Handbook

Nursery School & Children's Center Policies

CONSISTENCY in ATTENDANCE and ARRIVAL TIME:  The arrival and greeting period is an open flow between 8:30-9:15.  Please do not enter the building before 8:30.  Allow 5 minutes to help your child hang up back pack, wash hands and say hello to the teachers.  The arrival window allows for gradual drop-off, as it helps if everyone does not arrive at the same time (to prevent crowded parking and cubby rooms).  Teachers will assist if your child needs support getting engaged or if you need help saying good bye.  Teachers can help you agree upon a transition ritual with your child such as waving good bye from the porch or window.  The teachers have prepared an inviting early childhood curriculum experience and each day builds upon the next.  Please keep it mind that it can be disruptive to the program and harder for children to adjust if they are arriving late (after 9:15) or do not have a consistent schedule. Consistency and routine provides children with a sense of safety, security and independence and allows them to get the most out of the early education experience.

SICK POLICY (24 hour rule): Children may not come to school with fevers or infections including diarrhea, vomiting, extreme coughing, impetigo, conjunctivitis, strep throat, or rashes. Children must be fever free for 24 hours (without fever reducing medication) before returning to school and/or have appropriate medication or medical care specific to the needs 24 hours before returning to school. Parents often report that a child who had a fever or vomiting on Sunday says he feels fine and wants to return to school on Monday (the following day) but our agreement with Dutchess County Health Department requires that the child must be fever free and vomit free for 24 hours before returning. Our goal is to keep our school healthy and reduce the risk of spreading infections. Teachers and children follow hand-washing and sanitation routines regularly throughout the day.

SNACKS: We will ask parents to sign up for snack shopping a couple times each semester. The snacks we provide mid morning and mid afternoon include simple food like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole wheat crackers or bread and cheese or yogurt. The children eat snack together, family style and will learn to pass the platters of food to their class mates, pour their own drinks, take scraps to the compost, and help clean the table. If your child has allergies or food restrictions, please let us know upon registration.

CURRICULUM: The curriculum is developmentally appropriate and designed especially for children ages 3 -5. Teachers plan activities to promote growth in all areas of development (social-emotional, physical, intellectual, language). The program is semi-structured and child directed, offering children exposure to many areas appropriate to their individual level of development. A focus on self esteem and social development is central to all experiences. Teachers act as collaborators, companions and leaders as children engage in projects and choose from focus areas including: Blocks & Building, Arts, Movement, Books & Story Telling, Puzzles & Games, Dramatic Play & Dress up, Nature Exploration & Sensory Play with sand, water, clay and dough.

PHILOSOPHY: Early childhood is a unique period of life and young children learn differently than school-aged-children. Our developmental approach to teaching and learning is grounded in play, movement, interaction and hands-on experiences. The emphasis in all areas is on the process rather than the product of the child’s experiences. Children learn through play and active exploration of their world. Child initiated play is the foundation for intellectual development and academic success. There is a close link to play and intellectual growth as well as the ability to cooperate with others. Play fosters symbolic & abstract thinking and sets the stage for success in communication, reading and writing. Social make believe play is critical to developing cooperation, empathy, impulse control and social-emotional health.

GUIDANCE and DISCIPLINE: We use a preventative approach to guidance – meaning that the environment and schedule is carefully planned to minimize problems and anticipate challenges. We also use positive language (telling children what they can do instead of what they cannot do) and we embrace a problem solving approach. A problem solving approach acknowledges that children will need time to experiment with sharing, taking turns, negotiating compromise and asserting self within a social group all through their preschool years. When problems arise - it is a perfect social learning opportunity!  Teachers carefully coach children in the moment towards conflict resolution and together teachers and children find solutions to problems. Teachers model respect, care and listening through their tone of voice and choice of words. We accept the full range of emotions and help children learn to express emotions appropriately. We encourage authentic interactions and genuine friendship. Children are not scolded or punished.

DRESS for MESS: Children should dress in play clothes for nursery school. We will engage in messy play daily including cooking activities, finger-paint and water & sand play. All children are asked to keep a change of clothes in their back pack. 

DRESS for WEATHER: We will play outdoors every day in all seasons. Children dress for the weather and will need snow suits, boots, hats and mittens in the winter months. For sunny seasons, we ask parents apply sunscreen to children while dressing for school and also send in sun hats as needed.

SHOES and SLIPPERS: Please send in slippers or indoor shoes for your child to wear in the classroom and sneakers or boots for your child to wear outdoors.  During wet, rainy or cold days, children change into indoor shoes upon entry into the classroom.

HEALTH RECORDS: Children may not be enrolled in the school until the Director receives documentation of the child’s physical examination (on the medical form provided in the enrollment packet) and updated immunization records. The form must be signed and dated by the health care provider.

SAFETY: Please hold your child’s hand at all times when in the parking lot. Please do not let children open doors or gates. To insure the safety of the children we have a rule that only adults open the doors. Siblings must always be under parents’ direct supervision.

NO CELL PHONES: Please refrain from talking or texting on your cell phone while with children on the playground or classroom.  We maintain a screen free environment.

Contact the Nursery School

The Abigail Lundquist Botstein Nursery School
Carol Murray, Director
cmurray@bard.edu
845-758-7480

Contact the Children's Center

The Bard Community Children’s Center
Kristine Williams, Director
kwilliam@bard.edu
845-758-7444