Sick Policy

Put those tissue boxes to good use!

Put those tissue boxes to good use!

It is our goal to keep our entire school population as healthy as possible. With the guidance of the Childcare State Regulations, Vermont Department of Education and Vermont Department of Health, we have the following health policy.

  • It is best to keep children home who do not seem well enough to participate in the regular activities or to be cared for fully within the classroom; this may include lethargy, severe coughing, difficulty breathing, severe sore throat, earache or abdominal pain.
  • Children who have a fever of over 99.0 degrees are asked to remain home until the fever is less than 99 degrees for 24 hours, without ibuprofen or acetaminophen. 
  • Children with a known communicative condition (such as, but not limited to strep throat and conjunctivitis/pink-eye), are to remain out of school until they have received antibiotics for 24 hours. Please inform us of any illnesses so we can inform other families of symptoms to look for in their child. If a student comes to school and is suspected of having a communicative condition, the parent will be called and asked to pick up the child for further diagnosis from a doctor and treatment, if necessary.
  • Children who have had two or more incidents of vomiting or diarrhea, are required to not return until their symptoms have been fully resolved for 24 hours and they are able to resume normal dietary habits and activities.
  • Children with an unknown rash will be asked to see a physician to confirm that it isn’t a communicative condition. Students with a rash and a fever will need to stay out of school until confirmation of the rash and the child is fever free for 24 hours. 
  • Children with head lice and/or nits, can be in school after receiving a first treatment with a product that will kill head lice. Parents are asked to pick out the small nits (eggs) each day for at least ten consecutive days. We will also be checking all of the children at school. Whenever head lice are found, the parent will be called and asked to pick up their child and apply treatment.     

If your child has any of these conditions, please care for them at home. We will miss them while they are ill, and this will hopefully enable all of the students to remain healthier and in school. If your child becomes ill at school, you will be called to come and take him or her home. If we are unable to contact you, we will reserve the right to call the emergency contact on your child's application. 

 

Celebrations from Around the World

The schools will discuss many of the wonderful traditions, customs and celebrations from around the world. We will share the traditions, purpose, and reasons that some celebrate a certain holiday; we leave out the commercialization of the holiday. This may include:  

  • St. Nicholas Day (December 6) 
  • St. Lucia Day (December 13)
  • Las Posadas (begins on December 16)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21) 
  • Hanukkah (begins on December 24)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (begins on December 26) 

We believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn that it is perfectly fine that we may have different traditions to celebrate. This also encourages children to accept each other as individuals and not to base acceptance on what we do or what we celebrate or what we have in common with each other; being open to accept each other will continue to create harmony, peace and happiness in the children and community. Through the discussions, we help children see that light (candles, sunlight) is a commonality through all of these celebrations.  

If your family celebrates a certain holiday or tradition during this month that you would like to share with the class, please speak to your child’s teacher.   

Throughout this month, children from various classes will join together on many days for Story by Heart. The stories will be told by the School Director and will focus on the various holiday celebrations. 

Story by Heart time is so very special and magical for the children. Having so many “friends” from various classes and ages together to share in the tradition during this time of year simply enhances our community commonality between the classes while also learning about various cultural traditions, diversity and ways to help others.

School Closings or a Delay in Opening Due to Weather

In the event of snow or another form of inclement weather, the schools may close for the day or delay opening. Here are a few places to look or listen for school closing information.

  • The School Directors will send out an email. This will typically be between 6:30 and 7:00.
  • Our Facebook pages will have a notice added, here are links to each school's page: Heartworks, Renaissance, Endeavour
  • Many radio and television stations broadcast this information on an on-going basis.
  • Many TV and radio web sites have a link on their home page that says “closings and delays” – all schools in the area are listed there. We are located under: Chittenden County, Heartworks, Renaissance, Endeavour Schools (when all schools are cancelled). 

In the event of a “two hour delay” in opening, we will open to receive children beginning at 10:20.  The time is calculated from when the morning program begins (8:20) and early care is not available on these days.

Parents who may have a challenging commute to or from school during inclement weather are welcome to arrive late in the morning or choose to have their child stay home.  During the school day parents are welcome to pick their child up at any time that best suits their needs.  We try to remain open as long as possible in the day and if the weather becomes increasingly difficult during the day, we may close early at 4:30 or 5:00.

HRE Reaches Out

On October 4, seven Heartworks staff members attended the Gubernatorial Candidate Panel Discussion on Early Education. HRE was a sponsor of this event that was held at UVM. Many other educators also attended to learn more about the candidates’ thoughts and plans about addressing early education in Vermont.

On October 25, HRE hosted a panel discussion at Champlain College for Education Majors. Nine HRE members attended along with the college students, a Champlain Faculty Member and someone from Let’s Grow Kids program. Paul Zengilowski led the panel discussion by asking questions that would be helpful to the students in their planning and preparation for securing a job in education.

The questions ranged from how best to be prepared for working with young children, tips for when children may decide to do something other than the lesson, how best to make decisions with always the focus on the best interest for the children, working with parents, and so much more. The panel consisted of Lia Barnes; Danielle Harris – Renaissance School Director; and Directors of Heartworks – Joanne Pillsbury, Kathleen Schaffner, and Ashley McKinley; and Georgia Morris, a teacher at Heartworks Williston and a recent graduate of Champlain College.

The education students had a chance to ask questions and share their thoughts followed by opportunities for the education students to socialize with the Directors and ask further questions. One highlight was when an education student said she worked at a summer camp this past summer where a Heartworks’ child was in attendance. It was shared of how the child had social, emotional, and life skills surpassing those of the other campers and how this three year old was quickly the leader of the campers and one who was looked to for learning to follow directions and making great choices. This was another testament to the wonderful educational Heartworks Preschool program that we provide, and to our teachers who are so dedicated to early education.  We look forward to additional collaboration with Champlain College and thank them for supporting this event.

 

Professional Development Day

Over 60 Faculty members of the Heartworks, Renaissance and Endeavour Schools gathered together on Friday, October 21 for a day of Professional Development.  The schools maintain an active schedule of staff development programming each year designed to meet the needs of the Faculty throughout the organization.

The Heartworks’ workshops included discussions about Smooth Transitions in the Classroom, Outside Time, Classroom Management and Strategies, Teaching Phonics, Theme Program Discussions, Career Growth through Professional Development, Character Development Curriculum and presentations from Mutual of Omaha and The Richards Group on our new employee benefits.

Workshops were led by Lia Barnes – Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Erin Hyer – a licensed and certified speech language pathologist, Andrea Beam – Director of Finance, Administration and HR, some of the School Directors and Lisa Zengilowski. The Faculty had opportunities to work in small and large groups, and collaborate with teachers from the other Heartworks Schools.  It was a highly productive, joyful and beneficial day for everyone!

 

Rhythm Over Routine: A Work of the Heart at School and Home

Have you ever wondered how a Heartworks teacher can get ten preschool children to sit around a table for lunch or fall asleep for nap en masse?  From playing cooperatively with their friends to learning side by side, preschoolers peacefully follow the Heartworks “Rhythm of the Day.”  We’d like to share some of our philosophy here, so that parents who are interested can establish their own rhythms at home.

The foundation of the rhythm is speaking respectfully and also following through with children on expectations and directions. It is important to set such boundaries at home so a child will know how to have polite and respectful social behavior towards all adults and other children. It’s easy to assume that teachers have established a precise routine that children follow, arriving on a carpet square by 8:35, falling asleep on cue, and generally following the clock throughout the day. However, for a child, the numbers on a clock have very little to do with when they are hungry, tired, or curious. 

In fact, the term rhythm might be better understood as an order of experiences. The activities that children participate in throughout the day at Heartworks have an order that is repeated every day. For example, three-year-old class will begin with Circle upon arrival with the learning block starting at 8:35, this may be followed by Explore, Snack, Outside, Second Learning Block, Enrichment, and Story by Heart. Our goal is to create a predictable pattern to a child’s day, thus lessening anxiety as well as providing less instruction of what to do next as they already know.

Similarly, where to sit, where shoes go, and how to take turns is gently modeled by Heartworks teachers. Teachers are also attuned to the fact that children move through these experiences at a pace that they feel comfortable at. By sending the child who may need more time putting boots on to the shoe area first, children are in harmony in the classroom, with no undue attention to our friends who move more slowly.

The subtle difference between routine and rhythm makes all of the difference. Routines are set by clocks, rhythms by patterns. While we strive for snack to be eaten at approximately the same time each day, the expectation of what happens next is what comforts children. Routines can connote tedium, but rhythm is a pattern which can account for individual variance and life’s unforeseen delays.

The Heartworks’ rhythm includes traditions that reflect our values; we gather for a meal by singing a blessing, and we complete a meal by saying thank you. By planning a day’s rhythm, we have an opportunity to weave in what we value in a respectful way rather than rushing to stay “on time.” Similarly, part of our rhythm is to take a moment to rest and acknowledge the quiet.  

Our purpose in sharing our philosophy is to encourage interested friends and parents to reflect and create their own rhythm. Consider daily experiences such as giving thanks that may be important to you and activities that are necessary, such as washing hands or brushing teeth. Remember that each child or member of your family will generally move through an activity at a different pace, so taking that into consideration is helpful. Once you establish a rhythm, a flow chart with pictures is helpful for young children. Even though you may want your child in bed by 7:30, it’s important not to watch the clock. Consider adjusting the next day’s rhythm by eliminating activities rather than allowing the stress of being on time interfere with the enjoyment of each activity. Take bedtime, for example, sometimes bedtime routines can become too elaborate, creating stress the longer they go on and the later it gets. In order to establish an enjoyable rhythm, perhaps you and your child can pick three activities, as well as their order, to do each night before bed. A picture flow chart that you create can add an element of fun, too!

We hope this is helpful.  Heartworks is truly a work of the heart, just like your family!

Safe Lunches

Please be sure that there is an ice pack in the lunch box for any items that need to be kept cold, such as milk and yogurt. If you want your child to have something warm to eat, please be sure to provide it in an insulated thermos.

For infants, toddlers, and children aged two and three:
All food items need to be cut into pieces smaller than 1/2 inch in size. Grapes, tomatoes, and olives must be cut in quarters. If providing carrots, they must be cut in very skinny lengthwise strips. All food items should be cut no larger than 1/4 inch pieces for infants.

For all children
The following food items are not to be served according to NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) guidelines, which we must follow: hot dogs (whole or sliced), popcorn, hard pretzels, raw peas.

We are a nut free facility and do not serve items that contain, or may contain peanuts or tree nuts, or even those items processed in the same facilities. Cereal bars and granola bars often have these types of labels on them. Please check all labels before packing items in your child’s lunchbox, and if the packaged items do not list ingredients please indicate that it is free of all peanut and tree nut warning labels.

Thank you for following these guidelines as you prepare food for your child during their day at school.

Heartworks Burlington Art Show

Here are some wonderful photos of our art show that was held at Arts Riot last week. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Parent/Teacher Conferences

parent-teacher-conference.jpg

A sign-up sheet for the parent/teacher conferences on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1 is posted on the bulletin board at your child’s class. Please be sure to sign up for a 30-minute individual time with your child’s teacher. This is a wonderful opportunity to have the complete attention of your child’s teacher for 30 minutes to hear all about your child’s day as well as to ask questions and share your goals for your child.

On Thursday, March 31st school closes at 12 noon and on Friday, April 1st school is closed for the day. The Thursday conferences start at 1:10 and the Friday conferences start at 8:00. If your child has a different afternoon teacher from the morning program, you are welcome to sign up for a conference with that teacher too. If the available days/times do not work for you, please speak with the School Director who will arrange a time that is more suitable for the teacher and yourself. Thank you.

If you are in need of child care, please speak in advance with the School Director as there may be someone at the school who can watch your child during your parent/teacher conference. We are currently unable to offer childcare at our Stowe campus. We are unable to hold a conference with a child present other than the little babies who are not mobile yet. Thank you.

We look forward to meeting with you, to answer your questions, and to share all of the wonderful work your child has been engaged in since the last conferences in November.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

St. Patrick’s Day is another very special and fun tradition for the children. A few school days prior to St. Patrick’s Day the teachers will briefly share with the children about this special day in Ireland. A legend of a potential pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow along with Leprechauns looking for the pot of gold will be discussed – could it happen?

The children will design and build “traps” to see if they can catch any Leprechauns that might be looking for pots of gold. The traps are not to cause any harm, only to capture safely to see what a Leprechaun may look like. The children enjoy building various structures in celebration of this day. The Pre-kindergarten children enjoy thinking of ways to make their “traps” work – they become very scientific and imaginative in their work.

In past years the majority of the mischief typically occurs the night before and in the early hours on March 17; we never know what we will find upon arriving to school. Often there are notes left from “the visitors” for the children to read of various activities or mischief that took place. On Thursday, the 17th, the children will be amazed as the school is transformed into a wonderland of mischief and fun. If your child does not attend school on Thursdays, we encourage you to take the time to arrive at 8:45 and walk through the entire school. Some parents have described St. Patrick’s Day as one of their favorite traditions at Heartworks.

 

Washing Hands

Thank you so very much for helping your child in washing his/her hands upon arriving to school in the morning. This greatly reduces the amount of germs coming into our school and especially helps in preventing the spread of colds.

We are working on teaching the children the proper way to wash their hands as written by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We would appreciate your help in practicing these techniques at home as well as when washing their hands upon arriving to school.  The goal is to teach older children to carry out the procedure themselves; for younger children the goal is to supervise them in carrying out the hand washing procedure, which is: 

Washing Children’s Hands

  • Moisten hands
  • Squirt a drop of liquid soap on children’s hands
  • Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds
  • Rinse their hands well in running water, directing flow from wrist to fingertips
  • Dry hands with paper towel
  • Turn off faucet with paper towel and discard

In this way, by turning off the faucet last and with a paper towel, the children’s hands remain germ free after washing.
 
Thank you for keeping these techniques in mind and teaching them to your child. Many, many people are more mindful to these techniques and are following them when in public restrooms.

A Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Tradition: Baking, especially at the Holidays!

Baking bread for family and friends grounds us in an important tradition this time of year:
a shared experience, following the rhythm of a process that is centuries old, and creating
sustenance with our hands that is made from local grains.

From the inception of Heartworks, baking bread has been a part of our tradition. At least twice a month, preschool students participate in a baking project, from apple cheddar biscuits to pretzels, the aroma of baking often fills the hallways. Baking holds many lessons for preschoolers, from the sensory experience of baking to reading instructions and measuring ingredients. Cooking their own baked goods can even help create a more adventurous palate!

This year, Renaissance students took baking one step further by participating in the Learn, Bake, Share Program sponsored by King Arthur Flour. In this program, students learn to make two loaves of bread from scratch, one to keep and one to give to those in need. Our students had to utilize math, science and reading skills as they learned to bake bread as part of a community service effort. We are very proud of the 4th and 5th graders who donated twenty homemade loaves to the Harbor House, a local shelter that provides temporary housing with 20 families currently in residence.

At Endeavour Middle School, our students are participating in an online MOOC course via Colgate University. They are connecting with Renaissance Elementary School alumna, Allison Zengilowski, who is currently a junior at Colgate. They are learning about production, distribution, and the culture of making bread around the world. They're also studying global food supplies, industrial farming, and water supplies. Using systems thinking, students have had the opportunity to explore the global network that’s often involved in producing this ubiquitous
staple.

This holiday season, we encourage you to spend time together as a family baking and consider all there is to learn. From measurement and math to the joy of filling the house with the delicious aromas of baking, we know it will be a fun, memorable experience. We hope everyone enjoys a wonderful holiday season, family togetherness, and the spirit of giving as you share your baked goods with friends, family, and those in need. Baking is truly a valuable experience!

Read more in our efforts in local publications:

Food Drive ends December 11th

Thank you so much for the toiletry and non-perishable food items that you have donated so far for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. It is so moving to watch the boxes fill up with your generous contributions. Items will be delivered on Friday, December 11th - so there is still time to bring items in if you want to. It is important to involve the children in this as well, have a conversation about how the food will be going to families who need it; your participation is modeling compassion. Thank you for your support and generosity!

Other Items Needed:

  • Flour
  • Low sodium canned soups and chili
  • Boxed meals (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, etc.)
  • Rice (any type)
  • Shelf-stable juice
  • Portable ready-to-eat snacks (child friendly)
  • Shelf-stable milk (non-dairy)

 

Critical Items Needed:

  • Peanut butter
  • Healthy wheat based cereals
  • Canned tuna, chicken and other proteins
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, laundry detergent, feminine products

Celebrations Around the World

The schools will discuss many of the wonderful traditions, customs and celebrations from around the world. We will share the traditions, purpose, and reasons that some celebrate a certain holiday; we leave out the commercialization of the holiday. This may include:  

  • St. Nicholas Day (December 6) 
  • Hanukkah (begins at sundown on December 6)
  • St. Lucia Day (December 13)
  • Las Posadas (begins on December 16)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21) 
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (begins on December 26) 

We believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn that it is perfectly fine that we may have different traditions to celebrate. This also encourages children to accept each other as individuals and not to base acceptance on what we do or what we celebrate or what we have in common with each other; being open to accept each other will continue to create harmony, peace and happiness in the children and community. Through the discussions, we help children see that light (candles, sunlight) is a commonality through all of these celebrations.  

If your family celebrates a certain holiday or tradition during this month that you would like to share with the class, please speak to your child’s teacher.   

Throughout this month, children from various classes will join together on many days for Story by Heart. The stories will be told by the School Director and will focus on the various holiday celebrations. 

Story by Heart time is so very special and magical for the children. Having 30 to 40 “friends” from various classes and ages together to share in the tradition during this time of year simply enhances our community commonality between the classes while also learning about various cultural traditions, diversity and ways to help others.

Pajama Day

All of the classes will host pajama days on December 17 and 18 as a celebration on the successful completion of the first portion of the school year and a welcome beginning to 2016 – Happy New Year! We will have warm chocolate to drink as part of the special celebration, and other fun activities. Please pack additional clothing (warm) for outside time as well as additional clothing for those children who stay into the afternoon in case they wish to change. Thank you.

 

Kindergarten Overview at Renaissance

Tuesday, December 8th 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 15th 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Please join us at the Renaissance Elementary School for a Kindergarten Overview Program and learn more about our program for students who will be entering kindergarten in the fall of 2016.  Meet Renaissance School Director, Lisa Zengilowski, and Assistant Director, Danielle Harris, tour the school, and enjoy light refreshments. Find out about our outstanding academic program that emphasizes social, emotional, and life skills for children. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

To register, please complete the form below or contact Sarah Soule, Director of Admissions, sarah.soule@heartworksvt.com or (802) 951-1833.

Your Name *
Your Name
Your Child's Name *
Your Child's Name
Date Preference *

Exploring Cultures

In October our school-wide theme was Cultures and the children explored countries from around the world. They read books, looked at photos, ate new food and learned words in new languages. At the end of our theme each class received passports and took a trip on the Heartwork’s Jet to visit all of the countries we have been learning about in each classroom. It was so fun and exciting to watch them fly through the hallways!

Jenny's class:
Jenny and her friends explored the down under! They loved learning about Australia’s culture. The children enjoyed the traditional music of Australia and made their own didgeridoos. They made kangaroo pouches and hopped through the halls in a kangaroo parade! It was so great to see how excited the children were to show off their pouches.

Sherri's class:
Sherri’s children kept busy baking, cooking, learning about fall and China. They made apple butter out of apples that they picked at the orchard. The children enjoyed the yummy apple butter on crackers at snack. As they learned about China they used chopsticks to move pom poms and listened to traditional Chinese music! 

Hilary's class:
Hilary and her friends took several plane rides to China to hike and explore the Great Wall! They painted the Chinese flag together and practiced using chopsticks! The children worked as a team to build the Great Wall of China in the classroom. They even went on a panda bear hunt around the school. It was so fun to see them searching through the classrooms to find a panda!

Mariah's class:
Mariah and the children in her class explored the culture in Mexico. They learned about the Mexican flag and even made their own flags to hang in the classroom. The children worked hard at learning how to count and identify colors in Spanish. It was so fun to listen to them identify colors around the classroom in Spanish!

Sharon's class:
Sharon and the friends in her class really immersed themselves in the Kenyan culture. They learned so much about African animals and even created their own habitats. The children listened to traditional African music and then made their own instruments, played music and danced together. It was amazing to see how excited the children were as they learned more about the cultures and customs in Kenya.

Erica's class:
Erica and her friends explored the Kenyan culture. They created their own musical instruments and even played a real djembe drum. The children created binoculars and went on a safari though the school in search of African animals. They worked together to bake an African treat to share for our international day. It was so fun to see the pride in the children to share what they had cooked with our school community.

Theanna's class:
The children in Theanna’s class explored the culture and animals that live in Kenya. The children made binoculars that they took on safari as they looked for African animals. They also began to learn how to count to 10 in Swahili! It was so exciting to hear them counting together in a new language. The children also really enjoyed trying to balance baskets on their heads like they do in Kenya!

Visit from the Williston Fire Department

On Monday, October 5th we were visited by the Williston Fire Department. This visit was in conjunction with our studies of helpful community members and Fire Safety week. Lieutenant Baker, Firefighter Tony, Firefighter Dan and Firefighter Jeremy presented some safety tips and practices for Katherine’s, Maria’s, Heather’s and Caila’s classes. The children were able to practice “Stop, Drop, Cover your face, and Roll.” We also watched Firefighters Dan and Jeremy get dressed up in all of their firefighter equipment. They crawled around in their full gear and called out to the children so we could experience what they sound like and look like if ever we were to encounter them in a real fire. It was a helpful, informative exercise. Upon the conclusion of the presentation the children were invited to walk around and through the inside of a fire engine and an ambulance. The children in Sarah’s, Megan’s, Cassie’s and Amy’s classes came outside to take a tour of the vehicles as well. All of the children loved getting a close up view of the truck and were awed at the experience of being inside one- some did not want to get off!  

 

Upcoming Survey on Delay of Gratification

Over the next few weeks, our Heartworks families will be invited to participate in an online survey. Heartworks Shelburne teacher Rachel Franz, also a M.Ed. candidate at Champlain College, is working on research that seeks to discover ways that parents, guardians, and teachers of preschoolers can promote a skill called "delay of gratification." Delay of gratification, often associated with self-control, patience, and work ethic, is a critical ability that is correlated with children's academic, social, and financial success later in life. The term refers to a person's ability to resist temptation or impulse for something, which often leads to a greater reward in the future. The goal of the research is to help identify and share strategies that might work for supporting children as they develop the ability to delay gratification. The survey will be sent out via e-mail shortly and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Please keep an eye out for an e-mail from your School Director with the link to the survey.   Thank you in advance for helping Rachel with her research and for sharing your perspectives about this important topic.