Parent Handbook 2017-18
Effective July 1st, 2017
We thank you for choosing Rose Rock School as the place for your children to learn and grow. Our mission is to provide outstanding care that encourages your children’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Freedom of play, meaningful daily activities, and consistent caregivers form the cornerstones of our curriculum. At RRS, we honor the importance of childhood by giving children the experiences of discovery, transformation, and fun. We look forward to caring for your children during these formative years.
The caregivers at Rose Rock School have found that children thrive in a beautiful environment with a predictable schedule. The teachers decorate their rooms with care and keep them free of clutter. We maintain a simple daily rhythm that helps the children feel at ease with the transitions of the day. We invite the children to participate in the meaningful activities of the home, such as sewing, cooking, and gardening. All of these factors encourage a sense of calm and capability among the children. Because they feel secure and engaged, disciplinary issues are at a minimum. When the need for discipline does arise, we apply the L.O.V.E. approach to fit the given situation. The teachers employ the qualities of listening, laughter, order, objectivity, vulnerability, versatility, enthusiasm, and encouragement to help the children discover the best ways to meet life’s challenges.
Recurring Unwanted Behavior
At times, a disciplinary issue may become chronic and require additional attention. A meeting will be arranged with the primary caregiver and the parent(s), who will agree upon a plan for changing the unwanted behavior. If the unwanted behavior persists four weeks beyond the meeting and agreement, RRS reserves the right to exclude the child from attendance, permanently or temporarily.
If you would like to discuss detailed matters such as the style or quality of care provided at Rose Rock School, your child’s behavior and development, or possible adjustment of our policies, please request a personal meeting with your child’s primary caregiver outside of operating hours. We do not make this request to discourage discussion; on the contrary, we choose to foster focused conversation in an appropriate setting. You are welcome to schedule an appointment any time a question or concern arises.
We follow our daily rhythm very closely. It may seem like such a rhythm could be restricting, but we have found the opposite to be true. When the children become acquainted with the rhythm, they know what “time” it is by remembering the order of events. For instance, the child is not left to wonder, “When is lunch?” for they know that lunch follows clean up and hand washing. Immersed in a healthy rhythm, they are able to work and play more deeply, listen more intently, and learn more fully.
- 8:00 a.m. Early bird arrival
- 8:20 a.m. Children arrive to ready for Kindergarten class
- 8:30 a.m. Kindergarten class begins
- 9:15 a.m. Morning snack
- 9:45 a.m. Clean-up
- 10:00 a.m. Outdoor play
- 11:15 a.m. Outdoor clean-up
- 11:30 a.m. Circle Time
- 11:45 a.m. Washing hands and face; Setting table for lunch
- 12:00 p.m. Lunch w/ lighting of candle and blessing
- 12:30 p.m. Clean-up
- 12:45 p.m. Kindergarten class ends; Half day pick-up
- 1:00 p.m. Settling for nap, hair brushing, story, song
- 2:30 p.m. Nap time ends, pick-up bedding
- 3:00 p.m. Full day pick-up
- 3:15 p.m. Afternoon snack
- 3:40 p.m. Snack clean-up
- 3:45 p.m. Playing inside/outside
- 4:50 p.m. Final tidying
- 5:00 p.m. Extended day pick-up
We follow the LifeWays model of early childhood care and education. One of the pillars of the LifeWays childcare model is mixed-age classrooms. The mixed-age setting is valuable to the children in a variety ways. Older children feel a sense of pride and responsibility, as they help younger children in daily tasks–like putting on their shoes. Younger children benefit from having an older child to emulate, much like children look up to an older sibling. We find that the mixed-age setting also leads to a more relaxed classroom, in which fewer conflicts arise between the children.
While children ages 2-6 are in the same classroom for social purposes, we recognize that children of different age groups have varying cognitive, emotional, and artistic needs. The teachers meet the needs of these specific age groups by distinguishing each child as belonging to one of three age-based programs. These three programs (Nursery, Wondergarten, and Kindergarten) address the blossoming abilities and interests of each particular age group.
Children ages 2-3 are invited to play freely, as they learn from their teachers and older friends. They gain control of their toileting, learn table manners, navigate social situations, explore nature, and watch older peers engage in crafts. We also acquaint these littlest children with the seasonal rhythms and activities of the school, as they participate in circle songs and games.
When children are 3 ½ , they gain enough dexterity to begin crafting. They will begin watercoloring, sewing, drawing, gardening, cooking, and manipulating clay and wax. Most of the crafts have a seasonal theme, and many of the projects are completed over the course of several days. If children become frustrated, the teachers may let them take a break from craft. For Wondergarteners, we keep the crafts as simple as necessary so that the children to feel a healthy amount of challenge, followed by a great sense of success. Children of this age also learn responsibility as they are invited to care for their classroom, their toys/supplies, and each other.
At age 5, the children are ready for more complicated crafting exercises. They engage in projects with more steps, materials, and skill requirements. The oldest children are also invited to assist the younger children in their crafts and activities. As they guide their younger peers, Kindergarteners build empathy, patience, and confidence. Throughout this class, they gain an intuitive sense of phonics and numeracy through storytelling, crafting, circle time, gardening, cooking, and free play.
In the Kindergarten year, the teachers will assess the children’s first grade readiness. This assessment is given in the form of a game, and it will inform the teachers and parents, regarding how physically, emotionally, and intellectually prepared the children are for formal reading, writing, and arithmetic. Teachers and parents will then work with the children to finalize their readiness. Phonics, writing, and basic math skills will be more formally taught (30 minutes daily for one month) the summer before children enter first grade. A transcript that includes examples of their work will be given to the parents and sent to their prospective elementary school.
Our goal is for children to receive the physical, psychological, and cognitive benefits of experiencing a rich and complete childhood. We look forward to helping parents lead capable and confident children into the joyful experiences of the elementary years.
In order to meet the necessities for optimal health, the children at Rose Rock School are given emotional and physical warmth, wholesome food, adequate rest, and creative play. When children encounter an illness or life stressor, we request that they be at home, where they will be able to receive added sleep and quiet, loving attention in a less stimulating environment.
For some children, coming to RRS will be the first time for them to spend a significant amount of time away from their families. For both children and parents, this transition can bring both excitement and stress. Below are a few suggestions to help the transition into school be smooth and pleasant:
Before School Starts
Make a short, informal visit to the school. Drive through the neighborhood and show them the house. Be casual about it, keeping discussions about school positive and matter-of-fact. If you think your child may have difficulty separating, do not allude to this in front of her. If you feel separation may be an issue for your child, please discuss it with your child’s teacher so that extra visits and meetings can be arranged.
On the First Day
Make sure your goodbye is loving and brief. Do not try to sneak out without saying goodbye. Avoid lingering, as this can suggest indecisiveness on your part. You may gently suggest that your child paint or draw a picture that could be brought home from school. Before coming to school, remind your child of what is going to happen, and that you will be back at pick up time.
Ask For Updates
If you are concerned about how your child is coping with the transition, feel free to call during the day to inquire. The teacher will respond to your call as soon as time allows. The caregivers are happy to let you know how your child is doing. Your child’s caregiver will also give you updates at pickup as to how your child is managing the transition.
Reviewing Your Child’s Day
When talking with your child about the school day, try to avoid leading questions that focus on the negative aspects of school, such as: “Did you miss me? Were you sad today?” Instead, you might ask “What kind of soup did you have today?” or “Who did you play with today?” Rather than saying “I missed you so much today,” you could focus on the positive, and say “ I am so happy to be with you again!”
Please discuss the dispensing of over the counter or prescription drugs with us before your child arrives for care. We reserve the right to suspend care until your child no longer needs medication during hours of care.
Injuries & Medical Emergencies
We will use lavender oil, aloe vera, Arnica gel and natural salves to treat minor skin irritations. All soap, bug spray, and sunscreen applied is natural and petroleum free. Bandages are latex-free. In the event of a medical emergency, we will call 911 and contact you immediately. Please note that if your child must go to the ER, a caregiver from RRS will try to accompany your child. However, this may not be possible due to child/staff ratios and the caregiver’s responsibility to the other children at school.
Children who develop a fever of 100° or above while in our care, will be sent home immediately. We will not administer Tylenol or Motrin. If children develop fevers at home, they must stay home until they have been fever free without fever suppressants for at least 24 hours. If children begin vomiting while in our care, they will be sent home immediately. If children begin vomiting at home, they must stay home until they have not vomited for at least 24 hours. If children develop diarrhea (more than 2 loose BMs) while in our care, they will be sent home immediately. If children develop diarrhea at home, they must stay home until they have had regular BMs for at least 24 hours. As children often do not eat much during illness, please note that absence of any BMs does not confer wellness – she must stay at home until you have confirmed visually that her BMs are normal. If we discover head lice on children in our care, they will be sent home immediately for head lice treatment, and their personal belongings will be sent home for laundering. If children develop head lice at home, they must be treated for head lice and all nits removed. Children must be cleared by the administrator before they may return to RRS.
Discomfort & Lethargy
If children seem exceedingly fussy and uncomfortable, even without displaying any of the previously stated symptoms, we recommend that you keep them home until their behavior returns to normal. If children feel bad at home, they are guaranteed to feel worse at school because the stimulation drains all of their energy very quickly. Similarly, if children seem unduly tired, it would be best for the children to stay home and rest. Extreme sleepiness is often the first sign of sickness, and very sleepy children can easily become sick children.
All children must either be up to date on their immunization schedule or submit an immunization exemption certificate to be kept on file.
All children lie down and rest quietly at 1:00 as per our Daily Rhythm. Even if they do not normally fall asleep, they will still rest quietly for the allotted time. Once the first napper is awake, then all children are allowed to rise at their leisure. Rest is a skill that we choose to actively cultivate in all of the children. We feel that quiet reflection and calm repose are necessary skills to have in a hectic and hurried world. Please know that non-napping children will not be given books or crayons to draw with during this time. If you prefer that your children not rest with us, please pick them up at 12:45.
All children should be actively toilet training in order to attend RRS’s Nursery program. All children must be completely toilet trained (no accidents, except if there is an occurrence due to a physical illness) in order to participate in the Wondergaten or Kindergarten programs.
We serve well-balanced, nutritious meals at RRS. We use organic ingredients when possible. We believe that food is medicine, and we try our best to give the children the most nutritious options. All meals are served family-style, with the older children often helping to serve the younger children. The older children also help set the table and clean up after themselves.
Sack Lunch Fridays
We enjoy a picnic each Friday, with lunches that are brought from home. It is imperative that each child’s lunch bag contains the following items:
- Wet cloth napkin placed in waterproof bag (for wiping face and hands)
- Meal must contain two vegetable/fruit options and a protein source
- Requisite ice packs
- Necessary eating utensils
- NO CANDY, CAKE, OR SWEETS
We believe that a sense of gratitude and an acknowledgement of our connection with the natural world is an important component of wellness. Therefore, each lunch is accompanied by a blessing, which is sung as follows:
Earth who gives to us this food,
Sun who makes it ripe and good,
Dear Sun, dear Earth by you we live,
Our loving thanks to you we give.
Dressing for the Weather
We spend at least 90 min. of each day working and playing outside. We play outdoors in varied weather, so that the children can experience the diversity of the seasons and to learn to change their style of play according to the outdoor circumstances. If the children are not properly dressed, the weather conditions can be unhealthy, and the inappropriate clothing of one child can cause everyone to play inside for the rest of the day. So that all of us can enjoy our time outside every day, each child’s clothing must appropriately meet weather conditions. We encourage natural fibers like wool and cotton because these fibers breathe rather than holding in moisture. RRS will follow weather advisories, when applicable.
Daily Clothing Requirements for Your Child’s Backpack
Please make it a habit to replenish your children’s bags and check for proper items every day. If your children attend for extended days (until 5:00), you will need to double the amount of clothes in their bags. It is better for us to have more clothes than necessary, rather than not enough. Oklahoma season transitions can be quite unpredictable, so please consider this when packing your children’s bag.
We encourage children to dress and shoe themselves at school. It is important that the children are dressed with play in mind, and that they be able to pull their clothes on and off easily. Pants should have an elastic waistband, if your child has not mastered button and/or snaps yet. Shoes should have Velcro fasteners or be a pull-on style. Laced shoes are discouraged, unless the children are actively learning to tie them.
Logos & Content
Children are not allowed to wear clothes with logos (Transformers, Dora, Hello Kitty, etc). Though RRS does not wholly oppose these figures, we prefer that the children have ample opportunity to play out of their own imaginations, rather than emulate movies and television. Additionally, please attend to the content and gesture of your children’s clothing. If an article of clothing contains an image that invokes fear or hostility, it should not be worn to school.
What to Bring To School
At the beginning of the year, please bring the following items to stay at school:
- Pair of slippers to be worn inside (soft, simple design, with a leather or rubber sole)
- Snuggle friend (plush toys, no hard plastic)
- Blanket for a cover
- Crib sheet to cover napping mat
- Small pillow
What Not To Bring to School
Children are not allowed to bring ANY toys (including books) from home to school. Headbands, barrets, etc. are allowed but will be placed in the child’s backpack if their presence becomes disruptive to play.
Rose Rock School is successful because parents take the time to participate in fundraising, festival planning, and maintaining the school property. This parental involvement in the school is also valuable because it provides an example for our children that will serve them as they grow to be stewards of the communities in which they live.
Involvement hours are organized into two distinct types: Fundraising and School Chores. Fundraising committees create and organize the fundraisers, work the events, and solicit donations. School Chore Committees engage in work associated with upkeep and maintenance of school facilities, festivals, and programs. Each parent is required to give at least 6 hours of service to the school each year.
A copy of Rose Rock School’s license is kept in open sight. If you would like to see information concerning DHS regulations and our compliance with those regulations, a compliance file is located in the office. Please ask the administrator for assistance. During operating hours, parents are allowed in all areas of the school.
Change of address, place of employment, or phone number
It is essential for parents to keep all contact information up-to-date. An emergency contact person may be changed at any time by writing a letter to your child’s teacher indicating the authorized pick up person’s name and phone number.
Child Abuse/Neglect Reporting
As stated in the OKDHS licensing requirements, every person, private citizen or professional, who has reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected, is mandated by law to promptly report suspected abuse or neglect.
Caregivers having access to children’s records will not discuss or disclose personal information regarding the children and facts learned about the children and their relatives. A parent can request access to all records and reports maintained on their children.
Arrival occurs at the front and back doors between 8:00 – 9:00 AM, in 15 minute increments. Please walk your child up to the door, encourage him to take off his shoes and hang up his own backpack, and give your loving but brief goodbye at this time.
After 8:30, Kindergarten will have begun and the lead teachers will be engaged with the children until 9:00. If you arrive more than five minutes late, it will usually be too late for your child to participate in craft. Participation in morning craft is important for establishing expectations and rhythm for the day. Please know that tardiness is extremely disruptive to the class.
Pickup will occur either at the front door or outside, depending on the weather. Your teacher will sign your child out at the time he was picked up. If you are late picking up your child, you will be charged $1 per minute, even if you call ahead to notify us of your lateness. This fee will be owed in cash or check within 48 hrs.
If you are having a friend or relative pick up your children, please make sure this person is listed on file as an adult authorized to care for your children. Additionally, this person must present a valid photo ID. Children will not be released to unauthorized persons under any circumstance.
Helping Around the School
All parents are encouraged to engage in meaningful work with their children on a day-to-day basis. When parents help around the schoolhouse, the children’s experiences at school and home are brought into deeper cohesiveness. When you arrive to pick up your children, please consider helping fold nap blankets or assisting the teachers as they serve snack. If you are stumped on how to help, do not hesitate to ask your children’s caregiver for ideas.
Tuition is due monthly regardless of any school closings, planned or otherwise. There are no refunds for these missed days.
Vacations and Holidays
Rose Rock School will close for: Fall Break (two days), Winter Vacation (two weeks). Spring Break (one week), as well as the following holidays: Labor Day, Wednesday – Friday of the week of Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, and Memorial Day. We will also close for two Professional days. Exact dates will be announced at Parent Orientation.
Rose Rock School will be closed any day the University of Oklahoma and/or Norman Public School closes for a snow day. If the University or NPS opts to open late due to weather, RRS will follow the same start/end time, unless otherwise notified by official RRS communication. If more than three snow days are taken, the excess missed days will be made up