EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS PARENT HANDBOOK

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1 EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS PARENT HANDBOOK

2 Welcome The staff of LESA Early Childhood Programs welcomes you and your child. This handbook contains informa 뛕 on about programs, staff, policies, and procedures. We look forward to partnering with you and your family this year. LESA Early Childhood Programs include Head Start and the Great Start Readiness Program. These comprehensive child development programs provide preschool op 뛕 ons for three year olds up to age eligibility for kindergarten and their families. Classrooms are located throughout Livingston County in both public schools and in community based partner programs. Children have an opportunity to par 뛕 cipate in planned ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es in all areas of development (social, emo 뛕 onal, language, cogni 뛕 ve and physical) as well as community trips to explore the world around them. Our Philosophy LESA Early Childhood staff believe children learn best through play. Research shows the links between play and basic abili 뛕 es such as memory, self regula 뛕 on, oral language development, social skills and success in school. Children are ac 뛕 ve all day long using their en 뛕 re bodies and senses. Children explore, inves 뛕 gate and discover their natural surroundings, laying the founda 뛕 on for future learning and success in life. Each child is a unique individual with an individual pa ern of growth and development. Each child has unique experiences and interests. Each child learns best when experiences and informa 뛕 on are meaningful. Learning is a life long process resul 뛕 ng from the interac 뛕 on of the individual s own thinking and experience. Parents are a child s primary teachers; a strong, posi 뛕 ve rela 뛕 onship between parents and teachers support a child s learning and growth. 2

3 Table of Contents Early Childhood Program General Informa뛕on Page 4 Child Health Safety and Nutri뛕on Page 6 School Calendar Page 11 Learning Page 11 Mental Health and Disabili뛕es Services Page 13 Family Engagement Page 17 Parents As Decision Making Partners Page 19 APPENDIX 1. Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Page Frequently Used Numbers Page Grievance Procedure Page Mandated Repor뛕ng Informa뛕on Page Licensing Requirements/Informa뛕on Page 28 3

4 LESA Early Childhood Preschool Program General Information Enrollment LESA Early Childhood Programs are grant funded by the Federal and State government through the Livingston Educa 뛕 onal Service Agency. These programs offer comprehensive preschool programs for children living in Livingston County between the ages of three and age eligibility for Kindergarten. Documenta 뛕 on needed for enrollment includes: completed applica 뛕 on, verifica 뛕 on of income, up to date immuniza 뛕 on record, birth cer 뛕 ficate or record of birth, medical cards, and developmental documents (ex. IEP, IFSP). Withdraw Policy LESA Early Childhood Programs realize unexpected circumstances arise, please contact the Family Service and Enrollment Coordinator, (517) , if your child will no longer a end the program. There are very few reasons why LESA would dismiss a child, these could include nonpayment of fees, the suitability of the program for a par 뛕 cular child and/or specific behaviors that are unacceptable (e.g., excessive bi 뛕 ng or aggressiveness, excessive absences). Cost of Program LESA Early Childhood Programs are no cost (or minimal for those families above the 250% poverty threshold), comprehensive preschool programs offered through Livingston Educa 뛕 onal Service Agency. There is no enrollment or applica 뛕 on fee. For those on the sliding scale, the tui 뛕 on is due the first of the month by check or cash. Up to 250% Free 251% 300% $20.00 per month 301% and above $40.00 per month Attendance Your child s a endance is very important. By a ending regularly, your child will receive the maximum benefit our program has to offer and it also helps children establish rou 뛕 nes. Classroom staff keep careful track of a endance in order to meet Performance Standards requiring an 85% daily a endance rate. When a endance is irregular or exceeds one day with no contact from parents, families will be contacted by the teacher or Family Advocate. If your child is not going to attend school, it is expected parents call the child s Teacher to report the absence. Please leave details regarding the absence reason, for example, transportation, illness (nature of illness), family issues, appointments, etc. Weather Weather permi 䋜 ng, children play outside during each school day. If your child is not well enough to play outside, he/she is not well enough to be in the classroom. Each classroom housed in a local district elementary school will follow that district s weather procedures. For example, if your child a ends a preschool classroom in Brighton and Brighton cancels school due to bad weather, your child s preschool will also be cancelled. Parents should listen to local radio and television news for school cancella 뛕 ons. If your child a ends preschool in the Educa 뛕 on Center in 4

5 Howell, you will be listening for LESA Early Childhood Programs or Howell public school closing informa 뛕 on. Release of Children During Tornado Watches When a tornado WATCH is in effect during the school day, students will remain in their regular school se 䋜 ngs, i.e., classrooms, play areas, etc. When a tornado WATCH is in effect at the conclusion of the normal school day, students will be released via regular dismissal procedures and transporta 뛕 on plans. Parents or guardians are discouraged from coming to the school to pick up their child(ren) during tornado WATCHES. Release of Children During Tornado Warnings When a tornado WARNING is in effect during the school day, students will be placed in the safest loca 뛕 ons available at their school. When a tornado WARNING is in effect at the conclusion of the normal school day, students WILL NOT be released from school un 뛕 l appropriate officials cancel the tornado warning. Children may not leave school, (i.e. school bus, car pools, private vehicles, walking etc.) un 뛕 l the WARNING is cancelled. Our goal is to keep everyone safe during a tornado WARNING. In order to do so, children, staff, and parents will not be released from the shelter during a tornado WARNING. Drills Tornado drills shall be held in each school during the school year, with at least one of the drills being conducted during the months prior to the normal tornado season. Fire drills will be conducted at least 4 뛕 mes during the school year. Informa 뛕 on about fire and severe weather drill procedures will be posted in each classroom and explained to the students. Evacua 뛕 on routes will also be posted. Lockdown and intruder drill procedures will be with the teacher of each classroom and explained to the students. Picking up your child Only you and people listed on your child s emergency card may pick up your child from school. Your emergency contact person MUST be local and have a working phone. If you want someone other than those listed on the card to pick up your child, you must let us know in wri 뛕 ng, by phone, or personal contact. The person picking up your child will be required to show iden 뛕 fica 뛕 on. It is very important that you are punctual when bringing your child to school and picking your child up from school. If you do not want your child picked up by his/her other parent, a wri en court order must be on file in our office. Anyone picking up a child from school must report to the classroom and sign the child out. 5

6 Transportation Thanks to all of you who are transpor 뛕 ng your child to one of our centers in the county. You are helping them learn about your commitment to their educa 뛕 on and importance of school a endance. Parents, grandparents, day care providers, aunts, uncles, friends, or adult transpor 뛕 ng a child can be easily distracted in parking lots. Other drivers cannot see when they back up because the car next to them is too large or they are distracted by their cell phones, or blind spots make it easy for them to overlook small children who may be behind them. Also, children do not always do what they are told or stay where they should, it only takes one second for tragedy to strike. To help reduce injuries to children in our parking lots, please observe the following: ALWAYS hold your child s hand in the parking lot and while crossing the street. NEVER leave your child or any other young child una ended in the car. It is ILLEGAL.* DRIVE SLOWLY while entering and exi 뛕 ng school property. OBSERVE posted signs for parking. Cars parked in designated handicapped areas will be 뛕 cketed. ALWAYS have your child exit onto the sidewalk, not the street safely if no sidewalks BUCKLE UP! It is the LAW! Both you and your child need to be buckled in the car. * HOUSE BILL No Sec. 135a. (1) A person who is responsible for the care or welfare of a child shall not leave that child una ended in a vehicle for a period of 뛕 me that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to the child or under circumstances that pose an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to the child. CHILD HEALTH, SAFETY AND NUTRITION Patricia Jansen, RN BSN The health, safety and nutri 뛕 on areas of our program include screening, lab tests and informa 뛕 on from parents to determine a child s health status and iden 뛕 fy any issues that affect growth and development. Families and staff work together to complete the required health screenings assuring children are able to take full advantage of their learning experience. Physicals Parents must provide a Well Child Physical that is not more than one year old prior to the first day of school. Screening Services: Schedule of Well Child Visits A comprehensive health history including assessment of both physical and mental health development Comprehensive unclothed physical exam Appropriate immuniza 뛕 ons using the Advisory Commi ee on Immuniza 뛕 on Prac 뛕 ces (ACIP) for pediatric vaccines schedule Laboratory tests Childhood (birth 5 years) sickle cell, hemoglobin or hematocrit, cholesterol, TB screening (yearly, if high risk), and lead toxicity required to be evaluated by your physician for Head Start. 6

7 Health Educa뛕on includes guidance regarding safety, nutri뛕on, exercise and physical and mental development and counseling for children, parents/guardians. The purpose of health educa뛕on is to assist the parent/guardian in understanding what to expect rela뛕ve to their child s development and provide informa뛕on on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and prac뛕ces, accident and disease preven뛕on. Vision Services (Due 45 days a횦er enrollment for Head Start) includes the diagnosis and treatment of defects in vision. Must be provided according to the periodicity schedule (yearly). Hearing Services (Due 45 days a횦er enrollment for Head Start) includes a yearly screening. Includes the diagnosis and treatment of defects in hearing, including hearing aids. LESA Early Childhood Programs are visited by the Livingston County Health Department to meet this requirement. Dental Services (Due 90 days a횦er enrollment for Head Start) in accordance with the well child schedule. Parents must provide a Dental Exam that is not more than 6 months old on or before the first day of school. Services to be provided: relief of pain and infec뛕ons restora뛕on of teeth maintenance of dental health direct referral to a den뛕st by age 3 or sooner if indicated Diagnosis Order diagnos뛕c services based on needs iden뛕fied during the examina뛕on Provide for immediate referral when indicated Follow up to assure the services are received Treatment LESA Early Childhood Programs require documents for completed follow up care Provide treatment for all of the child s health care needs. Provide treatment or other measures to correct or improve defects, physical and mental illnesses, or any other condi뛕on(s) discovered through the screening services. Responsibilities of Primary Care Practitioners include: Arrange or provide well child check ups and document the care provided. Arrange referral for other preventa뛕ve health care and medically necessary services to treat iden뛕fied condi뛕ons. Report outcomes to the Department of Community Health and/or the appropriate health plan. Health Guidelines The LESA Early Childhood Programs encourages safeguarding the health of young children and staff by reques 뛕 ng families to follow these guidelines when deciding if a child is well enough to a end school. If your child is not going to a end school, parents are expected to call the LESA Early Childhood Programs Central Office (517) to report the absence. If your child becomes ill at school, the parents and/or emergency contact person will be no 뛕 fied. Your emergency contact person must live close enough to pick the child up within minutes. 7

8 Apparent health problem Fever Runny nose Earache Rash Sore Throat Persistent Cough Upset stomach or diarrhea Draining sore Red or watery eyes Pink eye Vomiting Keep child home until Temperature registers below 100 degrees F for 24 hours without medication and child has resumed normal activities. Thick discharge clears up. A doctor examines the ears, medication if necessary, and recommends the child return to school. A doctor determines the cause and recommends the child return to school. A doctor s note is required if rash is still present. A doctor determines no strep infection exists and the child is comfortable. A doctor determines no other symptoms or cough subsides. Child is eating normally and comfortable for at least one day before returning. No diarrhea for 24 hours. Sore is dry, healing and covered. Eyes return to normal. The child must see a doctor and be on prescribed medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school. All redness, draining and itching must be gone. A child may return to school after 24 hours without vomiting. Medication Guidelines LESA Early Childhood Programs follow the LESA Board adopted medica 뛕 on policy. When a parent/guardian requests that medication be administered at school, the Health Coordinator must be contacted and arrangements made prior to the medication coming to school. Over the Counter Medication (OTC) 1. The parent/guardian must provide a completed Authoriza 뛕 on for Non Prescribed Medica 뛕 on or Treatment form. This wri en permission includes: The name of the medica 뛕 on Date, 뛕 me, dosage and route to be administered (must comply with the wri en instruc 뛕 ons on the label of the OTC medica 뛕 on, if different, physician documenta 뛕 on must be provided) Phone number where the parent can be reached in case of an emergency 2. Medica 뛕 on must be in the original container (labeled with child s full name) and brought to school by the parent or given to the bus aide (or other adult). 3. LESA Early Childhood staff will give the medica 뛕 on as indicated, in the presence of another staff member and then document on the Medica 뛕 on Administra 뛕 on Log. 4. All medica 뛕 ons will be stored in a locked box during the school day. 8

9 Medication Prescribed by a Doctor 1. The parent/guardian must have the doctor complete an Authoriza 뛕 on for Prescribed Medica 뛕 on or Treatment form. 2. Any added health forms (as determined by the Health Coordinator). Parent must sign and date the form(s). The form(s) must include the following informa 뛕 on: The name of the medica 뛕 on Date(s), 뛕 me, dosage and route to be administered Instruc 뛕 ons, restric 뛕 ons/side effects and storage requirements Phone number where the parent can be reached in case of an emergency Dated Physician and Parent signatures 3. Medica 뛕 on must be in the original container (the container must have a pharmacy label with child s full name) and brought to school by the parent or given to the bus aide (or other adult). 4. LESA Early Childhood staff will give the medica 뛕 on as indicated, in the presence of another staff member and then document on the Medica 뛕 on Administra 뛕 on Log. 5. All medica 뛕 ons will be stored in a locked box during the school day. Emergency medica 뛕 ons will not be locked but they will be secured by staff for easy access in case of an emergency situa 뛕 on. Students to Whom Epinephrine Injections May Be Administered A licensed, registered, professional nurse or trained and authorized employees under this policy may administer Epi Pen injec 뛕 ons to 1. any student who has a prescrip 뛕 on on file with the District, in accordance with the direc 뛕 ves in such prescrip 뛕 on, and 2. any individual on school grounds who is believed to be having an anaphylac 뛕 c reac 뛕 on. Lice Policy Students are not allowed in the classroom when Head Lice (Pediculosis) or Nits are present 1. Upon discovery of either live lice or nits, classroom staff will immediately: (a) Restrict child from ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es involving close contact with other children. (b) Verbally no 뛕 fy parent/guardian and request immediate pick up. (c) If unable to contact parent or emergency contacts (as listed on child s informa 뛕 on card) child will remain in the classroom and will be allowed to ride the bus (if applicable) home. (d) Send no 뛕 fica 뛕 on le ers and head lice informa 뛕 on sheets home to classmates parents. (e) Parents to return Head Lice and Nit Check Log located on the reverse side of the no 뛕 fica 뛕 on le er indica 뛕 ng that they have checked their child s head for Head Lice/Nits. 2. Classroom staff will complete Checklist for Head Lice form and submit the form to the Central Office upon comple 뛕 on. 3. Prior to re admi ance to the classroom and transporta 뛕 on, classroom staff will inspect child s head for live lice and/or nits. If either is present, child will not be readmi ed to school. 9

10 4. A 횦 er 7 calendar days of short term exclusion the child is s 뛕 ll not clear to return to school, parent/guardian will be sent a le er no 뛕 fying them that the child will be dropped from the program if there is no response or resolu 뛕 on within an addi 뛕 onal 7 days. (a) The Family Advocate and/or classroom staff will provide follow up (i.e. person to person phone contact, face to face contact, or home visit) and assistance to family to insure student s 뛕 mely return to the classroom. 5. Short term exclusion for lice is not to exceed 14 calendar days per incidence. 6. If chronic absenteeism due to lice persists, LESA Early Childhood Programs will follow Sec of the Head Start Program Performance Standards and the child s slot will be considered a vacancy. Adopted by Policy Council, February 2007 Meal Time in the Classroom Breakfast (morning sessions snack) and hot lunch (all sessions) are served every day. Our school day programs will be served food 3 뛕 mes during the day. These servings will be breakfast, lunch, and PM snack. Our part day program will be served breakfast and lunch/lunch and snack. Monthly menus will be provided. Children help set up, serve, and clean up for all meals. Meal 뛕 me is considered a learning experience. Children learn about math (how many people at the table), cultures (different types of food), the community (people who help grow the food), nutri 뛕 on (what food helps your body grow), science (changes in food as it is prepared), and much more during meal 뛕 me. Children and adults, including visitors and parents, sit together for all meals. A relaxed atmosphere is promoted through conversa 뛕 on. Food is never used as punishment or reward for any reason. New foods are introduced with cooking ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es and children are encouraged to try all of their crea 뛕 ons. Parents are encouraged to plan and present food ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es to broaden a child s cultural experiences or provide a way to learn about nutri 뛕 on. Please plan this event with the teacher five weeks prior to the event. Allergies If a physician has diagnosed food allergies for your child, the Health Coordinator needs to be no 뛕 fied to plan meals and snacks. Documenta 뛕 on from your child s physician is required by the Child and Adult Care Food Program our program runs. Due to the high incidence of peanut allergies our program does not serve peanuts. If your child is allergic to peanuts it is s 뛕 ll required that you submit documenta 뛕 on. The food services will be no 뛕 fied to ensure extra precau 뛕 ons are taken to prevent cross contamina 뛕 on. Special Diets A plan will be worked out between the parents and the Health Coordinator when a physician recommends special diets. Milk With Every Meal The USDA Child Care Food Program requires all children be encouraged to drink milk at breakfast and lunch. A milk subs 뛕 tute will be available for those children who have a diagnosed milk or dairy allergy. A doctor s note MUST be on file in order to receive this subs 뛕 tu 뛕 on instead of having milk offered at meal 뛕 me. 10

11 Menus with noted food subs 뛕 tu 뛕 ons will be posted in a place visible to parents LESA Preschool Program Calendar Date(s) August 16 to September 9 September 2 to September 5 Home Visits LESA Closed Important Event/Information September 12 November 8 November 14 November December 22 January 6 January 9 January 16 February 13 February 20 March 27 to April 1 April 3 April 24 May 25 First Day for Children/School Begins No School for Children Fall Conferences Begin LESA and all Preschool Programs Closed for Thanksgiving Break LESA and all Preschool Programs Closed for Holiday Break Preschool Programs Resume No School for Children Winter Conferences Begin All Preschool Programs Closed for Winter Break LESA and All Preschool Programs Closed for Spring Break Programs Resume Spring Conferences Begin Last Day of School for Children LEARNING Lisa Pecorilli Eoll, Amy Mason, Nancy Rennie and Kristen Kostielney Early Childhood Specialists Curriculum Our teachers use Crea 뛕 ve Curriculum to plan learning experiences in an environment where children have opportuni 뛕 es to learn and prac 뛕 ce new skills. Crea 뛕 ve Curriculum is based on 38 objec 뛕 ves for development and learning, which are fully aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework as well as early learning standards for every state. It offers daily opportuni 뛕 es to individualize instruc 뛕 on, helping teachers meet the needs of every type of learner. This curriculum addresses all the important areas of learning, from social emo 뛕 onal and math to technology and the arts, and incorporates them throughout every part of the day. Crea 뛕 ve Curriculum offers support for working with English and dual language learners, including informa 뛕 on that helps to build teachers knowledge about best prac 뛕 ces. The curriculum allows every child to bring par 뛕 cular interests, life experiences, and learning styles and help teachers to make accommoda 뛕 ons to service all learners. We also incorporate, I Am Moving I Am Learning (IMIL), which is a proac 뛕 ve approach for addressing childhood obesity in Early Childhood Programs. IMIL seeks to increase daily moderate to vigorous physical ac 뛕 vity, improve the quality of movement ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es inten 뛕 onally planned and facilitated by adults, and promote healthy food choices every day. In addi 뛕 on, the Second Step Early Learning Program, which teaches self regula 뛕 on and thought process, is incorporated daily in every classroom. The purpose is to help children learn skills to manage their 11

12 feelings, make friends, and solve problems. Home Links are ed weekly making it easier for you to talk with your child about what they learned in class. If you do not have access, let your teacher know and a paper copy will be sent home with your child. Measuring Growth In order to provide the most successful classroom experiences, teachers gather informa 뛕 on from a brief developmental screening called the Early Screening Inventory (completed during the child s first home visit). In addi 뛕 on, the Ages and Stages: Social Emotional Questionnaire, a screening tool is filled out by the parent during the first home visit and used to provide a brief look into the social emo 뛕 onal development of your preschool child. Teaching Strategies GOLD is the measurement tool used with Crea 뛕 ve Curriculum. It is an organized tool used to observe and document student s growth and development. GOLD assists teachers in: individualizing instruc 뛕 on, measuring progress, guiding planning and instruc 뛕 on, and communica 뛕 ng with families. See Appendix for Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Celebrating Special Occasions and the Seasons LESA Early Childhood Programs recognize the changing seasons while not promo 뛕 ng any specific holidays. Your teacher will have a very long list of ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es related to the seasons and will be happy to talk with you about some ideas you could use at home. Below are a few examples of how we celebrate and learn about the seasons: Fall Fall colors Pumpkins and harvest Changing weather Winter Changing weather Tradi 뛕 ons Friendship Spring Plants and flowers Baby animals Families Birthdays Birthdays can be celebrated in the classrooms. Teachers have different ways of acknowledging each child s special day. We do not allow food in the classroom as a way to celebrate your child s special day. Some ways they may celebrate are: Have the child share a family photo during large group 뛕 me Make a special birthday symbol in class for the child to wear on his/her special day Have a family member volunteer in the classroom Sing happy birthday Make the child a special helper for the day 12

13 Please see your child s teacher for more ideas! MENTAL HEALTH AND DISABILITIES SERVICES Jennifer Lange, LMSW (517) and TBD Mental Health/ Disabilities Coordinators Special Needs Services Enrollment opportuni 뛕 es are available to children with special needs in our Early Childhood Program. The Mental Health and Disabili 뛕 es Coordinator helps to coordinate services for children with special needs by facilita 뛕 ng communica 뛕 on between families and special educa 뛕 on providers. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to contact the Mental Health and Disabili 뛕 es Coordinator with any worries or concerns about their child. As an added support, LESA Auxiliary Staff provide direct or consulta 뛕 ve services in all Early Childhood classrooms. Mental Health Services One of the primary roles of the Mental Health and Disabili 뛕 es Coordinator is to ensure the classroom environment encourages social emo 뛕 onal growth. What is social emo 뛕 onal health? It is the child s growing ability to: express feelings in healthy ways (without hur 뛕 ng self or others) develop close rela 뛕 onships with others explore his/her surroundings and learn These abili 뛕 es help the child to focus, follow direc 뛕 ons, share, solve problems, care about how other people feel and experience more success in school Through social emo 뛕 onal screenings, curriculum ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es and general classroom observa 뛕 ons, which are performed periodically throughout the year, we ensure that our classroom environments are suppor 뛕 ve, responsive, and focused on mee 뛕 ng children s needs. In addi 뛕 on, parents/caregivers complete the Ages and Stages: Social Emotional screening tool. This screening tool is used to provide a brief look into the social emo 뛕 onal development of your preschool child. If concerns are noted on the screening, the Mental Health and Disabili 뛕 es Coordinator will contact the parent/caregiver to discuss and provide any addi 뛕 onal supports. At 뛕mes, a teacher or parent may feel a child is experiencing difficul뛕es or showing challenging behaviors in the classroom or at home which may benefit the family to seek out addi뛕onal supports. Warning signs include (but are not limited to): Extremely ac뛕ve Shows no fear of strangers Has sleeping or ea뛕ng problems Lacks interest in other people or playthings Rarely seeks or makes eye contact Has extreme and frequent tantrums Fearful or Withdrawn O횦en appears sad Extreme mood swings Sudden behavior changes The Mental Health Coordinator or Instruc 뛕 onal Consultant Team member is available to meet with the teaching staff or parent to discuss concerns and formulate an individual plan of ac 뛕 ons, which may include providing supports in the classroom or providing the family with community referrals. If you have a concern or worry about your child, please contact your Family Advocate, child s teacher, or the Mental Health Coordinator. 13

14 A Resource Library is available to parents and staff on a broad range of topics. A list of topics is available within your child s classroom. Books, videos, and pamphlets may be borrowed for up to 2 weeks by asking your child s teacher or by calling Jennifer Lange at (517) Separation Anxiety Our program is inten 뛕 onal about suppor 뛕 ng children with the transi 뛕 on of star 뛕 ng preschool. Our procedure includes: each child receiving a Home Visit and having an orienta 뛕 on 뛕 me in the classroom. During the Home Visit children are introduced to their teacher in their own environment; by the end of the visit the teacher is no longer a stranger to the child or the child s family. Furthermore, your child will have a 45 minute orienta 뛕 on 뛕 me slot which occurs on the first day of school. This orienta 뛕 on takes place in your child s classroom, they will be able to see their room, meet all staff, become familiar with the building, and are introduced to classmates. For many children, preschool is their first experience away from their parents. Some children may meet this challenge with a smile and enthusiasm; other children may experience a few adjustment difficul 뛕 es. There are also other children who may experience tears, screams, panic and genuine separa 뛕 on anxiety problems. Children who experience separa 뛕 on anxiety and are put on the bus are usually feeling much be er by the 뛕 me they walk into the classroom. Please feel free to contact your child s teacher if you are worried about his/her well being. Here are some sugges 뛕 ons to help you nurture your child s separa 뛕 on: Before school, talk about what each of you will be doing that day. Always take 뛕 me to say good bye. Remind your child that you will be home when they return home from school, or remind them where they will be going a 횦 er school if they are not going straight home (e.g., daycare; grandmothers; friends; etc.) Let your child see that you and the teacher are building a rela 뛕 onship (for example talk to your child s teacher: call, a end mee 뛕 ngs, volunteer). Volunteer in the classroom. When your child returns home, share your day and ask about his/hers. Be specific with your ques 뛕 ons, for example Tell me one thing you played with today. I wonder what you had for snack? Did come to school today? Did you play outside? Congratulate yourself for sending your child to preschool. He/she is increasing their self confidence, making new friends and preparing for Kindergarten. If you have any concerns about your child, speak with the teacher, or call the Family Advocate at the LESA Early Childhood Programs central office (517) Child Guidance/Discipline The LESA Early Childhood Program uses an approach to discipline and guidance that emphasizes respect for each child; developmentally appropriate expecta 뛕 ons of children s behavior; and the use of posi 뛕 ve discipline and guidance strategies. Our staff members strive to create a relaxed, posi 뛕 ve environment that enables children to explore and experiment while remaining safe and feeling well supported. Through posi 뛕 ve guidance strategies and modeling social skills, staff helps children learn pro social behaviors, build confidence and self esteem, and develop greater respect for others rights and feelings, as well as a sense that they are themselves respected. 14

15 Discipline concerns are handled by staff in a way that encourages children to solve problems and develop a sense of inner self control. Children are given authen 뛕 c choices and the opportunity to be an ac 뛕 ve part of decision making in their environment, thus fostering a sense of personal responsibility. Staff helps children to understand the reasons for rules and limits and to feel good about the choices they make. Our staff will use a variety of strategies for posi 뛕 ve discipline and guidance in the classroom, including the following: Plan ahead in order to an 뛕 cipate problems. Limit expecta 뛕 ons to what is realis 뛕 c for the developmental level of each child (and make these expecta 뛕 ons clear to children). E.g. understand that young children are not ready to share yet; model and encourage sharing, but do not insist on it. Create a yes environment: rather than telling children what they cannot do, give them choices of the things they can do. Talk about children s posi 뛕 ve behavior: Thank you for giving the truck to Daniel when you were finished with it. Set a few simple, clear rules, focused around health and well being, safety, respect for property, and respect for others. State rules posi 뛕 vely rather than nega 뛕 vely: Please walk instead of Don t run. Offer reasons for rules: I know you really want to paint, but it is not safe to run inside the classroom. I don t want you to slip and fall. Please use your walking feet when you are inside. Model behaviors that we wish children to use, e.g. always being courteous and a en 뛕 ve. Give children clear, simple direc 뛕 ons and posi 뛕 ve reminders. Pay close a en 뛕 on to children in order to prevent and/or intervene in challenging behaviors. (Especially important with children who are likely to escalate, hit or bite.) Redirect children from unacceptable to acceptable behavior: I am going to help you stop kicking. We ll find something else for you to do. Share our own feelings about certain behaviors: I get worried when you climb on the bookshelf. Help children deal with frustra 뛕 on and anger through words or pretend play. Focus on the child s behavior, not on the child s value as a person. Steps to Help Resolve Conflicts Helping children to work their way through conflicts in a posi 뛕 ve way is one of our major focuses. A child who is able to nego 뛕 ate disagreements with peers will experience more success in kindergarten. Below you will find some of the strategies we use at school that also work very well at home. These strategies work even be er when parents and school are reinforcing the same things! Approach calmly, stopping any hur 峔 ul ac 뛕 ons. Place yourself between the children, on their level; use a calm voice and gentle touch; remain neutral rather than take sides. Acknowledge children's feelings. Say something simple such as You look really upset; let children know you need to hold any object in ques 뛕 on. Gather informa 뛕 on. Ask What's the problem? Do not ask why ques 뛕 ons as young children focus on what the problem is rather than understanding the reasons behind it. Restate the problem: So the problem is... Use and extend the children s vocabulary, subs 뛕 tu 뛕 ng neutral words for hur 峔 ul or judgmental ones (such as stupid ) if needed. Ask for solu 뛕 ons and choose one together. Ask What can we do to solve this problem? Encourage children to think of a solu 뛕 on but offer op 뛕 ons if the children are unable to at first. 15

16 Be prepared to give follow up support. Acknowledge children s accomplishments, e.g., You solved the problem! Stay nearby in case anyone is not happy with the solu 뛕 on and the process needs repea 뛕 ng. Unacceptable Discipline Methods: The following methods are prohibited by staff at all times, under any circumstances: Corporal punishment, including hitting, spanking, swatting, beating, shaking, pinching, squeezing and other measures intended to induce physical pain or fear Threatened or actual withdrawal of food, rest, or use of the bathroom Use of food as reward Abusive or profane language Any form of public or private humiliation, including threats of physical punishment or emotional abuse, including shaming, humiliating, rejecting, terrorizing, or isolating a child Punishment for soiling, wetting, or not using the toilet Bribes, false threats or false choices Retaliating or doing to the child what s/he did to someone else Labeling a child as bad or otherwise implying that s/he is a problem, rather than the behavior Challenging Behavior Many children struggle to develop social emotional skills. These children often have challenging behaviors. For example, they may have extreme tantrums; or may throw toys, hit or bite. These behaviors challenge us adults, because we are not sure how to handle them and they upset us. These behaviors can get in the way of a child's learning. The sooner we find out what is causing a challenging behavior, the easier it is to help the child. If a child is displaying challenging behavior in the classroom, the teacher may request the Mental Health and Disabilities Coordinator or Instructional Consultation Team member to observe and help find solutions to eliminate the challenging behavior. A meeting with the teacher, Mental Health Coordinator, and parent may be necessary to make a plan as it is important that staff and parents use a consistent approach to the problem both at the center and at home. If behavior continues to escalate and cause danger to self or others, a plan to modify programming to fit the needs of the child may become necessary. All staff will discuss topics such as: child management, guidance, discipline, techniques to modify behavior. distribute literature on discipline, child management, stress. inform parents of agency workshops on stress, discipline and behavior management techniques. make referrals to mental health services when needed. 16

17 FAMILY ENGAGEMENT Teresa Grostic (517) Family Services and Enrollment Coordinator Research shows parent engagement supports a child s success in school. LESA Early Childhood Programs believe that you, as a parent and/or legal guardian, are the most important influence in your child's educa 뛕 on and development. You are your child s first teacher and we look forward to suppor 뛕 ng you in this role. Parents can help plan ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es in the classroom for children, plan with teachers and staff during home visits and parent/teacher conferences, volunteer in the classroom, a end parent mee 뛕 ngs, a end family fun events, or par 뛕 cipate on commi ees such as Policy Council. In addi 뛕 on to volunteering in the classroom and on commi ees, there are learning opportuni 뛕 es for families on different topics such as health, nutri 뛕 on, child development, community resources, and job readiness. Our program may be your child s first 뛕 me a ending school and our goal is to partner with you to create the best experience for your child. You can: A end parent ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es throughout our Early Childhood Community Volunteer in the classroom, encourage grandparents, other family members, and members of the community to volunteer Par 뛕 cipate in Center Parent Mee 뛕 ngs and learning opportuni 뛕 es throughout the year Serve on the Early Childcare & Community Partner Commi ee, Health and Family Services Advisory Commi ee, or Policy Council/Parent Advisory Commi ee Plan classroom ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es Drive your child to school and school related ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es Encourage learning and exploring at home by: Completing the Connections family activity sheet every month Reading weekly, Home Links from the Second Step Program and try out some of the activities Help plan parent trainings and ways to help other parents to be involved. Work with preschool staff when you think there may be an issue that may require referral for outside support services Par 뛕 cipate fully in home visits, conferences, and family involvement nights We want ALL parents, grandparents, and family members to feel welcome to volunteer in our program at any 뛕 me. Preschool Bucks: Preschool Bucks are earned by par 뛕 cipa 뛕 on with the classroom, events, mee 뛕 ngs and other support given to your child s Head Start/GSRP program. The Preschool Bucks can be used to purchase goods from the Preschool Store at designated 뛕 mes throughout the school year. You will receive the Preschool Bucks informa 뛕 on during your first home visit. Volunteering in the classroom gives you an opportunity to share your gi 횦 s, talents, and unique ideas with others. Your presence shows your child how important school is to you. Please feel free to ask any ques 뛕 ons or share concerns you may have with your child s teacher or if in a Head Start classroom your family advocate. The following provides some basic informa 뛕 on about volunteering and some of our program policies. During your 뛕 me in the classroom, you will always be 17

18 supervised by a LESA staff member and you will never be le 횦 alone with any student(s) besides your own child. What To Expect When You Volunteer Arrival Encourage children to take off coats, put away their belongings and help when necessary Direct children to get name tags, use the bathroom and wash hands Direct children to large group area Snack (same as meal 뛕me) Large Group Sit with children at large group area Sing with the children; tell stories, talk, etc. Help children follow direc뛕ons. Assist teacher to make this a successful part of the day Small Group During this 뛕me the classroom is divided into 2 groups and students par뛕cipate in hands on ac뛕vi뛕es that reflect a par뛕cular learning objec뛕ve. Adults are encouraged to play with the materials, imitate the children s ac뛕ons, encourage the children to use the materials, discuss what they are doing, and keep the conversa뛕on going Free Choice During this 뛕me volunteers are encouraged to par뛕cipate in appropriate play ac뛕vi뛕es with the children. Let children choose and lead the ac뛕vity. Make sure play is safe for all children and volunteers Clean Up Encourage everyone to clean up: give children containers that need to be filled with toys As children finish cleaning up, direct them to an adult at the next scheduled ac뛕vity (i.e., large group/small group 뛕me, table, line up) Preparing to go outside Encourage children to dress themselves and help them when necessary Send children to line up to go outside Outside Help children walk to the playground. Posi뛕on yourself in the middle of the group Help watch the children especially when we walk next to a road or cross the street Help children follow road and safety rules On the playground, par뛕cipate in child led ac뛕vi뛕es or assist in watching children s play Meal Time Sit at the tables with students and staff Model table manners and family style ea뛕ng If quan뛕뛕es allow, take a small amount of food to encourage healthy ea뛕ng habits Prepare To Go Home Encourage children to put on their coats and collect their belongings Line up to go home Dangerous Situa뛕ons Immediately alert a teacher or other staff when there is a dangerous situa뛕on It is beneficial for you to have a basic understanding of first aid and choking procedures Never put yourself in the situation to be alone with students unless it is your own child Universal Precau뛕ons (wearing gloves, hand washing, etc.) are used at all 뛕mes when dealing with blood or body fluids 18

19 Emergency evacua 뛕 on and tornado safety plans are posted in every classroom. Please take a moment to look these over Calling All Fathers Men uniquely contribute to the healthy development of children. Boys and girls that grow up with an involved father and an involved mother have advanced physical and mental skills, be er physical mental health, are be er problem solvers, and are more confident, curious, and empathe 뛕 c. They also show greater moral sensi 뛕 vity and self control (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). Moms and LESA Early Childhood Staff can encourage men to become more involved with their children, with their families, and with ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es. Fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, other rela 뛕 ves, or other male friends can all be important contributors to your child s life. Star 뛕 ng in October, on the 1st Wednesday of each month, is Dad s Day! This program is designed to involve a male role model in children's lives. We encourage dad, grandpa, uncle, cousin, or even a male family friend to par 뛕 cipate with their child. Join your child in his/her classroom and be a part of his/her day. You could: Come for meal 뛕 me Come in and play Read a book Stop in during your work break Did you know: Children are most successful at school when the family and the school work as partners. Children whose fathers take an ac뛕ve role in school earn be er grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and a end college. Children with involved parents are more likely to have be er social skills, show improved behavior, and succeed in school. Confidentiality Policy LESA Early Childhood staff and volunteers are expected to maintain confiden 뛕 ality at all 뛕 mes. Head Start Performance Standards, Sec 뛕 on (b)(4), Confiden 뛕 ality of Records and the Livingston Educa 뛕 onal Service Agency Procedures and Policies, Sec 뛕 on D, 1 5(b) Access to Records. When volunteering, you agree to maintain confiden 뛕 ality by never divulging any informa 뛕 on or records concerning any of the children or families without proper wri en authoriza 뛕 on. The unauthorized release of confiden 뛕 al informa 뛕 on may result in disqualifying you from spending 뛕 me in the classroom. (Head Start Performance Standards Sec 뛕 on (B)(4) LESA Board Policy) 19

20 PARENTS AS DECISION MAKING PARTNERS Parents have many ways to be involved in their child s educa 뛕 on while enrolled in LESA s Preschool Programs. One of the ways is to become a member of a commi ee. The following commi ees are important components of our program and by being a member, parents have the opportunity to help in our decision making process as we work towards con 뛕 nual improvement. Below you will find contact informa 뛕 on for each commi ee and a brief descrip 뛕 on of the purpose of the commi ee: Center Parent Committee Contact Lead Teacher or Family Advocate for more informa 뛕 on about how to join. Each Center (or school) has a Center Parent Commi ee and every family is encouraged and welcome to a end Center Parent Commi ee mee 뛕 ngs. The Center Parent Commi ee is a group of parents who meet at least 4 뛕 mes per year to plan events for families and children, talk about Center issues, and hear reports from the Center s Policy Council/Parent Advisory Commi ee representa 뛕 ves. Each classroom should have at least one parent representa 뛕 ve at the Center Parent Commi ee mee 뛕 ngs. Policy Council Candice Davies (517) Director, Early Childhood Programs Purpose: Policy Council Commi ee is the advisory and decision making body for LESA Early Childhood Head Start Programs similar to Parent Teacher Organiza뛕ons in public school. Each Center should have at least one parent represented on the Policy Council. The majority (51%) of the representa뛕ves are parents of currently enrolled children. Mee뛕ngs are generally the every other month beginning in October, held on Wednesdays, from 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. During the October mee뛕ng the new Policy Council will set the schedule for the rest of the year. Held at the LESA Educa뛕on Center in Howell, parents are reimbursed for mileage Free childcare is provided at each mee뛕ng Responsibili뛕es of members include, but are not limited to: Approval of grant applica뛕ons Review and acceptance of quarterly budgets Approval of recommenda뛕ons for staffing of programs Approval of service plans Par뛕cipa뛕ng in the annual self assessment and data analysis Planning for staff recogni뛕on Assis뛕ng with recruitment of children Approval of program op뛕ons 20

21 School Readiness Advisory Committee/Curriculum Committee Sean LaRosa (517) Execu뛕ve Director, Early Childhood Services Purpose: Provides an opportunity for people to meet, share informa뛕on and offer guidance as it relates to school readiness in our county. Parents are invited to become a member of the School Readiness Advisory Commi ee. This commi ee is a work group of the Great Start Collabora뛕ve. Members include Great Start Collabora뛕ve staff, LESA teachers and administrators, parents whose children a end our programs, personnel from local schools, and other community members. Mee뛕ngs are held the 2 nd Thursday of the month at LESA. Health & Family Services Advisory Committee Patricia Jansen (517) ; Jennifer Lange (517) Health Coordinator; Mental Health Coordinator Purpose: The Health & Family Services Advisory Commi ee is a part of the Great Start Pediatric Health Commi ee. This commi ee includes parents, community members and early childhood staff whose task is to advise in the planning, opera뛕on and evalua뛕on of health and family services within the LESA Early Childhood Programs and children 0 5 throughout Livingston County. The group meets to provide input in the development of health and family services policies and procedures. It assists families to find con뛕nuous and accessible health care and other family support services. Mee뛕ngs are held the second Wednesday of each month 10:00 11:30 at the Livingston County Health Department. Mileage reimbursement and childcare are provided. The following mee뛕ngs will focus on LESA Early Childhood Programs health and family service needs although we discuss issues monthly: October January March May

22 22 APPENDIX

23 Domains and Indicators Livingston Great Start Collabora 뛕 ve Kindergarten Readiness Commi ee Recommended Indicators Physical Well being and Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development Developing age appropriate fine motor skills (ex. developing the ability to work with pencils, scissors) Growing in hand eye coordina 뛕 on in building with blocks, pu 䋜 ng together puzzles, reproducing shapes and pa erns, stringing beads and using scissors. Demonstra 뛕 ng a growing independence in self care when ea 뛕 ng, dressing, washing hands, and toile 뛕 ng. (ex. Is able to put on coat and zip it) Social and Emotional Development O 횦 en or very o 횦 en exhibits posi 뛕 ve social behaviors when interac 뛕 ng with others Developing ability to self regulate and manage strong feelings. Is able to follow simple rules and rou 뛕 nes and manage transi 뛕 ons. Displaying a growing awareness of where his/her body is in rela 뛕 on to others and the consequences of his/her movements and ac 뛕 ons. Approaches to Learning Approaching tasks with ini 뛕 a 뛕 ve and curiosity (or Is willing and eager to try new things) Displaying a growing capacity to maintain concentra 뛕 on and a en 뛕 on. Developing ability to transi 뛕 on from one task to another. Developing an ability to follow direc 뛕 ons for individual, small and large group ac 뛕 vi 뛕 es. Language Development and Literacy Showing progress in expressing feelings, needs and opinions in a range of situa 뛕 ons including conflicts with others. Using expanded vocabulary and language for a variety of purposes. Progressing in abili 뛕 es to ini 뛕 ate and respond appropriately in conversa 뛕 ons and discussions with peers and adults. Cognition Beginning to understand the rela 뛕 onship between numbers, le ers, sounds and words. Experimen 뛕 ng with a variety of wri 뛕 ng tools and materials, such a crayons, pencils and computers. Developing a growing understanding of the different func 뛕 ons of forms of print such as books, signs, le ers, newspapers, lists, messages, and menus. Developed by the Kindergarten Readiness Ad Hoc Commi ee (Great Start Collabora 뛕 ve Livingston) August, Resources: Head Start Outcomes Framework, Work Sampling, ESI R, Ge 䋜 ng Ready Findings from the Na 뛕 onal School Readiness Indicators). 23

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