Welcome to Smarties Preschool and Long day Care Centre. We provide a Montessori program. The service is licensed for 38 children at any time.
We look forward to a long and happy association with you and your family.
The following information is specific to the 0-6year olds and should be read in conjunction with the information booklet and the Centre’s Policy Manual.
The Centre opens at 7:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm.
The Philosophies of the 0-6 Age Group
- Play is about relationships – to people, materials & the world/environment around them.
- Children learn best through “HANDS ON” experiences.
- Learning needs to be sequenced from the known to the unknown, from simple to complex activities.
Children learn best when they feel valued and respected, are listened and responded
Starting in the program is a significant event in both the child, and the families’ life.
To assist the child’s settling in, and to enable the parents to become familiar with the staff, buildings, the program & centre policies we offer an Orientation time, (10.00 am – 12.00 noon), usually the day before the child starts. There is no charge for this time. Parents are unable to leave their children on the orientation morning. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend this morning & to speak with the staff about any special requirements your child has.
THE FIRST DAY / SETTLING IN
Each child needs to be signed in on the roll, and signed out upon departure. The roll is located on the shelf in the foyer.
It is essential that contact be made with a staff member upon arrival, so that staff can welcome your child and help them settle at an activity.
Parents are always encouraged to say “goodbye” to their child before they leave – your child and the staff need to know that you have gone.
Never sneak away from your child thinking this will help them to settle quicker. A definite “goodbye” and even a time frame of when you will be back (eg after afternoon tea) will help to build the child’s feelings of trust and security.
If you would like to check on how your child has settled, please phone the Centre at any time on 8677 1829
Avoid comparing your child to other children, both in the (2-3) units Centre,
and even within your family. Each child is unique, and will cope with starting at the centre, and with separating from their parents in their own way.
Please read the centre’s policy on sick children.
This important policy can be found in the centre general information booklet, & it is on display in each area of the centre.
It is essential that all families read and understand our policy on sick children – if you have any questions please speak with the director or any staff member.
We do have a policy of exclusion for children who are sick.
Understandably this may cause inconvenience for working parents, however it is for the health & safety of all persons at the centre that this is followed.
PLEASE INFORM THE STAFF:
” If your child requires medication. The medication sheet must be correctly filled out and medication must not be left in your child’s bag. Place medication either in the box in the fridge is locked & inaccessible to children), or hand to a staff member. Please note that if the medication sheet is not correctly filled in, staff is unable to administer medication.
*If your child has any physical restrictions eg wounds, stitches, illness.
*If your child has any rashes, including nappy rash.
*Of any emotional trauma eg. death in the family, separation.
*Of any update in your child’s immunisation statue.
*Of any change in your child’s routine eg. different sleep times, feed times.
*Of any alteration in your child’s diet eg introduction of new foods, allergies or other specific dietary needs.
“If anyone other than yourself will be collecting your child from the centre. This information also needs to be written down on the roll. Persons to collect your child must be written on the enrolment form. People unknown to the staff will be asked to produce ID. This procedure is in place for the safety of the children in our care.
“Centre management and staff need to be informed of any court orders that exist affecting custody of your children.
“Please inform us if your child is receiving any form of outside therapy e.g. Physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or if they are seeing specialist doctors. We aim to work in partnership with health care professionals for the benefit of your child.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING?
* Everything brought to the centre should be CLEARLY LABELLED with your child’s name.
* A bag/backpack
*Nappies if required
*Any medication required by your child must be supplied by parents, this includes Panadol pack at least two full spare sets of clothes, in case of accidents.
*A hat (one that can be left at the centre) that provides adequate sun protection. A hat with a flap or wide brim offers the best protection.
*Sunscreen (SPF 30+) should be left at the centre labelled with your child’s name. Staff will apply sunscreen to faces and other exposed areas before the children go outside.
Please note that we do not keep spare hats at the centre. If your child does not have a hat, they must play under a covered area, as keeping with the centre’s sun protection policy (see policy manual).
Please dress your child appropriately for their day at the centre. Singlet/Halter style tops do not adequately protect young skin from harmful UV rays. A long sleeved/long shorts style of a densely woven fabric offers better protection.
*Comfort items if required eg dummy/blanket etc.
We discourage children bringing in items from home (eg toys, precious items). So as to minimise distress over loss or damage, and conflict over ownership may occur.
*Empty bottle/s if your child requires cows milk or soy milk. All empty bottle/s should be clearly labelled with your child’s name, and placed into your child’s ‘pocket’ in the foyer area.
If your child drinks formula, please bring bottles already made up with formula, which can be placed straight into the fridge. (Formula is not supplied). If you wish your child to have fruit juice, this may also be placed in the fridge. Smarties Preschool encourages the drinking of milk and water during the day. The centre does not supply juice.
* We are always pleased to receive any donations of craft materials.
(e.g. paper, cardboard). ‘pre-loved’ children’s’ clothing to have in our emergency spare clothes box, any metal teapots/baking trays/sieves etc. suitable for home corner, & any clothes for dress-ups (especially multicultural clothing).
Any medication required by your child must be supplied by parents, this includes Bonjela teething gel & Panadol
Please do not leave medication in your child’s bag.
If your child requires medication, including herbal and topical medicines eg. Bonjela, please inform a staff member and fill out the medication sheet with all details. Any of the staff are happy to assist you with this.
Parents are reminded that if the medication sheet is filled out incorrectly, the staff is not able to administer the medication.
Medication should be stored either in the fridge (which is kept locked), or on top of the fridge.
Please also note that staff can only administer prescribed medication to the child if their name appears on the label i.e. if the medication is not prescribed specifically for that child the staff are not able to give it to the child. This is in the interests of health and safety.
GROUPING OF CHILDREN
The children are placed into groups based on a combination of suitable peer relations, ability and age based factors. These groups are used for a structured group time period, focusing on concept/interest related topics. The children sit with their ‘group’ for meal times.
“Your child will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that will refine and develop skills in a wide variety of areas:
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Experiences include play dough, threading, construction and building materials (eg Duplo, Interstar, and Brush blocks), drawing, puzzles, art activities such as pasting.
These activities help build strength and coordination in the smaller muscles of the fingers and hands.
GROSS MOTOR ACTIVITIES
Experiences include balancing activities, running games, ball and hoop games, climbing over specific equipment, dancing, playing group games, and developing an awareness of space and one’s place in space.
These activities help build strength in the body’s larger muscles, as well as balance and coordination.
Experiences include listening to stories, group time activities based on a particular interest topic, listening to and following instructions.
These activities build vocabulary and encourage effective communication.
COGNITIVE ‘THINKING SKILLS’ ACTIVITIES
Experiences include puzzles, word & picture games. Pre maths activities such as sorting, sequencing, matching, counting, identifying attributes all assist in developing logic, memory and maths skills.
Music is not only enjoyable and relaxing; it plays an essential role in the development of language, maths and logic.
Repetition, melody and rhyme are fundamental in understanding the pattern of language and assisting with memory.
The centre has many traditional and multicultural instruments for the children to explore, and traditional and multi-cultural songs are included in the program.
SELF HELP SKILLS
Your child’s independence will be encouraged in a number of ways, including
*Giving each child a choice of activity during free play time
*Assisting each child to wash their own hands before meal times.
*The staff foster self esteem and confidence as a means of supporting independence.
DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SKILLS
Your child will have the opportunity to develop and refine such social skills as sharing, turn taking, and being aware of other peoples needs.
The program reflects cultural diversity & multiculturalism, and each child has the opportunity to interact with a variety of materials, reflecting the centre’s anti-bias approach to programming.
Your child has the opportunity to engage in dramatic play which helps them to acquire an understanding of their world.
Examples of such dramatic play include home corner and dress-ups.
In order to minimise the spread of infections at the centre, we have a hand washing procedure.
All children will wash & dry their hands upon arrival and departure from the centre each day.
We ask that parents, or whoever brings the child, assist the child to wash & dry their hands as part of the arrival routine. Likewise, when going home the adult assists the child to wash & dry their hands as part of the goodbye routine. This procedure will minimise the spread of germs coming into the centre, and also minimise germs going home from the centre.
All children have their hands washed & dried after nappy changes, or using the toilet. Children also have hands washed & dried before meals, after sleep, and after being outdoors. Staff also wash & dry their hands at these times.
About Your Child’s day…
Each day the staff will write about your child’s day-this document is in a folder, near the sign – in the bench. These documents are confidential (ie no parent reads another child’s day book). They remain the property of the centre and are not to be taken home. Each morning parents need to verbally give staff any information they think staff will need in caring for their child, as well as writing it on their child’s document.
Each child also has a portfolio. The staffs regularly write in observations relating to the developmental progress of your child, including photos, artwork etc. The aim of the portfolio is to keep an ongoing record of your child’s progress while at the centre. The portfolio is yours to keep when your child leaves the centre.
We encourage parents to comment & evaluate all aspects of the program daily.
Artwork, fee receipts, newsletters etc are placed in the child’s pocket located near the front door. Please check your child’s pocket & empty daily.
The weekly program is displayed for parents’ convenience. The program is based upon formal and informal observations of the children and interest related topics. Focus carers take observations of the children in their group on a rotational basis, such observations are used to gather information on the progress of each child’s development.
The program is prepared and evaluated by the focus carers, and we welcome any parent comment re. the program.
Goals of the program
- To plan appropriately for children based on a sound knowledge of child development.
- To build on children’s experience and knowledge and use these as stepping stones for further learning.
- To create an environment within the centre that reflects the cultural diversity of the society that we live in.
- To encourage parents to become involved in activities, thus forging links between home and the Montessori and Long Day Care Centre
- To provide an environment in which children are encouraged to learn through “hands-on” experiences, explored through the medium of play.
- To foster children’s feelings of self-esteem by creating an environment in which mutual trust is encouraged.
- To encourage independence through the promotion of self help skills to enhance children’s self-confidence.
- To provide opportunities for children to have choices throughout the day.
- To create a program which reflects an anti-bias approach. Bias will be countered and equality promoted.
- To promote an awareness of safety issues to both children and staff. eg. Road Safety.
- To create opportunities for a variety of learning experiences at mealtimes.
- To provide an opportunity for children to discover the physical environment and pursue an interest in their environment.
- To maintain a consistent positive approach to behaviour guidance, bearing in mind each individual child’s stage of development.
- To provide nutritious meals in a relaxed and social setting.
- To provide an environment for children to develop (where appropriate) a degree of empathy and concern for the well being of others.
- To provide a program that others inclusion for children that have additional needs.
At the centre we believe discipline is important for the safety and protection of the child and the environment.Consistency is important to minimise confusion amongst us all. We believe that there is no occasion where physical punishment should be used upon a child.Smarties Preschool has five ‘key messages’ which relate to caring about ourselves, others and the environment.
- We are gentle to others and to ourselves. We are not hurtful eg. It’s not appropriate to physically hurt another person or to use words hurt their feelings.
- We are careful about our own and other people’s work and belongings. We do not break or damage objects or possessions. It is not appropriate to take items from other people’s bags.
- We are gentle with insects, animals, and plants. It’s appropriate to look at and touch them gently, it’s not appropriate to rip leaves, damage flowers or hurt animals.
- We keep clean and move safely in our outdoor areas and rooms. It’s not appropriate to run inside.
- We take care of our health. It’s appropriate to wash our hands before eating and after using the toilet. It is appropriate to cover our mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing and to use tissues if needed.
- Toddlers have their hands and faces washed before and after each meal. There are many times during the day when babies’ faces and hands are washed.
TECHNIQUES OF BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT
The staffs of the Smarties Preschool all take a positive approach to guidance and discipline. Some of the techniques used are:
* Change the environment – a variety of indoor/outdoor activities – maintain clear traffic flow between activities.
* Praise and encouragement is given for desired behaviours
“You waited very quietly for your turn…..well done”.
* Modelling desired behaviour – children learn through imitation.
* Providing appropriate activities to met the child’s needs, abilities and interests.
* The teacher may first try to defuse/distract a situation, giving the child an “out”.
* The teacher uses a firm, calm manner, indicating what is expected from the child, and giving the child a choice where possible. eg “If you choose to do X, I will have to …..”
*The teacher is clear about the consequences for the child eg removal from the situation.,
*The teacher follows through with the consequences.
*Constant communication is vital to assist us all in the management of unacceptable behaviours. The staff may speak with you on a daily basis, or at a more formal meeting time. The Centre has the resource of FOCUS who may provide a Special Education Adviser to assist in providing strategies for managing persistent aggressive or undesired behaviours.
BITING: Biting tends to be a stage that many children go through, and it most often occurs between the ages of 18 months and 3 years.
Biting may be the result of frustration as children are developing their communication skills, but are not skilled enough to respond immediately in an appropriate way. It may also occur because children are teething, or for a variety of other reasons.
There are no winners when it comes to biting. The staffs address each situation as it occurs. We have several different techniques which can be used should a biting incidents occur, and parents are notified of any incidents involving their child (ie both the parents of the biter and the child who was bitten).
Children must be signed in on the roll upon arrival, and out upon departure.
If your child is absent, this will be recorded by the staff on the roll.
As the warmer weather approaches, water play becomes a part of the program. It is a very popular, versatile activity which has significance for a range of sensory, motor and intellectual uses, and it helps to keep the children calm and cool.
If you would prefer that your child does not play with water on certain days, please let the staff know. Please write this request in your child’s day book for future reference.
ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
All accidents and incidents are recorded on the centre’s confidential accident/incident form which parents are asked to read & sign. Staff endeavours to notify parents of any minor accidents/incidents via. telephone, and of course if the accident is one which requires immediate medical attention the staff will contact parents and/or hospital (see policy handbook – Emergency procedure).
As a general rule the children enrolled at the centre do not go on excursions.
The Centre may have visiting artists come to the centre to provide stimulating and educational experiences for the children eg Magician, Kindifarm, Multi-cultural Musician.
Notification of impending visits is provided and parents are welcome to join in the fun on these occasions.
A small fee is charged to cover costs of visiting artists.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE CENTRE
We believe that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. Our role as early childhood teachers is to reinforce and build upon what parents have taught their children.
Parent involvement in the centre is encouraged in the following ways.
*Visit your child’s room to observe their work
*Read the program
*Offer suggestions/activities to be included on the program
*We ask for input in reviewing policies, evaluating centre programs & menu ideas.
* If any parent can offer skills to our program eg A musician may like to play their instrument for the children, any Policemen or Firemen??
* Parents are given the opportunity to attend such events as hearing guest speakers (eg School readiness, Speech therapy), or attending courses (eg Children’s First Aid).
* We value cultural diversity at our centre. We would like to invite any family members to come in and sing, or read to the children in another language or share any aspect of their home culture with us. eg donations of fabric, clothing for dress ups or objects for dramatic play.
* Share with us some key words in your home language that can help make your child’s day smoother, & we can expose the other children to language from a different culture.
In order to minimise loss of property, please label all items bought to the centre with your child’s name. This includes shoes clothes and bottles.
Any unclaimed items found in the centre will be periodically displayed. Please check with a staff member if any clothing is missing.
Any unclaimed items will eventually be donated to charity.
We recognise that Birthdays are a special occasion in a child’s life.
If you would like your child to celebrate their birthday at the centre you are welcome to bring in a cake which will be shared with the group at morning tea time.
Due to food safety regulations, we must ask that all cakes be covered when brought to the centre, and cakes should be non-cream. Also due to safety, the staffs do not put candles on the cake, and so the children do not blow them out over the cake to be shared.
Please inform the staff upon arrival at the centre, so the cake may be stored appropriately (eg refrigerated if needed).
The Centre organises for professional photographs to be taken of the children annually.
These photographs include individual, group and sibling photographs.
Parents are notified of dates for the photographs.
The purchase of photographs is optional.