Dartmouth Early Learning Center
284 Gulf Road
South Dartmouth, MA 02748
- Organization Mission and Philosophy
- General Program Goals and Objectives
- The School Day
- Preschool Parent Handbook/Preschool Policies
- Organizational Information
Organization Mission and Philosophy
The mission of DELC is to support the essential nurturing and guidance that is critical to healthy growth and
development of young children by offering a rich home-familiar learning environment where children's
curiosity and hunger for learning are nurtured through play, discovery, and the arts. Our programs are
designed to help children build positive self-images, develop competence and positive dispositions toward
learning and school, and to learn basic skills of social living. The work we do at DELC is intimately related in
aim, in method, and in materials used to fundamental assumptions about how, what, and why children learn.
Our constructivist approach is child centered, hands-on and humanistic and is aimed at the harmonious
development of the whole child in all areas. It is meant to reflect a variety of developmental levels among
children taking into account their many individual characteristics and special qualities. Our emphasis is on
helping children discover and work towards their own style of learning, construct meanings, and use
freedom in a carefully prepared environment.
Our philosophy of education has developed over the twenty years that we have been teaching young
children. While we have integrated the ideas of many fine educators, we have been most inspired by the
Reggio Emilia preschools in Italy whose aim is to "preserve the spell of the child unbroken." The basic
components of Reggio Emilia include viewing the child as powerful rather than powerless; using an
emergent curriculum that is based on the interests of children; engaging in projects that are not limited in
time or scope; and documenting the child's progress with words and pictures.
While we design developmentally appropriate readiness activities for our children to explore, we recognize
the educational value of children finding and solving self-defined problems that arise from child-initiated
activity and choices. Through shared activity and social exchange children co-construct their knowledge of
the world using one child's ideas to develop anothers or to explore a path yet unexplored. The teacher does
not direct children's learning in lock step fashion, rather facilitates it through the selection of stimulating
materials, the arrangement of the environment, and our day to day interactions with children. Our role as
teachers is to set the stage for learning, to offer encouragement, and to gently guide the learning and
development of the children in our care. We feel that what really matters in early childhood education is the
spirit of the young child that needs to be nurtured, the reason he/she learns so well. As children become
increasingly institutionalized, it helps to keep in mind that what happens to this spirit has far more
consequences than any specific content in schooling. A program with this kind of focus sets the stage for
positive attitudes about one's self, about school, and learning is likely to produce children who feel that
learning is enjoyable, meaningful, and rewarding.
It is our firm belief and guiding philosophy that children learn best through play, and that play is their very
significant form of work. Play puts learning in a context and gives it a purpose. Through play children are
given a chance to try out options, to make meaningful personal choices, to explore solutions to problems,
and practice new skills without getting bored. Children need to play in an environment rich in resources, to
explore, to test, and to learn from feedback on their own actions. We recognize the intrinsic worth of play
and provide ample opportunity, time, and materials for this purpose.
Our schedule has a built in, yet flexible structure that alternates between periods of free play, small group
activities and special projects, circle time, snack, story, music, movement, and outdoor play. We strive to
create a balance between active and quiet times, and between self-selected and teacher-directed activities.
Children are encouraged to express their feelings, to develop powers of concentration, to use their
imaginations, to try new ideas, to develop a sense of independence and responsibility for one's decisions,
and to accommodate other children's viewpoints.
In all of the children's daily activities emphasis is placed more on process rather than production. Teachers
acting as partners rather than as sole imparters of knowledge, help children develop self esteem and visual
awareness as well as strong social, problem-solving and communication skills. As fellow investigators, they
help children explore and experiment in depth, and express their ideas not just in words, but in many visual
forms that may be more understandable to them, such as drawing, painting, construction, and creative
These goals are best achieved in an educational setting that offers security as well as challenge. We strive
to create a sense of community by supporting the bond between parent and child by including parents in
program planning, by inviting parents to participate in as many activities as their schedules allow, by
encouraging parents to participate as classroom volunteers, and by sharing our special knowledge of
children in frequent and supportive conferences and group discussions. In addition to expanding our
program offerings, such cooperative efforts by staff and parents enriches our center and reinforces a sense
of community and an enriched family life.
Our program is meant to be more relationship centered than achievement focused. We strive to develop
active relationships with families, and rely on their strong support for their child's education. By listening to
them and inviting their active participation we strive to encourage families to connect with the school in a
variety of ways.
General Program Goals and Objectives.
- To develop positive feelings about self and school and positive dispositions about learning.
- To learn skills in the context of experiences meaningful to the child.
- To foster children's intellectual, social, emotional and physical development through many modes of
expression, including words, movement, drawing,painting, collage, shadow play, sculpture, and music.
- To develop internal controls and understanding of social and group limits.
- To foster independence and the ability to make personal choices.
- To learn problem-solving abilities, and to increase powers of concentration.
- To offer all children equal opportunities to succeed.
The School Day
Preschoolers start their day any time after 8:30 by choosing which room (Circle or Square) they'd like to
spend their morning in. Each classroom is staffed with two teachers who have primary responsibility for
working with that group of children. These teachers provide ongoing personal contact, meaningful learning
activities, supervision, and immediate care as needed to protect children's well being.
An initial free-choice time helps everyone to settle in and greet one another. The whole room is open for
exploration. Children can build with legos or play board games, dress up or play house, listen to a story on
tape or paint. Many children choose to join a group to build a block building or to draw pictures while
chatting. Others talk to a teacher or make the transition from home by themselves, by reading or doing
puzzles. We find that when children select their own activities and their choices are respected that they
tend to choose activities that are appropriate for their abilities and that maintain their interest and
During mid-morning circle, we sing songs, tell stories, and talk about whatever is on our minds. Sometimes
we catch up on what children have been doing out of school. Other times we talk about our current
curriculum project. Sometimes our circle includes the whole room; at other times we break into smaller
groups so children have more time to talk.
In keeping with our efforts toward child-centered developmentally appropriate programming, snack time is
relaxed and family-like and is meant to encourage positive adult-child interactions. Everyone is not required
to stop what they're doing. Rather, this transition occurs in a relaxed manner and says in an intangible way
that relationships are important.
Project time follows circle and snack. Project work which takes into account the interests and abilities of
individual children as well as the group as a whole, allows teachers to introduce new provocations and key
concepts and engage children in different ways. Projects may arise out of the curriculum or out of a story or
discussion. This emergent curriculum allows children to develop academic skills (skills which are related to
reading, writing, and arithmetic) through integrated, relevant, challenging experiences individualized to meet
the needs of specific children.
Outdoor play is a favorite, whatever the season. We end our mornings in our large playground: Climbing,
chasing, running, group games, riding toys and building.
Lunch is a social time which all the children enjoy and which allows the chance for conversations about the
For those children who stay the whole day, there is a one-hour rest period after lunch. Children who may
nap stay in the circle room, those who do not nap stay on their mats in the square room with books or soft
Afternoons begin with circle time, continue outdoors, and finish (except in the warmer weather) inside, with
another project and free-choice time.
This combination of teacher and child-directed activity allows for lots of flexibility and serendipity. We believe
that play is the child's very significant form of work. Therefore, if children are involved in one activity or
project or line of questioning, we don't break it up just to follow a schedule. Curriculum follows the lead of
the children and the themes we build our curriculums around are ones that are chosen because of the
children's expressed interests.
7:30-8:30 Center opens. Arrival of children in accordance with their
8:30-9:00 Arrival of children in morning program.
9:00-9:15 Children come together for small group "talk time" or circle or
9:15-9:45 Choice time/play time continues.
9:45-10:00 Transition, clean-up, wash hands
10:00-10:20 Snack time, recall time
10:25-10:35 Group time. Music, story. Introduce project choices.
10:35 10:55 Project time(small group table time).
10:55-11:00 Bathroom reminder, dress for outside time.
11:00-11:25 Outdoor play time(indoor gross motor activities during
11:30-11:55 Wash hands, lunch time.
12:00-1:00 p.m. Rest period, quiet mat time.
1:00-1:15 Children arrive for afternoon program, children get up from
rest, planning time.
1:15-2:00 Outdoor play time.
2:00-2:15 Wash Hands, snack time.
2:15-3:45 Project time/small group work time.
3:45-4:00 Individual and small group activities. Story. Review/recall.
4:30-5:00 Preparation for going home. Center closes.
Preschool Policies Online Handbook
- Enrollment Procedures
- Snow Days
- Emergencies 7.11(7)(f)
- Illness Policy
- Procedures for Emergencies and Illness
- Administration of Medication
- Parent/Teacher Conferences
- Children With Special Needs
- Referral Services and Termination
- Termination Policy
- Abuse and Neglect Policy
- Procedure When Allegations of Abuse/Neglect Against A Staff Member Are Filed
- BRC Policy
- Suspension Policy
- Notice of Nondiscrimination Policy
- Child Guidance
- Behavior Management Plan
Before enrolling your child parents are required to meet with the director and tour our facility. To support
transitions and coordinate with services offered by other providers, DELC requests that parents share with
us information about other therapeutic, educational, social and support services received by your child.
Each child should come for a visit before beginning school. On registering your child you will choose a
program to fit the needs of you and your child. For reasons of continuity we require a minimum schedule of
two days per week. The program and schedule you decide on must be adhered to unless adjustments are
made in advance before June 15th. Since we enroll on a first come basis, it is advisable to complete all
forms necessary for enrollment as soon as possible. For children younger than school age, each child’s
developmental history must be discussed with his or her parents at the time of enrollment. The
developmental history must be updated annually and maintained in the child’s record.
A non-refundable annual registration fee of $25.00 is due on the day you enroll your child and should
accompany the application form.
FORMS TO BE COMPLETED FOR ENROLLMENT:
Authorization Sheet(included in application and to be updated annually)
Medical Form(School Health Record/Immunizations and physical to be updated annually)
These forms are maintained on file in one central location within our facility and need to be kept current by
updating quarterly. The content of these files is confidential, but is available to adminstrators and teaching
staff, the child’s parent or legal guardian and regulatory authorities upon request.
The first two month’s tuition must be paid before your child’s first day of school. This eight week non-
refundable deposit is due by June 15th to reserve your child’s space in the program. After this initial deposit
there are three payment plans from which to choose:
If you choose this option, you continue to pay monthly installments, but with a 5% service fee added to each
invoice. Payments are due the last week of each month for the upcoming month.
If you choose this option, the second three installments representing the first half of the school year will be
due by September 15 and you will receive a 3% discount for this semi-annual plan. The second half amount
for this plan will be due by January 15.
Option 3 is the annual plan. The full 10 installments are due by June 15th. There is a 5% Discount for this
Once you sign up for a given time slot you are committed to keeping those hours. Any schedule changes
during the course of the school year will require a thirty day notice. Hours may be increased at any time,
however, space permitting. All tuition payments are due on the last week of each month for the upcoming
month. After a one week grace period, a late fee of $10 for each day tuition is not received will be assessed.
No student’s tuition may have more than a two week balance at any time. Any unpaid balance beyond this
time will be assessed a finance charge of 1 1/2 % a month or 18% annually. Enrollment is viewed as a
contracted service and is based on a reserved slot and not on attendance, thus payment is due regardless
of attendance. There will be no charge, however for legal holidays and school vacations. If any family fails to
meet its financial responsibilities beyond a one month balance DELC reserves the right to discontinue
If you decide to withdraw your child for any reason we require a 30 day notice. At this time all money due
DELC must be paid in full, and your deposit will be applied to the last week your child attends. If at a later
date you decide to re-enroll, a new registration fee and deposit will be due.
We follow Dartmouth Public School cancellations. Tune in to either WBSM or WNBH 1340 on the AM dial for
announcements. Regular tuition will be charged.
It is requested that all children bring an extra set of clothing to be left in school in case of bathroom
accidents, paint spills, etc. Each article must be clearly labeled. We ask that you dress your child
appropriately keeping in mind weather conditions and outdoor activities.
Due to the increasing number of food allergies and dietary restrictions, parents are asked to provide a small
nutritious snack in addition to lunch for morning and/or afternoon snack time. Please pack snack separately
from lunch in a small, labeled, re-useable container or bag. Also, keep in mind that we are a peanut free
school, so please do not send in any peanut butter or products that may contain nuts or by products.
We do not serve meals. Children who stay through lunch must bring their lunch from home. Please include a
drink(no glass bottles), and please label everything(thermos covers too). We will post lunch suggestions on
the bulletin board.
Children who stay through lunch are required to brush their teeth unless you sign a waiver. Parents must
provide toothpaste and tooth brushes.
Children enrolled in the full day program have a rest period from 12:00 noon until 1:00. Children will need a
small tri-fold rest mat(which may be purchased from us for a cost of $12), a small crib-size pillow, a
pillowcase, and a small, crib-size blanket. Large pillows and sleeping bags take up too much space and
therefore are not permitted.
The Dartmouth Early Learning Center could be subject to an emergency situation affecting the facility or as
part of a larger scale event. The director and staff are responsible for the safety of children, and will
coordinate actions and/or requirements with community public safety officials and parents/guardians.
Michael Hubert is the authority in charge should an emergency occur. Christine Hubert and Erin Perry are
the designated authority to take charge if the administrator is not on site
The impact of an emergency on children can have lasting effects on their well being. Care givers and
families must manage the response to the emergency as well as helping children cope with their feelings,
fear and needs during and after the emergency. Respecting the child’s feelings, and involving them where
possible in recovery activities can reduce stress and anxiety.
In the event of a natural disaster The National Weather Service issues storm watch and warnings through
commercial television, radio, cable (Weather Channel) and NOAA weather alert radios. Such
announcements are carried over the Emergency Alert System (formerly EBS) on TV, radio, and NOAA
radio. A NOAA radio is located in the office.
Separate evacuation plans are posted for each classroom area. One teacher on duty leads the children
out of the building while a designated staff member checks for stragglers. The designated teacher is
responsible for assuring the number of children in attendance to the number safely evacuated. That
teacher will take the attendance form for that particular time of day outside with the group. The director then
takes the children's files and makes one final check to assure that no child has been left inside. Parents
phone numbers are in the children's files, and in the case of an actual emergency they would be contacted
by cell phone.
Evacuation drills are conducted monthly. The director, Michael Hubert, is responsible for maintaining
documentation of time, date, and effectiveness of each drill. Drills are held during different times of the
program day and periodically use alternative exits. The designated meeting place for the preschool is the
swing set area of the play yard. The Primary Graders meet just to the left of this area. In the case of an
actual emergency our alarm system is tied into the fire department.
In the case of a missing child prompt notification of the police will be made once an initial search of the
facility is made, or attempts to confirm location such as confirmed pick up by family etc. We will conduct
search of all areas of facility and immediate surrounding area, and notify police so that a perimeter can be
established for search.
Unauthorized or Suspicious Persons
Our procedure of identifying, and responding to an unauthorized or suspicious person near the facility or on
the grounds includes screening the person, and reporting to the director and/or the police under certain
We also Share Sexual Offenders Record of Information (SORI) circulars with staff members.
In the case of a power outage where there is a loss of heat for an extended period of time, parents will be
notified to pick up their children. The center will stay open as long as there is heat and water.
In the case of a natural disaster or situation(chemical spills,) necessitating the evacuation of the building we
will contact parents, the fire department and/or police department for assistance in transporting children off
In case of a fire or a bomb threat parents will be informed that children will meet next door at the Children’s
Museum if we need to evacuate our building until children can be picked up or until we can return to our
In the case of a loss of water we will report disruption of supply or failure of pipes to the town. If the
disruption of supply is temporary(one day) we will continue to operate with alternative water sources such as
bottled water (toilet flushing, drinking and sanitation). We will heat water for hand washing and sanitation in
There are no state or federal regulations that dictate how child care centers should handle sick children or
when children should stay at home. The following is a list of some common illnesses that affect children at
the preschool level. We ask that if your child shows any of the following symptoms to please keep him/her
home to help control the spread of infection at our center. If your child is not well enough to play outside we
ask that you also keep him/her home since we do not have the staff available to supervise your child inside
during this time.
Children are required to be kept home if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- fever and behavior changes or other signs or symptoms of contagious illness;
- colds if accompanied by severe cough and fever
- diarrhea or vomiting (should remain home at least 24 hours after symptoms are gone)
- rash with fever or behavior change until physician determines if child may return to program
- chicken pox, impetigo, pertussis, mumps, measles, shingles, strep throat or other streptococcal
- pink eye/conjunctivitis with white or yellow eye discharge until 24 hours after treatment is stated
We can not give children non-prescription medicine without a doctor's signature. You must sign and date a
release form for each prescription you wish us to administer your child. Forms are available upon request.
Tuition is still due for days your child is absent due to illness. There are no substitutions of days to
compensate for absences unless handled as extra hours and space permits.
Procedures for Emergencies and Illness
A teacher will apply first aid measures as necessary while another teacher will notify the director who in turn
will contact parents, or if unavailable, emergency people listed on child's application form. Arrangements will
be made with parents/emergency contacts either for pick up or emergency transport to St. Luke's Hospital.
When parents can't be reached, police will be called for emergency transport to St. Luke's Hospital. The
teacher accompanying the child will continue to try to reach parents from the hospital as well as the director
If your child becomes ill during the time the child is in our care we will determine if the child is too ill to stay in
school, and we'll call the parents to come and pick up the child. The child will be provided a place to rest
until the parent arrives and will be supervised at all times by someone familiar with the child.
Administration of Medication
The staff of Dartmouth Early Learning Center can not administer prescription or non-prescription medication
to any child without written parental authorization which indicates:
1. That the medication is for the specified child
2. That the medication has a written order from a physician, which may include the
label on the medication indicating that the medicine is for the specified child
and specified dosage, number of times per day and number of days the
medication is to be administered.
Topical non-prescription medications such as sunscreen, petroleum jelly, or other ointments can be used
only with written parental authorization and must be in the original manufacturer’s packaging. All prescription
medications must be in the containers in which they were originally dispensed and with their original labels
affixed. We will 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. In addition, we are not permitted to administer the first dose of any medication to a child,
except under extraordinary circumstances and with parental consent. We are also required to keep those
medications found in United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedules II-V in a secured
and locked place at all times when not being accessed by an authorized individual. Prescription medications
requiring refrigeration shall be stored in a way that is inaccessible to children in a refrigerator maintained at
temperatures between 38º F and 42 º F. Notwithstanding the provisions of 606 CMR 7.11(2) (e), above,
emergency medications such as epinephrine auto-injectors are immediately available for use as needed.
The professional staff assesses each child in order to make informed curricula and planning decisions, to
set goals for individual children, and to share information with parents.
Assessment is portfolio-based in our program. Teachers systematically collect examples of children’s work,
written observations, anecdotal records and photographs in order to have a record of progress in specific
areas over time. Assessment information is gathered during structured and unstructured activity times
when teachers observe each child’s level of skill and the way he or she approaches a task or interacts with
other children. Observations are shared with parents during twice yearly conferences and as needed to
keep them informed of the growth and development of their child.
Our goal is to foster an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and respect. We encourage you to let us know
what is on your mind! Good communication is the essential key to reaching and maintaining that goal.
When you have an idea, thought or suggestion that you feel would benefit the Program, please share it with
us. You are always welcome to visit the program unannounced at any time your child is present.
Parents are encouraged to read all posted information. There are several places where information is
routinely posted. Please familiarize yourself with the reception area and classroom posting areas.
The Program operates under an “open door” policy. Your input, presence, thoughts, ideas and
suggestions are welcome. We encourage open conversation between parents and teachers. Arrival and
pick up time are good for relaying pertinent information about your child. Parents may call or visit the center
at any time.
Your phone calls to the center are also welcome. However, we try to limit classroom disruptions, so if your
call is not time-sensitive, please leave a message and a teacher will return your call between activities or at
naptime. You may also email us. If the phone call is an emergency, please let the administrator know and
you will be connected with the teacher immediately.
Evidence of what a child can do is collected frequently to share in supportive parent conferences held upon
request anytime throughout the course of the school year. Observation, collaboration, and documentation
in a number of forms are key tools used by teachers in assessing a child's progress. Since parents are
children’s first and most important teachers we strive to work together as partners to gather information
about your child and achieve consensus with families about assessment methods that will best meet your
child’s needs. Progress reports are documented twice a year. Copies will be provided to you.
Parents are encouraged to talk to the child’s teacher if they have questions or concerns. Ongoing, informal
evaluations of children’s progress are made throughout the year. While individualized parent/teacher
conferences are scheduled twice each year, we are happy to accommodate additional conferences if
needed. Children’s personal and individual needs are of primary importance; therefore, more frequent
interaction between parents and teachers may be necessary.
Children with special needs
DELC recognizes the value of an integrated learning environment for children with special needs.
Therefore, it is the general policy of the Program to make every reasonable attempt to accommodate such
children when they are able to function adequately within a typical group setting. Prior to enrollment, the
parents must discuss the nature of the child’s special need with the Director in order to determine
If a concern is raised by a child’s teacher or parent regarding the child’s development, a meeting will be
scheduled to include the teacher, parents, curriculum coordinator and assistant director. If it is determined
that the program staff will benefit from additional guidance by outside resources to fully meet the individual
needs of the child, a referral to a community agency will be made.
If a parent is not cooperative with our efforts to seek assistance with his/her child, we will exercise our right
to discontinue service and enrollment will be terminated.
Your child’s records: enrollment forms, health records, observation records, parent-teacher conference
reports and all other information about your child is confidential and will only be accessible to you, center
personnel, teaching staff and a person designated by DELC, NAEYC, or the Department of EEC to review
our records for licensing, immunization and accreditation purposes. Before information is shared with other
agencies, we will obtain written consent from the families.
Children’s records are stored in secure file cabinets and computer files in the Centers. All staff members
are committed to abiding by the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct regarding respect and confidentiality.
Referral Services and Termination
All staff at the school will be attentive to any special needs of children in our care. Children will be observed
on a number of different occasions and after reviewing the child's record teachers should document and
bring to the director's attention any special concerns regarding medical, mental, physical, or developmental
well being of the children in our care. Meetings will be held where these concerns are addressed, and
followed up by the directors. The directors will then discuss any concerns brought up by the staff with the
child's parents. Through day to day interaction and careful observation we hope to meet the individual
needs of each child in our care.
Time is always available for staff to discuss any concerns with the directors. Teachers will make written
observations available to the directors who in turn will meet with parents to notify them of our center's
concerns. When a referral is considered appropriate, parents will be provided a written statement including
the reasons for recommending a referral for additional services, a brief summary of our observations and
our efforts to accommodate their child's needs. Parents will also be informed of the availability of services
and their rights including the right to appeal under Chapter 766.
The directors will follow up any referrals with parents and the contact agency that evaluates the child. If it is
determined that the child is not in need of services the child's progress shall be reviewed every three
months to determine if another referral is necessary. A written record of any referrals and the results will be
maintained by our center. A written notice to the appropriate administrator of special education will be
provided for any child with a disability that is enrolled at DELC.
Local cities and towns have in place preschool screening services. When appropriate, we refer children for
this or for a CORE Evaluation through the appropriate public school department. Elizabeth Townson is the
special education resource person in Dartmouth and Ms. Kathleen A. Turner is the special education
resource person in New Bedford. Other professionals we might refer children to include David Fentress, D.
Ed, Susan Broughton, RCS, Claire Kenney, PMHNP, and Judith Morris, LICSW,Ph.D.
All children are accepted into the program on a trial basis. We will do everything we can to accommodate
children's individual needs and make their placement work, but if after a thirty day period a match between
child and school does not work parents will be notified about the situation and our efforts to deal with it.
Procedures for avoiding the suspension and termination of a child from our program due to challenging
behavior include: pursuing options for supportive services to the program, including consultation and
educator training; developing a plan for behavioral intervention at home and in the program.
When it is determined that termination is necessary, parents will be given the reasons providing written
documentation to the parents of the specific reasons for the proposed suspension or termination of the
child and the circumstances under which the child may return, if any. If referral services are required,
names of agencies will be provided. If the child's termination is initiated by either the parents or our school
we will prepare the child in a manner consistent with their ability to understand.
Children may also be terminated if financial obligations are not met. No student's tuition may have more
than a one month balance at any time.(see Tuition Policies)
DELC has in place procedures for transitioning a child between classrooms and programs. Meetings are
held and information is shared when children move from preschool to our Primary Grades Program.
Children's school records are sent with parental permission to other school when children leave our
program. When children are about to transition to another program we prepare the child in a manner
consistent with their ability to understand.
Abuse and Neglect Policy
Every educator is a mandated reporter under M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A and must make a report to the
Department of Children and Families 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
Procedure When Allegations of Abuse/Neglect Against A Staff Member Are Filed
Educators are responsible for abuse and neglect if: the educator admits to causing the abuse or neglect,
or the educator is convicted of the abuse or neglect in a criminal proceeding, or the Department of Early
Education and Care 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 educator or any other person caused the abuse or
neglect while children were in care. A staff person will be suspended without pay until the allegation is
investigated and resolved. DELC will notify The Department of Early Education and Care(EEC) in writing
regarding the initiation of any legal proceedings brought against the staff member in question. DELC will
also notify EEC immediately after filing or learning that a 51 A report has been filed on a staff or after
learning that a 51 A has been filed in regard to a child while in our care. Any suspected instance of child
abuse or neglect will immediately be reported to the directors and in turn to DCF and if referral services are
required, names of agencies will be provided. All signs of abuse or neglect will be documented in writing.
The following are some of the services available in our area:
- DCF Department of Children & Families, 9 So. Sixth St., N.B. 997-3361
- Child At Risk Hotline 1-800-792-5200
- Parental Stress Line 1-800- 632- 8188
- Child and Family Service, New Bedford 996-8572
- Kennedy-Donovan Center Early Intervention Programs 997-1570
- IH Swartz Rehabilitation Center, New Bedford 996-3391
- Morton Hospital Speech and Hearing Program, Taunton
- PACE Inc, New Bedford 999-9920
DELC completes BRCs for each new employee before an offer of employment is confirmed;
New BRCs are completed for the program’s Licensee and Reviewers at each license renewal and for every
staff member, regular volunteer, and intern who has the potential for unsupervised contact with children at
least every two years. DELC ensures that an EEC approval is obtained for each Reviewer (that is, each
person authorized to receive, review or discuss the BRC results of other potential employees, regular
volunteers or interns in the program). DELC also ensures that EEC is notified when an approved Reviewer
leaves employment. A new reviewer application is required to obtain EEC approval for any new Reviewer.
As part of this policy, DELC will complete a new Background Record Check review for an employee,
volunteer or intern any time the program receives information that may indicate that a new CORI or DCF
Background Record Check review is appropriate (for example, notification that a staff member has been
arrested or has been named as a person responsible for abuse or neglect of a child).
DELC has no suspension policy with regards to students or children in our care. See the termination
section, however, regarding the circumstances which will result in a child being terminated from our services.
Notice of Nondiscrimination Policy
The Dartmouth Early Learning Center admits students of any race, religion, national and ethnic origin. It
does not discriminate in providing services, educational programs, or admissions to children and their
families on the basis of race, religion, cultural heritage, disability, political beliefs, national origin, sexual
orientation, or marital status. Toilet training status is not a requirement for enrollment.
It is the policy of the Program to use positive methods of behavior management. At no time is corporal
punishment or verbal humiliation allowed. Teachers in the program are trained in positive communication
and guidance techniques and are encouraged to use effective interpersonal skills in communicating with
children, parents, and fellow staff members. The following practices are strictly prohibited:
subjecting children to cruel or severe punishment such as humiliation, verbal or physical abuse, neglect, or
abusive treatment including any type of physical hitting inflicted in any manner upon the body, shaking,
threats, or derogatory remarks;
depriving children of outdoor time, meals or snacks; force feeding children or otherwise making them eat
against their will, or in any way using food as a consequence;
disciplining a child for soiling, wetting, or not using the toilet; forcing a child to remain in soiled clothing or to
remain on the toilet, or using any other unusual or excessive practices for toileting;
excessive time-out. Time-out may not exceed one minute for each year of the child's age and must take
place within an educator’s view.
Behavior Management Plan
Our goal at DELC is to assist our children in learning to live in the school environment safely and with
satisfaction. We strive to respect each child as an important person. We encourage the use of methods of
guidance that are based on an understanding of the individual needs and development of each child and
that will build the child's confidence and respect. Therefore, we view discipline not as punishment, but as
positive guidance and redirection. The definition of the word discipline that we subscribe to is instruction or
training which corrects, molds, strengthens, or perfects. We adhere to the following guidelines which have
been established to benefit both the children and the staff.
6. For children with persistent, serious, challenging behavior, teachers,
- Teachers should be sensitive and responsive to the needs of the children.
- Teachers shall act in such a way that they are respectful role models.
- Teachers shall clearly define limits within the classroom and consistently maintain them.
- Teachers will use discipline that is consistent, clear and understandable to the child.
- Teachers will intervene immediately when a child becomes physically aggressive to protect all of the
children and encourage more acceptable behavior. When necessary, to help give an out of control
child an opportunity to cool down, the selective use of a brief "time out" or removal of the child from
the situation is employed. The length of time will be just long enough to enable the child to regain self
control. During a "time out" the child will be required to sit apart from the group to renew him/herself
and reflect on the reason for the "time out." The goal is to protect the rest of the group from any harm
while giving the child an opportunity to cool down and begin to gain some inner control. Use of the
"time out" will be adapted to the developmental level and appropriateness of a "time out" for the
families, and other professionals will work as a team to develop and
implement and individualized plan that supports the child's inclusion and
7.Teachers shall give directions in a positive way so as to encourage positive
and cooperative behavior.
With thoughtful planning of the environment many conflicts can be prevented. Teachers shall provide
adequate and thoughtfully arranged space where supervision is easily maintained to promote positive
relationships among children, and enable them to work and play together with a minimum of conflict.
DELC does not provide transportation to and from our center. We contract a school bus with seat belts
when we go on field trips. A first aid kit and children’s records are taken along as well as a seat belt cutter.
We will require written parental consent for any field trips and for any child who has an individual
transportation plan. The bus company we use for field trips conforms to MA school bus requirements as
contained in M.G.L. c. 90 and 540 CMR 7.00. In the case of an emergency, the director will call for
emergency transportation via ambulance to the local hospital emergency room. Parents will be called from
We implement an Emergent Curriculum that borrows developmentally appropriate, child-centered elements
from the preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Diane Trister Dodge’s Creative Curriculum, and the
Massachusetts Guidelines for Preschool Learning, The Creative Curriculum is based on accepted theories
of child development and the latest research on the importance of early learning and the development of
the brain. Our curriculum is flexible as well as emergent to allow for adaptations and modifications to ensure
access to the curriculum for all children.
The MA Department of Early Education and Care(EEC) is the licensing authority for DELC. You can contact
them at 1 Washington St, Suite 20, Taunton, MA 02780, phone# 508-828-5025 for information regarding
DELC's regulatory compliance history. Michael & Christine Hubert are the owners and
administrators/directors. Erin Perry is the person in charge if Michael and Christine are both absent.