Sensory, Toileting, and Teacher Retention -- these were just a few of the topics discussed at our most recent PCC meeting on Monday, August 15th.
Sensory - We believe that sensory is vitally important for young children, and these early experiences with sensory processes are the basis for our art and science program for young children. Infant and toddlers aren’t yet interested in the product – as adorable as they may be for parents, handprint turkeys aren’t valuable to children. Children are, however, deeply interested and invested in the process. They’re excited to scoop and pour and rip and smear; and our sensory program gives them ample opportunity to practice these skills, communicate with each other, and investigate the world around them. Each aspect of our sensory program is planned to be safe and scaffold upon the previous material. If we’ve brought an item into our school, we’ve already thoroughly investigated the environmental impact and safety implications.
Toileting - To support toilet learning, we ask all children in underwear to check in with their bodies and use the bathroom before heading outside. If a child expresses that they do need to use the bathroom while outside, a whole group must come inside so ratio is maintained. Due to health codes and licensing regulations, it’s not possible to install a toilet or potty chair outside.
Sibling Discount – Unfortunately, we’re unable to provide a sibling discount. After paying our employees and covering all overhead costs, our profit margin is only 9%. Providing a 10% sibling discount to all of families with us with more than one child would, in essence, completely diminish that profit margin. Our profits go into reserves for low summer enrollment months, and sometimes go towards large projects or new locations.
Days Off in September – We’ll be closed on Friday, August 26th for teacher training and graduation prep, and September 1st and 2nd for new school year preparation. Teachers will be deep cleaning classrooms, moving, organizing, and setting up spaces for the new school year. Several parents commented on so many closures so close together, and we’ll keep this feedback in mind when structuring the calendar for the 2016-2017 school year.
Teacher Retention – This was a hot topic, with many parents recounting the frustrations they’ve had with teachers leaving. We, too, desperately want these people to stay. We work to provide good training, a supportive, positive atmosphere; and adequate compensation (our starting wage is now significantly higher than industry average). The 6% tuition increase families will be paying in September goes almost entirely to raising teacher wages across the board. We’re providing teacher treats, continuing education, and – new this month – an ongoing teacher collaboration council. We want our teachers to be successful and feel valued as much as you want them to stay at ChildRoots. More musings on this topic are forthcoming – we don’t want parents to feel like we’re selling them an experience that we are consistently unable to provide. We still ask teachers to make a long term commitment to their cohort (which we revisit year by year), but now understand that teachers remaining with their kiddos the full 3 years from infancy to preschool is increasingly unlikely. The relationships that children form with other members of their cohort is critical to the formation of emotional literacy, empathy, and social-emotional skills. Besides the evident importance of a stable, loving teacher; we seek to promote healthy, strong peer relationships; and we provide children with a safe environment to grow these social skills and first friendships.