Summer Camp Staff Biographies
Michelle D’Amore has been employed by Children First since 1999 (and worked with many of the staff at a previous childcare company since 1997). She is a summer camp counselor/assistant camp director. Michelle grew up in South Hadley and is a product of the South Hadley Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from UMASS Amherst and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree. Michelle’s employment background is diverse; she worked in the field of Human Services, for Caesar’s Tahoe, and in business offices before becoming an educator. During the school year, Michelle teaches eighth grade at Baird Middle School in Ludlow, where she also serves as Student Council Advisor. In her leisure time, Michelle enjoys reading, hiking (especially with her puppy, Shemp) and being on or in nearly any body of water. She genuinely enjoys the company of children and feels privileged to have the opportunity to be a positive influence in their lives.
Caitlin McCarron lives in South Hadley with her family and grew up attending South Hadley public schools. She is currently attending the Elms College in Chicopee, where she is majoring in Elementary Education and History. Caitlin worked for us in the summer of 2006 and loved it so much she returned for the summer of 2007 & 2008. She does an amazing job with our preschoolers and has shown herself to be a really quick learner. We look forward to many more years of watching Caitlin grow as an educator.
Caitlin loves attending and volunteering at Camp Aldersgate (a Methodist Summer Camp in Rhode Island). Her time their has been formative in her life. She also likes to hike, read, she’s addicted to reality TV, and her favorite color is green!
Kaitlyn Burdick—more to come
Carmen Marino— more to come
Lauren Tauer—volunteered at our School Age Camp in the summer of 2007, and we fell in love with each other. She was hired before the summer had ended! Lauren is a senior at Chicopee Comp and plays her flute in the band. Because she has band practice every Thursday, she job shares with her Mom, Heidi. As soon as we worked with Heidi we realized that she, like her daughter, is amazingly wonderful! Heidi & Lauren live in Chicopee with Don (husband/Dad) and Kelsey (daughter/sister). They love to camp and are very active in their church. Lauren loves to build, ski, sew & bike. Heidi also works part-time as a church secretary in her own and another church and loves to play with children. She can’t believe she gets to play with play dough AND get paid!
Children First Enterprises, Inc.
"We Put Children First!"
Children First Enterprises offers care and education to children from Granby and surrounding communities at our two locations:
The Children First Center (40 Pleasant St., Granby, MA 01033)
· Serving children ages 2.9 through kindergarten
· DEEC [www.eec.state.ma.us] licensed for 40 children
· Open from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM, M-F, full-year
· All staff certified in CPR & First Aid
· Four slot types are available:
- Full-time slot [full-day, M-F]
- Part-time slot [full-day, 2 or more days a week]
- Preschool-only slot [half-day, 2 or more days a week]
- Wrap-Around Kindergarten slot [Before and After public school kindergarten session]
The Children First Club (located in the West St. School cafeteria during the academic Year; 14 West St., Granby, MA 01033)
· Serving children ages 5 to 14 Before School
· Serving children ages 5—9 After School
· More to come—NEW Willow Room—in our new facility—serving children from grade 4 and up!!
· DEEC [www.eec.state.ma.us] licensed for 52 children
· Open during the academic year (see summer program below)
· Before School Program—from 6:30 AM until school begins
· After School Program—from the end of school until 6:00 PM
· All staff certified in CPR & First Aid
· Also available:
- Half-day curriculum day care—until 6:00 PM
- Full-day curriculum day care—from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM
- Snow day care—alternative location; 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM
- Vacation camps— from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM
The Children First Summer Program (located at 40 Pleasant St., Granby, MA 01033
· Serving children entering 1st grade through the age of 14
· Open from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM, M-F, throughout the summer
· Weekly themes
- (Science, Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Nature, Fantasy)
· Weekly field trips to Lake Wyola at no extra cost
· Water play, guest speakers, emphasis on nature
· Family atmosphere
· All staff certified in CPR & First Aid
· Application available April 17, 2010 to families not currently enrolled
· Children do not need to be enrolled for every week of the summer (acceptance based on availability)
· Children do not need to be enrolled every day of the week (acceptance based on availability), however, days must be consistent.
Our curriculum has been designed to meet NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) standards for developmentally appropriate practices and has been based upon the Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences, produced by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Our materials, activities, and teaching strategies are selected to support the cognitive, physical-motor, and social-emotional development of our students. Each child’s progress is monitored throughout the year and individual goals are set based on this information. Daily reports, parent conferences, and progress reports are used to keep parents/guardians updated.
The Importance of Play: One aspect of a developmentally appropriate preschool is its emphasis on play. Early childhood theorists agree that children’s cognitive and social skills are enhanced through play and hands-on exploration of the world around them. Our schedule offers many opportunities for children to gain the benefits of indoor and outdoor play. Each day children have access to the following “activity centers” (a selection of learning objectives has been included):
Computer, which fosters computer literacy, strengthens literacy and math skills, refines visual discrimination skills and eye-hand coordination, and enhances visual memory skills;
Writing, which promotes literacy skills, reinforces phonics skills, strengthens penmanship, develops eye-hand coordination, and fosters creativity and self-esteem;
Listening, which promotes and develops listening skills, enhances auditory comprehension, and fosters book knowledge;
Library, which develops a love for books, fosters creativity, refines communication and listening skills, builds vocabulary, develops empathy, and provides a foundation for reading and writing;
Art, which teaches colors, shapes, and textures and cause/effect, refines eye-hand coordination, and small motor skills, and allows for expression of thoughts, ideas, and individuality;
Blocks, which teach scientific and physical concepts, basic math and reading readiness skills, develop visual perception, eye-hand coordination, and muscular control, and problem-solving skills;
Manipulatives, which teach number concepts, classification, sequencing, and matching and pairing, strengthens fine motor control, refines visual discrimination, and enhances creativity;
Dramatic Play, which refines social skills, creative powers, and visual discrimination, allows children to apply knowledge to new situations and develop self-understanding and a positive self-image;
Sensory Table, which develops skills of scientific inquiry, teaches basic math concepts and cause and effect, strengthens fine motor control, and allows children to develop group social;
Discovery (Math, Science, and Social Studies), which allows for exploration, experimentation, observation and problem-solving, supports mathematical concepts, and encourages curiosity;
Outdoor Play, which develops large and small muscles and balance skills, increases cooperation, turn-taking and problem-solving, allows children to make and carry out plans, & enhances creativity.
Basic Daily Schedule for Children First Day School:
Varies somewhat seasonally:
Arrival & Free Play 6:30 – 8:30
Movement & Music 8:30 – 9:00
Circle Time 9:00 – 9:20
Story time 10:30 – 10:45
Outdoor play 10:45 -11:30
Bathroom & Lunch (Kindergarten bus) 11:30 – 12:30
Pre’s - Nap & Quiet Activities on mats 12:30 - 2:30
K’s - Outdoor play & Enrichment Activities 12:30 – 2:30
Snack & Story 2:30 - 3:00
Outdoor Play 3:00 - 4:30
Free Play and dismissal 4:30 – 6:00 Program Closes at 6:00 PM
For the Day School, a crib sheet is required. A small blanket or quilt, a small pillow and a small cuddle toy may also be brought in for naptime (MUST fit entirely in nap cubby). Nap items must be taken home for cleaning at the end of every week (or more often as needed). Nap mats are disinfected at least weekly (daily if no crib sheet) and more often as needed. Children who are within a year of entering kindergarten do not nap.
SCHOOL AGE PROGRAM:
The Children First Club provides a safe, fun, educational atmosphere that allows our participants (children in grades K-6) to transition to and from school in a calm, supported way. By participating in a mixed-age group, children get a chance to develop across-grade friendships, providing a neighborhood or family-like atmosphere. Older and younger children can learn positive social interactions such as assuming responsibility, taking initiative, respecting one another, cooperating, nurturing, and teaching. The children are given opportunities to choose from a variety of activities including reading, art, math games, science exploration, music, dramatic play, building play, board games, group games, and sports. The schedule includes daily snack time (with snacks sent from home) and homework support (see below). We feel that the school age programs should be a time for children to relax and enjoy some unstructured time when they may self-select activities, develop friendships, pursue new interests, and explore themes and ideas in a cooperative learning setting. Teachers and children work together to establish the rule setting, decision-making, and theme development of the program. Teachers work to respond to children’s interests and abilities with project ideas, supportive literature, and opportunities to share their talents with the group.
Basic Daily Schedule:
The Before and After School programs are offered in the West St. School cafeteria. Before School opens at 6:30 AM. Staff supervise arrival, sign-in, breakfast (sent from home), homework support (as needed), and quiet games and activities. Staff accompany East Meadow students to the bus pick-up and then deliver West St. children to their classrooms at the beginning of the school day.
The basic daily schedule for the school age After School Program is as follows:
Arrival & Check-In & Hand-washing 2:55-3:15
Snack, Homework Support, & Quiet Activities 3:15-4:00
Outdoor Recreation or Gym Time 4:00-5:00
Project Time, Board Games, etc. 5:00-departure
Program Closes 6:00 PM
Children have daily time and space to work on homework assignments. Staff will help students upon request (from student, parent or teacher). Every effort is made to help students succeed in their academic work; however, the parent and child are ultimately responsible for all assignments. By checking the appropriate box on the enrollment forms, parents will inform staff at the beginning of the year whether students are expected to do homework at Children First, at home, or if they will be given the choice. Staff should also be notified of changes in these decisions. We are here to support each family's needs to the best of our abilities!
Conduct and Discipline:
In addition to Children First’s “Behavior Policy,” which applies to all children, the school age students are further expected to practice age-appropriate levels of self-discipline. We are committed to creating a safe, positive, respectful environment for all. Discipline is the process by which one learns self-control, respect, and the proper balance between self and group interests. We believe that respect and self-discipline are learned through positive teaching methods, which may include modeling, mediation, individual discussions, and student and/or parent involvement. To achieve this end, we believe in the effectiveness of clarity, consistency, and high expectations.
School age children in the After School Program must have written parental permission to stay after with their classroom teachers or to return to the classroom with anyone but Children First staff. Additionally, a written parental consent must be completed for each non-Children First program (such as Mad Science or Math Tutoring) that a child will attend during program hours.