Information for Parents

Overview of Our Early Learning Beliefs:

·         We respect and celebrate the individuality of each child.

·         We celebrate diversity of cultures in our community.

·         Children benefit from group experiences with peers which foster social skills and self-awareness.

·         Children are most comfortable with predictable routines and environment.

·         Children learn best with consistent limits and boundaries.

·         Children learn through play and meaningful hands-on experiences.

·         Exploration is important to developing creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

·         Children benefit from opportunities to develop independent self-help skills.

·         Children need guidance to understand respect and sensitivity toward the needs and feelings of others while interacting and forming relationships.

·         Communication skills allow children to share thoughts, feelings, and ideas with others.

·         As developmental skills become stronger, they are generalized across environments.

·         Participation in a variety of age-appropriate, developmental tasks assists young children with increasing skills in all developmental areas (problem-solving, social, academic, self-help, fine and gross motor skills).

Our Education Focus:

·         Attention:

o   Increasing attention to objects and people in the environment.

o   Shifting attention between objects and people.

o   Maintaining attention to objects and people.

o   Transitioning across school environments independently.

·         Imitation:

o   Imitating motor, vocal and verbal models

o   Imitating peers

o   Spontaneous imitating (without adult cues)   

·         Social interaction and intentional communication:

o   Increasing reciprocity with adults and peers.

o   Developing preverbal/verbal intentional communication.

o   Interacting with peers and building relationships.

o   Spontaneous interaction and sharing with peers.

·         Play skills with people and toys:

o   Expanding exploration and manipulation of objects.

o   Increasing reciprocity of play with peers.

o   Expanding and linking play schemes into longer sequences.

o   Expanding play skills to include role playing and pretend.

·         Language development:

o   Understanding verbal commands and language concepts (receptive language).

o   Communicating effectively with words (expressive language).

o   Communicating with gestures (augmentative communication- may be considered to reduce frustration).

o   Using and understanding social language (pragmatics).

o   Making appropriate sounds when speaking (articulation).

o   Forming appropriate language sounds (oral motor skills: the strength and coordination of the mouth, tongue, and air flow).

·         Pre-academic skills:

o   Knowing shapes, numbers, and colors.

o   Developing number sense and pre-math skills.

o   Developing literacy, pre-reading and reading skills.

o   Developing science awareness and weather skills.

·         Fine motor skills (functional hand coordination and manipulative skills for educational settings):

o   Using both hands.

o   Using scissors, glue, tape, etc.

o   Developing pre-writing and age-appropriate writing skills.

o   Developing computer skills.

·         Gross motor skills (functional coordination, strength, and balance for educational settings):

o   Moving safely throughout school environment.

o   Participating in physical activities appropriate to age.

·         Emotional regulation:

o   Initiating personal behaviors to manage interests and responses to stimuli in different environments.

·         Self-help skills:

o   Toileting independently.

o   Washing hands independently.

o   Dressing independently.

o   Taking responsibility for personal belongings.

Our Educational Staff and Role Responsibilities:

Early Childhood Teachers are responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing instruction across environments. They manage behaviors across school environments and communicate with parents regarding school events and student growth.

Teacher Assistants (TA) implement and support school activities under the supervision and direction of the teacher.

Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) deliver speech and language therapy services to eligible students with individualized education plans (IEP) in the classroom in coordination with the teacher. Speech Pathologists consult with the teachers and assist with generalization of student skills across school settings.

Occupational Therapists (OT) Support fine motor skills (such as coloring, cutting, and pre-writing) and independent self-help skills per the child’s individualized educational plan (IEP). Occupational Therapists consult with teacher and assist with generalization of student skills across school settings.

Physical Therapists (PT) implement activities that increase gross motor skills, such as jumping, walking, running and independent functioning. The physical Therapist consults with teaches and assist with the generalization of student skills across school settings.

Social Workers (SW) implement activities that promote social skills and provide support to parents for behavior management techniques at home. The Social Worker consults with teachers and assists with the generalization of student skills across school settings.

School Psychologists (PSYCH) Collaborates with parents and teachers to support student behaviors across environments. Observations and/or evaluations of student are completed per special education regulations.

Health Clerks assist with health emergencies and develop Health Care Plans as needed for individual students. They may administer medication to student with parent and physician approval.

 

General School Information

School Hours and Location

·         District 68 offers a five day per week session for two and a half hours per day. School days are consistent with the public school calendar which can be found online at www.skokie68.org. Morning programs are scheduled for 9:00-11:30am and the afternoon program is from 12:15-2:45pm.

·          All District 68 preschool programs are held at the Early Childhood Center (ECC)     located at 9300 N. Kenton Avenue; this program is open to district residents only.

·         Teachers will not be able to take phone calls during their instructional time. Please leave a message with the office staff. Teachers will also communicate by email and will reply after school hours.

Adverse Weather
In adverse weather, you will find information on the district’s web site, www.skokie68.org or at the WGN School Closing Center web site, www.emergencyclosing.com. District 68 also alerts parent with an automated phone message to all numbers on file in the school database.

School Security
All visitors to the District, including parents are required to register at the ECC school office and wear identification badges while in the schools. Photo identification is mandatory.

Students participate in drills at school to practice their responses to school emergencies.  All schools are equipped with emergency radios and other electronics for communication with outside agencies.

School Supplies
Parents are asked to send their child to preschool with a full- sized backpack so that art work and papers from school can travel home securely. In addition, we ask parent to provide two boxes of Kleenex and a full change of clothing to be kept at school. The child’s name should be written on each piece of clothing sent to school.

Transitioning to School
Young children may have some difficulty transitioning to new environments. We invite parents and children who are considering preschool at the ECC to visit our school and classrooms together. Prior to the start of school in August, each child will receive a “welcome to school” letter with a picture of their teacher. Parents receive a letter informing them of important school information. In addition, a Meet and Greet time is scheduled for student and their parents the first day of school. This includes a visit to the classroom, meeting the teacher in person, and exploring the classroom.

Communication with Parents
Communication with parents is an important component of our program and facilitates a relationship with the educational team.

o   Parents will receive emails from teachers highlighting current literacy themes, classroom activities and upcoming events.

o   Teachers can be contacted by email or by voicemail. Teacher my not be able to return phone calls or emails during school hours, but will do so after school.

Medical Information
 All children attending school should be free of contagious diseases, and all immunizations records must be current. Children who have a fever, persistent cough, or infection may not attend school. We will take the temperature of any child who seems ill during the school day. Any child with a fever will be sent home to prevent the spread of illness, and any child showing obvious signs of illness will be permitted in school.  The following guidelines are used for keeping children home from school:

o   The child has been taking antibiotics for less than twenty-four (24) hours.

o   The child has a persistent cough.

o   The child has symptoms of a possible communicable disease, such as runny nose with yellow or green discharge, reddened eyes, sore throat, abdominal pain, and/or fever.

o   Child has a rash.

o   The child has had diarrhea or vomiting during the previous twenty-four (24) hour period.

 Children should not return to school until they have been without a fever for at least twenty-four (24) hours. In addition, parent must notify the school office if their child has a communicable disease.

As a reminder, all preschool students enrolled for the first time are required to have a physical examination and have up-to-date immunizations for polio, SPT, measles, rubella, and mumps. A transfer student is permitted 30 days from the date of entry to obtain a medical report from the previous school or from an examining physician, Any parent who objects to immunizations on religious grounds may submit a signed statement with both their doctor’s and clergy’s signature to this effect.

If a student has a medical condition requiring medicine be taken at school or requiring special monitoring during the school day, an individualized Health Care Plan will be written. The Health Clerk will work with parents to create the Health Care Plan effective across all school environments.

Food Allergies
Some students have food allergies which may become life-threatening. For this reason, we are a nut-free center. Foods containing nuts and foods made in a factory that processes any kind of tree nuts are not allowed in our school.

Parents may deliver food to the ECC for students on special or restricted diets.

Special Education Transportation
Transportation is provided for special education preschool students. The District 68 transportation department provides parents with pick-up and drop-off times and locations. The bus is required to wait 3 minutes for students to board, and then must continue the route to ensure all students arrive at school on time. It is the bus driver’s responsibility to ensure each child is wearing a seat belt or safety harness.

If a change is needed for a child’s pick-up or drop-off location, parent must email or call the Transportation Department 847-568-7625. Our transportation department requires three days to process requests.

A parent or designated adult must always be present when a child is picked-up and dropped-off for school. For safety and security reasons, a parent or designated adult must be at the pick-up and drop-off area to assist the child on or off the bus as needed. If the designated adult is not present, the child will be brought back to school and the parent will need to come to school. Late charges will be applied.

If a student will be absent, parents must contact the Transportation Department at 847-568-7625 to cancel the bus prior to the designated pick-up time.

Parent Pick-Up and Drop-Off Routine
During drop-off , to assist us with getting all students into class so instruction can start on time, please remain in your car and pull up to the curb outside our entrance in a single line. We request that parents stay in the car and our staff will assist the child out of the car and into school. Parents bringing a child late to school will need to come into the office and sign in their child in to school.

We maintain this routine at pick-up as well. For efficiency, parent will be given a visor sign to keep in their car and pull down when picking up their child. Our staff can read the student’s name at a distance and this helps speed up the transition from school to car.

If a child is dropped off or picked up by someone other than the parent, the parent must contact the office at 847-677-4560. The person picking up the child must have photo identification to show our staff when they pick up the child.

Photo Release
Occasionally, children are photographed for District publicity with local newspapers, or are photographed as part of a classroom project, with photos sent home to help facilitate communication skills from school to home. Group photos will identify students by first name only. Parental permission for releasing photos is required as part of the Photo Video Release form distributed with registration materials.

Continuum of District 68 Preschool Programs
District 68 offers a tuition-based preschool program for general education student and a continuum of special education programs at no cost for eligible children. An overview of programs is listed below.

Tuition-Based Preschool
Tuition-based preschool classrooms in District 68 offer placement in a five day am 9-11:30 or pm 12:15-2:45 to in district residents. The Creative Curriculum is utilized to support student discovery and exploration through center activities while developmental skills are monitored. The student to staff ratio is one adult per ten students.  Morning or afternoon placement is determined by the ECC Director so that classrooms remain balanced. Transportation is not provided by District 68.

Preschool Special Education-Speech and Language Service
This special education service is offered to students who require speech and language service only. Children come to the Early Childhood Center once per week during the school day for a small group setting with a speech therapist. Speech therapy is provided during school hours (9:00am-2:45pm). Appointments are scheduled based on the therapist.

Preschool Blended Special Education Program
The blended classroom is a less restrictive special education classroom placement providing special-needs student’s increased exposure to general education peers. A maximum of six special education students are included in a classroom of twenty students.  Students with special needs fully participate in all activities with accommodations or modifications as needed.

Preschool Self –Contained Special Education Program
This program provides a self-contained classroom for students aged three to five years old (prior to Kindergarten) who require more intensive academic and social skill instruction. If a student is five years old by the beginning of the school year, s/he will be enrolled in Kindergarten. The student-to-staff ratio is one adult per five students with a maximum of ten students per classroom. Morning classes are scheduled for 9:00-11:30am and the afternoon classes are from 12:15-2:45pm. Placements are determined by the ECC Director so that classrooms can be balanced and the individual needs of students can best be met. Door- to-door special education transportation is provided.

Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
A child’s eligibility for special education services is considered following a comprehensive evaluation by a school psychologist. If a child is determined to be eligible for special education services, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written by a team of school professionals in conjunction with the child’s parents. The IEP includes annual goals and short-term objectives to address educational needs. The IEP may also outline the need for extended year programming (summer school). The IEP is implemented by school faculty and services are delivered at school during the school day. Instruction is aligned with the Illinois Early Learning Standards.

Annual Review Meetings
If a child receives special education services, parents will meet with the IEP team each year for an annual review. During the review, the child’s progress will be discussed and the IEP goals and objectives will be updated with a focus on placement decisions for the next school year.

Progress Reports
Parents will receive trimester progress reports from their child’s teacher. Progress toward goals with objectives on the child’s IEP will be updated to assist parents with monitoring their child’s growth.

Extended School Year (ESY)
ESY is a voluntary special education summer school program. Recommendations for ESY are generally made at the IEP meeting and/or the annual review and are based on the need for students to maintain their skills over the summer. Related services for ESY are determined on a individual basis and are not automatically provided during the summer.