mission

CLASSROOM COHORTS AND LOOPING

In most early learning programs, children move from classroom to classroom as their skills develop. Usually, teachers teach a specific age group and stay in one room. Research shows that for young children, consistency in care is critical to development. With this in mind, we have implemented a ‘looping’ system.

Looping means that teachers move through the program with their children.  The children are cared for in age groups based on when they go to kindergarten. This way, children and teachers move together through the program in classroom cohorts.

Theoretically in our looping system, a child could have the same caregiver for several years. Research validates this model based on the following assumptions:

• Learning is best fostered in the context of consistent trusting and nurturing relationships.

• Staff turnover negatively impacts children’s development.

• In order to provide a culturally sensitive program, caregivers must have strong, trusting relationships with families.

We believe this system gives teachers, children and families a much greater opportunity to form the kind of bonds that best nurture children and builds a relationship of openness and trust.

The looping model also provides our teachers with a strong understanding of children’s development.  Because they work with their students for several years, they have a broad knowledge of a continuum of skills and can focus on each child’s next steps and support their individual growth.

 

Good nutrition is critical for optimal development and growth. PMCCP is dedicated to providing a meal program that not only meets every child’s current nutritional needs but establishes healthy eating habits that will serve as a foundation to a healthy life.

PMCCP’s meal program follows USDA guidelines and is designed to meet 70% of a child’s nutritional needs by providing breakfast, lunch and two afternoon snacks each day.  Our menu focuses on serving exclusively whole grain bread, pasta and rice and including fresh fruits and/or vegetables, which come primarily from the Market each morning.

Twice a month, we provide fish meals that contain low levels of mercury and high levels of omega three fatty acids. We use olive or canola oil when preparing the fish to provide healthy fats that are critical to a child’s neurological development. Various meat dishes are served two days out of every week, with balanced, alternative protein sources being served the other three days.

Meals are served family-style, which benefits the child in several ways. First, it provides an opportunity for the child to work on fine motor skills. Secondly, this style of eating gives the child ownership over food choices. Additionally, this style is a spring board for learning appropriate portion sizes. Lastly, family-style meals give children the chance to build positive, caring, interactive relationships with their peers. Our meals are seasoned for the preschooler’s palate and meal times are a happy, exciting part of our students’ day.

Meal Program Objectives:

  1. Provide healthy, nourishing meals that instill a love of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats or balanced alternative protein.
  2. Encourage children to be adventurous eaters by establishing a menu that includes familiar favorites while incorporating enticing new foods.
  3. Educate staff and families on what foods are part of a nutritious diet, what serving sizes are appropriate for young children, and how to best shape healthy food habits for life.

Our meal program is also part of an ongoing effort to “go green”.  All of the kitchen food waste and mealtime table scraps are composted and we are currently using compostable flatware, bowls and spoons when “disposables” are needed.  We recycle all plastic, glass, cans, paper, and cardboard.