A Child’s Way has been accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs (NAEYC) since 1997. National accreditation is a voluntary process in which the directors, staff, and parents join with representatives of the Academy to determine whether the program meets nationally recognized criteria for high quality early childhood programs. The Academy defines a high quality early childhood program as one that meets the needs of and promotes the physical, social emotional, and cognitive development of the children and adults who are involved in the program. Each day of a child’s life is viewed as leading toward the growth and development of a healthy, intelligent, and contributing member of society. Accreditation gives A Child’s Way the recognition by our Early Childhood profession that our program is one of the best in the nation by meeting high quality standards for the children, the parents, and the staff. We, as a staff, feel this is an important credential because the State of Oregon does not license preschools.
Our curriculum is based on providing a developmentally-based environment and thoughtful interactions between children and teachers which enhances self-esteem and promotes problem solving skills.
The child’s day includes a generous amount of time for exploration and experimentation in the classroom learning centers. The basis of an early childhood classroom is that children learn through play. The children need the time to repeat activities and work with a variety of tools to build their skill sets. The classroom centers include block play, dramatic play, science center, sensory table, table manipulatives, and art (easel, collage table, and messy art table). We have a large, fully developed playground that serves as a part of our curriculum. It includes a play structure, boat, covered sandbox, covered play area, bikes and scooters, many child-created art pieces, raised planter beds and playhouses.
The teachers prepare the environment according to the children’s interests and developmental needs. Through the exploration of the classroom environment the children are naturally weaving cognitive activities into their social play. An example of this is building a house with the blocks. Socially the children are role playing the characters of a family. They work together, negotiating with each other, the design for the house. Cognitively, they are working with different shapes and sizes. They are experiencing spatial relationships, fitting and adjusting pieces to create a shape. They are counting, matching and sorting while in this process. They are developing language while discussing their roles and the building. Symbolism is used in the representation of blocks for a house and furniture. This entire activity is filled with prereading and prewriting development.
Independence is fostered by encouraging the child to make his/her choices throughout the day which include activities that are on the child’s level, using a schedule which is consistent and predictable, and trusting the children to make choices about how they use their time. The teachers work with the children during their play to develop the problem solving techniques that create the basis of our curriculum. Learning to negotiate with others is a life-long skill that will serve our children well into adulthood.
Opportunities for small and large group interactions are planned during the session. They may include time to check in with each other and discuss a project that the group is working on or perhaps share ideas on a developing project that the group is starting. Building community in the classroom promotes caring and confidence in each other.
Teachers share their curriculum planning with parents through calendars and newsletters. The daily schedules are posted in the classroom and the parents meet with the teachers twice a year for formal conferences. Parents are always welcome to volunteer in the classroom to see the children carrying out their work.
Classes range from 15-22 children. We try to balance the classes evenly with equal number of boys and girls. Specific class sizes are:
- Pre-twos and Parents and Twos and Parents – two teachers with 15 children
- Pre-threes and Threes – two teachers with 16 children
- Pre-fours and Fours – two teachers with 18 children
- Pre-Kindergarten – two teachers with 20 children
- Kindergarten – two teachers with 22 children
There are over 20 people on staff at A Child’s Way. One of our strengths of our program is the low turnover rate of staff. Many of our teachers have been with us for over 10 years! Most of our classroom teaching teams are CO-TEACHERS. Many have an AA, BA, BS or Master's degree in an education field. They work as two-person team. All of our teachers are qualified to lead a classroom.
We have two DIRECTORS, one of which has been a parent and staff member of A Child's Way for over 25 years. She has a BA in Education from Pacific Lutheran University. Our other director has a CDA (Child Development Associate) degree and 90 credits in Allied Health Sciences. Their combined 40+ years of early childhood experience guide, support and build community while carrying out the goals of the overall program.
Because of our commitment to develop independence along with responsible and caring behavior in children, we approach guidance and discipline in a predictable, clear, and sensitive manner. It is vital to the well-being and successful development of young children that they have clear, consistent, and appropriate limits on behavior. Students are expected to behave with respect for themselves and others. This behavior embodies safety, tolerance, and a sense of community.
We have four basic rules for children at A Child’s Way:
- They cannot hurt others or themselves.
- They cannot mis-use materials or equipment.
- War play and gun play are not allowed.
- They must follow the teacher to and from the playground.
We purposely plan the classroom environment to minimize problem situations. Inappropriate behavior is seen first as a learning opportunity for the child’s growth and development. When a problem does arise, we will try a variety of approaches, depending on the situation at the moment:
- If the child’s safety is at stake, the teacher will firmly tell the child “NO” or to “Stop.”
- If a problem occurs between two or more children, the teacher most often uses the following problem-solving model:
- State the problem clearly: “You both want the toy.”
- Recognize each child’s feelings: “You feel angry, sad, etc.”
- Generate ideas from the children on how to solve the problem. “What could we do to help you solve this problem…Get another one, take turns, play elsewhere, etc.”
- Help the children’s evaluate the ideas and decide on what plan they will follow.
At no time will a child be verbally abused, struck, or roughly handled. Our goal is always to help the children develop inner-control and high self-esteem.
Because we want to assure a safe environment for everyone at A Child’s Way, we reserve the right to send a child home for aggressive behavior, becoming out of control, or using inappropriate language. If there is an on-going behavioral problem with a child, we will request a conference with the child’s parents and attempt to find some workable solutions to ease the problem. We have found that when teachers and parents work together, most behavior problems can be resolved. If, however, none of these approaches are effective, we do reserve the right to dismiss a child from our program.
Classroom doors are locked about 15 minutes after the start of school. They remain locked until the end of the day. Parents are asked to sign their child in each day upon arrival and out when picking him/her up after school. At the beginning of the school year parents are asked to complete a form which names those persons who are permitted to drop off and pick up their child from school. Each month all our classes participate in a Safety Drill. Our teachers carry cell phones at all times in case of an emergency or Lock-down situation.
You are advised to bring your child’s immunizations** up-to-date at your next regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment since you are required to submit immunization forms to the school during the first week of attendance. You are asked to update any health information as needed (immunizations, allergies, chronic medical conditions). You will be asked to review this information again in January.
*Oregon law requires the following immunizations (shots) for any child 18 months or older entering Preschool:
- 4 Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (DTaP)
- 3 Polio
- 1 Varicella (chickenpox)
- 1 Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
- 3 Hepatitis B
- 2 Hepatitis A
- 3 or 4 Hib
Because we wish to prevent the spread of colds, flu, or infectious diseases, you should examine your child on a daily basis for such symptoms as a temperature over 99.5°, runny nose, diarrhea, persistent cough or skin rash. If your child has these symptoms, we would expect you to keep him/her at home. Please do not send your child to school if he/she has not been fever-free for 24 hours, has a runny nose, or is likely to be sneezing or coughing on the other children and teachers.
You should notify us immediately if you learn that your child has been exposed to any communicable disease such as chicken pox, strep throat, head lice, etc. Please remember that a child who does not feel well is not happy at school, even though the child may beg you to send him/her to school. If your child is going to be absent from school, we would appreciate hearing from you before school if possible.
All teachers at A Child’s Way are required to complete a Pediatric First Aid and Pediatric CPR class and keep them current. Training includes Epi-pen and medication administration.
For accidents of a minor nature, we will use our first aid supplies and the teacher will fill out an accident form for you to sign. In, addition, teachers will speak with parents in person at pick-up time or call parents with details of the accident. If a child has been involved in an accident we feel is serious, we will give your child appropriate first aid and call 911 which sends the rescue truck (paramedics) and ambulance. If the determination is made that emergency care is needed at a hospital, the ambulance will transport your child to St. Vincent Hospital unless you have requested transportation to another location on your child’s emergency forms. We will call the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) as soon as possible, but if unavailable, one of the emergency contacts will be called to help locate a parent. It is the parent’s responsibility to keep all emergency contact information current and accurate.
In the event of a widespread contagious outbreak, we follow the guidance and instructions of the Washington County Department of Health and Human Services. You can obtain more information from their web site at www.co.washington.or.us/health or call them at 503-846-3594.
MEDICATION POLICY: If your child requires prescription medication to be on site, such as an epi-pen or asthma inhaler, you must complete a medicine form available in A Child’s Way office. You must provide the medication in its original container with the child’s name, doctor, medicine name, dosage and expiration date. It is your responsibility to inform your child’s teacher about medication. All medications are stored in the Child’s Way office.
Your child does not have to be potty trained to attend class. The teachers will gladly support your efforts toward this goal. Teachers will require you to provide a change of clothing, pull-ups, wipes, etc., as necessary.
Yes. Here are some that our staff has recommended:
- NAEYC web sites: www.naeyc.org and www.rightchoiceforkids.org
- NAEYC link to July 2005 Young Children Magazine regarding learning readiness: http://www.naeyc.org/yc/pastissues/2005/july
- NAEYC Accreditation video--The Right Choice for kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge30ELAtQes
- NAEYC Accreditation video--Your accedited program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa0gcfnD17E
- NORTHWEST ESD (educational service district): http://nwresd.k12.or.us
- Morrison Center (children and family services): www.morrisonkids.org
- Oregon Environmental Council -- free Healthy Home check-up kit: www.oeconline.org
- Ages and Stages Questionaire --check your child's development birth-5 years: www.asqoregon.com
Once classes have been filled, children are placed on a Waitlist for the remainder of the school year for each age level. Waitlist placement will be determined by the number of years the enrolling child has attended A Child's Way. Children can be placed on both the morning and afternoon class Waitlists. Currently enrolled children will be placed on the morning waitlist ahead of new children. If an opening occurs in a class, the next person on the Waitlist is called and offered placement. The length of the list varies from age level to age level. Once a child is enrolled they are guaranteed a spot for the next year with the exception of our Kindergarten program.
Yes! You are encouraged to visit and observe a class at our school by calling our school office at (503) 644-8407 to schedule a time.
"Small class sizes"
We love how the class sizes are small and the teachers and assistants spend so much time with each child, helping them learn and grow.
"Variety of learning and play"
The school has such a wonderful teaching staff. My son loves going to school because of the variety of learning and play he gets every day.