Family Handbook

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Curriculum Overview

Policies

Payment, Snow Days, Illness, Media, Pickup Authorization

Everyday Practices

Family-Teacher Communication, Dressing Guidelines, Outdoor Play, Arrival/Dismissal, Space Sharing Etiquette

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Brooklyn Morning Garden develops the growing child’s senses, imagination, and awareness of self and others in a nurturing, rhythmical, and homelike environment. It is structured to provide a gradual transition from the life of the home to the structure of an elementary school. It is based upon the simple yet profound concepts of imitation, repetition, and creative play. We use the name “Morning Garden” as an the image that we choose to carry on behalf of the young child: a place where childhood is considered a valid and honorable experience, not a time to be rushed toward adulthood.

Our classes are mixed-age, play-based, pre-academic programs focused on supporting and guiding the social, emotional, and physical capacities of our children ages 18 months through 3 years old. The curriculum helps them to progress developmentally in preparation for their next stages of schooling. We engage with the work of Rudolf Steiner, his view on human development, and adhere to Waldorf Pedagogy with a specific lens on the needs of the young child. A day in the playgroup includes activities such as painting, drawing, handcrafts, cooking, cleaning, indoor and outdoor free play, circle time, and stories or puppet plays. This variety of daily artistic, social, and movement activities allow the children to experience themselves in relationship with others and their environment, develop fine and gross motor skills, and strengthen their proprioceptive and vestibular senses.

Through active participation in the caring for themselves, one another and the classroom, engaging in meaningful work and through daily free play, children develop leadership skills, cognitive and critical thinking skills and a sense of confidence.

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

PAYMENT

Payment may be made online through your invoice, or by check. Invoices will be sent via email in advance of the end of each month you are scheduled to make a payment. If you wish to pay via credit/debit card, you are responsible for the associated fees. If at any time you wish to change your payment plan, email me and we can set that up.

SNOW DAYS

We follow municipal school closures for snow/other severe weather. In the event of a snow day, you will be notified by 7:30 am, but can also find out earlier by checking the news. Since we only operate in the morning, school delays will also result in a full cancelation.

ILLNESS

The best place for your child to be properly nursed through a sickness is at home. Our playgroup is a busy place and not the right environment for a sick child. Please do not send your child to school with colored discharges, a fever, deep cough, rash, diarrhea, or any infectious condition. Please allow your child 24 hours of rest after fever or illness before returning to school.

MEDIA

Based on evidence of the negative effects of digital media on children’s wellbeing, we ask that families work towards minimizing their children’s exposure to it. This policy is intended to support your child’s mental, social, and physical development, and to encourage authentic, creative work in the classroom. We recognize that our world is media-rich and families may find it hard to be 100% “compliant” with this approach, but by working together, we can support one another at home and at school. Feel free to talk with us if you want advice regarding free play and weaning a child from media.

Pickup

If anyone other than a child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) will be picking them up, you must submit the Pickup Authorization Form. For everyone’s safety, we cannot dismiss children to someone (even a relative who is not their legal guardian) without a form.

Everyday Practices

Family-Teacher Communication

We believe strongly that the caregiver-teacher relationship is an essential part of our work, and should be approached as a conscious partnership. To this end, there will be many times throughout the year for us to meet in varying forms. These include more formal conferences, weekly open office hours, and daily availability for phone calls and email communication. To find a time to meet, you can email me or schedule a phone or in person meeting directly here.

To ensure information is communicated clearly, please share anything that we will need to know on any given school day (ie: your child slept poorly, a parent is traveling, etc.) via email before 8:45 am. I will check email before the children arrive, and this approach frees up everyone’s attention at drop-off to be with the children.

Dressing Guidelines

(psst! If you’re looking for specific clothing or gear recommendations, check out our resources section and the Getting Dressed series on our Blog)

Children should be brought to school in clothes that facilitate the active, often messy work of play. Indoor clothes should allow for full motion, and outdoor clothes should allow the children to play comfortably in all weather. As we work with teaching them independence in dressing and bathrooming, it is also critical that their school clothes be easy to put on and take off. In accordance with our digital media-free approach to encouraging creative play, we also ask that all clothes are free of characters or other images from television, movies, etc.  We also wish to affirm here our support for all children’s gender expression, including how it may manifest in their clothing choices.

Please send your child to school wearing:

  • Soft, natural materials like wool, organic cotton, silk, and linen, depending on the season.

  • Bottoms with elastic waistbands, rather than buttons, zippers, etc., so your child can more easily push them down/pull them up by themselves in the bathroom.

  • Sturdy shoes that your child can at least attempt to buckle/etc., appropriate for the season.

  • Seasonally appropriate outdoor gear (more on this below)

At school, please leave:

  • 1 seasonably appropriate change of clothes (including socks)

  • 2 extra pairs of underpants OR

  • If your child is still in diapers or learning to use the toilet, extra unscented diapers or training pants. We strongly support the use of cloth diapers.

  • A wet bag to send home soiled clothes

  • Soft, simple indoor shoes that allow your child’s foot to fully articulate and will not slip or fall off during active play.

OUTDOOR PLAY

Outdoor play is a central component of our pedagogy, and something we plan to do ever day, rain or shine. In the event of severe weather (hail, tornados, severe thunderstorms, etc.) we may decide to stay inside to ensure everyones’ safety. In the event of extreme heat or cold, we may shorten our outdoor time.

Please check the weather forecast before school each day, and ensure your child is prepared to be outside for at least and hour in whatever the weather will be. If there is rain in the forecast, be sure to send them with rain boots and a rain suit or jacket + pants. In the winter, silk or wool long underwear, thick wool socks, and a hat are essential, in addition to a coat and boots. In hot and sunny weather, be sure to send them with a sun hat and sturdy sandals that won’t fall off. Please apply sunscreen (if you wish) before drop off.


ARRIVAL/DISMISSAL

The first 5-15 minutes of each day dedicated to allowing a gentle transition from home to school. Caregivers will be welcomed to quietly observe play during this time. At dismissal, please wait patiently in the hall until I send your child out.

Please be on time for both arrival and dismissal. Late arrivals are disruptive to our program. If you are struggling with your morning routine, we are here to offer support. If you anticipate being late on a given day, please email us as early as possible so we can plan around your arrival.

SPACE SHARING ETIQUETTE

The hallway outside the classroom is a shared space with our upstairs neighbors. Please be respectful by closing the door behind you, keeping your voices down, and keeping the stairs clear. If you wish to store a scooter or bike in the hallway during class, please keep it to the side. Strollers must be folded and kept to the side as well.