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Every day when you drop off your most priceless treasure — your child — into the care of our teachers and administrators, you assume that your child will be safe and secure.
You probably do not even consciously think about this subject anymore. But when you were looking for a school to choose for your child, you were evaluating the security provided by each of the schools you toured. You naturally compared what you saw on the tours, got a feel for the environment and staff at each school, and maybe even talked to friends about what you saw. Knowing what to look for gave you the confidence to choose the best place to care for your child.
Let’s examine what security is really all about. The primary purpose of security is to protect your child from strangers and other unauthorized individuals. At our schools, we feel we understand this. Matter of fact, one of our company’s “Mission, Vision & Values” is:
To provide a secure, caring, and enriched environment that promotes learning and the development of the whole child.
This vision is definitely about the environment that we provide for your child’s learning. But, as important, this vision is also about providing your child with one of the most essential requirements for developing and learning – feeling safe and secure. Think about the many needs that children have. They have the need to be safe and to be powerful, to be independent and to be loved. Remember that these are needs, NOT wants. You may notice that these are social and emotional needs all human beings have. However, healthy adults can ensure that these needs are met for themselves, but children rely on us to help them meet their needs in healthy, appropriate ways. This is at the heart of our jobs at all of our schools!
When a child feels safe, that child is able to take the risks necessary to be in relationships, to explore, and to try new things. Simply put, feeling safe makes learning possible. Research has shown that children, who feel insecure, play and explore less, and have more difficulty with peer relationships. By helping children feel safe, we prepare children to learn, not just now, but well into the future. In fact, one research study found that children who had secure relationships in early childhood performed better through age seventeen on tests using critical thinking skills.
Related to the physical environments at our schools, there are three foci that we feel are very important when evaluating safety and security: outdoor security, building access, and classroom access.
Outdoor security: Outdoor play is critical for your child’s development. Therefore, a school must offer a secure environment for your child’s exploration and gross motor activity. A quality preschool will have a play area that does not allow a visitor or stranger (a workman or an unfamiliar adult picking up a child for the first time) access without staff accompaniment. The playground should be fully enclosed by a fence of adequate height and strength, and gates that can be appropriately locked. And there needs to be a system in place where children should never be able to exit the play area unnoticed. This may be a playground captain system, or a face to name counting system done by all the outdoor teachers, or another method. No matter what the system or method, the important point is that there is a system in place that is being used.
Building Access: A quality preschool will have a system that allows them to grant or deny an individual access to the school, while at the same time empowering parents to access their child at any time. This is successfully accomplished through three factors. The first is a reception area that allows a Director, Assistant Director, or another staff person the opportunity to greet, welcome, and acknowledge the people entering the school. Another factor is a security system that monitors all access points to the building. This may be in the form of a card access system, for example, or a sign in book, which allows identified adults with a pass-card to access their child after being greeted, but makes sure that a visitor or stranger can enter the preschool only after being identified and accompanied by a staff member. In addition, all exterior doors should be locked with no access from the outside except with a key.
Classroom Access: Full-time monitoring of a classroom greatly adds to a family’s peace of mind. A quality school will have one or more ways for a parent, grandparent, or guardian to observe classroom activity. One way that some of our schools use is to monitor the classrooms via camera and windows. Of course, all of our quality schools allow families to visit the classroom and participate in class activities.
In conclusion, we know that having peace of mind is critical for families. The safety and security offered by our schools is a crucial part of feeling confident and peaceful about the care, teaching, and other developmental opportunities available to your child. And every day, we are grateful to be your school of choice for taking care of your most priceless treasure—your child. Thank you.
The Education Team