Early Childhood Program
Our Early Childhood Program provides early education and care for children ages 2 through 6 years. We maintain a low adult/child ratio. Our program utilizes the High/Scope Educational Model and developmentally appropriate practices of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Children are involved in direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, ideas, and events. While teachers share control and initiative with children, they are guided by 58 key experiences that all children need to have as part of their intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development.
Adults observe and interact with children at their level to discover how each child thinks and reasons. Adults interact with children in ways that empower children to take control of their own learning.
Classroom furniture and equipment are arranged in several clearly defined interest areas that enable children to find, use, and return the materials they need in order to explore, invent, and learn about their world.
Each day follows a similar schedule of events, providing consistency for both children and adults. A daily plan-do-review process is at the core of the High/Scope routine and gives children the opportunity to pursue their own interests, make plans, follow through on them, and reflect on their experiences with peers and adults.
High/Scope teachers regularly record notes on children’s behaviors, experiences, and interests. They use these notes to assess each child’s development and to plan activities that will facilitate their growth and development. They also use these notes in parent meetings to help parents better understand their children’s development.
Home visits are scheduled 2 to 3 times per year with families enrolled in our Early Childhood Program. Our home visits are very social in nature with the intent of building a stronger family/child/teacher relationship.
Child progress conferences are scheduled 2 to 3 times per year. Our teaching staff uses a portfolio approach to gather information about your child’s on-going development. From a compilation of observational anecdotal notes, work samples and action "photos", etc., the High/Scope Child Observation Record (COR) is completed. The COR and your child’s portfolio are shared during conferences
Because of the diversity of the families we serve, we recognize no religious holidays at the Children’s Center. As a publicly funded institution, New Mexico Tech must be exceptionally careful in not appearing to promote a religion. We encourage each family to celebrate their holidays at home in the way that is most appropriate for their children. If a child initiates a discussion or activity related to a holiday they observe, we will listen respectfully and provide time and space for the child’s activity. We will not introduce these discussions or activities.
Birthdays are a special time in our programs. We are always happy to celebrate your child’s birthday. If you have a birthday tradition that you would like to share with us, please make arrangements with your child’s teacher. An idea we recommend for celebrating this special occasion is to have your child donate a book to the Children’s Center library. We will write your child’s name and birth date on the inside cover. Each time the book is read your child’s contribution to the program is remembered.
Our program serves a nourishing breakfast and afternoon snack. We participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Family Nutrition Bureau monitors our menus. All children will be offered the same meals without physical segregation or other discriminatory action against any child because of race, color, age, national origin, sex, or handicap. A monthly menu is posted at the Children’s Center and is provided in the monthly newsletter. In the event that your child has a documented allergy, an alternative can be provided or other arrangements can be made with the family.
Families are responsible for providing a lunch for their child. We have a refrigerator and microwave available in all classrooms. We provide milk at lunch. If you choose to include juice in your child’s lunch, it must be a 100% juice product. We will substitute milk or water for any beverage that is not a 100% juice product. Please read labels carefully! Included with this handbook you will find ideas and food guidelines for "brown-bagging" (See Food Guidlines).
The Children’s Center does not participate in any field trips off of the New Mexico Tech campus. All field trips in which children and staff do participate are "walking" field trips on campus. At no time will children be transported in any vehicle for a field trip.
To improve the quality of early childhood care and education, New Mexico Tech Children’s Center cooperates with qualified child development training programs.
We limit the number of non-obtrusive observers, field experience students, or other visitors to our programs. We strive to facilitate training in ways that are the least disruptive to children’s experiences in our programs. We will not permit or participate in training programs that could in any way hinder the education, development, or well-being of children. Family’s rights to confidentiality will be upheld at all times.
All visitors are required to sign our Visitor Registry.
In our Early Childhood Program, we have a rest time from approximately 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Children’s Center provides children with a mat for rest time. To make your child more comfortable, you are asked to bring a crib-size fitted sheet, small blanket, and pillow. All items should be marked with your child’s name. The Children’s Center will launder bedding weekly.
During this quiet time, children are read stories and listen to quiet music. Children who do not sleep will rest for 45 minutes and then be allowed to get up and do quiet activities, such as puzzles, books, etc., for the remainder of the rest time. We determine which children must nap according to the individual needs of the child and the guidelines set by New Mexico State Child Care licensing regulations.
Our Children’s Center’s families and staff are encouraged to participate in a variety of service learning projects throughout the year. These projects vary in scope, including individual commitments of staff to serve on community agency advisory boards, our annual Giving Tree in December, and clothing and food drives.
The Children’s Center is fortunate to have access to New Mexico Tech Swim Center’s facilities. We routinely schedule recreational Swim Days for the children. When weather permits, staff members take children in the older pre-k/k class swimming at the Swim Center. Parents/guardians will be notified of Swim Days. We ask that you provide advance notice if you do not want your child to participate. Please be sure that your child keeps a swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen at the Children’s Center for our Swim Days.
Water safety is a top priority and concern. Therefore, children enrolled in our program, who participate in Swim Days, are required to attend a Water Safety Awareness class taught by the Swim Center lifeguards
Use of the New Mexico Tech Swim Center is a privilege. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the children to follow Swim Center rules and be respectful to employees.
If a child does not abide by Swim Center rules and/or is disrespectful to Swim Center staff the following will take place:
Our younger preschool class enjoys water play in a wading pool on hot summer days. Please provide a swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen for these splish-splashy days.
Children of New Mexico Tech students and employees as well as children of community members are eligible to enroll in our programs. As an opening becomes available, priority will first be given to New Mexico Tech students, then to employees of New Mexico Tech, and finally to community members. Attendance begins and/or continues as long as you and/or your child meet the following requirements: