In order for us to ensure a smooth and effective program, the Early Childhood Center has compiled the following policies and procedures for parents. We ask for your full cooperation and support by reading and complying with these policies.
The following forms and conditions must be met before beginning the school year.
- Financial obligations as agreed to in the Early Childhood Center Contract on TADS must be met in full.
- Early Childhood Center Contracts completed through TADS.
- An up-to-date medical form with a full immunization record must be on file.
- Completed Emergency Contact information on file.
- Intake form returned to office with signed acknowledgment of having read the “Parent Handbook” and acceptance of the policies and procedures therein.
The Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center is dedicated to providing children with a learning environment that nurtures their growth, curiosity and self-esteem. Our aim is to provide opportunities for children to develop a lifelong passion for learning, to get to know and like themselves as individuals, and as members of a caring, cooperative learning community.
Our lively, hands-on curriculum is developed through direct observation of children’s interests and individual needs. We strive to provide opportunities for each child to develop cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally at a rate that is most appropriate for him or her.
The Early Childhood Center is operated by Congregation Beth Elohim – a Reform Jewish Synagogue. Jewish holidays are celebrated though the singing of songs, preparing and eating of holiday foods, making holiday books, decorations and crafts, and story-telling and dramatic play. Children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are welcome to attend, and differences in their backgrounds are recognized and respected. While Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day (as well as other non-Jewish holidays) are not celebrated at the school, please be assured that a child’s mention of any home celebration is always a welcome topic in the classroom and will be treated with respect and interest.
A Child’s First Days At School
Starting school is a big step for a child. Adjusting to new places, people and routines is a process of developing trust in his or her teachers and the school environment. Support from parents and familiar caregivers is an integral part of the process.
Our policy is that the adjustment period to school (or “Phase-In” period) is a gradual one. We ask a parent or caregiver to plan to stay with their child in school for as long as the teachers and directors, along with the parent, determine it may be necessary. We have found through experience that a slow, gradual separation is best for both parent and child.
Please do not worry if your child seems reluctant to talk about school to you afterwards. That is often a child’s way as she or he gains comfort and a sense of independence in school.
Above all, always feel free to ask about or discuss anything with his or her teachers or the school directors.
Your child’s first days at school are the “Phase-In” period. The length of this process of acclimating to school depends on your child’s age group, class schedule, and individual needs. We feel that this gradual beginning gives each child a chance to get to know his or her teachers, the classroom and its routines, and to feel comfortable in their new group setting in an atmosphere of trust.
We ask that each parent (or close relative or caregiver) be prepared to stay with his or her child during the Phase-In period. Please make arrangements for other children in the family since the school cannot accommodate brothers and sisters during that time. We appreciate your cooperation during this period. It often causes inconvenience to families, but the results will be worth your efforts.
For the first few days in our program the child may stay for only an hour or so and only half of the class may attend at a time. Your child’s Phase-In schedule will provide for the whole group to come together for increasing lengths of time.
If your child has had previous school experience, it is possible it will not be necessary for you or your caregiver to stay the full Phase-In time. This will depend on the discretion of the teachers.
Arrival and Departure
Children should be brought to school and picked up promptly. Please bring your child to the classroom and pick her or him up there. Be sure to make verbal contact with a teacher at drop off and pick up times. You will be required to sign your child in and out at the beginning and end of the day to ensure a smooth and clear transition from teacher to parent or caregiver. If a person who is not one of the regular people to pick up your child will be doing so that day, be sure to write it down on the “Pick-Up Schedule” posted in the classroom. YOUR CHILD WILL NOT BE RELEASED TO SOMEONE OTHER THAN A USUAL CAREGIVER WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT. If your plans for the day change, please call the school to make arrangements.
Double Parking Signs
In order to make drop-off and pick-up times as safe as possible for our children and neighbors, we ask that you refrain from double-parking outside Congregation Beth Elohim. Double parking outside the school makes it impossible for emergency vehicles to pass and creates a potential safety hazard for small children walking between parked cars. In the event that you must double park, large, yellow CBE signs are available at the front desk with our security guards. Please leave your name and phone number in your windshield on the sign so that you can be contacted to move your car immediately if necessary. Please keep the sign for future use. Although the signs will not prevent your car from being ticketed, they will help us to be good neighbors.
Visitors are welcome. Sometimes an out-of-town adult relative comes to visit and your child is anxious to show off his/her school. We would be pleased to plan a visit, if you notify us in advance.
Your teachers will request that one or more of the parents in your class function as “class parents.” Class parents are helpful to teachers with communication to other parents about general upcoming events, needs in the classroom, and times when volunteers may be required.
The Early Childhood Committee
The Early Childhood Center (ECC) Committee is a working group of parent volunteers and staff dedicated to advancing the quality of the Early Childhood Center program at CBE. The committee organizes, helps to plan, and participates in a variety of both school and Temple wide events and fundraisers.
The School Day
To meet the growing needs and interests of preschoolers, the daily program includes a variety of activities. These may include: Art Activities, Dramatic Play, Outdoor or Gym Time, Games, Water or Sand Play, Block Play, Music, Manipulative Play, Circle/Story Time, Science Explorations, Age-Appropriate Math, and Literacy Experiences.
A typical day might be:
9:00-10:00 AM Free play/Work time which allows for the use of the materials and equipment in the room, work on special projects, cooking, art, etc.
10:00-10:15 AM Circle Time during which the group can gather to discuss plans for the day, read a story, sing a song, or share talk about experiences at home or in school.
10:15-10:30 AM Snack
10:30-11:00 AM Gym or Outdoors
11:00-12:00 AM Free play/Work time
12:00-12:30 AM Lunch
12:30 PM dismissal for half-day children
12:45-1:30 PM Rest (or quiet play)
1:30-2:15 PM Snack/Free play/Work time
2:15-2:45 PM Gym
2:45-3:00 PM Goodbye Circle
3:00 PM dismissal for full-day children
The schedule, of course, varies with the needs of the children. Some days more time will be devoted to a particular activity than other days. Gym times may come earlier or later. Time may be taken for a class with one of our special teachers in music, yoga/ movement, art, swim, or for a visit to our library.
Please see that all clothing, shoes, boots, and blankets are clearly labeled so that they can be easily identified. Outer clothing should have hooks so that children can hang it in the cubbies. Blankets and sheets kept at school should be labeled with an indelible marker.
When soiled clothing or blankets are sent home, please launder and send back replacements the next day. Full-day children’s sheets and blankets will be sent home periodically. Please launder and return them the next day.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of sending your child to school in simple, washable clothing. It is inevitable that clothing gets dirty when children play. It is also extremely important that fastenings be simple enough to encourage your child’s independence in toileting and dressing. Please label all of your child’s belongings and leave them in the cubby.
Your child’s cubby should always be stocked with:
Diapers and wipes (if not toilet trained)
1 change of underwear
1 pair of pants
1 pair of socks
1 pair of extra sneakers
1 sheet and small blanket (regular crib size fitted sheet fits on most rest mats) for full day children
We are happy to work with your child wherever they are on their path to toilet training. An individual plan may be discussed with your child’s classroom teachers.
Classes are often taken to the bathroom as a group as a way to encourage children to begin to use the toilet. Children are never forced to try our bathrooms until they are comfortable, instead they will wash their hands, and sit with one teacher singing songs or listening to a story while the other teacher takes children to use the toilets.
Once your child is comfortable with using the toilet at home they may be encouraged to wear underwear to school. Please dress your child in clothing that is loose fitting and easy for your child to get on and off as a way to foster independence (snaps, buttons, belts, etc. are not recommended). Also, please make sure your child has plenty of changes of clothes (including socks and shoes) in the event of accidents.
“Potty” seats and stand alone “potties” are not permitted in the ECC.
Bringing Toys to School
If your child needs to bring her/his favorite toy to school, we do not object. Some children need the comfort of a special toy from home to help them make a comfortable adjustment to school.
If your child asks to bring toys to school which are not essential to her/his adjustment, we ask you to discourage her/him since problems sometimes occur: other children may want to play with the toy, toys can get lost, misplaced or broken at school.
Costumes, as well as guns and war toys, are not permitted in school. For very young children the line between reality and pretend can be blurred and we find that these toys encourage reenactment of “action” media which can lead to play that is too rough. A young child can have trouble following the routines of the day while dressed in a costume, as well.
Snacks, Lunch, and Food Allergies
School will provide water and a snack in the morning (and afternoon for full-day children). Challah and grape juice will be served on Fridays, as well. Snack is also served during the extended day session, 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
Lunch should be sent to school in a clear, labeled “Ziploc” baggy. All lunches are refrigerated, so we ask that you refrain from using lunch boxes which are much heavier and take up more space in our refrigerators. If you have included a thermos of pre-heated food, please let the teachers know and it can be kept out of the refrigerator.
If your child has any allergies, please notify the school immediately so appropriate precautions can be taken to keep allergens away from your child. Our school does not ban any foods and is not a “nut-free” establishment. In the case of a severe allergy, all parents in a class may be asked to notify teachers if any of the identified foods are in their child’s packed lunch.
In order to keep or administer any emergency medications (including Benadryl, Epipens, or a nebulizer) our school is required to have instructions signed by your child’s doctor. Please call (718) 499-6208 to arrange to have the appropriate forms sent to you.
There may be children in our school with life-threatening allergies. Please wash your child’s hands (and face, if necessary) each day upon entering the building and refrain from eating or drinking in the hallways, stairways, or common areas such as the gym or lobby.
A birthday party at school is a very important occasion in the life of your child. All children look forward to this event with great anticipation. What makes it special is not so much the party food but rather that it is his/her day, and that the attention is focused on him/her. We ask that you bring in a cupcake (or other small treat) for each child with a candle for the birthday child. Please be sure that each treat is the same and refrain from choosing more than one color. Every child will have an opportunity to celebrate a birthday in school. Teachers will be happy to arrange “special day” celebrations for children with summer birthdays. Please make arrangements for a celebration with the teachers ahead of time and check for allergies to specific foods.
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year, one in the fall and one in the spring. These conferences are for parents only and provide an opportunity to sit down with your child’s teachers to discuss progress, interests, friendships, and goals for your child. We provide child care only for children currently enrolled in our school during most daytime conferences. Other arrangements need to be made for children during evening conference times. If, however, you wish to discuss something of immediate importance, please be sure to call for an appointment. We are always happy to arrange the time to discuss your child with you.
One caution: Please – do not engage the teachers in conversation when class is in session. Their responsibility at this time is to the children. We have found that discussions about a child are best held when the child is not present.
A Certified Social Worker provides consultation to the directors, teachers and parents throughout the school year. She becomes familiar with our students through weekly observations in our classrooms. She also facilitates workshops with parents and staff to discuss the social and emotional development of young children.
Support for Children with Special Needs
Children learn and grow in their own individual ways. We strive to make the classroom a place of exploration, challenge and success for all of our students. In some cases, Special Education evaluations and/or services are recommended. Services may include Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or the assistance of a SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher).
If your child begins any of these services, or if your child already receives Special Education services upon beginning school, we have found that open, frequent communication between all educators and parents on a child’s “team” is vital to their learning process. Classroom teachers can best ensure that they are specifically tailoring their approach to an individual child’s needs if they have access to all reports and educational plans and when they are in frequent communication with special educators. Parents will be asked to provide written permission for all members of the team to meet and collaborate as best suits the needs of their child. Such collaboration makes it possible for parents and teachers to share information and provide consistent language and strategies for helping a young child learn and become increasingly independent and confident. In the absence of open communication, it becomes much more difficult to provide an appropriate educational experience.
If a child in our school receives special education services, an educator from the team is selected to be the “team leader.” In this role she will schedule meetings for all parents and educators ensure that communication is maintained, and monitor progress toward educational goals.
Health and Illness
Every family was provided with a Health Policy graphic. Please use for reference throughout the school year.
1. All children are required to have a physical examination by their own physician prior to the opening of school.
2. A mandatory Department of Health medical form is available on our website or through TADS. This must be filled out by the child’s doctor and returned to the school. YOUR CHILD CANNOT BE ADMITTED TO THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL WITHOUT THIS COMPLETED HEALTH FORM. Please print doctor’s name, address and telephone number. Dates, names and type of inoculations, boosters and other immunizations must be indicated by doctor.
3. Please notify the school if a child is out because of illness. A child should be kept home if he/she shows any sign of illness and should come back to school only when he/she can participate in the full program of his/her class both indoors and outdoors. We have no provisions for caring for individual children who are sick. Children may not come to school if they are vomiting and/or have diarrhea. Consultation from a physician should be obtained before a child who has been suffering from vomiting and/or diarrhea returns to school.
4. If your child has had an illness lasting more than one week and has been seen by a doctor, he/she should have a doctor’s written consent to return to school.
5. When your child has been ill with a fever, he/she may not return to school until free of fever without fever-reducing medicine for a minimum of 24 hours.
6. In case of contagious disease or exposure to contagion,(i.e. chicken pox, pink eye, stomach virus, lice), parents are asked to notify the school at once, even if this occurred during vacation periods within the school year.
7. Parents will be notified by the school when a child in the class has a contagious disease.
8. The school will notify the parent if the teacher observes that the child has become ill during school hours, and cannot fully participate in class activities. The parent will then be expected to arrange for the child to be picked up and taken home promptly. Please ensure that at least one of your emergency contacts is local and can pick up within 30 minutes. An ill child will be sent to the ECC office until they are picked up.
9. The school has a specific, detailed policy regarding head lice, which is available and will be distributed in the event of discovery of this condition. Children with this condition will not be allowed to remain at school. Teachers will do periodic head checks as prevention, but parents are advised to keep a close eye on the situation at home.
10. Pink eye is another highly contagious infection. Children with this condition will not be admitted to school until the eye is clear of redness and discharge.
11. If your child has a rash of unknown origin she/he must be seen by a physician who indicates in writing that he or she is not contagious before coming to school. Only in this way can we hope to avoid outbreaks of chicken pox, scarlet fever and other diseases with symptomatic rashes.
Safety and Emergencies
We take the utmost care to prevent emergencies from occurring. However, in the rare event of an emergency it is important that our families know what to expect.
Each family will be asked to complete an Emergency Contact Information form. In the event of any emergency or illness, you will be called. If you cannot be reached, the emergency contacts indicated on your cards will be called and asked to come to pick up your child. Bearing that in mind be sure that your emergency contacts are close enough to respond quickly in an emergency.
Illness or injury to a child
Parents will be contacted to bring a child home promptly if emergency medical care is not deemed necessary. A sick or injured child will be transported to the hospital for emergency care if required. If it is necessary to call 911 for emergency personnel, parents will be called immediately afterward once help is on its way.
Our teachers take tremendous care that no child is ever left unattended. To prevent any confusion, children are not released to their caregivers or parents until they have been signed out in the class attendance book. In the event that it is realized a child is missing in the building, security will be alerted to prevent anyone from leaving until the child is located.
During class trips, teachers constantly count (and re-count) the children in their groups. If it is ever discovered that a child is missing on a trip, children will be re-grouped and the immediate area searched for no longer than 3 minutes before calling 911 and alerting appropriate site authorities. School administrators and parents will be called immediately after 911. The group will remain with one teacher while chaperones and staff conduct a search until the child is found.
Evacuation of the Building
Our school conducts fire drills during the school year in order to ensure that our staff and students know how to evacuate safely and quickly. In the event of an actual emergency staff will evacuate children as planned moving them down the block past the school building. In cold weather, if it is possible, children will go across the street to wait in our Synagogue building. In the event that it is not safe to stay in the immediate vicinity, Congregation Beth Elohim’s children’s programs have formed a reciprocal arrangement with Poly Prep Day School to allow our students to wait there until they can be picked up by a caregiver or parent. In this event, families would be notified after evacuation was safely completed.
Our goal in providing swim activities is to provide a sense of confidence and fun in the water and no child will be forced to enter the pool who is not comfortable. Children are only allowed in the pool area while wearing appropriate flotation belts. A ratio of 1 adult to every 3 children is maintained in the pool and a classroom teacher, Water Safety instructor and lifeguard will always be present during swim activities. The pool safety plan, which includes all procedures on what to do during an emergency in the pool is posted in the pool area, and order is maintained by the lifeguard on duty.