Friday, January 21, 2011

Commonly Asked Questions

In January the phone at the Burlington Integrated Preschool rings constantly with families inquiring about the program. I spend a lot of time talking with prospective Parents and the same questions come up over and over again. Below are the answers to many of your questions:

What is the staff to student ratio, and what is the background of the teaching staff?
All of the integrated preschool classrooms cap at 15. There can be 7 students with special needs and 8 neighborhood students in each room. All of the classroom teachers have masters degrees in special education with an emphasis on early childhood development. The instructional assistants as well as classroom aides all have college degrees. The program is part of the Burlington Public School (BPS) and all staff participate in all BPS professional development.

What type of communication can I expect?
Parents are provided with weekly communication via the program blog. Each classroom has a page on the blog which outlines what the students will be learning about in the upcoming week as well as any special events. Teachers are available for conferences with parents whenever necessary. All of the integrated preschool staff have BPS email addresses and all of the teachers check their email on a daily basis.

What is your philosophy about play and academics?
The Burlington Integrated Preschool provides students with a balance between play and work time. Children are given up to one hour a day of choice time. This is a time when children can explore areas and activities are open ended. However, a lot of time and planning goes into each center and teachers work hard to ensure that centers are connected to what is being taught in the classroom. For example, if we are learning about winter each center is focused around that theme. If you were to enter into the classroom you might observe children learning how to dress in winter clothes, exploring snow in the sensory table, painting with ice cubes at the art center, a mitten matching game at the math/manipulative table, the library area is full with books relating to winter weather and at the writing center there would be words and writing prompts that would go along with winter. The children think they are playing but through play they are learning.

What do you do to encourage developmentally appropriate practice?
The Burlington Integrated Preschool celebrates each individual child's development. Many of the activities that children are exposed to are open ended and all lessons are developed and differentiated to meet the needs of the diverse group of learners in each classroom.

How do you deal with behavior issues?
The program is designed in a way that behavior problems are rarely and issue. We have a very strong predictable routine with built in transitions. When a behavior problem crops up we use several different techniques:
Positive redirection is used to help the child make the right choice.
At times teachers will help children make a different choice or redirect them to another area. When children are struggling and need a break we use a technique called sit and watch. This is a time when the child is placed just outside of the activity for a minute or two to take a break from the situation. After they have sat, the rules are reviewed and the child then joins the group again.

What can I do to help in this program?
Parents are welcome to volunteer in the program in classroom. All volunteers need to have an updated CORI on file. All CORI"S need to be filled out in the superintendents office.

When is tuition due, and what if we want to go away on vacation do we still have to pay?
Tuition is due the first Tuesday of every month. Tuition is based on a 10 month program and is due monthly. If your family goes away for an extended period of time you are still responsible to pay your child's tuition. Non payment can jeopardize your child's spot in the program.
Does my child need to be potty trained?
No, your child doesn't need to be trained in order to start preschool. When your child is ready we will work together as a team to help bridge the gap between school and home. You are responsible to send in diapers and wipes if your child is not trained.
How old does my child have to be to start school?
All children need to be 3 years old by 8/31.
Do you provide transportation?
No, we don't provide transportation for neighborhood students.
Is there a sibling discount?
Yes, we provide a 10% sibling discount.

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