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BLOOM PARENT HANDBOOK

Thank you for choosing BLOOM as a home away from home for your child.  We understand that a child's early years are the most crucial in their development, and we are truly honored and humbled to have been chosen to become a part of your child's uniquely beautiful experience of childhood.  In this handbook we have compiled  our policies and procedures as well as other information we hope you will find helpful as we embark on this experience of caring for your child at BLOOM.  Please feel welcome to ask questions or to discuss elements of our program with us at any time.  We are in this together!

OUR INSPIRATION AND INFLUENCES

We feel our role is to support each child in their unique unfolding process.  Physical, cognitive, emotional and social growth are given equal value.  When children sense that they are in an environment in which they are safe, lovingly cared for, valued and respected, they are able to blossom to their full potential, all at a natural and comfortable pace.  BLOOM offers a nurturing environment in which the true work and play of childhood can take place in an "organic" way.   Respect for each child's individual journey permeates all aspects of our program.  Our pedagogy is strongly influenced by Waldorf Education and Lifeways Child Care.  Resources are available in our office for parents* looking to learn more about these approaches to child development and early childhood education.  

One of the largest needs that children have at this age, and a need which often goes unnoticed in our rushed society, is the need to be allowed the time it takes to accomplish things at their own pace.  Whether adapting to a new classroom and routine, learning how to use the toilet, recovering from illness, recognizing a letter or number, saying goodbye to a parent in the morning, exploring or playing, children need time and lots of it.  By allowing children the time they need, we fill their other need which is to have their individuality recognized and valued, thus building self-esteem, a key element of future success.  You may notice that our program is “gentler” in some respects than other programs.  This is one of the many ways we adjust our adult expectations in response to the children’s needs.

In conjunction with our pedagogical approach is a strong emphasis on nature, specifically on spending time outdoors honoring that deep, innate connection of the young child to the natural world.  Nature speaks to the soul of the child, and yet children are losing their connection to it in the midst of the near constant drone of computers, televisions and toys that speak, light up and play music.  If you take a moment to quietly reflect on your most vivid, joyful memories of playing as a child, perhaps like us you will immediately conjure images of time spent at the beach, playing by a stream, in a field or tromping through the woods.  These days, children as a whole are spending less and less time in nature.  In fact, because many playgrounds are primarily comprised of metal or plastic climbing equipment and unnatural shock resistant surfaces, "outside play" can be far removed from "experiencing the outdoors". At BLOOM we have foregone many of the trappings of traditional playgrounds for a more natural "playscape" designed to speak to the children's desire for "wild" spaces. This means more grass, plants, trees and gardens.  At BLOOM children are given the freedom to explore the natural world, to plant and tend a garden, to use their imaginations freely, to watch a caterpillar make its way across a tree branch, and to simply be full of wonder...to experience Childhood, Naturally.

*The term "parent" used throughout this document is intended to encompass any legal guardian of a child enrolled at BLOOM. 

You will see that our program differs from others for young children in some areas.  Our program may not be for everyone.  It is important to have a basic understanding of what we offer before enrolling, so this booklet as a framework to introduce you to our day, our routine, and our philosophy - as well as to our policies and procedures.  

We (home and school) must merge forces and work closely together to create a solid supportive circle around the child which will sustain him as he develops, a support which is based on understanding, trust, communication, and mutual respect.  The two forces must have a basis of understanding, which is why we feel it is important for parents to visit, ask questions, and read through all of our material.  Whether a child attends BLOOM two, three or five days per week, the same need for communication and consistency exists.

OUR CURRICULUM

Play

Lots of time is allowed in our daily schedule for imaginative, dramatic play in order to promote language, social skills and creative thinking.  The play materials at BLOOM are made of natural substances like wood, cotton or wool, which provide a pleasing sensorial experience.  Baskets of silk and cotton cloth, play-stands and “clips” can be found in the dramatic play area along with wooden “house” equipment, soft dolls, and wood or ceramic dishes.  Toys are usually open ended and can be used in multiple ways, allowing the children's imaginations and creativity to inspire their play.  

Artistic Activity

Depending on their age and ability, children may enjoy watercolor painting, singing games, beeswax modeling, coloring, outside sand and water play, story telling, and going for walks. Simple fairy tales and stories from the animal and elemental worlds are told to the children more often than read from a book.  This way the teacher can enter into the story with the children in a deeper way and the children can form their own images and pictures in their head, based on what they hear.  Fingerplays, nursery rhymes, traditional singing games and “circle games” which tell a story are brought to the children using the teacher’s natural voice rather than a recording.  All of these activities are helpful in the development of the body, the senses, and social life.

Environment

Great emphasis is placed on the quality of the surroundings in our classrooms.  There is an element of gentleness and warmth in activities which strengthen the child. Furniture is made of wood and walls are covered in soft colors with minimal patterns in order to promote a sense of calm and balance for the child.  The toys are largely unformed, sturdy, and of natural materials to allow for the free development of the child’s own imagination.  A few well-chosen, high quality playthings and materials are available to the children rather than lots of items of lesser quality.  During these years the nurturing of all a child’s senses should be cherished.  Children’s capacity for wonder and reverence are fostered here.  Stillness, peace, and awareness of the natural world are essential parts of wonder.  Children deeply experience things such as sunlight, darkness, sparkling frosts, and mud puddles!  

Due to the thought and care we put into the selection of toys and materials we offer at BLOOM, we ask that toys from home not be brought into the building. (See also: Toys and Personal Property)

Practical Life Skills

In addition to being practical, building, gardening, cleaning, cooking, washing, folding, and sewing (for the older children) are skills that require the type of nerve activity needed for higher learning - the development of language, dexterity, and mathematical and social skills.  The children delight in helping with “grown up” tasks such as sweeping or baking the bread for snack.  They gain a strong sense of purpose and self confidence from being able to help.  They also gain a sense of community by seeing everyone help one another to accomplish the work of the day. 

Relationships and Interactions

Consistent, loving interactions during the early years are essential to healthy social, emotional and intellectual development.  Because we believe that young children can be affected not only by what we do but also by what we think and feel, teachers strive to see the good, beautiful and true in each person.  Building positive relationships with children and parents is a primary goal of our program.

Holidays/Festivals

This aspect of our program is centered on the experience of nature and the natural rhythms that exist in our world, the changes experienced by plants, animals and people throughout the cycle of the seasons.  Because the life of a young child is woven with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rhythms, we feel it is important to incorporate the seasonal festivals into the life of the school. We hope to awaken in the children an overall sense of reverence, joy and wonder through our festival celebrations.

In order to be sensitive to the wide variety of cultures and beliefs represented in our population, we strive for a multicultural approach in celebrating holidays.   We like to focus on the common aspects among festivals such as love, light, family, food and simple rituals.  By looking at the underlying reason behind a particular festival we can then translate the celebration into activities which are meaningful and age-appropriate for young children.  Typically these include stories, food, games, songs, and simple crafts.  We ardently strive to avoid the commercial aspects of holidays in the classroom. 

We strongly believe that festivals and traditions are of great importance in the lives of our children.  If you would like to share a holiday tradition with your child’s class, we welcome you to discuss any ideas or suggestions you may have with your child’s teacher.  

Television, Audio/Video Recordings, Computers

Much research indicates that watching television is detrimental to the young child’s healthy sensory development and therefore should be avoided.  Many well-known professionals, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend the reduction or elimination of television and videos for young children. 

Regular television watching develops a reliance on ready-made pictures, which reduces the child’s ability to visualize and to imagine on his/her own.  Children who are accustomed to passively receiving impressions have difficulty making the inner effort necessary to sustain an imaginative train of thought.  This is often evident in the classroom.  Regardless of the content of a show, the physiological ramifications of television viewing are detrimental and inhibit areas such as initiative, curiosity, resourcefulness, motivation, creativity, reasoning and problem solving skills, social skills, etc. - elements that we are trying to bring forth at this age!  

There will be no television viewing by children while at BLOOM.  In addition, we recommend that parents limit or eliminate television watching at home, particularly in the morning before school, when media images can set the tone for the day.

We strongly request that clothing, tote bags, napping items (blankets and sheets) backpacks, lunch boxes, and any personal gear brought to BLOOM or worn by the children while at BLOOM be free of any commercial, television or movie characters.

We also will not use audio tapes for music or storytelling, and there are no computers for children’s use at BLOOM. 

Outdoor play time

We feel that being outside is essential for children, even in winter when it is cold.  We go outside every day unless it is frigid (under 18 degrees Fahrenheit).  Children stay healthier with outdoor exercise.  Please see “Clothing, Supplies, and Being Outdoors” for the list of required clothing.

OUR DISCIPLINE POLICIES

Because of the often dreamy and unconscious quality of children under five we feel that the use of authority is generally best avoided in these years.  This does not mean that "anything goes" but rather that discipline is more effective when the adult's ingenuity and imagination have been called into play.

We view discipline not as a means of punishment but rather of providing loving guidance.  This helps children ultimately develop self-discipline, the means of appropriately monitoring their own behavior.  In order to help children develop this ability, we need to provide an environment which meets their developmental needs, provides consistency and rhythm, and is a model worthy of the young child’s imitation.

Consistency/Rhythm

Coming to BLOOM, for many of our new children, is their first venture away from home and their first experience as part of a group of people other than their parents and family members.  We strive to create a level of comfort similar to home, and a feeling of reverence for each child as a special and unique individual.  We believe that establishing and maintaining a rhythm, a predictable and consistent sequence of events in each day and each week, is highly beneficial in helping to support positive behavior in very young children.  When a child lives with consistency, clarity, and balance, a foundation is laid for inner harmony and self-control.  Whether a child is at school or at home, a consistent routine is important and creates a stable environment.  This allows children to feel secure.  When children know what to expect next, they make transitions more easily and conflict is lessened.  This need for consistency and rhythm is also the basis for our request that children arrive by 8:30a.m. in our preschool rooms and 9:00a.m. in our toddler rooms each day.

Imitation

Children learn about life through direct experience and then by imitating and repeating what they see.  The best way to teach a behavior is to model it.  If an adult wishes a child to speak quietly, the adult must speak quietly.  If an adult wishes a child to pick up toys, the adult must show the child how to do it.  Adults who care for young children have great influence on discipline by modeling behavior that is worthy of imitation.  This puts great responsibility upon all of the adults in a child’s life.  We must think before we speak, say what we mean and do it in a way which conveys genuine warmth and love while remaining firm, clear, and consistent.  

Developmental Stages

While children need effective and consistent limits, it is important to have realistic expectations. Having knowledge of children’s developmental stages is very important in understanding what can and cannot be expected of them behaviorally.  Then we can set boundaries tailored to the age of the child that can become positive learning experiences.  Children need to feel that the adults who care for them are willing and able to set boundaries for their behavior.  This gives them comfort and inner security.  We can help young children to find harmony with their world by correcting them in a positive manner, rather than in a demanding and abstract manner.  Learning to resolve conflict with words in a fair and positive way is a skill which children will take with them throughout their lives and is something that is practiced consistently during the school day, especially for the older children in the preschool rooms. 

Challenging Behavior

When a child acts consistently in a way that challenges a teacher’s skills and negatively impacts the daily life of the class and of the other children, we will call for a meeting with the parents of this child in order to share observations and discuss intentions of how best to improve the situation.  In extreme cases, the child may need to be excluded from school for a period of time.

When a child is exhibiting challenging behavior, it is always our hope to work with the family to seek the reason behind the behavior and to overcome it, so that the child may remain successfully at school.  When this is achieved, it is through consistent communication and follow-through on a developed plan between parents and teachers working together to achieve a common goal.  Problems are best solved when there is a well-intentioned collaboration between school and home.  Parents are asked to share with their child’s teacher any circumstances that might affect the child’s behavior at school such as visitors at home, the death of a pet, travel plans, etc.  Children’s daily school experience is best supported by parents and teachers working together as partners.

It is important to recognize, however, that there are some children who are not able to thrive or are too young and not ready to be in a group situation.  These children might be better placed in a different type of setting such as a smaller or more structured environment.  Our priority is a safe and protected environment.  When this is disrupted, it is our responsibility to take the steps necessary to change the situation.

Biting

Biting is a fairly common and natural occurrence in the development of many young children who are just discovering their physical selves and exploring the world around them (usually seen in children 10 to 24 months of age).  Often, biting is a means of communicating frustration before the acquisition of language and subsides once the child is able to communicate more adeptly with words.  Because children of this age cannot empathize or distinguish between right and wrong, the act of biting sometimes becomes a very difficult and sensitive situation to deal with, especially when it is occurring frequently, in a group setting.  

Please be assured that if ever a child is going through a biting phase while at BLOOM, we will be vigilant and will always do our absolute best to try to avoid biting occurrences.  It is always our goal to see each child through difficult behaviors in the hopes of emerging on the other side of the phase together. However, biting does sometimes still occur regardless of our most valiant efforts.  If we feel that the situation cannot be satisfactorily monitored in a group setting, it may become necessary for us to require the child to stay home temporarily until the phase passes.  This is essential for two reasons - so that the other children do not learn the behavior and imitate it, and so that the other children are protected. 

OUR FACULTY 

Prior to being hired by BLOOM, each potential faculty member undergoes fingerprinting, a criminal records check, multiple reference checks, and work history and education verification.  BLOOM offers competitive salaries as well as benefits to our full-time faculty.  By showing gratitude and respect for all faculty members,  we hope to retain quality, dedicated teachers who will provide the highest quality environment for your child.  To better our communication with one another and to assist in faculty cohesiveness, we hold weekly small group faculty meetings, and monthly evening meetings with entire faculty.  

Our faculty is comprised of professionals who are dedicated to the study of Early Childhood Education.  Completing Waldorf teacher training and/or attending Waldorf conferences and workshops is a requirement.  As a part of our commitment to children and to ourselves as teachers, each faculty member participates in a minimum of twenty hours per year of professional development. 

Our faculty meets twice per week in small groups, and monthly as a whole to help facilitate open communication and cohesiveness.  We study early childhood education, often read books together for discussion, create materials for our classrooms, brain storm and problem solve how best to care for your little ones.

COMMUNICATION

Conferences and Parent Meetings

Class teachers generally meet with parents at least twice during the year.  All parents are expected to attend these meetings.  The first conference is a “check in” which usually happens in October.  This is usually a brief meeting (about 15-20 minutes, depending on the class) which gives the parents and teacher an opportunity to share progress and initial adjustments to the school and to address any questions or concerns.  The second conference, a longer one, will be held in February and will cover the child’s developmental readiness and group placement for the upcoming year.  Teachers are of course happy to schedule a conference at other times in the year if one is warranted or desired by a parent.  Parents and Teachers may also agree to communicate via email or a phone conversation.

Our teachers are always open to visiting a family at home prior to a child’s first day of school.  This type of social visit helps to create a bridge from home to school for the child, and opens the lines of communication between parent and caregiver.  Please feel welcome to speak to your child’s teacher about scheduling a visit.

Parent-Faculty Communication

Communication plays an integral part in the development of successful home/school relationships.  The joint effort of caring for children requires collaboration between home and school.  This can only be achieved through open, honest, and continual communication between you and your child’s teachers.  We care about your feelings, concerns and ideas, and we try to make ourselves available at all times.  We welcome and encourage you to call us or visit at any time.  We also expect to meet with you to talk in person, over the telephone, or via email throughout the course of the year.  

We recognize that occasionally a parent and a teacher may have difficulty communicating.  We urge both parties to attempt to discuss a problem together first.  If, however, an attempt has been made and there is still a difficulty, either teacher or parent is welcome to see the Director to discuss the problem.  The ultimate goal will be to facilitate a conversation between the individuals having the problem and to help create better communication for the future.

 

  • Each family has a mailbox in which all written communication from the teachers and the administration will be left for you.  Please check your mailbox daily.
  • Each class has its own routine for written communication to the parents.  All classrooms, however, have a monthly classroom newsletter that goes out to parents, and in each age group a daily written report will be sent home with each child.
  • Much of the communication between the faculty and parents occurs through email.  Please let us know if this is not a convenient method for receiving information.  Of course, topics sensitive in nature are best handed in person.
  • Parents are responsible for knowing, understanding, and adhering to the policies stated in this handbook.
  • Class parent volunteers for the year are sought in September.  These are parent representatives for each class who help our faculty with certain events or miscellaneous projects as needed.  Please speak to your child’s teacher if you would like to volunteer.

Referral for Screenings or Special Services

Occasionally, BLOOM may recommend that a child be screened or referred for outside services.  Some of the reasons for this would include a question of developmental delay, speech challenges, hearing, vision, a behavior problem which has not responded to typical interventions, persistent sadness or withdrawn behavior, or physical challenges (gross or fine motor skills).   If parents are experiencing difficulties with their child at home such as sleep problems, behavioral issues, etc., even if there is no evidence of problems at school, we are happy to help parents access services for the child.  If a child is under treatment by a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist or other professional, please notify your child’s teacher and the office.  Any confidential information disclosed to BLOOM will not be shared without parental knowledge or permission.

ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES

At the beginning of the school experience, each child will react to the new environment and routine in a completely different way.  For some children, it will be important for the parent to develop a gradual separation routine, allowing time for the child to adjust.  For other children, a lengthy goodbye only promotes anxiety.  Your child’s teacher can help you develop a morning drop-off routine that best meets the needs of you and your child.  Building trust takes time.  It is essential to be aware of this and to be patient with expectations. 

Arrival/Beginning of the Day

  • Our doors open at 7:30a.m.  Our faculty may begin to arrive earlier, but we are busy getting ready for our day prior to that time.  Please wait until 7:30 to enter the building.
  • Children arriving between 7:30a.m. and 8:00a.m. are welcome to partake in a light breakfast.
  • We ask that all children attending the preschool arrive by 8:30a.m. and children in the toddler program arrive by 9:00a.m., so that the children may fully experience the rhythm of the day without interruption.
  • For those arriving before 8:00 a.m., please take your child’s things to his/her cubby, then bring him/her to the   preschool classroom and sign your child in on the appropriate clipboard.  The children are brought to their own classrooms at around 8:00 a.m.
  • When arriving after 8:00 a.m., please escort your child to his/her regular classroom and make contact with the teacher before leaving.  Once your child’s things are put away in his/her cubby, he/she may enter the classroom. 
  • Sign your child in on the sign-in/out sheet.  This is a licensing requirement.
  • Please call the school if your child will be late.
  • Please allow enough time before the start of school to put your child’s belongings away and say goodbye.

A Special Note Regarding Late Arrivals:

Having children arrive sporadically throughout the morning is disruptive to the flow of the morning routine.    Therefore, late arrivers (after 8:30 for preschoolers and after 9:00a.m. for toddlers) are asked to please come to the office to sign in and wait for someone to escort their child to the appropriate classroom.  Please do not enter the classrooms or playgrounds if you arrive late. We encourage you to make any (doctor, dentist, etc.) appointments for your child toward the end of the day to allow for a consistent drop off routine.  

Picking Up/End of the Day

BLOOM closes promptly at 5:30 p.m., and children must be picked up before this time.  

See "Release Policy" for specifics on release of children. 

  • Please make contact with the teacher before leaving with your child.
  • Once you have made contact with your child’s teacher, the teacher will make the assumption that your child is no longer in her care.  Please stay close to your child while in the building, and we encourage you to hold your child’s hand once you exit the building into our sometimes busy parking lot.  Children may not ever be left unattended, run free in the building or anywhere else on the premises, especially in the parking lot.
  • The end of the day is often a time when parents and teachers try to “touch base” about the child’s day.  The teacher’s first priority is the supervision of the remaining children, and it is not always possible to share more than a few brief words with a parent at this time.  If you have any deeper questions or concerns, please set up a time to speak to your child’s teacher in private.
  • Children must be signed out by whomever is picking them up at the end of the day on the Sign-in/out sheet.  This is a licensing requirement.
  • The person to whom the child is released must be at least 18 years of age and be authorized by the parent to “pick up."        

 Late Pick-ups & Fees

  • The fee for late pick-up is $12 for each 15-minute increment.  For example, if you enter the building at 5:32, the fee is $12; if you enter the building at 5:46, the fee is $24.  The first incident of lateness will be excused.
  • If you know you will be late, please call us.  This will not eliminate the late fee, but we can then reassure your child that you are on your way.  This will also help the teachers, who may have to notify their families or others.
  • If a parent or designated pick up person has not arrived by 5:30, and we have not heard from you, we will attempt to call you.  If we are not able to reach a parent, we will call your designated “emergency contact” person and ask them to come to pick up your child.  If chronic lateness becomes a problem, a conference may be scheduled with the Director to discuss solutions to the problem.

A Special Note Regarding the End of the Day

At the end of the day if the children are inside, we ask that you enter the classroom quietly and with minimal disruption of the classroom mood, and please keep conversation with other arriving parents outside of the classroom.  This makes for a smoother, quieter transition and departure for all.  Sometimes the other children who need to stay a little longer become anxious when their parent has not yet arrived, so we find a more subtle departure is more considerate of their needs.   We also kindly request that cell phones not be used in the building or on our playgrounds.

Absence

If your child is going to be absent, please telephone the office in the morning to let us know, or in the case of vacation, advanced notice is preferred.

SAFETY AND SECURITY 

Parking Lot Safety

  • Please be aware that it is against the law to leave an unattended vehicle with the engine running.  Please do not leave your car engine running while entering the building to drop off or pick up your child.
  • Please do not leave unattended children in your car when entering the building, even if the child is asleep.  We feel this is unsafe.
  • Please do not allow your child to exit the building without you.  We highly recommend holding your child’s hand while traveling between the building and your car.   
  • Please use caution when entering and exiting our parking lot.

Fire Drills

We are required by law to conduct fifteen fire drills per year.  These drills include two Lockdown drills.  Everyone must leave the building in the event of a fire drill or follow the procedures for evacuations and lock down drills- parents, teachers, children and visitors alike.  All may enter the building again once the person in charge of the drill gives the "all clear" signal.

Release of Children/Security

Our main door to the school has a digital lock, which requires a four-digit code to be punched in to release it.  This four-digit number will be given to you upon enrollment.  This number is only for parents and faculty members.  We ask that you not give it out to anyone - including your child and other family members.  If someone other than you will be picking up your child, they should ring the doorbell.  When we hear the doorbell, it alerts us to the fact that someone other than a parent is at the door, and we prefer to answer it in person rather than have anyone walk right into the building.

One of our policies is that only administrative personnel (Director, Head Teacher or office designee) are allowed to answer the front door.  This is due to the fact that the administrative personnel are more apt to know all of the families within the school, whereas a teacher may only be familiar with the families of the children in his/her own class.  If you are ever in the main hallway and the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door, we ask that you not open it but rather try to find the Director, Head Teacher or office designee.  This may seem awkward, but we feel it is a necessary precaution.  Also, please do not hold the door open for someone coming in behind you unless you are certain they are a current BLOOM parent or faculty member.

You may notice that our faculty members wear transmitters while they are outside.  These allow us to unlock doors and, in the event of an emergency, to directly contact our office, the police, or paramedics, if needed.  Since we spend a lot of time outside, these transmitters allow us to be in quick contact with the office or with emergency services if the need should arise.  

 

  • Children will only be released to a parent (except in a case in which one parent does not have legal rights to pick up the child) or to a legal guardian or with the consent of the parent or guardian (see alternate pick-up persons, below). 
  • If a parent arrives to pick up a child and is suspected of being intoxicated, we reserve the right to call the other parent (or an alternate contact as indicated on the enrollment forms) to come and pick up the child.
  • If a parent has not arrived by 5:30 p.m., we will call the other parent first, then the emergency contacts, to come and pick up the child.

 

Alternate Pick-up Persons

  • Parents are asked to fill out an “Alternate Pick Up Authorization Form”.  Individuals listed on this form have permission from the parent to pick their child up from Bloom at any time without additional notification required. (Photo ID may still be required at the door.)  
  • If someone who is not authorized on this form is to pick up the child, the parent must write a note.  On the note should be the full name of the alternate pick-up person (as it will appear on his or her photo ID), the date, and the parent’s signature.  The note should be brought to the office (not the classroom) since the office person will be meeting the alternate pick-up person at the door and checking his or her ID.
  • It is your responsibility to make sure that your alternate pick-up person brings a photo ID (as well as a car seat).  If the pick-up person does not have a photo ID, or if we have not received permission as indicated in one of the accepted forms above, your child will not be released.  
  • In an emergency, if you must call during the day to arrange for an alternate pick-up person, you will be asked your password over the phone to verify your identity.

Passwords

The password that you choose and indicate on your general information form is only for parents.  This password will be asked of you if you telephone us with a change in who will be picking up your child.  Do not give this password to the person you are sending to pick up your child.  Sending a person with the password is not sufficient verification for the release of your child.  The password is meant to verify your identity to us when you call us on the phone.   Despite having this policy in place, we prefer whenever possible that you bring us a written note signed and dated by you, indicating who will be picking up your child, if it is to be someone other than the child’s parent.  Any alternate pick-up person must be prepared to show a photo ID before gaining entrance into the building.

 

Car Seats

It is a Rhode Island law that children under four years old, weighing under 40 pounds and under 40 inches in height, must ride in an approved car seat while being transported in a vehicle.  In order to ride in a car without a car seat in the State of Rhode Island, he/she must meet all three of the following requirements:  he/she must weigh at least 40 pounds, must be four years old, and must be 40 inches tall.   Once your child meets these requirements, he/she should progress to a booster seat, which is required until a child is seven years old or weighs 70 pounds.

It is also a law that all car seats for children must be in the back seat of the vehicle (with the exception of pick up trucks).  A child six to twelve years old may ride in the front seat only if there is no airbag on the passenger side of the car.  If there is an airbag, the child must be at least twelve years old to ride up front.

In short, by law, any child attending BLOOM (as they are all under the age of seven) must be transported to and from school in a car seat or booster seat.

If someone other than yourself comes to pick up your child, it is your responsibility to be sure that that person has the appropriate car seat or booster seat with them.  Feel free to leave these with us in the morning for their use.  Labeling the car seat is highly recommended.

ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES

ENROLLMENT

  • When a space becomes available and you make the decision to enroll your child at BLOOM, a schedule for your child is confirmed and a deposit of $200.00 will be required.  This will be applied to your final tuition payment at BLOOM.  Should you reenroll for subsequent years, your deposit will be carried over to the new school year.  If you withdraw your child before his/her first day, this deposit will not be refunded. 
  • Prior to enrollment you will be asked to attend a Parent Orientation.  This may be in a group (if we have several other families starting at the same time) or with individual families.  
  • We will also schedule at least one visiting time, for you to come with your child a spend a little time in the classroom prior to his/her first day of school.  If several new children are staring at once (which often happens in July and September) we may schedule a meet and greet event separate from the regular school day, so as not to have so many visitors during school hours.  
  • Lead Teachers are happy to come to your home for a visit prior to your child’s first day of school.  This is a wonderful opportunity for your child to develop a feeling of connection between home and school.  This visit can be quite quick (15 minutes or so) and still have a lasting impression on your child.
  • We offer a Parent & Child class (for toddlers) on Saturdays at Bloom.  We have found that children who have participated in this class have a much smoother transition to being at Bloom independent of their parents.  Please ask us for details.
  • Enrollment is year round.  If you chose to withdraw for any length of time (such as for the summer) you will lose your child’s space in our program.  Should you choose to do this, we would be happy to place you at the top of our waiting list for re-enrollment when an opening occurs.  
  • You will be given a general information form, child release form, emergency treatment form and an immunization/health record form.  ALL forms MUST be submitted to the office prior to your child's first day of school.  This is a State licensing requirement.  

 Classroom Placements

At BLOOM there are two age groupings – our toddler group and our multi-age preschool group.  Our preschool is a mixed age group which includes children three to five years old. Children must be three in order to be placed in the pre-kindergarten group.  This is a State licensing  requirement and is not negotiable.  Our toddler group is also mixed age, with children eighteen months to three years old. 

Schedules

If you would like to make a change in your child’s schedule, please make this request to the Director as soon as possible.  We will then let you know if a change is possible and/or put you on a waiting list to make the change if it becomes possible.

If your child misses a regularly scheduled day, this cannot be “made up” on another day during the week without prior approval of the Director.  Please remember when making such a request that this is not always possible, as we can only have a certain number of children in the building each day.

School Closings - Please see annual school calendar for specific dates

Labor Day

October Professional Development Day (*Date TBA)

Columbus Day

Veterans’ Day 

Thanksgiving break (Thanksgiving & the day after)

Holiday break (one full week surrounding Christmas)

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

February Professional Development Day - WECAN conference (*Date TBA)

Presidents’ Day

Spring break (one full week in March or April - may vary year to year)

Good Friday

Memorial Day

Summer break (one full week, includes Independence Day)

 

  • Please think of tuition as being an annual amount, split into monthly payments. Payment is required for each month in its entirety, even if a holiday, vacation week, professional development day or inclement weather closing happens to fall on one of your regularly scheduled days. 
  • When inclement weather warrants the closing of the school, we will send out a school-wide email and change the outgoing message on our school phone.  We try our best to do this by 6am.

Early Closings

BLOOM will close early on approximately five days during the year for professional development meetings and workshops.  The closing time will be 4:00 p.m.  The dates will be posted well in advance and payments will remain the same.   These days will be well spaced throughout the year, no more frequent than one every two months.

If a traveler’s advisory is issued because of snow, hurricane, etc., we may close early.  We will notify parents by telephone and email.  We will call your "emergency contact" person if we are unable to reach you.  Please call us if the weather is questionable.

Payments and Fees

Timely payments allow us to provide the highest quality care and educational program for your children.  We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.  

We understand if parents have extenuating circumstances that may impact their ability to pay on time.  It is better for us to be informed about such a situation rather than be left in the dark.  If a situation arises, please come to the office and speak to the Director.  All discussions and arrangements made will be considered with the utmost care and confidentiality.

 

  • Payments are due on the first of each month for the current month.  
  • There is a five day grace period, at the end of which a late fee of $10 will be charged to unpaid accounts.
  • Bloom tuition is broken up into equal monthly installments.
  • A monthly, rather than weekly, system for tuition breakdown is meant to simplify payments, for our convenience and yours.  If this arrangement creates a hardship in your family's budget, please speak with the Director about arranging a weekly tuition payment plan.  
  • If payments lag to two weeks behind and a suitable arrangement has not been made with the Director,  we reserve the right to suspend childcare immediately.
  • Full payment is required each month regardless of your child’s absences (due to vacation, illness, sudden withdrawal), scheduled closings, or school closings due to inclement weather.  
  • Two weeks written notice is required prior to withdrawal.  Your enrollment deposit will be applied toward your final tuition payment at BLOOM.  
  • Regarding late pickups, a $12 late fee is incurred per fifteen-minute increment after 5:30 p.m. (i.e. if you arrive at 5:32p.m, you will be billed $12.00. If you arrive at 5:46p.m., you will be billed $24.00). The first incident of lateness will be excused.
  • For vacations taken by a child during the year, payment is required in full, as usual, during this time to hold the child’s place. 
  • Please make checks payable to BLOOM, LLC.

Directory

In the fall we will distribute a class directory to currently enrolled families that includes family names, addresses and phone numbers.  If you do not want your name on this list for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible.  Parents are asked to please keep the school informed of any changes in address, work and home phone numbers, and emergency contact people, as listed on the general information form.  Parents are also asked to use appropriate discretion with this list and not to use it for personal gain such as for solicitation.  Generally, it is  intended for the purposes of scheduling play dates and sending birthday party invitations.  Class parents may also use it to contact fellow parents about volunteer or donation opportunities for special events at the school.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

PRE-ADMISSION HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Forms/State requirements

We are required by law to obtain medical and emergency information for each child.  Upon enrollment you will receive the necessary forms which must be completed by you and your child’s doctor.  Please ask your child's doctor to fill out our State of Rhode Island School Medical Form to document vaccinations and well child visits rather than using their own forms.  You will also be asked to complete a general information form about your child, as well as an authorization for emergency treatment. All forms must be submitted to the office before your child’s first day at BLOOM.  Medical and emergency forms must be updated annually or when there is a change, such as new vaccines having been administered to your child, changes in medical provider or emergency contacts.

Physical

We are required by the Department of Health to have an annual physical examination record on file for each child.  Please inform the office when you have an exam scheduled so that we may provide you with our medical update form.  If your child’s annual medical update form is overdue (meaning his/her last exam was over a year prior), we reserve the right to exclude him/her from school until we have an updated form completed by a physician.

Lead Test

A lead test is required.  Lead poisoning is a serious problem in our community effecting the health and brain development of many, many children.  Even if you live in a new home your child could be exposed to lead paint at the home of a friend, neighbor or relative.  Your child should be tested every year.  Lead test results should be noted by the doctor on your child’s immunization form.  

Immunizations

The State of Rhode Island requires that each child’s record of vaccines be on file at school prior to the first day of school.  Please have your doctor complete our form.  If you have chosen not to vaccinate your child, or if you have decided to follow a different vaccination schedule for your child, you will need to fill out an immunization exemption form, which can be obtained in our office.  This form also would need to be turned in prior to the first day of school.

If your child receives a vaccination after he/she has already begun school, please submit written notification to the office so we may update our records.

Our Wellness Policies

Philosophy

Many factors go into building a healthy body - on a physical level, sound nutrition, lots of sleep, and physical activity are important components.  On a "spiritual" level, a happy environment and enjoying one’s work or play are essential.   For a young child to build physical resistance and immunity to illness takes time.  Once children are in school, they are exposed to many different things.  But a child who is otherwise healthy physically and spiritually will generally acquire the necessary immunity to common ailments after a couple of winters.  It is important to remember that although it is difficult to take time off from work to be with a sick child, children need to build immunity, and the best way for this to happen is for the illness to run its course in a quiet, healing environment - the home.  Parent cooperation is expected in understanding the special needs of a sick child as well as the necessity of maintaining a healthy environment at school for our faculty and for the other children.  It is realistic to expect an average, healthy child to be absent from school due to illness up to ten times per year.

Medicine

We do dispense prescription medicine here at school.  Medicine will only be dispensed to your child at school if the proper form has been completed and signed by you.  These forms can be found in the office.

 

  •  A child cannot be in school for the first twenty-four hours he/she is on an antibiotic prescribed for any contagious illness such as strep throat or conjunctivitis. 
  • Please stop by the office to fill out a Medicine Dispense Form if your child needs to receive medicine during the day.  Medicines can be picked up at the end of the day in the office.
  • Medication must be in its original container and have your child’s name on the label.
  • We will dispense a non-prescription medication only if it is accompanied by a doctor’s note.
  • We cannot dispense over-the-counter medicine on an “as needed” basis.

Please notify your child’s teacher if your child has been given ANY medication (prescription OR over the counter) prior to arrival at school in the morning.

Doctor’s Note of Re-admittance

If your child has been diagnosed with a severe or potentially contagious illness, we will need a note of re-admittance from your doctor before he or she may return to school.  The note must state that it is appropriate for your child return to school and participate in normal activities and that he/she is no longer contagious.   Typical ailments that require a note of re-admittance include: pneumonia, bronchitis, chicken pox, strep throat, hand foot and mouth virus, conjunctivitis, impetigo, or any other rash on the body (other than diaper rash).

Exclusion from School

  • In order to ensure healthy conditions for your child and others in our care, your child may not come to school if he or she has any of the conditions listed below.  If we observe any symptoms that could indicate a contagious illness as suggested by the Department of Health’s guidelines, we will call you.  Because we are not doctors, we are unable to determine whether the symptoms exhibited are indicative of a contagious illness.  Parents are free to choose whether to take their child to the doctor to have the symptoms evaluated.  However, the child may not return to BLOOM until 24 hours after the symptoms have ceased OR the child may return the next day if the parent provides BLOOM with a doctor’s note which states that the child may return to school and is not contagious.  

 

  • If your child is exhibiting extreme lethargy, falls asleep during playtime and/or is not able to participate in the activities of the day (such as outdoor play) a parent or guardian will be called to pick up the child from school.  Though we are always staffed appropriately, we cannot designate one teacher to stay with a sick or extremely tired child while the rest of the group is engaged in play.  

 

  • If you are contacted by us to pick your child up from school due to illness, your child must be picked up within one hour of the time of the call.  If it is not possible for you to pick your child up within one hour, please find a friend or family member able to do so for you, and then inform the office as to who the alternate pick up person will be.  If we are not able to reach either parent, we will call the emergency contact person you have designated on the general information form in your child’s file.  

Possible Reasons for Exclusion from School include:

Cough -- A cough, which is persistent, croupy, keeps the child awake at nap time and/or could induce vomiting warrants a child staying at home.  Excessive coughing also spreads germs and exposes other children to infection.  If your child is coughing while at school such that he/she is unable to participate in the day’s normal activities, you will be called to come and pick up your child.

Diarrhea -- Defined as “frequent and abnormally loose stool” often marked by a change in color, diarrhea spreads easily and is usually a sign of a more significant illness.  Children with diarrhea should not be in school.  If your child has an incident of abnormally loose stool during the day, we may call you to come pick him/her up. 

Conjunctivitis (“Pink Eye”) -- Goop in the corner of the eye, pinkish coloring of the eye, tearing, or crust in the eyelashes are signs of conjunctivitis.  Conjunctivitis can be viral or bacterial and is highly contagious.  If your child is suspected of having conjunctivitis at school, we will call you to come and pick up your child.  If an antibiotic is prescribed by your doctor (usually erythromycin), we must see a new prescription for each case if we are to administer the medicine.  In other words a tube of medicine should not be re-used.  If your child is on an antibiotic for conjunctivitis, the 24 hour exclusion from school rule applies and a note of re-admittance from your doctor is required.  

Vomiting -- If your child has vomited during the night or anytime during the previous twenty-four hours, he/she may not come to school.  If your child vomits while at school, you will be called to pick him/her up and he/she cannot return to school the next day. 

Fever – If your child has had a fever within the previous twenty-four hours, we ask that you keep him/her at home for the day.  If your child develops a fever while at school, you will be notified and the child will need to go home.    You child may not return to school until he or she has been fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications which temporarily mask, rather than cure, the underlying illness.

Rash – A child with any kind of a rash on the body (other than diaper rash) may not be at school – unless the rash has been examined by a doctor and we receive a note stating that it is not contagious.

Head Lice - Effective head lice control is based on a high standard of education, prevention and accountability for both parents and staff. It is important to screen for  head lice often in order to detect lice and nits as early as possible so that they can be removed safely and effectively. We have chosen at Bloom to implement a “no nit” policy. Anyone who has had head lice(faculty/administration as well as children)must be nit free before returning to Bloom. (www.headlice.org)   

If at any time your child is found to have head lice, you will be called to come and pick them up within one hour. For anyone who is not familiar with lice/nits, what they look like and how to remove them, someone at Bloom will show you what they have found and we will provide you with an information sheet regarding how to eliminate lice and remove the nits. Once your child has been treated and is nit free, they are welcome to return to Bloom. On the day that they return, a Bloom faculty member/administrator will also check your child’s head while you are present. We strongly urge all parents to do daily checks whenever a case of head lice is found.

Our goal is twofold- -to eliminate the spread of head lice if/when it should occur and to handle the screenings/going home process in a way that is as respectful and non-disruptive to those involved as possible. Our hope is that  Bloom and home can work together for the welfare of all of the children.

We try as much as possible at Bloom to keep children’s belongings separate. Hats are tucked into sleeves. Coats are hung up individually. Clothing and/or hats are not shared. Each child’s bedding is kept in a zipped bag and goes home weekly or sooner if needed to be laundered. Sleeping cots are sanitized daily. Dress up clothes in the play area are laundered regularly.

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this particular matter and want to assure you that head lice is not a reflection of unsanitary conditions, poor hygiene or neglect. 

Napping

The afternoon nap is of great benefit to children who have had a busy morning filled with activity.  Young children under the age of seven need restful and quiet times during the day as a means of being restored for play.  Enough sleep is one of the most important prerequisites for health, both in childhood and later in life.

 

  • In each of our classrooms there is a nap/rest time.  The younger groups sleep for approximately two to two and a half hours each day after lunch, and the older groups have a rest/quiet time of about an hour and a half from 1:00p.m. to 2:30p.m.  We cannot keep children awake during nap time if their natural inclination is to sleep.  
  • All children sleep on cots and for health reasons are required to bring in a bottom sheet with which to cover the cot (average crib size).  A small pillow and blanket are also requested for your child’s comfort.  Pillows and blankets should be small enough to fit easily into a tote bag.  
  • All napping items must be in a tote bag equipped with a zipper for sanitary reasons and should be taken home once a week for laundering.   Please label your child’s nap bag with his/her name or initials.  
  • A reminder- Pillowcases, sheets and tote bags should be free of television or movie characters.  This is in keeping with our efforts to keep commercialization out of the classroom and also to create a calm and peaceful nap time environment.

Safety

Your child will be active and involved in a wide variety of activities while here at BLOOM.  Children are fast moving, curious, and daring by nature.  While we believe that it is important to provide as safe an environment as possible for your child, we cannot provide a risk-free one.  We have a large outdoor area where the children spend a lot of time engaging in physical activities.

When you enroll your child at BLOOM, you are not only giving your permission for your child to be involved in all activities and to play hard, but you are also entrusting us as a trained and professional faculty to handle any accidents or threatening situations to the best of our abilities.

We provide CPR and first aid training annually to faculty members.  Certification is valid for two years.

First Aid/Minor Injuries

If your child hurts him/herself at school (a minor injury) we will administer basic first aid.  We will fill out an “incident report” which you will be asked to sign upon picking up your child.  Signing this form is an acknowledgment that you have been informed that the incident occurred, how it was treated and by whom.  Our ‘incident report” forms are in duplicate.  Once you have signed this form, the yellow copy is yours to do with as you wish, and the white copy will be brought to the office and placed in your child's file.

Emergency Medical Situations

In an emergency medical situation our procedure is as follows – to immediately call 911 and then to contact parents.  If the parents cannot be reached and the child needs to be transported to a hospital, a teacher or an office person would accompany the child with the child’s medical forms which we have on file.  These forms are very important because they give permission for a doctor to treat your child in your absence and contain all necessary medical information such as allergies, conditions, and insurance policy numbers which could be needed in an emergency. Please be sure to keep us informed of any pertinent changes to these forms.

Touch Policy

Positive physical contact is an integral part of childcare. It is also essential to the social and emotional growth and well being of a child. Warm, positive relationships with adults help a child develop a sense of trust and directly effect the child's sense of self-esteem.  

Appropriate touching is touching that enhances the experience and well being of the child. This may  include hugs, reassuring touches on the shoulder or back, nap time back rubs for a child who might be tense or upset, holding the hand of a child or holding a child gently during a temper tantrum.

Inappropriate touching involves the following and is ABUSIVE:

1.       Coercion or other forms of exploitation of the child’s lack of knowledge.

2.       Satisfaction of adult needs at the expense of the child.

3.       An attempt to change child behavior with adult physical force often applied in anger.

4.       Violation of laws against sexual contact between adults and children.

5.       Inappropriate behavior also includes forced goodbye kisses, corporal punishment, slapping, striking or pinching, tickling , fondling or molestation.

Any faculty member suspected of inappropriately touching a child will be removed from direct care of the children and/or may be suspended entirely with or without pay pending further investigation.  If a faculty member is found to be guilty of child abuse or neglect his/her employment will be immediately terminated.

Reporting Abuse & Neglect

BLOOM faculty are required by law to report any suspected cases of abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services by calling 1-800-RICHILD.

WHAT TO BRING (& WHAT TO PLEASE KEEP AT HOME)

Clothing, Supplies & Being Outdoors

Spending time outdoors is one of our top priorities at BLOOM.  Children need exercise.  They need to use their whole body to explore all possibilities.  Climbing, balancing, running, being loud, and experiencing the weather are not things they can do inside.   We are outside every day on the playground or in the case of our preschool, going on walks to neighboring Albro woods (which we have access to without venturing onto Mitchell's Lane), keeping in touch with nature’s changes - watching the geese fly by, feeling the wind blow, and observing the coming of spring.  We feel the earth breathing in a physical sense, and there is no doubt that the children learn to appreciate nature.

Our motto is “all weather is good weather if you are dressed for it,” so please make sure your child has lots of extra clothing like sweaters, boots, mittens, and most importantly, a hat.

Children’s clothes should be casual, comfortable, and able to get dirty and messy.  Dirt is our friend.

Warmth - Young children’s bodies need to be warm.  Warmth is essential for the healthy development of the child’s body, especially of their inner organs which are still forming and adjusting.  Young children are very sensitive to changes in temperature.  Whether your child is indoors or outdoors, the best way to accommodate the different degrees and need of warmth at a particular time is to dress your child in layers.  

Labeling - Try as we might, we cannot keep track of every item of clothing brought into school.  Labeling items can help alleviate a lot of unnecessary confusion and loss of belongings.  

Essentials - A hat (to protect from sun or cold), two full sets of clothes including socks and underwear, a sweater or sweatshirt, rain gear; and in winter a warm jacket, a snowsuit and mittens.

Footwear - For outdoor winter play, boots are required in addition to a pair of indoor shoes.  This allows children to have nice, dry shoes to put on when they come indoors after being out in the snow.  If your child arrives at school wearing boots in the winter, please leave the boots in the child’s hallway cubby and have your child put on their indoor shoes for the classroom.  Slippers with slip-resistant treads on the bottom are perfect indoor shoes. This decreases wear and tear on the carpeting and floors and keeps the classroom much cleaner for indoor play.  Please do not send your child to school in jelly shoes, flip flops, heels, Crocs, clogs, or other shoes inappropriate for active outdoor play.  All shoes should have a back on them.

Spare clothes - Each child should have at least two sets of spare clothing on hand at BLOOM at all times.  Parents will be called to bring clothes if a change of clothes is needed and not available (we cannot borrow from other children).  Children “toilet learning” should have multiple sets of spare clothing, especially underpants, pants, socks and shoes.

We value our outdoor time with the children, and we truly feel that it is not only a joy but also a fundamental need of childhood to be given the opportunity to experience every season.  We welcome a light rain, a winter garden of snow, or the feel of the wind on our cheeks.   Please expect that the children will be going outdoors every day.  If your child is not up to being outdoors, please consider keeping him or her home for the day.  Because we must maintain comfortable and appropriate child to adult ratios, we cannot have a faculty member stay indoors with only one or two children.

Commercialization on Clothing & Gear

We ask that children wear clothing and shoes without pictures of cartoon, movie, and commercialized characters (superheroes, Tinkerbell, Dora, Bob the Builder, Sponge Bob, Elmo…).  We also ask that the children not be sent to school with these images on nap bags and lunch boxes.  We have found that what children are wearing and seeing often directly influences how they play, and we prefer to keep commercial imagery out of the building.  We also find that distracting items such as “light up” shoes deter from our efforts to provide the children with a simple environment.  If your child comes to BLOOM wearing light up shoes or clothing with media images, please be prepared to receive a kind reminder that we prefer to avoid these items. 

We ask that children do not come to school wearing or toting make up, including lip gloss and nail polish.

Toys from Home

Toys from home are not permitted at school.  This includes jewelry. Young children are not able to understand why an item must be removed once they have been allowed to bring it into school.  It often disrupts their whole day distracting them from the normal, planned activities especially if the item has been left in the child’s cubby.  This issue is best handled by parents – by not allowing the toy to come into school.  We ask you for your cooperation by helping your child leave to these items at home or in your car for the ride home.  

We have gone to great lengths to create our school environment at Bloom.  Our toys are natural, simple, and free of media images.  The realm of toys has become exceedingly complex often at the expense of the child’s imagination. The more simple a plaything is, the more the child is encouraged to rely on his own inner thinking and imagination to bring the toy to life. 

Since we do not want to create any hurt feelings in children who may want to bring in toys that do not mesh with our school philosophy, we simply choose to say “no toys from home”.  It is much simpler and less confusing for the children then to say some toys are okay, and others are not.  This is the main reason for this policy.  In addition, we would never want a toy from home to become lost or broken at school.  Nor do we want to create any feelings of jealousy or conflict over a toy which belongs to only one child.  Things go more smoothly when all of the toys available “belong” to all of the children in the classroom.

FOOD AND NUTRITION

As we gather each day for snack and lunch time, we give thanks to the Earth and sing good morning to the birds and bees, the flowers and the stones to create a feeling of love and appreciation.  Each child also begins to form a relationship with the world of nature.

Earth who gave us all this food

Sun who made it ripe and good

Dearest Earth and Dearest Sun,

We will not forget what you have done.

Breakfast

Children arriving between 7:30-8:00a.m. are welcome to join us for a light breakfast.

Snacks

BLOOM provides both morning and afternoon snack.  While each class schedule varies slightly, morning snack time is around 10:00 a.m. and afternoon snack time is around 3:00 p.m.  The children in each classroom are served a healthy organic snack with spring water.  Please be sure to notify us of ANY known or suspected food allergy.

Lunch

Mealtime is a time of thankfulness and a time to nurture our bodies and to come together as a group.  It is also a time during which many learning opportunities present themselves and a time to delight in the senses.  Around a table children will observe what others are eating, what the foods look like and smell like, etc.  This is one of the reasons we feel strongly that foods chosen for this age group should be thoughtfully selected for their nutritional content and wholesomeness.  We respectfully ask that sugary treats, junk food and commercialized (cartoon character) packaging not be sent to school.

Our lunchtime is peaceful and long, so we have time to sit together as a group and linger over our food.  Lunch is served on a plate as it would be at home, rather than eaten out of a lunchbox.

Beverages

BLOOM will provide organic whole milk or spring water for your child, so please do not pack a drink unless a special type of milk is needed (such as soy, almond, rice or goat).  We will not serve artificially flavored or colored milk, juice, soda or sports drinks.

Suggested Foods Include:

  • A sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Soup or pasta warmed at home and sent in a thermos
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Stonyfield (or other all natural) yogurt

Excluded Foods

  • Items high in sugar content such as candy (including cough drops), chocolate chips, cookies, cake, pudding, Jello/gelatin, Fluff, yogurt with candy sprinkles
  • Items high in fat and low in protein such as chips, Doritos, Cheetos and the like
  • “Lunchables”
  • Items with unnatural colorings such as neon-colored yogurts, gelatins and apple sauce.  (Foods colored with natural dyes such as with beet juice are fine.)

If any of these items are sent in a child's lunchbox, we will keep them in the lunchbox.  If we chose not to serve your child something from his/her lunchbox, we may supplement their remaining lunch with fruit, apple sauce or crackers. 

Heating & Cooling

We are unable to refrigerate lunches.  Please pack your child’s lunch in an insulated pack with something to keep it cool.  We are unable to heat lunches.  We welcome warm lunches, but we ask that you please warm them at home and send them in a thermos.  

Utensils

Please pack utensils, as we are unable to provide these.

Food Packaging

Please label all reusable food containers (bottoms and lids!) with your child’s initials to help ensure they will be returned to you. 

Please try to avoid food packaging that features media characters (such as on yogurt containers, etc.)

Shared Foods

We ask that you PLEASE inform us of any diagnosed or suspected for allergies.  We do bake and cook with the children.

Due to the rise in both food allergies and special dietary restrictions among the children in our care, we cannot allow shared foods from home during the school day (such as cupcakes or treats for birthdays or holiday celebrations).   

VOLUNTEERISM & PARENT PARTICIPATION

Special Events

During the year we have several events for the families that attend our school.  We encourage and appreciate parent participation in any of these events.  Having parents involved in school activities gives the child a strong and healthy view of school as a place that is supported by his/her family, as a place that is fun, and as a place in which it is important for him/her to be involved.

Field Trips

Occasionally a field trip away from BLOOM is planned for the older children (preschool).  These trips are designed to supplement the curriculum and to provide an adventure for the children that they may not otherwise experience.  We will ask for parent chaperones on all field trips and strive for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of children to adults.  No field trips are taken with the younger children.  For insurance reasons, all volunteers must complete a pre-screening packet available in the office.  This includes a criminal records check, a criminal records affidavit and proof of auto insurance with personal injury/liability coverage.  If you anticipate wanting to volunteer please come to the office to receive this packet at the beginning of the school year.  We apologize for any inconvenience and hope that you will understand and appreciate these precautions.  

MISCELLANEOUS

Birthdays

Birthdays are celebrated at school in all the classes. We like to focus on the child and the joy of spending a special day with friends.  The day’s routine remains essentially the same with the addition of some special touches.  The thought is what counts most, and simplicity allows for the joy of the day to shine through.  The best thing to do is to check with your child’s teacher about the routine.  Often the class will bake a birthday cake to share at snack and in some classes parents are invited to share in a special celebration or story.

Children look forward to their birthdays with a great deal of excitement, and it is often a popular topic of     conversation.  Should you choose to host a birthday party for your child outside of school, we ask that you consider the following suggestions in order to avoid feelings of exclusion:

 

  • Please send invitations through the mail.  Do not pass them out at school.
  • Consider inviting the entire class or all the boys or all the girls.
  • Consider holding parties on the weekends rather than after school.
  • Presents or balloons should not be brought or sent to school.