Safety and Security
1. PARKING SAFETY and COURTESY – The Speed Limit in the Driveway is 10 Miles Per Hour! Children are fast, so you can’t be!
Our driveway and parking areas are very busy with both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It is essential that everyone cooperate in keeping our children safe and allowing everyone a reasonable opportunity to park. Please be patient. Remember, your child is learning the important skills of courtesy and positive relationships from you.
Be particularly careful as you enter the driveway. Traffic entering while making a left from the road has a tendency to speed up to cross the left lane and enters much too fast for safety. Wait until you can make your turn slowly.
Pull into a lined parking space. Please don’t block another car, or park in the driveway area. This creates a particularly dangerous situation for pedestrian traffic, especially children. If a spot is not available, wait the 2-3 minutes it usually takes for one to open up.
During rush hour times, please limit the amount of time spent in the building/playground for drop-off and pick-up to 10 minutes. We’re happy for you to spend time with your child at the School, but at rush hour it creates a parking problem for everyone.
Remember, our parking lot is a cell-phone-free zone! Please stay off your phone when your car is turned on!
2. DOOR SECURITY
- In order to protect everyone from unauthorized access, all doors into the facility are locked from the outside at all times. Doors should never be blocked open.
- Please be sure to check that doors catch and lock properly behind you as you enter and exit our buildings. While we do our best to ensure that the doors are working properly, there are occasions on which the auto-closers and latches don’t catch perfectly.
- Parents of children currently enrolled in the school have door access chips and may enter the school at any time. If parents or staff are not careful, it is possible for strangers to enter the building, such as when someone holds a door for someone else to enter.
- The door must not be held open to allow a person access to the building, unless you are absolutely certain that you know them. If you do not know them, they must be instructed to leave, or be escorted to the office. A staff person should be summoned for help, if necessary.
- In the event of an admission of an individual, who subsequently demonstrates threatening behavior, staff or parents should use the intercom to all rooms (#330 on the telephone) to notify another adult to call the police and all caregivers to avoid the area where the threatening individual is located.
The door security system operates with individually programmed data chips which you can carry on your key ring. To help ensure that they are returned when a family no longer requires entrance to the School at the end of their child’s enrollment, a $10.00 security deposit is required for each chip issued. The deposit will be refunded when the chip is returned.
For your child’s safety please help us to implement the following:
- Since each data chip has been coded specifically for a particular family, you must immediately report a loss of any chip to the school office. The system will be updated to eliminate the coded chip from the program and you will be issued another chip.
- When you are opening a door, do not allow access to any unknown person at that time. The safety of the children is paramount and much more important than being courteous and allowing someone else to enter with you. We urge everyone to cooperate with this procedure.
- Persons without a chip will be required to ring the office doorbell. Appropriate signs are posted at each door to explain this clearly to all visitors.
- Remember to notify the school if anyone other than the usual pick-up person will be coming to the School to escort your child home.
- Gates to the School playgrounds are secured. For the Preschool and Kindergarten buildings, entrance to the playground is only possible from the inside of the two adjacent buildings. When picking up your child, you must enter the playground and notify the teacher of your presence. Children must never be lifted over the outside fence.
3. SIGN-IN/SIGN-OUT PROCEDURE
Adults who bring the child to or remove the child from the school must formally address the classroom teacher.
4. SUPERVISION OF CHILDREN AT DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP
Drop-off your youngest sibling first and pick-up your oldest sibling first. This policy eliminates the inherent dangers of having younger children in classrooms or on playgrounds that are specifically designed for older children. Toys in older classrooms and the equipment on the older playgrounds can be extremely dangerous for the younger children.
The only exception to this policy is if you have a child in the infant room. In this case, please drop off your older sibling first and pick-up your infant first.
Children often get confused about behavior expectations and “who is in charge,” when a family member and teacher are together. It is important that we defer to your authority when you are with your child at the school:
- We will assume that any behavioral reminders will come from you.
- Help children learn to respect school rules, such as always staying with an adult and not wandering, or respecting safety and property by not climbing on tables, etc.
- Consistency in adult expectations, while at school, will be beneficial to your child’s development.
- To prevent disruptions and unsafe situations, older siblings need to remain with you (i.e. holding your hand) when in a classroom or on the playground of a younger sibling.
It is important that you and your child say “good-bye” to one of his or her teachers at the time of pick-up so that the teacher is aware that you and your child are leaving safely.
5. RELEASING YOUR CHILD TO AN APPROVED ESCORT
- Children may be released only to persons for whom the parent has given written permission for pick-up on the Emergency Contact/Parental Consent Form. We require the person’s name and address as it appears on their picture ID and all such person’s will be required to state your Four Digit Security Code. If an emergency arises that requires pick-up by someone other than those persons for whom you have given us written permission, a Director must be contacted for special procedures.
- If a Staff person is not completely familiar with a pick-up person, they will refer them to the office where a Director will:
- require that person to show formal identification such as a driver’s license,
- compare the name and address on their driver’s license with that provided by the parent on the appropriate form, and
- ask for the child’s security code (supplied by the parent on the Tuition Agreement).
- If any question arises, a parent will be contacted immediately.
Please be sure your approved escorts are familiar with all of our safety and security procedures including those for the parking area.
6. FIELD TRIPS
- Throughout the year, children four (4) years old and older will have the opportunity to participate in a number of field trips. Generally, field trips are scheduled about once per month. An Assistant Director plans the trips with feedback and suggestions from parents and other Staff. Please share your ideas with us.
- Safety – There are a number of considerations and safety precautions that are used to safeguard the children on trips, including:
- Sufficient family chaperones (We will only go if we feel that we have enough adults. We hope that you or a family member will be able to join us),
- Cell phones to call for help, whenever necessary while on the trip,
- Keeping first-aid supplies and Emergency Contact information with us at all times on the trip, and
- A known, reliable school bus company that will provide alternate transportation, if necessary (e.g. if there is a problem with the vehicles during the trip).
7. USE OF CHILD SAFETY SEATS
The American Academy of Pediatrics and NAEYC, our accrediting body, require that we must remind you that for your child’s safety, PA state law requires age-appropriate and size-appropriate seat restraints always be used when transporting children. Information on child age/weight appropriate seats/restraints is available in the School office.
8. EMERGENCY AND EVACUATION PLANS
Recent history, including both the September 11th tragedy and Hurricane Katrina, dictates that we think about and prepare for events that we hope will never happen.
Because of our concern for the safety and welfare of children attending our School, we review and update our School Emergency plan regularly as new information becomes available.
This is to inform you of some of our emergency procedures. Our Emergency Plan provides for response to all types of emergencies. Depending on the circumstance of the emergency, we will use one of the following protective actions:
o Immediate Evacuation — Students will be evacuated to a safe area on the grounds of the facility in the event of a fire, etc.
o In-Place Sheltering — Sudden occurrences, (e.g.weather- or hazardous-materials-related), may dictate that taking cover inside the building is the best immediate response.
o Evacuation — Total evacuation of the facility may become necessary if there is a danger in the area. In this case, children will be taken to either St. Asaph’s Church across the street, or to an alternate location, as dictated by our county Emergency Management Agency.
o Modified Operation — May include cancellation, postponement or rescheduling of normal activities. These actions are normally taken in case of a winter storm, building problems (such as utility disruptions) or health crises.
The School will attempt to contact parents via our normal classroom “telephone-tree” procedures, as well as via email, in the event of any emergency. We ask that you not call us unless absolutely necessary during the emergency. This will keep the main telephone line free to make emergency calls and relay information.
Every family has completed an Emergency Contact Form designating persons to pick up their child. Please remember to review this document regularly and update it with any changes regarding contact information for either yourselves or your alternate emergency contacts. Please ensure that only those persons you list on the Form attempt to pick up your child, and please ensure that someone is always available to pick up your children within 20 minutes in case of emergency. We should always be able to contact a “live” person in an emergency (rather than voicemail), so please be sure to include all relevant cell numbers, etc.
You are urged not to attempt to make different arrangements during an emergency (e.g. designate a new, alternate pick-up person via telephone). This will only create additional confusion and divert Staff from their assigned emergency duties.
Information that you provide to us about your child and family, as well as other information that may be subsequently added to your child’s file, will remain confidential and will be shared with other caregivers only as required to meet your child’s needs and only with parental permission. The file, however, must be available to regulatory officials, if requested. Our Staff understands and maintains the confidentiality of child/family information. In addition to authorized School Staff and regulatory officials, all information concerning your child or family will only be accessible to the parent or legal guardian. Files are maintained in the School office in a locked file cabinet. However, the Emergency Contact form is also maintained in a file in the classroom and in the classroom’s first-aid kit, accessible to Staff, with your permission.
Confidentiality – Family/Child Information/Files
Because our School Staff work as a team, with every adult knowing and interacting at times with every child, all observations and other assessment data may be shared with other Staff members. Information about family situations, special needs, and other sensitive issues is shared on an as-needed basis. Student workers, volunteers, and other adults working within the School are only informed of such sensitive issues, when they are a part of keeping the child safe, supporting the child’s inclusion, or when the information might impact their work.
Children’s individual screening results and assessment information will only be interpreted, used or represented for the purposes of:
- Informing and improving curriculum and instruction.
- Providing teachers with information that can be used to adapt teaching practices and the environment.
- Better understanding and describing the child and his/her development needs and to support individual learning
- Identifying needs that are not being met by the program.
- Sharing information with families about the child’s growth and development interests and needs relative to our curriculum
- Provide information that might indicate the need for developmental screening and referral for diagnostic assessment.
All adults working in the School agree to the following confidentiality agreement.
“As an adult working, observing, conducting research, and/or volunteering at the School, I may become privy to confidential information regarding children and families. It is of the utmost importance that I realize that all such information is strictly personal and confidential and can only be shared within the confines of the School. I will discuss children’s behavior out of the hearing distance of the children, and I will discuss the families, children, and Staff for professional purposes only. When I encounter families, children or Staff outside the School, I will be courteous, but use discretion. I understand that written authorization is required before disclosing any information regarding a child to an outside agency or individual. I know that confidentiality is an ethical obligation and is a requirement for my continued employment and/or involvement at the School. “
In accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines, official written records for each child are kept in a lockable file cabinet in the School Office and released only to the individuals listed above on an as-needed basis or those for whom parents sign a written release. These files include enrollment forms, Emergency Contact information, final conference reports, health assessments provided by physicians; results of health screenings conducted at School after parent authorization; incident reports; reports of diagnostic assessments released to the School by parents; individual education plans; etc. Staff documentation of children’s behavior and development, including specialized records for children, whose special circumstances require extra classroom documentation are kept in classroom locations accessible to Teachers, but out of the reach of children and out of sight of classroom visitors.
When discussing behavior incidents with families (e.g. a child has been bitten, hit, etc. by another child), Staff members must use discretion regarding the revealing of the identity of the aggressor (e.g. by writing separate incident reports for the aggressor and the victim). In most cases, the child reports identity information to the parent, so the parent may add that information to conversations with the Teacher, particularly in cases of repeated aggression. The Teacher’s responsibility is to focus any discussion with parents on their child only and to avoid violating confidentiality or engaging in gossip.
The Bala Cynwyd School for Young Children complies with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which are federal laws that protect the privacy and rights of students. Please see the Office for more information regarding these laws.