THE CAROUSEL SCHOOL, INC.
66 BREWSTER ROAD WALTHAM, MA 02451 (781) 893-1503
SOME COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR PRESCHOOL
Q. What are the characteristics of a high quality preschool?
A. There are a number of areas associated with high quality programs. Some characteristics to consider: the children in the program are generally comfortable, relaxed, happy, and involved in play and other activities; there are a sufficient number of adults with specialized training in early childhood development and education; adults’ expectations vary appropriately for children of differing ages and interests; all areas of a child’s development are stressed equally, with time and attention being devoted to cognitive development, social and emotional development, and physical development; the staff meet regularly to plan and evaluate the program; and parents are welcome to observe, discuss policies, make suggestions, and participate in the work of the program.
Q. Do you have an “open door” policy?
A. Yes, parents of enrolled children are welcome to visit our program at any time. Prospective parents should call the school first to make an appointment to visit
Q. What should I do to prepare my child for preschool?
A. Introduce your child to small groups of children, such as story hour, play groups, or at playgrounds; also, utilizing baby-sitters or caregivers other than yourself so that your child has had some experience of being left with others before they begin preschool.
Q. What is the teacher/student ratio?
A. Our ratio is one teacher to 6-9 children (state licensing requires one teacher to 12 children).
Q. At what age may children be enrolled in preschool?
A. Our EEC license is for children to be 2.9 years through six years to enroll in our preschool.
Q. How and when are preschool acceptances decided?
A. Children are enrolled on a first come first served basis before September 1 of each school year or placed on a waiting list and enrolled during the year when a vacancy occurs. Before enrolling, we require a visit by parent and child, and each child is accepted on a trial basis to ensure our program meets your needs.
Q. How are classes made up?
A. By chronological age and availability of classroom.
Q. What kind of preschool is The Carousel School?
A. The Carousel School is a private, non-profit school.
Q. What is the difference between preschool and daycare?
A. A child in daycare can attend from 7 AM until 6 PM. The Carousel School is a preschool. Classes are from 9-11:45 AM and 9 AM-1 PM. Carousel has early arrival (7:30-9 AM) and late departure (1-4 PM).
Q. How many classes are there?
A. Four morning classes (two upstairs and two downstairs).
Q. How do I begin the preschool process?
A. Please call for an appointment to see the school or information to be sent.
Q. How can I become active in my child’s preschool?
A. We have a program in which you can volunteer in your child’s classroom to assist with parties, special programs, reading, sharing a hobby, or fundraising for the school.
Q. What about the safety and health of my child at preschool?
A. At The Carousel School:
•all our teachers are CPR and First Aid Certified
•continuous staff communication and interaction ensure each child’s safety both in the classroom and on the playgrounds.
•we also promote a healthy environment by hand washing with liquid soap and using disposable towels, as well as using “wipes” before using play dough, water table, etc.
Q. What should I send to school with my child?
A. In their Carousel school bag, all belongings should be clearly marked in bold print with the child’s name:
•change of clothing for all children including underwear and socks
•a healthy snack (and for those staying for lunch, a healthy lunch–milk is provided at lunch)
•a lunch box young children may easily open and carry and that will easily fit in the school bag
•there is a policy at The Carousel School that states “NO PEANUT BUTTER OR PEANUT PRODUCTS ALLOWED”
•all day children need a child-size sleeping bag for rest time, clearly marked.
Q. Are there any clothing restrictions?
A. Yes; drawstrings on clothing can be hazardous; we ask that they be removed from your child’s clothing. Also, no sandals, clogs, party shoes, please.
Q. What does a typical preschool day “look like?”
A. At various times throughout the day, the children will engage in free play, story time, interest centers, which may include art, science, cooking, math and language arts, snack, bathroom and circle time. The children have an opportunity to play outdoors everyday, weather permitting. Our school has three well-equipped playgrounds. During the winter months, each child should bring snow pants, jacket, hat, mittens and boots everyday, all clearly marked.
Q. Will my child learn the alphabet in preschool?
A. Children are encouraged to participate in our everyday activities into which letters and numbers are incorporated.
Q. If my child needs services, i.e., speech therapy, OT, PT, vision screening, etc., how will I know?
A. Chris Arena, speech/language pathologist on staff at Carousel is available to do a classroom observation for any children the teachers and/or parents have concerns about. If necessary, a referral will be made to your local school department for further evaluation. For Waltham residents, we refer our families to Joyce Kidd, Director of Early Childhood Education, at 781-314-5673. We have children from surrounding cities and towns and we work with their specialists as well.
Q. Will I have an opportunity to speak with my child’s classroom teachers about my child’s progress in school?
A. Yes, The Carousel School has scheduled parent conferences during the month of January. If at any time during the school year a conference is needed, an appointment may be made.
Q. To whom can I release my child?
A. A child can be released only to those whose names have been listed on the Emergency Release Form (Page 3 of the application form).
Q. Is your preschool open all year?
A. The Carousel School begins after Labor Day and ends in June. A school calendar is given out in September. The Carousel School will be closed all day when there is a cancellation or delayed opening for the City of Waltham Public Schools.
Q. Do you go on field trips?
A. Due to the new laws requiring young children who are less than 40 lbs. and under 5 years old to be placed in car seats, we do not take children on field trips. We do, however, offer enrichment programs that visit The Carousel School. Some examples are the Tufts Traveling Treasure Trunk, dancing and movement with Mrs. Stacey Tully, McDonny Farms visits, New England Aquarium’s Tidepool program, The Rainforest Reptiles, police officers and firefighters, and parents who visit and share their musical talent, etc.,or speak with our children about their profession.
Q. Are there any forms necessary before beginning at The Carousel School?
A. Yes; an UPDATED MEDICAL FORM with all the necessary vaccinations, including chicken pox and lead screening test, is required by the state for all children before they enter preschool. An updated yearly medical form on or before the expiration date must be submitted for currently enrolled students.
Q. How does The Carousel School handle discipline?
A. We have two rules at Carousel: first, you cannot hurt another child or teacher; second, you cannot break anything. These two rules teach respect and responsibility. We work with each family by our low student/teacher ratio to ensure that all our children remain safe at school, in their classrooms, and on the playgrounds. With good communication, we work together to provide an environment in which children will learn how to be a friend by using their words and by having staff model behavior that is acceptable.
Q. Do you do background checks on your staff?
A. All staff is required to have a yearly CORI background check and sufficient references provided.
Q. Do you have a large staff turnover rate?
A. No, we have a dedicated, educated staff who have been at The Carousel School for many years.
Q. How does The Carousel School staff stay abreast of the latest in early childhood education?
A. Carousel belongs to the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children, Massachusetts Independent Child Care Organization, Tri-Community Early Childhood Educators of Waltham-Watertown-Belmont, and Early Childhood Educators of Norfolk County. Our teachers far exceed the 20 hours of continuing education required yearly by state licensing.
Q. Do you have a personal safety program for the children?
A. Yes; we offer a Personal Safety Program for Preschoolers. This program includes instruction on water, fire, car, and personal safety.
Q. Is there a guide provided for parents?
A. Yes; there is a Parent Handbook given to all enrolled children stating the school policies at The Carousel School.
Q. Where do I park when I come to Carousel?
A. Please park on Brewster Road, facing east (on school side of the street) when you visit, drop off, and pick up your child when enrolled, and hold your child’s hand when walking up or down our driveway.