What is a cooperative?
Our cooperative is an organization that thrives through the collective forces of families, staff and the community. Together we ensure that everything runs smoothly, from day to day operations, to long range planning, to facility upkeep and financial stability. The expectation is that a family enrolls their child in this school, not only because it is a wonderful early childhood program, but also to be an active part of their child's first school experience. Child's Play parents and teachers work together to create a positive early educational experience for our children. Parents share the fun, work and responsibility of organizing the school and acting as its administration.
Parents also contribute in the classroom, acting as teacher assistants on a rotating basis. This allows us all to contribute to the program content, see and share as our children play, learn, grow and form relationships with others. As parents, we also have the chance to grow ourselves, in our parenting skills, as we learn from the teachers and from each other.
What are my responsibilities in a cooperative?
Each family is required to participate on one committee. Committee assignments are selected on a yearly sign-up sheet. Other jobs are volunteered for at parents meetings or as needed within the classroom. Each role, and its associated time commitment varies by the nature of the job, but all are all equally important to the school functioning as a cohesive productive community. Each Committee helps to drive the respective initiative or program forward, and typically meets once per month. This meeting could be as short as 60 minutes, or as long as 2-3 hours.
Other time commitments that Parents are required to participate in are:
All School Meetings: "All School Meetings" are held five times during the year and all parents are required to attend. There are two parts to these meetings: a classroom meeting where parents and teachers share ideas and information concerning their particular class, and an all-school meeting to receive and share information, and often, to vote on important school issues and learn more about school activities. These meetings typically happen after school in the evenings, and there are 5 all schools meetings throughout the year.
Duty Days: Approximately once a month, one parent is expected to participate in the classroom as a "duty parent." Duty parents act as teacher assistants in the classroom, preparing the snacks, helping to guide the day's activities, and participating in the play centers as needed. By far, many parents consider this the most rewarding experience within the co-op.
Within the cooperative, every family is needed to fully participate in the school in order for our children to have the highest quality experience. It's worth the work!
What are the Duty Day Responsibilities?
- Arrive 20 minutes before arrival time with the day's snack
- Cleaning responsibilities (depending on class)
- Assist teacher in helping children get started with the day's morning activities
- Take children to the bathroom, help wash hands as needed throughout the morning
- Assist children in clean up time and hsandwashing before and after snack
- Help children help themselves during snack time
- Wash, wipe and sweep up after snack
- Assist teach in activities, read books, etc.
- Help children get ready for outdoor play or dismissal
- Assist teach in supervising children on the playground
What are the benefits of a cooperative?
There are many benefits to being a part of Child's Play. Over the years we have heard many parents remark on the lasting friendships they have made at Child's Play. Other parents find great satisfaction in spending time in their child's classroom – seeing their child interact in a group, and developing relationships with peers and their teachers. Another benefit is simply appreciating the satisfaction that comes from volunteering.
What is the history of Child's Play?
Child's Play ("CP") has always been an innovative program with many firsts to its credit. An example of our leadership and innovation in early childhood development took place in December of 1978, when a group of 12 parents who had their toddlers in home playgroup situations decided it would be great to enroll their children in a program for 2 ½ - 3 year olds, 3 mornings a week in an extended play group situation. There was just one slight problem -this kind of program did not exist! And so through innovation, Child's Play was born.
What is the Child's Play Mission?
- Child's Play is a cooperative preschool whose educational philosophy is based on the developmental model. This model is based on the fact that children learn through play at apace that is individual and appropriate to their age and development. Parents work with teachers to create a high quality early educational experience for our children and a safe,respectful, supportive, and nurturing environment and community for us all. In order toensure success in this mission, we strive to follow the guiding principles below:
- Parent involvement in the classroom is required and encouraged. This involvement supports the teachers, broadens the parents' understanding of their children's education and developmental stage, and strengthens and deepens the relationship between children and teachers and between families and teachers.
- The school's success is dependent on parents taking the initiative and maintaining their commitment to the varied tasks involved in running the school. Each of us takes responsibility for understanding and executing our co-op job and abiding by and implementing the policies and procedures of the co-op.
- Teachers, with input and recommendations from the Education Advisor and Executive Board, have ultimate responsibility for the educational program,including curriculum and classroom design. Because of this, it is absolutely vital that our staff be highly qualified professionals who embrace the developmental education model and are fully supported and compensated appropriately.
- Free and open communication in the co-op community is a priority. This ensures a climate of trust and cooperation within the co-op, both between parents and between teachers and parents. It enables the school to function effectively and fosters the sense of community that we value. Except for matters involving family confidentiality, all committee and Executive Board meetings will be publicized andopen to the general co-op community and the minutes will be made available.Parents are expected and encouraged to bring any ideas or concerns they mayhave, including classroom issues or their committee work, to their class rep, teacher,or member of the Executive Board. When necessary, the Education Advisor will actas a liaison within groups or between groups or individuals.
- Although the cooperative ideal of consensus is not always practical or even possible, we strive for the most open and inclusive process possible. Parents and teachers work cooperatively to make the decisions that affect and guide the school. Parents are required to attend their committee meetings and All Parent meetings and are encouraged to express their concerns and opinions. For the co-opcommunity to function well and set a good example for our children, we must allspeak and listen to one another with respect and an open mind.
- We value the community created by being a cooperative and strive to encourage and maintain the sense of community. All school community activities,whether formal or informal, welcome and include the most members of the co-op community possible. Less structured opportunities for families to interact, like visiting at the play yard fence at pick-up, are also valued and encouraged.
- Child's Play is committed to the concept of diversity and to preparing our children to be successful citizens in a diverse world. Diversity is an integral part of the curriculum in each classroom. Our work on the board, the committees and with policy development is reflective of our commitment to diversity.
What does it mean to be an accredited preschool?
Child's Play is licensed by DCYF, is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and has a 5-star rating in BrightStars, Rhode island's Quality Rating System.H2!!
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation of programs for young children represents the mark of quality in early childhood education. NAEYC Accreditation began in 1985 with the goal of providing an accrediting system that would raise the level of early childhood programs. Today, over 7,000 programs are NAEYC Accredited. NAEYC identifies 10 standards of high quality early childhood education:
Relationships The program promotes positive relationships among all children and adults to encourage each child's sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community and to foster each child's ability to contribute as a responsible community member.
Rationale: Positive relationships are essential for the development of personal responsibility,capacity for self-regulation, for constructive interactions with others, and for fostering academic functioning and mastery. Warm, sensitive, and responsive interactions help children develop a secure, positive sense of self and encourage them to respect and cooperate with others. Positive relationships also help children gain the benefits of instructional experiences and resources.Children who see themselves as highly valued are more likely to feel secure, thrive physically,get along with others, learn well, and feel part of a community.
Curriculum The program implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social,emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.
Rationale: A curriculum that draws on research assists teachers in identifying important concepts and skills as well as effective methods for fostering children's learning and development. When informed by teachers' knowledge of individual children, a well-articulated curriculum guides teachers so they can provide children with experiences that foster growth across a broad range of developmental and content areas. A curriculum also helps ensure that the teacher is intentional in planning a daily schedule that (a) maximizes children's learning through effective use of time, materials used for play, self-initiated learning, and creative expression as well as (b) offers opportunities for children to learn individually and in groups according to their developmental needs and interests.
Teaching The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child's learning and development in the context of the program's curriculum goals.
Rationale: Teaching staff who purposefully use multiple instructional approaches optimize children's opportunities for learning. These approaches include strategies that range from structured to unstructured and from adult directed to child directed. Children bring to learning environments different backgrounds, interests, experiences, learning styles, needs, and capacities. Teachers' consideration of these differences when selecting and implementing instructional approaches helps all children succeed. Instructional approaches also differ in their effectiveness for teaching different elements of curriculum and learning. For a program to address the complexity inherent in any teaching- learning situation, it must use a variety of effective instructional approaches. In classrooms and groups that include teacher assistants or teacher aides and specialized teaching and support staff, the expectation is that these teaching staff work as a team. Whether one teacher works alone or whether a team works together, the instructional approach creates a teaching environment that supports children's positive learning and development across all areas.
Assessment of Child Progress The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal, and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children's learning and development. These assessments occur within the context of reciprocal communications with families and with sensitivity to the cultural contexts in which children develop. Assessment results are used to benefit children by informing sound decisions about children, teaching, and program improvement.
Rationale: Teachers' knowledge of each child helps them to plan appropriately challenging curricula and to tailor instruction that responds to each child's strengths and needs. Further,systematic assessment is essential for identifying children who may benefit from more intensive instruction or intervention or who may need additional developmental evaluation. This information ensures that the program meets its goals for children's learning and developmental progress and also informs program improvement efforts.
HealthThe program promotes the nutrition and health of children and protects children and staff from illness and injury.
Rationale To benefit from education and maintain quality of life, children need to be as healthy as possible. Health is a state of complete physical, oral, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organization 1948). Children depend on adults (who also are as healthy as possible) to make healthy choices for them and to teach them to make healthy choices for themselves. Although some degree of risk taking is desirable for learning, a quality program prevents hazardous practices and environments that are likely to result in adverse consequences for children, staff, families, or communities.
Teachers The program employs and supports a teaching staff that has the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children's learning and development and to support families' diverse needs and interests.
Rationale: Children benefit most when their teachers have high levels of formal education and specialized early childhood professional preparation. Teachers who have specific preparation,knowledge, and skills in child development and early childhood education are more likely to engage in warm, positive interactions with children, offer richer language experiences, and create more high-quality learning environments. Opportunities for teaching staff to receive supportive supervision and to participate in ongoing professional development ensure that their knowledge and skills reflect the profession's ever-changing knowledge base.
Families The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child's family to foster children's development in all settings. These relationships are sensitive to family composition, language, and culture.
Rationale: Young children's learning and development are integrally connected to their families.Consequently, to support and promote children's optimal learning and development, programs need to recognize the primacy of children's families, establish relationships with families based on mutual trust and respect, support and involve families in their children's educational growth, and invite families to fully participate in the program.
Community Relationships The program establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children's communities to support the achievement of program goals.
Rationale: As part of the fabric of children's communities, an effective program establishes and maintains reciprocal relationships with agencies and institutions that can support it in achieving its goals for the curriculum, health promotion, children's transitions, inclusion, and diversity. By helping to connect families with needed resources, the program furthers children's healthy development and learning.
Physical Environment The program has a safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments. The environment includes facilities, equipment, and materials to facilitate child and staff learning and development.
Rationale: The program's design and maintenance of its physical environment support high quality program activities and services as well as allow for optimal use and operation. Well organized, equipped, and maintained environments support program quality by fostering the learning, comfort, health, and safety of those who use the program. Program quality is enhanced by also creating a welcoming and accessible setting for children, families, and staff.
Leadership and Management The program effectively implements policies, procedures, and systems that support stable staff and strong personnel, fiscal, and program management so all children,families, and staff have high quality experiences.
Rationale: Excellent programming requires effective governance structures, competent and knowledgeable leadership, as well as comprehensive and well-functioning administrative policies, procedures, and systems. Effective leadership and management create the environment for high quality care and education by:• Ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and guidelines;• promoting fiscal soundness, program accountability, effective communication, helpful consultative services, positive community relations, and comfortable and supportive workplaces;• maintaining stable staff; and• instituting ongoing program planning and career development opportunities for staff as well as continuous program improvement.
What is BrightStars?
BrightStars helps families in Rhode Island find quality child care, early learning, and afterschool programs. BrightStars can provide families with:A list of quality child care options based on your family's needs. A guide to getting started and information on choosing quality child care.Information on financing child care, child development and more.BrightStars also helps improve the quality of child care in Rhode Island by working with child care and afterschool programs. Child care and afterschool programs voluntarily join to be rated by BrightStars and are assessed across many quality standards and criteria. Participation in BrightStars means that a program has made a commitment to quality and goes above and beyond state licensing. BrightStars-rated child care and afterschool programs are on a path of continuous quality improvement.
BrightStars quality-rated programs are assessed in the following areas: Child's Daily Experience Teaching and Learning Staff-Child Ratio and Group Size\Family Communication and Involvement Staff Qualifications Program Management
Can I schedule a tour or a time to visit with my child?
We encourage families to visit the program to meet our teaching staff, see the classroom spaces, and have an opportunity to ask questions and get in depth information about our programs from the school's head teacher.
What are your class sizes and teacher/adult to child ratios?
Child: staff ratios are always in compliance with licensing regulations and NAEYC standards.
These standards are:
AGE / CLASS / DAYS OF WEEKCHILD : STAFF RATIOGROUP SIZE
Child's PlayNAEYCChild's PlayNAEYC
2's / Toddlers
(Thursday)< 4 : 14 : 1108
3's / Nursery
(Monday, Wednesday, Friday)5 : 18 : 11516
4's / Preschool
(Monday, Wednesday, Friday with
Tuesday/Thursday optional)5 : 110 : 12020
(EXT. DAY 8 : 1)15
Are there any entrance exams or entrance tests associated with the admissions process at Child's Play?
No, Child's Play does not test perspective students as part of the admissions process.
Do you provide extended day opportunities?
Any Nursery and Preschool child enrolled in the morning program may extend their day into the afternoon at 1:45pm. This option is available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please note that the extended day program for the Nursery class is only offered during the second semester/half of the year. The Preschool extended day program is offered during the fall and spring semesters.
What is your admissions process?
Admission is open to all without regard to race, creed or nationality. Children are accepted according to date of application with the exception that an attempt will be made to maintain a balanced ratio of girls and boys. Priority is also given to the siblings of children alreadyenrolled in the school as well as to alumni families.
Currently, there is a maximum of 10 children in the Toddler Group, 15 in the Nursery class,and 20 in the Preschool class. Class sizes may be enlarged or reduced at any time at the discretion of the teachers, the Board of Directors of the school and the Board of Education.There is a limit of ten children in the preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4-day optionand 5-day option, respectively. There is a maximum of fifteen children in the preschool forextended day option.
As part of the admissions process, all new and alumni family members who plan to perform duty days must complete a complete background check, fingerprinting, and a TB test. Alumni families are those that have been away from Child's Play for at least one year.Pregnancy does not exempt a parent from TB test requirement. This test is necessary inorder for Child's Play to be fully compliant with DCYF and RI Department of HealthRequirements. As part of the TB test, you are injected with only a protein and not thebacteria into your skin to see if there is a reaction. You cannot get TB from the skin test. If aparent is unable to complete the TB Test, they will be excluded from Duty Days until they have successfully taken the TB test (revised 2011).
What is the tuition schedule?
A non-refundable registration deposit of 10% (one month's tuition) is due on or about March 10 (or upon acceptance to the school) to hold your child's place. Our tuition is based upon a ten-month school year. The monthly tuition rate is determined by dividing the total tuition rate for the year by 10 months and rounded to the nearest dollar.If tuition rates for the upcoming school year are not finalized by the March registration period,then a retroactive adjustment will be assessed to later payments (April, May or June) asnecessary. If necessary, revised tuition bills (including the necessary retroactive adjustment,if any) will be forwarded as soon as final rates have been determined.
You may then select one of three tuition payment plans: Annual, Semi-annual or Monthly.The payment schedule is detailed below, as follows:
All payments are due on the first of any month. Reminders will not be sent out so mark your calendars with the due dates and amounts due or enroll in your bank's autopayment plan.
A grace period of 10 days is given, however, if your payment is not received by the tenth of any month (during April, May, and June), then your child's spot will be offered to the next family on the applicant list. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE TO THIS POLICY.
* If you have selected the Monthly Payment Plan, an $20.00 surcharge is added to the September payment, as detailed above for those not on the auto-payment plan.If your payment is made after the tenth of the month (September through February) for the semi-annual or monthly plan, you will be assessed a $15.00 late fee which should beincluded with that month's payment.
Is it OK to arrive late to school?
To get the most of the day, it really helps to arrive on time. It is much easier for a child to engage with the group, and for the teachers to offer assistance with saying good bye to mom or dad during the expected drop off time. Later in the morning, teachers and children are usually occupied with the day's activities, and a late arrival is an interruption. That said, we understand that some children (or parents) move rather slowly in the early morning, and arriving at school at 8:50 is a big project!
Is it OK to for a parent to stay and observe the class and support their child during the first few weeks of school?
Absolutely!! We understand that transitions can be difficult, and the program is flexible to support the needs of the students and parents! Please be sure to make the respective teacher aware of your concerns and needs, and they will surely be accommodated!
How do you handle food allergies?
If your child has a known foo d allergy, please alert your child's teacher and the Co-Presidents prior to the start of the school year. Severe allergies may require the initiation of a restricted snack list for a particular class, classroom or for the entire school. The health and safety of all children is our first priority.
Please discuss any other special dietary requests (vegetarian, religious, etc.) with your teacher prior to the start of the school year. You and your teacher will create a plan that enables your child to follow his/her special diet while at school. This might include reasonable accommodations to the snack routine, educating families about your child's diet so they may provide appropriate snacks when practicable, and/or providing your child's own snacks from home.
What kind of assessment or testing do you do to ensure that a student is learning?
We do not use standardized or any other form of testing for entrance in to Child's Play or when assessing children throughout the year. We believe in using authentic assessment which is based on observation of children over a period of time using developmentally appropriate and educationally significant evidence which is gathered from realistic settings and situations that reflect children's actual performance.
We use a series of developmental skills checklists which are based on the Creative Curriculum and the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System checklist and is aligned with the Rhode Island Early Learning Standards. There is a separate checklist for each age group so that skills build on one another from year to year. These checklists correspond to the developmental goals we have for each age group and are in the information packet you receive from your child's teacher. This system helps us track your child's progress through all areas of development (social-emotional, physical, cognitive, language) and to identify strengths and areas of needed growth. This helps guide our curriculum planning and decision-making for the group as well as the individual child. At times this information may help us identify the need for additional support services or additional supports outside of our program (i.e.: speech, OT, etc.).
Our low student to adult ratio and focus on small group work allows teachers to know students individually. Student achievement is assessed in a variety of ways with an eye toward regular progress and skill development. Child's Play uses the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System. This system helps our teachers track and pinpoint your child's progress through each developmental level of social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development throughout the school year. Results will be used to monitor your child's developmental learning so we can guide our curriculum planning and decision-making in alliance with the Rhode Island Early Learning Standards, Creative Curriculum, and NAEYC Accreditation Standards. This process helps us to identify strengths and areas of needed growth for children. At times this information may help us identify the need for additional support services or additional supports outside of our program (i.e.: speech, OT, etc.). We use these results to report and communicate with our families.
Our assessments are ongoing and occur throughout the school day. They include teacher observation and collection of samples of your child's learning through the school year. We seek parent feedback as to how your child is learning outside the school environment in the form of questionnaires sent home in the registration package, formally twice during the school year at Parent-Teacher Conferences as well as informally throughout the year. Children's information is kept confidential and only released to their parent/guardians or other authorized parties by written consent from a child's parent/guardian.