Welcome to the Clear Lake Preschool Program!
The Clear Lake School District is proud of our rich tradition and years of providing a high quality preschool program for the families of Clear Lake. We offer a preschool program for students four years old by September 15. We also offer tuition-based three year old preschool. Three year old tuition is $100.00 monthly and no refunds will be provided due to weather cancellations. We partner with Charlie Brown Preschool to serve the majority of the students of our community.
Refunds: The Clear Lake Schools will not refund preschool tuition for weather-related cancellations that are not rescheduled.
Preschool Program Goals for Children and Families:
- Children will show competency in social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development skills.
- Children with be enthusiastic and curious learners.
- Children will be safe and healthy.
- Families will feel welcome in the classroom and school.
- Families will work with the school in a meaningful partnership to help their children be better prepared for learning.
- Families will advocate for their children.
The goal of our program is to implement best practices in early childhood education. We believe this to mean creating a climate that is safe, nurturing, and stimulating, where classroom activities are driven by children’s current abilities and interests. Our preschool provides a rich learning environment that encourages children’s natural curiosity and supports them to take risks that lead to new skill development and prepares them to be life-long learners. Our approach to learning focuses on facilitating student opportunities for hands-on exploration, recognizing that play is the work of children. In addition, our program also provides children with experiences that encourage them to interact with others, solve problems, and to work and learn cooperatively. Our classrooms are places where problems are posed and solutions generated, mistakes are made and valued as learning experiences.
It is our belief that in order to maintain a quality program, it is crucial to approach preschool education as a partnership. Our preschool partners include, but are not limited to, teachers, parents, students, support staff, and community members. Teachers, parents, and children make decisions together about what is best for children. All of these factors together help children to view themselves as valued, contributing, and successful members of their school, family, and community.
To be eligible for the 4 year old preschool program, children must be 4 years of age on/or prior to September 15th of the current school year. In order to be enrolled in the 3 year old program, children must be 3 years old on/or prior to September 15th of the current school year.
Preschool Time Schedule
- 4 year old preschool M-T-Th-F (8:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
- 4 year old preschool M-T-Th-F (12:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.)
- 3 year old preschool M/Th or T/F (8:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
General Information (QPPS Standard 10.4)
Maximum class size is 20 children. Some classrooms may serve fewer students, based on the square footage of the location. A staff-child ratio of at least 1:10 will be maintained at all times to encourage adult-child interactions, promote activity among children, and to ensure the safety of all students.
Inclusion (QPPS Standard 9.10)
The preschool program serves all children, including those with disabilities and unique learning needs. Staff are aware of the identified needs of individual children and are trained to follow through on specific intervention plans. The preschool facilities meet the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements.
Activities your child may participate in during the school day include:
- Group times, including large and small group learning opportunities
- Choice time
- Music and movement
- Math and literacy activities
- Outdoor/gross motor opportunities
- Story Time/Literacy Groups
- Quiet time
Curriculum (QPPS Standards 2.1-2.3)
Curriculum is a framework for learning opportunities and experiences. It is a process by which learners obtain knowledge and understanding, while developing life skills. It is continually revised and evaluated to make learning fun and exciting.
The preschool program uses Creative Curriculum, a research and evidence based comprehensive curriculum designed for three to five-year-olds. It addresses all areas of early learning: language and literacy, math, science, physical skills, and social skills. It provides children an opportunity to learn in a variety of ways- through play, problem solving, movement, art, music, drawing and writing, listening and storytelling. Parental input on child learning and progress is an integral part of the curriculum.
Assessment (QPPS Standards 4.1, 4.2)
Children are assessed in the following ways:
- “Gold” – State Assessment used by all State Funded Preschools
- Creative Curriculum Developmental Checklist completed three times per year.
- Observational data provides an ongoing anecdotal record of each child’s progress during daily activities.
- Early Literacy Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) are given at the beginning and end of the year to monitor growth of early literacy skills.
- Child portfolios are organized by the teaching staff and include assessments, rubrics and child work samples collected on an on-going basis.
- Families are asked to contribute information about their child’s progress. Young children often show different skills in different settings. Working together, the teaching staff and families can gather a more complete picture of a child’s growth and development.
The information above is used in the following ways:
- To provide information about children’s needs, interests, and abilities in order to plan developmentally appropriate experiences for them.
- Improving curriculum and adapting teaching practices and the environment and improving the program.
- To provide information to parents about their children’s progress throughout the year.
- To indicate possible areas that raise concerns for educators and parents and help to develop an action plan to address those concerns.
- To assist the teacher in arranging for developmental screenings and referrals for diagnostic assessments when needed. (QPPS Standard 7.4)
Assessment information is shared with families three times per year during conferences and through written reports. The preschool teacher will communicate weekly with families regarding activities and observations of children. Informal conferences are always welcome and can be requested at any time. (QPPS Standards 7.3, 7.5)
Clear Lake Preschool implements the Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards.
Child Guidance and Discipline (QPPS Standards 1.3;1.11,)
Teaching staff will equitably use positive guidance, redirection, and purposeful planning to promote positive behavior and minimize inappropriate behavior in the classroom. They will encourage appropriate behavior through the use of consistent clear rules, purposeful room arrangement, and scheduling. They will also involve children in problem solving to foster each child’s own ability to become self-disciplined. Teaching staff will encourage children to respect other people, to be fair, respect property, and learn to be responsible for their actions. They will help children learn to persist when frustrated, play cooperatively with other children, use language to communicate needs, and take turns with others.
If additional disciplinary measures become necessary, discipline will be explained to the child before and at the time of any disciplinary action. Teaching staff will use discipline that is consistent, clear and understandable to the child. Aggressive physical behavior toward staff or children is unacceptable. Teaching staff will intervene immediately when a child becomes physically aggressive to protect all of the children and encourage more acceptable behavior. Teaching staff will never use threats, derogatory remarks, or any type of demeaning actions to resolve problem behaviors within the program.
Snack/Foods and Nutrition (QPPS Standards 5.12-5.21)
Children attending our 4 year old preschool will be served a snack. Families are responsible for sending snacks to school according to a schedule given out by each classroom teacher. Food that comes from home for sharing among the children must be either whole fruits or commercially prepared packaged foods in factory sealed containers. Snack suggestions are also given to families to help guide them in sending nutritious snacks for the students. Children will have clean, sanitary drinking water available to them throughout the school day.
Meal plans and emergency action plans will be created and followed for children with special health care needs or food allergies based on recommendations supplied by their health care provider. Children with food allergies will be protected from any contact with problematic foods. High risk foods (choking hazards) will not be served. Clear Lake Schools have enforced a NO PEANUT policy, so we ask that you do not send snacks that contain peanuts or peanut products.
Food will not be withheld as a punishment, nor will staff ever threaten to withhold food as a form of discipline.
Outdoor Play and Learning (QPPS Standards 5.5, 5.6, 9.5-9.7)
We will have daily opportunities for outdoor play as weather permits. This time will allow children to get exercise and develop large motor skills. In cases when we are not able to be outside due to weather, children will be given the opportunity to use indoor equipment for similar activity. Teachers check the heat index and wind chill advisories prior to outdoor play on days when the weather is questionable.
In order to make sure your child is comfortable to play outdoors, we ask that you dress them according to the weather. For cold weather, hats, coats, mittens, boots and snow pants will be needed. Please label all the items with your child’s name. For warmer days, dressing your child lightly is just as important. There are areas on our playground that allow children to be in shade during their active time. Children are able to wear hats for sun protection, and we encourage you to apply sunscreen to your child prior to sending them to school. In order to keep your child safe on the playground equipment, we ask that no flip flops be worn for outdoor play.
Due to the variety of activities provided to your child throughout the school day, we want families to be aware that spills or stains may occur on clothing. Our creative play will include the use of things such as paints, etc. that may result in messy situations, even with the use of paint shirts. Please keep this in mind as you dress your child for school each day, and if necessary, supply an extra change of clothes in case of a spill or mess.
Bathroom Learning (QPPS Standard 5.7)
Staff will follow all diapering guidelines set forth in the Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards- Standard 5, Criteria 7. These procedures are posted in all preschool diapering areas.
Classroom Animals and Pets (QPPS Standard 5.26)
Due to allergy and health reasons, no pets are allowed to be in the classrooms or to visit school. This policy is enforced throughout the entire Clear Lake Community School District.
Arrival and Departure of Children (QPPS Standard 10.11)
If you are dropping off your child for preschool, you need to walk them into the classroom to make sure that someone is present to receive them for the day. If your child is going to be late to school, please notify the office stating approximate arrival time, so that they can inform classroom staff.
At dismissal time, children will be lined up by classes outside on the playground or inside the pod areas if weather does not permit to be outdoors. If you are picking up your child, we ask that you park and wait in the gym at Sunset School. If you are unable to park and want your child brought to your vehicle please let the teachers know and your child will be brought to you.
If your child rides the bus to school, staff will go to each bus as it arrives to assist the children off the bus and to get them to their classrooms safely. At dismissal time, staff will walk students to each bus and check in with the drivers to make sure that everyone is in the appropriate place. If you have to make any changes to your busing schedule, you must call the bus garage and elementary office so that everyone is informed of the changes.
Ethics and Confidentiality
Staff follows strict guidelines regarding the confidentiality of all information concerning children and their families. Confidential information about any particular child will only be shared with early childhood professionals and family members who work directly with the child.
Student records containing personally identifiable information are confidential. Only persons who have a legitimate educational interest are allowed to access a student’s records without the parent’s permission. Parents may access their child’s records during regular office hours.
Grievance Policy (QPPS Standard 7.6)
Open and honest communication between families and the preschool program is an essential part of a high quality early childhood program. If there is ever a time you have a concern regarding your child, we want to encourage you to address your concern to your child’s teacher. If you have a concern or issue that is unresolved by your child’s teacher, please contact the elementary principal.
Families are surveyed in enrollment paperwork and through other questionnaires during the year regarding their family, beliefs, and preferences. Home visits are conducted at the beginning of the school year for students enrolled in the 4 year old program. Preschool staff communicates with families on at least a weekly basis regarding children’s activities. Family teacher conferences are held in the fall and spring, as well as when either party requests. At least one family night will be held during the school year. Families are encouraged to share any concerns, preferences, or questions with the preschool teacher or administration at any time.
When face-to-face contact is not possible, staff rely on notes home, emails, school messaging system, phone calls and newsletters as alternative means to establish and maintain open communication. Ideas for families to be involved in the school experience:
- Share information about your child’s interests and abilities
- Attend family conferences in the fall and spring
- Check your child’s backpack each day
- Participate in field trips
- Share your talents with your child’s class
- Come to play
- Help with special events
Home visits are made prior to the start of school for students enrolled in our 4 year old program. This is an opportunity for the preschool teacher to get to know you, your child, and your family and for you to begin to create a partnership between home and school in order to best meet your child’s needs. This is a great time for you to share what makes your family unique, how you prefer to communicate with the teacher, and share your knowledge about your child’s interests, approaches to learning, and developmental needs. You can help the teacher develop goals for your child and understand what concerns you have for your child.
The preschool program will have formal conferences in the fall and spring. During conferences, the teacher will share results of classroom assessments and samples of your child’s work. Together, you will make a plan and set goals for your child to continue on the path of growth and development.
Family night will be held at least once per school year. Family nights are an opportunity for you and your family to come to school to participate in fun as well as educational activities.
Parent Advisory Committee
Parent Advisory Committee meetings are held several times throughout the year as needed to address important topics related to the preschool program. Parents may serve as regular members of the Advisory Committee or simply attend those meetings that you may have a specific interest in. Parent participation on this committee is a key to helping us maintain a quality program. Watch your child’s monthly newsletter and calendar for details about Advisory Committee meetings.
The Iowa Immunization Law requires that all children entering school be adequately immunized against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whopping cough, measles, and rubella. If a child is overdue for any immunizations, parents must provide documentation of a scheduled appointment as soon as possible, except where parents are using religious exemption for health services.
Health and Safety Records (QPPS Standards 10.10, 5.1, 10.14)
Health and safety information will be collected from families and maintained in a file in the school office. These health and safety records include:
- Current health insurance information required for emergency treatment
- Current health examination results including immunizations
- Current emergency contact information
- Names of authorized individuals to have access to health information
- Instructions for any special health needs such as allergies or chronic illnesses
- Individual emergency care plans for children with known medical conditions
- Supporting evidence for under-immunization
General Health and Safety Information (QPPS Standard 5.4)
- All staff must be alert to the health needs of each child
- Staff must be alert to the whereabouts of all children
- Staff follow proper procedures for hand washing, using disinfectant, and following universal precautions
- Staff are familiar with evacuation routes and procedures
- Staff complete blood borne pathogens training yearly
- At least one staff member will possess a certificate of completion of pediatric first-aid training and CPR and is always present with each group of children. When a child in the group has a special health condition that might require CPR, one staff person who has successfully completed training in CPR will always be present.
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect (QPPS Standard 10.8)
Staff is required by law to report all cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Human Services. Certified teaching staff is required to “recertify” with the state in the area of “Mandatory Reporter: Child and Dependent Adult Abuse.” All reports are confidential.
Reporting Communicable Diseases (QPPS Standard 5.4)
Staff will provide families with information in writing about any unusual level or type of communicable diseases to which their child has been exposed. It will include signs and symptoms of the disease, mode of transmission, period of exposure, and control measures being implemented at the program. The school district has arrangements with local health authorities and obtains advice from those agencies when outbreaks of communicable diseases occur.
Medication Policies and Procedures (QPPS Standard 5.10)
Medications brought to school need to be in the prescription container or for over-the-counter medications, in the original labeled container with the student’s name written on the container. The parent or guardian must sign a request to have this prescribed medication dispensed to their child according to the written directions of the prescribing physician or as written on the container. Medication permission slips are valid for the current school year or as stated on the permission form. Medications must be taken to the school office to be administered by the school nurse during the school day.
Illness Policy and Exclusion of Sick Children (QPPS Standard 5.3)
For the health and safety of all the children, it is mandatory that sick children not be brought to school. If your child has any of the following symptoms overnight, they will not be admitted the next day for the safety of the other children:
- fever of 100 degrees or higher
- pink eye with drainage
- cough with congestion and excessive nasal discharge
Children should remain home until these symptoms have subsided for 24 hours, and if needed, they have been taking antibiotics for 24 hours.
If a child is observed to have any signs of illness while attending the program, parents will be informed immediately to pick up the child. For this reason, please keep current emergency numbers on file with the office. In the meantime, your child will be provided with a place to rest, away from other children until they are picked up.
Protection from Hazards and Environmental Health (QPPS Standard 10.7)
Preschool staff protects children and adults from hazards, including electrical shock, burns, or scalding, slipping, tripping, or falling. Floor coverings are secured to keep staff and children from tripping.
The Sunset Building has been recently updated and certified that the building is free of all hazardous materials; lead, radon, radiation, asbestos, fiberglass, and other materials that could impact children’s health with documentation on file. Custodial staff maintains the building’s heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in compliance with national standards for facility use by children.
The program maintains facilities so they are free from harmful animals, insects, pests, and poisonous plants. Pesticides and herbicides, if used, are applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions when children are not at the facility and in the manner that prevents skin contact, inhalation, and other exposure to children.
Cleaning and Sanitization (QPPS Standard 9.11)
Routine cleaning will be supervised by the preschool teacher and will follow the Cleaning and Sanitation Table in the QPPS manual. A checklist will be posted in the classroom to document that the staff is following the proper cleaning routines. Toys that have been placed in a child’s mouth or that are contaminated will be removed and disinfected after they are cleaned with soap and water. This also applies to surfaces in the classroom. Toys and surfaces will be sanitized using disinfectant approved by the district that is safe for child contact. Machine washable cloth toys that are contaminated will be laundered before another use. (QPPS Standard 5.24)
Facilities will be cleaned when children are not present if the cleaning requires hazardous chemicals.
Hand Washing Practices (QPPS Standard 5.8)
Frequent hand washing is key to preventing the spread of disease. Teachers will show children how to wash their hands effectively. Posters of children using proper hand washing procedures are placed by each sink.
Children and adults will wash hands:
- after using the restroom or diapering
- after handling body fluids
- before meals and snacks or cooking activities
- after playing in water that is shared by two or more people
- after playing with sand or dirt
Adults will wash hands:
- before and after feeding a child
- after assisting a child with toileting
- after handling garbage or cleaning
Proper techniques of hand washing include:
- using soap and running water
- rubbing hands vigorously for at least 10 seconds including backs of hands, wrists, between fingers and under nails; rinsing well; drying with paper towel; and avoid touching faucet with just washed hands.
Gloves are required when handling contaminated bodily fluids, and must be followed by hand washing.
First Aid Kit (QPPS Standard 9.13)
A first aid kit is located in all preschool rooms. Following each use of items in the kit, it will be inspected and missing or used items will be replaced. The kit will be inspected monthly. A first aid kit is also located in the outdoor playground shed. A kit is taken along on field trips or outings away from the site.
Fire Safety (QPPS Standard 9.14)
A fully working fire extinguisher is installed in each classroom and is tagged and serviced annually. Fire drills are conducted monthly and recorded on a log.
Medical Emergencies and Accident Notification (QPPS Standard 10.13)
Each classroom has an Emergency Contact Information binder that includes:
- emergency sign out sheets
- class lists
- contact information for each child
Procedures for safety situations are outlined in a binder available for viewing in the school office. In the event that your child receives a minor injury during their day, first aid will be applied as needed. Minor cuts and scrapes will be treated with soap and water and bumps will be treated with an ice pack. Significant injuries will be documented.
In the event of bad weather, the district will make decisions on late starts, early dismissals, or school cancellations. Please tune to area radio and news stations for that information. If the district delays school 2 hours due to inclement weather, morning preschool classes will be CANCELLED. Afternoon preschool classes will be in session, following their normal schedule 12:30 – 3:15 p.m. Because of the high number of contacts that need to be made at these times, please refrain from calling the school and pay close attention to the area stations. You can also sign up on the school web site for delay and cancellation to be sent as a text message or email using the School Notification System. Be sure to also sign-up for the Campus Portal to receive information throughout the year right to your computer or phone.
Refunds: The Clear Lake Schools will not refund preschool tuition for weather related cancellations that are not rescheduled.
Infinite Campus Alert System
You can receive either an e-mail or a cell phone text message alert about all delays and cancellations by registering to use our Infinite Campus Alert System. Your first step would be to stop by the building office and sign-up. After signing up and receiving your personal access code you can then log on to the District’s Website to register; www.clearlakeschools.org.
All doors are open for students and parents to enter the buildings at the beginning of the day. The doors will remain open until 8:30. After 8:30 all doors are locked for the safety of our students and staff. There is a camera and buzzer that will be used to allow access to the building. Once in the building, parents and visitors are asked to check in at the office and obtain a visitor’s pass before going to any classroom or other parts of the building.
Security camera and locked entrances have been add to our schools. More information will be sent home regarding the procedures in each building once the school year gets underway.