Choosing the right preschool is hard. You have more questions. Here are more answers.
I have a young infant/toddler. How do I fulfill my participation duties?
You are welcome to bring your infant or young child with you when you participate in the classroom; however, he or she must be carried on your back in a carrier at all times.
Your child’s temperament (or your own) may not allow for this. Some parents have their younger child cared for by a babysitter or family member on their participation days. Once you enroll you may find a friend at Skytown willing to do a childcare swap. If you are considering buying out of participation, please make sure this option is available BEFORE enrolling.
Can other family members, neighbors, or babysitters participate for us in order to meet our obligations?
According to the Bay Area Child Care Licensing Office only parents and grandparents of enrolled children are allowed to participate in our classrooms.
Are the participating parents required to get fingerprinted?
No. Participating parents are not fingerprinted or subject to background checks. This is not required by our licensing body (CCLD). All staff members are fingerprinted, and their prints and ID are run through a criminal background check.
Are participating parents required to get a TB test?
Yes. All participating adults (parents and staff) must have proof of a negative TB test result.
Are time outs used at Skytown?
No. Skytown does not use timeouts or any other type of punishment.
My child is starting in the toddler room this fall but will turn 3 years old in January. Does she automatically start in the preschool room in January?
When a toddler enrolls, we plan our preschool enrollment for the school year to make sure we will have a preschool spot available within a few months of his/her 3rd birthday. The timing of your child’s transition will depend on his/her readiness.
How do you decide if my toddler is ready for the preschool room? And who makes the decision?
The indicators of readiness to move to the preschool side are sometimes subtle, and are linked more to development than chronological age. Developmental readiness is first established by the toddler teacher. She assesses the child’s established place on the toddler continuum and his/her ability to adapt to the different set of expectations in the preschool room. Once the toddler teacher makes her assessment, she then discusses with the preschool teachers, the director, the parents, and the administrator. If there is space at that time of year and the child is ready to move on, we then set a date for the child to become part of the preschool classroom.
My child is not yet 3 years old but is very advanced for his age. Can he start in the preschool room instead of the toddler room?
The placement of your child in the preschool room before the age of three will depend on his/her developmental readiness. A verbally advanced child, for example, may still need support in other areas of toddler development. Before you enroll we can arrange for your child to visit both classrooms. You can speak with the teachers, and they can observe your child to help make an appropriate placement.
Diapering and Potty Training
Does my child have to be potty trained before starting at Skytown?
No. At Skytown we support potty training at your child’s pace. When your child is ready, the teachers and parents will offer encouragement, remind your child to use the toilet frequently, observe his/her behavior, and change all wet clothing. We don’t give stickers or other rewards.
Can you guarantee that only a teacher will change my child’s diaper? I am uncomfortable with the idea that anyone can change my child’s diapers.
No. We cannot guarantee this at all. At Skytown, diaper changing is a responsibility shared by all teachers as well as participating parents and grandparents. There are always plenty of adults within sight and hearing of diapering and bathroom assistance.
Food and Celebrations
My child suffers from an allergic reaction or sensitivity to certain foods. How do you handle this at Skytown?
We make note of all allergies and sensitivities and go over with you all procedures and guidelines you would like us to follow in taking care of your child.
Are we permitted to pack nuts in our child’s snack and lunch?
Yes. Nuts are currently allowed at Skytown. We do not currently have any children or staff with a serious allergy.
Is food provided for the children by the school?
No. Families are responsible for providing a snack and a lunch for their children every day they are enrolled. When there are cooking projects in the classroom, the school provides the ingredients.
How do you celebrate birthdays at Skytown?
At Skytown we celebrate a child’s birthday (if the child and family want it celebrated) by creating a happy birthday banner with the classroom in honor the child. At lunch time we sing the Happy Birthday song, and at the end of the day your child gets to take the banner home if they so choose. We do not celebrate with food treats.
Is Skytown a full day program? What are the school’s hours?
Skytown is a half day school. Our core program is 9a.m. to 1p.m. You are able to extend the day by adding an early morning drop off (8a.m. -9a.m.) and/or a late pick up (1p.m. to 3p.m.) The longest day possible is an 8a.m. to 3p.m. schedule.
Does Skytown close for all federal holidays?
Skytown closes for the major federal holidays: MLK, President’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. We are closed for two weeks for winter break and for one week for Spring Break. In addition we close for one week in June and one and a half weeks in August.
Is Skytown open during the summer?
Yes. Skytown is open during the summer. There are two 4 week sessions that you can enroll in for a total of 8 weeks of summer session. Summer attendance is not mandatory. Summer session begins in mid to late June and goes through mid-August.
Most holidays land on Mondays. Is there an adjustment to my tuition for missing those school days?
No. There is no adjustment to tuition.
The Cooperative Responsibilities
Is the co-op too much time commitment for a family with two working parents?
The commitments required at Skytown are many. They can prove to be difficult to meet if both parents are working full time. The school works best for families with flexible hours and for families who have local grandparents to help with the commitments. The Skytown website contains descriptions of all school requirements and commitments. Please review them all before enrolling in the program. If you would like to buy out of any commitments, please check to see that buyout is available before enrolling.
Religion and Culture
Does Skytown celebrate cultural and/or religious holidays?
No. Not as part of our curriculum. We do not celebrate any official, cultural or religious holidays at Skytown. Parents are welcome to share family traditions with the Skytown community. Please speak with your teacher first so s/he can provide developmentally appropriate adjustments to the presentation or activity. We also may explore seasonal materials (like pumpkins in October) based on what the children are interested in.
What is Skytown’s relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley?
We are a tenant of UUCB. Skytown does not have any religious affiliation with the church.