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Parent Handbook

Vision

Empower children to inspire themselves and others.

Mission

Silver Creek provides a positive pre-school setting with therapeutic (physio, occupational, speech & language, and music therapy) services within a caring and creative early education classroom.

We help children with and without physical and developmental challenges to achieve success as defined by each child and family

We are dedicated to working with our families, the community and other professionals to ensure that the unique promise of each child is realized.

Values

We believe that every child is special

Silver Creek recognizes and supports the importance
of ongoing working partnerships with families and the community to ensure the continued development of our children towards independence and optimum quality of life.

We believe that every child will rise to their highest level
When we all work together to provide the services the children need now.

A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR

Dear Parents,

Welcome to Silver Creek! To our returning families, we look forward to working closely with you to continue to achieve the goals and outcomes that are important for your child. To our new families, we will delight in forming a relationship with you and your child and working together to help your child be all that she/he can be.

The work of children is play. As a team of dedicated Early Childhood Educators, PT, OT, Speech & Music therapists, support personnel, office staff and community volunteers we strive to make this a happy, safe, challenging and fun place for your child. Silver Creek staff are enthusiastic professionals who are committed to making a difference in the lives of our students.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a healthy year as we work together on behalf of the children during these important early learning years.

My best,
Irena Setnik Executive Director

OUR STAFF

Executive Director Teacher Supervisor Teachers

E/A

Physiotherapist

Occupational Therapists

OTA/PTA

Therapy Support Personnel

Speech Pathologist

Communicative Disorders Assistant

Music Therapist
Parent Support
Office Bookkeeper & Office Administrator Support & Maintenance

Irena Setnik Lois Blandford

Chloe Martin Mieke Nicholson Fania Thompson

TBA
Karen Chiu
Cindy Choy Leung Chantel Conte Beth Nathaniel

Katherine Hofman

Isabel Lui

Kathleen Power Mary Beaudoin Olga Liskovych

Patrick McInally Tabitha Barnes

Shober Moon Denise Squizzato Sueann Green

Leslie Hopkins

(Surrey Place Centre- Speech/Language Services)

(Toronto Speech/Language Services/SPC)

Sue Masciangelo

Our teaching staff are Registered Early Childhood Educators, (R.E.C.E.), with specific training in working with children with special needs. The therapists are all registered within their respective Ontario colleges and have many years of pediatric experience with children with special needs. A physiotherapist and/or occupational therapist are at the school daily, working within the classrooms. Every child is assessed and an individual educational and therapy program is designed and carried out by the therapy and teaching staff. All of the staff work closely together to ensure each child gets the guidance and support he/she needs.

We encourage an open door policy at Silver Creek. As well as formal parent/team interviews, parents are welcome to visit the school to observe their children and discuss program and progress. Goal setting reports from all pertinent disciplines are sent home in the fall, after a formal Parent-Team meeting. Learning outcome binders are sent home monthly with notes and photos from the teaching team, focusing on classroom experiences in all areas—cognitive, social, fine motor, gross motor, and self regulation.

At the end of the school year, parents of graduating children receive School Transition Reports that may be shared with future schoool placements or other agencies. Upon reaching school age, the staff will help the parents in finding the most appropriate school placement.

Returning children receive an Individual Support Plan (ISP).

Our Speech Pathologist from the Toronto Pre-School Speech and Language Services Early Abilities/Surrey Place Centre offers a consultation service, providing assessments, treatment plans, progress updates, and referrals as necessary. She works closely together with the teachers and therapists, who are experienced in the Hanen program of language facilitation, sign language and picture communication, and technology to enhance the children’s communication. Our Communicative Disorders Assistant will work very closely with the SLP and will carry out the treatment plans in small group settings and within the classroom setting.

Our Music Therapy program is available 2 days/week. Kathleen works closely with all disciplines, as music therapy is a very powerful learning tool for our children’s emotional growth and motivation. Rhythm skills, bilateral movement, speech production, self-control, turn taking and joyful expressions are just some of the exciting outcomes of music therapy.

Our strength as a therapeutic pre-school is through our Team Staff. These professionals will work with you to ensure the best outcomes for your child. We look forward to our parents being part of this team, too.

SILVER CREEK PRE-SCHOOL SCHEDULE/CALENDAR 2019/2020

CALENDAR GOES HERE

OUR SCHOOL

Our Goals

Quite simply, we want each child at Silver Creek to be the best he or she can be. The best way for us to help is to provide an enriched and nurturing environment. Reflecting the multicultural diversity of our community, the school offers an environment that stimulates the children and their desire to learn during their important early years. We take a holistic approach to our program which encompasses all aspects of growth – cognitive, social, emotional, physical and language. Please read our Program Statement for further information on how we support the children and parents.

Who Attends Silver Creek

Children between 18 months and five years of age living in the Greater Toronto Area. Although primarily a school for children with special needs, the school has been enrolling any child who wants our setting since 1985. Children are referred by community agencies, therapists, pediatricians, rehab centres, hospitals and individual parents. Referrals are welcomed from any source. Approximately 80% of the children who attend Silver Creek have a special need.

The Program

At Silver Creek we don’t have just one program. Rather, we develop customized programs based on individual assessment to assist each child to achieve his or her maximum potential.

What makes our program at Silver Creek unique is that therapy, physio and/or occupational treatment, music, and speech and language services, where needed, is provided within the classroom setting. Our philosophy is that therapy is an integral part of the children’s day – not an exercise program of a specific length, but rather a matter of proper handling, movement, seating and expectations throughout daily routines and play. We are working towards optimum independence in self-help skills and community living for our children. This integration of services allows your child to continue improving his/her gross motor, fine motor, communication and daily living skills under the guidance of these professionals while enjoying the play, pre-academic and social setting with peers. There is also opportunity for individual and small group therapy while at Silver Creek.

Again this year one of our afternoon classrooms is exclusively for 3.5 & 4+ year olds who are benefiting from a school readiness program that focuses on more routines, transitions, and expectations of a JK/SK environment. We strongly expect those returning to Silver Creek as 4+ year olds to attend in the afternoon, so that our very young children can have a morning spot.

Most of the children settle into the program very quickly. However, if there are a few tears and some separation anxiety on your part or your child’s, the classroom teacher will help you both through this transition. It is usually best to give your child a quick hug and kiss good-bye, tell him/her you will see him/her soon, and leave. The same routine would also apply if your child is bused to school.

We are more than happy to celebrate your child’s birthday with his/her new friends at school. You are welcome to send in a birthday cake, cupcakes, cookies, Rice Krispy Squares, etc.

Please remember –

NO NUTS!

This year we have children with intolerances that include: gluten, dairy, and soy. Ingredients must be listed on anything sent into the school.

Each child has a basket above their coat hook in the school hall. Parents who drive their children are encouraged to check these bags regularly and take their child’s “work” home. The classroom teacher will send bags home periodically for the children who are bused. School photo proofs will also go into this basket.

Behaviour Management

At Silver Creek we believe that positive guidance teaches and encourages the healthy development of a child’s self-esteem. Our staff act as role models in order to influence and reinforce a child’s behaviour in a positive and consistent manner. In this environment the children will learn to “manage” themselves.

Prohibited Practices:

Silver Creek follows Ontario Regulation 137/15 and this is imbedded in our behaviour management, serious occurrence, and program statements/policies.

No licensee shall permit, with respect to a child receiving child care at a child care centre it operates or at a premises where it oversees the provision of child care:

  1. (a)  corporal punishment of a child
  2. (b)  physical restraint of a child, such as confining to a chair, care seat, stroller or other device for the purposes of discipline or in lieu of supervision, unless the physical restraint is for the purpose of preventing a child from hurting himself, herself or someone else, and is used only as a last resort and only until the risk of injury is not longer imminent;
  3. (c)  locking the exits of the child care centre for the purpose of confining the child, or confining the child in an area or room without adult supervision, unless such confinement occurs during an emergency and is required as part of the license’s emergency management policies and procedures;
  4. (d)  use of harsh or degrading measures or threats or use of derogatory language directed at or used in the presence of a child that would humiliate, shame or frighten the child or undermine his or her self-respect, dignity or self-worth;
  5. (e)  depriving the child of basic needs including food, drink, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing or bedding;
  6. (f) inflicting any bodily harm on children including making children eat or drink against their will

Aggressive Behaviour

Philosophy:

All children need to feel safe and be kept safe at Silver Creek via the environment, program offerings and adults in the classroom. Aggressive behaviour exhibited by young children requires their parents, Silver Creek, and any other pertinent agencies work together to monitor and develop appropriate programming, supports and consequences to help decrease/alleviate aggressive behaviour

Procedure:

  • Silver Creek staff are to inform teacher supervisor/E.D. of aggressive/inappropriate behaviour noted in the classroom. Behaviour Monitoring form to be implemented immediately.
  • Parents to be notified within 2 weeks or less; a meeting to be set up with parents to discuss the situation in a classroom, with documented behaviour monitoring form, and to get information about this situation in the home/other settings.
  • On any given occasion, parent(s) may be asked to pick up their child early from school if the behaviour cannot be managed/modified by staff members that day.
  • For the child to remain at Silver Creek parents must be willing to allow Silver Creek to look for further support from the City of Toronto, Child Care Support Funds/Intensive Support to maintain safety for other children in the program and to develop skills to diminish inappropriate behaviour.
  • Parents must be open to the opportunity for other support from agencies that have expertise behaviour therapy/strategies (i.e. CLT, Surrey Place Centre, Geneva Centre, Adventure Place, etc.)
  • Silver Creek will attempt to change the environment in the classroom to decrease inappropriate behaviour, including changing the child into a different classroom—AM or PM.
  • Ultimately Silver Creek will make the final determination around the outcome that will be in the best interest of all of our students. If parents are not willing to work with Silver Creek as described above we will begin the process of de-mitting.
  • Silver Creek will attempt to find a more appropriate setting for the child
  • Parents will be given 2 week’s notice if the child must be withdrawn from Silver Creek
  • Silver Creek will initiate referrals to other agencies that have expertise in behaviour analysis and programming, with the permission of parents
  • Toronto Children’s Services will also be notified

Silver Creek will endeavour to maintain a placement for every child enrolled at Silver Creek. Behaviour management will continue as stated in Silver Creek’s behaviour management policy, respecting each child as an individual with distinct strengths and needs. Our goal is for every child to be happy, engaged and appropriately challenged at Silver Creek.

SAFETY

Medical

Always ensure that the school is kept up-to-date regarding all medication, allergies, diet and illnesses
in writing.

If your child has an identified health condition that may require emergency attention, a Child Health Care Plan will be developed prior to your child’s start date. This plan is developed in collaboration with parents and your child’s Silver Creek team. Training by parent or medical professional will be requested by the Silver Creek director if needed.

Help keep our school nut free – please don’t send any foods that may contain nuts to school.

If your child has an Anaphylactic allergy, we must be notified and appropriate forms completed, and and Epi-Pen provided by you must be on-site.

*Please be aware that some children and staff are allergic to strong scents, with these sensitivities triggering asthma attacks and migraines. We would appreciate limited use of hair oils and no perfumes on the child. We are working towards being a scent free facility. This is also a requirement of staff and volunteers.

The staff upgrade their First Aid/CPR Certificate as required.

Immunization

The Ministry of Education requires that records of your child’s immunization be kept up to date. When your child receives additional immunization, please forward to the school a signed statement by the doctor containing the new information. A child is not permitted to attend school if immunization is not up to date.

It is possible to defer immunizaitons because of a medical reason or a conscience or religious belief.
In those cases a Statement of Medical Exemption for Individual form or Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief Affidavit form, notarized, must be completed.

Please note that if an outbreak of a communicable disease occurs, any child who is not adequately immunized will not be able to attend Silver Creek unless the child receives the required vaccine or until the outbreak is over.

Fire Drill

For everyone’s safety, we carry out a monthly fire drill. If you are in the building at the time of a drill you must follow Silver Creek’s direction regarding vacating the building. Our designated place of Emergency Shelter is Richview Library 1806 Islington Ave., Etobicoke, 416 394-5120.

Please read our Emergency Management policy and procedures for detailed information. (Appendices)

Parking Lot

If you drive your child to school, please use the parking lot off Hartsdale Drive for both drop-off and pick up. In the event the drive has the gate across, please just park on the road and bring the children in using the East Entrance. Please do not use the driveway at the back of the school as the buses are coming and going, creating a potentially dangerous situation for walking children.

Arrival Time

Please note that the arrival time for those who are being driven to Silver Creek Pre-School by parents/caregivers is between 9:20-9:30am (1:20-1:30pm). The time before this is used by staff to prepare the classroom activities, equipment and snack. The staff are not available to receive the children and care for them any earlier than this time.

Thank you for your understanding and consideration of this issue. We want your child’s time here devoted to their enjoyment, learning, therapy, and play in a safe and stimulating environment.

Absence Procedure

If your child will be absent please call our office (416-249-9770) or emailpatrick@silvercreekpreschool.com Give your child’s name and the reason for the absence. We keep track of communicable diseases/infections in efforts to keep all children healthy, and notify Public Health should there be an outbreak (diarrhea, vomiting). Please also inform us of your child’s return. If you use the bus service, you are obligated to notify the bus company of absences and return date.

Illness

If a child arrives at school with, or develops symptoms of, a contagious disease, such as chicken pox, an intestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever, the parents will be telephoned and are required to pick up their child.

Children with an upper respiratory condition (runny nose or slight cough), without fever, may attend school.

  • Children must be symptom-free of vomiting, diarrhoea, or fever for 24 hours before returning.

For more information regarding our Health policy please see the appendices.

Indoor Shoes Only

Silver Creek is now an Indoor Shoes Only facility. This means that all adults who work at or visit the school must wear shoes that have not been out of doors. Toxins from shoes that have been worn on pavement/streets/grass, etc., are deposited at children’s ‘face level’ if they are playing on the floor. These toxins will be greatly reduced, providing a healthier environment, with strict adherence to the Indoor Shoe policy. If you can bring your own slippers—great. We will have a stock of crocs at the door for general use. Children do not need to follow this procedure—adults only.

TO OUR FAMILIES WHO REQUIRE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FROM SILVER CREEK:

Silver Creek Pre-School raises funds each year (over $120,000) to provide busing service for those families who could not access the school without this support. In 2009 we started to pass on approximately 25% of the full cost to families who use the transportation and are able to pay for this service. Silver Creek has recognized the need and supported transportation for our students, all of these years. We thank the parents who are able to make their own transportation arrangements for their children as this allows us to serve someone who has no other way.

We outsource our busing service to First Student Canada, Ltd. All of your communication around busing should be with First Student Canada.

The number is 416-444-7030.

Presently First Student is providing car seats for every child (or booster seat if indicated) this year and these will remain on the buses. The car seat will be adjusted by the safety certified staff of First Student. There can be no alternatives to a CSA car seat. In most instances there will be the opportunity for a parent to ride on the bus if you have an appointment at Silver Creek to see the teachers or therapists, or just to visit. This will need to be arranged with Silver Creek and First Student Canada, but will be a convenient and helpful situation for many of you.

I trust you will all do your best to make this transportation/situation work favourably. First Student is now your contact for all busing information, questions and service at (416) 444- 7030.

If you are on this transportation system, you must sign a waiver of liability and responsibility with respect to this transportation and fill out a form in June indicating pick up and drop off location, emergency and medical information, and contacts. You will also receive a booklet from Silver Creek outlining the transportation program, in detail.

Following are some of your other obligations in accepting this transportation.

SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION FOR CHILDREN

  1. Parents must place their child in the seat or child seat and do up the seatbelt/car seat harness.
  2. Children must NOT be put on the bus with food or tiny toys in their hands or pockets. This is a choking hazard.
  3. The drivers have a very tight schedule. They would love to stop and chat, but another child is waiting to be picked up. Please don’t delay them. Also, please call First Student Dispatch (416) 444-7030 ahead of time if your child is to be absent and when your child will be returning to school.
  4. At times the driver may be late. Please be patient as they have road and traffic conditions to contend with. Although the drivers always do their best to be on time, the safety of the children is their top priority.
  5. To protect the children from road hazards, in very extreme weather the buses will not pick up the children. You will be informed very early in the day if the transportation service is unavailable due to road conditions. Also, in the case of sudden bad weather during the day, please be home as drivers will probably bring the children home early – you will be advised.
  6. As changes are made to enrolment throughout the year, this may cause changes to your child’s pick up or drop off time. Our goal is to have the children arrive safely at school, minimizing the time each child is in the bus, so do expect that changes may occur throughout the year.
  7. Your financing obligation this year is $200/month for this transportation service. The cost to Silver Creek is approximately $460/month/per child.

Outdoor Playground

We play out of door when weather permits. Children choose activities and happily play under the constant supervision of school staff. It is a wonderful opportunity to practise gross motor skills and to be in a naturalized environment. Don’t forget comfortable and casual clothing for your child is best for every day school activities. In the winter we will remind/request snowpants and boots.

We check the temperature and windchill and will be outside only in appropriate conditions. Similarly in hot weather, we are cognizant of temperature, smog, humidity, clothing and shade.

Indoor Playground:

Merlin’s Magic Space (Legoland Discovery Centre)

In 2019 we entered into a partnership with the Merlin’s Magic Wand Foundation and Legoland Discovery Centre Toronto to transform our aging indoor playground into Canada’s very first Merlin’s Magic Space! This room is equipped with swings, slides, soft play equipment, mirrors, balls, bikes, steps, and more, all with a playful Duplo theme. This fun, therapeutic area allows children to express their energetic side while respecting the sensory needs of all our children.

Magical places are not so easy to find, but here at Silver Creek we see magic happen every single day. We’d like to thank Legoland Discovery Centre Toronto and the Merlin’s Magic Wand Foundation for working so diligently with us to add to that magic in a very real, wonderful way!

Snoezelen Room

This multi-sensory room allows children to explore, through touch, sound, sight and smell, a magical environment. It can help stimulate or calm and relax a child depending on which items are employed: music, lighting effects, gentle vibration, tactile stimulation or aromatherapy. The underlying philosophy is that children, especially those with special needs, need the opportunity to play in their own way, exploring through their senses, without demands or expectations. Please come for a visit.

In 2019, our Snoezelen Room is undergoing a complete revision and upgrade with funding courtesy of the City of Toronto as well as the generous financial support of the Kiwanis Club of Kingsway Humber in conjunction with our own Silver Creek Walk-A-Thon. Thank you to all parents, partners, and Friends of Silver Creek who helped make this possible!

We would also like to acknowledge the past support of the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill, who helped make our original Snoezelen Room a reality.

Snack Time

Snacks are provided by the school and served with the guidance of the classroom teacher. Please remember to alert us to any food allergies or feeding difficulties. Snack time is also a fun way to help your child become more adept at handling cups and utensils.

For the children with feeding difficulties, our physio and occupational therapist will work one on one with the child on oral motor skills and instruct other staff in the method of feeding to ensure safety.

If your child has significant allergies or a restricted diet we ask that you provide their snack food.

Snack time is also an excellent opportunity for language modelling and social interaction. Cheers!

Toileting

Toileting is carried out when necessary by a staff assistant. In order for your child to be changed, you must supply us with a bag of diapers. We do not provide these at the school. Also, the appropriate clothes for independence are important too—loose fitting with no buttons or zippers is helpful and allows your child more success in toileting and dressing skills. We also need one spare change of clothes, just in case!

Please label your child’s clothing!

Family-Centred Opportunities

We plan a number of Parent Education Days throughout the year. Topics may include:

  • Introduction to Pre-Printing and Printing Skills Development
  • Sign Language (4 evenings starting in late September)
  • Visual Communications Strategies Workshop
  • School Transitions Planning (Evening)
  • K.I.T. TM – Keeping It Together: (See Mary in the Parent Room)
  • First Aid and CPR course
  • Parent Social Evening with speakers/Taking Care of the Caregiver

Please watch for information to come home with details of any educational/social opportunities. And let us know what you would like as a topic!

Parent Support & Advocacy Project

Silver Creek has a designated place for parents to meet, access the internet, make a phone call, research information from our library and/or get help with support from our parent room coordinator, Mary Beaudoin. Please drop in and use this space, or email:mary@silvercreekpreschool.com to set up an appointment for help. Silver Creek is pleased to offer an informal support group for parents during the course of this school year. It will be a place to:

  • Share the unique joys and challenges of caring for your children in a safe, understanding, and supportive environment.
  • Connect with other parents to share ideas, and learn from each other.
  • Respect and learn from each other’s diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Discuss relevant topics such as self-care, dealing with strong emotions, work/life/family balance, making time for siblings without special needs, negotiating the medical system, picturing the future, and keeping important family connections strong.
  • We hope to provide 4 parent evenings, with dinner and child care for you at Silver Creek. Look for this information in emails and flyers throughout the year. These will be facilitated by Andrea Rawson, MSW, and also a few Silver Creek alumni parents.

“Parent in the Classroom” is a time where you are welcome to spend the day and participate in your child’s room. You will receive notification of this once children are settled into the program.

Information Organization: KIT

Assisting Parents to Give, Get, and Organize Their Child’s Health and School Information

Families of children with special needs have a great deal of information that they need to give, get and organize in order to receive the best and most coordinated services for their child. They often have to repeat basic information about their child each time they see a new service provider and repeat the same information on different forms for each organization. Helping families to organize and provide their information can enhance the efficiency of services to the child and reduce the stress on families.

Silver Creek is committed to helping families give, get, and organize their information in the best interests of their child. If a parent is willing to commit to working on this process, Silver Creek will provide The KIT: Keeping It TogetherTM , at no cost, and help parents learn how to use it. Teachers and therapists will work with parents to include the Silver Creek reports in their KIT.

The KIT was designed to help parents of children with special needs use information as a tool to communicate and interact with their child’s service providers. Using The KIT has been shown to increase families’ skills and satisfaction in working together with a wide variety of health care, education and social service providers involved in the lives of their children and increase families’ confidence in advocating for their child’s needs. It is an effective tool to be using when your child enters the school system.

If you are interested please talk to your child’s teacher and/or contact Mary Beaudoin, Parent Room Coordinator at mary@silvercreekpreschool.com.

Second Cup on Us!

The last Wednesday morning of each month parents are invited to walk up to Second Cup together, leaving from SC at 9:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. A free coffee or tea is provided alongside great companionship and conversation! Please join if you are available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for the school year at Silver Creek Pre-School are payable in 10 monthly installments (September to June) by post-dated cheques dated for the first of each month or by VISA or MasterCard. (See Olga in the office to set up an account)

If fees are more than one week in arrears we will notify you by letter and if you receive transportation from us, the First Student bus will not pick up your child until fees are paid.

If fees are more than three weeks in arrears, you will again be notified by letter and your child’s spot at Silver Creek will go to the next child on our waitlist.

We will need to enforce this policy strictly. If you have concerns / special considerations, please speak with the Director before this could become an issue. Otherwise all payment issues are to be directed to Olga Liskovych, our Office Bookkeeper.

Thank you for your attention to this administrative task.