3.0 Program Development

3.1 Curriculum Objectives

  • First Environments aspires to meet the needs of all children and will work with classrooms and individual staff to reach curriculum goals.
  • Teachers are encouraged to use available resources to develop activities for a good daily routine.
  • Help can be available from the Executive Director and/or an employee’s supervisor. Planning will include discussions pertaining to child behavior and activities that will promote the social, physical, and intellectual development of the children. Each classroom will post new lesson plans outside the classroom every week.

3.1.1 Development Observations

Observations of children take place continuously. Observations are the responsibility of the teachers in each room. The observations serve to record progress and establish goals for each child. Observations could include narrative, reports, and samples of children’s creations.

3.1.2 Classroom Transitions

First Environments Early Learning Center strives to eliminate as many classroom transitions throughout the school year as possible. When determining class configurations, the Center must ensure that the ages of the children are appropriately grouped in classrooms so that when children move up or move in, the classroom remains developmentally appropriate.

3.2 Maintenance of Equipment and Materials

  • Adequate material and equipment will be provided by the Center (within budgetary limits) to enrich each child’s learning experiences.
  • Staff members are expected to take care of materials and equipment and to teach the children to do so.
  • Staff may be held liable for destruction of materials and/or equipment. Rooms shall be kept orderly, especially when staff and children leave them.
  • Staff members are expected to complete basic housekeeping tasks as assigned by the Executive Director.

3.3 Behavior Management Policy

It is the policy of the Center and the laws of the State of North Carolina to neither spank nor physically punish a child. A constructive technique for managing behavior and maintaining a child’s self worth will be applied. The Director and administrative team will provide guidance in these skills. The goal of behavior management is to teach the child self-control and self- correcting techniques. Employees are required to sign a statement stating they will follow the FEELC guidelines for child behavior management.

While each child and each behavioral situation is unique, we shall use a few basic management strategies to help the child learn to manage his/her own behavior. For example, we shall focus our attention on positive behavior while ignoring negative behavior. In addition, when negative behavior arises, we shall redirect the child to another activity. When conflicts arise, problem solving and addressing of feelings will occur. Room arrangement shall be inviting and classroom activities shall be stimulating in order to reduce behavioral problems. Directions or suggestions are stated simply and positively. Actions of the child, not the child’s personality, are the focus.

Corrective action will be immediate. Consistency will be maintained. Children will not be isolated, denied food, sleep, or bathroom use due to negative behavior.

Under certain situations, First Environments may require a parent to pick up their child due to aggressive or uncontrollable behavior. Persistent uncontrollable behavior and/or serious hurtful behaviors are not compatible with group care for a number of reasons. First, the safety and well being of the other children and teachers need to be protected. Second, this behavior requires a significant amount of one-on-one attention from the classroom’s primary teachers, and therefore effectively puts the classroom out of ratio. This puts a stress on the whole classroom, as teachers are not able to provide the other children with the attention that is essential for quality care.

Recurrent Uncontrollable Behavior:

It is the goal of FEELC to work proactively and constructively on behavioral issues with each child and family using the strategies described above. However, if a child displays persistent uncontrollable behavior and the above approaches are to no avail, the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be required to remove the child from FEELC immediately.

Admitting the child back into FEELC will only occur after appropriate steps have been taken by the parent(s)/guardian(s) to correct the child’s behavior, and only after consultation between the Executive Director and the parent(s)/guardian(s).

For example:

  • A child repeatedly refuses to participate in necessary routines and/or activities (hand washing, resting/napping, toileting, meals, or staying within sight and sound of the group) and they require one to one teacher assistance.

  • A child becomes dependent on direct teacher assistance in order to cope with their typical emotional needs or to prevent unacceptable behaviors.

  • A child displays age inappropriate tantrums that last longer than twenty-minutes and/or occurs more than three times in one day.

  • A child needs to be separated from the group more than two times in one day.

  • Persistent hurtful behavior and/or lack of self control

The Center’s behavior management policy does not allow threats or physical punishment by staff. Parents must abide by the same policy when in the Center. Children are subject to suspension for a period of two weeks should parents violate Center policy. Fees will be required during the two-week suspension to ensure the child’s slot is available at the end of the suspended period.

Parents are required to sign the Enrollment Agreement which states:

I HAVE READ AND AGREE TO ALL OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS AGREEMENT AND THOSE OF THE PARENT’S HANDBOOK. THE PARENT HANDBOOK IS ACCESSABLE ON THE FEELC WEB-SITE: http://www.firstenvironments.org

3.4 Health and Safety Policies

First Environments’ staff is expected to follow the same exclusion policies as set for the children.

3.4.1 Instructions for Sick Children

* Staff are required to work through the FEELC Administrative staff. The Administrative staff will coordinate all illness and exclusion decisions, questions, and communications with parents.

  • Taking temperatures: If a child is warm to the touch and you suspect that he or she has a fever, you may take an axillary (under the arm) temperature. Check the child’s schedule or any notes the parent may have left to be sure there is not some special circumstance that may be causing the fever. Be sure to give the child time to cool down after a nap or after being physically active.

  • Temperature maximums: With an axillary temperature of 100 degrees or above, the child’s parents must be called after consulting with one of the administrative staff.

* Contact the administrative staff for documentation and consultation of illnesses.

3.4.2 Medication and Medication Forms

No medication (prescription or over the counter) will be administered without specific instructions from a physician or the child’s parent or guardian. A Medication Form must be completed and dated for each day the medicine is to be dispensed. The parent must sign and date the form. When the medicine is dispensed, the hour is noted on the form and the staff member who administers the medicine must initial it. Staff members who fail to administer medication properly or fail to complete the appropriate forms may be terminated. All medications must be in there original box or bottle and contain the child’s name and the appropriate dosage for his/her age and weight. Any sunscreens or diaper creams must also have all of the above.

Pain relievers can only be administered for immunizations, teething, and earaches w/out fever. Medication is not to be mixed with formula, juice, or food.

3.4.2 a Medical or Dental Emergencies

In case of a medical or dental emergency, the staff will follow specific procedures:

Minor Accident:

  • Classroom teacher will administer first aid
  • An accident report will be prepared. One copy will go to the administrative staff in the front office and the other will be given to the parent.

Serious Accident:

If a child has an emergency inside the Center or on the playground, a staff member will bring the child to the Center office to be assessed by the administrative staff. If the child is not able to be moved, then an administrative staff member will be called to the scene of the accident immediately. The following procedures will be followed:

If the child has sustained a head, neck, or spinal cord injury or obvious leg fracture, the staff must call 911.

If the child has none of the above and is able to be moved, the parents will be responsible for transporting the child to the hospital of their choice. If a parent cannot be located and the Executive Director or Administrative staff determines that the child should be treated by a physician, the emergency contact person will be called to transport the child or the hospital of choice will be called for ambulance transportation.

The Executive Director or administrative staff will be responsible for the following:

  • Assuring that authorization for medical treatment is taken with the ill or injured person to the hospital.

  • Accompanying the ill or injured person to the hospital. (Remember that ratios must be maintained.)

  • Notifying the parents.

  • Notifying the emergency contact person in case of staff illness or injury requiring transportation to a medical facility.

Notifying the medical facility about the person to be treated. Obtaining substitute staff if needed

Emergency contact information must be kept current at all times. Please notify the Center of any change.

3.4.3 Universal Precautions

Universal precautions, as defined by this policy, are intended to maintain good hygienic practices and to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in the Center. Employees shall exercise universal precautions whenever handling blood, or other bodily fluids. Employees will receive training on the risks of exposure to blood borne pathogens and ways to reduce or eliminate such risks.

Universal precautions standards include;

  • Staff wear gloves as a barrier to minimize the contact of mucous or bodily fluids
  • Staff immediately clean up spills of bodily fluids with detergent followed by water rinsing
  • After cleaning, staff sanitize any nonporous surfaces with bleach-water solution
  • Staff clean rugs and carpeting by blotting, spot cleaning with a detergent-disinfectant, and shampooing or steam cleaning
  • Staff dispose of contaminated materials and diapers in a plastic bag with a secure tie that is placed in a closed trashcan
  • Toys that children place in their mouths or toys that have been contaminated by body secretion will be washed in our sanitizer dishwashing machine before returning to the classroom.

First Environments has a detailed HIV/AIDS policy on file that employees may obtain from their supervisors.

3.5 Emergency Procedures

3.5.1 Emergency Preparedness

If an emergency should occur, First Environments’ Emergency Plan goes into effect. Emergency preparedness enables you to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency, providing first aid and shelter to victims, treating the injured, as well as caring for children. It is important that you actively participate in safety training and disaster drills scheduled throughout the year and review manuals developed as a guide for emergency care. Your participation in safety training and disaster drills will be documented and maintained in Center records and your personnel file if necessary. Your supervisor can provide you with a copy of the Emergency Plan.

3.5.2 Fire Drills

Fire drill forms will be filled out monthly in accordance with licensing requirements. Drills will be scheduled by the Center, keeping in mind the climatic conditions and well-being of the children. The scheduled times should vary from month to month, and one fire drill a year must be held at nap-time. Forms will be completed immediately following the drills and will be filed in the Center’s designated folders.

3.5.3 Tornado Drills

Tornado drills will take place regularly and will be scheduled by the Center. During such drills, children will crouch down on the floor and cover their faces. Be sure you are in a designated area.

3.5.4 Inclement Weather Policy

First Environments makes decisions on whether the Center will operate during inclement weather separate from NIEHS and the EPA. The Board President and the Director take into consideration the road conditions, travel advisories and area schools & business openings/closings. Staff members are expected to make every effort to get to work during inclement weather if safe travel permits; however staff may use their leave time if they decide to remain at home due to the possibility of hazardous road conditions. If the Center does not open due to inclement weather, all regularly scheduled employees will be paid for their scheduled hours. Regularly scheduled employees are; staff that are scheduled to work on the specific day of inclement weather. Employees that were not scheduled will not be paid for that day and will use leave time. This includes if it is not your regularly scheduled day of work, planned vacation or appointments, or sick day if you called out prior to the center making their inclement weather decision. If the Center closes early due to inclement weather, all employees who have reported to work will be paid for their remaining scheduled hours. If the Center has a delayed opening, all employees that report to work on time will have the opportunity to earn eight hours of work time. If the center is not open for eight hours, the time necessary to make up the difference will be added to employee’s time card. In order to receive eight hours of paid time, you must arrive when the center is scheduled to open and work until the end of the day or until numbers allow for you to leave. In any case of inclement weather, call 541-KIDZ(5439) for operating hours.

3.5.5 Accidents

In the event of any accident, all staff is required to complete an Accident Report. Make a copy for the office and a copy for the parent.

Minor Accident

  • The staff member will administer first aid.
  • An accident report will be prepared. One copy will go into the child’s folder and the other will be given to the parent and one copy to the FEELC administration.

Serious Accident

If a child has an emergency inside the Center or on the playground, a staff member will bring the child to the Center office to be assessed by the administrative staff. If the child is not able to be moved, then an administrative staff member will be called to the scene of the accident immediately. The following procedures will be followed:

If the child has sustained a head, neck, or spinal cord injury or obvious leg fracture, the staff must call 911.

If the child has none of the above and is able to be moved, the parents will be responsible for transporting the child to the hospital of their choice. If a parent cannot be located and the Executive Director or one of the administrative staff determines that the child should be treated by a physician, the emergency contact person will be called to transport the child or the hospital of choice will be called for ambulance transportation.

The Executive Director or one of the FEELC administrators will be responsible for the following:

  • Assuring that authorization for medical treatment is taken with the ill or injured person to the hospital.
  • Accompanying the ill or injured person to the hospital. (Remember that ratios must be maintained.)
  • Notifying the parents.
  • Notifying the emergency contact person in case of staff illness or injury requiring transportation to a medical facility.
  • Notifying the medical facility about the person to be treated. Obtaining substitute staff if needed.

3.6 Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect

Any employee who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect shall report such findings to the county

Department of Social Services (“DSS”) and also immediately inform the Executive Director. “Abuse” means the infliction, other than by accidental means, of any act by an individual that causes or creates a substantial risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm or threat to a child. “Neglect” means the failure, either deliberately or through negligence, to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medical attention, or other essential care for a child. “Reasonable cause” means a basis for judgment resting on facts, either directly or indirectly observed or obtained from reliable sources, that supports a belief that a particular action or inaction occurred or a particular condition exists. It is not the responsibility of the employee to prove that the child has been abused or neglected, or to determine whether the child is in need of protection. Employees shall not contact the child’s family or any other person to determine the cause of the suspected abuse or neglect. An employee making such a report is immune from any civil or criminal liability provided that the employee was acting in good faith in making the report. All instances of suspected child abuse or neglect are to be reported within 24 hours.

If an employee of the Center is named as a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect, the employee must report such accusations to the Executive Director immediately. The employee will immediately cease working directly with children. An investigation will be conducted by the Center administration. If this investigation, DSS investigation, and the Day Care Section investigation find that the employee did not commit such acts, the employee will be reinstated and will be paid for all days missed.

If the employee is found to have committed such acts, the employee will be terminated immediately. If the state investigations are inconclusive, the status of the employee will be determined by the Executive Director.

Under no circumstances will the Center tolerate negligent behavior on the part of the staff members. The Center will provide staff development opportunities related to protection from child abuse and neglect claims.

3.7 Staff–Parent Relationships

We believe parents are the most significant adults in a child’s life. We strive to create mutual respect between parents and Center staff—a partnership for the benefit of the child. Our doors are open to parents at all times and staff is expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner on all occasions.

3.8 Staff Relationships

A cooperative team effort is encouraged among staff. All staff is expected to act in a professional manner at all times and to adhere to a professional code of ethics. Good communication between staff members is essential in order for positive working relationships to flourish. Should a staff member have a concern or question about the actions of a fellow staff member, he or she is encouraged to get together with that staff member and discuss the issue(s). If the concern or question cannot be adequately settled among the staff members, then it is important for the staff members to get together with their supervisor to discuss the issue(s).

3.9 Staff Meetings

The Directors and or Program Coordinators will call teachers’ meetings for organization of work and in-service training. The Director and/or Program Coordinators will observe and work in the classrooms with teachers in order to help ensure quality programming and act as a resource for the teaching staff. Attendance is encouraged and failure to do so may affect your annual performance review.

3.10 Acceptable Media Policy

First Environments is a “TV Free” center. Children are not allowed to watch television or use the computer as a television substitute. Should there be a special occasion in which an acceptable short video is requested by staff, this must first be approved by the Executive Director or Program Facilitator. 

Last updated: 1/26/2017