Our curriculum is based on the Reggio Emilia approach. This early education approach takes into account the natural inquisitiveness of children and recognizes their individual learning patterns. Teachers often develop the curriculum from the curiosities of the class and find new ways to incorporate their interests through varying activities, such as learning through music, crafts, outdoor play, reading, and much more. Creative expression is a huge part of childhood learning. For schoolwide continuity, there are general themes to each month (i.e. Ocean, Thanksgiving, Insects, etc.)
The short answer is: as much as possible! We believe outdoor play is just as important as indoor learning. We make it our goal to bring children outside to the playground and nearby parks every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Even our littlest, non-mobile babies are often taken on walks in strollers and enjoy some sun time. When it’s too hot, cold, wet, or if the air quality is not safe, we utilize our gross motor rooms and indoor exercises so children can still get the wiggles out.
All of our staff is required to complete twenty hours of childhood development training each year. Trainings include both in-person and virtual classes and conferences where teachers can hone their skills and network with other childcare professionals across the Wasatch front. St. John’s holds monthly staff meetings where we review skills and team build. Additionally, we encourage and help finance teachers who go above and beyond to earn their CDA (Child Development Associate) or other relevant credentials. Furthermore, we require that all staff is CPR and First Aid certified and hold a valid food handler’s certificate. We are proud of our diverse staff who come from different countries and have many different backgrounds and bring their expertise, languages, and experiences to St. John’s, and we’ve been fortunate to have several staff members who have been with us for more than a decade.
Depends on the class! Our infants who need the most one-on-one attention and care have the lowest child-to-caregiver ratio, and the ratio gradually increases as the child grows up and becomes more independent. We never exceed ratios for teachers to students set forth by state licensing. The permitted ratios are outlined below. “Group size” refers to the maximum size allowed (for example, for infants, the maximum class size would be 8 children and 2 caregivers).
We maintain a safe and secure school in a variety of ways. We only allow parents and pre-approved relatives or caregivers to pick up children from St. John’s. We ask that parents let us know of these pre-approved individuals prior to pick-up. We ask for photo ID from these individuals as well.
We also keep all exterior doors locked during the day to ensure that a staff member can greet and vet any individual who enters our schools. For example, our Liberty Park location issues key fobs to family members to enter, but anyone else must wait for a staff member at the door. We also use biometric finger-print scanning for parents when they pick up and drop off.
As per state licensing guidelines, we keep an updated list of any known sexual offenders in our area. Any gates or fences around our playgrounds or outdoor areas are locked whenever children are there.
Our #1 goal is to maintain the health and safety of our children, families and staff. We are keeping class sizes to a minimum of fifteen children (normally less, per ratios stated above), requiring that all staff and personnel wear face masks while in the building, and we take health assessments of all individuals who enter our schools, including staff. Per state childcare licensing guidelines, we are not allowing parents into our schools at this time, in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread. Read all of our policies and procedures here.
We are accredited by the National Lutheran Schools Association (NLSA), which grant accreditation by evaluating the quality of Lutheran teaching and values, and St. John’s CCDC is the only NLSA school in the Mountain West region (something we are very proud of). Lutheranism is a denomination of the Christian faith, largely differentiated by its close ties to Martin Luther and his teachings. Lutheranism is also one of the oldest and largest denominations of Protestantism.
Lutheran teachings are incorporated into the curriculum through age-appropriate Bible lessons, songs, and crafts, often led by the church pastor or the teacher. Our goal is to cultivate an environment where a child can grow spiritually, develop a healthy sense of self-worth, and feel to be a unique and loved child of God. However, we do not discriminate and accept children of all faiths and cultural backgrounds. Our teachers recognize the faiths and practices of non-Lutheran children and try to incorporate and teach those to the entire class as well, as to reflect the diversity in our community!