1. At St. Mary's Richard Tufenkian Preschool, the mission of the teaching staff and administration is to provide a high quality early childhood education program by following these ethical codes:
- Ensure that the Program is based on current knowledge of child development and early childhood education.
- Serve as advocates for children.
- Respect and support families in their task of nurturing children.
- Maintain high standards of professional conduct.
- Be open to new ideas and be willing to learn from the suggestions of others.
- Continue to learn, grow and contribute as a professional.
- Provide children with a rich Armenian cultural environment and education.
2. Program Philosophy
The years of early childhood are the most critical in the lives of children. The experiences they have greatly affect their later development and behavior.
- Each child is an individual who deserves to be respected and appreciated for his/her own unique character.
- The cultural values of each child and his/her family should be recognized and cherished.
- Each child must feel warmth, security and empowerment while learning.
- Each child should be given opportunities to grow and learn in all areas of development: Cognitive, Social, Physical, and Language.
- Each child's unique abilities and interests should be considered when planning curriculum activities.
3. Program Curriculum
The program curriculum is devised from the NAEYC's 10 standards: Relationships, Curriculum, Teaching, Assessment of Child Progress, Health, Teachers, Families, Community Relationships, Physical Environment, and Leadership and Management.
The curriculum goals and objectives are to provide children with the following developmentally appropriate classroom and playground learning experiences:
Language Art Skills: Children acquire pre-reading skills in both Armenian and English languages.
Cognitive Skills: Children acquire concepts in mathematics, science, social studies, health and other academic areas.
Aesthetic Skills: Children have daily opportunities for aesthetic expression and appreciation through art and music.
Social Skills: Children are provided many opportunities to develop social skills such as cooperating, helping and negotiating.
Gross Motor Skills: Children have daily opportunities to use large muscles by running, jumping and balancing.
Kindergarten instructions are based on basic academic skills and it includes mathematics, reading, writing, speaking and listening. These instructions are done in dual languages, Armenian and English. Instructions in science, history/social science and arts are also fundamental components of the kindergarten program. Student achievement criteria are based on the California State Standards.
4. Quality of Staff
Teachers and teacher assistants are experienced and have exceeded the Early Childhood Education State requirements. They are trained in Pediatric CPR and First Aid and Community Emergency Response (CERT). Staff members and faculty are all bilingual. In addition, they continue to update their education by attending college courses, conferences or workshops that are organized by NAEYC, respectable ECE organizations and the Board of Regents.
5. Teacher - Child Ratio
The following teacher-child ratios exceed the minimum requirements set by the State Department of Social Services:
- 2½ - 3 year olds - One adult to every 7 children.
- 3-4 Year olds - One adult to every 8 children.
- 4-5 Year olds - One adult to every 8-10 children.
- 5-6 Year olds - One adult to every 12-14 children.
6. Discipline and Conflict Resolution Policy
Physical or verbal abuse will not be allowed at St. Mary's Richard Tufenkian Preschool. No child will be denied food, rest, or bathroom use as a consequence of inappropriate behavior. We ask that parents respect our discipline policy while in the School so that no child will be subjected to negative, punishing forms of discipline while at St. Mary's Richard Tufenkian Preschool.
Discipline at our School is not for punishment but for behavioral change. The ultimate goal is for children to become self-disciplined. With guidance and facilitation by teachers, the children are helped to solve discipline challenges, using their words and problem solving skills with each other to come up with mutually acceptable choices. Children are helped to redirect their inappropriate behavior by encouraging them to be part of the solution. In this way, it becomes a learning tool and gives children a sense of empowerment. By providing a "can do" environment and positive verbal guidance, we teach young children what "to do," not just what "not to do."
School programs and activities shall be free from discrimination, including harassment, with respect to the actual or perceived ethnic group, religion, gender, color, race, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
The School prohibits the harassment of any student by the administration, including faculty or staff, another student or person at the School or at any School related activity. Harassment includes verbal, physical and visual conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment, or that interferes with daily School activities. Examples of such harassment include but are not limited to racial slurs, ethnic jokes, posting of offensive statements, posters or cartoons.
8. Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Policy
Children need protection because they are vulnerable and often unable to speak for themselves. The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act provides the legal basis for action to protect children and to allow intervention by public agencies if a child is maltreated.
All staff members are legally mandated to report any suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.