How do you handle discipline?
At Family ACCESS, we believe that young children, “do well when they can”. Challenging behavior is seen as a sign of a lack of skill in a particular area (attention, problem-solving, emotion regulation etc.) which needs to be thoughtfully nurtured within trusting relationships. Our primary focus is prevention – we foster growth and help build confidence by letting children make choices and express their feelings. Adults model peaceful conflict resolution by showing respect and consideration for each other. We guide children to resolve conflicts by themselves while standing close by for assistance. Teachers create classrooms with clear predicable routines and expectations that are developmentally appropriate to the age-group served and create a “yes” environment where children can safely explore curriculum within the context of strong connective relationships.
If concerns arise, teachers, mental health consultants and administrators work collaboratively with parents to gain input and insight into managing challenging behaviors with interventions that support the child both in the classroom and at home. When necessary, our staff partner with parents to make referrals to appropriate services, including to Early Intervention, Public Schools and Family ACCESS’s Counseling and Consultation Services.
What do your Mental Health Consultants do?
Family ACCESS’s Mental Health Consultants work with closely with teachers to support a nurturing classroom environment, positive teacher-child interactions and address the individual social/emotional needs of children. Specific activities include: weekly classroom observations, informal sharing of information; participation in teacher team meetings; mentoring and coaching; and, consultation as needed for an emerging challenge or crisis.
In addition to time spent in the classroom, our clinicians are available to meet with parents and/or children to provide added support around the life events that all families face: new siblings, the death of a grandparent, a move, etc. They are also available to provide support, referrals and counseling for those times when your child’s worries, behaviors, anger or sadness cause you concern.
What does it mean to be an official Brazelton Touchpoints Site?
Touchpoints is based on the research and practice of internationally recognized pediatrician, T. Berry Brazelton, MD. All of our teachers and administrators are trained in this innovative approach to child development and relationships. Guided by the Touchpoints approach and principles, and supported by Touchpoints specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital, we welcome families and children with respect and understanding, valuing culture and experiences. Parents are recognized as the most important person in their child’s development. We offer guidance and support to help parents understand and respond to the ups and downs of their child’s growth and development. We join our parents in advocating for the best care and services for their child and family and help find appropriate community resources. You can learn more about the Touchpoints Approach by visiting their website
Is Family ACCESS accredited and why is that important?
Family ACCESS is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC-accredited early learning programs are exceptionally well equipped and meticulously measured for indicators of quality in the classroom and beyond. From guidelines for teacher preparation through safety standards, NAEYC Accreditation ensures that programs are safe, well prepared, and intentional about ensuring children’s success. As a reputable indicator of quality, NAEYC Accreditation correlates with children’s greater readiness and success in school and beyond; increased educational attainment rates; and overall healthier lifestyles. You can learn more about NAEYC accreditation
How do you communicate with parents?
On-going, respectful communication with parents is a cornerstone of our program. On a daily basis, teachers and families share information during drop off and pick up and via email and phone. Each classroom sends home a weekly newsletter documenting the events of the week in words and photographs. While formal Parent-Teacher conferences are held three times a year to share information between school and home and to discuss children’s development, adjustment, and goals, families are encouraged to ask for a meeting at any time with their child’s teachers when they feel the need. Program administration communicates with families via e-mail, regular newsletters and quarterly Director’s Coffees and is always available to discuss concerns, answer questions and hear feedback about parents’ experiences in the program.
Do you assess children’s progress?
Yes! At Family ACCESS teachers are engaged in ongoing assessments of children throughout the year. These assessments are formally shared with families at designated times. Teachers in Toddler and Preschool classrooms complete a comprehensive mid-year developmental progress report in February and a final portfolio (with pictures, work samples and developmental notes) at the end of the school year in August. In addition to mid-year reports and end of year portfolios, parents of infants and children with IEP’s/IFSP’s receive formal written reports in November and May. To help keep track of the children’s progress, teachers take observational notes throughout the year. Pictures of the children’s process of learning are used to accompany these notes.
Are there opportunities for parents to get involved?
We are committed to partnering with families to provide the best possible early education and child care experience for both parents and child. Parents are always welcome in the classrooms and are encouraged to come and have lunch or arrange to share a special hobby or talent with the class.
PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (PAC)
The Parents Advisory Committee (PAC) is a self-funded, parent run, Family ACCESS supported group. PAC believes that children have better outcomes when families are involved and engaged in the community. It is their mission to build connections within and enable support to the ELC families through activities, events and communication. All parents are welcome and encouraged to join the Parent Advisory Committee. (see APPENDIX F for PAC Mission Statement)
PAC events are open to all ELC families and many are open to the community at large. Through these programs we hope to create a wide range of opportunities for family participation that fit within diverse home and work lives.
Activities include monthly PAC meetings, social activities, fund raising events for program support, planning for parent education, caretaking of families and staff appreciation activities. Classrooms have volunteer “room parents” who act as liaisons between PAC leadership and each classroom’s families.
The PAC organization is self-governed, with direct feedback and participation from Family ACCESS management. Leadership is elected annually in the prior Spring to take office in September.