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Miss Melissa's Preschool

Let's get your kids ready for Kindergarten!

Parent Handbook

Policies and Procedures

Mission and Vision

My values and beliefs are strongly influenced by the Montessori theory. It is designed to promote a complete education by developing each child’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development using the philosophy that children learn best through play. My curriculum is built on the idea that ALL children equally, no matter their culture, language, race, or disability learn best through active exploration of their environment.

Dr. Maria Montessori designed a learning strategy that a child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual development are best learned through play. Montessori learning focuses on the potential of the individual child to grow in all areas through self-motivation, self-direction and self-discipline.

T. Berry Brazelton and Abraham Maslow believed that children need to have their basic needs met, which include safety, belonging and esteem before they can learn. Erik Erikson and Stanley Greenspan focused on the necessity of having supporting, trusting relationships with adults, which increases social, emotional development. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky discussed how interactions with others are crucial in cognitive development.

As a center, I use these principles to help make decisions about the care and education of the children I teach. I will incorporate childhood development, individual needs, strengths and interests, and the social and cultural context within each child when developing the educational plan for your child.

Experience

* 1989 I discovered my passion for working with children in teen parent program in Redmond, OR. I was both a high school student as well as a new mom. I discovered that education was the great equalizer when it came to raising children.

* 1990 I began my advanced education at Central Oregon Community College taking every class available in early childhood development.

* 1994 I Completed my A.A. Degree and transferred to Eastern Oregon University’s Education Program with a major in psychology for Early Childhood Development and brain research.

* 1997 I graduated with a B.S. and received my Elementary Teaching License. I started working at Greenwood Elementary with a student in a special education classroom.

* 1998 I taught kindergarten at Detroit Lake until the tiny rural school closed.

* 1999-2016, I became The Children’s Librarian Program Director for The Baker County Library District. It was in this role that I began to focus on programs like “Reading for Healthy Families”, “Every Child Ready to Read”, and “Start Making a Reader Today” within my community. I realized that reading is actually the great equalizer.

* 2016 I fulfilled my dream of starting my own private preschool where I could really use my education in Early Childhood Development and make a real difference in the lives of young children.

Curriculum

My Curriculum is based on setting developmentally appropriate goals and objectives for children within four main categories of interest:

The social/emotional stage helps promote independence, self-confidence and self-control. Within this stage, children learn how to make friends, how to have group interactions and how to follow rules.

The physical stage is intended to increase children’s large and small motor skills.

The cognitive stage is associated with thinking skills. Children learn how to solve problems, ask questions and think critically.

The language stage deals with communication. Children learn how to communicate with others, listen and participate in conversations, and recognize various forms of print. In this stage, children begin to recognize letters and words and begin writing.

I believe in a core list of traits that direct my lesson planning to best impact your child’s path of learning.

Build a trusting relationship with each child.

Provide responsive, individualized care by keeping the number of students to less than 10

Create environments that support and encourage exploration with multiple centers that rotate activities often

Ensure children’s safety and health

Develop partnerships with families

Observe and document children’s development in order to plan for each child and the group

Recognize the importance of social/emotional development

Appreciate cultural, family and individual differences

Take advantage of every opportunity to build a foundation for lifelong learning

Support dual-language learners

Include children with disabilities in all aspects of the program

Provide many rich language experiences throughout the day by describing what is happening, asking questions, singing and reading

discover mathematical relationships through number and size, patterns, objects, and shapes

Learning through play experiences and pretending builds imagination, promotes social skills and helps children gain a better understanding of daily experiences

Connecting with music and movement transforms moods and motivates us to move our bodies

Creating art by using different materials and exploring what they can do with them is fascinating to children

Using all 5 senses in our explorations allows the brain to be fully active and retain information in all areas.

I encourage children to observe, take things apart, build and see what they can discover about their world. The more active children are in their work, the more they learn and remember. As children play, I watch how they use materials. I listen. I talk with them to find out what they are thinking and trying to do. I observe what they do and take note. Through those notes, I can plan activities that interest each child individually and build skill in all areas

Discipline

This age group is a transition group. Children are moving from parallel play to group play. They are learning from each new experience what feelings are and what it is like to have conscious control over their emotions. They are maturing quickly in all respective developmental areas. It is important to give opportunities to make choices. Respecting and understanding the child’s feelings is crucial in every situation.

Conscious Discipline is the backbone of my program. All children are living with stress and show the symptoms as behavior problems. I believe children should not be removed or punished but rather meet their needs with a culture of inclusion, healing and connection that builds resilience.

Conscious discipline is designed to teach effective social-emotional skills, and embed resilience into the school culture as a way to counteract the stress and trauma that are so prevalent in our society. When students show challenging or maladaptive behaviors during the school day, I first question myself and assess how I can adjust the preschool environment, routine, transitions, ect. to help students function better rather than suspension or expulsion. If further action is needed I reach out to community partners for support and/or further training.

Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based Social and Emotional Learning methodology. It is recognized by SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Conscious Discipline creates a compassionate culture and facilitates an intentional shift in adult understanding of behavior via the Conscious Discipline Brain State Model. It then provides specific brain-friendly, research-based strategies for responding to each child's individual needs with wisdom. This highly effective approach is proven to increase self-regulation, sense of safety, connection, empathy and intrinsic motivation in both children and adults.

Parent Engagement

I believe in a school family. We need to work together to help encourage learning. The importance of working together also extends learning between school and home. Teachers and parents must communicate and share ideas so the child’s interests are best met. Through this bond, we will develop an individual care plan and update it as your child grows and changes. By pairing teacher and parent, I can help your child acquire the skills, attitudes, and habits to do well in school and in life.

Engagement Opportunities

I will begin the year with an open house to meet and greet all new students and parents. I will establish and explain the policies and requirements of Preschool Promise. I will also have many high quality, culturally responsive family engagements throughout the year. This year the kids and I will celebrate Day of the Dead, Chinese New Year, and Cinco de Mayo to learn about other cultures, geography, and show-off our work to families with a party.

Bulletin boards

Parent bulletin boards are located near the front entrance. Please check them frequently for updates and information.

Parent information area

There is a designated parent information area. This area will include the daily sign-in and sign-out sheets, field trip information, weekly schedule and basic lesson plans for the group as a whole.

Daily communication with teachers

Daily oral communication with myself is always available to parents during drop-off or pick-up times to speak with you about any concerns or questions you may have. Additionally, you may call or text me at (541) 519-9729 to speak with me after hours.

Scheduled conferences/Assessments

All students will have an initial entrance interview with both parents and myself. I will provide a development screening using ASQ-3 Ages and Stages to determine current levels and gather information on any additional health and development support that may be needed for child and or family.

Assessments are done twice per year to track development and progress towards the goal of kindergarten readiness. Scheduled Parent/Teacher conferences will also be offered 3 times a year to keep parents actively engaged in their child's progress. Please watch for times and sign-up for individual conferences.. Parents may also request a conference with me at any time to obtain or share additional information about their children.

Parents are always welcome to drop by and observe or participate in classroom activities.

Confidentiality

All written records about children, staff and parents are strictly confidential.

Days and Hours of Operation

The preschool center operates according to the public school year and observes the same holidays. Calendars will be distributed to each family at the beginning of the school year. Parents should bring and pick-up their child no more than 5 minutes before and after each class. In accordance with licensing guidelines, children are not allowed under any circumstances to remain at the center beyond closing time.

Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian or emergency contact person into and away from the center. The child must be signed-in and out of each class by the guardian. If someone other than you is picking-up your child, this person must first be identified on the emergency list. This person will be asked to show identification. Children are not allowed to leave the center with anyone under the age of 19 or anyone not on the emergency list without designation in writing by the parent. This is to ensure your child’s safety and well-being.

Daily Schedule

8:00 Arrival/free play

8:30 Calendar/weather (large group)

9:00 Centers

9:30 Recess

10:00 Snack/quiet reading

10:30 Circle Time (large group)

11:00 Arts & crafts

11:30 Recess

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Movie/rest time

3:00 Free Play

3:30 Pick-up

Extended Schedule

4:00 Recess

4:30 Story/craft

5:00 Pick-up/close

Lunch/Snack

Since I do not have a kitchen in the building, students will be required to bring a packed lunch from home. I will be providing snacks and have bottled water delivered from Blue Mountain Bottled water. I provide each child a snack bag and water bottle with their names on it that stay at school.

Safety

All staff have first-aid/CPR training. The preschool is equipped with a first-aid kit. The safety of your children in all activities is one of my first concerns.

*If your child is injured or becomes ill, staff will quickly assess the situation and decide what action/attention is required. Any emergency fee(including ambulance fee), will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

*In the event of an emergency that requires the evacuation of the preschool, we will meet behind school at Central Park.

*In the event of an emergency that requires evacuation of the immediate area, we will meet parents at Baker County Library District. Parents will be contacted and school will remain closed until the issue is normalized.

Illness

Please respect others in the preschool and do not bring your child to school if they are not well. Children should be kept home if they have a fever, have been vomiting, or have had diarrhea within the previous 12 hours.

Please notify the preschool if your child has come into contact with a communicable disease. The child may not return to the preschool until he/she has received medical attention and followed through with doctor’s recommendations. Staff will notify parents if their child has been exposed to a communicable disease and will notify the health authorities when any illness or condition specified by regulation is present at the preschool.

Should your child become ill at preschool, staff will contact the parent or the emergency contact person to come and pick up your child.

Should Miss Melissa become ill, every attempt will be made to have class continue, but if no options are available classes will be cancelled. All families will be notified by messenger school group or text prior to school arrival. Fees will not be adjusted for illness and missed school days.

Field Trips

The preschool will be taking trips to various locations downtown during the school year. Most field trips are typically within walking distance and we will return to school before the end of the school day. Parents are welcome to join us but not required on walking trips.

Some trips will require transportation to and from location; these will be posted with dates, times and other information on the parent bulletin board and school messenger group site. Parents are required to drive their child and stay to supervise their child during offsite trips.

Clothing

Please dress your child in “Ready-to-Play” clothes, as there is always the chance of paints, glue, water, dirt, etc. getting on their clothes. This allows for full participation by your child in any activity. An extra set of clothes should be provided in a backpack for potty accidents or just in case.

To keep outside germs out of our play space, each child is required to take shoes off at the door. They are able to wear inside shoes, slippers, or socks once at preschool. Inside shoes or slippers may be left at preschool as long as they are labeled.

Please ensure that there is appropriate outdoor clothing for your child as outside play is part of the daily routine. We often play at Central Park when outside and play in the grass, dirt, and rocks.

* Winter weather requires coats, gloves, boots, and hats. Sledding days also require snow pants.

*Summer weather gives us a chance for water play so swimsuits or an extra set of clothes are required.

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