Channel Islands YMCA Preschool Handbook

Page 1

INSPIRE • CREATE • EXPLORE Preschool Program The Channel Islands YMCA

The most formative time in a child’s development occurs between birth and five years old. For example, our capacity to develop vocabulary, a lifelong communication skill, is largely developed by the time we reach age five. This is why we put so much careful planning into our program and staff. The time children spend in preschool is used to develop a foundation for lifelong learning. At the Y, we know that parents have important choices to make in regard to their child’s education. The kindergarten we knew as kids has become more academic and the skills needed to thrive more crucial. This means that it is more important than ever for parents to ensure their child is on a good developmental footing, and the best way to do this is through quality preschool experiences like the YMCA. We believe that children learn best through structured and unstructured social and environmental interactions, especially in play. A childs character education is just as important as an academic education and instill the values of citizenship, caring, fairness, respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness into their daily language and actions. We believe in focusing on the whole child and supporting the family and community that surround them. At the YMCA we hope that our preschool will feel like an extension of family for your children, filled with encouragement and exceptional care. We hope that you as a parent will have peace of mind that your child is in a healthy and enriching environment.


SAFETY FIRST At the YMCA your child’s safety is a top concern. We operate under strict safety guidelines related to nutrition, health, behavior management, classroom environment, and more. We know safety around the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority for families. Here are some of the current practices in place to keep your child safe. • Regulation Compliance: The YMCA will meet or exceed guidelines for children provided by local Health Departments, the Centers For Disease Control, and Community Care Licensing for child care operations. • Stay Home Policy: We require children and staff to stay at home if they are not feeling well or have been exposed to other sick individuals. • Health Screening: All children and staff are required to go through a health screening daily. This includes health screening questions and temperature checks and hand sanitizing. • Contact Free Check In: Parents are required to drop off and pick-up students using touch free processes. Enrollment paperwork and daily sign-in are completed electronically. • Limiting Exposure: Parents and nonessential guests are not allowed past the pickup/drop off area to limit exposure in the facility. • Masks: The Y will follow mask requirements from local health authority mandates and Community Care Licensing for preschoolers. Staff are required to wear masks at all times. • Trained Staff: Staff have training specific to COVID-19 illness prevention. Staff are prepared to provide children with direction on coughing etiquette, avoiding touching their face, and more for safety. • Individual Supplies: Families provide all basic essentials for the day in a backpack to limit sharing. This includes filled water bottles, bedding, lunch, and basic school work supplies. • Stable Care Groups: Children stay in their designated groups, with the same staff, all day. Groups do not interact with each other to limit any potential spread of illnesses. • Encouraging Social Distancing: Staff will encourage social distancing and will provide structure and encouragement to assist children. • Hand Washing: Children will be required to wash hands and use hand sanitizer throughout the day at regular intervals. • Enhanced Disinfecting: Employees will clean surfaces using CDC approved cleaning products, then use disinfectant. • Routine Cleaning: Cleaning schedules are based on routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, plus regular on-going cleaning, mid-day and end of day cleaning of high touch surfaces. • Isolation Measures: Should a staff or child exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 during the day, they will be moved to an isolation space away from others. Protocols are in place for their return.


Preschool Childcare Overview YMCA childcare provides opportunities for children to learn, grow and thrive as they make their way to kindergarten. Our program supports the cognitive, social-emotional, physical, language and literacy development of all children.

• Our Philosophy: Our focus is to build children’s confidence, learning capacity, kindergarten readiness, creativity and critical thinking through an immersive and collaborative learning environment. Through participation in the Y, children will discover the what, why, and how of the world around them through structured instruction and learning through play. We develop and encourage character education in all interactions and learning environments. • Oversight: Our programs are licensed by the Community Care Licensing Division of the State of California. Our programs must comply with outlined regulations in the areas of the physical environment and safety, staff qualifications, supervision and staff/child ratios, administrative record keeping requirements, programs and activities, food and nutrition, and more. • Outdoor Learning Environment: Studies show the importance of students being outside and interacting with the natural world. The YMCA promotes 3 ½ hours a day of outdoor learning in full-day programs. The outdoor classroom lends itself to students working on motor skills, socialization, and cognitive development. The natural landscape and planned activities help children learn through play and exploration. • Quality Staff: Each location is supervised by a Site Director who is responsible for the overall operations of the program and is supported by additional staff based on the needs and size of the program. All staff meet or exceed education and experience requirements outlined by their governing body (i.e. Community Care Licensing). All staff has college instruction in Early Childhood Education, completed background screening, finger prints, and over 40 hours of specific health and safety training (i.e. CPR, Child Abuse Prevention, and Supervision) at their time of hire. • Enrollment & Registration: After registration at the YMCA or online, enrollment forms are completed on ePACT Network, a digital platform for collecting children’s emergency and medical information. Fees are based on enrollment rather than attendance. All payments are due weekly and made through electronic funds transfer on Fridays for the upcoming week. • Financial Assistance: Annually, we receive support from hundreds of members, donors, community leaders, and businesses who believe in our purpose, investing in youth and families. Funds are distributed to families with a financial need in our community. • YMCA Membership: As an added value to the preschool experience, all enrolled families receive a free fitness facility membership to the YMCA. Having a fitness membership will allow your family to get connected to the YMCA community and work on fitness as a family.


Importance of Play for Preschoolers There are times in the program for both teacher and child lead activities. Both have value to the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of children. What are children doing when they are playing?.

Core Areas • CREATIVE: Art projects provide an opportunity for expression allowing children to express thoughts and feelings that they may not be prepared to verbalize in addition to, providing a chance to explore colors, shapes, and textures. • MUSIC: Through singing and musical experiences such as experimenting with patterns, sounds, and tones, using musical instruments, and recognizing basic pitch and rhythm, children develop auditory skills and build an appreciation for music. A wide variety of music also exposes children to the diversity of music and culture. • DRAMATIC PLAY: provides an opportunity for role-playing, socialization, dramatization, problem solving, practicing adult skills, and behavior. • MANIPULATIVES: These table top cognitive games foster perceptual skills, hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, and reinforce basic skills and concepts. • MOVEMENT: Increases strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. The development of large motor skills helps children orient their bodies in space which increases body control, self-awareness self-esteem, and confidence • SENSORY: Experiences are essential to the preschool child. Young children learn through their bodies. Sensory experiences encourage curiosity, exploration, and discovery. They may also offer an acceptable outlet for feelings. Sensory play uses a variety of materials such as water, sand, recycled items, and natural items (we do not use food for sensory, as some children come from homes that are food challenged or children can be allergic.). • OUTDOOR PLAY: Improves and develops large motor skills and promotes physical health. Outdoor play also fosters enjoyment of and sensitivity to nature. • STORYTIME: Reading aloud to children expands their knowledge of language and improves their vocabulary as well as develops their desire to read and encourages reading comprehension. • SOCIAL SKILLS: Building social skills strengthens communication, trust and empathy by helping children learn to play together, s olve problems, take turns, share and appreciate eachother’s accomplishments.


Sample Schedule Schedules will vary depending on program times, locations, and available plan options. Below is a sample of what your child may experience at one of our centers.


• • • • • • • • • • •

7:30am - 9:00am 9:00am - 9:30am 9:30am - 10:00am 10:00am - 11:00am 11:00am - 11:45am 11:45am - 12:30pm 12:30pm - 2:30pm 2:30pm - 3:00pm 3:00pm - 4:00pm 4:00pm - 5:00pm 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Drop off/Child Directed Centers Circle Time Snack Morning Learning Program Outdoor Learning & Recrea tion Lunch Nap/Rest Time Snack Afternoon Learning & Program Outdoor Learning & Recreation Pickup/Child Directed Centers

Locations Montecito Family YMCA

8-4:30PM M-F

591 Santa Rosa Lane Montecito, CA 93108 • 805.969.3288 • • Childcare Director: Annie Fischer •

Santa Barbara Family YMCA

8-5:30PM M-F

36 Hitchock Way Santa Barbara, CA 93105 • 805.687.7727 • • Childcare Director: Channing Hogue •