Parent Handbook


“Play, which is the young child’s most natural expressive form, appears to be a vehicle well suited for the development of learning such strategies as the ability to develop and maintain a planned sequence of activities, the ability to abstract and embody the salient features of a situation or role, the ability to focus one’s attention, and the capacity for objectivity and empathy.”

                                                    Nancy E. Curry; “Dramatic Play as a Curricular Tool”

Organizational Structure


The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is the licensing authority for the Chilmark Preschool.  Parents may contact the EEC for information regarding the Preschool’s regulatory compliance history.  See contact information below.

Department of Early Education and Care Taunton Southeast and Cape Office

1 Washington Street, Suite 20

Taunton, MA 02780-3960

Tel: 508-828-5025

Fax: 508-828-5235


An appointed Board of Directors, “Friends of the Chilmark Preschool”, serves as the Preschool’s governing body.  “Friends of the Chilmark Preschool” is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.  The Board’s bylaws specify that the board include representatives of the town of Chilmark, Chilmark School/Chilmark Preschool parents, a Chilmark School teacher and other members of the community served.  The Directors of the Preschool will serve as an ex-officio member of this Board.

The Directors will develop and maintain a program that is consistent with the philosophy and practice of the rest of The Chilmark School (  Activities will be coordinated whenever appropriate in collaboration with teachers of The Chilmark School.  The Board will support the Directors in these endeavors.

The Board is responsible for overseeing the Directors of the Preschool.  They will perform periodic evaluations of the Directors, determine parent satisfaction with the program and oversee the budget and expenditures. The Director will supervise and provide ongoing evaluation of the teaching staff. 

In addition, “Friends of the Chilmark Preschool” will help to establish a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) to support the program.

History of the School

In March of 2004 the Chilmark School Task Force was formed to look closely at the school, specifically at enrollment and finances. From this task force a Preschool Committee, composed of community members, was put together to investigate the possibility of housing a preschool within the school. As a result of the committee’s hard work and dedication, Chilmark Preschool opened at the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year. The program that has evolved is designed to enhance the existing goals of the school, as well as to provide a high quality, non-profit preschool for up-island residents and the greater island community. 


Chilmark Preschool Philosophy

 We believe that it is essential to create a physical and social environment that promotes respect for all, a positive learning atmosphere and a safe place where children are valued as individuals. Children are viewed as competent, curious, resourceful and creative. It is their genuine enthusiasm for learning about the world around them that drives our curriculum.

The daily activities at Chilmark Preschool reflect these values and visions. The teachers have a strong knowledge of child development and recognize the value of predictability and consistency. They are careful observers, listeners, program planners and guides. Our curriculum is not set in stone at the beginning of the year, but rather emerges from the interests and needs of the children and teachers. The curriculum that evolves reflects the focus of the Massachusetts Early Childhood Program Standards for Preschool programs. These standards “structure learning through play and meaningful activities.” Teachers outline the daily schedule, but the curriculum is flexible and evolves based on their careful observations of the children and their interests.

Our classroom materials invite children to investigate, make new discoveries and construct their own knowledge. Through their natural curiosity and spontaneous play children create opportunities to develop number concepts, build early literacy skills, explore their natural world and express themselves in a wide variety of ways. Throughout the school day teachers help children to understand their emotions as well as those of their peers, fostering social relationships that are built on mutual respect and cooperation. These meaningful and enriching experiences build a sense of confidence, competence and a love of learning.

We strive to foster parental growth and education through community events and educational opportunities and encourage and support the continued professional development of our staff. Teachers and parents work as partners to facilitate and nurture each child’s development in all areas.

Collaboration and cooperation between teachers, parents, children and the larger community is central to the success of our inclusive early childhood program. Children will explore their island community through rich experiences such as walking field trips, nature studies and community visitors. It is important that children feel a part of their own classroom community as well as a part of the larger community. Experiences such as these will encourage children to become enthusiastic participants in the world in which they live.


Enrollment Procedures

Chilmark Preschool was founded in 2005 to enhance the existing goals of the Chilmark School, as well as to provide a high quality, non-profit preschool for up-island residents and the greater island community. Chilmark Preschool accepts children ages 2 years 9 months to 5 years old. Priority is given to families currently enrolled at Chilmark Preschool, the Chilmark School and residents of the Up-Island Regional School District. Enrollment is first offered to families residing in Chilmark or Aquinnah, then West Tisbury and then the down island towns. Other considerations are age, gender ratio and scheduling needs. Prospective families should complete our online application at:

Once an application is received, your child's name will be placed on our list of prospective families.  

The enrollment process for the following school year typically begins in January and is completed by April. Families will be invited to visit the program during the school day. The Directors will make themselves available to parents to share information and answer any questions they may have. The Directors will offer prospective families a spot based on availability. At the time of enrollment, the following procedure will be followed:

  • Parents will pay a $250 non-refundable enrollment fee to secure their child’s spot for the coming school year. 
  • Parents will complete a Developmental History
  • The Director will discuss the child’s Developmental History with parents and invite them to share additional information, including any other therapeutic, educational, social and support services the child may be receiving. Parents will also be asked about their child and family’s interests and needs.
  • Parents will attend an orientation in late summer.  
  • Families will participate in a home visit in late summer.
  • Parents will provide an up-to-date (within a year) physical exam, immunization record and lead screening (including results). 

The Chilmark Preschool does not discriminate in providing services to children and their families on the basis of race, religion, cultural heritage, political beliefs, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. Toilet training status is not an eligibility requirement for enrollment.


Fee Schedule

Preschool tuition is due the first of the month, for the 10 months of the 2018-2019 school year.  These ten billing cycles will include the school vacation weeks.  September payment is due prior to the first day of school. An additional late fee of $25 will be assigned to any payments received after the 7th day of the month. If you need to arrange an alternative payment plan, this must be discussed with the billing administrator Pat Ingalls.


·       5 full days/week –  $915

·       4 full days/week –  $751

·       3 full days/week –  $576


Hours of Operation

Chilmark Preschool hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. School ends at noon on half-days and no lunch is served. Please do not bring your child before 8:00 am as teachers need this time to set-up and plan for the day. It is the responsibility of parents to convey this to other caregivers who may be dropping off your child. It is important children arrive to school before 9am so they can participate in our morning meeting.


Late fees

The Preschool dismisses at 3:00 pm; it is expected that children will be collected on time. When a child is picked up late he/she may experience sadness and worry, leading to a difficult departure. Also, teachers rely on after-school time to clean, plan and discuss the school day.  

By or before your pickup time you should complete the following:

·  Talk with teachers about your child’s day.

·  Sign-out your child.

·  Gather your child’s belongings and depart from the classroom with your child. For your child’s safety, please do not allow him/her to open the door or gate.

Late fees will be assigned as follows: between 3:00 – 3:15, parents will be charged $5.00 for every 5 minutes they are late. After 3:15 fees are doubled, and will be added to the next month’s bill. 

This policy will be implemented beginning the second full week of school, allowing families to adjust to the new schedule.


Snow Days

The Directors will email by 6am if there will be a school closure or delay. If weather becomes hazardous during the day and necessitates early dismissal, you will be notified by phone.

Chilmark Preschool follows the policy of the Chilmark Elementary School. During inclement weather situations (snow, ice, exceptionally high winds), school may either be closed for the day or delayed for 1 or 2 hours or end early.  When conditions warrant the closing of school, an announcement will be on WMVY 88.7 FM or and all of the major television news stations (channels 4, 5 & 7).  It is the Superintendant of school who makes the decision for all Martha’s Vineyard public Schools.


Weekly Schedule

Weekly schedules are confirmed at the time of enrollment.  The Director must coordinate all schedule changes. Chilmark Preschool is fully enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year so it is unlikely that schedule changes will be permitted.


Sample Daily Schedule

8:00 – Arrival/Sign In: Parents or other caregivers must sign their child in, communicate any necessary information to teachers, help their child get ready for their morning by assisting them in putting their clothes, lunch etc. in cubbies and on hooks, washing their hands, applying sunscreen if necessary and seeing that they are settled with a teacher or activity. 

Free Choice/Play: Our classroom is set up to facilitate exploration and experimentation, encouraging independence and the children’s ability to make appropriate choices. Their interactions with the environment, materials, peers and teachers foster creativity, socialization and self-regulation. Through their play and other experiences children develop the cognitive, physical and social/emotional competencies that provide the strongest and broadest foundation for their growth.

9:00 - Morning Meeting: We gather as a whole group in our meeting area. This time is used to listen to the sound of the singing bowl, greet one another, discuss the day’s activities, introduce new concepts, share thoughts and ideas and collaboratively solve problems that may have arisen.

9:30 -11:30 - Rotation of snack, outside play, bike riding, walking field trips and free play inside including project work. Every child will go outside for a minimum of 60 minutes a day.

11:30 – 11:55 - Clean up: Teachers and children work together to clean up the morning’s activities inside and outside.

11:55 – 12:15 - Music/Movement Circle: A teacher leads the children in a whole group music/movement activity. (Or sign out for ½ days and holidays)

12:15 – 1:00 - Lunch 

1:00 – 1:15 Transition to rest, bathroom check in, then quiet reading, puzzles.

1:15 – 2:00 – Rest: Children nap or engage in quiet activities (e.g., books, puzzles, manipulatives)

2:00 – Quiet indoor activities or outdoor play

2:45 – 3:00 – Departure/Sign Out

Additional regular activities: Movement & yoga in the foyer of the Chilmark school, violin lessons, gardening and planting with Island Grown Schools, drama and theater with Phyllis Vecchia, stories at the Chilmark Library. These range from weekly to monthly in addition to our community visitors and field trips.


Sign In/Sign Out

There will be an attendance notebook on the table near the preschool entrance. Each child must be signed in and out every day. Please leave additional phone number(s) where you can be reached that day if not at your usual number.

State regulations forbid us to release a child to anyone not specified on the release form included in your enrollment packet. Licensing does not permit the school to accept a phone call from a parent in lieu of written permission. Please be sure to include anyone who may pick-up your child during the school year on the release form. 



We will provide a daily snack. The menu will be posted at the start of each week. Parents are required to make a one-time snack payment of $150 at the start of the school year. This fee will cover the cost of snack for the whole school year.



Children will bring lunch to school or sign up each morning to buy school lunch. Preschool children are eligible for free or reduced lunch depending on eligibility. Please pick up an application form from the director. Payment for school lunches can be made in cash or check at school ($3.25) or online at with your child’s student code. Please label lunchboxes or bags. We do not share lunches from home.  Please note that teachers are not able to do “heat-ups” of children’s lunches. Hot foods such as soup or pasta may be sent in a thermos.


Nap/Rest Time

EEC regulations require that an extended period of sleep, rest or quiet activities be provided for children in preschool longer than four hours. Children who do not sleep or awaken early will be offered quiet activities (e.g., books, puzzles, manipulatives). Parents will provide a blanket as well as sheet or towel to cover mat provided by preschool. Parents may also send in a small pillow or cuddly toy that makes no noise. Please bring nap items home once a week for laundering. Nap/Rest time takes place in the classroom and teachers position themselves so they can hear and see children at all times.

We adhere to the following mandatory EEC guidelines for nap/rest time:

·     The nap/rest area is set-up in a way that minimizes noise and disturbance;

·     A separate cot and blanket is provided for each child;

·     There is no use of restraints on children while sleeping;

·     Cots and blankets are individually marked and in good repair.

·     Blankets and bed linens are stored in a safe and sanitary manner.

·     Cots are set-up with a minimum of two feet between each cot on all sides. 

·     Cots are arranged in such a way that children are easily accessible during an emergency.

·     There is appropriate space and adequate lighting for quiet activities for children who do not sleep.

·     There is adequate lighting to allow for proper supervision.


Extra Clothes/Outerwear

Please remember to send your child in “play” clothes. We will be using a wide variety of messy materials (e.g., paint, water, mud) both in the classroom and outdoors. Your child should always have an extra set of “play” clothes, socks and underwear in his/her cubby. Please replenish these regularly to keep up with your child’s growth and seasonal/weather changes. Sneaker type shoes work best for secure running and playing.

It is important to note that we play outdoors every day of the week, all year long! Please send outerwear and shoes appropriate for the weather.



Children are welcome to celebrate their birthdays with their teachers/peers at school. Celebrating children will be invited to participate in the preparation of a birthday snack, choosing from options currently on our snack menu. If a family wishes to send a nutritious snack for the class to share please reach out to the director to plan for this.



Parents are responsible for transporting their children to and from the program. Families are welcome to enter through the Chilmark School's main entrance or Chilmark Preschool's external door. Please note that the Chilmark School holds a morning circle in the foyer between 8:15 and 8:30 am, and the main entrance is not available during this time. Please do not allow your child to independently open the gate or either classroom door. Consistency with this rule helps us to ensure your child’s safety throughout the school day.


Field Trips

Field trips are an integral part of our program, including walking trips around the community. Parents will be asked to sign a permission form for these short trips.  (e.g., Library, Post Office, Community Center, etc.) Trips requiring transportation will be planned and parents notified in advance. We will send home individual permission slips for these occasions. First aid kits and emergency medical and contact information will be taken on all field trips.  All children will wear a name-tag with the program’s address and phone number. For field trips requiring transportation, we will use public transportation (VTA bus). The Director will take attendance prior to entering the bus and upon exiting in order to ensure every child’s safety.   


Toys from Home

Transitional objects (teddy bears, blankets, etc.) provide comfort to children during stressful times, such as their first time at school, a new baby, traveling parents etc. Children who nap may also want a special cuddly toy to help them settle down. In general, we require that all items brought from home be kept in cubbies or on cots during school hours.

Toys such as action figures or battery-powered vehicles do not contribute positively to school play and are difficult for children to share. For this reason, we do not allow them at school. If you are having difficulty explaining this to your child, please ask a teacher for help.


Parent Information

At Chilmark Preschool we believe that open, honest and respectful communication between teachers and parents establishes a foundation of trust that enables young children and their families to flourish in the school community. Ongoing communication/collaboration is encouraged in the following ways:

Parental Input: Chilmark Preschool encourages the involvement of parents in their child’s school experience.  We believe that open communication between parents and teachers is important because children thrive in such an atmosphere. While it is the Preschool’s job to make decisions regarding program administration and day-to-day running of the classroom, we will always listen to parent suggestions and questions.

Meeting with Parents: Chilmark Preschool will assure that the Directors (or a designee) meets with the parent(s) prior to admitting a child to the program. The parents will have an opportunity to visit the classroom at the time of the meeting or prior to enrollment of the child.

Parent Conferences: Informal conversations that occur daily are valuable to both teachers and parents. Chilmark Preschool teacher(s) are available for individual conferences at the request of the parent(s) at any time during the school year. Conferences will be scheduled twice a year for all children in order to discuss their growth and development.

Written Reports: Chilmark Preschool will provide a written developmental profile for your child once a year. A copy will be given to you and we will also maintain a copy of the report in your child’s file. If your child is identified as having a disability, you will receive a written progress report at least every three (3) months. Parents and teachers of children entering kindergarten the following year will receive a written transition report at the end of the year as well.

Parent Visits:  You have the right to visit Chilmark Preschool unannounced any time your child is present.

Children’s Records: Information contained in a child’s record is privileged and confidential. Program staff may not distribute or release information in a child’s record to anyone not directly related to implementing the program plan for the child without written consent by the child’s parent(s). You must be notified if your child’s record is subpoenaed.

Access to your child’s record: You are entitled to have access to your child’s record at reasonable times on request.  You must have access to the record within two (2) business days of your request unless you consent to a longer time period. You must be allowed to view your child’s entire record, even if it is maintained in more than one location. The Chilmark Preschool maintains children’s files in a locked filing cabinet and will maintain a permanent, written log in each child’s record, which identifies anyone who has had access to the record or who has received any information from the record. This log is available only to you and the people responsible for maintaining the Preschool’s records.

Amending your child’s record: You have the right to add information, comments, data or any other relevant materials to your child’s record. You also have the right to request deletion or amendment of any information contained in your child’s record. If you believe that adding information is not sufficient to explain, clarify or correct objectionable material in your child’s record, you have the right to a conference with the Chilmark Preschool to make your objections known. If you have a conference, the Chilmark Preschool must inform you in writing within one week of their decision regarding your objections. If the Preschool decides in your favor, they must immediately take the steps necessary to put the decision into effect.

Transfer of records: When your child is no longer enrolled, the Chilmark Preschool can give your child’s record to you or any other person you identify, upon your written request.

Charge for copies: The Chilmark Preschool shall not charge an unreasonable fee for copies of any information contained in your child’s record.


Program Responsibilities

Providing information to EEC: The program must make available any information requested by the EEC to determine compliance with any EEC regulations governing the program, by providing access to its facilities, records, staff, and records.

Reporting abuse or neglect: All Chilmark Preschool staff members are mandated reporters. That is, they are required by law to report suspected abuse and neglect to the Department of Children and Families.  The Chilmark Preschool has written policies and procedures for reporting (contained in the Health Care Policy – see excerpt below).

Notification of injury: The Chilmark Preschool Director (or designee) must notify you immediately of any injury that requires emergency care. The Director must also notify you, in writing, within 24 hours, if any first aid is administered to your child.

Availability of EEC Regulations: The Chilmark Preschool maintains a copy of the regulations, 606 CMR 7.00:  Standards for the Licensure or Approval of Family Child Care; Small Group and School Age and Large Group and School Age, on the premises and will make them available to any person upon request. If you have a question about any of the regulations, ask the Preschool Director to show them to you.


Guidance and Discipline

Discipline is often equated with punishment. Our philosophy regards discipline as one element of guidance, and refers to all the activities and interactions that serve to enhance each child’s development of self-control and positive social interactions.

General Guidelines:

·       Prevention: Prevention is the best technique. The Preschool classroom, materials and activities are carefully planned to help children meet our expectations.

·       Modeling: We expect that children will grow in self-control and respect for others by watching adults and peers behave in positive, supportive cooperation and meaningful interactions. Children will imitate the social behavior of adults they admire.

·       Identification: Children want to become like those people who express warmth and support, and to become like those people who are important to them. Through identification, children take on the values and attitudes of those they admire. 

·       Explanation:  Children may not always understand the effect of their behaviors on others. Adults support them in developing empathy, explaining the consequences of a child’s behavior and pointing out the impact of that behavior on others.

·       Problem Solving: We know that children want to be independent and have their decisions respected.  We encourage children to test their ideas and provide a setting where their creativity can be used to help fit the needs of each other and the group.

·       Redirection:  Children will not be permitted to engage in behaviors that are potentially harmful to themselves, others in the classroom or our materials. We recognize, however, that the feelings or motives behind the behaviors are real and immediate to the child. Our approach is to help the child find some way to talk about or express the feelings that would not be harmful. Expression may take place through talking, physical activity or by having a quiet time for thinking things through.

·       Natural or Logical Consequences: We know that young children need to anticipate what will happen next and understand how their actions affect other people in concrete ways. We explain the logical consequences that will occur (factors which are likely to occur under natural circumstances), describe predictable limits, offering the child acceptable choices of actions.

·       Physical Punishment: Physical punishment is not used as a discipline strategy at Chilmark Preschool. Chilmark Preschool teachers believe that an important component of a child’s development in a preschool setting is the bond of trust that develops between the child and the teachers. We believe that this bond enables the child to take risks and explore new experiences and ideas. This bond also contributes to the child’s ability to act in a caring way toward other children in the class. We believe that physical punishment is destructive to the bond of trust between the child and adult, and thus feel it would not contribute to the overall development of the children in our care.


Guidance Strategies in the Classroom

·       At the beginning of the year, we establish basic rules for safety with the children, giving clear explanations. We try to keep these simple. Learning to understand what these rules mean is a process that takes time.

·       When slight conflicts arise between children, we facilitate problem solving and exchange of viewpoints between them. The teacher will help the children identify the problem, as well as potential solutions (“I can see that you both want to drive the truck. I’m wondering how are we going to solve this problem. Christopher, what is your idea?  Max, what is your idea?”)

·       When minor problems arise concerning the use of the physical space, equipment or materials, we try redirection and problem solving first (“Stephanie, I’m worried that you might get hurt if you sit on the table. What is another way to get closer to the picture you’re working on?”)

·       If redirection, explanation and problem-solving fail to achieve compliance or harmony, we present natural/logical consequences to the child (“You need to find a way to play without splashing the water, Bobby. Your friends do not want to get their clothes wet. If you can’t find a way to do this, I am going to help you to make another choice.”)

·       If a child is having difficulty regulating his/her emotions and his/her behavior feels disruptive or unsafe to other children, a teacher may help the child find a quiet place to calm (“It looks like you are having a hard time keeping yourself safe. I’ve brought some pillows over to the rug. I will sit there with you until you feel calmer.”)


Referral Services

The Chilmark Preschool will refer parents to appropriate social, mental health, educational and medical services, including but not limited to dental check-up, vision or hearing screening for their child should the teaching staff feel that an assessment for such additional services would benefit the child. The Director is responsible for reviewing these concerns and bringing them to the attention of the parents if a referral is deemed necessary or desirable. The following procedure will be followed:

·       Teachers will document their observations of the child, using the Incident Action Plan when appropriate.

·       The Director will provide the parent(s) with a written statement including the reason for recommending a referral for additional services, a brief summary of the program’s observations related to the referral and any efforts the program may have made to accommodate the child’s needs.

·       The Director will provide the parent(s) a current list of referral resources in the community for children in need of social, mental health, educational or medical services. 

·       The Director will obtain written parental consent before the referral is made and maintain a written record of any referrals, including the parent conference and any follow-up conversations.

·       The Director will follow-up the referral, with written parental consent, and contact the agency or service provider who evaluated the child for consultation and assistance in meeting the child’s needs in the program.  If it is determined that the child is not in need of services from this agency, or is ineligible, the Director will review the child’s progress every 3 months to determine if another referral is necessary.

·       With written parental consent, the Director will provide written notice to the Martha’s Vineyard Public School’s Early Childhood Coordinator when a child with a disability is enrolled in the Preschool.


Termination and Suspension Policy

Under several circumstances, The Chilmark Preschool reserves the right to terminate or suspend a child from the program, including:

·       non-payment of tuition or pre-arranged payment agreement

·       when the health and safety, developmental needs and welfare of the child, other children in the program or staff cannot be adequately assured.

o   The Preschool will make every effort to avoid suspension/termination including the following:

§  meeting with parents to discuss concerns and available options

§  referrals for evaluation, diagnostic or therapeutic services

§  pursuing options for supportive services to the program including consultation and teacher training

§  developing a plan for intervention at home and in the program

The Directors will handle these cases on an individual basis with input from the other teachers and the Board of Directors. Documentation will be maintained and confidentiality will be strictly observed.

In the event of a termination, teachers will talk with the child and other children in the class in a developmentally appropriate manner.



When a child transitions from the Preschool to a new program the Directors will obtain written consent from the parents to communicate/collaborate with the new program.  A copy of the child’s developmental profile will be provided and teachers will communicate all information that will support the child’s transition to the new program. The transition will be acknowledged in a developmentally appropriate way in the classroom and the child’s family will be invited to be active participants in the transition process.

Enrolled children who will be entering kindergarten the following school year will have the opportunity to visit the Chilmark School K-1 class accompanied by a teacher. With written parental consent, the Directors will provide a copy of the children’s developmental profiles along with any transitional information requested by the Martha’s Vineyard Public School’s Early Childhood Coordinator. Teachers will acknowledge the upcoming transition in the classroom through books, discussion and an end of year celebration. 


Diapering and Toileting

Toilet training is not an eligibility requirement for enrollment.

Teachers will ensure that:

·       a change of clothing is available for each child.

·       diapering areas are separate from facilities and areas used for food preparation and food service.

·       a supply of clean, dry diapers adequate to meet the needs of children is maintained (provided by parents).

·       the diapering surface will not be used for any other purpose.

·       the diapering surface is smooth, intact, impervious to water and easily cleaned.

·       each child’s diaper is changed on a regular basis throughout the day and when wet or soiled.

·       the changing surface is protected with a covering that is of adequate size to prevent the child from coming in contact with the changing surface.

·       Teachers and children wash their hands with liquid soap and running water using friction and dry their hands with individual or disposable towels after diapering a child.

·       they keep at least one hand on the child at all times when the child is being changed on an elevated surface.

·       each child is washed and dried with individual washing materials during each diaper change.  After changing, the child’s hands must be washed with liquid soap and water, and dried with individual or disposable towels.

·       soiled disposable diapers are placed in a closed container that is lined with a leak-proof disposable lining.  Soiled diapers will be removed from the program daily, or more frequently as necessary

·       soiled non-disposable diapers are placed in a sealed plastic container labeled with the child’s name and returned to the parents at the end of the day.

·       children are toilet trained in accordance with the requests of their parents and consistent with the child’s physical, emotional and developmental abilities.

·       no child is punished, verbally abused or humiliated for soiling, wetting or not using the toilet.

·       soiled clothing is double bagged in sealed plastic bags and stored apart from other items and sent home with parents at the end of the day.

·       children are accompanied to the bathroom by a teacher whenever the need arises, including coming inside from the playground.


Oral Health

In an effort to decrease the incidence of tooth decay in young children, the Department of Early Education and Care now requires that all children attending preschool for more than four hours a day brush their teeth.  The Preschool will provide each child with a child-sized toothbrush that will be replaced every 90 days.  Teachers will assist children in brushing their teeth after they have finished eating lunch.  Toothpaste will not be used. Teachers will ensure that toothbrushes are labeled and stored in a safe and sanitary manner.  Parents who do not want their child to brush teeth while in school must make a request for non-participation in writing.


Health Care Policy Excerpts

The following sections are excerpted from The Chilmark Preschool Health Care Policy. The complete Health Care Policy is kept on the Preschool premises and is available upon request.


Contingency Plans for Emergency Situations

Missing Children

Should a child be missing from the Preschool, a teacher will enlist the help of the Chilmark School staff to search for the child inside the school building and on the school grounds. If the child is not located within several minutes, the Director will contact 911 and the child’s parents. If the child’s parents cannot be reached, the contacts listed on the child’s First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Form will be contacted. The staff will remain calm and keep the children engaged in activities within the classroom.

Should a child be missing on an off-site field trip, a teacher will enlist the help of the staff present at the site to search for the child. If the child is not found within several minutes, the Directors will call 911 and the child’s parents. If the child’s parents cannot be reached, the contacts listed on the child’s First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Form will be contacted. The staff will remain calm and keep the children engaged in activities in a calm and quiet space.


Emergency Evacuation Plan

·       Emergency Evacuation Plans will be posted at all exits.

·       During an emergency evacuation, a teacher will be responsible for leading children out of the building. The Directors will assist in the evacuation and check for stragglers.

·       The Directors will make a visual inspection of the classroom and obtain the Off-Site Emergency Information Notebook, which includes daily attendance records and First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Forms for all children, before exiting the building.

·       The children will be led to the path to Windy Gates and walk to the Chilmark Police Station. The Directors will take attendance and ensure that all children are accounted for.

·       Reasons for emergency evacuations include, but are not limited to, fire, power outage, loss of heat or water and natural disasters.  If loss of power, heat and/or water occurs while children are in care and is unlikely to return within 2 hours, the Preschool will be closed. Parents will be notified and asked to pick up their children immediately.

·       The Directors, in conjunction with The Chilmark School Principal, will contact all appropriate Chilmark licensing boards and emergency agencies. The Preschool will remain closed until all involved agencies have approved reopening.

·       The Directors will notify the EEC of any evacuations and/or closures within 24 hours.


Sheltering in Place:

  • In some emergency situations, it may be safer to remain on site until the emergency has ended. The Director, in conjunction with The Chilmark School’s Principal, will obtain information from the Chilmark Police Department to determine whether to evacuate or shelter in place. 
  • In the event that there is a loss of water, bottled hand cleaner will be used for hand washing. There is a bottle in both first aid kits. Toilets will be flushed by back up water jugs.
  • In the case of a power outage, emergency back-up lighting and battery-powered lanterns will be utilized.
  • In the event that there is a risk of high winds, teachers will move the children to an interior part of the classroom, away from all windows.
  • A cell phone, as well as an emergency supply of food, water, diapers, clothing, blankets and other necessities, will be available in the classroom.
  • The teachers will remain calm and keep children comfortable and engaged until evacuation is possible.
  • The Chilmark Police Department will notify the Director when it is safe to evacuate. The Director will then initiate evacuation procedures.


Lock-down Procedures:


  • In the event of a potential threat from an intruder inside or outside the program, the Director will initiate lock-down procedures. As soon as it is possible, the Director will contact the police.
  • The Director will close the doors, turn out the lights and draw the shades.
  • A Teacher will instruct the children to sit on the floor, out of sight lines from the doors.
  • A Teacher will lock the external door and secure the internal door using furniture or bungee cords.
  • Attendance will be taken to ensure that all children are accounted for.
  • The teachers will remain calm and keep children comfortable and engaged until evacuation is possible.
  • A cell phone and emergency supplies will be available in all classrooms.
  • In the event that the Director or a teacher determines that it would be safer for some/all children to flee the building, she will initiate evacuation procedures. Once the group reaches a safe location, attendance will be taken to ensure that all children are accounted for. 
  • The Director will notify families when the lock-down has ended.

Emergency Evacuation Drills:

The Director will conduct emergency evacuation drills monthly at different times of the program day, under varied weather conditions and using different evacuation routes.

•        The Directors will maintain documentation of the date, time and effectiveness of each drill in the Emergency Evacuation Log.  This documentation will be maintained for 5 years.


Plan for Managing Illnesses/Infections/Communicable Diseases

·       A child will be excluded from care if he or she displays any of the following symptoms:

o   an illness that prevents the child from participating in program activities or resting comfortably

o   an illness that results in greater care need than the Preschool staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children

o   fever of 101 degrees or higher, until child has been without fever for 24 hours

o   unusual lethargy, irritability, persistent crying, difficulty breathing or other signs of serious illness

o   persistent diarrhea

o   vomiting, until maintaining a 24-hour period without vomiting

o   mouth sores, unless the child’s physician states that the child is non-infectious

o   rash with a fever or behavior change, until the child’s physician has determined that the illness in a non-communicable disease

o   purulent conjunctivitis (defined as pink or red conductive with white or yellow discharge, often with matted eyelids), until examined by a physician and approved for readmission with or without treatment

o   tuberculosis, until the child is non-infectious

o   impetigo, until 24 hours after treatment has started

o   pinworm, until 24 hours after treatment has started

o   head lice, until free of all nits or scabies and free of all mites

o   strep infection, until 24 hours after treatment has started and the child has been without fever for 24 hours

o   chicken pox, until the last blister has healed over

·       The Preschool Director may make the final decision concerning the inclusion or exclusion of the child.

·       In accordance with The Department of Public Health, The Preschool Director will notify the Department of Public Health and all enrolled families immediately, and in writing when any communicable disease or illness has been introduced into the program. Whenever possible, written information will be made available. Children who have not been immunized will be excluded from care for the duration of the incubation period.


Infection Control

·       All teachers at The Chilmark Preschool will be trained in infection control procedures.

o   Teachers will educate children about and promote hand washing procedures and health precautions.

o   All teachers and children will wash their hands with liquid soap and running water, using friction, in accordance with DPH guidelines.  Hands will be dried with individual or disposable towels or an automatic hand blow dryer.  Common towels will not be used.  Teachers and children will wash their hands at least at the following times:

§  before and after water play

§  before eating or handling food

§  after toileting or diapering

§  after coming into contact with bodily fluids or discharges (including sneezing or coughing)

o   In addition, all teachers will wash their hands at the following times:

§  before and after the administration of medication

§  after performing cleaning tasks, handling trash or using cleaning products

o   Facilities used for hand washing after toileting or diapering will be separate from facilities and areas used for food preparation and food service.

o   Equipment, materials, items and surfaces (including floors, walls and clothing used for dramatic play) are washed with soap and water and disinfected as needed to maintain a sanitary environment.

o   All floors used by children will be swept and/or vacuumed daily.

o   All eating surfaces will be washed and disinfected before and after each use.

o   Where applicable, the following items, equipment and surfaces will be washed and disinfected after each use:

§  toilet training chairs which have first been emptied into a toilet

§  sinks and faucets used for hand washing after the sink is used for rinsing a toilet training chair

§  diapering surfaces

§  mops used for cleaning bodily fluids

§  water table and water play equipment

o   Toys mouthed by a child will be set aside and stored after each use and will not be used by another child until they are washed and disinfected.

o   Personal items intended for individual use by children, including but not limited to pacifiers, toothbrushes and sleeping materials, will be labeled with the name of the child for whom they are intended.

o   The following items will be monitored for cleanliness and washed and disinfected at least daily:

§  toilets and toilet training chairs

§  containers, including lids, used to hold soiled diapers

§  sinks and sink faucets

§  drinking fountains

§  play tables

§  washcloths and towels

o   The following will be washed and disinfected at least weekly:

§  cots and other approved sleeping equipment

§  sheets, blankets or other coverings

§  machine washable fabric toys

§  smooth surfaced, non-porous floors

§  mops used for cleaning

o   The disinfectant solution used to disinfect preschool items, equipment and surfaces will be either a bleach solution prepared by EEC guidelines or a commercially prepared disinfectant that has been registered as a sanitizing solution by the EPA.

o   All disinfectant solutions will be stored in accordance with manufacturer’s directions and in a secure place out of the reach of children.

o   Disposable non-latex gloves will be used for the clean up of blood or bodily fluids.  The affected area will be disinfected.  Used gloves and any other materials containing blood or other bodily fluids must be thrown away in a lined, covered container.  Teachers will wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after cleaning up the contaminated area.  Contaminated clothing must be sealed in a plastic container or bag, labeled with the child’s name and returned to the parent at the end of the day.

o   Individual towels or washcloths will be stored open to the air and not touching each other.

o   Children will use individual, labeled toothbrushes, which will be replaced every 90 days.  Toothbrushes will be stored in a safe and sanitary manner open to the air without touching each other.


Injury Prevention

·       Every morning the Director and teacher(s) will assess the safety of the classroom environment and remove any potential hazards. 

o   The Director will monitor the outdoor playground, remove potential hazards and report needed repairs or unsafe conditions to The Chilmark Community Center.

·       Liquids, foods and appliances that are or become hot enough to burn a child will be kept out of reach of the children.

·       The use of any substance that may impair a teacher’s alertness, judgment or ability to care for children during preschool hours is prohibited.

·       Drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking on preschool grounds is prohibited.

·       The Director will ensure that the following are easily and readily available at all times and accompany the children anytime they leave the facility in the care of staff.

o   a first aid kit

o   current family contact information

o   information about allergies and known medical conditions

o   emergency or life-saving medications, such as asthma inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors, for any children for whom they have been prescribed

o   telephone numbers for emergency services

o   authorization for emergency care for each child

·       The Director will maintain adequate first aid supplies, including, but not limited to: adhesive tape, band-aids, gauze pads, gauze roller bandage, disposable non-latex gloves, instant cold-pack, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, and CPR mouth guard.

·       The Director will maintain a record of any unusual or serious incidents, including but not limited to behavioral incidents, injuries, property destruction or emergencies.  These reports will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

·       Teachers will check children’s clothing to ensure that it is free from strings, laces or jewelry that could become entangled or wedged in playground equipment and present a strangulation hazard.

·       Teachers will protect children against cold, heat and sun injury.



·       Every teacher who administers prescription or non-prescription medication to an enrolled child during school hours will be trained to verify and to document that the right child receives the proper dosage of the correct medication designated for that particular child and given at the correct time(s) and by the proper method.  Every teacher who administers medication (other than topical medication) will demonstrate competency in the administration of medication before being authorized by the Director to administer any medication.

o   At least one teacher with training in medication administration will be present at any and all times when children are in care.

o   Every teacher who administers any medication, other than oral or topical medications and epinephrine auto-injectors, will be trained by a licensed health care practitioner and will demonstrate annually to the satisfaction of the trainer, competency in the administration of such medications. 

o   Every teacher, including those not authorized to administer medication, will be trained in recognizing common side effects and adverse interactions among various medications and potential side effects of specific medications being administered in the program.


Medication Administration

·       All medication administered to a child, including but not limited to oral and topical medications of any kind, either prescription or non-prescription, must be provided by the child’s parent.

·       All prescription medications must be in the containers in which they were originally dispensed and with their original labels affixed.  Over the counter medications must be in the original manufacturer’s packaging.

·       Teachers must not administer any medication contrary to the directions on the original container, unless so authorized in writing by the child’s licensed health care practitioner.  Any medications without clear instructions on the container must be administered in accordance with a written physician or pharmacist’s descriptive order.

·       Unless otherwise specified in a child’s individual health care plan, teachers will store all medications out of the reach of children and under proper conditions for sanitation, preservation, security and safety during the time the children are in care and during the transportation of children.

o   Those medications found in United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedules II-V will be kept in a secured and locked place at all times when not being accessed by an authorized individual.

o   Prescription medications requiring refrigeration will be stored in a way that is inaccessible to children in a refrigerator maintained at temperatures between 38 and 42 degrees F.

·       Emergency medications such as epinephrine auto-injectors will be stored in a place inaccessible to children, but will be immediately available for use as needed.

·       When possible all unused, discontinued or outdated prescription medications will be returned to the parent by the Director and the return will be documented in the child’s record.  When return to the parent is not possible or practical, such prescription medications will be destroyed and the destruction recorded by the Director in accordance with the Department of Public Health, Drug Control Program.

·       Teachers will not administer the first dose of any medication to a child, except under extraordinary circumstances and with parental consent.

·       Each time a medication is administered, the teacher will document in the child’s record the name of the medication, the dosage, the date, the time and the method of administration and who administered the medication.

·       Teachers will administer medications in accordance with the consent and documentation requirements outlined by the EEC 7.11(2)(1)1-5.  These guidelines will be posted in a place accessible to all teachers and included in the Parent Handbook.

o   Prescription Medication

§  Parents will fill out the Authorization for Medication form and a copy will be maintained in the child’s record.

§  Health care practitioner authorization is required.

§  Administration must be logged and include name of child, dosage, date, time, method of administration and staff signature.  Missed doses must be noted along with the reason(s) why the dose was missed.


o   Oral Non-Prescription Medication

§  Parents will fill out the Authorization for Medication and a copy will be maintained in the child’s record.  This form will be renewed weekly with dosage, times and purpose.

§  Health care practitioner authorization is required.

§  Administration must be logged and include name of child, dosage, date, time, and staff signature.  Missed doses must be noted along with the reason(s) why the dose was missed.

o   Unanticipated Non-Prescription for mild symptoms (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen, antihistamines)

§  Parents will fill out the Authorization for Medication form and a copy will be maintained in the child’s record.  This form will be renewed annually.

§  Health care practitioner authorization is required.

§  Administration must be logged including name of child, dosage, date, time and staff signature.

o   Topical Non-Prescription (when applied to open wounds or broken skin)

§  Parents will fill out the Authorization for Medication form and a copy will be maintained in the child’s record.  This form will be renewed annually.

§  Health care practitioner authorization is required.

§  Administration must be logged including name of child, dosage, date, time and staff signature.

o   Topical Non-Prescription (not applied to open wounds or broken skin)

§  Parents will fill out the Authorization for Medication form and a copy will be maintained in the child’s record.  This form will be renewed annually.

§  Administration of this category does not require health care practitioner authorization, nor does its administration need to be logged.


Procedures for Illness, Injury or Emergency

·       All teachers at The Chilmark Preschool are trained yearly in Infant/Child CPR and every other year in Standard First Aid by the American Red Cross.

·       If a child becomes ill while at school (see Plan for Managing illnesses/ infections/Communicable diseases), a parent or guardian will be notified to pick him/her up.  If a parent cannot be reached, then the person(s) designated on the child’s First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Form will be contacted.

·       If a child is injured, the following procedure will be observed:

o   The teacher will assess the child’s injury. 

§  If the injury is not serious/life threatening, the teacher will follow the recommended first aid procedure.  The teacher will then monitor and observe the child’s condition throughout the day.

·       The parent or guardian will be provided with timely, full and accurate verbal notification of the injury. 

·       The teacher will complete an Injury Report Form within 24 hours.  The report will be given to the parent or guardian for signature.  A copy will be returned to the parent or guardian and a copy will be maintained in the child’s file. 

·       The injury will also be documented in the Incident Log.

§  If the injury is serious/life threatening or a medical emergency occurs, the following procedure will be observed:

·       The Director will immediately administer CPR/First Aid as deemed necessary by the nature of the emergency. 

·       A teacher will immediately contact emergency services (911).

·       The teacher will then notify the child’s parent or guardian of the injury/emergency.  If a parent or guardian cannot be reached, then the person(s) designated on the child’s First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Form will be contacted.

·       The other teacher present will care for the non-injured, healthy children.

·       If only the Director and one teacher are present, the following procedure will be followed:  The Director will administer First Aid/CPR; the teacher will contact Emergency Services (911) and then contact Designated Adult, Mary Ambulos (ext. 101), to assist in contacting the child’s parent/emergency contact.  The teacher will also be responsible for caring for the other non-injured, healthy children.

·       If transport to The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is necessary, the Director will accompany the child.  A copy of the child’s medical information and First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Form will be provided.

·       The teacher will complete an Injury Report Form within 24 hours.  The report will be given to the parent/guardian for signature.  A copy will be returned to the parent or guardian and a copy will be maintained in the child’s file.

·       The injury/emergency will also be documented in the Incident Log.

·       The Director will provide written notification to the EEC of the injury/emergency within 48 hours of making the original report.  Copies of the CPR/First Aid cards of the staff present at the time of the injury/medical emergency will also be provided.


Emergency Procedures Off-site

·       The First Aid Kit and First Aid and Emergency Medical Care Consent Forms for all children present will be taken on all off-site activities.

·       All children will wear a name-tag with the program’s address and phone number.

·       The Director will carry a cellular phone and identify in advance the location of accessible landlines.

·       The procedures for illness, injury or emergency outlined above will be followed.


Abuse and Neglect

·       Every teacher is a mandated reporter under M.G.L. c. 119, 51A and must make a report to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) whenever he/she has reasonable cause to believe a child in the program is suffering from serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon the child, including but not limited to sexual abuse, or from neglect, including but not limited to malnutrition, no matter where the abuse or neglect may have occurred and by whom it was inflicted.

o   The following procedure will be followed:

§  A teacher who suspects abuse or neglect must document her observations including the child’s name, date, time, child’s injuries, child’s behavior and any other pertinent information.  The teacher will discuss this information with the Director.

§  The Director or the teacher with the assistance of the Director will make a verbal report to DCF, to be followed by a required written report 51A within 48 hours.

§  If a teacher feels that an incident should be reported to DCF and the Director disagrees, the teacher may report to DCF directly.

§  All concerns of suspected abuse or neglect that are reported to DSS will be communicated to the parents by the Director unless such a report is contra-indicated.

·       Any form of abuse or neglect of children while in care is strictly prohibited.

o   The Director and all teachers must operate the program in ways that protect the children from abuse or neglect.

o   Teachers are responsible for abuse or neglect if:

§  The teacher admits to causing the abuse or neglect, or

§  The teacher is convicted of abuse or neglect in a criminal proceeding, or

§  The Department of Early Care and Education determines, based upon its own investigation or an investigation conducted by the Department of Children and Families subsequent to a report filed under M.G.L. c. 119, 51A and 51B, that there is reasonable cause to believe that the teacher or any other person caused the abuse or neglect while the children were in care.

o   The Director will notify the Department of Early Education and Care immediately after filing or learning that a 51A report has been filed alleging abuse or neglect of a child while in the care of the program or during a program-related activity.

o   The Director will notify the Department of Early Education and Care immediately upon learning that a report has been filed naming a teacher or person regularly on the Preschool premises an alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect of any child.

o   The Director will ensure that any teacher accused of the abuse or neglect of a child in a report to the Department of Children and Families, filed pursuant to M.G.L. c. 119, 51A does not work directly with children until the Department of Children and Families investigation is completed and for such further time as the Department of Early Education and Care requires.

o   The Director and teacher(s) will cooperate fully with all DCF investigations.


(edited 4/9/2018 Anja May)