Gan Yeladim is an inclusive early childhood program, grounded in Jewish values and embracing an educational philosophy inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. We respect and encourage the individuality of each child and seek to instill a love and pride of being Jewish by providing meaningful experiences for children and their families in a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment.
Please wash your child’s and your own hands upon arrival.
Gan’s Extended Day begins at 7:30 a.m. Children must be enrolled in the extended day program or have pre-arranged for early care if they arrive prior to 8:45 a.m. Cost for early and late care is $10.00 per hour. If your child is enrolled in the Extended Day program and you generally arrive at a specific time each day, please let the Director or your child’s teacher know if you will be arriving earlier than usual or picking up later, so that we may staff accordingly.
The School Day and Half Day officially begins at 9:00 a.m. Children may arrive any time after 8:45. Please plan to arrive no later than 9:20, in order for your child to begin their day integrating smoothly into their class.
SIGN IN/OUT (ATTENDANCE)
The Director or your child’s teachers will sign your child in at arrival and out at their departure.
The following are the State of Vermont mandated child/adult ratios for children in group care:
Children 2 months-24 months- 4/1
24 months-36 months- 5/1
36 months-5 years-10/1
At Gan, we endeavor to maintain a much lower child/adult ratio, not exceeding 3/1 with our babies under 1 and maintaining a 7/2 ratio with children one to two years of age. As well, we have a 4/1 ratio for our Toddler class and a 7/1 maximum ratio with our Preschool and Pre Ks. When age groups are mixed, (like at the beginning and end of the day), we must maintain the child/adult ratio for the youngest child in the group.
CLASSROOM TRANSITIONS/AGE GROUPS
Children transition to a new age group/classroom at the beginning of each new school year. An entire class makes the transition together. Children begin to spend time with their new teachers throughout the summer.
It is our policy at Gan Yeladim to group children as they would be in elementary school. Thus, the cut off for being eligible for an age group is having a birthday prior to September 1 of that school year. This practice has sound research behind it, as fourth quarter children often lag behind their peers during their primary and middle school years. Giving children the opportunity to be the oldest in a group has proven to be quite successful from the child’s perspective, allowing them to be strong and confident leaders in their class.
Our Half day ends at 12:30, our School Day ends AT 4:00 p.m. and our Extended Day at Gan ends AT 5:30, Monday through Thursday. Friday end times vary seasonally, determined by the beginning of Shabbat. Please plan to arrive in time to chat with teachers, collect your child’s lunch box and fully dress your child for departure so that you may exit the building no later than 4:00 for School Day enrollees and 5:30 for Extended Day enrollees. When you arrive for pickup, your child becomes your responsibility. Children often use this transition time to test limits in the classroom, so it is important that parents take over monitoring their children’s behavior and whereabouts in order to allow teachers to continue to care for the children still in their care.
Occasional lateness when picking up your child may be unavoidable. However, although our staff works hard to provide excellent care for your child while they are at Gan, they have other commitments at the conclusion of their work day. Late School Day pickups may make it not possible for a teacher to leave work, as the adult/child ratio balance may be affected. A late extended day pick up means that teachers cannot close up school for the end of the day. If late pick-ups occur more than 2 consecutive times in a week or 3 times over a 2 week period, a late fee of $5.00 for each minute late will be charged. You will be given a bill noting the amount to be paid. This amount should be paid directly to the staff member responsible for your child at pick-up time.
A fee schedule for this year is available on our website and is posted in the ground floor classroom. Tuition for Gan is remitted monthly, on or before the first of each month and no later than the 5th. Late payments may be subject to a Late Fee of $5 for every day late after the 5th of the month. Please make your check out to Gan Yeladim Preschool. Payment may also be made by check draft, automatic payment or credit card (subject to a 3% surcharge). Payment may also be made weekly. Please arrange this with the Director.
If, at any time you are experiencing financial difficulty, please do not hesitate to discuss it with Lisa Rosen Ryan, Gan Yeladim director.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT PHILOSOPHY
Gan Yeladim’s developmental philosophy is Reggio Emilia inspired. Fundamental principles of the Reggio Emilia approach are included in an excellent article attached to this handbook. As a Reggio inspired school, we believe that children are capable of constructing their own learning. Adults are viewed as mentors and guides, listening to our children to understand their interests and providing experiences and materials that support those interests. Extensive documentation of children’s work is conducted and displayed. The environment is the “third teacher”- recognizing its potential to inspire children and adults.
Children are valued as individuals. Each child is viewed by their own benchmarks- successes and milestones are acknowledged individually.
We feel that Gan Yeladim is an extended family. Judaism is incorporated naturally into each day at Gan. Through simchas, life events and the day to day of school, we get to know our families well. Our goal is to support you in your journey as parents. We share in your joy as we work together to raise your children to be voracious learners, compassionate and caring friends and wonderful human beings!
At Gan Yeladim, Judaism is a natural part of our daily routines. Hebrew language, Aleph Bet, rituals (hand washing, saying a bracha –prayer- before eating…) songs and stories which celebrate Jewish life are part of every day. We emphasize Jewish values that promote kindness (g’milut chasadim), doing good deeds (mitzvoth) and taking care of the earth (tikkun olam). Zeesy Raskin, our Gan Yeladim founder comes to Gan 3 times a week to share Torah stories and information about upcoming holidays with the Preschoolers as well as davening (saying daily prayers) with them.
DEVELOPMENTAL SCREENING AND ASSESSMENT
Gan Yeladim teachers spend each day actively observing the play, work and interactions of the children enrolled in their class. Other tools used to provide a comprehensive picture of each child’s growth and development include:
*Anecdotal records- recorded daily, teacher’s observations make record of children’s interests, strengths, friendships, emotional needs and challenges.
*Photographic documentation- documentation by photo produces a concrete record of a child’s interests and social behavior
*Documentation panels- photos and text used to record a class or group project or experience
*ASQ 3 and ASQ SE (social/emotional)
These developmental questionnaires allow both teachers and parents to screen-
Gross motor and fine motor development, language development and communication skills, cognitive skills and social and emotional development.
Parent/teacher Conferences are conducted twice yearly or as requested by the parent or teacher. Parents are always welcome to view their child’s portfolio.
At Gan Yeladim, we believe in collaborative communication with our families. When concerns are raised, we will work closely with families to determine the most effective way to address the concern. Please feel free to consult with your child’s teacher or the director at any time.
GAN YELADIM STAFF
Our Gan Yeladim staff has been carefully selected to provide the highest quality early learning experience for your child. All of our Gan Yeladim Lead Teachers have a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education or a related degree. Our Assisting Teachers have either attended or are currently attending college and are receiving instruction in early childhood theory and practice. In addition, all of our staff must achieve a minimum of 15 hours per year in continuing education in the Early Childhood field (as well as remaining certified in Child/Infant CPR and First Aid). Continuing education is achieved by enrollment in college programs, attending a national, professional conference (NAEYC), a local professional conference (VAEYC) attending workshops offered by local agencies such as CCV/Northern Lights Professional Development and Bright Futures or online through CCEI (Child Care Educational Institute).
KEYPAD LOCK (MAIN CLASSROOM DOOR)
The main door to Gan Yeladim is secured by a keypad locking system. Every family will be given an individual 4 digit code that will unlock the door. The keypad is to be used by adults only. Please do not allow your child to play with the keypad. If you type an incorrect digit, please type in any numbers until you have typed 4 digits. A red light will show on the keypad. Wait a minute and then retype your correct code. If your code does not work, please ring the doorbell.
MAINTAINING SCHOOL SAFETY
A safe environment is paramount. Our school environment must be constantly monitored to ensure a safe and healthy environment for children and teachers. Daily visual inspections are done on the classrooms, checking for broken equipment, intact safety plugs, no choking hazards, cleanliness, toy/material safety and any other concerns that might arise. The playground is also inspected daily, before children access it to check for any broken equipment, fence and gate safety and environmental changes (fallen branches, glass…)
We take a proactive approach when dealing with child disputes or inappropriate behavior. By closely monitoring children’s play, we are able to anticipate when a child may be needing redirection, adult assistance or an opportunity to calm and re-center. We do not use “time out” or a “naughty chair”, as we feel that these methods are ineffective. Instead, we encourage children to respect themselves and others, to ask for help if needed and to know that their teachers are always available to them, offering positive guidance and ideas for maintaining a harmonious classroom environment. Children will not be sent home for a behavioral infraction.
IMMUNIZATION/HEALTH EXAM RECORD
All children must have an up to date copy of their immunization records and a record of a yearly well child physical exam on file at Gan. Please submit an up to date copy of your child’s immunization and yearly well child exam records after an annual physical. A record of a yearly physical exam must be on file at Gan no later than 45 days after enrolling and updated yearly. Please update your child’s immunization record whenever your child receives shots. If your child has physical contraindications to getting vaccinations, please have your physician write a letter stating this for your child’s file. Philosophical exemptions are no longer considered valid in the State of Vermont.
Children may not be at Gan Yeladim if they are ill with the following:
Vomiting (one incident)
Diarrhea (2 incidents)
Contagious illness (influenza, rotavirus, Chicken Pox, etc.)
Fever over 100.4 F
Heavy, green nasal discharge
Cough that is productive or affects participation
Contagious skin disease (impetigo, scabies,etc.)
Coxsackie disease (all lesions must be dry, with no oozing present before returning to Gan)
Active head lice or visible nits (must be successfully treated with physician approved lice treatment before returning to Gan)
A general feeling of illness
All children must be symptom/fever free for a full 24 hours before returning to Gan. Fever may not be masked by fever reducing medication (Advil, Tylenol). If taking antibiotics, children must be on medication for a full 24 hours before coming back to school.
Medications may be administered at Gan only if a parent fills out a medication permission form, available from the director or your child’s teacher. Homeopathic and herbal medications will not be administered at Gan. Also, we will not give over the counter cough and cold remedies, unless prescribed by a doctor, in writing.
Application of topical, non-prescription creams, lotions and gels (sunscreen, insect repellent, diaper cream, etc) also require that a permission form be completed by a parent or guardian.
Your child must have a letter or statement on file directly from your child’s physician that states that s/he has had a medical exam within one year and is in good health, with no contraindications for attending Gan Yeladim.
If your child becomes ill at Gan, you will be called to come and pick up your child. It is expected that every effort will be made for a parent or someone on your emergency call list to take your ill child home within 30 minutes of your being called. If you cannot be reached, your emergency contact person will be called to pick up your child.
A school wide Gan newsletter is sent out at least monthly. The newsletter will keep you up to date on what’s happening at school, upcoming holidays, vacations and more. Communication from teachers will come through the Brightwheel app- used schoolwide. (Your child’s teacher will send you an invitation to join Brightwheel via email.) The white board near the classroom door lists holidays and days off. To reach Gan, please call 859-9317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do not have the flexibility to allow part-time families to change the regularly scheduled days of the week that their children attend Gan.
For all routine appointments that your child may need to attend (well-child, dental cleaning, etc.), please try to schedule these appointments so that they do not fall within the nap/quiet time portion of the school day: 12:45-3:00. If you do not have a choice about when your child’s appointment is scheduled and you must return your child to Gan to complete their day, please do not bring them back until naptime is over (3:00 p.m.), so that all nappers and resters may have an uninterrupted quiet time.
All Gan families are asked to contribute volunteer hours for the school throughout the year. We ask that families plan to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours per year for the following events and occasions:
Playground and Classroom workdays
Volunteer work may also be done from home. Please check with your child’s teacher or the Gan director to find out if there is a need for home project work.
We also need classroom substitutes to fill in for planned and emergency teacher absences. Please let Lisa know if you have regular blocks of time when you might be able to fill in for a teacher. As well, volunteer help is needed for special school projects (baking, sewing, crafts) particularly around Jewish holidays.
If your schedule does not allow members of your family to volunteer for Gan, you may choose to make a financial contribution instead. Contributions will be used to augment Gan Yeladim’s substitute teacher budget.
(While we love to have parent chaperones on field trips, field trips do not count toward volunteer hours.)
There is no restriction on the amount of time that you may volunteer for Gan. If you have an idea for a volunteer project, please feel free to talk about it with your child’s teacher or Lisa. We greatly appreciate and value your help.
A $25 fee to be used for the purchase of classroom supplies and materials ($40 for a family) will be added to your September and February tuition bills.
PARENTAL ACCESS TO GAN/CONFERENCES
Parents are welcome to visit the preschool at any time, without making an appointment. Parents may access their children’s records freely. Staff members are available to parents for consultation during normal school hours. Formal conferences are offered in January and June or as requested by a parent or teacher.
All child and staff records are confidential. Parents may access their child’s records upon request, but not those of other children. Staff members may access their personnel file upon request. Information sharing between parents and staff or among staff members will remain in confidence and inappropriate sharing of confidential information by staff or volunteers (i.e. gossip) will result in censure or dismissal.
Abuse or neglect of a child is against the law. No child in our care at Gan Yeladim may be abused (physically or verbally) or neglected by their parent or guardian. If at any time we at Gan Yeladim suspect or become aware of incidents or patterns resulting in abuse or neglect, it is understood that we are mandated to report our suspicions to the Vt. Department of Children and Families.
SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Children with physical and mental challenges are welcome at Gan Yeladim. Our staff will work collaboratively with the child’s family and any agency involved with the child’s care to formulate a plan of action that will best meet the needs of the child. Families experiencing physical challenges should use the ramp to access the building.
INTERNET ACCESS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Licensing regulations, family support information, and department updates are available by visiting http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/child care licensing.
Lunch and Snacks
Our school is a kosher facility, with a full dairy kitchen. Please send dairy or pareve snacks and lunch for your child each day (no meat or shellfish, please). Please include drinks and utensils. We encourage green practices- reusable utensils and cloth napkins not only reduce waste, but help children be aware of environmental concerns.
Some suggested lunches include:
Sandwiches- cheese, peanut and nut butter, tuna, hummus, cream cheese, salmon, veggie, sunbutter, tofu. Use whole grain bread, bagel, tortilla, wrap, rye…
Dinner leftovers- pizza, soup (no red meat, poultry or seafood OR meat/poultry/seafood-based broth), rice and beans, salads, mac and cheese, lasagna (no meat. Please note- poultry is meat!) …
Quesadilla, grilled cheese, quiche (hot items should be placed in a thermal container and may sit on the counter.)
Fruit, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, dried fruit, apple sauce
Check with your child’s teachers for other suggestions.
Babies LOVE finger food! When packing lunch and snacks for your Baby or Waddler, please include food that your child may practice feeding themselves and limit non-interactive pouches, which are great for emergencies, but do not encourage self-feeding.
On Friday, Gan provides a wholesome snack for the entire school at our Shabbat party. You do not need to provide morning snack on Fridays.
Mornings: Arrival time is busy at Gan. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to give your child breakfast or their first feeding of the day, as we are busy greeting families and helping children begin their day. Please feed your child at home before coming to Gan.
Children love to celebrate birthdays with their friends. At Gan Yeladim, we celebrate in the Israeli style with the birthday child making and wearing a zare (wreath) and having their friends design and decorate Tipot Mazel (drops of luck) with which to shower them. The birthday child also gets a ride in the famed Birthday Chair (they are lifted in the air for as many times as they are old). Please check with your child’s teachers for suggestions if you would like to bring a birthday treat to share.
Please do not send “home” birthday party invitations to school unless there is one for everyone in your child’s class.
EXTRA AND WEATHER APPROPRIATE CLOTHES
Please make sure that your child always has a complete set of extra clothes on hand at Gan, including: pants or skirt, shirt, underwear, socks and a sweater or sweatshirt. Please replace spare clothing every time your child has used some items and change clothing out seasonally.
For winter weather, please provide your child with insulated boots with a good tread, a one piece snowsuit or rugged snow pants and a warm, winter rated jacket, a comfortable and cozy hat, neck warmer and waterproof, easy to put on mittens (no gloves). We encourage children to dress themselves, so please choose clothing with that in mind.
A rain coat, rain pants and boots are great for muddy fall and spring days. Umbrellas should be used to and from school only.
Please label everything that belongs to your child from clothing to lunchbox items with your child’s name or initials.
Gan Yeladim has an ongoing fundraiser through Mabel’s Labels, which has great labels for everything your child could lose. Check it out at: www.mabelslabels.com. Click on SUPPORT A FUNDRAISER and scroll through the alphabetical listings until you find GAN YELADIM BURLINGTON. Select us and follow the remaining instructions. Gan will receive a percentage from every label package sold.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
In the event of a snow or weather emergency, Gan Yeladim will close if:
*Burlington Public schools close or;
* the majority of Chittenden County public and private schools close.
In most cases, the decision to close will be made by 6:30 a.m. To find out if Gan Yeladim is closed:
Check your local t.v. stations, which scroll school closings across the bottom of their screen during their morning broadcast or the stations’ websites, which list closings directly. Gan Yeladim will be listed under Chittenden County schools.
OR-Call the Gan #-859-9317. If we are closed, the voicemail message will state this. If the need arises to close school during the day due to a weather or other emergency, parents will be called directly to come pick up their child.
FIELD TRIPS AND ADVENTURES
Children at Gan frequently go on adventures in our community. PreKs, Kindergarteners and Preschoolers travel by our Gan bus to New Village Farm in Shelburne weekly in fall and spring and weather-permitting in winter. For in-town adventures, children either walk to reach their destination or ride on the local College Street shuttle bus. All field trips are well supervised with a good adult/child ratio (below state recommended numbers). In the event of an emergency, parents will be called and appropriate measures will be taken to ensure children’s safety.
The Preschool, Pre K and occasionally the Toddler class attend Student Matinee performances at the Flynn Theater 2 to 3 times per year. The Gan director estimates the number of tickets needed for each show that we have signed up to attend. Tickets are ordered in May for the upcoming school year and are paid for by Gan in advance of each show. The cost of your child’s Flynn ticket is added to your following month’s tuition bill. If we have extra tickets for a show, we will offer them to parents so that you may attend a show with your child. Cost for these tickets will also be added to your tuition bill.
There is no smoking permitted on Gan Yeladim premises or on the Chabad grounds.
If you have a concern or complaint regarding any aspect of Gan, please bring it the attention of your child’s teacher or to the director. If you do not feel that the situation has been resolved to your satisfaction you may contact Rabbi Raskin at 658-5770. If you still feel that your concerns have not been addressed, you may contact the Childcare Consumer Concern Line at 800-540-7942.
Thank you for choosing us at Gan Yeladim. We look forward to spending a wonderful year with your child and your family.