Parent Handbook

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that we welcome you to Alef Bet Preschool! We are certain that you and your child will have a wonderful experience in our care. The beginning of the school year is both an exciting and apprehensive time for students and their families. We have prepared this Parent Handbook that will help guide you through this transition, address any of your concerns, and reassure you that your child is in good hands. Your Parent Handbook contains a detailed outline of our carefully designed Preschool Program and includes our policies and procedures.

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the handbook. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. The purpose of the Parent Handbook is to communicate community guidelines and expectations. With the ever-changing environment we are currently living in, all policies, procedures and schedules are subject to change at any time with or without notice. Please know that we will do our best to continue to communicate with you regularly. All procedures are based on the latest guidelines, recommendations and policies from the Department of Health and leading Medical Professionals.



Our Preschool Program includes a rich variety of experiences developed around our students growing interests. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, our program provides students with countless opportunities each day to discover their interests through first hand experiences.

Both the classroom schedule and classroom environment have been designed to include a wide variety of open-ended activities and materials so that children can make discoveries independently and at their own pace.

Throughout the school day, students will be able to manipulate materials, to use their senses, to investigate, to explore their surroundings, to search for answers and to satisfy their natural curiosity. By offering choices and allowing the child to take initiative, our students will ultimately become increasingly confident and self-sufficient.

Our Judaic curriculum is similarly holistically woven into our curriculum and is meant to emphasize the importance of family and community and to nurture our students’ sense of culture.

The directive staff has assembled a dedicated group of professional educators, committed to each child under their guidance. Every year we welcome back most of our beloved Morahs and we introduce a few new educators to our school community. All of our educators are highly qualified and experienced teachers who are either certified Early Childhood Educators by the state of New York or who have extensive experience working with children in the Early Childhood Stage of Development.

Our role as adults is to observe our students, listen to their questions and their stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further. Each of our teachers brings an exceptional set of skills and strengths to our Alef Bet teaching staff. While each teaching team is uniquely varied, our educators share a genuine passion for children and demonstrate a deep respect for each child’s individuality. We feel truly proud and humbled to work with such a talented and devoted group of people, and we ask G-d’s Blessings for the sacred work that we share, among the highest callings a human being can aspire to.

Throughout the school year, our teachers will participate in a series of educational workshops and undergo weekly consultations with our directive staff. During staff meetings, our teaching teams will: discuss student progress; develop monthly curricula and share and exchange ideas. Such opportunities will help our teachers to address the ever-changing needs of our students and comply with the current research that dictates our teaching practices.

Alef Bet Preschool is committed to fostering secure and consistent parent – teacher partnerships. We believe that children thrive when there is a mutual trust and respect between a child’s home and school environment. Our Preschool Program therefore presents various occasions for parents to work closely, share ideas, make observations and exchange information with their child’s team of teachers.

Here’s how we plan to keep you in the know this year …

Curriculum Night: Newsletters: Instagram & Facebook: Parent Teachers Conferences: WhatsApp Group:
At the start of each school year Alef Bet holds an annual curriculum night to welcome new and returning parents into their child’s classroom and to experience a typical day or routines in the life of your preschooler.

 

School- wide Newsletter updates will be sent via email at the end of each week. The content of your child’s class newsletter is sent monthly and will disclose what your child has been doing in class throughout the week and pictures of their activities. Find daily updates and pictures of your child by ‘friending’ @AlefBetPreschool_ues on Instagram (and Facebook)!

 

Alef Bet Preschool holds parent teacher conferences at the beginning of each school year and before spring break. During Parent Teacher Conferences you will have an opportunity to receive an in-depth view of your child’s progress.  We encourage all of our student’s parents to attend. Your classroom teacher will post DAILY updates & pictures to your classroom WhatsApp Group so you can see what your little explorer is doing at school.

Please call the school directly if there is an emergency: 212.831.2770. You can also email preschool@chabadic.com to communicate with your directive staff.

Our school is a place where parents, and the entire family, can play an integral role in their loved one’s education, so we encourage parents to volunteer their time whenever possible. We offer opportunities for parental involvement during holiday celebrations, social activities and during daily educational experiences. You can also stay involved by joining us on a field trip or by saving useful objects for our arts and crafts projects. If you have a particular field of expertise, please offer to come in to share it with your child’s class!

Below is a sampling of ways parents can stay involved throughout the year:

Parent Orientation Parent Association Parent’s got Talent School Events Class Mom
The orientation process is a time to share your impressions of your child with us and to disclose some important aspects of your child’s personality, likes, and also to address any remaining concerns before the start of the school year. This is also an opportunity to meet other families. The Preschool PA expands  the focus and capacity of our Preschool, provides a forum to welcome new families and is a large contributor to many of our school wide activities. We invite you into school to tell your children about your job, passions, talents or hobbies. Our children love when their parents come in and share. Some of the preschool community events that help keep the Preschool families connected with school are the Annual Shabbat experience, parents nights out, Annual Toy drive, Purim gift baskets, etc. Consider volunteering to help create a school community where your input matters!

 

Each class has a class mom who is there to help facilitate school/home communication and activities  

To minimize contact and gathering, families, including guardians, parents, and caregivers will not be allowed to enter the premises until further notice. 

Caregivers will only be admitted with proper school identification cards  (to be provided to you by orientation) to help ensure safety and security in the school.  Please ensure that the caregiver who is dropping off and picking up has an ID card with them at all times.

The staff is trained in security procedures through a specialized program that focuses on all aspects of security alerts, including bomb threats and active shootings. The glass and doors are all bullet proof. Each classroom has panic buttons that go directly to emergency services and there are video cameras in and around the school building as well as a security guard.

School Hours Early drop off: Arrival Dismissal Strollers Snow Days
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (full-day students)

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (half-day students)

9:00-11:15 AM,
ASPEN students, 18-24 months.

8:30 a.m

by previous arrangement only.

 

8:55 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

Please do not drop off your child before his or her class begins.

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 

Strollers must be folded and handed to the security guard to place in the stroller area. If your stroller does not fold, you will not be able to leave it in school.

 

We will notify parents before 7:30 a.m.

Via email and class WhatsApp group

 Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

**To minimize contact and gathering, families, including guardians, parents, and caretakers will not be allowed inside the building until further notice.

**Please note, our first days of school will consist of a staggered schedule with small groups present at a time, so that our youngest incoming children are able to acclimate with a caregiver present while we all maintain social distancing recommendations. Before school begins, you will receive detailed instructions. 

  • We urge caregivers to be prompt for arrival to avoid being disruptive to the class and teachers. Unless prior arrangements have been made with the director, we ask that you not send your child after 10:30 a.m.
  • Our security guard will be posted outside the front entrance during dropoff and pick up.
  • Parents will be required to wear masks.
  • Children should be dropped off at the entrance to the school and parents will not be able to enter the premises.  
  • A staff member will be there to greet you and your child. Your child’s temperature will be taken and recorded; any child with a temperature of 100.4 F or higher or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 will be excluded from attending.
  • Parents will complete and return the COVID-19 checklist that ascertains that they and their child are symptom free and have not been in contact with anyone who had COVID-19.
  • At dismissal, your child will be brought to the front entrance of the school.
  • As per the DOH, parents will be required to sign their child in and out at the beginning and end of the day. 
  • After pick-up, you are responsible for supervising your child.
  • If you need to pick up or drop off at any other time than those listed above, please email admin@chabadic.com or call us at 212-831-2770.

Late Pick-up: We understand that emergencies do happen and we will do our best to accommodate you when exceptions are necessary. We remind you, however, that the teaching staff needs to be elsewhere at the close of each school day and that we are not able to properly accommodate children after their scheduled pick up time.

Change in pick up arrangements can also be upsetting to children and can ruin a perfectly fine day! Please be sure to be prompt. Repeat tardiness will result in a late fee.

Escorts & Play dates: If you are sending your child home with another parent for a play date or with someone who is not listed on your escort list, you must provide a written note to the teacher.

Dismissal Policy: Under no circumstance will a child be released to a person who is not authorized by a parent to pick up that child. If you plan on having your child picked up by someone not listed on your Escort Form, you must contact the office to notify the director or one of your child’s teachers.

Please note: Friday dismissal is at 12:30 p.m. until after Spring break. Following Spring break, school will dismiss at 2:00 p.m.

The goal of our discipline policy is to develop self-control and self-esteem in each child.

Our program promotes a positive approach to managing behavior of all children. We use prevention and positive reinforcement. We encourage children to talk to each other; use speech to solve problems and to express their feelings.

We believe as children grow more confident with verbal expression they will be less likely to express themselves in an aggressive way. Help the children learn that language. Model for them and show them HOW to express themselves.

The use of positive language is especially vital to a child’s sense of self-worth. When a child is directed to follow a task, words like “all of our friends are using quiet voices” or “please use your walking feet” will be used, instead of “no yelling” or “no running”.

Morning snacks fruit and cereal & rice cakes and afternoon snacks vegetables and crackers. Well-balanced hot lunches* are served daily If your child has any special dietary needs, please consult with the directive staff.  We will be happy to accommodate your child’s mealtime needs.

Lunch Menu:

Monday: Grilled Chicken, Rice, String Beans
Tuesday: Grilled Fish, Potatoes, Broccoli
Wednesday: Meatballs, Penne, Peas and Carrots
Thursday: Roast Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Friday: Pizza

All food will be plated and served individually (seconds will be available) for snacks. Lunch will be delivered in individual portions for each child. During mealtimes, tables will be arranged to ensure that there is distance between students.

Children who stay for the full school day will enjoy a periodic rest time. During rest time, we ask all of the children to lie down and relax their minds and bodies. Children will be able to rest with a comfort item or any nap time items sent with them to school. We will turn down the lights and play calming music to help the children rest during this time of the day. If you do not want your child napping or prefer a longer nap for your child, please touch base with your child’s teacher about helping to cater the nap for your child’s needs.

We do not initiate toilet training, but we will support your efforts as much as possible. State regulations do not allow us to keep potties in school; we use stepping stools as needed. Do not send your child without a diaper on until they’ve been ‘dry’ for two weeks and we are certain they will go comfortably in school. When they enter the threes class they should be toilet trained.

We invite you to join us in celebration of your child’s birthday party at the monthly class party.  Your child’s teacher will bake a cake with the class, before the monthly birthday party

If you would like to send in decorations, party plates, or party cups in honor of your child’s birthday, please send them in before the party so that we can properly prepare for the special occasion.

We have created an amazon wish list, created under the name Alef Bet Wish List so that you can buy a class present in honor of your child’s birthday. A special dedication plate will be placed on the gifted item in appreciation of your gift donation. We do not have party bags.

Your child’s teacher will add stories, songs and games to make this a special day for your child. Please bring in baby pictures of your child to show their class.

Parties Outside of School

Parties should not be held on Saturdays or Jewish holidays and all food and snacks served at the party should be Kosher. If your child is invited to the party of a classmate, check that food being served accommodates your child’s dietary needs. If you would like to give out invitations in school, every child must be invited (unless it’s an all-girls/ all-boys party).

Keeping our children healthy is of paramount to a healthy school year. Please be mindful of sending your child to school with them not feeling or acting themselves.  

If children develop symptoms or fever during the day, the child will be separated from the group, parents will be contacted and the child MUST be picked up in one hour or less.

Symptoms Include (but are not limited to)

  • Fever of 100.0 or higher                                                
  • Dry Cough
  • Shortness of breath                                                      
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell                                                    
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Ache                                                                
  • Rash

Our policy is that children be kept home until they’ve been fever free (without fever reducer) for 24 hours.  Any child who is a case, contact, or carrier of a communicable disease and is required to be isolated, shall not be permitted to the program without a written statement of recovery from a doctor. In accordance with new NY State law, students are required to be up to date on vaccines outside of medical exemptions.

School clothes should be comfortable, washable and appropriate for preschool activities. Please keep in mind the following while selecting your child’s preschool wardrobe:

  • Sitting on the rug, art activities, etc.
  • Clothes should allow for self-dressing in the bathroom.
  • Outdoor play can stretch the limits of even the toughest fabrics, so please choose sturdy clothing.
  • Outdoor clothing should be warm enough for playtime.
  • Children should bring in dry shoes, socks and pants on snow days and wear/bring boots appropriate for the weather.

Please send the following items in to school with your child on their first day. Please label all items with your child’s first and last name. 

Diapers & Wipes

Children not yet toilet trained should have a:

  • supply of diapers
  • wipes sufficient for several days in school (even if your child is toilet trained.)

Nap Time Necessities

Children staying after 12:30 p.m should have a:

  • flat sheet
  • small blanket

Clothing

Please send your child with the following items in a labeled Ziploc bag on their first day of school:

  • extra pair of pants
  • extra t-shirt
  • extra sweatshirt/sweater/long sleeve shirt
  • 2 extra pairs of underpants
  • 2 extra pairs of socks

Show and Share

Once a week, the children will have “Show and Share.” Show and Shares provide the children with an opportunity to bring in items that are important to them, and to show them to the class.  “Show and Share” also gives the children a chance to practice raising their hands and waiting to be called on. The children’s dialogue is recorded in writing and hung in the classroom.

Music and Movement

Music and Movement is a healthy and relaxing way for children to start the day! Music and Movement enhances flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness. Additionally, it instills a sense of calm, relaxation and encourages self-esteem.

  • Specialties: On Tuesdays, the children will enjoy dance with our specialists.
  • After School Programs: The experts at the J.A.Z Academy offer our students a chance to take part in after school activities, from 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.  These classes provide a seamless transition from preschool to “specials,” and can help your child find an extracurricular activity they can enjoy throughout their lives.

Language & Literacy

  • Lending Library: The children will be able to visit our school library weekly! Our library offers a variety of books that the children can choose from and bring home for the week.

 At the end of each week, the children will return their books to the library and properly place their books back on the library’s’ shelves. The lending library provides the children with an opportunity to read books by their favorite authors as well as “class published” books and is meant to foster a sense of responsibility.

At Alef Bet Preschool, we take the health of our students very seriously. We ask that you partner with us in keeping every student healthy.

Signage will be placed around the facility with reminders to practice social distancing and follow new hygiene practices.

Students or staff with the following may not attend Alef Bet Preschool:

  • Anyone showing any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19
  • Anyone who is currently positive with COVID-19
  • Anyone awaiting the results of testing for COVID-19
  • Anyone who was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19

If your child is diagnosed with COVID-19, your child may not return to the Facility until cleared by your Doctor. If you or a member of your household is diagnosed with COVID-19, your child may return to the Facility only after two weeks of quarantining and all members of your household are symptom free for 48 hours.

If a child or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4 or higher, cough, or shortness of breath) while at the facility, they will be separated from the group until they are picked up from the facility. If symptoms persist or worsen, parents/guardians should call their health care provider for further guidance. Employees or child’s parents/guardians must inform the facility immediately if the person is diagnosed with COVID-19.

If a child has a fever of 100.4 or higher, without any other symptoms, and if no other family members have a fever at the same time, the child must be fever free for 48 hours and have a Doctor’s note before returning to school.

A mandatory 14-day waiting period for any child that has been exposed to or has tested positive for the coronavirus must be followed before they are able to return, along with a physician’s note clearing the child. The classroom will be closed for 2 days for cleaning and to allow the local health officials to determine how the COVID-19 situation is impacting the school and determine the next appropriate steps.

Social Distancing

  • The same small group of children and staff members will be kept together throughout the day; there will be no cross-interaction between groups. 
  • Staff will remain with the same groups, including during outdoor play, from day to day and from week to week. This will help reduce potential exposures.
  • The group sizes will be limited, following the Health Department Guidelines. 
  • During mealtimes, tables will be arranged to ensure that there is distance between students.
  • Parents and caregivers will not be allowed into the center during its operation.
  • Social distancing will be practiced by staff to the maximum extent while still allowing for the care of children.

Intensified Cleaning & Disinfection

We will follow strict sanitizing procedures throughout the day and at the end of each day, and take extra precaution with any materials that may have come into contact with children’s saliva, mucus or any other bodily fluid. Such toys will be set aside in a separate bin that is inaccessible to the children. They will only be returned to the shelves once they have been cleaned and sanitized.

  • Indoor shared spaces will be disinfected between group uses.
  • Toilet stalls will be disinfected between each child’s usage.
  • Items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected properly will not be used (soft and porous toys)
  • Toys will be cleaned and sanitized daily.
  • Cots will be assigned and labeled individually for each child, and the children will be spaced as far apart as possible during nap time and sleep head to toe.
  • Toys and other materials will remain with a given classroom and will not be shared throughout the facility.
  • Item sharing will be limited; each child will have their own labeled set of commonly used items (such as markers, scissors, glue, crayons) so they will not need to share these with other children.
  • Children will not be allowed to bring toys from home.

Surfaces

  • Classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected more frequently during the day. Doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, toilets, tables, chairs, cots and cubbies will be wiped down and sanitized often.
  • Cleaning products are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes Covid-19.
  • Cleaning materials are kept secure and out of reach of children.

Hand Hygiene

Both staff & children will engage in regular hand washing with soap & water for at least 20 seconds

  • Upon arrival                                                                                
  • After coming in contact with any child
  • Before & after eating                                                                
  • After using the restroom
  • After coughing, sneezing or nose blowing                            
  • Before putting on gloves to handle food
  • After touching or cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated
  • After using shared equipment like toys, computers, keyboard etc

Masks

Staff will be required to wear masks at all times.

Children will not be required to wear masks in childcare setting

Closure Policy

If we become aware of a COVID-19 positive case in our facility, we will contact our local health department for guidance and will be advised by them on the steps that need to be taken. If we will need to close our facility, we will notify you as soon as possible to allow for you to make alternate arrangements for your family. We will continue to follow the health guidelines before reopening.

Waiver

All families and staff will need to sign a waiver stating they are at the school at their own free will and understand the potential risk involved with being at the preschool.

Travel

During this time, if any family member/child participates in any travel outside the United States, or to another state that is on the hotspot list, your child may not return to school for 14 days while you monitor the traveler and family’s health prior to remittance to our center. We highly advise not traveling outside of the United States or to any of the hotspot states at this time.