I heard my email DING on my phone this morning and saw it was from ASU. Immediately I grabbed my lap top knowing that I was seconds away from finding out how well we did on our annual review. I think I even felt my heart race a little in anticipation of the ” reveal.” Its one of the those things that I KNOW I give my job 110% but to have an outside objective observer really nails down the things that need improvement .. and there always are those things. When I get perfect, Ill retire. Danielle sat with me as we quickly scanned the pages of observations . She said ” I was nervous going through the inspection but reading this makes me even more nervous . It is very detailed and important. ” Yes…..
A regular licensed site that wants to go for a quality rating must receive a 4. As an Arkansas Better Chance site I must get a 5 out of 7. Our total score was 5.68. There are 7 areas we are critiqued in.
Space and Furnishings 5.17
Personal Care Routines 3.00
Listening and Talking 7.00
Program Structure 6.00
Parents and Provider 7.00
You can see what obviously pulled my score down below a 6. Personal Care Routines are things like hand washing . 63% of the time children washed their hands properly ( warm water, soap for 20 seconds, dry them off… ) . In order to pass that area you must have 75%. This almost NEVER happens anywhere. Other things in that area were : a child stepped on another child’s sleeping mat. I KNOW… you are thinking picky picky picky, right ? But, this is what helps us stay healthy here !
Some other things that got us were that plug that I noticed the next day near the door that was not covered. A couple dangling cords from CD Players or a lamp and one mini blind. Oh, and I left a magic eraser out. No one would eat one right ? They are great for cleaning write on wipe off surfaces. Our front porch is considered a hazard since it is more than 18 inches from the ground. ( But who would ever want to take that away from the kids ? Many great stories go on in that wicker furniture on the porch. ) Anyway, you can see they were minor things with an easy fix.
Some of the GREAT things they said about us :
During the observation many math and language concepts were introduced and practiced in a responsive age appropriate manner ,through both play activities and ” real world” experiences. Children were often encouraged to reason and work together to solve problems.
During independent play children spontaneously created graphs, talked about the title pages of books and found writing materials to record their ideas. They demonstrated that high level math, laguanage and thinking skills are modeled often and well, so much so that these skills have become a natural part of the their work and play even without prompting from adults.
This programs strong postive connection with children and families is highly evident. Families have many ways to be involved with their child’s preschool and a blog is updated regularly to reflect the children’s activities and learning experiences . On the day of the observation the teacher shared much helpful and reassuring information with a grandparent preparing to take children for a visit to kindergarten. ( Thanks Charlotte… you didnt know you were helping me by having that conversation with me. ! )
Materials in each room of the home and on the playground are appealing , meaningful and highly appropriate and thoughtfully selected. Children are offered many unique play experiences, including a mud kitchen, indoor and outdoor music areas with authentic instruments and a delightful artist nook. It is clear that caregivers spend a great amount of time finding and making materials that foster creativity, exploration and a sense of wonder. This is a very special place to be a preschooler.
Tear….. I cried here.
I find these observations , even the negative notes uplifting. I can use these notes to create an even better environment for the kids. A report like this makes you think . For instance – the mini blind cord. We NEVER put the blind down.. so why is it even still hanging there ? That is why having ” checkups” like this one help us be the best we can be.
Moving on .
Most of your know that McKayla’s mother passed away the other night. McKayla and her twin Colby have lived with their grandmother since they were two and a half. Charlotte is doing a wonderful job of raising great kids. Charlotte told the twins last night about their mom. ( Her heart was sick and stopped working. She is not living anymore.) I was all prepared to have a serious talk today ( like a family does) about McKayla’s mom and the fear it might cause in the other children that their mom might die. As McKayla came in she sat in my lap for a while and said nothing. She did later tell me her mom died. I just replied that my mom had died too. I asked her was she said. She said she wanted to go home. I told her I knew she did but today her granny needed her to play with us. After a while she went on to play and nothing else was said. I decided that if she didnt want to talk to her friends about it, then I didnt need to either . At lunch as Danielle walked up the stairs McKayla said ” Danielle, my mom died.” Danielle replied ” Im sorry. My dad did too.” Some of the kids at the table heard her and she progressed to tell them that her moms heart was sick and she died but her heart ( McKaylas ) was ok. A couple of the kids asked her what she meant and she just replied ” my mom died.” Danielle had sat on the steps at this point and I stayed close to the table incase we needed to intervene but it became very clear that it was a short lived conversation . She just needed to say it then and she was finished. It wasn’t an in-depth conversation and I am not even sure everyone heard her. Following my teacher gut… and heart…. I didnt explore. The time may come before school is out that we all need to talk about it as McKayla feels more comfortable but that wasn’t today. If you’re child mentions this the main thing you can do is let them talk. Reassure them that you are ok and not going to die. Also , use concrete terms . Don’t tell your child her mom is sleeping for a very long time and will wake up – that isn’t true. Don’t say ” she is watching down from heaven.” For some small children this might be comforting but for most kids this age it is just creepy to think that someone is staring at them and might cause nightmares. My suggestion is to not talk about it at all unless your child asks you about it or says anything. I don’t know about Danielle but as the kids talked I had a lump in my throat remembering my mom who passed away 2 years ago this week. Losing people we love is not easy.
We spent a lot of time outside today . Some of the kids even found bugs . Mrs. Rhonda found a luna moth. We took the time to look it up on the computer and figure out what kind of moth it is. Did you know a luna moth lays up to 200 eggs at a time? Orrin and I agreed that one baby brother was probably enough, he can’t imagine life with 200 little brothers.
Since I have taken so much time talking about our review and our friends mother passing I want to end the blog with pictures from our fun today.
I am thankful for my job , the learning that takes place here on so many levels, for the kids and for me.