December 22, 2020
Dear KIDDIELAND ECE Families,
As the year 2020 nears its end, the entire Kiddieland staff would like to thank returning families, families that have waited and are coming back in January, and especially to the new families that have joined us during these unprecedent times. We are grateful for your patience and understanding, we appreciate your cooperation and assistance, and we are thankful for your continued encouragement and suggestions.
We have experienced very difficult times during these last few months. The increasing number of cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in Illinois and in the country has affected all age groups and has touched many of our families and staff. Kiddieland has remained strong and we have worked together as a team. The stability and daily operation of the Kiddieland is vital in our efforts to keep the center open and provide a safe place for the children.
BEFORE COVID-19 STRIKE
Kiddieland ECE began 2020 focused on continuing the growth and success of the children. We were providing Mad Science in two classrooms and expanding Creative Movement to all classrooms. We upgraded our internet speed and the email delivery system to ensure that parents are receiving emails and important notices immediately. We were planning Summer Camp, Parent/Child activities, the Spring Assembly, and the Back-to-School Picnic. The pandemic hit, the center closed, and physical and social activities had to be cancelled.
AFTER COVID-19 QUARANTINE
Kiddieland re-opened in June with the same commitment to provide educational growth and development. Kiddieland had continue incorporate Teaching Strategies and Creative Curriculum in lesson planning and activities. We offered Chicago Public School students and parents an E-Learning site, providing a safe environment, where the children are supervised and assisted in their school work. Kiddieland has held Zoom meeting for the parents for our Parent/Teacher conferences. We have followed and maintained the procedures, protocols, and guidance of the Illinois Department of Public Health, CDC, and DCFS. We maintain social distance, do not combine rooms, wear masks, take daily temperatures, and follow a strict cleaning and sanitizing schedule. We have faced many challenges during the last few months, but with the understanding and cooperation of our parents, we have met those challenges. Kiddieland has had to quarantine only a few times due to COVID-19 cases due to the strict guidelines that we and our parents follow. We greatly appreciate our parents support even when closing classrooms. Kiddieland has remained open, meet our daily operational expenses, paid our staff, and continue to offer care for our children and E-learning students. We thank our parents for entrusting their children’s care to Kiddieland. We successfully retained our staff and continue to provide safe and quality care for our families.
We have repaved the parking lot and changed furnace (and air conditioning) filters every month. Kiddieland ECE has completed all of the winter maintenance and clean-up for our building in preparation of the upcoming months and have renewed our snow removal contract. Please report any problems you may encounter: lighting, playground, parking lot safety, and any other concerns or incidents.
In the event that it is necessary for Kiddieland ECE to close due to weather or some unforeseen event, parents will be notified via email, phone calls, or text. Therefore, in case of a heavy snow accumulation, please check your email, voicemail, or text before bringing your child to Kiddieland ECE to avoid an unnecessary trip. Please be sure that we have all of your updated and current information if we need to contact you. The teachers will have their classroom rosters and information with them. Teachers may contact you through email to alert you to closings or other events.
The winter weather has returned, and even in the cold months, we believe that outdoor recess is an important and valuable part of the student’s day. Children need to move during their day, it is a time for students to burn off some of that “energy” they have stored all morning, get some exercise, and simply socialize with their peers. Students will go outside most days during their scheduled outdoor time, unless the weather is extreme, raining, or unsafe. With that in mind, we ask that you consider the “real feel” temperature and weather conditions outside as your child prepares to come to school each day and have them dress appropriately. Warm winter jackets/coats, hats, boots, scarves, gloves/mittens and snow pants in winter are essential for the students to be able to enjoy their time at play outside. Also, now is a good time to change out your child’s spare clothing from the classroom cubbies to winter spare clothing. Boot trays are placed outside of your child’s classroom; please be sure to have a spare pair of shoes for your child to use specifically at Kiddieland. Kindly have all personal items marked with your child’s name for easy identification. We realize that the temperature in our building may vary, so dressing in layers is a good practice.
Attached is a copy of the 2021 Winter/Spring Calendar listing important dates, vacations, holidays, special events, and one early dismissal day. Kiddieland has tentatively scheduled activities until June. We will notify parents when confirmation has been received that extracurricular activities may resume.
Kiddieland is planning on scheduling CPS Child Find screenings to return in the Spring. In addition, we will be visited by NAEYC in the summer months, if allowed.
- For the safety of your young child, we would like parents to remember that children, who are unable to tie their shoes, should only wear shoes without laces.
- Children should arrive to Kiddieland ECE before 9:00 AM but no later than 10:00 AM unless Kiddieland ECE is previously notified and parent arrives with a doctor’s note.
- All children should arrive each day with his/her nails trimmed, to avoid accidents.
- Please call the center and let us know when and why children will be absent.
- Please ensure your child’s cubby/basket is updated with clothes needed for the following winter season.
- We ask all families to update your child’s information form with Mrs. Lea Gambino. It is imperative for your child’s folder to hold current and updated information. All children’s physical forms must be up to date with all vaccinations and tests.
- Parents/guardians must always sign children in and out each morning and evening.
- No toys or stuffed animals are allowed in the center.
- Do not bring your child to school with any of the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
- If your child is tested for COVID-19, they must not return to the center until negative results have been received.
- If your child develops a fever or symptoms, you will receive a phone call to pick up your child.
- Children’s temperatures will be taken upon arrival. If child has fever or exhibits symptoms, they will not be allowed to remain at the center.
YEAR END STATEMENTS
A payment history of your 2020 Kiddieland ECE tuition will be provided to each family in mid-January. This information is valuable when preparing your 2020 income tax returns and flexible spending accounts for child care.
IF TRAVELING DURING THE HOLIDAYS
When you must travel away from your local community, keep informed about the current COVID-19 status of a potential destination and keep your family safe by avoiding travel to places of higher risk. This is especially important during the holiday months. When you do travel, practice the 3 W’s every time you are away from home and in close proximity to other groups of people. Wear a face covering.
Wash your hands with soap and water. Watch your physical distance, staying at least 6 feet from others. Upon returning home, self-quarantine and monitor your health for 14 days. Symptoms to monitor for include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
All of the staff and I would like to wish our entire KIDDIELAND ECE family and friends the very happiest of holiday seasons. It has been a pleasure working with you and your children this year and we look forward to continuing that relationship in the coming year. We hope that 2021 brings new energy, peace, and positive forces to bring us back to a sense of normal.
We are ever grateful to our parents, staff, and students who diligently adhere to safety protocols. It is imperative that students, parents, staff, and the community make good decisions to protect us all from COVID-19. Kiddieland Educational Center of Excellence is committed, passionate, and sincere in our quest to provide the best for every child that becomes part of our family. Our main purpose is to best serve our community and what is most important our families.
Thank you for your flexibility and patience during these changing times.
Zarahi Menendez Samantha Cohen Lea Gambino Barbara Bednarz
Program Director Center Director Managing Director Assistant Director