PARENT FAQ FOR 2016 – 2017
TEACHER / CHILD RATIO
- What is Smarter Toddler’s teacher / child ratio? We follow the guidelines from the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Article 47 when staffing for teacher/ child ratio. In our Infant classroom for 3 – 12 mo, it is a 1:4 teacher child ratio. In our Young toddler classroom for 1 – 2 yr, it is a 1:5 teacher child. In our Older Toddler classroom for 2 – 3 yr it is a 1:6 teacher/child ratio. In the young preschool classroom for 3 – 4 yr, it is a 1:10 teacher/child ratio. In the Older Preschool classroom for 4 – 5 yr, it is a 1:12 teacher/child ratio. We adhere strictly to the student child ratio governed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, our governing agency. The following chart is a visual for the Teacher/Child ratio in our school.
TEACHING STAFF AND ADMINISTRATION
- What are the caregiver, teacher and Leadership qualifications including education, experience and certification? We follow the guidelines from the New York State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Article 47 when staffing for teacher/ child ratio.
- Preschool Lead Teachers must have a minimum of a BA degree in Early Childhood Education or related field of study and have New York State Teacher Certification. They should also have at least two years of experience as a group teacher in a program for children under six years of age.
- Infant and Toddler Lead Teachers must have a minimum of a AA degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development Associate (CDA) and a study plan leading to an associate’s degree in ECE or a high school diploma with at least nine college credits and a study plan leading to an Associate’s Degree in ECE.
- Assistant Teachers must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
- Leadership / Administration must have a minimum of a BA degree in Early Childhood Education and New York State Teaching Certification.
- Education Director Our current Education Director holds a BS degree in English Literature with a double major in Psychology and Early Childhood and Childhood Education. She has two MS. Ed degrees in Literacy Studies and Educational leadership. She also holds NYS Professional Certification in Early Childhood, Childhood Education, Literacy Studies and School Building Leadership.
- Our Assistant Director Our Assistant Director holds a Master’s Degree in Childhood Education and holds initial certification in Childhood Education and Early Childhood Education (pending review).
- Our Second Assistant Director Our 2nd Assistant Director holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education and is in the process of completing the certification track for New York State Teaching Certification- birth to 2nd grade.
- How many additional staff members will be employed to maintain teacher/child ratio? We employ a lead teacher and assistant teacher in all of the classrooms. We have four full time floaters. The center floats work in all classrooms providing additional support where needed. They also cover teachers while out on vacation, sick or while participating in jury duty.
- Are staff members fingerprinted and undergo a background check prior to employment? Yes, employment is contingent upon clearance from the New York State Department of Investigation: Fingerprinting unit and the State Central Registry Department. Staff members are required to complete a new application from the State Central Registry every two years subsequently after employment with us.
TUITION & PAYMENT
- Are tuition rates fixed? Is there an increase every year and if so by how much 3-5%? Tuition rates are fixed. There is an annual increase of 3-5% reflected every September. The updated tuition rates will be given to families in June. Families will also sign the enrollment agreement contract to reflect the new change in tuition fee.
- Are schedules fixed or is it based on the need of family as it relates to tuition? Schedules are fixed. Please see the tuition and schedule form.
- What is the method of payment? Can parents use ACH payment? SMARTER TODDLER never accepts cash as a form of payment. We accept a personal check, AMEX or Automatic Checking- ACH payment.
- What are the steps to enrollment? After you tour our facility you will complete an application for enrollment. A security deposit fee (equivalent to one month’s tuition) is due to hold your child’s place with us.
- Is the security deposit refundable? Yes, with a sixty (60) day notice before his/her anticipated start date.
- What is due on my child’s first day of school? On your child’s first day of enrollment a current medical with your child’s updated immunizations and the first month’s tuition is due. Tuition is prorated depending on your child’s start date. You may defer your start date.
- Once enrolled in the program, how much time do I have to give if I need a change of schedule for my child? To request a change of schedule you must do so in writing thirty (30) days before the schedule change so that we may make accommodations accordingly. This and other policies are discussed with you during our enrollment agreement meeting with the director prior to your child’s start date with us.
- Does Smarter Toddler employ cleaning professionals and what is the frequency for cleaning? Yes, we have employed a professional cleaning crew who will clean the entire facility every night.
- How often do teachers clean? Teachers have daily and weekly cleaning responsibilities.
- How do we combat cross contamination as it relates to cleaning? We practice good handwashing techniques to eliminate the spread of germs. For mouthed toys we remove the toys to prevent cross contamination and put it in our dirty bin. These toys are washed with our soap and water solution and sprayed with our bleach and water solution. We also ask families to help us to promote good hygienic habits and routines when washing their hands and children’s hands when entering the classroom. Purell sanitizing dispenser will also be readily available and visible as the first form of defense.
- How do teachers communicate with families? Communication is very important to us. Teachers communicate with families, face to face and via daily communication sheets (DCS). Teachers will also do daily blurbs that will be emailed to the families and monthly newsletter-center wide with classroom highlights and photos of what the children have learned throughout the month.
- How often are parent teacher conferences scheduled? Parent teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year. We accomplish this by scheduling conferences within a period of two weeks. We offer times where our teachers can meet in the morning and evening. Families may opt to take their child’s conference sheet to review, sign and return with questions if any to discuss with their child’s teacher. When children transition from one group to the next, families will have an intake meeting with the next group’s teacher and an exit meeting with their child’s current teacher.
- What is the transition period for enrollment as it relates to separation anxiety? We invite parents to come a few days before the child starts for a period of two hours to spend time with the teacher and new classmates. After the two-hour introductory period, they will begin their three-day enrollment period-with a staggered schedule of 8-12, 8-3 and the last day they will begin with us on their contracted schedule of hours. Having this period built in the schedule helps ease Separation Anxiety (developing and creating relationships with you, your child and caregiver/teachers). We also provide families with resources on strategies to help with Separation Anxiety. We also encourage family photos as all children will have a sense of belonging as our school family grows with every new and transitioning child.
- Do we have an open door policy? Yes. We do have an open door policy and encourage our families to participate in classroom and school wide events.
- How often do the children go outside? Do we have enough strollers for the children? All children must have at least 60 minutes of outdoor/gross motor time a day. Teachers take the children out in the morning and afternoon weather permitted. Please see weather chart. We do have enough strollers for our infant and young toddler children. Older Toddlers will begin to walk with the rope-practicing in the school first and then going outside.
- Do the teachers take the children to the playgrounds and on walks? Yes, the teachers take the children to the playgrounds and on walks. The children will wear an identifiable penny when outside. We do have a tracking system of counting children. The procedure specifically for outside play is as follows: Teachers will perform a visual and verbal count of the children during the following times: before leaving the classroom, at the entrance of the Director’s office/receptionist desk, when arriving at the park, during outdoor play time, when lining up to come back inside, at the entrance of the school (receptionist or Director) and in the classroom.
- Take us through the day in the life of a toddler and preschooler. Please inquire about our Toddler and Preschool Daily Schedule.
- Are enrichment programs available? We offer Yoga, Music, Visual Arts, Dance and a secondary language of Spanish for our older children and Sign Language to our infants. These enrichments are offered in the morning and is provided by the school.
- What sort of assessment tool and curriculum do you use? Can parents access the tool? We will use multiple assessments: portfolios, informal and formal assessments, observations to learn about the development of all of our learners. We will use Teaching Strategies Gold or TSG as our observation and assessment tool that can be accessed by families upon enrolling and transitioning from one age group to the next. This tool will also allow parents to see the lesson plan for the week and observe their children’s progress and read the teacher’s observations which will serve as a foundation for conferences. We will follow a monthly thematic curriculum that will be student- centered, and promote hands-on learning. Our curriculum will also concentrate on an artist or musician of study, a community helper and a cultural celebration or holiday. This will be followed from the toddler to the preschool classrooms.
- How do you support children whose first language is not English? Children learn English from their peers and from the teachers who are the language model or the Vygotskian term as the “knowledgeable other”. Our student and teaching body reflects the diversity of this great city and we seek to learn, celebrate and embrace diversity.
POLICIES & PROCEDURES
- Does the parent handbook address all of the school policies? Yes. Policies are subject to change at the discretion of our Executive Director/Management as issued by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene our governing agency.
- How flexible or stringent are we with enforcing policies regarding sickness, lateness etc.? We are fair but stringent and will enforce the policies set before us to maintain the integrity, fairness and expectations for all of our families.
HOLIDAYS AND SCHOOL CALENDAR
- What holidays do we observe? What are the days that the school is closed? We observe 10 federal holidays and are closed on two days out the year for professional development and training. Please see the calendar for school closings and events.
- Is there a waitlist generating in the classrooms? We are currently generating a waitlist for all age groups. See enrollment policy.
- What is our enrollment policy? We have open, rolling enrollment and accept new admissions based on availability.
- What are the parents of the infant room required to provide for their child? Infant Parents are responsible for bringing in diapers, wipes, pacifier, change of clothes-size and weather/seasonal appropriate (labeled to avoid confusion), diaper ointment with permission from pediatrician, a completed feeding schedule, food- bottles, formula and solids. Toddler and preschool families are responsible for bringing, diapers, wipes, pull ups, underwear, change of clothes size and weather/seasonal appropriate (labeled to avoid confusion), diaper ointment, and or sunscreen with permission from pediatrician. Crib or twin size sheet and blanket to be laundered by the end of your child’s school week. Please note school materials and a supply list will be given to you upon enrollment and when transitioning into the next age group.
- Are snacks and meals included? Families are responsible for bringing lunch and an additional light snack(s) for their child. This is a nut free facility please refrain from sending your child to school with a snack or treat that has traces of nut. No Peanut butter and Jelly and Nutella please.
- What kind of meals are provided for the toddler and preschool program? Parents may opt to utilize our catering partner, Little Green Gourmet at an additional cost. Sign up information will be provided in the enrollment packet.
- Will music be played throughout the school and will the settings be monitored? Yes, Music is an integral part of the Smarter Toddler Preschool Experience and will be played throughout the school. We have subscribed with SONOS and will be listening to instrumental and various genres of world music.
- When do children move to the next age group-is it by age or development? We look at age and development, and licensing regulations as primary factors for transitioning children from one age group to the next.
- Are there any relationships and partnerships made with the community? Yes. We aim to partner with the neighborhood Senior center and would like to brighten up their day with making cards and paintings for Grandparents appreciation day. We would also work with the fire department, New York Public library and post office to learn about community helpers. We also seek to participate in food/can, pajama, book and toy drives in learning about community relationships in the broader sense.