Dearborn Public SchoolsStrong BeginningsParent Handbook1

Dear Families,Welcome to the Dearborn Public Schools Strong Beginnings Program. Theprogram is funde d by the Michigan Department of Education an d overseen by WayneCounty RESA and Dearborn Public Schools. This is a free program offered to eligiblethree-year-old children and complies with state licensing regulations and isdesigned to give a quality school experience prior to a preschool experience.We are privileged to have an outstanding staff of dedicated professionals.The teachers in the Strong Beginnings Program are State of Michigan certifiedelementary teachers with an additional state endorsement in Early ChildhoodEducation. Paraprofessionals in the program all hold a Child Development Associate(CDA) credential.The classroom curriculum places emphasis on literature, listening, oralcommunication, problem solving, number and numeration, fine and gross motorcoordination, social relationships and self help skills. Our curriculum encourageschild initiated activities and is based on children’s interests. In addition to workingwith the child in the classroom, p arent involvement and input is a high priority . Ourgoal is to provide each child with the best educational foundation possible and thiscan only be accomplished when school staff and parents work together inpartnership.We are very fortunate that the Dearborn Public School District and communityacknowledge scientific evidence that much of the brain’s development has been setbefore a child enters kindergarten. Dearborn Public Schools has made acommitment to the young students in our community and we are pleased that yourchild will be a part of the Strong Beginnings Program.Sincerely,Amy B. ModicaEarly Childhood Coordinator2

Dearborn Public Schools Mission StatementThe Mission of Dearborn Public Schools, in partnership with families and thecommunity, is to educate all students to high academic standards within a safe,stimulating environment and ensure they are prepared to become productivecitizens.Strong Beginnings ProgramMission StatementIt is the mission of the Dearborn Public Schools Strong Beginnings Staff to provideour Strong Beginnings children with learning experiences that will establish afoundation for lifelong learning.Strong Beginnings Program PhilosophyStaff will: provide a safe, stimulating and nurturing learning environment. implement a high quality early-childhood curriculum based onmeasurable developmentally appropriate standards and goals. actively engage parents and community members in the educationprocess. invest in specialized, collaborative staff and ensure ongoing professionaldevelopment. develop a school spirit that will nurture personal responsibility, self esteem, andrespect for all.Program decisions are made from a child centered focus which includes looking atthe Early Childhood Standards of Quality-Pre-Kindergarten, the curriculumassessment information, feedback from parents, the diverse social, economic, andcultural backgrounds representing our families and community.Strong Beginnings must comply with Public Act 116 of the Public Acts of 1973, asamended and the Licensing Rules for Child Care Centers. The MichiganDepartment of Education (MDE) requires adherence to the Strong Beginnings PilotImplementation Manual and to all standards in the Early Childhood Standards ofQuality for Prekindergarten (ECSQ-PK) and the Early Childhood Standards ofQuality for Infants and Toddlers (ECSQ-IT) as appropriate. MDE requires programsto address program quality in a systematic way utilizing both the applicableprogram evaluation tool and child outcome data.3

Strong Beginnings Program ScheduleStrong Beginning classes are offered as full-day, four (4) days a week, Mondaythrough Thursday.NO Strong Beginnings classes will be held on FridaysTeachers will use Fridays for instructional planning, preparation, collaboration, andparent contact. They may also attend departmental meetings, inservices, workshops,and conferences.Strong Beginnings classes follow the regular elementary school schedule forvacations and holidays. Calendars will be sent home indicating variations from theregular school day.HIGH SCOPE CURRICULUMStaff will collect anecdotal notes on what children say or do in our classroom. Notescollected for your child will help inform staff and parents of the child’s growth anddevelopment. This information will be shared with parents in a family report threetimes a year using the Child Observation Record (COR) that will assess development.Initiative : This refers to the child’s ability to begin and follow through on tasks. It isthe ability to make and carry out choices and decisions. The Highscope Curriculum ischild initiated and based on children’s interests.Social Relations : Children are faced daily with situations that test social skills:knowing when to lead and when to follow, working with others towards a commongoal, coping with conflict and expressing feelings naturally and appropriately.Children’s early experiences with peers and adults shape these important socialskills.Creative Representation : Representation is the process by which children depictobjects and experiences through imitation, pretending, building, artwork, and writtenlanguage. Representing is important developmentally because it indicates thatyoung children, who tend to see things in very concrete terms, are moving to a moreabstract understanding of their world.4

Music and Movement : Hopping, twirling, spinning, stretching, throwing, lifting, andbuttoning are just a few of the many movements children and adults use in theireveryday lives. Motor activities are included in the daily routine. They areinstrumental to all areas of child development, including, but not limited to, physicaldevelopment.Language and Literacy : The development of language abilities, listening, speaking,reading, and writing, is critical to children’s success throughout their school yearsand in the rest of their lives.Logic and Mathematics : Young children construct their own understanding ofconcepts in logic and mathematics as they interact and work with material, people,events, and ideas. Some of the experiences that are valuable for development in thisarea include sorting and matching objects, comparing objects and groups of objects,arranging materials in graduated order, making simple estimates, counting,describing the positions of objects and the ways they move, and working with simpletime sequences.S ample Daily Routine:Daily schedule is provided by Strong Beginnings recommendation as listed below.The daily routine will be adjusted to fit the needs of our current students and will beposted on the parent information board in your child’s classroom. See below fordescriptions of the parts to our typical school day.Arrival/Breakfast/Greeting Time (45 min) - Children enter the classroom at their ownpace. Parents/guardians are encouraged to stay until children are ready for them toleave. Teachers provide support for children and parents experiencing separationchallenges. Children have choices about whether to eat, spend time with books, orinteract with adults and one another. If children are not eating at arrival, amid-morning snack is substituted for breakfast. Once all children have arrived, adultsand children spend 3-5 minutes together sharing one or two daily announcements.Morning Message (5 min) - Once all children have arrived, adults and children spend3-5 minutes together sharing one or two daily announcements.Planning Time (10 min) - The teacher and associate meet with small groups ofchildren to talk about what each child wants to do and how he/she may go aboutdoing it. Children make decisions and adults encourage and support them as theyclarify and develop their ideas.Work Time (45 min) - This is the longest single time period in the daily routine. Duringthis time children carry out their original plans or choose new activities. They arefree to work in all areas of the classroom, exploring materials, learning new skills,trying out their ideas and putting together what they are learning in ways that make5

sense to them. The teacher and associate are equally active. They observe theinterests of the children, how children solve problems, and they seek ways to supportchildren in developing their ideas. The teacher and associate help extend children’sideas in many ways: by working alongside them with similar materials, by joining intheir role play and by helping them solve problems that arise.Recall Time/Review (10 min) - The teacher and associate help children recall and talkabout what they did during work time. They describe what they have seen childrendo and encourage them to attach language to their actions. This makes childrenmore aware of their ideas and experiences and better able to draw upon them in thefuture.Small Group (15 min) - In this teacher initiated segment of the routine, the teachersplan activities and select materials based upon the children’s interests anddevelopmental levels. Within the framework set by the teacher, children areencouraged to initiate their own ideas. This is an important time for teachers toobserve individual differences in the ways children respond to new materials or inthe way they think about using familiar materials.Large Group/Music and Movement (10 min) - This is a time for the teacher, associate,and children to be involved in the same activity at the same time. Typical activitiesare songs, stories, movement, games, discussions, etc. Circle Time provides manyopportunities for individual children to share their own ideas and for the whole groupto make use of these ideas. It is an opportunity for children to develop a sense ofbelonging to a group and is one of the best times to encourage a sense of communitythat every teacher wants to see in his/her classroom.Outside Time (25 min) - Children have many choices about how they play in theoutdoor learning environment, much as they do during Work Time indoors. Adultssupervise children for safety and also join in their active outdoor play, supportingtheir initiatives and problem-solving. Outside time is minimally 30 minutes each day,excluding time for dressing and transitioning outdoors which may take longer withthree-year-old children than four-year-old children.Bathroom/Wash Hands/Prepare for Lunch (10 min) : - Children assist in thepreparation and set up. Children choose where they would like to sit.Lunch (45 min) - Mealtimes support children doing things for themselves (e.g., servethemselves, pour beverages, distribute napkins, wipe up spills). Children choosewhether to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat.Adults eat and have meaningful conversations with the children. Children areencouraged to clean their own meal space including disposal of leftovers, wiping oftables, and pushing in their own chairs.6

Quiet/Resting Time (80 min) – Resting is a time for sleeping or quiet, solitary,on-your-own-cot play. Rest Time plans should be individualized to meet the needs ofeach child. Quiet play could include books, soft music, baby dolls, or fine motormanipulatives. Wake/Bathroom – As children wake up, adults and children worktogether to put away cots and get ready for planning time.Wake Up/Bathroom/Snack (30 min) - set up for snack. Children are encouraged toclean their own snack space including disposal of leftovers, wiping of tables, andpushing in their own chairs.2nd Work Time (45 min)- A second work time, while essentially the same as morningwork time, may vary slightly from morning expectations while ensuring that childrenare primarily involved in planning and carrying out their own intentions. Acollaborative curriculum-planning approach helps to ensure that the teaching teamwill meet individual child needs by supporting and extending development,knowledge and skills with children’s play themes rather than pulling them aside forteacher-directed activities.Outside Time/Dismissal (30 min) - Children have many choices about how they playin the outdoor learning environment, much as they do during Work Time indoors.Adults supervise children for safety and also join in their active outdoor play,supporting their initiatives and problem-solving. Outside time is minimally 30minutes each day, excluding time for dressing and transitioning outdoors which maytake longer with three-year-old children than four-year-old children.EligibilityThe following are guidelines for eligibility:1. The child’s parents or guardians must reside in Dearborn.2. The child must be three (3) years old by December 1st of the year he/shebegins school.3. Assessment and family information (Risk Factors) must reflect that the childhas the greatest need as compared to other children who are screened.4. Children must attend daily. In the case of shared custody, it is theresponsibility of the parent, guardian, or other legal person for having thechild in attendance daily.7

Acceptance is granted to students showing the greatest need determined by theguidelines set forth by the Michigan Department of Education.Developmental Screening Upon EnrollmentThe program utilizes the ASQ-3 (Ages and Stages Questionnaire 3 rd edition), adevelopmental screening tool designed for use by early childhood educators andhealth care professionals. It is a parent centric approach to capture the snapshotneeded to catch delays and celebrate milestones. Children are screened whenenrolling in our program and/or transitioning into a newly assigned classroom.Screenings are done in collaboration with families and results are shared withfamilies during designated conference times.Children with Special NeedsWe strive to meet the individual needs of all children in the program. To determineeach child’s needs, the program staff conduct screenings within the first two weeks ofthe child’s first day of school to assess children’s developmental, behavioral andlanguage development. If the results of screenings, as well as information gatheredfrom observations or provided by parents, doctors, or other specialists result in aconcern about the child’s development or functioning, we will begin a process tofollow up on that concern, including further evaluation if needed. Dearborn schoolsprovide any child with special needs the resources that are needed. The schooldistrict provides Social workers, Speech therapist, Psychologist, Occupational andPhysical therapist as needed for the child and family. Families may also needservices unrelated to special education. To provide this support, families are askedto provide information related to the child’s life experiences and current livingsituation. If there is a non-educational need that your family has, please notify a staffmember. Staff will seek the resources you need and follow-up accordingly.Referral Policy (Child/Parent)Strong Beginnings Program maintains a list of resources to assist in meeting childand family needs. If there is a non-educational need that your family has, the ParentLiaison is available to assist you. After a referral is made, staff will follow up with youto determine if further assistance is needed. The teacher, program director andparent liaison will meet with parents or guardians to discuss next steps. In the eventfurther screening is needed for your child to determine eligibility for specialeducation services, parental consent will be obtained and a referral to the specialeducation department will be made. Parents and Guardians may request a screeningfor special education eligibility in writing at any time. The parent/guardian requestwill initiate the process of further evaluation for special education services. After areferral to special education is made, follow up will be made within the state requiredtimelines.8

ConfidentialityChild and family records will not be disclosed without written consent of parents orlegal guardians, except as needed when child abuse or neglect is a concern.Confidential information is shared only with staff members who need the informationto perform their jobs. Families have a right to examine their child’s records.HealthWe want to ensure a positive, healthy experience for all children, families and staff.The program will initiate the following procedures regarding health and illness forthe safety of all children, families and staff. Children will need a completed healthappraisal upon admittance into the program. The school nurse will review allphysicals for specific needs. All immunization dates are entered into the MichiganCare Improvement Registry. The school nurse will monitor all health records to makesure they are kept up to date. Dearborn Public Schools, Wayne County Health Dept.and ACCESS are resources for families who need assistance. Please let the parentliaison know if assistance is needed with referrals.Please do not send your child to school if they have any of the following signs or symptoms: of 99 or higherComplaints of pain in any part of the body such as a headacheVomitingDiarrheaSevere coughing, wheezing, or congestionFeeling of not being able to breathe through the nose, or if mucus is notclear7. Sore throat or hoarse voice8. Any type of rash or skin discoloration9. Any draining sore or skin infection10. Earache or ringing in the ear11. Red, puffy and/or draining eyes12. Swelling of any part of the body13. Toothache14. Communicable diseases: Chicken pox, lice, measles, mumps, pinworm,ringworm, impetigo, pink eye, or pneumonia, COVID-19, etc.Your child must be free of the above symptoms for 24 hours without medication,BEFORE returning to school.If your child is at school and is observed with any of these symptoms, a call will bemade to the home. You will be required to immediately pick-up your child fromschool. If we all follow these guidelines, we minimize the risk of your child and theteacher of becoming ill.9

PhysicalsThe Wayne County Health Department requires that all children have a physicalbefore attending an educational institution. Children accepted into the program willreceive a physical form in the mail, which should be taken to, and completed by aphysician. This form must be completed and turned in to the teacher before yourchild can attend school.ImmunizationsAll immunizations must be up to date at the time of enrollment to the program. It isyour responsibility to keep your child’s teacher informed of updates in theimmunization record. Either bring a copy of the record to school or bring the recordand a copy will be placed in your child’s file. Students found to be lacking inimmunizations will be excluded from school by the Wayne County Health Department.Communicable Disease PolicyIt is the policy of the Dearborn Public Schools to report any case of communicabledisease which occurs in your child’s classroom such as measles, chicken pox, lice,scarlet fever, pink eye, COVID-19 etc. If one should occur, you will receive a letterfrom the school outlining treatment and necessary action.Accident or Emergency PolicyIn the event of an accident or emergency occurring while your child is in our care, thefamily will be notified and an accident report will be completed describing theincident and adult(s) present.Medication PolicyIf your child requires medication during the school day, the Wayne County HealthDepartment and Dearborn Public School’s policy require written permission from youto dispense medication to your child. The medication will be kept in a locked cabinetin the office. It must be in the original prescription container indicating the child’sname as the patient.No over-the-counter medications such as cough drops, cough syrup, cold tablets,children’s aspirin, etc. will be distributed to children.10

AllergiesDue to many children and adults experiencing difficulties with allergies, asthma andother respiratory difficulties, students are not to wear perfume or aftershave.Cultural CompetencyYoung children and t