Thursday, December 1, 2016
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
October is National Fire Safety Month! Have you replaced your smoke detector batteries and planned an emergency evacuation point for your family? Kangaroo Kids will be teaching the children all about fire safety and how to keep themselves and their family’s safe this month.
Kangaroo Kids Child Care and Learning Center has fire safety as a part of their history. Their building, now home to Kangaroo Kids was the North Branch Fire house in the 1950’s. October is a step back in time as firemen from the North Branch Volunteer Fire Department will visit the school to teach the children about fire safety. Seeing a fireman in a full firefighting outfit can be a little scary for young children so this visit helps them to know what to expect if they are ever around a fire and teaches them that the fireman is our friend! According to the National Fire Protection Association, Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The 2016 Theme is, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”
Here are some things we emphasize at Kangaroo Kids that you can practice at home “Stop, drop, and roll.” This is an important skill to teach children especially with Halloween nearing as there are many candles burning in those seasonal pumpkins. Many times children as well as adults have the impulse to run when their clothes catch on fire, but the best thing you can do is stop and drop immediately to the ground and roll around to extinguish your clothes, running only fuels the fire.
This is also a good time of year to check your smoke detectors, and create an evacuation plan with a specific meeting point at your home. You can also encourage your schools to have a visit from a fire company so children can see these community helpers in full gear and learn they are important friends in our community. It is also a good time to explain to your children that their schools will be having fire drills to help them learn how to be safe if there ever is a fire.
If your children are a little nervous about fire drills here is a fun song or poem by Sharon Siegelman you can sing or read with them:
Did you ever have a fire drill?
We had one today.
Our teacher told us what to do
So We would be ok
There really was no fire at all;
It was only a drill. We walked out to the school yard
And stood there very still.
We could not talk or run or play
Until the drill was through.
Now, if there really is a fire,
We’ll know just what to do.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Keeping Your Child Safe in Preschool
Choosing a Preschool is an important first step in your child’s education. Make sure they are safe by checking for the things listed below when you visit schools. On the last blog we presented the importance of high quality teachers and low turnover so children have positive interactions with caring and consistent teachers. In this blog we will focus on health and safety in the environment.
Is the facility you are considering safe? Here are some of the aspects you should consider regarding safety:
1. The facility should be clean, bright and safe! Look for or ask about these areas of safety:
• Is the facility secure from strangers?
• Are the doors secured, yet parents have free access?
• Is there a security system in place for parents to sign the children into to school?
2. Are Emergency Plans and procedures posted?
• What are the emergency pick up procedures?
• Are there procedures notifying parents of early closing or weather delays?
• Do they conduct monthly fire drills?
• Look for posted logs – schools are required to post a log of their fire drills.
• Are there Emergency Evacuation plans? You may have to ask about this as some plans are confidential. Schools should a plan even if they can’t divulge the specifics.
3. Is the environment safe?
• Proper ratios are key to good supervision and safely monitoring children. Infant rooms should have a maximum of 1 teacher to 4 children and preschool classes should have a maximum of 1 to 10.
• Is there an open door policy? Parents should be able to visit at any time.
• Are there viewing windows?
• Are all the electrical outlets covered?
• Are all hazardous materials, including medications, out of reach of children?
4. Playground surface
• Is the playground surface soft?
• Is the playground area protected by a fence?
• Has the playground been inspected?
• Is there adequate and engaged supervision on the playground?
• Is the facility clean? A preschool facility is an active place and you may see a little paint on the floor or playdough on the tables, but the overall appearance of the facility should be clean. If it is too sterile, you might question if developmentally appropriate activities are happening.
• Are children and teachers required to constantly wash their hands?
• How are toys cleaned?
• How often is the facility cleaned?
6. Credentials of the school
• All schools in NJ must be licensed; is the school licensed?
• Accreditation is the gold standard of quality; is the school accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)?
• All schools should be inspected by the fire inspector and health department. Has the school been inspected?
7. Health policies
• Are medical records kept on all children including current immunization records?
• Are there policies for dealing with sick children?
• Are there policies regarding giving children medications?
• Is staff trained in CPR and First Aid for young children?
• How are staff credentials checked?
• Does the school require fingerprinting, Cari Check, references and health records?
• Do the teachers receiving ongoing training and continuing education opportunities?
• What is the turnover rate of staff, consistency is a key indicator of quality.
• Does staff have ongoing continuing education?
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Research indicates preschool education has many benefits for children. In addition to exposure to curriculum including literacy experiences, mathematical concepts, and science activities, a high quality preschool gives children the opportunity to learn how to socialize, to share and to contribute to society. Making a sound decision about early childhood education is a crucial for a successful start on your child’s lifelong educational journey and there are many aspects to evaluate: teachers, curriculum, philosophies, safety, family partnerships, and environment. So, how do you make the right choice?
In this part we will discuss what should be the deciding factor: Teachers! The adults who interact with your child on a daily basis are key to a positive experience for your child! A warm hug to ease separation anxiety or, conversely, a stern raised eyebrow inappropriately can affect how children perceive themselves and also affect their trust in others. Whether you are considering family care, a nanny, or a center-based program, the people who care for and educate your child are of the utmost importance. Visit the prospective school and observe the teachers’ interactions with children. You should see:
q Teachers in engaged two-way conversations with children
q Teachers interacting at the children’s eye level
q Teachers who are warm, patient and friendly
q Teachers using gentle voices and an encouraging manner
q Teachers and children with lots of smiles and happy faces
q A classroom filled with happy sounds
q Teachers who are organized and prepared
q Teachers giving children the opportunity to choose activities.
q Low Turnover
Watch to see if the teacher is actively listening, rather than pre-occupied or distracted with other events in the room, or being dismissive to a child. During active listening you should see the teacher smile, nod, or acknowledge with her body posture she is interested in what the child has to say. Active listening builds a child’s confidence and self worth. Compare the spoken and unspoken interactions you see to those you would see in conversation between two adults who respect each other, and you should see similarities in body language, interest and intensity.
Did you know the national average of turnover in child care staff is 30%!!! At Kangaroo Kids we are so fortunate to have an outstanding staff who year after year have demonstrated their commitment to children and families! We proudly boast that every lead teacher has been with Kangaroo Kids 7 or more years! Therefore our turnover rate among our lead teachers is Zero.
According to Child Research.net a key to providing quality programs is retention of child care staff, the average annual turnover rate for child care is 30% in the United States. Consequently, there have been a large number of studies conducted to wrestle with the issues of turnover.
“Among the research examining the quality of early childhood programs, rate of job turnover for child care staff seems to be a strong indicator of program quality (Cassidy, Lower, Kintner-Duffy, Hegde, & Shim, 2011; Mims, Scott-little, Lower, Cassidy, & Hestenes, 2008). Raikes (1993), for example, explained that frequent turnover among early childhood teachers prevented children from developing a secure attachment with teachers. In addition, teachers' high turnover negatively affected children's social, emotional, and language development (Korjenevitch & Dunifon, 2010). Not only the relationship between teachers and children, but the relationship between teachers and parents also suffered from high turnover (Cassidy et al., 2011).
Teachers should be organized and well prepared. Children should have an opportunity to choose activities. A well-prepared and organized teacher provides a role model of organizational skills for children. Choosing their own activities enhances children’s decision-making skills and sends the message that they and their choices are worthy! Making good decisions is a lifelong skill you want children to develop as early as possible so it carries them through their teenage years where their decision-making skills will constantly be tested.
Good teachers are energetic. They enjoy the process of teaching and engaging with children. They look for teachable moments, whether it is a butterfly going by, a leaf falling, or a chance to teach positive social interactions.
Watch for upcoming articles on safety, environment, curriculum, and parent involvement.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Here are a few good tips on Technology and Young Children and how to use it in a developmentally appropriate manner.
Uncharted Territory: 10 Technology Tips for Preschool Parents
- See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/uncharted-territory-10-technology-tips-preschool-parents#sthash.Yanb0k4W.dpuf