Frequently Asked Questions
How big is the school?
We are a small school of no more than 16 children at a time with 3 teachers.
Are classes mixed-age?
Infants under 18 months are in a different room but 18 months and older are together learning from one another through play.
What kind of parent teacher communication do you offer?
Oona’s PlayCare communicates in a variety of ways. In person at pick up and drop off we talk about your child’s day. We send pictures via text message all day with the goal of at least 4 throughout the day and we are always reachable by text for questions. If you are curious how your child is doing just ask and we will let you know and snap a picture in that moment. Afterhours you may text but you may not receive reply until the next business day unless it is an emergency or you are asking about drop in days.
Are you licensed?
Yes we are a certified In home center.
What is your policy regarding siblings?
We have may children whose siblings either come afterschool or all day.
Can my child attend if they’re not potty-trained?
We assist with potty training, but only when a child is showing signs of readiness in the classroom. It is important to note that sometimes a child can be ready at home before they are ready in childcare. We always offer, but never push. When your child is completely able to use the toilet on their own, with minimal accidents, they will be able to use underwear only. Developmentally, it is important that a we are on the child’s agenda with using the facilities (instead of the adult’s timetable). While we will support you anyway we can our priority is the comfort and readiness of the individual child.
What if my child has separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is very common and there are several ways that we help parents and children cope with the anxiety around goodbyes. We like to make a plan based on individual needs so there will be some observation to determine the best way to respond. That being said usually we start with very fast goodbyes. Research has shown that the longer you stay the longer the child will take to recover. our first goal is to build a strong rapport with your child. We try to match your child with a friend and help facilitate the change by using connection rather than distraction. It usually gets better over time and in no time your child is waving goodbye and happily coming in to start the day. I recommend a consistent drop off and pick up times if possible and it can be comforting to have a picture of the family or a comfort item from home.
How do the teachers handle discipline?
One of the most important components of discipline is the understanding that it isn’t punishment but guidance. My teachers will be on the floor at eye level asking questions and providing reasoning in age appropriate ways. We practice the social skills we are learning and calming strategies during class time so that we can implement them when we are angry. Listening to the child and helping them identify how they are feeling will teach them to work through frustrations in healthy ways. If a child is about to hit or are fighting over a toy etc. we put our body between the children explain we can’t let a child hurt the other child and then assist in the problem solving. We give examples and choices and allow the children to provide solutions and pick the choices they like for resolution. Often as children mature they begin using these strategies on their own. Every Now and then a child needs what we call a Time in. We separate the child but stay with them or near them to assist in calming strategies or help them cope as needed. No physical discipline is ever used in my care.
Do you offer drop-in?
Drop-In care may be available at a higher rate than regular scheduled days. If you require a drop-in day you must contact Oona’s PlayCare the night before to inquire if there is space available. A full days payment is required regardless of the amount of time your child is in care that day. Payment must be paid at the time of drop-off. Your child must be enrolled to use Drop-in days.
How do meals work?
We provide breakfast, lunch, and two snacks throughout the day. We also have a snack center that parents supply on a rotating basis for those in-between times when children are hungry. We believe if a child is hungry they should eat rather than having to wait until a designated time. Small children fill fast and are hungry at different times, so honoring their ability to listen to their bodies is in their best interest. We will offer food but never demand a child eats. Our meals are made from scratch and are on an 8-week rotating menu. Please note we are NOT a Nut free facility and if you have dietary special needs I.e. gluten free etc. you must pack your child meals to bring.
Snacks: Parents are on a rotating schedule of every 8-10 weeks to bring snacks for one week for all children. You will be given a bag the week before your snack is due and your snack week will be on the monthly calendar. When it is your week the first day of your child’s attendance you will bring the bag full of snacks. Directions and snack ideas will be included in the bag. You may bring anything your child likes. Ex: would be a bag of oranges a big package of string cheese and a family size box of crackers.
What kind of safety measures does the school have to keep my child safe?
Upon enrollment your family is given a personalized door code so that you may enter anytime while your child is in care. This way parents may come and go but the door is always locked. We also have a video doorbell that sends video and notices to our cell phones for anyone approaching our door. Our Back Gate is locked with a padlock and only staff has the code. Once you enter the home you are required to enter a personal 4 digit code on a tablet to mark attendance times. No one may pick up your child that is not pre-approved by the parent or guardian. Oona’s PlayCare has an emergency Action Plan for a fire drill: shelter in place: evacuation. We practice one of these each month. Each family fills out a form for their child with information people to contact, insurance information and other relevant information. We keep the forms in a binder as well as a digital copy so that there are multiple ways to access it in an emergency. Our staff also does a monthly walk through of the facility to ensure that all our safety protocols are being followed and up to date. As Portland has had reports of levels of lead and other toxins in the water, we had our water thoroughly tested and certified clean. All employees have extensive background checks and are fingerprinted via the state and FBI national database. Driving records are also held to a high level of scrutiny. When children are on a field trip the emergency forms are taken with us and we use car seats at all time. At times you may be asked to bring a car seat for your child.
What’s the biggest benefit of a play-based approach?
Some of the benefits of play, including social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development, cannot be achieved any other way. Children learn how to interact with peers when engaged in play activities while also building on important schemas about the real world. Play is an enjoyable experience for all children. Children of all ages will spend many hours participating in play activities because play supports their understanding of their social environment and facilitates their efforts to build a realistic sense of self. Play has a great value in that it assists children in exploring and understanding various roles and social interaction techniques.
We know that secure attachments and stimulation are significant aspects of brain development; play provides active exploration that assists in building and strengthening brain pathways. Play creates a brain that has increased ‘flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life.One of the greatest benefits of playing is to assist with the development of social competence. Children can build relationships, learn to resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their behaviors. In play, children usually have increased feelings of success and optimism as they act as their own agents and make their own choices. Playing is a known stress release; it is often linked to child wellbeing.
How will a play-based approach prepare my child for kindergarten?
Research finds that a play-based approach supports children to achieve in their early years but also throughout their school life and beyond. Play is central to childhood and children’s development and a fundamental part of early years teaching and learning. A Play Based program means they are getting the skills needed to succeed in school. We develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills we play with numbers and letters and read lots of books, we learn social skills and foster community. We learn to play and play to learn! Most important we foster a love of learning. The idea that “children learn through play” has directed early childhood teachers for decades. This simple phrase provides the rationale for several models of early childhood programs and different theoretical approaches. It has also become a way of explaining almost anything that a professional early childhood teacher does to keep children occupied in the classroom. The emphasis on learning through play will continue. The fact that children are active learners who construct their own knowledge and understanding of the world through play experiences has become a cornerstone of professional early childhood educators. As a professional educator, it is our responsibility to equip children with the skills they need for a positive transition to school.