IDP from A-Z
Daily terms used and general information about IDP
When your child will be absent or late, please call IDP (inside line) as early as possible. If your child has a contagious illness, let us know so that we can alert other parents to look for symptoms in their children. Please notify us of extended absences (e.g., vacation) in writing.
In an effort to provide the best quality care for all IDP children both within IDP and outside of it, it has been decided that babysitting will be allowed on a cross-site or graduate basis only. Interns and ADP graduates who have completed their fieldwork at IDP and do not have any intention of returning to IDP to volunteer are available to babysit for IDP families. Additionally, IDP interns and ADP graduates are permitted to babysit for families at opposite sites. (e.g. Fernald families may use Franz interns as babysitters and Franz families may use Fernald interns as babysitters). This policy is meant to mirror the policy currently in place prohibiting teachers from babysitting due to ethical reasons.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) states in their ethical guidelines that as caregivers, “We shall not use our relationship with a family for private advantage or personal gain, or enter into relationships with family members that might impair our effectiveness working with their children.” This guideline by the NAEYC is meant to prevent the issue of “dual relationships” of caregivers and children. When interns currently in use at IDP also provide babysitting services a different relationship is developed between that child, intern, and family. This different relationship then carries over to IDP where the child is unsure of the type of relationship expected from that intern and can get easily upset by not getting one-on-one time with that intern at IDP like they get at home. Additionally, interns may unintentionally display preferential treatment towards the child(ren) that they babysit, which adversely affects the whole classroom.
We, of course, want our IDP families to be given access to the high quality caregivers that we train at IDP so babysitting lists of IDP trained graduates and available interns can be provided by your child’s teacher upon request. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this important matter.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. “Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment” April 2005. p.4.
Birthdays and other special events
Parents may choose to celebrate their child's birthday (or other event) at IDP. Please do not bring latex balloons to IDP because they present a choking hazard; however, you are welcome to bring mylar balloons.
IDP’s celebrations are moving away from having sweets, particularly since we have many things to celebrate! We recognize that birthdays are very special and important for your child and family, and we enjoy sharing a celebration of your child’s birthday at IDP. We strongly encourage parents to bring healthy alternatives to cake and cupcakes: such as, muffins, fruit parfait, cheese and crackers or your child’s favorite healthy snack. We would like to encourage this tradition of healthy eating at IDP to birthday celebration as well as Graduations or other special events. Here are our revised guidelines for birthday parties at IDP.
Birthday parties (your child) – When you child is having a birthday, parents want to know what is a typical celebration at school. Birthdays are a big milestone for families. The children are happiest when the parties are low-key and fit into the regular snack routines at IDP. It is most enjoyable when other parents can come. Here are the guidelines for food for the party, party “favors,” and gifting.
For food, you should feel comfortable doing as much or as little as you like. We discourage cakes and cupcakes and encourage creative snacks, like parfaits, muffins, or fun finger-food. Other food ideas include fruit, pizza or drinks. Please avoid sweet desserts. Please bring enough to serve the teachers, student interns, and other parents. Parents provide paper plates, hats, and can provide a festive table cloth. We do not allow rubber balloons in the classroom for safety reason (when they pop, they are a significant choking hazard).
We will sing a Happy Birthday song at circle time, which is dedicated to honoring the birthday child. Our young children tend to get upset when suddenly many adults are singing loudly at the table.
For party favors/presents to IDP, it is entirely up to you whether or not to do this. Probably about ½ of the families bring creative party favors, such as a tiny draw-string bag of goldfish, a musical instrument or board book, etc. Please do not feel obliged to bring party favors. Some parents choose to buy a gift for IDP in lieu of party favors, reasoning that the gift will be available to many children for many years to come. If you are interested in giving a gift to IDP, ask the staff for their “wish list” of gifts/web sites. Some parents will give both party favors and a gift to IDP. Again, it is entirely up to you!
Finally, please do not give a gift to your child’s primary care giver. This is a special day for your child, and opportunities for caregiver thank you’s are considered at other times.
IDP has student caregivers every quarter who participate in the IDP teaching program through an internship. They spend 8 hours per week working with the babies (under the supervision of our permanent teaching staff) and are enrolled in a lecture + discussion course. “First quarter” caregivers (Psychology 134A) are new to IDP. “Second quarter” caregivers (Psychology 134C) have completed one quarter of training at IDP. “Third quarter” caregivers (Psychology 193) have been at IDP for at least two quarters and have been invited to complete a third. “Volunteers” have completed two or three quarters of training at IDP but are no longer receiving course credit for their IDP participation.
Parents are strongly encouraged to get to know the student caregivers. A caregiver photo board or book is provided to help parents get acquainted with names and faces. Various social events are planned throughout the year to invite parent-caregiver interactions. Student caregivers are very important in the lives of IDP babies and enjoy building relationships with IDP parents.
Each child has a daily information chart that is posted on the bulletin board near the potty room. These charts list food, naps, and diapering for the day. Parents are invited to record relevant information about their child’s night or morning and to read their child's chart daily. An additional category provides space for caregivers to list a favorite activity, a new food, or a book that the child read.
Every afternoon at 5:00 we have circle time, a time when all children are invited to join together for singing, finger play, puppets, stories, etc. Together time is child-directed; particular songs and activities are chosen by the children and the length of together time varies, depending on the children's interest.
Any child who prefers not to participate in together time is encouraged to participate in any other non-disruptive activity. A caregiver or parent will accompany that child in the activity of his/her choice without disrupting the children who are still enjoying together time.
Adults who are present during this time are asked to participate in order to fully enhance the children's enjoyment and participation. A songbook is available for parents who are interested in learning the words to popular together time songs.
Clothing and Diapers
Your child will get “dirty” and “messy” at IDP because that is the essence of play and learning! Please Do Not send your child to IDP in clothes that must stay clean and spotless. We believe that children must be uninhibited in their exploration and discovery; although smocks and other cover-ups are provided, they are not required. Children are never required to keep themselves from getting messy in the course of play. No child will be prohibited or restricted from participating in activities in order to keep clothes clean.
At least two changes of clothing, including underwear and socks, should be kept at IDP at all times. All clothes sent or worn to IDP should be labeled with the child's name. Each child has a special cubby to hold personal belongings.
Parents are responsible for providing diapers and diaper wipes, as well as any other diapering items, for their children. We welcome cloth diapers.
IDP provides a morning and afternoon snack daily; a monthly snack menu is distributed to parents. Organic, whole milk is provided at morning and afternoon snacks. Filtered water is available at lunch and throughout the day. Parents provide lunch, formula, and other special dietary requirements. Containers and bottles should be labeled with the child’s name. Glass bottles and jars are not used for feeding at IDP.
A rest period is provided for all children who spend most of their day with us. Caregivers help children nap according to their individual needs, which follows a plan developed by the parent(s) and caregiver(s).
We recommend the “back to sleep” sleeping position (see Consumer Product Safety Alert which follows and enclosed “Back to Sleep” brochure).
In order to provide a sense of familiarity and security, each child sleeps in the same crib or cot every day. Full-time children have their own cribs/cots while part-time children share a crib/cot with the “alternate-day” child. When a child is ready, (s)he may move to a cot for nap time.
Parents are asked to remember that the nap rooms are not soundproof and that talking should be kept to a minimum. Doors should be closed slowly and quietly. IDP provides and launders sheets and blankets for naps daily for infants and weekly for toddlers. Parents are welcome to bring from home any additional sheets, blankets, security objects, etc. that will help make nap time more comfortable. Personal items are not laundered at IDP.
“A Notebook for Two Voices”
The full-time staff keeps regular, written observation journals of each child. Journals track children's development, behavior, and interests, and are an important professional development tool. They are kept in individual folders. Parents are invited to read or write in their child’s journal at any time.
The parent board contains information about upcoming IDP events, community events/resources, announcements, opportunities for parent involvement, etc. The IDP/Franz parent board is located on the window by the front door, while the IDP/Fernald parent board is located next to the kitchen door.
Formal parent-teacher conferences are offered twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. These conferences take place between the child’s parent(s) and the primary caregiver and provide an opportunity to share information about the child’s development, favorite activities, peer relationships, etc. Parents and teachers also use this opportunity to plan together in setting short-term and long-term goals for the child, and discuss any areas of concern. Since we believe that it is preferable not to discuss a child in the third person in his/her presence, we ask that children not attend parent-teacher conferences.
Parents are welcome to request formal parent-teacher conferences at any other time during the year, and teachers will make every effort to communicate informally with parents daily about their child’s development and education.
Please turn to Parent Participation page to learn more about this crucial contribution.
For IDP parents without campus parking permits, temporary parking in the loading zone is available while dropping off or picking up children. There is a 20-minute limit for loading zone parking. Parking permits are available yearly in June from the classrooms teacher; please read the guidelines on the permit.
Each IDP baby is provided with a primary caregiver. The primary caregiver (PC) is the person who provides or coordinates most of that child’s care, and communicates with parents about each child’s development. This relationship helps IDP babies form strong relationships with a caregiver while they are away from their parents. Additionally, the PC system allows parents to have a clear, systematic line of communication about their child.
Each PC has four “primary babies” per day. Care can be delegated to student caregivers, under the PC’s close supervision. Although each child has a PC, all PCs have significant relationships with all IDP babies and families, and share duties or cover for each other frequently (during lunch breaks, vacations, etc.). This team approach allows for the smooth and consistent care of every child.
“Today We…” is a written description of daily activities. It is posted on the curriculum board (Franz) or on the parent board (Fernald) for parents and caregivers to read.
Older infants/toddlers (approx. 2 to 3 years) are invited to participate in daily toddler curriculum activities. These projects are designed to meet the special needs and abilities of IDP’s oldest children. Sample curriculum categories include: cooking, gardening, science, dramatic play, etc.
In order to provide appropriate and challenging experiences for our oldest toddlers, younger children do not participate in toddler curriculum until they seem developmentally prepared. Teachers will discuss with parents when a particular child appears ready to begin participating in toddler curriculum. Often, a child who is just on the brink of readiness will participate in some toddler curriculum activities but not others. Parents and caregivers are asked to help younger children respect this special time for older toddlers by giving them space and privacy.
IDP babies may go on a daily walk from 10:00 to 11:30 am. The children walk or ride in strollers or wagons to the daily walk destination on campus (e.g., the Bear, Sculpture Garden, Royce quad). Once there, the children spend time exploring the environment, and developing their gross motor skills. The adult: child walk ratio is 1:2.
Parents who prefer that their children remain at IDP during walk should inform the Director so that arrangements can be made. We try to maintain a relatively tight morning schedule in order to make sure that the children have enough time to play outside on walk and still return to IDP in time for lunch. Parents are asked to phone the IDP staff if they will be arriving later than 9:45 am. A caregiver can be kept back to wait for a late child and take him/her to meet the others on walk, allowing that particular child to have ample time for transitioning without disrupting the activities of the other children.