The following is an excerpt from our page on Teaching Philosophies. With school gearing up to start soon, I thought it would be a good refresher of our arrival and dimissal procedures.
At our preschool each day, when school is about to begin, I high-tail it out of the classroom to make it up the steps in time to open the preschool door for our families. I love each day to be able to be the first person they see when they arrive to preschool. The girls usually like to show me their “beautiful” outfits and the boys have some kind of little gadget, or toy they like to show. I’ve even had one little boy insist he was having a baby and would show up a lot of times with a blanket in his shirt. During this time, I like to try to catch up some on what is going on in my preschool families lives. It is truly a joy to get to know everyone and find out about how talented these moms, dads, and grandparents are.
Many years I am asked, “Do I need to walk my child into the preschool?” or “Have you ever thought about having the teachers come and get the students out of the cars?” Followed by, “I have a baby in the car and I’m watching a friends kid today, and it would be just so much more convenient if I could just have you come and get my preschooler from the car, or could I just let them walk in by on their own?” I totally sympathize with desiring convenience. If I didn’t think it was so important to your child’s development, safety, self-esteem, and confidence, to have a special person bring then to school, I would be the first person to start a car line, or allow your child to come in the school on their own. I think the simple gesture of walking your child to their classroom truly sets the tone for their day of learning. I absolutely love that I get to walk my sons to school everyday. I know that it will be a very meaningful memory for them when they are grown. Therefore, we have decided it is the best interest of our students to be escorted to their preschool classroom, even if that means lugging other kids with you. After all, I had twins, and I’m sure you can imagine how inconvenient it used to be lug them around.*
Another reason we have decided we want parents to walk their child to the preschool classroom, is because we want to see you, and talk to you, and to get to know you better. We want you to see our school and to know us. We want you to see with your own eyes what we are doing in preschool and we want you to know the other wonderful parents and the other wonderful children who attend our school. We want you to be inconvenienced in a day an age where everything is about convenience. We want you to get off your cell phone, computer, and ipod and have a conversation with a real live person, and to actually get to know them, and maybe form a friendship. We want your other children to see our preschool and feel like they belong there, too. We also don’t want your child to feel they are being dumped off to one more place. We want them to realize how important it is to go to school and to get an education, and that is why you are bringing them to school. Right now in their lives, school is their job, just like mommy and daddy have jobs and responsibilities. School is important.
Pick-up is important, too. Students love it when someone they love picks them up from school. This could be a parent, a grandparent, or a special caregiver. Their faces light up when they see that someone special and are very excited to tell them all that they did that day at preschool. This is also a great time to check in shortly with the teacher. Our teachers do their best to give you a special detail about the day, whether your child did a great job gluing that day, recognizing letters, or writing their name. Sometimes, children are just so good at school we really run out of things to say, except “they had a great day.” I’ve had some parents over the years, say “You seem to always say my child had a great day at preschool.” I usually assure the parent that their child did indeed have another “great day” and that they seem to always have a great day at preschool, and that is why the feedback is the same. Some children just excel in a school environment, and end up always having a great day. I adored getting feedback about my boys during preschool. Whether it was “Calvin tried to climb the bookcase again, ” or “Abe seemed a little off today”, I appreciated getting a glimpse into how they acted during class. It was so hard for me to transition to “big girl school”, (which is what my friend Melissa calls “regular school”), where you just aren’t able to get as much daily feedback.
With our classrooms being where they are in the building, we have come up with a “traffic control plan”. Each day, we would like parents to enter through the side preschool door, where I am out greeting. Carefully, head down the steps, (honestly, I wish we had a slide and not steps, but couldn’t get the fire chief to go for that idea), and stop at your child’s name hook and mailbox. Check for mail, hang up coats, hats, backpacks and put any toys your child has brought with them away in their mailbox, or school bag. Next, proceed to your child’s classroom. You may drop your child off at the door of the classroom, or bring them inside the classroom, whichever you prefer. If you drop off your child at the classroom door, please make sure your child’s teacher sees you drop them off, so we can mark them in attendance on the attendance chart. If you prefer to come into the classroom for a few minutes to get your child settled, please try to leave within 15 minutes of arrival time. For example, if your child’s class starts at 9:15 A.M., please try to exit the classroom no later than 9:30 P.M. More than likely, your child will have an “attendance task” to perform on arrival. We use this to help our students transition from home time to school time. This may involve finding their name, or picture to hang up, or something to that effect. After your child has entered the classroom, we ask for everyone to go out the back stairway located on the other side of the muscle room. This really makes things so much easier for families still entering the building. This way, they are not navigating an arm load of stuff and children around exiting people. ** At pick-up time, we would like for you to come in the back door by the muscle room and then line-up in the designated spot outside of your child’s classroom. When the class has ended, we will open the door, and start dismissing children in the order the parents are standing.*** After you pick up your child from the classroom, head to the coat hooks and mailboxes, and then proceed out the side door, where you had entered during arrival time.
Please note that the back door closest to the muscle room will be open daily for families who arrive to school early, or would like to stay after and play in. Also, we would love for all students to try to go to the bathroom upon arrival to preschool. If possible, try to keep siblings from crashing through the preschool doors at dismissal, and from engaging in sibling “tackle hugs” in the doorway during dismissal. Also, please remember to wait until it is your child’s preschool start time to bring them to their classroom. The teachers are still busy getting ready for the day, and every minute counts. Don’t be afraid to stop in the Preschool office to ask questions, or pick up handouts. Cindy loves to have visitors. (Keep in mind office hours end at 1:00 P.M. daily.) You are also more than welcome to hang out in the outside area called the “gathering place”. Please keep in mind to watch that your child is respectful to their surroundings while hanging out there. We have had some problem with rock throwing and some tree and shrub incidents.
*Please note that if you have a sibling with you who is ill, we prefer you that you NOT have the sibling come in the school with you. Please call the office and we will work out arrangements to help you get your child to and from their classroom.
**Please note that if someone new is picking up, or dropping off, we understand that they may not follow the traffic plan.
***Please understand that grandparents are notorious line jumpers, because they really have no idea where they are supposed to go, especially if they are not the ones who usually bring, or pick-up the child from preschool. We ask for everyone to please have patience with our lining up and traffic plan when some may unknowingly veer from the course.