Preschool Handbook

2022-2023 Preschool Parent/Guardian Handbook

All preschools within the Sioux City Community School District are affiliates of the Preschool Initiative Program.

All District buildings are staffed with a building administrator who is licensed by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

Sioux City Community School District Preschool Locations

Bryant Elementary School    
Address: 3040 Jones St.
Phone: 712-279-6819            
Principal: Dr. Angela Holcomb

Clark Early Childhood Center
Address: 4315 Hamilton Blvd.
Phone: 712-239-0436            
Administrator: Amber Hannah

Hunt A+ Arts Elementary School
Address: 2002 Nebraska St.
Phone: 712-279-6833
Principal: Camille Barker

Leeds Elementary School      
Address: 3919 Jefferson St.
Phone: 712-239-7034
Principal: Ron Koch

Loess Hills Computer
Programming Elementary School
Address: 1717 Casselman St.
Phone: 712-279-6843
Principal: Tami Voegeli

Morningside STEM Elementary School
Address: 3601 Bushnell St.
Phone: 712-274-4048
Principal: Jarod Mozer

Nodland Elementary School
Address: 3300 S. Cypress St.
Phone: 712-274-4044
Principal: Blair Taylor

Riverside Elementary School
Address: 2220 Nash St.
Phone: 712-279-6811
Principal: Kathy Thode

Spalding Park Environmental Sciences Elementary School
Address: 4101 Stone Ave.
Phone: 712-274-4043            
Principal: Dr. Mandi Bradford

Unity Elementary School
Address: 1901 Unity Ave.
Phone: 712-279-6839
Principal: Eric Kilburn

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Starting school is a major milestone for you and your child. Parent involvement is paramount for student success in the years ahead. One important step you can take this year is to carefully review the valuable information in this handbook. It includes important preschool policies and procedures that you should know.

Although every effort is made to finalize handbooks prior to the start of the new school year, the District reserves the right to change any policies or procedures as needed throughout the year. Such changes may be required due to unforeseen events, changes to the law, or changes to School Board policy. We will make every attempt to provide notice of any substantive changes, but parents/guardians and students are always encouraged to access the most current School Board policies on the District website. Any changes directed by the School Board would also be documented in the minutes of the School Board meetings.

You may contact or visit your child’s school at any time; however, we recommend during the initial first two weeks of school, parents refrain from visiting to allow children to acclimate to the new surroundings and routines. When you do plan to visit, please call ahead to inform the classroom staff of your visit.

Sincerely,
Amber Hannah,
Preschool Administrator Phone Number: 712-293-0436


About the Preschool Program

The Sioux City Preschool Program is guided by a Preschool Administrator. The Preschool Administrator must meet specific minimum requirements outlined by the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program. The minimum requirements include a baccalaureate degree with at least 9 college credits in administration, leadership, and management and at least 24 college credits in early childhood education or an equivalent subject. If they do not meet these requirements upon hire, he/she will make a plan and have five years to meet the qualifications. Each preschool classroom will be taught by an Iowa Board of Educational Examiners licensed Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and supported by two/three Para-Educators. This will offer the opportunity for children with and without disabilities to learn and play together in an integrated setting. Students do not need to be “potty trained” to attend preschool.

Preschool Program Philosophy

The Sioux City Community School District is dedicated to the success of all children. Guided by knowledge of child development and research-based practices, the early childhood staff provides developmentally appropriate experiences. The staff uses the early childhood curriculum as a framework for facilitating children’s growth in all areas of development. All children are seen as individuals; therefore, staff provides modifications and adaptations to ensure the success of each child. The classroom environment is set up to encourage play, which is the most important process through which young children learn. The early childhood staff feels families play an important role in their child’s educational success. Ongoing, open communication is vital. It is essential that families actively participate in their child’s education.

Program Hours & Tuition

Sioux City Community School District preschools run a full-day program and curriculum. The hours of our full-day program are 8:30-2:30 on Monday and 8:30-3:30 Tuesday-Friday. Through Iowa’s Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SWVPP), three hours of preschool per day are provided at no cost. Students can attend Monday-Friday from 8:30-11:30 am for free. If you choose to send your child to preschool for a full day, there is a 250.00 monthly tuition fee for the additional hours per day. Tuition is billed monthly and is due on the first of each month from August 1-April 1. Tuition is billed one month in advance. Holidays and no school days are factored into the tuition rate. Tuition can be mailed or dropped off, in the drop box, at Clark Early Childhood Center. Reduced tuition rates are available based on household income.

Attendance

Help your child succeed in school! Build the habit of good attendance early. Educational research shows that daily attendance is linked to academic success. Students who participate in daily activities are more successful in all academic areas. Daily attendance also helps students build positive relationships with other students and adults in the classroom. The Iowa Department of Education monitors student attendance. The goal of each preschool classroom is to maintain 96% attendance. If your child’s attendance falls below 90%, you will be required to meet with the preschool administrator. At this meeting, it will be determined if your child will be able to remain in the preschool program.

Parents can help ensure good attendance by:

  • Establishing a regular bedtime and morning routine
  • Laying clothes out for your child and going through your child’s book bag the night before
  • Do not let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind sometimes complaints of stomachache or headache can be signs of anxiety and not a reason to stay home. If your child seems anxious about school, talk with your child’s teacher, and discuss what is going on with your child.
  • Have a backup plan for getting to school should something come up (a family member, friend, or neighbor).

Parents are asked to call the school before class begins on days their child will not attend or will be late. Please call the school each day your child will not attend. Each month, parents will receive a letter stating the number of days their child has been absent. Parents will be asked to meet with administration if attendance becomes a problem.

Accident or Injury

If a child is injured during the day and medical attention is required, the parent will be notified by the school. If the situation is an emergency, the parent will be asked to meet the staff member and the child at the closest hospital emergency room. It is vital for parents to keep emergency information up-to-date and inform staff of temporary or permanent changes of address, phone numbers, emergency contact people, and immunizations.

Child Abuse Reporting

All preschool staff members are Mandatory Reporters. They must report any suspicions of child abuse or neglect by families, staff, volunteers, or others to the proper authorities. Any parent, student, or another person will report any suspected incident of child abuse by an employee of the school district to the individual’s immediate supervisor. Please refer to the District Parent/Guardian and Student Handbook for more details regarding child abuse reporting policies and procedures.

Confidentiality

As employees of the Sioux City Community School District, we keep all children’s and their family’s information confidential. Please respect this by not asking the staff about another child. For information regarding the District’s policies related to directory information, media, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), please refer to the District Parent/Guardian and Student Handbook.

Curriculum

The curriculum framework is based on the Creative Curriculum, GOLD Assessment, the State of Iowa Board of Education Early Learning Standards, and by each student’s Individual Education Plan – IEP (if applicable). Plans are tailored to meet each individual student’s educational needs.

Creative Curriculum Philosophy

At the heart of the Teaching Strategies approach to early childhood education is The Creative Curriculum®, the country’s leading scientifically based, comprehensive curriculum for programs serving children from birth to age 5.       

We believe that curriculum should be integrated with high-quality assessment, professional development, and family connection resources to create a well-rounded program that addresses the needs of early childhood education professionals, children, and their families.

The Creative Curriculum® helps you plan and implement a developmentally appropriate program that promotes children’s social-emotional development and learning in the core areas of literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies.

It combines the latest research and the freshest ideas into a forward-thinking approach to learning–one that honors creativity and respects the role that teachers play in making learning exciting and relevant for every child in their classrooms.

Our unique approach is designed to inspire teachers, to help them create a high-quality learning environment, and most of all, to support their important efforts as they open doors to successful learning.

With The Creative Curriculum®, every program can put together a complete system that promotes positive outcomes for all children, including English-language learners, children with disabilities, and advanced learners. More information on Creative Curriculum can be found at www.teachingstrategies.com.

Curriculum Objectives Include:

Social-Emotional
  1. Regulates own emotions and behaviors
    1. Manages feelings
    2. Follows limits and expectations
    3. Takes care of own needs appropriately
  2. Establishes and sustains positive relationships
    1. Forms relationships with adults
    2. Responds to emotional cues
    3. Interacts with peers
    4. Makes friends
  3. Participates cooperatively and constructively in group situations
    1. Balances needs and rights of self and others
    2. Solves social problems
Physical
  1. Demonstrates traveling skills
  2. Demonstrates balancing skills
  3. Demonstrates gross-motor manipulative skills
  4. Demonstrates fine-motor strength and coordination
    1. Uses fingers and hands
    2. Uses writing and drawing tools
Language
  1. Listens to and understands increasingly complex language
    1. Comprehends language
    2. Follows directions
  2. Uses language to express thoughts and needs
    1. Uses an expanding expressive vocabulary
    2. Speaks clearly
    3. Uses conventional grammar
    4. Tells about another time or place
  3. Uses appropriate conversational and other communication skills
    1. Engages in conversations
    2. Uses social rules of language
 Cognitive
  1. Demonstrates positive approaches to learning
    1. Attends and engages
    2. Persists
    3. Solves problems
    4. Shows curiosity and motivation
    5. Shows flexibility and inventiveness in thinking
  2. Remembers and connects experiences
    1. Recognizes and recalls
    2. Makes connections
  3. Uses classification skills
  4. Uses symbols and images to represent something not present
    1. Thinks symbolically
    2. Engages in sociodramatic play
Literacy
  1. Demonstrates phonological awareness
    1. Notices and discriminates rhyme
    2. Notices and discriminates alliteration
    3. Notices and discriminates smaller and smaller units of sound
  2. Demonstrates knowledge of the alphabet
    1. Identifies and names letters
    2. Uses letter-sound knowledge
  3. Demonstrates knowledge of print, and its uses
    1. Uses and appreciates books
    2. Uses print concepts
  4. Comprehends and responds to books and other texts
    1. Interacts during read-aloud and book conversations
    2. Uses emergent reading skills
    3. Retells stories
  5. Demonstrates emergent writing skills
    1. Writes name
    2. Writes to convey meaning
Mathematics
  1. Uses number concepts and operations
    1. Counts
    2. Quantifies
    3. Connects numerals with their quantities
  2. Explores and describes spatial relationships and shapes
    1. Understands spatial relationships
    2. Understands shapes
  3. Compares and measures
  4. Demonstrates knowledge of patterns
Science and Technology
  1. Uses scientific inquiry skills
  2. Demonstrates knowledge of the characteristics of living things
  3. Demonstrates knowledge of the physical properties of objects and materials
  4. Demonstrates knowledge of Earth’s environment
  5. Uses tools and other technology to perform tasks
Social Studies
  1. Demonstrates knowledge about self
  2. Shows basic understanding of people and how they live
  3. Explores change related to familiar people or places
  4. Demonstrates simple geographic knowledge
The Arts
  1. Explores the visual arts
  2. Explores musical concepts and expression
  3. Explores dance and movement concepts
  4. Explores drama through actions and language
English Language Acquisition
  1. Demonstrates progress in listening to and understanding English
  2. Demonstrates progress in speaking English
Creative Curriculum Assessment: GOLD

Purpose of assessment
Assessment information is essential for individualizing instruction for young children. This new system supports teachers and promotes appropriate teaching practices that help all children build the foundation they need for school success.

Specific skills measured by GOLD
This measure focuses on the ten GOLD domains for development and learning (listed above).

How is the assessment tool administered?
The classroom staff observes individual children over time, but the context for observations may be a group setting.

How is the assessment information used and shared with families?
The classroom staff will maintain records for each child and complete the skill level ratings. The teacher interprets the results and uses them in planning daily activities and determining the needs of each individual child. Twice a year, families will have a conference with the classroom teacher where a family report will be shared. This report describes your child’s development in the above, listed areas.

Family involvement
During conferences, home visits, and through daily communications, classroom staff will seek information from families about the skills and behaviors their child demonstrates at home. The information gathered from families is used in the assessment process.

Other Assessments
The IGDI’s screening will be given to all students three times throughout the school year. The screening determines whether students are developing literacy skills at an appropriate rate.

Bus Transportation

At this time, transportation is not being provided to preschool children unless your child has a disability that warrants transportation.

Calendar & Hours of Operations

Preschool follows the Sioux City Community School District school calendar with a few exceptions. Calendars will be provided monthly, noting the exceptions and monthly activities/events. School begins at 8:35 a.m. and dismisses at 2:30 p.m. on Monday and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Classrooms will be open for your child at 8:30 a.m. prior to the start time of classes. You will need to arrange for childcare outside of this time. Children attending the free SWVPP will attend Monday-Friday 8:30-11:30.

Cancellations, Early Dismissals, & Late Starts

Living in Iowa provides us with some days that make it a challenge to hold classes at the regular time. Please refer to the District Parent/Guardian and Student Handbook for policies and notification practices regarding cancellations, early dismissals, and late starts.

Clothing

Children will be actively involved in their day, meaning paint might be spilled or puddles might be splashed through. Durable, washable clothes are necessary. We would rather see a child freely explore than worry about getting dirty.

We go outside almost daily. We recommend that children be dressed appropriately on inclement days.

Each child must have an extra change of clothes. These clothes must be labeled and available daily. Any outerwear must be labeled to avoid confusion. Soiled clothes will be returned in a plastic bag at the end of the day.

Positive Behavioral Supports

We believe that social skills must be taught and practiced. Staff demonstrate appropriate behavior and are prepared to keep reminding and practicing with the children as often as necessary. Our program uses Program Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports as we work to teach children positive behavior and social problem-solving. Our program-wide classroom expectations include:

  1. Take care of yourself
  2. Take care of others
  3. Take care of your school/home

Strategies used by staff to encourage positive behavior include:

  • Staff will change the classroom environment or materials
  • Staff review and use visuals to remind students of the classroom expectations and rules throughout the school day
  • Staff model appropriate language and problem-solving using visuals
  • Staff offer choices to allow children to make decisions
  • Staff are alert to recognizing warning signals of potential problems and redirect or intervene when necessary
  • Staff is always nearby to help work through difficulties or to keep children safe if a child becomes physically aggressive towards others

The preschool does not permit any abusive behavior or language on the premises by a parent towards any child, parent, staff member, or any other person affiliated with the program.

All students in the District, including preschool students, are required to abide by the Student Code of Conduct as written in the Parent/Guardian and Student Handbook.

Drop Off & Pick Up

  • An adult is required to sign in and sign out the preschool child daily. Your preschooler will only be released to an adult. Please ensure that your child is picked up and dropped off by an adult daily.
  • Your child will not be released to anyone other than their parent/guardian without written or verbal notification and without proper verification.
  • Parents are asked to inform staff of schedule changes such as late arrival or early pick up so they can accommodate the change in the schedule.
  • Please park in the designated parking lot when dropping off your child. You assume full responsibility for your child when outside of the building. Hold your child’s hand when walking to and from the building and be alert for moving vehicles.
  • Do not leave any children in your car, unattended.

Field Trips

Field trips are planned in order to provide additional educational experiences for children. Generally speaking, these field trips are an extension of a classroom experience and have educational value relevant to the material being studied in the classroom. Written permission is necessary for a child to go on a field trip, and if it is not received, the child will remain in the building. You will always receive advance notice of upcoming field trips, and on occasion, teachers may ask parents to join the field trip.

Safety

Fire and tornado drills are held monthly. Evacuation and intruder drills are held at least two times per year. Please check with your school for their safety zone in the event of an actual emergency. Monthly playground checks are done to prevent accidents or injury. Smoking, firearms, and other significant hazards that pose a risk to children and adults are prohibited. Staff maintains a 2:20 ratio at all times. Staff position themselves to be able to see all children and move towards equipment that may pose a hazard. Two or more preschool staff members in each classroom are certified in pediatric first aid and CPR, to ensure at least one staff member is always present who meets this certification.

Food

Lunch

Children who attend a full-day preschool program will have the opportunity to be served lunch through the Sioux City Community School District’s lunch program. The District’s elementary rates and guidelines will apply to preschool children. Applications for free or reduced lunch will be available on the District website at the beginning of the school year. Children with special diets will be accommodated into the program when a physician’s note detailing the food sensitivities is given to the front office. Menus are available on the District website or sent home upon request.

  • Any student may bring a sack lunch and purchase milk.
  • Money may be deposited in your child’s account.
  • Lunch count and attendance are taken in the morning. If your child will be coming to school later in the morning and intends to eat hot lunch, the school must be notified by 9:00 a.m. in order to have an accurate count.

Snacks

Snacks will be provided. If you would like to donate or provide a snack, healthy snacks should be purchased and remain sealed. Please check with the classroom staff to see if there are any student allergies to be aware of when purchasing a snack for the classroom. Birthdays are special days, and the staff likes to be in on the fun. If you would like to bring a special treat for your child’s birthday, we ask that you check with the classroom staff prior to the birthday regarding the number of students in the classroom and any student allergies to be aware of when purchasing treats/snacks. Again, birthday treats need to be purchased and remain sealed.

Health

A nurse or CNA will be provided to each building to follow through on a health program, which includes screening, immunizations, physicals, healthcare plans, and personal hygiene. Parents are invited to call for conferences with the nurse on any health problem their child may have. Please refer to the District Parent/Guardian and Student Handbook for policies and related to bloodborne pathogens, head lice, immunizations, medication administration, and other health matters.

Hygiene

Staff and children, guided by staff, will wash hands with soap and water upon entering the classroom, before preparing, serving, or eating meals/snacks, after using the bathroom, after handling animals, before or after using the water table, after handling bodily fluids and after playing outdoors. Staff also wash hands before/after feeding a child, administering medication, assisting a child in toileting or changing a diaper, and after handling garbage or cleaning.

Adults and children follow proper handwashing procedures. Handwashing procedures, with written and visual procedures, are posted at all sinks. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol may be used.

Children who are unable to use the toilet consistently and/or wear pull-ups/diapers are welcome in preschool. Staff check pull-ups/diapers every two hours and change in the designated area when wet or soiled by the diapering procedures posted in the designated area. The diaper is disposed of in a designated, hands-free garbage with a lid.

In order to prevent the spread of infectious disease during water play, staff will remind children not to drink the water, provide individual tubes of water for children with sores on their hands, and empty the water table at the end of center time.

Cleaning & Sanitizing

The Cleaning and Sanitization Frequency Table is used by staff to ensure the classroom is properly cleaned. Staff uses ventilation and sanitation instead of sprays, air fresheners, or deodorizers to control odors. Staff is trained yearly in universal precautions to prevent disease transmission through bodily fluids.

Labeling & Cubbies

Label all items that come from home. This is to protect your child’s health and safety as well as to prevent loss of possessions. The preschool is not liable for lost items. Label all items with permanent ink. Your child will have a locker/cubby. Please, place outer clothing, boots, backpack, and rest mat in their locker/cubby.

Outdoor Play

Every day we try to spend some time outside, except in extreme weather. Children should be dressed appropriately so that they can stay warm and enjoy being outside. If your child is sick on a particular day and not healthy enough to play outside, he/she should be kept at home unless documented by a physician.

Parent Involvement

Parent involvement is essential to having a successful preschool experience. The state preschool legislation requires schools to record parent participation. We realize that families are busy with work and activities and will always be mindful of this when planning activities. Your child’s teacher will inform you of several parent involvement opportunities, which may include monthly classroom activities for families, class activities, reading at home, homework activities, and field trips. Parents have the opportunity to provide input about the school or preschool at regular school board meetings and on a yearly survey. If you are interested in being a member of the Preschool Oversight Committee, please contact the Preschool Administrator.

In accordance with preschool legislation, two home visits will be provided to each family. Home visits are designed to help classroom staff get to know your family and your family’s goals for your preschooler. Staff will also be sharing information about your child’s progress and how to build your child’s skills at home. Your family’s home visit will last approximately 45 minutes. It is important that your child and an adult family member are present at the home visit. Home visits will be completed twice during the school year. Once before school begins and the other after spring break.

Rest Time

Children who attend full-day preschool will be required to rest for a portion of the afternoon. If your child does not fall asleep during this portion of the day, quiet activities will be provided.

Toys from Home

We recommend that children not bring their own toys or games from home, as they invariably present problems. They get lost, damaged, or cause conflicts with other children. However, we understand that many children are attached to special items. We will work cooperatively with families when this occurs, to help the child gently separate from their special belonging. If an item from home is brought to the school, we cannot be held responsible if it is lost, damaged, or stolen.

“Look-alike-weapons” are prohibited at school. These include any toy that resembles or appears to be a weapon, including, but not limited to, squirt guns, water rifles or pistols, slingshots, toy guns, toy knives, and toy grenades.