New Beginnings @ our Y
Our youngest members are cared for and loved in a warm, safe environment. Every infant has their own personalized schedule, which parents share with us. We believe in a strong partnership between parents and caregivers to make the transition for everyone in the family a smooth one. Our child-to-staff ratio is low, affording plenty of one-on-one attention to your baby. Infants are introduced to age-appropriate activities such as sensory play, tummy time and story time. Crawling and arts and crafts are introduced as your child is ready. Your child’s daily activities, along with growth and developmental milestones, are recorded and shared with parents daily.
Once your child is steady on their feet and are ready for a little more independence, we work on self-feeding, arts and crafts, music and movement and small group play. Our staff spend lots of time interacting and playing with the children so that they begin to foster relationships. The day is spent exploring and learning about the world around them and all that it has to offer. Your child’s daily activities, along with growth and developmental milestones, are recorded and shared with parents daily.
Schedule a personal appointment with April Ryder, Early Childhood Learning Center Director! Choose a time that is convenient for you, whether virtual or in-person. Tour our Early Childhood Learning Center virtually or in person, ask April any questions you may have, and discover for yourself why we have been nurturing and enriching young minds for over 50 years!
Staff Onboarding and Training
Staff working with children are updated regularly on the current CDC and DCF guidelines for COVID-19 cleaning/disinfecting, as well as social distancing and PPE protocols. Additional and ongoing online training from the YMCA is provided.
Staff are required to wear masks during the duration of their shift. We continue to use household bleach to sanitize materials and surfaces, as well as provide staff with disposable gloves. Disinfectant wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitizer are supplied.
Health and Wellness Precaution
Children and staff are screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entering or being admitted each day. Screening includes temperature checks (may not exceed 100.4 degrees F) and symptom checks. These checks are required to be recorded and reported to the state of New Jersey.
Halls and classrooms are limited to one group at a time. Classrooms requiring more than one staff person are limited to eight children. Appropriate, compliant signage is posted as well. All cubbies were moved into classrooms to limit cross exposure of items from different classes and to help speed up drop off and pick up procedures.
Play areas are marked for children to be able to play six feet apart, to the best of our ability. Play areas requiring the sharing of toys have been removed from the classrooms and will be gradually introduced as social distancing measures loosen. Bright tape demarks spaces. Classroom rugs have been temporarily removed for easier daily cleaning and sanitizing.
“School kits” are pre-assembled for children to contain their own regular-use supplies, including art materials and tools. Furniture, including tables, were moved around to make sure there are ways to properly distance children during mealtimes.
Extra hand washing has been added into the schedule.
COVID-19 Health and Wellness Curriculum was developed for sharing and collaboration with children. Children need time to learn, process and understand what, how and why the rules are so strict. Children are invited to participate in the discussion and creation of new classroom “norms” especially in the older rooms where children know a lot about COVID-19 and social distancing. Teachers approach the return of children to the center in the same mindset as we would plan the first day of school. Children need time to adapt back into the setting, made more unfamiliar with the COVID-19 conditions. Schedule and routine will be vital from day one, but within the set schedule and routine, we are prepared to be flexible as per their social emotional and intellectual needs.
Entry Health Screenings – Staff and Children
Screening will include daily temperature and symptom check prior to entry: Temps should not exceed 100.4 degrees F; All will be asked if they are experiencing cough, shortness of breath, and/or if medications are/were used to lower temperature.
All will be asked every day if you or anyone in your home has been with anyone diagnosed positive of COVID-19 within the past 14 days AND/OR if anyone in your household has symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g. fever, shortness of breath, cough). Affirmative answers to the above symptom check will disqualify the child or adult from entering the Learning Center until they are cleared by a medical professional. We reserve the right to exclude anyone based on travel to high risk area.
Parents must remove their child from the car. Children are brought to the vestibule for screening as they arrive. Children and parents cue according to social distancing guidelines while waiting. Parent must stay with child(ren) prior to completion of screening and intake.
Temperatures are checked by non-contact forehead heat-scan thermometers. Upon completion of screening, child is checked in, hands sanitized, removed their shoes and escorted to their classroom by staff. Children and staff wash their hands immediately when entering the classroom. Children and staff keep additional slippers or slide-on shoes at the center to change into to avoid contamination.
Items that come in from home are limited. Personal toys, stuffed, animals, etc. are excluded.
Health Exclusion from the Center (adults and children)
Staff or children who test positive for COVID-19 must remain away from the center until cleared to return by a medical professional. The local board of health will be contacted for further guidance.
Classroom Social Distancing and Materials
Children and staff remain six feet apart whenever possible. Inside six feet staff and children don a mask. Classrooms, activities and materials are limited. Play areas are established for one-at-a-time use OR table activities enabling six feet of space between children individually working with materials.
Shared materials are avoided wherever and whenever possible. Materials are cleaned and sanitized between uses. All classrooms employ the use of a Dirty Toy Bin for frequent cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day. Unnecessary materials, toys and cloth-based items (stuffed animals, pillows, etc.) have been removed from classrooms.
Groups will not mix throughout the day. Groups move individually through the center and only use the side entrance. There is no access to the elevator or back door.
Outside time: Playground is used every morning by 1 group. Children are brought to the fields for CATCH Activities that require little to no shared equipment or personal contact.
Naptime: Mats are minimally three feet apart, but optimally six feet apart, arranged “head to toe” during rest and nap. Bedding is individually bagged every day.
Meals and Snacks: During snack and mealtimes, prior-existing food handling requirements are in play in accordance to the childcare license, including the use of gloves ALWAYS when handling children’s food.
We continue to use disposable plates and utensils to prepare and serve food to children. Children are seated six feet away from each other so that they will not touch each other or each other’s food while eating. Staff and children MUST wash hands before and after mealtimes. Tables and surfaces are cleaned and sanitized before and after as well. Child comforting: Throughout the day physical comfort might need to be provided. Gloves and masks are worn.
Sick Child at the Center
A space is established at the center for children who cleared the screen but show or developed symptoms during the day: Fever exceeding 100.4 degrees F; cough; shortness of breath; other excludable symptoms according to the DCF License and DOH. Children are kept comfortable via social distance and staff don mask and other PPE to supervise at social distance. Upon the child’s exit for the day, the surfaces in the room and any touched materials are cleaned and sanitized.
Child must be cleared by a medical professional prior to returning to the center. Families and local health department will be notified if/when a staff person or child has shown COVID-19 symptoms while in the center, maintaining confidentiality as required by ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
If a child or adult from the center tests positive for COVID-19 the health department must be notified to determine an appropriate plan of action and guidance about closures and sanitizing procedures. Since restrooms are designed for one child use at a time all toilets may be used at any time during the day. Toilets are cleaned and sanitized several times throughout the day.
The office is supervised at all times to be able to observe parent drive-up pick-ups. Parents must call 15 minutes before arriving and wait outside at the glass entrance where the child is brought to you.
Throughout the day, and following every use, tables and materials are cleaned with soap and water, then sanitized by bleach solution. All wiping is done with disposable paper towels and gloves. Both are disposed after each use.
Door handles, light switches and commonly touched areas are cleaned several times a day.
All surfaces and materials are cleaned and sanitized one last time. Items are taken off the floor and stored on tables for optimal night-time floor cleaning. CDC recommends HEPA vacuuming carpets and rugs.
All toys are sanitized and placed back in their appropriate bins.
Screening vestibule is cleaned and sanitized, with masks, gloves and other supplies at the ready for opening the next morning.
We take all aspects of a child’s development into consideration when planning age-appropriate activities: physical, social, and emotional. Our center uses the creative curriculum because we feel that it is the most in line with our mission of developing the whole child. The creative curriculum is a hands-on approach to development where children work in small and large groups to problem-solve, create, and explore. It includes both staff directed and child-directed activities. However, we know that all children are individuals and therefore develop differently.
Children learn best through experience and play, and learning starts at a very young age. Setting up imaginative play stations that promote cooperation, kindness, taking turns, and problem solving, help children learn “to be part of a group.”
Infant and Young Toddler Daily Schedule
|7:00am-8:00am||Drop off / Free Play / Breakfast|
|8:00am-8:30am||Teacher & Student fine-motor playtime (blocks, animals, shape sorting, etc.)|
|9:00am-9:30am||Stories and puzzles|
|10:00am-10:30am||Outside time / art time|
|10:30am-11:00am||Gross Motor play (dancing, jumping, climbing, etc.)|
|11:00am-12:00pm||Lunch or child free play time|
|12:00pm-2:00pm||Nap time, teacher one-on-one playtime with the ones who are awake|
|2:30pm-3:00pm||Outside time / messy art (water play, finger paint, sensory buckets, etc.)|
|3:00pm-3:30pm||Child-directed play time|
|3:30pm-4:00pm||Dramatic play (kitchen, doll house, babies)|
|4:00pm-5:00pm||Free play / pick up|