What is the teacher/child ratio?
Our threes class ratio is 1:5 with a maximum of 10 children and two teachers. We also staff an additional teacher during the first month or two of school as our newest students adjust to our school environment. This additional teacher will also be available to help during transitions or as needed throughout the year.
Our fours and fives class ratio is 1:7 with a maximum of 14 children.
Do you have before or after school care?
No. The school hours are as stated for each class and we are not able to provide additional child care.
3’s – Thursday and Friday – 9:15- 11:45
4’s- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
Monday and Tuesday – 9:15-11:45
5’s – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday- 12:30-3:15
What is the structure of the day at school?
The children will be greeted upon arrival and have a few minutes to settle in and play as everyone arrives. We will begin class with a welcoming group time and talk about our plans for the day. After group time children will be free to play in all of the learning areas for approximately an hour. After free choice time children will clean up the classroom. We may come back together for a group time that involves reading journal work and acting out student written stories. We will finish our day with outside play.
Please note that although this will be the general flow of the day, we will be responsive to the class each day and our schedule may change. A beautiful day may find us outside for a much longer time. We may have a cooking project that takes up most of our day or we may take a walk to the park or around Gilman Village. Once children understand the school routine, they are very flexible and enjoy occasional changes.
What does a typical grouptime look like?
At The Farmhouse School, we use grouptime in a myriad of ways. We sing, dance, do finger plays, have opportunities to share special objects from home, have group conversations, explore social concepts through puppetry and “Teacher Theater,” do yoga or mindfulness exercises, act out stories we have written and share ideas. We also use grouptime to introduce academic concepts through song, movement, stories and play. And, of course, we always read a book together before we talk about what we have planned for the day!
Will snack be served at school?
Each child will be required to bring a small, nutritious snack and a full bottle of water in an insulated lunch box each day. Children who attend class on Wednesdays (The Fours Class) will bring a lunch on Wednesdays.
Can you tell me more about emergent curriculum and the Reggio Emilia influence?
Emergent curriculum means deriving the areas of study in the classroom from careful observation of the children. As teachers, our job is to observe children as they play and to engage in meaningful conversations with them to find out where their interests lie and what their abilities are. Our curriculum is then tailored to help the children explore these play themes in depth, to help them create meaning out of their play, and to offer guidance and support which will enable a child to go beyond his or her current abilities.
The schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, are some of the leading schools in implementing emergent curriculum. Their philosophy of respect, involvement in the community, and careful observation and documentation of learning is one that we believe strongly in. We feel that the Reggio Emilia approach blends perfectly with the developmentally appropriate practices encouraged by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and supports and enhances our guided play philosophy.
Will you take the children on field trips?
Yes. We value being part of the Issaquah community and we take trips to many of the local businesses and areas of interest to enhance our curriculum. Parents are welcome on our field trips. In addition, we often go on “walking fieldtrips.” These trips are usually walks to the various parks that surround our school and to the Issaquah Creek. These walks are sometimes planned but can often be spur of the moment as well.
Before we begin taking field trips or going on walks as a class, we talk about our safety rules and practice walking around Gilman Village. Once the teachers feel the children are capable of venturing away from the school safely, we begin introducing walks and field trips.
Will you play outside? Do you have a playground?
We believe that the enjoyment and exploration of nature and outdoor play are just as important as other areas of our curriculum. We plan to go outside every day for approximately ½ hour except when the weather makes that absolutely impossible. We have a fenced play area in the historic garden right outside our school which has been designed as a natural play space where children can dig, climb, run, slide, swing, study nature, work in the mud kitchen, build at the tool bench, catch bugs, work in the garden, create, and make believe.
How will you prepare my child for kindergarten?
Research has proven that children do best in school when they have learned appropriate social skills, learned to delay gratification, when their families are involved in their education and when they know how to direct their learning. All of these skills are taught and practiced at The Farmhouse School. In addition, we keep abreast of the Issaquah School District’s expectations for incoming kindergartners to make sure that we introducing language, math, science, and other skills teachers hope to see in children entering their classrooms. We do not claim to teach any skill to mastery, so we encourage our families to work on these skills at home as well.
I really want to help in the classroom but sometimes my schedule changes at the last minute. Can I still participate?
Of course! Our goal is to welcome you into our classroom community in whatever way works best for you. We understand that as a parent of a young child your plans for the day sometimes change at the last minute. If you can’t make it in on a day you had planned to help just let us know. Conversely, if you get free time at the last minute and want to join us in the classroom, we will welcome your participation.
Are there any requirements for helping in the classroom?
Volunteers in the classroom must pass a Washington State Patrol Background Check. You are also welcome to volunteer or participate as a parent substitute.
What if my child’s grandparents are in town and want to spend the day at school. Do they need to pass a background check?
Family members or friends who are visiting our school for a day are welcome but must be accompanied by you or someone who has passed the background check or submit their own.
How will you communicate with parents? How can I find out more about my child's day?
Our educators are always available to answer quick questions or to check in about your child's day at pick-up or drop-off. We do ask that parents be cognizant of the fact that these times of transition can sometimes be hectic, and we encourage our families to reach out via email if they have questions or concerns. This allows our teachers an opportunity to chat about what we observe in the classroom so that we can have thoughtful and well-rounded conversation. Of course, we will always inform you and pick up if there is anything pertinent or time sensitive.
We have a closed, private Instagram account for each class and we invite our families to follow us there to get daily insight into what we are doing in class. We encourage you to share these pictures with your child so that you can chat about their day with them. Additionally, we share bi-weekly newsletters with our families, send out important information via email and share special moments on Facebook.
Each child also has a journal that they add to throughout their time at The Farmhouse School. The children use this journal to document their learning, draw observations of the world around them, answer journal prompts or in whatever capacity they chose. The teachers add to your child's journal throughout the year as well, sharing observations, learning stories and reflections. We invite our families to view their child's journal several times throughout the year. At this time, you will be invited to leave special notes on your child's work! Our students take enormous pride and ownership over their journals and we love sharing them with our families.
Are there other ways that families can be involved in their child's school experience?
Absolutely! We welcome our families to use our playground after school and on the weekends for playdates, we host several family nights throughout the year where you can join your child at school and we hold summer playdates and a Meet the Teacher event over the summer.
What additional safety policies do you have?
Children must be signed in and out of school daily and will only be released to parents or authorized persons who have provided ID. Our doors will remain locked during the school day. Fire drills will be held monthly. We have emergency plans and kits, a lock down procedure, first aid kits both indoors and out, an emergency backpack that travels where we do and an emergency preparedness kit outdoors that includes flashlights, emergency radio, water, shelf stable food, etc. The teachers are certified in child and adult CPR and First Aid and have clean background checks.
*Our teachers are all vaccinated in light of the ongoing pandemic.
Will I be expected to fund raise for the school?
No. We will not be doing any fundraising activities.
Are children required to be immunized?
Children are required to be immunized but may claim exemption for medical or religious exemption. We cannot honor philosophical exceptions.
Does my child need to be potty trained?
The Farmhouse School understands that potty training is a process and does not require students to be fully potty trained. The staff will work with families and children as they complete this process. Please see our policies and procedures for more information.
I’m anticipating that my child will have some separation anxiety. What do you do if a child needs to be comforted?
First, we encourage you to come up with a plan together with your child for what drop-off will look like. We ask that you share this plan with your child’s teachers so that we know how to best support you and your child through this transition.
We comfort your child, reassuring them that parents always come back and validating their feelings. We will work to help them become engaged in an activity while supporting them. Most children calm down quickly after initial separation. If the child continues to be inconsolable, we will call you.
My child’s first language is not English. Can you accommodate that?
We welcome children whose first language is something other than English. We encourage you to continue using your native language at home and find that most children learn English quickly once they are in school.
How are children disciplined? How do you handle teasing?
During the preschool years children are learning appropriate behavior in the school setting. Our job is to help them learn what is and is not acceptable in a supportive and kind manner. Our first responsibility to each child is their safety – both their physical safety and their feeling of security. When handling common disagreements among children we focus on all the children involved, first making sure each feels safe and then guiding them as they negotiate a settlement and helping them to learn and practice social problem-solving skills and self-regulation. We do not use time-outs at our school but if a child is having a particularly difficult time in an area, we may ask them to find another area to play and support them while they calm down. In the event of teasing, we work with the children involved and the entire class to help children learn appropriate interactions and responses. We work to support and empower children who feel they are being picked on and if necessary, we will shadow a child who needs extra social coaching and support.
What are your Pandemic policies and procedures?
Our Pandemic Policies and Procedures Handbook is available on our website.
This handbook may change as our policies and procedures tighten or relax. We inform families of all changes made to our handbook.
Is the Farmhouse School a licensed program?
No. We are a license exempt program because no child is enrolled on a regular basis for more than four hours per day.
Does The Farmhouse School offer tuition assistance?
We do! The Farmhouse School strives to be equitable to all families. We base financial aid eligibility on income level. If you feel your family may benefit from reduced tuition, please reach out via email to start the application process. You may also note your interest in this program on your enrollment application.