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Children's School Policies

Greeting and Dismissal
Parent Participation
The Child's Belongings
Field Trips
Holidays and Special Occasions
Birthdays and Sibling Visitors
School Cancellations
Discipline Policy
Car Seat Policy
Health and Safety Guidelines

Greeting and Dismissal

It is important for the children to arrive promptly so that they can participate and fully enjoy the day's activities. The start of the day often affects the child's whole experience for the day. Being picked up on time is equally important. Young children need the security of knowing that they, too, will be picked up when the other children are going home. For this and reasons related to staffing, picking up your child on time is essential. If you should arrive early to pick up your child, please leave the playground or school before the other children line up to go home.

Please send a written note with your child to inform the teacher of changes in your pick-up arrangements. For your convenience, we have supplied "Parent-to-Teacher" notepads. Children will not be allowed to leave the school with unauthorized adults. shorter naps.

Parent Participation

The Carnegie Mellon Children's School offers parents a variety of ways to become involved in their child's school, to participate in activities focused on parenting, and to confer with the staff to build a strong bond between home and school. During the year, each teacher meets with parents to share information about the child at school and at home.

Parents are welcome to observe from the observation booth in the preschool or the kindergarten observation window. Please check in the office before entering the school. If you need to talk with a teacher, please schedule a time either before (8:00 - 8:30) or after (3:30 - 4:00) school. All parents can observe their children on the playground from Dr. Carver and Mrs. Simpson's office or from the green room when a class is not in session.

At the beginning of each school year, we ask that parents complete the "Parent Information Sheet". We will use this information to arrange meetings, compose committees, and schedule activities according to parent preferences as much as possible. Parents who are willing to volunteer in the classroom may make arrangements directly with the teacher.

The Child's Belongings

Send an extra change of clothing for your child on the first day of school. This should include shirt, slacks, socks, and underwear. Please label all clothes with your child's name. Remember to update this extra set of clothes as the weather changes and as your child grows!

For your child's safety, dress your child with proper shoes - sturdy, rubber-soled shoes (no flip-flops or clogs). For your convenience, please dress your child in washable clothes.

Provide adequate outer clothing for your child. We spend time outside every day, except in pouring rain. In the winter, send boots, gloves, hats and snowpants. No child is permitted to go in the snow without boots and snowpants. Please write your child's name on all clothing.

Pets are not permitted at school. Encourage your child to bring only books, tapes and cd's that are clearly labeled to share with the other children.

We prefer that your child leave toys or things that are breakable at home. These often are mislaid and/or picked up by other children, causing upsets and disagreements that could have been avoided.

Field Trips

On Carnegie Mellon's Campus We are fortunate to have access to many interesting facilities on the Carnegie Mellon Campus. To take the best advantage of the last minute opportunities that sometimes arise (e.g., hot air balloons on Flagstaff Hill or a robot demonstration), we ask parents to sign a permanent permission slip for on-campus field trips. Teachers always notify the school office before taking children out of the school.

Off-Campus Trips
Occasionally, we schedule field trips that require transportation in cars (e.g., Pittsburgh Zoo). Parents are required to sign a permission slip for each trip individually and may be asked to pay a small fee for admission. Parents are also recruited to drive for field trips because our teachers are not allowed to transport students in their vehicles. All children under 4 years of age are required to sit in car seats. At all times, we maintain a ratio of one adult to three children for preschool trips or one adult to four children for kindergarten trips. This ratio does not include work-study students who may attend as extra helpers. The children all wear nametags and are assigned in advance to specific adults in specific cars. For field trips, we use the dismissal and greeting procedure at the rainbow stairs to pick children up from and return them to the school. Siblings are not invited to attend field trips.

Holidays and Special Occasions

At the Children's School, holidays are seen as educational opportunities and they give us a chance to learn about our own diverse population. As a part of our emphasis on family identity and respect for diversity, we do encourage children to talk about their family traditions, and we tell stories related to the meaning of holidays. We plan age-appropriate activities to involve the children in preparing for school celebrations and to help them contribute to family events (e.g., basic cooking, making gifts, and so forth). We limit our school celebrations to very brief spans of time (typically one day), attempt to maintain our regular school routine, and, as always, are ready to provide extra attention and comfort as needed. In all of these ways, we can create meaningful celebrations with the young children in our educational context.

Birthdays and Sibling Visitors

We celebrate a birthday with each child during snack. Birthday celebrations for young children can be a special time for the child to share with friends at school and, when possible, for Mom, Dad and siblings to come along too. We're happy to have parents send a healthy snack or come to prepare something with the children (the kitchen can be available if prearranged). Please contact your child's teacher when your child's birthday is approaching, in order to plan a celebration together. Since some children have birthdays during vacation time, we celebrate a "half-birthday" as close to the half-birthday as possible.

Birthday treats at the Children's School need to be nutritious. We prefer that you do not bring foods with high sugar content, food additives or highly processed food. However attractive, cupcakes and sheet cakes are not advisable because children eat little more than the icing. We suggest bagels, muffins, fruit, and frozen yogurt. Also, please check with your child's teacher regarding any food allergies that other children in the group may have.

To keep the celebration simple, extravagant decorations and favors are discouraged. If you send favors, please choose those that can fit in a backpack (i.e. no balloons) to avoid hurt feelings of children in other groups during dismissal.

For similar reasons, please mail invitations to out-of-school parties from home. When planning a birthday party at home, please invite the entire class or all the "same sex" children. This inclusive practice will avoid hurt feelings.

We are happy to welcome siblings to our school to celebrate the birthday of a brother or sister. We are not staffed, however, to accommodate sibling visits at other times during the school day. Siblings (with their parents) are welcome to play on our playground after school hours. We schedule several evening events, such as the Family Festival, during the year for families to attend together. Also, watch for PSO (Parent Social Organization) events designed for the entire family.

School Cancellations

Please listen to the radio or television after 7:00 AM if you suspect that the Children's School should close due to the weather conditions. We announce our school closing on both WTAE (1250 AM) and KDKA (1020 AM). The Children's School is announced under preschools.
WTAE also announces school closings on their web page,

Discipline Policy

At the Children's School, our rules and expectations are clearly communicated to the children in a positive form and tone. For example, "Let's keep the sand in the sand table so that we have a lot to pour." Typically, the children are eager to act appropriately and are praised for doing so. We design activities that are age appropriate in both task and duration to maximize positive interactions. Our teachers also carefully monitor the children's activities to anticipate and diffuse problems before they begin. A child who is losing interest in one activity or getting too loud may be redirected to another area that can spark renewed engagement and positive behavior.

When a teacher sees a child misbehave, the first response is a gentle touch, look, or word to invite the child to change the behavior voluntarily. In most cases, this approach is effective. If, however, a child continues to misbehave, the teacher will speak with the child about the problem and may assign a time out. Time outs occur in a safe area removed from the main area of activity and last for no longer than 3-5 minutes, depending on the age of the child. At the end of the time out, the teacher invites the child to rejoin the group and reminds the child of the relevant expectations for the activity in progress.

If a child's behavior problem persists (e.g., multiple time outs for the same misbehavior within a short time span) or becomes dangerous to the other children in the class (e.g., punching, kicking, temper tantrums), the teacher will bring the child to the school office for a time out and discussion with Dr. Carver or Mrs. Simpson. Such situations are rare at the Children's School and are discussed thoroughly with the child, the teacher, and the parent to determine positive steps toward solution.

Car Seat Policy

Your children's safety is top priority at the Children's School. For that reason, we want our teachers to be able to focus their full attention on the children, especially at greeting and dismissal time. So that the teachers can keep their hands free for assisting the children, we ask that parents who need to move car seats from one car to another (for example, when a parent brings the child but a nanny takes the child home) carry and install the car seats themselves. To make this a smooth process, parents who need to make car seat switches should park in the Children's School Lot and walk the child and his/her car seat into or out of the school.

Injuries suffered while riding in cars are the number one preventable cause of death in young children. Here are guidelines to follow to keep your child safe in the car:

The rear center is the best seat for children 12 years or younger.
All car passengers must wear a seat belt.
Be sure that you wear a seat belt - children learn by example.
Children under 4 years or 40 lbs. must ride in car seats.
Most injuries can be avoided if parents take a few extra seconds to buckle their child
into a safety seat or safety belt.
Never hold a child in your arms or lap while traveling in the car.
Please don't take children out of seatbelts/carseat while waiting in
the greeting or dismissal line.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Health and safety are issues that concern everyone at the Children's School. Basically, we rely on the parents' thoughtful assessment of their child's health before sending him/her to school.

Staff Responsibility

The teaching staff will greet children at the beginning of the day, being watchful of their appearance as they enter and throughout the day. Children who become sick at school will be removed from the group and cared for until parents can be contacted and can come for the child. Staff will report to parents any accident that occurs at school, even if the child requires only modest treatment.

Parents will be notified immediately in case of serious accident and prompt action will be taken by contacting Carnegie Mellon Security and EMT personnel. If necessary, we will accompany the child to the hospital preferred by the parent. Thus, it is very important that we have emergency information for each child. Please make sure the office has an emergency number - someone we can call if we are unable to reach either parent at work or at home.

Parent Responsibility

Please keep your child at home if he/she shows any of the following symptoms. Any of these may indicate the beginning of an illness, which might be easily communicated to other children:

1. Oral temperature above 99 degrees

2. Uncontrolled diarrhea

2. Rash, bump or other out-of-the-ordinary skin conditions

3. Flushed face, "watery" or "glossy" eyes

4. Excessive running nose

5. Deep or dry cough

6. Continuous sneezing

7. Sore throat

8. Vomiting within the past 24 hours

9. Unusual irritability, listlessness, fatigue

When your child will not be in school, please call the school at (412) 268-2199 between 8:00 and 8:30 AM. Please let the main office know if your child has contracted a contagious condition or disease so that we can notify other parents and staff members who might be affected.

Please inform the office and your child's teacher if your family has any special health considerations and/or needs.

Medication will only be administered during the school day when special arrangements have been made with the assistant director and written directions are provided. Please do not let children carry their own medication or use their lunch boxes to transport medication.