||2011-2012 Parent Orientation Packet|
Thank you for choosing the Jewish Community Alliance (JCA) and welcome to the Early Childhood Education (ECE) department! At Michele Block Gan Yeladim (pronounced gon yell-uh-DEEM, Hebrew for Garden of Children), our goal is to provide you and your child with the best possible school experience. You have chosen a school with a proven track record of excellence. Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool has been accredited by NAEYC (The National Association of Education of Young Children) since 1991, Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC) since 2004, and Guiding Stars of Duval (5 stars!) since spring 2010. We are so proud to be accredited by so many organizations! Your children will have some of the finest early childhood faculty in the area to nurture and guide them as they develop self-esteem, confidence, skills, and friendships.
In order to ensure a smooth transition into the new school year, please take time to read the information in this orientation packet regarding our philosophy, goals, programs, policies and procedures. Please call the office if you have any questions or concerns. Your thoughts and perceptions are important to us!
It is our philosophy that young children represent a unique segment of society with special needs and behaviors. Children’s relationships and experiences during their early years of life have a significant and crucial impact on their later growth and development. We believe that the importance of these formative years not be underestimated. We are committed to the extreme importance of our role in your child’s total development. We value education and we strive to provide the very best environment for your child with all of the components necessary for his/her emotional, social, physical and cognitive well-being.
Enrollment in school is open to all children regardless of race, religious affiliation or ethnic origin. JCA membership is not required to participate. We have an open door policy; parents are welcome to visit the classroom at any time.
1. To continuously attend to the needs of each individual child helping them feel safe, happy, and comfortable throughout the day.
2. To develop in each child independence, confidence, and a feeling of self-worth as an individual and as a member of a group.
3. To stimulate each child’s curiosity, sense of wonder, and motivation to learn about the world around them by establishing an age-appropriate, hands-on and stimulating environment.
4. To develop in children social responsibility by teaching goodwill towards others and respect for the environment.
5. To develop in children a love for music, art, and drama. To give young children and their families a sense of Jewish identity and culture.
6. To specifically develop in our children age-appropriate, cognitive and physical skills in the following areas: language, listening, visual discrimination, large and small motor, handwriting, math and science.
ORIENTATION for all students is on:
Friday, August 26, 2011
On orientation day, all year-round (PreschoolPlus) programs are closed. This is an excellent opportunity for your child to meet his/her teacher in an informal setting before our school year begins. Please bring the required cubby items at this time, using the accompanying lists for guidance. You will receive an introductory letter from your child’s teacher a few days before orientation day containing specific information about your child’s class.
This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the ECE Parent Committee members and meet other families and students new to our school. All families, new and returning, are invited to the welcome brunch.
EARLY CHILDHOOD POLICIES AND GUIDELINES
To ensure the safety of your child and to help us maintain consistency and organization, please adhere to the following policies and guidelines.
ASSESSMENT OF STUDENTS
BOXTOPS FOR EDUCATION FUND-RAISER
communication is very important, and we encourage parents to call at any
time to discuss their children with our faculty. If you drop off
your child before 9 a.m. and you have specific instructions about their
day, please write a note. Your note will be given to the appropriate
faculty member and your instructions can be clearly communicated.
1. Call 730-2100 and enter a Michele Block Gan
2. If no one answers, press “0” for the receptionist.
3. Tell the receptionist you were not able to get through and need to speak to someone in the Michele Block Gan Yeladim Office.
4. Ask the receptionist to use the walkie-talkie to page an ECE representative on channel two.Parent to School: Please write us a note about changes relating to any of the following items: Your child’s home routine (i.e. parents traveling, grandparent moving in, etc.), address, e-mail address or phone numbers (includes cellphone), emergency contacts, babysitters or nannys, and medical conditions. Hand this note to a faculty member. Because of the busy nature of carpool, we advise against verbal messages and instructions at that time.
Parent to Teacher: Please refrain from conferencing with your child’s teacher in the carpool line or during class time. There will be scheduled conference times during the year. If you visit your child’s classroom (which you are always welcome to do), we ask that you not engage in conversation with the teacher when she is working with the students. Her job at that point is to be with the children. Please do not discuss sensitive issues with your child’s teacher in front of your child. Little ears can pick up so much! You can always call the office and we will have your child’s teacher return your call after school hours.
The William & Andrew Block Families Michele Block Gan Yeladim Scholarship Fund
An acknowledgement is sent to the appropriate party stating that a contribution has been made and acknowledgement is also made in the weekly preschool newsletter and the monthly JCA Alliance News.
DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP PROCEDURES
1. ECE Office employees greet your students arriving by car from 8:55 a.m. until 9:05 a.m. on 9-month days and children are taken to their classrooms. Busy Bees must be walked in by their parents. They are too young to safely participate in carpool. Only students may enter through the awning area. All adults must pass through the main entrance to the agency. The awning door is locked and alarmed at all times. During regular carpool times, the alarm is disarmed. There is no 9 a.m. carpool on PreschoolPlus (interim) days.
Kindergarten carpool is scheduled to start at 8:20 and go until 8:25 or until there are no longer cars in line. Younger siblings of kindergarten student who are enrolled for the early bird program are welcome to use kindergarten morning carpool.
2. All children (except Kindergartners arriving for carpool by 8:25 a.m.) who arrive before 8:55 a.m. should be brought to a designated room in their area where they will be under the supervision of our “early bird” faculty. Please check with the office for an exact location. Until 8:55 a.m., the teachers are busy preparing for the day and are not available to be responsible for the children. They will be brought to their classrooms when school begins.
3. Children arriving before 8:55 a.m. must be registered for early bird arrival or have made early care reservations through the ECE Office. Occasional reservations are subject to space availability.
4. When bringing your child late to school, please call the office to let our staff know you are coming. We will assume your child is absent for the entire day unless we hear from you by 10 a.m. We readjust our staffing at that time. If your child is in a napping group, please plan for them to nap at school and not at home before they come in.
5. Dismissal will be according to the
We will bring the children down to the end of the awning and buckle them safely in your car as you come through the carpool line. Whoever is picking up the child must sign their child out on the attendance sheet indicating the time. Under no circumstances will we release a child to anyone under the age of 16 or to anyone who is not designated by you as authorized to remove your child from the program. We always ask for identification when we are not familiar with the person authorized to pick up your child.
6. Parents who arrive earlier than 11:55 a.m. and are in the front of the line may be asked to pull far forward or around to the end of the line so that the younger children may be dismissed. You may also park your car and walk up to the door for your child if you do not wish to go to the back of the line. Please remain outside the double doors, as dismissal time can be very hectic. Those who are waiting in the carpool line will be given first priority in receiving their children.
7. Please do not get out of your cars to talk if you are in the line. This helps dismissal to be as speedy as possible.
8. If it is not raining, the first car in line must pull up two car lengths past the awning. If it is raining, the first car should be in line with the awning.
9. If your child is to go home with any adult other than yourself, written permission, along with a photo or a brief description of the person (if unfamiliar to us) and their car, must be sent to school EACH time. This applies even if the individual is authorized on your child’s enrollment form to remove him/her from the premises. Please instruct the person picking up your child that they will need to display a photo ID and sign your child out on the attendance sheet.
10. Any time you pick up your child please be sure that you verbally notify your child’s teacher or a faculty person your child is leaving and sign them out on the attendance log in the classroom.
11. Please use the parking lot entrance closest to San Jose Boulevard. Using the entrance further from San Jose Boulevard creates a traffic hazard by forcing cars to stick out onto San Clerc.
* Note: When using carpool line for pick-up please pull up a few car lengths past the awning (unless it is raining.)
1. For Busy Bees through JK age groups, early bird hours are from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch bunch 12 noon to 6 p.m. For Kindergarten, early bird hours are from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch bunch 1:40 to 6 p.m.
2. Children in need of early bird or lunch bunch care on a regular basis must register accordingly via the school registration form, or a request for permanent schedule change form, available in the JCA Administrative office.
3. Occasional care reservations (on an “as needed” basis) are subject to availability in your child's age group and are not guaranteed. Occasional care reservations must be made with the Early Childhood office no earlier than two weeks in advance of the needed date.
a. The cost per hour for use of occasional care is $10 per child, $18 for two children, or $25 for three. You will be billed for the hours which you have reserved even if you pick your child up earlier than the reserved time because the program will be staffed according to your reservations.
b. Although we try to be as flexible and understanding as possible with unusual circumstances, there will be a late fee of $5 per every 15 minutes that you arrive past your scheduled pick-up time. For example, if your child is scheduled for pick-up at 3:30 p.m. and you arrive at 4 p.m., you will be charged $10 ($5 for each 15 minutes you are late). After 6 p.m., the late fee is $1 per minute. For example, if your regular pick-up time is 6 p.m. and you arrive at 6:15 p.m., you will be charged $15. If you are late more than three times during the school year, the late fee doubles each additional time it occurs. For example, if you are supposed to pick up at 6 p.m. and you arrive late for a fourth time at 6:20, your late fee will be $40; if it is your fifth time and you arrive at 6:20 p.m., the fee would be $80 and so on. Please let the office know about extenuating circumstances. Excessive late pick-up may result in dismissal from the program. Dismissal is up to the ECE Director’s discretion.
c. Children arriving earlier than their scheduled time (during 7:30 – 8:30 or 9 a.m.) must make an occasional care reservation or they will be subject to the above fees.
4. Children staying for Lunch Bunch (12-6 p.m.) and all Kindergarten children, need to bring a lunch to school. All children (except Kindergartners) staying past 3 p.m. need to bring an afternoon snack. Lunches and snacks must consist of finger foods (cut into non-choking size) that your child can manipulate him/herself, a drink, napkin, and any utensils that may be needed. Afternoon snacks may be packed separately or added to your child’s lunch. Please refer to the dietary policy sheet for the appropriate guidelines. Food should be sent ready to eat and not require heating. Please check with your child’s lunch bunch teacher if your child has special lunch requirements.
5. If you need to reach a faculty person immediately at any time regarding your child in our care, please follow these guidelines:
a) Call 730-2100 and enter a Michele Block Gan Yeladim extension:
b) If no one answers, press “0” for the receptionist.
c) Tell the receptionist you were not able to get through and need to speak to someone in the Michele Block Gan Yeladim Office.
d) Ask the receptionist to use the walkie-talkie to page an ECE representative on channel two.
6. When picking up your children from lunch bunch, you will be asked to initial the daily sign-out sheet. At this time, the supervision of your child becomes your responsibility.
Scholarship applications are available through the ECE office. Distribution of scholarship money is based on financial need as well as availability of funds. All applications for financial aid are confidential and should be filled out completely with attached supporting documentation and handed in to the Assistant Executive Director of the JCA before April 1 of the preceding school year.
1.A morning kosher snack program is offered to all children for a nominal fee. There is a separate sheet that must be completed and returned to the office if you cannot participate in the snack program due to food allergies.
2. Children with food allergies who cannot participate in the snack program must bring a daily morning snack. We do not provide afternoon snacks, unless the children are participating in a cooking project that afternoon.Students may have a separate lunch boxes if your child stays for lunch or eat what is left over from their lunch for afternoon snack. Kindergartners staying past 3 p.m. do not need an afternoon snack; it is provided for them.
3. Because good nutrition is an important part of our program, wesuggest that you strive to pack nutritious snacks and lunches representing a healthy and balanced diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a great choice.
4. Keep in mind our dietary standards, and only purchase those packaged products bearing symbols that are shown on the dietary guideline information chart found below. If you need more guidance, please ask. We are happy to help.
5. Some classrooms may be nut-free or peanut-free due to life-threatening allergies. You will be alerted at the beginning of the school year if your child is one of these classes. Please be respectful of this policy and contact the ECE office if you would like more information.There are many nut-free choices including Sun Butter (made with sunflower seeds), soy butter, etc., now readily available in most supermarkets.
6.All food sent to school should be pre-cut for the younger children, and age-appropriate. Be sure to include all utensils. Peanuts, popcorn, unsliced grapes and other foods that are common causes of choking are NOT permitted.
7. Busy Bee and Grasshopper lunches are refrigerated. Teddy Bear, JK and Kindergarten lunches are not. Please use an insulated lunch box and freezer pack if your Teddy Bear, JK or Kindergarten student needs any food items to stay chilled.
8. Breakfast foods for our full-time children in all programs may be kept in the kitchens labeled with your child’s name. The children eating breakfast must be at school by 8:15 a.m. to allow our faculty an adequate amount of time to feed your children and be prepared for school to begin. Breakfast cannot be served to children who arrive after that time.
9. Each day, Busy Bee students should bring a non-spill cup to school. Due to state requirements, this cup is sent home at the end of each day to be washed/sterilized. Please label all cups and lids with your Busy Bee’s name or initials.Grasshopper students and older should not bring sippy cups to school.
FOOD POLICIES– KOSHER GUIDELINES
The following dietary guidelines are observed in the ECE department. Please ask for help in the ECE office if you have any questions. Any food handled in our kitchens or provided by the ECE department for our programming will follow these guidelines:
1.Please do not send in meat products of pork origin.
2. Shellfish is not permitted. Tuna or any type of fish or eggs are fine and may be combined with dairy products.
3.Meat and milk products must be packed separately and not eaten together for the same meal. For example, a turkey sandwich is fine but not a turkey and cheese sandwich. A turkey sandwich is fine with juice or water, but not with a container of milk. However, you may send dairy products for snack time and meat products for lunchtime, but they must be packed in separate containers.
4. Full-time children leaving breakfast food products in the kitchen must be sure those products are marked with an accepted kosher symbol (see symbols below.)
5. Packaged foods sent for snacks and lunches must be marked with an accepted kosher symbol. Lunchables are not kosherand typically not nutritious.
6. All food that is served to others for birthday parties or special events must be purchased from acceptable vendors such as Entenmanns’s, Publix on San Jose just north of 295, Carvel ice cream, and Krispy Kreme at the San Jose location. Remember, fresh fruits are great for birthdaysand always kosher.
7. Always check the package label for the seal or sign of certification. Not all runs of a given product are necessarily kosher. Sometimes certification is discontinued unexpectedly. In some lines, only certain flavors or varieties are kosher.
8. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always fine.
9. Snacks and lunches sent from home are to be packed in closed containers or bags.
10. Please clearly label your child’s lunch box or bag on the outside.
11. The following symbols are acceptable:
FOOD POLICIES – HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS FOR PASSOVER
During Passover, Michele Block Gan Yeladim is only open for PreschoolPlus students. Packing lunches and snacks for your child to eat at this time can be challenging. However, some grocery stores including Publix and Winn Dixie offer a vast array of items that are kosher for Passover including cereals, cookies, crackers, chips, and more. All kosher items labeled with a “P” for Passover are fine during this time. Fresh fruits and veggies are always great (excluding corn) and dairy products like yogurt and cheeses are fine unless combined with meats.
Children typically enjoy many things on matzah (the traditional unleavened “bread” eaten for the duration of Passover). A few of the favorites are: plain or flavored cream cheese; peanut butter and jelly; tuna fish; buttered with cheese slices; egg salad, etc. You could also pack some of these items separately and your child may break their matzah and “dip.”
Foods to avoid are: refined wheat or leavened bread products, rice, corn, products with corn syrup, or legumes.
HEALTH, EMERGENCY, AND DCF (Department of Children and Families)
Contained in your registration packet are Health forms, Emergency Release forms, Alternate Nutrition Plan Agreement, “Know Your Child Care” booklet and the Michele Block Gan Yeladim Discipline Policy Acknowledgement. All of these forms must remain current in your child’s folder. Parents of children with expired forms must provide current forms within 10 days of expiration in order for the child to remain in our program. The ECE office will notify you if your child’s forms have expired. In addition to the above forms, we will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate or a notarized affidavit of birth date.
DCF also requires you to fill out a flu shot form in the month of August or September. You are not required to seek immunization for your child but must sign the form stating that you know it is available.
HOPE HAVEN TUTORING
HURRICANES, COMMUNITY EMERGENCIES,
UNEXPECTED OR UNPLANNED CLOSINGS
LEGAL CUSTODY NOTIFICATION
In compliance with Florida State Statutes, we require documentation regarding which parent has legal custody in the case of separation or divorce. If there is no legal documentation, then both parents have the right of access to JCA records and pick-up of their children. It is the responsibility of the custodial parent to provide legal documentation verifying custody arrangements. Custodial parents are responsible for notifying the JCA, in writing, of any special circumstances with regard to the rights and obligations of the non-custodial parent. This includes providing written permission for the non-custodial parent to pick up a child on a regular basis or for a special occasion.
Medication is administered only when accompanied by a properly completed medication form including the child’s name, name of medication, time and amount of dosage and parent's signature. A separate form must be completed for EACH day medication is to be given. Forms are available in the office. Medication must be in its original container with the child’s name on the prescription label. No medicine can be given after the expiration date on the label. Medication will not be added to juice, milk, etc. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, etc., are not administered by school employees. If your child is in need of such drugs, he/she is not well enough to be at school!
One of the most effective ways to become involved is to assist the Early Childhood Education Parent Organization. Sub-committee chairs are selected at the end of the previous school year, however, help with sub-committees is always needed and appreciated. At orientation, you will receive a separate packet of information about the ECE Parent Committee.
We encourage families to contribute to the school’s decisions about their child’s goals and plans for activities and services. Sometimes we get our best ideas for visitors or activities from parents.
Fully mastered toileting skills are required for the following programs and activities in the Early Childhood Department: Teddy Bears, Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten, enrichment classes, field trips off premises, and instructional swim during summer camp. Fully mastered means that your child is able to indicate to the teacher that he/she needs to use the toilet in advance of going; that your child is able to undress themselves enough to use the toilet; and that your child is able to use toilet paper and/or flushable wet wipes effectively when needed. We understand that occasional accidents may occur and we are happy to facilitate cleanup. We are also happy to help younger age groups with mastering toilet learning and there are many books and resources on this topic available in the Parenting Library.
Please note that students applying for a program requiring fully mastered toilet learning must have mastered this skill by July 1 of the summer prior to the beginning of the program. Incoming Teddy Bear students who have not mastered this skill by that time will remain in Grasshoppers. Students may move up if space is available once the skill is mastered.
PROGRAM EVALUATION AND
SCHOOL HOURS/LATE FEES
Preschool hours are from 9 a.m. until 12 noon, Monday through Friday. Kindergarten hours are from 8:30 a.m. until 1:40 p.m. If you drop off early or pick up later than your scheduled time, you will be assessed accordingly. We encourage punctuality and thank you for your cooperation in this area. This enables us to keep our adult-to-child ratios low.
1. Parents, or designated caretakers, of children who exhibit ANY of the following symptoms will be called to come to the JCA to pick up their child within a one-hour time period:
Fever of 100.4
degrees and above
Students displaying any of these symptoms will be removed from class and brought to the designated area in the office to rest until parents/caregiver can pick up.Pick-up must be within the hour.
2.Although the presence of a runny nose, clear or colored, may appear ominous, exclusion from school is not necessary unless accompanied by any of the symptoms listed in No. 1.
3. Please do not bring your child into the program with any of the above-mentioned symptoms. If in doubt about your child, please keep your child at home.
4. It is highly unfair to healthy faculty members and children to expose them unnecessarily to illness. Remember also, that once a virus begins in a group, it becomes very difficult to control. Please be considerate of others.
5. Please alert the office when your child develops a communicable disease (chicken pox, strep throat, pinkeye, head lice, etc.) so that we can notify the other families of a possible exposure date. All names are kept confidential. Knowing what is going around in a class will help in early treatment and possibly slow or stop the spread of infection.
6. We understand that it is sometimes difficult for working parents to make arrangements for their sick children, however, the JCA program is for WELL CHILDREN only. We are not set up to care for sick children. It is the responsibility of the parents or guardians to have advance alternative plans to provide for their sick children.
7.Children sent home with a fever will not be allowed back into the program for at least 24 hours after being discharged. Children must be fever free (under 100.4 degrees), without fever reducing medication, for 24 hours before returning to school. A note is made at the time of dismissal.
8.Children with head lice, eggs, or nits, are not permitted in the program. Children with any of these present, even after treatment, will be asked to leave immediately. We ask affected families to follow the treatment protocol outlined by the Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/ If your child has been treated chemically, there is still evidence of activity (lice, eggs, or nits present), and the recommended time between chemical treatments has not elapsed, you must treat again with a natural remedy for lice (such as “Zero Lice” which contains tea tree and Eucalyptus oils and is available at your local health food store) and be free of evidence of activity before returning to school. Eggs and nits require manual removal after treatment. Please visit the Center for Disease Control website and follow the treatment protocol. Contact the ECE office if you need a printout of the procedures. In order to contain any outbreak, affected children AND enrolled siblings must be checked by ECE office staff and totally free of evidence before returning to the classroom that day as well as continue to be checked every other day for a 10-day cycle and be evidence free each time to remain in school.
SPECIAL NEEDS AND ADA COMPLIANCE
Our facility is ADA compliant and we will do our best to make reasonable accommodations to our program so that all children can participate. We welcome all children who apply for admission if space is available. If your child has special needs or you have any questions about whether your child will fit into our environment with reasonable accommodations made, please meet with the school director or assistant director prior to the beginning of school. We urge parents to advocate for their children; ultimately we believe it is up to the family to make the primary decision about services that their child needs. In many cases we are able to provide information about programs and services from other organizations. Our special needs policy is a follows:
The ECE Director and/or designees will closely monitor a child accepted into the program assessing whether or not the aforementioned criteria can be achieved or other adjustments need to be made. The ECE faculty will assume a proactive role to ensure that a child’s placement within the program is successful and benefits the child.
If, after meeting with the parent(s), observing the child in a Michele Block Gan Yeladim setting and/or conferring with the appropriate professionals, it is deemed that the best interests of the children would be served elsewhere, the child may be denied admission or removed from the Michele Block Gan Yeladim program. Michele Block Gan Yeladim may then recommend that the parents pursue a more intensive or specialized service, including early intervention or preschool special needs programs.
The JCA recognizes that, due to the nature of young children and early childhood development, a child’s special needs may not be identified before the child is enrolled in the ECE program. As a result, the JCA may be the first to inform a parent that a child requires evaluation by a child study team or physician for further information regarding development. In such instances, an effort will be made to maintain the child at the JCA and to continue to provide service within the ECE program unless it jeopardizes the health and safety of others in the program.
The JCA reserves the right, after meeting with the parent(s) and conferring with the evaluating professionals, to refer a child for more intensive or specialized services, or for early intervention or preschool special needs services in the best interest of the child or for the child to be present in the program only with a trained paraprofessional or credentialed private contractor. The JCA may allow a parent to engage a credentialed private professional on a contract basis at the sole expense of the parent or guardian. The JCA reserves the right to supervise and evaluate the credentialed private professional ensuring that they adhere to all policies of the JCA. For each classroom, the JCA reserves the right to limit the number of children requiring a paraprofessional to one child.
In the event that a child is identified as having special needs after the school year begins and there is already a child with a paraprofessional assigned to the classroom in which the newly identified child is placed, the ECE Director may determine that a change in classroom placement is necessary in the best interest of a child or the program.
The Purpose of a
Role and Function of a Paraprofessional
A paraprofessional is in the classroom because there is a child with special needs present. Having a paraprofessional allows the teacher to focus on the whole class without significant disruption. The role of the paraprofessional will be defined by the ECE Director or designee in cooperation with the parents and teacher based upon the child’s behavior manifestations and needs. The paraprofessional is utilized to help the child with special needs integrate into the school environment but does not take the place of the teacher. They are for the benefit of the individual child and not the class. Paraprofessionals are asked to sign an agreement prior to working at the JCA. There is only one paraprofessional per class. The paraprofessional is hired, given general school training, and supervised by the JCA. In some situations, the parents may be permitted to employ a private paraprofessional. This permission is granted solely by the Executive Team of the JCA based on a recommendation by the Early Childhood Director. If granted, the paraprofessional must meet established JCA criteria of educational degrees, professional training and experience.
Paraprofessional Financial Terms and
When the parents hires a credentialed private professional on a contract basis, it is the sole responsibility of the parent to pay for that professional and make sure the privately contracted professional is present in the program at all times the child is in attendance.
Students are given a Michele Block Gan Yeladim Preschool T-shirt at orientation. Please have your child wear this T-shirt to school on Fridays for Shabbat and on field trips where applicable.