Click on the link below to download our Preschool Parent Handbook, where you will find all sorts of helpful information to make your child’s preschool experience wonderful. Preschool Parent Handbook
PRESCHOOL POLICIES & PROCEDURES
If your child will be away for any reason please notify us as soon as possible, as it may change our daily class planning.
Extra Steps recognizes the importance of physical activity for young children. Implementation of appropriate physical activity practices supports the health and development of children in our care, as well as assisting in establishing positive lifestyle habits for the future.
The purpose of having an Active Play policy is to ensure the children at Extra Steps preschool are encouraged to engage in active play, develop fundamental movement skills. The fundamental skills include:
Indoor: Balance skills: the children are encouraged to build balancing beams inside the classroom, we practice yoga and mindful activities during the week, many games and songs are used during circle time to practice this skill, for example ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’.
Coordination skills – yoga is a wonderful activity to support children’s coordination skills. We also set up obstacle courses in the classroom, we have bean bag games, fishing games, throwing games, bowling and much more.
Locomotor skills: throughout the year we take out our trampoline and teeter totter inside the classroom, the children use our large rock cushions to jump and leap in the classroom. During circle time we play Simon Says, jumping, hopping and skipping games. We also use music instruments, shakers and scarfs to create movement games with the children. We have created a character known as Yoga Cat he brings the children on many physical adventures, he uses stories to get the children active and stretching!
Physical Literacy: Most of our staff members are trained in Appetite to Play so we are very knowledge about the importance of physical literacy. We have an open snack table where we role model healthy eating and discuss the importance of healthy food the child eats. We also have a compost, recycling and garbage trash cans on the snack table to encourage children to recycle and beware of how important it is for the environment. The children also plant their own vegetables in the classroom and in our community garden this helps to encourage and develop healthy eating choices. The preschool provides many books on gardening, healthy foods and how to eat, cook, and stay active. We also invite our public nurse and her nursing students to present a hand washing and germ program to our children. The teachers always role model and discuss how to stay healthy with the children. We have lots of books, songs and activities to support physical literacy.
Un-facilitated play (free play): this is child chosen and self-directed, self-led movement, activity or interaction which encourages children to use their imagination, discover their interests and tap into their creativity. At Extra Steps during free play, children build towers together, build forests, create obstacle courses, throwing games, hide and seek, dancing, and many more.
Outdoor: ( The children go outside every day for 45- 1 hour a day, please note when the weather gets warmer, the children can spend the entire time outside)
*If you feel your child is too sick to go outside then he/she is too sick to be at preschool. We request that you keep him/her at home until they are well enough to go outside.*
Balance skills: At the park there are lots of curbs we use as balance beams.
Coordination skills – yoga is a wonderful activity to support children’s coordination skills. Planting is also a great way for children to develop their coordination skills, we plant in our local parks and in our community garden, and inside the classroom. We have skipping ropes, chalk drawing, painting, art work. Everything we do inside we can do outside!
Locomotor skills: Outside the children play tennis, hockey, jump off boulders, climb trees, play tag, ‘what time is it mister wolf’, football, soccer, chase the teacher, and much more. We are supporters of risky play and believe children need space to evaluate risks and problem solve without the help of a teacher. We are actively supervising children but we like them to explore our local parks and create their own adventure games, which we watch from a distance.
Physical Literacy: When we go outside we talk to the children about how important fresh air is to our health, how being outside strengthens the immune system. We support and encourage the children to get dirty and messy, and explain to them that this helps to build their immune system. When the children are active we teach them this helps them sleep better, eat better and most important keep their bodies healthy. The children also take care of our community garden, they plant and weed and learn all about healthy eating.
Un-facilitated play (free play): this is child chosen and self-directed, self-led movement, activity or interaction which encourages children to use their imagination, discover their interests and tap into their creativity. We use many different parks in the community and each park brings a new place to discover and when the children are given time to explore, they always find the most wonderful games to play.
Appropriate Dress for physical activity:
We at Extra Steps preschool go outside every day, and encourage and support messy play inside and outside. Please bring your child ready to play and have fun each day. Your child will participate in both indoor and outdoor play. Therefore, play clothes and shoes which get dirty and allow for free and safe movement are most appropriate. We expect parents to provide children with appropriate clothing for safe and active outdoor play during all season.
Rain gear – rain pants and a rain jacket, spare clothes
Toques, waterproof mittens, scarfs, boots
Hats, sunscreen, closed toes shoes, sunglasses
Big Body Play – This takes place indoors and outdoors
Here at Extra Steps preschool, we believe in the value of exuberant, boisterous, rough and tumble play to a child’s overall development.
To support the use of big body play, we do the following:
- Provide training to all staff on the importance of big body play and how to supervise it
- Prepare both indoor and outdoor environments for this play style, establish classroom and outdoor rules with the children to keep them safe
- Encourage staff to use big body games with children
- Supervise the play constantly, which means ensuring an adult it with and listening at all times
- Model appropriate play, coach children as they play so that are able to interact comfortably with each other in this way
We are required by law to report any suspected or disclosed abuse of a child by anyone to the Ministry for Children and Family Development. In this situation, we are not allowed to notify the child’s parents unless we are instructed to do so by the Ministry.
We have a strict policy of confidentiality. Anything said between staff members, between staff and parents, or between staff and management is kept completely confidential.
In addition, we respect the children by not speaking to any other families about a child that is not theirs. If two children are involved in an incident together, we will explain what happened to the parents without naming the other child.
We are committed to providing a caring and supportive environment for our children and families. You are strongly encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about your child’s program or our procedures with staff. If a conflict arises, our goal is to resolve differences of opinion and find solutions that everyone can accept.
If a problem continues, we can arrange a meeting between families, staff and management to define the issues, state differing points of view, and identify possible solutions.
If you wish to appeal a decision, you can have a further meeting with the Directors, Robb Weaver and/or Sarah Goundouvas. The Directors’ decision will be final.
If the issue has still not been resolved to your satisfaction, you may file a complaint with Community Care Facilities Licensing of Vancouver Coastal Health.
In the case of persistent conflicts, when all reasonable attempts to solve problems have failed, the family will be asked to make other program arrangements (see “Facility’s Request for Withdrawal”).
CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS
All staff members, Early Childhood Education students, or volunteers that have any involvement with our programs are first required to provide us with a Criminal Record Check as per our childcare license from Vancouver Coastal Health.
DROP OFF & PICK UP
To ensure the safety of all our children, we have a strict policy for signing in and signing out when each child arrives and leaves the centre. Your child will only be released to you or to the person who dropped them off. Anyone else who arrives to pick up your child must be listed on your child’s registration form and must provide photo ID to staff unless you have informed us prior. In this situation, staff members would still exercise caution and contact you if they were concerned about the pick-up for any reason.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURES
Fire drills are held once a month as required by fire authorities. The Director sounds a bell and the staff follows the emergency evacuation procedure for the centre. Staff members have children line up quickly and quietly. They then take a first aid kit, attendance sheets and the children to a designated location to conduct a head count and attendance.
The Director gathers emergency cards, keys, and staff in/out sheets; checks all rooms, washrooms and closets; and meets staff at the designated location. The Director also records information from the event: the date and time it took place and how long it took to evacuate everyone. This information is then posted for viewing in the centre.
Earthquake drills are held once a month. During the drill children are taught to stay away from windows and to “duck, cover and hold” until shaking stops.
Staff members have children line up quickly and quietly if required to leave the building. They then take a first aid kit, attendance sheets and the children to a designated location to conduct a head count and attendance.
The Director gathers emergency cards, keys and staff in/out sheets; checks all rooms, washrooms and closets; and meets staff at the designated location.
In the event of a real fire, earthquake or other emergency, parents (or others listed on their child’s registration form) will be contacted immediately.
Our emergency routes are posted in the centre. Our designated meeting place will be either Heather Park at 18th Ave. & Heather or Douglas Park Community Centre at 801 W22nd Ave. Please make yourself familiar with this information, and be sure to keep your contact information up to date.
Our program is designed to maximize fun and learning and minimize any problems with children’s behaviour. We prevent problems by ensuring that our classroom environment is stimulating and rewarding and is set up to meet the children’s stages of development and individual needs. In addition, our staff have realistic expectations with clear limitations for the children, and use a gentle, positive approach at all times.
If your child needs guidance, staff will speak to them at their eye level, using positive words and tones, to help them understand. The focus will be on the behaviour and they will be redirected to a new activity if necessary.
We do not use a punitive “time-out” method of separating a child from everyone if their behaviour is disruptive. However, a “time-in” method is used by staff, but only if a child needs time away from other children to settle down. In that case, a staff member will sit with your child (for no longer than one minute for each year of your child’s age) to help them to calm down and understand what has just happened.
If all our strategies are not effective, we will meet with you to decide on other appropriate actions.
Under no circumstances do we ever use corporal punishment of any kind.
If any child endangers the safety of others, we have to remove them immediately from the program.
We ask you to keep us informed of any changes, big or small, in your child’s life and/or routine, as this can cause behavioural changes in your child and with their program.
We honour and celebrate all Canada’s major holidays and celebrations in our programs. In addition, we will incorporate other cultural celebrations, as much as we are capable of, out of respect for the children in our program and the diversity of our community. If you would like us to celebrate something meaningful to your family that is not already on our calendar, please let us know at least one month in advance and we will do our best to accommodate your request. If there are celebrations you prefer your child not be involved in, please discuss this with us prior to the date so we can accommodate your preference.
If your child is ill, they will need your loving care and should not be in their program the day their symptoms appear. They are permitted to return after being free of symptoms for a 24-hour period. For the sake of all the children and staff at the centre, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.
Runny noses are a common part of all children’s lives, however if the mucus is thick and coloured it is usually a sign of infection. These symptoms need to be looked after, as should diarrhea, vomiting, fever or any other signs that your child is not well. If the illness is more serious, such as open sores or contagious diseases such as chicken pox, measles, mumps, etc., then you may need to provide clearance from a doctor before your child can return. Please check with staff if you have any questions.
If your child becomes ill while at the centre, they will be cared for in a quiet area and you will be notified to come and pick them up.
In case of emergency, 911 will be called and your child will be taken to hospital, accompanied by a staff member who will bring the child’s emergency card and medical information. You will be notified immediately.
We are committed to including, not excluding, children. If your child has special needs please let us know. We will not turn a child away if we can accommodate their special requirements, together with you and/or with community resources.
Extra Steps is a private facility licensed by Vancouver Coastal Health, who will make regular inspection visits to ensure we are following all required safety procedures. This includes checking all equipment and programs. All inspection reports will be posted and/or on file in our centre for viewing anytime.
All families are expected to follow our hours of operation. We cannot tolerate lateness as it is disruptive to our programs and does not meet our childcare standards. If there is an emergency that forces you to be late for picking up your child, you must contact us immediately so we can agree on other arrangements.
All medications must be stored by staff in an appropriate lock box or approved area. They must be in original prescription containers, labelled with your child’s information and dosage. If your child is being treated with over-the-counter medication, you must provide a doctor’s note with instructions and your child’s name. We also require you and a staff member to fill out a form when you arrive at the centre with your child.
MISSING CHILD PROCEDURES
Entrances to and from the centre are always supervised by at least one member of staff at drop-off and pick-up times. We use child safety gates for additional security and can bolt doors once all children have been dropped off.
If a child goes missing from the centre, we follow this procedure:
- The person in charge carries out a thorough search of the building and outdoor area.
- Attendance is checked to make sure no other child has gone astray.
- Doors and gates are checked to see if there has been a breach of security.
- The person in charge talks to staff to establish what happened.
- If the child is not found, the child’s parent is contacted and the police are called.
- The person in charge contacts Vancouver Coastal Health as soon as possible.
On outings, children are counted and assigned to specific staff members. If a child goes missing from an outing where parents are not attending, we follow this procedure:
- Staff on the outing ask children to stand with their designated person and carry out a headcount to ensure no other child has gone astray.
- One staff member searches the immediate vicinity.
- The person in charge is informed (if they are not on the outing), and they then make their way to the venue to aid the search, to be the point of contact for police, and to support staff.
- Staff take the remaining children back to the centre.
- The person in charge of the program contacts the child’s parent, who makes their way to the centre or outing (as decided by the person in charge).
- Staff contact the police and report the child as missing.
- In an indoor venue, staff contact the venue’s security who will handle the search and contact the police if the child is not found.
- The person in charge contacts Vancouver Coastal Health as soon as possible.
NUTRITION & SNACKS
We believe in healthy food choices which promote positive growth and development in children. Please provide your child with snack items that are healthy and from a couple of food groups according to the Canada Food Guide. We will have examples of snacks and any allergy alerts at the beginning of the program start date.
During snack time children are taught about table manners, cleanliness, and food choices to promote healthy living
SAFETY ON OUTINGS & FIELD TRIPS
At least two to three adults accompany the class when they walk to and from the park or go on other outings depending on staff/child ratios for that class. We always carry a first aid kit and emergency cards, and teach the children about safety, stranger tips and rules to follow when outside the centre.
On walks, children are required to walk in pairs or holding a rope, and adults are positioned at the front, middle and end of the children’s line. For planned field trips, you will receive detailed information including things like transportation plans, ratio numbers, times and drop off/pick up info. You will receive an email in advance of the event.
As a preschool we do not provide the children with any screen time. We have no computers, iPads or televisions on the preschool floor.
No smoking is allowed by anyone in our building, on our site, or during any of our outings or field trips.
On days where there is bright sun or sun with snow on the ground, we expect you to put sunscreen on your child before arriving to class. If an unexpected situation arises and your child needs sunscreen, we may apply our own, unless you have instructed us otherwise beforehand.