Early Childhood and Nursery School Family Handbook
Wise School Vision
The vision of Wise School is to inspire and empower our students and their families to learn deeply about our world and Jewish heritage, to be creative, and to experience wholeness so that we can make great happen in our community, nation, in Israel and throughout the world.
Wise School Early Childhood Philosophy
Wise School Early Childhood Center provides children from birth through five years with an innovative, educational experience tailored to the needs and expression of the whole child in an inclusive Jewish community. In each class and at every age, our approach to education is through the lens of a Constructivist philosophy, focusing on hands-on, experiential learning that sparks curiosity, fosters creativity and encourages children to think deeply, imaginatively and critically as they explore their classroom environment and unravel the challenges that arise through their work and their play.
Wise School Early Childhood Center
Through dedicated concentration on emergent curriculum, we deliberately use the interests of the children as a natural springboard to launch opportunities of in-depth, integrated exploration and study across all academic disciplines, including language, math, social studies, science, engineering, technology, music and fine arts. Small and large-group activities strengthen the children’s social skills, self-esteem, self-control and collaborative abilities. A balance of teacher-directed and child-directed activities serves to support and challenge the child in a setting in which his or her individuality is respected. We encourage a love of learning by enabling children to experience their own stage of development, helping them to feel success without pressure.
Throughout the school year, we focus on the celebration, history, culture and traditions of the Jewish holidays, combined with an emergent curriculum that includes academic readiness experiences in math, reading, social studies and science. Our teachers facilitate constructive play by offering a variety of materials and centers for exploration. We provide multiple points of entry through various mediums to captivate and sustain deep engagement for every child. Teachers build academic self-esteem in children by providing the language of critical thinking to help describe the interest and wonder they find in the world around them. The values of kindness, empathy, honesty, responsibility, integrity and teamwork are integrated throughout the learning process, and they are a part of our daily experience with your child.
Parents as Partners
Children in our program reach their highest potential when school and family are partners in the educational process. Together, we support learning through ongoing communication between home and school.
The acknowledgement form was sent to you via email. After you have read the handbook, please electronically sign the acknowledgement form.
Wise School Early Childhood Programs
Our grade levels are grouped, as follows, for the 2016-2017 school year:
Parenting Classes (Birth to 2 years – please see Wise School Parenting Center, below)
First Steps (Turning 2 years by August 31, 2016)
Discoverers (Turning 3 years between September 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016)
Explorers (Turning 3 years between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016)
Pre-K (Turning 4 years between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016)
Wise School Parenting Center
Our parenting program is designed for our younger friends, those too young to come to school without a parent. Our Baby & Me classes begin as young as 4 months old and meet once each week for 90 minutes. We offer fall, spring and summer classes. A schedule can be found on our website at http://wiseschool18.wpengine.com/parenting-center/.
Arrival and School Hours
The school day begins at 9:00 AM. Please make every effort to arrive to school every day on-time, as classroom activities begin at 9:00 am, and it is difficult for children when they miss out on the early work of the day. For some children, it is sometimes helpful if you allow a few extra moments to establish your own “good-bye” routine prior to dropping them off in the classroom.
First Steps, Discoverers, Explorers 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Pre-K 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Early Morning Drop-Off: Monday-Friday, 7:30-9:00 a.m.
Extended Day: Monday-Friday, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Super-Extended Day: Monday-Friday, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Please contact the Wise School Early Childhood office for more detailed information on the most updated fees for Early Morning and After School Child Care.
We have a drop-in option for families needing occasional child care before and/or after school. Drop-in for either morning or after school is open to all EC families. The fees are $20 per morning drop in, and $25 per afternoon drop in. To attend early morning/extended day you must register and pay in the ECC office by 9:15 a.m. on the day you wish to “drop in”.
The EC offers an outstanding after school enrichment program for our young learners. The classes offered include sports, music, drama, science, acting, Tot Gourmet, and more. At the end of the day, we assist children in transitioning to the enrichment program and we allow time for bathroom breaks and a quick snack before the fun begins! Enrichment class hours are Monday through Thursday, 2:10 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Hours of Operation
The EC office hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday. Our office closes at 4 p.m. on Fridays.
September 6, 2016 – June 6, 2017
Stay abreast of school events, closures, and activities in the EC by consulting our website. All EC dates, events, school closures and holidays are posted there. In addition, you will receive regular communications via email from the administrators and your child’s teachers. Please confirm that we have your most current email address on file in the Wise School main office and registered in your online Magnus account.
Wise Early Childhood is closed for all legal holidays and some Jewish holidays. Consult the master calendar online at www.Wise-school.org/calendar for 2016-2017 dates and school closures. It is important to recognize that the EC dates may differ from those of the Elementary School.
There are many holidays throughout the year. The EC does not celebrate Halloween or Valentine’s Day as part of our program and we ask that you kindly refrain from bringing treats, costumes, or valentines to school.
Our program does not allow for make-up days or refunds in the event of absences. This includes Early Morning, Extended Day, Enrichment classes and Summer Camp. Please contact the office if you need to make long-term schedule changes.
Our parents and teachers meet formally, twice a year, to discuss the growth of your child. This is an opportunity to hear more about the experiences your child is having here at Wise School, his or her social/emotional growth and academic development. Conferences are a mandatory piece of our program. Please mark these dates on your calendar now to set aside the time for your child.
Contacting Our Teachers
Our staff shares a strong commitment to always maintain open lines of communication between school and home. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact our school office 310.889.2248 and leave a message for your teacher. Your message will be delivered to the classroom immediately. You will receive a response within 24 hours of your call. If there is an emergency, clearly indicate this to our office staff and an administrator will assist you immediately.
You may also email your teachers at any time. All teachers have Wise email addresses that will be provided to you at Parent Orientation and student visitations.
Information shared with staff or in your classroom is CONFIDENTIAL. It is important that we respect the privacy of each family and create a safe and trusting environment in which to nurture our children. In order to maintain our families’ privacy we will provide you with a directory that incorporates the entire school. The information provided in our school directory is to be used in a private manner and never used to solicit business. Emails should never be used for mass marketing; any concerns regarding the use of emails should be brought to the office.
Drop off and Pick Up of Children
California State Law requires that a parent or legal guardian, or, an adult over the age of 18 who is designated by the parent or guardian, sign each child in and out of school every day with both signature and clock time. In addition, it is mandated that the adult’s signature be legible and complete; initials are not acceptable for these forms. Only you, or someone designated by you (including those listed on your child’s emergency card in their online Magnus account) can sign in or out each day. Do not send siblings, or allow children to sign in or out for themselves. The sign-in sign-out sheets are on a clipboard in your child’s class.
Emergency Card – Pre-School and MANDATORY FORMS in Online Magnus Account
The Emergency Card in your child’s online Magnus account is our way of immediately contacting you while you are away from your child. This form is required by the State of California and must be updated each year. Families are required to complete ONE Emergency Form per child. Please complete the form in its entirety – there is no part that can be left incomplete. Also, remember to sign and date this document. If you need to make a change to your emergency card, especially the parent contacts or the adults allowed to pick up your child, please make any appropriate changes in your Magnus account.
It is critical that your emergency card be accurate and up to date. It must reflect current phone numbers and contacts for those you wish to pick up your child. The EC will only release your child to those adults designated by you on the emergency card in their online Magnus account. We may request identification at any time of any person and we appreciate your cooperation at pick up time. If you wish someone NOT ON YOUR EMERGENCY CARD to pick up your child you must:
- Leave written permission with your child’s teacher in the morning;
- Contact the school office immediately with this request: 310.889.2248
- Fax or email the information to the office immediately 310.472.9395 or [email protected]; Include the following
- Your name, child’s name, Grade level, Room number
- Who is picking up your child – full name
- Date of pick up, approximate time child will be picked up
- Your phone contact information in case of an emergency
Using your cell phone while driving on the Wise campus is prohibited. When visiting or attending classes, please turn off your phones, place them on vibrate or silent, or leave them in the car.
Carpools and Carseats
Carpools must be registered in both the children’s classrooms and the school office. State law requires all children to be secured in car seats.
Please call or email Heidi Sorenson in the school office if your child will be absent for any reason.
The safety of our children, visitors, parents and staff is as important to us as it is to you. We ask for your assistance by following these guidelines:
- All Wise School Early Childhood students MUST be transported to and from school in a car seat that is appropriate for their child’s height and weight.
- We ask that you report medical conditions and/or allergies to the office so we can assist your family with these special needs.
- Children using bottles should be held close. Do not allow toddlers to walk around if they are using a bottle.
- Please refrain from changing babies on the EC classroom floors. There are changing tables provided in various locations and this will help us eliminate health hazards.
- We are unable to accommodate siblings during regular class time; they are welcome for Shabbat We appreciate your understanding.
- Caregivers may not bring children to our Parenting Center classes. If you are unable to attend with your child, a family member may attend in your absence.
- Adult members of your immediate family are welcome to visit us. We request advance notice whenever possible so that we might prepare our teachers for their arrival.
- Please hold your child’s hand when exiting the car and walking to our gates.
- We ask that you close the gates behind you for safety and supervisory reasons.
Your child must be in GOOD health when left in our care. No child will be admitted to school upon morning drop off if they appear ill to the classroom teachers. Children must be symptom free for 24 hours before being readmitted to school. There will be no exceptions.
Do not send your child to school if:
- He/she has a contagious illness or is too sick to enjoy the school day
- He/she had a fever in the past 24 hours
- He/she vomited or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours
- If your child has a chronic illness or chronic allergies that appear to look like a cold, the child must have a physician’s note on file in the school office indicating that the child is not ill, not contagious and that he/she may be admitted to school daily.
- If your child develops a fever, diarrhea, vomiting or other symptoms that interfere with his or her ability to participate in our program we will contact you and ask that you pick up your child within one-hour. We expect your immediate cooperation in this matter.
- You will be contacted immediately if any of the following symptoms are identified: Unusual spots or rash; sore throat; infected skin patches; unusually dark, tea-colored urine; gray or white stool; green colored mucus; headache and/or stiff neck; unusual behavior or intense itching.
- If your child becomes ill with a communicable disease, notify our office immediately. We will notify all parents in your classroom, and, if necessary, other classrooms when a child is diagnosed with childhood illnesses including but not limited to: chickenpox; hand, foot & mouth disease; head lice and other childhood illnesses of these types. Your child will not be re-admitted to class without a doctor’s note, and until they have been checked by the school nurse and deemed healthy and non-contagious.
- Notify our office of any serious illness or, if your child will be out of school for more than two days. We wish to support you and hope you will communicate your family’s health issues whenever possible.
- If you discover a case of head lice, it is very important that you call the school nurse at 310-889-2215 and then consult your local pharmacist. The most effective solution for lice is to wash the hair with an over-the-counter shampoo or lotion such as NIX or RID, carefully following the directions on the package. Then, use a fine tooth comb to remove lice and nits from the scalp down the entire hair shaft. Wash all clothing, bedding, and brushes in hot water. The lice shampoo must be repeated in 7-10 days as a follow-up.
- Students should refrain from sharing hats, brushes, or other personal items. As a parent, you can help contain lice by regularly checking your child’s hair. Look for nits, the eggs that attach to the hair shaft, which are white or light gray in color and oval shaped. Nits must be meticulously removed daily for three weeks, even after the treatment.
- When a student is identified as having lice, the nurse contacts the parent directly. If a student has live bugs in their hair, they will be sent home. If they have nits, they will remain in class and a note will go home to all parents in the grade level.
Immunization Records and Other School Paperwork – MANDATORY FORMS
According to California State Law, a current copy of your child’s IMMUNIZATION RECORD MUST be kept on file and updated as necessary in your child’s online Magnus health account. Check with the school office staff to assure that your child’s school records are up-to-date and accurate. Children in California are required to receive certain immunizations in order to attend public and private elementary and secondary schools, child care centers, family day care homes, nursery schools, day nurseries, and developmental centers. Schools, child care centers, and family child care homes are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records of all children enrolled, and submit reports. If your child is not fully immunized or you do not turn in your updated immunizations promptly, your child will not be allowed in our school program.
Medication Policy – Wise School EC
We are required by the State of California to inform you that any medication your child must take at school should be sent in its original pharmacy container with the following information:
Your child’s name, amount of medication to dispense and at what time.
You must bring this medication to the school nurse’s office. Once you have signed a CONSENT TO ADMINISTER MEDICATION form the School Nurse will administer the medicine. Aspirin will not be administered by our school under any circumstances. Note: We will only administer prescription medications – no over-the-counter medications are permitted.
Your child’s teacher and/or the School Nurse will care for minor injuries incurred during play. You will receive an Accident Report or notice from our School Nurse and/or you will receive a phone call on the same day. In the case of more serious injury the school will contact you immediately. If you are not available, we will use the names provided by you on your emergency card.
All staff employed at the EC is trained in Emergency First Aid and Infant/Child CPR.
Please apply sunscreen to your child prior to coming to school each morning. If your child stays for the afternoon and requires reapplication, parents must fill out a permission to administer sunscreen form, as well as provide the sunscreen. In addition, please leave a hat in your child’s cubby.
Wise School Early Childhood students are required by the Community Care Licensing Division of California to rest during the day. Sleeping is not mandatory, however, all children in the 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. program are asked to rest quietly for at least thirty minutes. Our goal is for every child to value the joy of relaxation. Share your child’s schedule and habits with your teacher. In this way, we can best provide for your child’s individual needs. If you would like for your child to nap longer than the 2 p.m. dismissal, you may sign up for extended day until 3:30 p.m., and your child will go to an extended day nap room for his/her naptime. When the children in the extended day nap room wake from their naps, they will have snack, story-time and a closing circle before dismissal from that classroom. Please be aware that they may be with a different teacher during this time.
All Wise School educators are mandated reporters as per the Community Care Licensing Department and are legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse to the California State Child Abuse Hotline.
State of California Community Care Licensing
Our school is fully licensed by the State of California and our license is displayed at all times in our main office. We are inspected annually by regulatory agencies in the areas of health, fire, safety and child and family services.
Food Policy for Wise School EC
In accordance with Temple policy, lunches may not contain any pork or shellfish items. Lunches may not contain any nuts or nut products. We have some children with severe food allergies and we appreciate your cooperation in helping our families feel comfortable and safe at our school and around our Temple. If your child has any food allergies, it is critical that you inform your teachers, the school nurse, and the administration so that every precaution can be taken to ensure his or her safety.
Families interested in providing a hot lunch for their child may do so daily. Our hot lunch is provided by Vicky’s Lunchbox. Friday lunch is a pizza lunch. The menu offers many options, including gluten-free. Detailed information on hot lunch and challah will be provided in your school email packets. Hot Lunch will be delivered to your child’s classroom and teachers will help with distribution. If your child does not purchase hot lunch, a lunch from home is expected. No outside delivery of lunch is permitted.
Wise School will provide the children with a healthy snack each day. Snack may consist of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, yogurt, crackers, etc., with at least two food groups per snack. Children who have specific allergies and cannot consume foods that are prepared in factories that manufacture and process products containing nuts and other allergens must speak with their teachers. You may be asked to provide your child’s teachers with a bag of safe snacks.
Gum and Candy
We ask that you refrain from bringing gum and/or candy to our school. We appreciate your support in our efforts to maintain a clean, safe and healthy campus for all our children.
Bottles and Sippy Cups
We love a warm family feeling in our classrooms. Families in the parenting center should feel free to nurse, change or bottle-feed babies during our program. However, for safety reasons, toddlers may not walk with a bottle and we ask that very young children using bottles be kept very close to a parent. We encourage older children to use the paper cups provided by our school. If you have a particular need to send sippy cups from home, discuss this with your teacher or our school administration.
What to Bring to School
On the first day of school, your child should bring a plastic box (small enough to fit in the cubby space) with his or her picture and name on it. This box will stay in the child’s cubby and should contain a complete change of labeled clothes—socks, underpants, shoes, shirt, pants, and a hat. Please be sure to update these items as your child grows and the weather changes throughout the year. Please send clean replacements whenever any of these items are used. If your child is toilet learning or still in diapers, please provide plenty of wipes, diapers, underwear.
Our program includes indoor and outdoor activities. Be sure your child attends school in appropriate, washable play clothes. Label all clothes with your child’s name. Some nursery school activities are MESSY and we do not stop to put on paint smocks – we encourage you to buy clothes that are okay for your child to get messy at school.
It is important that your child be safe when moving and playing; wear shoes that enable him or her to fully participate in climbing, running, jumping and other gross motor skill activities. We do permit children to be barefoot on the playgrounds and in the classrooms. If you are not comfortable with this practice, please speak to your teachers so other arrangements can be made for your child. Note: clogs, crocs, flip-flops, or “princess shoes” are not permitted at any time during the school program. This is for the safety of the children.
Separation and Transitional Objects
For the child’s first nursery school experience, the teachers help the children make a comfortable transition from home to school. A transitional object from home, such as a blanket or lovey, can provide your child with comfort. Please do not send pacifiers or bottles. Separation is unique for each child. Some children separate in a few days and others take more time. Children learn at their own pace that teachers are loving and there to encourage growth and development throughout the day. Making new attachments is a new concept for many of the children but we assure you that it will happen!
What NOT to Bring
Jewelry, toys, small pieces of toys, treasures and money are all choking hazards and should not be brought to school. Please put Friday’s tzedakah in a Ziploc bag. Please do not bring bottles, pacifiers, glass, candy or junk food to school.
Family Bulletin Board
A family information board is maintained in each classroom where you can discover what is happening in our program. Please visit the other boards around campus to see examples of the wonderful activities available to you, your family and our community.
Due to safety and transportation policies, the EC does not transport children to and from school-sponsored field trips. On occasion a class may plan a group outing to a local museum or special event in our community. In these cases parents are solely responsible for their children: for driving their children to the event and staying with their children the entire time. Our teachers will facilitate the activity, but we expect parent participation with each child. We make every effort to plan these outings so that every child can be included. Also, we encourage parents to explore the wonderful resources located close to our Temple!
Celebrating with the class
On your child’s birthday we invite you to honor your child with his/her friends in class. Your teachers will provide a special birthday crown and will create an environment in the classroom that uniquely celebrates your child in the most appropriate way. Please schedule your child’s classroom birthday celebration with their teachers at least a week in advance and please remember that the school is a NUT FREE environment. We ask that you consider children in your class with various allergies, so that all children might participate. For further details with respect to your child’s class, please check with one or both of their teachers. Please remember, no hot beverages may be served or brought into the classroom at any time!
At Home Celebrations
Please mail or email invitations to home birthday parties. We will not allow invitations to be distributed at school. We ask that you make every effort to be as inclusive as possible with regards to the families in your classroom. There are responsibilities that come with being a part of a community; perhaps the most important is how we treat people and how we teach our children to treat people. In order to be mindful of other people’s Shabbat observance, please do not schedule birthday parties on Friday night or Saturday morning.
These are critical formative years for your child. During his or her time at the EC, your child will ask “Who am I?”, “Where do I fit in this world?” “Can I trust the world?” and “Am I loved?” Part of exploring these ideas includes testing and building relationships with peers and adults outside of the home. Your child will explore numerous new relationships during these critical years and, in the process, will develop and solidify the way he or she communicates with others. We hope to allow each child the opportunity to meet friends from all cultural backgrounds and we encourage our parents to extend themselves to new faces, to reach beyond their own familiar relationships, and to remember they serve as role models to all the Wise youth.
Preparation for Shabbat in our program is a wonderful, enriching, family experience. We celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat in each classroom with traditional songs, blessings and foods. Each week, a child and his or her family are the Shabbat Family. The Shabbat family brings challah and a plant for the classroom, and helps lead the class in the traditional celebrations. In the late morning, each group gathers for a joyful, musical, story-enriched, age-appropriate communal service in the sanctuary.
Open Door Policy
You are free to visit our school program any time and we encourage you to do so. Please be sure our office staff is aware that you are on campus. Grandparents and other relatives are also invited to visit your child’s class, but please make any arrangements in advance so that we do not have too many adults in a classroom at one time.
We welcome and encourage volunteer participation in our classrooms. Please discuss ways you can help us with your teachers. If you have a special talent and would like to share with us, please let us know. These little extras help enrich your child’s school experience and we welcome your participation!
Each classroom has two (2) Room Parents. These volunteers are the key to making sure that important information and reminders are sent home from the classroom, that holidays and special events and/or activities are coordinated, and that other details related to each individual classroom are attended to.
WPA (Wise Parent Association)
We are fortunate to have a strong parent leadership team called the Wise Parents Association (WPA). These parents volunteer numerous hours, often after hours, weekends and holidays, to serve our community. Their contribution to our school is invaluable. Everyone is welcome to participate in our program and we encourage parental support in a variety of ways. The WPA has created numerous committees for the various activities and events that occur during our school year.
The WPA holds meetings throughout the school year for ES and EC families. The meeting is part business and part parent education and is held at 8:15 in the morning. There is free childcare for EC children for all WPA meetings and committee gatherings during the year.
We ensure the safety and security of our students, parents, staff, and faculty through a rigorous risk management program that employs the knowledge of parents, consultants, and staff members to provide us with the best practices available to mitigate and respond to risk.
Our staff has been trained to provide immediate contingency response support, regardless of circumstances. As such, we regularly engage in shelter-in-place and evacuation drills. Using our on-site resources and staff training, we can provide food, shelter, and first aid care to the entire staff and student community for up to 72 hours.
In case of an emergency or a drill:
- Parents on the Stephen Wise Campus: You will be notified by our campus intercom or our evacuation alarm system about how to proceed. We ask that all parents on campus respectfully participate in rehearsing our emergency response procedures.
- Parents outside the Stephen Wise Campus: You will be notified by our automated telephone system about the status of children and how to proceed as parents. We ask that all parents closely follow any instructions received from Wise School. Following all instructions is a critical component of safeguarding our children, staff, and families in the event of an emergency.
- Out-of-State Contact: In the event of an emergency, out-of-state phone service may be more reliable than the phone system within the State of California. For that reason, Stephen Wise Temple has arranged for an out-of-state contact number. Parents may contact Temple Albert of Albuquerque, New Mexico, at 505.883.1818 with inquiries and messages to family members.
Medications: Our Disaster Preparedness Policy requires that we keep a three-day supply of daily medications that are necessary to a child’s health in the nurse’s office. The medication must be in a pharmacy container, clearly labelled with the following information:
- Student’s name
- Name of medication
- Dosage and frequency
- Name and telephone number of physician prescribing the medication
- A note authorizing personnel to administer the medication
This is in addition to the daily medications described under Health and Safety procedures.
All medications must be replaced prior to their expiration dates. Parents are responsible for furnishing this medication prior to the first day of school.