities are planned at least WEEKLY:
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR DAILY PROGRAM PLAN
The child care program plan at BEGIN PROGRAM MUST:
- Have children supervised at all times: 100% SIGHT AND SOUND
- Provide general educational methods to be used by the program and the religious, political, or philosophical basis, if any;
- Be developed and evaluated in writing annually by Principal
- Promote the physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development of the children in each age category
- Have a posted class schedule for days of operation
- Provide for activities that are both quiet and active, teacher directed and child initiated
- Provide for a variety of activities that require the use of varied equipment and materials
- Allow parents to request to view our classroom curriculum
- Lead Teachers are sent to curriculum and assessment training with in 6 months of their hire date
We provide daily access to indoor or outdoor large muscle activities and at least five of the following interest areas:
- Creative arts and crafts
- Cognitive Development: equipment and materials that enhance intellectual development such as problem solving, observation skills, group skills and symbol recognition
- Dramatic Play: equipment such as dress up clothes, large or miniature play sets, figures and small and large building blocks that can be used to design a setting or space that stimulates the child’s imagination and encourages role playing and the learning of practical life skills
- Manipulative Equipment: means equipment that is designed to enhance fine motor development and coordination, such as peg boards, puzzles, beads and strings, interlocking plastic forms and carpentry materials
- Sensory Stimulation Activities: things that have different shapes, color and textures that stimulate the child’s visual and tactile senses. Such as sand, water play dough etc
The frame worked used for these areas is:
- A well-planned program. Each day, the teachers design developmentally appropriate learning experiences to meet the children’s needs for their age group. This includes opportunities for creative art, music, science, nutrition, language arts, dramatic play, cognitive (knowledge) development, large and small muscle development, outdoor exploration and play. The staff recognizes and respects the unique differences of the families we serve.
- We use The Creative Curriculum, which reflects developmentally appropriate activities based on the children’s individual goals and interests.
- Daily schedule and lesson plans of the activities presented by staff are posted in the classrooms. You are encouraged to check this area daily. Teachers develop lesson plans based on the interests and needs of their group of children. Every child is monitored for progress in the areas of physical, social and emotional, cognitive, and language development.
- Mary’s School Begin Program recognizes and respect the unique differences of the families served, which is reflected in curriculum. St. Mary’s School Begin Program strives to present activities that are multicultural, gender fair, and disability sensitive. There are fun events and celebrations presented in the curriculum.
- Children are involved in weekly intergenerational activities with the residents at the West Wind Village.
Each Lead Teacher is responsible for posting dated lesson plans in the room where parents and others are able to look at them. If you have a planned absence, it is the staffs responsibility to inform the substitute of lesson plans. St. Mary’s School Begin Program provides daily access to interest areas with the equipment and materials needed to carry out the activities specified below.
Lead Teachers are responsible to rearrange and change toys around in their classrooms at least once a month. Some children are here every day for long hours and it is important to keep the environment stimulating and interesting.
There is an annual review for the Program Plan but is continually being reviewed for areas of improvement.
HOURS and DAYS of OPERATION
St. Mary’s School Begin Program are open week days Monday-Friday 8:15am to 3:05pm with optional after-school care until 5:45pm.
- Each day, the teachers design developmentally appropriate learning experiences to meet the children’s needs for their age group. This includes opportunities for creative art, music, science, nutrition, language arts, dramatic play, cognitive (knowledge) development, large and small muscle development, outdoor exploration and play. The staff at BEGIN PROGRAM recognizes and respects the unique differences of the families we serve. We use The Creative Curriculum, which reflects developmentally appropriate activities based on the children’s individual goals and interests.
- Daily schedule and lesson plans of the activities presented by staff are posted in the classrooms. Parents are encouraged to check this area daily. Teachers develop lesson plans based on the interests and needs of their group of children. Every child is monitored for progress in the areas of physical, social and emotional, cognitive, and language development.
- BEGIN PROGRAM recognizes and respects the unique differences of the families we serve, which is reflected in our curriculum. We strive to present activities that are multicultural, gender fair, and disability sensitive. There are fun events and celebrations presented in the curriculum.
- Children are involved in weekly intergenerational activities with the residents at the West Wind Village.
The following is given to the parents to encourage an emotional connection with families: We hope you will feel comfortable so that you can share important information with us that will help us care for your child the best way possible. Some examples are: If a loved one died, or a pet died, maybe you started off the day with a fight, a pending divorce or separation, maybe someone new moved into the house. Knowing this kind of information will give the teacher a frame of reference for meeting your child’s needs. Important information will help us to be empathetic with your child because we know there is a change to deal with. Sometimes children will have behavior issues when they are trying to work through things that they can’t verbalize.
ASSESSMENT AND KINDERGARTEN READINESS
We utilize an on-going assessment tool. Kindergarten readiness is our key goal.
- This means that concerns about a child’s development is not left for parent-teacher conferences but done continually throughout the year.
- Unless a concern arises outside of conference time a child will be given a more formal assessment bi-annually. Parents will have an opportunity to review this with their child’s teacher and make a plan individual to a child.
- Each family with a child going into kindergarten will be given a report/progress update. This will help prepare for what is guiding our daily activities and to assist in preparations at home as well.
- Conferences include a written report from the teacher on the status of your child’s intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. Additional conferences can be arranged as needed.
Conferences include a written report from the teacher on the status of your child’s intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. Additional conferences can be arranged as needed.
St. Mary’s School Begin Program will work with students from other grades at St. Mary’s School to incorporate on-going literacy development as well as social development.
DENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION
St. Mary’s School Begin Program through collaboration with Cavity Free Kids has had the opportunity to provide dental health education at the facility. It is full of activities in interest children in dental health. The program is designed for toddler and preschool age children. An activity is planned quarterly if not more often to education the young learners.
RATIOS, AGE CATIGORIES, STAFF DISTRIBUTION
These are mandate by the State of Minnesota under Minnesota Rule 9503, also known as RULE 3. Correct ratios must be kept at ALL times!
Preschool (1:10): The staff to child ratio is one adult to ten children with a maximum group size of 10. A Preschool child is defined as a child who is at least 33 months old but who has not yet attended the first day of kindergarten.
Staff distribution should be as follows in the classrooms at all times:
- The first staff member needed to meet the required staff-to-child ratio must be a teacher.
- The second staff member must have at least the qualifications of a child care aide.
NOTE: Supervision occurs when a program staff person is within sight and hearing of a child at all times so that the program staff person can intervene to protect the health and safety of the child.
8:15-9:00 Morning Circle, group play activity
9:00-9:30 Center Choice and Free Play
9:30-10:15 Outside/Large motor Play
10:15-11:45 Circle Time, Teacher Directed Centers, Arts and Crafts, and Music
11:45-12:10 Outdoor Recess
12:35-1:35 Nap or Quiet Time
1:35-2:35 Group Activities
2:35-3:05 Afternoon Circle / Dismissal
3:05-5:45 Extended Day Play
Preschool classroom is equipped with activity material including but not limited to:
- bulletin board display space at child’s eye level
- partially enclosed space equipped for quiet activity
- arts and crafts supplies such as clay or play-dough, tempera or finger paints, white or colored paper, paste collage materials, paint brushes, washable felt type markers, crayons, scissors, and smocks
- age appropriate books
- large building blocks
- small building blocks
- dramatic play equipment, materials, and accessories
- indoor large muscle equipment
- outdoor large muscle equipment
- music or noise making toys and instruments
- age appropriate puzzles and games
- manipulative equipment such as interlocking plastic forms
- pictures, mobiles and other items for pleasant environment/sensory stimulation
- sensory and science materials
- sensory table
All children MUST have the opportunity to play outside at least once a day depending on the weather. Children need to be well supervised while on the playground. This means staff members move all over the playground to ensure safety.
When children are taken outside they must abide by classroom rules. Children must also wear helmets while riding on the bikes. At the end of outside play it is the responsibility of that classroom to clean up the playground after use.
Here are the guidelines that St. Mary’s School Begin Program uses for going outside (weather verification tool used is Accu Weather):
- Preschool and school-age children go out every day that the temperature or wind-chill is zero or above and there is no rain or sleet.
- No classroom will be outside during a “Heat Advisory” during the summer months
The Lead Teacher for each classroom is responsible for taking the first aid kit and cell phone for their classroom outside with them.
It is also important that the children are not outside for too long. Please use good judgment for what’s best for the children and not what is easier for the staff person.
PLAYGROUND SAFETY AND SUPERVISION
Safe playgrounds contain 3 elements:
- Proper Supervision. Proper playground supervision begins with maintaining appropriate staff to child ratios on the playground at all times. Staff members need to be aware of how many children are outside with them. If a staff member has to take a child inside, he or she should take as many children with him or her to maintain the ratio on the playground. There should never be fewer than two staff members on the playground at any time. This provides for coverage in an emergency. One staff member can attend to the situation, while the other can get additional aid if needed. Having the appropriate number of staff members on the playground is not enough. The staff must actively supervise the entire playground area.
- Staff members should appropriately disburse themselves throughout the playground so that all children can be seen and directed. Actively supervising does not have to mean hovering over children and interfering with their free play. Be inconspicuous, but be aware of every student’s actions at all times and be close enough to react if you see a dangerous situation about to unfold.
- Age-appropriate equipment. Providing playground equipment that is appropriate to the age and physical development of the children, who use it, also decreases injury. When analyzing the age-appropriateness of your playground, consider, height, width of platforms, grip size of the students and the open spaces in equipment. Generally, the height from one flat surface to another flat surface should be no higher than the child can reach. It is recommended that the overall height (from ground to top) of the equipment be no higher than seven to eight feet for pre-school children. The width of each platform should provide adequate room for a child to sit, turn around and climb back down. When considering the grip of the child, staff members should be looking to see if the child’s hands are large enough to hold on to railings, platforms and rungs. The open spaces in playground equipment beckon children. To prevent a child’s head from getting in, but not out, equipment openings should be no less then three inches or more than 10 inches wide.
- Regular equipment and play area maintenance. Playground maintenance is the final and most important key to playground safety. Child care providers can build or purchase a playground fulfilling all of the above safety guidelines, but if the equipment and area are not maintained, daily risks for injuries increase. The percent of playground injuries attributable to improper maintenance is a shocking forty (40%) percent. When considering plans to renovate or replace a playground, consider the maintenance required to keep the area safe. Develop a plan for continued maintenance. Staff members should inspect equipment daily for protruding bolts, rust, ropes which are not secured at both ends, and sharp edges. High traffic areas in the fall zones should be raked daily to prevent compacting (especially under swings and at the bottom of slides). New material should be added occasionally to maintain the recommended twelve inch base.
From time to time non-allergenic small pets or animals are kept at the center. However, “guest” pets may only visit after St. Mary’s School Begin Program has gotten permission slips from each family in consideration to any possible allergies. If a staff member would like to arrange a pet visit, talk with a Lead Teacher or BEGIN PROGRAM management. Sorry, but no cats or dogs.
Through-out the year we plan special events or activities with the children and families. We encourage parents and children to participate when they are able. Here is a list of some of the events we have done in the past:
- Color Day
- PJ Day
- Trip to Story time at Public Library
- Parent’s Story Time
- Fly a Kite
- Valentine’s Party
- Muffins with Mom
- Donuts with Dads
- School Pictures
- Scholastic Book Fair
- Firemen for Fire Safety Week
PARENT INVOLVEMENT, CONFERENCES AND PARENT COMMUNICATION
Each teacher is responsible for offering parent conferences twice a year. The teacher must keep track of each child’s progress intellectually, physically and emotionally. Do not wait for a conference to talk with parents about any concerns you may have about the child.
Open communication with parents is very important. Please keep the parents informed on how a child is doing. Please do not give them only the negative comments. Parents need to hear positive statements! Infant, toddler, and preschool teachers are required to give a daily note for each child till families no longer requests a copy in the preschool room.
Regular Communications between Parents and Staff
Communication with parents happens in the following ways:
- Daily Written Reports – Teachers provide these for some Preschoolers (by request) receive a daily written report. Pre-K receives periodic written reports regarding significant events.
- Daily Verbal Reports – As parents arrive or pick up their children staff members work schedules have been designed to ensure parents get the key feedback about their child’s day.
- Parent Newsletters – The St. Mary’s School newsletter is provided weekly to keep families up to date on the activities, news, reminders, and upcoming special events in each classroom.
- Parent-Teacher Conferences – While parents are encouraged to visit the center at any time, parents/guardians have the opportunity to meet with their child’s teacher at a scheduled conference each October and April. Conferences include a written report from the teacher on the status of your child’s intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. Additional conferences can be arranged as needed. We urge parents/guardians and our staff to discuss significant events or situations that may affect your child at home or at BEGIN PROGRAM to help ensure children’s needs are met. Daily communication with staff is strongly encouraged.
Parent Questions, Concerns or Problems
If a staff person should have a grievance, the following procedure has been set up so a concern can be properly addressed. A grievance is defined as a statement alleging a violation of the policies or principals of BEGIN PROGRAM.
- A grieved person will first attempt to resolve the conflict in an informal manner. For example, this might involve discussing the situation with the teacher or BEGIN PROGRAM leadership.
- If the informal process does not resolve the situation to the satisfaction of the complaint, the grievance must then be put into written form and submitted to BEGIN PROGRAM leadership within five days of the disputed action.
- BEGIN PROGRAM leadership will respond to the grievance in writing within five days.
- If the complainant is still not satisfied with the resolution of the grievance, within five days from receipt and of BEGIN PROGRAM Principal’s written response, he/she must submit a copy of the grievance and all correspondence to date to the Principal.
- The Principal will then investigate the grievance and respond in 30 days to the complainant with a final resolution. A list of Board members is available on the parent information board.
- No adverse action will come to the grieved party as a result of his/her filing the grievance and using these procedures.