ChildRoots is an art- and science-based learning community dedicated to providing superior childcare for children ages six weeks to six years. We see each child as an authentic, powerful individual. Our teachers are trained to provide a consistent, center-wide experience focused on social and emotional development, language acquisition, building self-esteem, and fostering a sense of wonder. Our awe-inspiring classrooms are designed to provoke curiosity, encourage inquiry, and allow for movement. Classrooms are child-focused: everything visible to children is available for their use, and the materials are continually adapted to suit their developmental needs and interests.
HOURS OF OPERATION
We are open from 7:00AM-6:00PM, Monday through Friday at our three centers. Our three single-cohort annexes operate from 7:15AM-5:45PM. We offer three enrollment schedules: full-time (Monday-Friday), three-day (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) or two-day (Tuesday/Thursday). We do not offer a four-day enrollment schedule, nor do we offer half-day care.
Infant and toddler classrooms are separated by a six month age range from the youngest to the oldest child in the classroom. Children enrolled in a cohort stay with this same group of peers throughout their time at our schools. Infants who enroll with us as young babies graduate with the same cohort group 4-5 years later. These groups of children become very close, and families gain additional support from each other by having a network of others with children learning and growing at the same developmental pace. The continuity of friendships this enrollment approach supports requires that families make a long-term commitment to our school.
Our preschool classrooms offer a one year age range from the youngest to the oldest child enrolled in each cohort. Preschool classrooms have an age range of 3-4 years or 4-5 years. When a cohort of 5-year-olds graduates onto kindergarten and leaves our school at the end of August, we move the oldest toddlers into those preschool spaces to join the 4-year-olds.
ChildRoots is closed on major federal holidays, two additional days during the summer and winter for Professional Development, and for one week over the winter holidays. The preschool has two additional closure days for Parent-Teacher Conferences. For a complete list of 2016 closures, please see our calendar.
All food served at ChildRoots is organic, vegetarian and nut-free. We serve lunch and two snacks daily. Meals are served family-style under our signature "Take 5” plan, which incorporates a grain, bean, fresh fruit, vegetable, and dairy. Each food group is served in a separate communal bowl. In this way, children are able to eat more of what they like while minimizing the waste of what’s not eaten. Teachers eat alongside children in this communal dining experience.
Produce is served fresh, either roasted or steamed. Beans and grains have minimal seasoning. By serving a variety of nutritious, delicious foods in their natural state; children are able to acquire a taste for whole, unprocessed foods. This inspires children to establish healthy eating habits that will last far after the time that they’re with us.
DIAPERING AND POTTY TRAINING
We use our own reusable cloth diapers with snap-able wraps for diapering during center hours. Diapers are changed every 1.5-2 hours, or when immediate need is detected. Parents are responsible for providing wipes and "travel" diapers (those worn to and from school each day).
As soon as children are able to walk, we begin to incorporate the toilet into diapering time. Diapers at this stage are changed standing up, next to the toilet. Children are encouraged to be a part of their diaper changing process and they are invited to sit on the toilet with every diaper change. We look for signs of readiness, including bladder control and consistent interest in the toilet before moving children into underwear.
Children sleep on individual PVC and BPA-free rest mats. Cribs and other contraptions used to confine a child to one space are not used in our schools. We believe that children sleep better when teachers are tuned into each child’s individual rhythms and cues, and when these sleep patterns are observed and followed.
Each child is assigned a primary care provider - a single teacher who is primarily focused on that child. Primary care providing allows children to build trust and bond more easily with their teachers. While both teachers in a classroom will be aware of and able to meet your child’s needs at any time, knowing that your child has one person at school who is particularly familiar with and tuned into his or her needs provides you with added security and ease of communication.
In addition to primary teachers, each classroom has a team of support staff.
The classroom specialist ensures that our core philosophies are being followed. The specialist is the expert in the field, and they will spend time in the classroom with your child's primary teachers.
The break support teachers guarantee that each primary teacher gets to leave the classroom for 10-minute breaks, one hour lunches, and to take time each week to document, reflect, and develop curriculum.
Substitute teachers also play an important role at our school. When teachers take vacations or need a day off due to illness, our school employs well-trained substitutes who are available to fill in as needed.
We view each child as a competent, imaginative, and curious self-learner. Given a safe, healthy, and stimulating environment; they will explore their own interests at their own pace. Rather than directing learning through a strict, teacher-led curriculum, we provide various learning opportunities through emergent curriculum. Teachers carefully design captivating learning experiences based on the cohort's current interests. Introduction to, and use of, letters and numbers is integrated into our exploration of learning topics in our project-based work. Learning topics emerge from the interests of the children and are explored as small groups during group meeting times.
BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN INFANTS
In our infant rooms, we are generally inspired by the work of Magda Gerber and her Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE). This means that we respect infants as people, value even the youngest baby as a whole, competent individual, and speak to and treat them as we would older children or adults. Since it is always our goal to allow children the time and space for self-discovery and self-learning, we allow infants to develop mobility and other skills at their own pace, never propping them or placing them in a position into which they cannot naturally move their own bodies.
We believe that children benefit from natural, open-ended, enchanting, dynamic, and inspiring materials: toys and environments that intentionally scaffold learning. Toys are rotated on a regular basis to ensure that children are continually challenged by, and engaged in, their environments.
ART & SCIENCE
Every day our full-time, on-site art studio director offers preschoolers time and materials for artistic exploration. Sometimes that means setting out creative supplies for those children electing to attend open art studio. Other times, children will work in small groups on long–term, more involved projects, with more guidance from our art studio director. We believe in the importance of the process of making art, rather than focusing on a prescribed product.
Additionally, each classroom spends time with a new and evolving hands-on sensory process every day. Each sensory process is carefully designed to scaffold art and science skills and conceptualization. It is our philosophy that allowing repeated exploration of a variety of materials appropriate to age and developmental stages fosters independence, curiosity, confidence and a respect for materials in the classroom. We’ve found that sensory bins, even in infant rooms, aid in developmental advancement of social and motor skills.
All enrolled children go outside at least once a day, rain or shine. Walking children are usually outside 2 to 3 times per day, taking walks in the neighborhood or playing in our playground. Our playground spaces and outdoor classrooms are specifically designed to promote gross motor movement: room to run, stumps and loose parts for crawling and climbing onto, a rock pit for digging, and, in the summer months, we provide opportunities for water play. We are continually changing and adapting our yard area to meet the needs of the children.