Frequently Asked Questions
General S-W Questions
Does Sunnymont-Westside require that my child be potty trained?
None of Sunnymont-Westside's classes require your child to be potty trained. We believe that children should learn, grow, and develop skills at their own pace.
Is Sunnymont-Westside a religious organization?
While Sunnymont-Westside rents space from the Episcopal Church, we are not affiliated with the church, or any other religious group. Sunnymont-Westside is a wonderful blend of religions and cultures. We invite families to share their religious holidays and traditions, so that our children can learn to respect and appreciate the different cultures throughout our community.
Is Sunnymont-Westside a diverse and welcoming community?
We are proud that our families at Sunnymont-Westside reflect many different religions, cultures, national origins, family constellations, and unique individuals!
We feel that living in the Santa Clara Valley provides an excellent opportunity to teach our children to honor diversity from an early age. We encourage families to bring in their native languages and share them with our children, and to bring in their customs, foods, celebrations, and values. We share with our children that some of our families are vegetarians and some are not, some people celebrate this holiday and some people do not, some families have a mom and a dad, some have grandparents, some have babies, some have two moms, some have pets, etc. We encourage you to share your customs, family culture and experiences with all of our children.
My child has food allergies. How will that be handled at Sunnymont-Westside?
We are an allergy-aware school, and do our best to support allergic children and adults. We believe that in a community, everyone pitches in to support the needs of the individual, and this is our approach to food allergies or other food requirements. In classes where snacks are shared together, we make sure that there are alternatives available that are safe and appropriate for every child. It’s always possible to provide a gluten-free, dairy-free, Kosher, vegetarian, vegan, or Halal option, and this helps children learn about diversity, as we explain, “Simon’s body gets sick when he has cow milk, so that cheese isn’t safe for him, but this one is.”
In the case of extreme or life-threatening allergies, that food is banned from school for the year. Our campus always aims to be a peanut and tree nut free, and can aim to become egg-free, dairy-free, latex-free, or whatever is needed to protect our children and adults. We offer shopping guidelines to help families avoid allergens. Of course, mistakes are made, and we can never guarantee that an allergen won’t be present at school, but we do our best to support our families’ needs, and embrace the chance to show children that a community is a caring place where the needs of the individual are honored by the group.
How is discipline handled at Sunnymont-Westside?
At Sunnymont-Westside, discipline and guidance are considered part of the curriculum. Social learning is probably the most important aspect of nursery school. It is natural for children to make mistakes as they learn to get along with others (adults still do!).
Children misbehave because they are trying to get their needs met and have picked a poor method. Our job as adults is to help children understand these needs, and find and practice better methods for meeting them. Time out or other punishments don't give children an opportunity to learn, and they do leave children feeling defensive, and less ready to listen to our adult wisdom.
Discipline at Sunnymont-Westside is gentle and supportive. Limits are clearly enforced by loving adults who explain why they intervened (“You wanted that car! And I can't let you grab.”) and help a child to learn alternatives. (“Let's let him know you're waiting for a turn when he's done, and I'll help you wait.”) Kids learn that an adult's most important job is “to keep everyone safe, bodies and hearts” and that we will keep each of them safe while they are learning to keep others safe.
Can I send a nanny or grandparent to school with my child, instead of a parent?
While we prefer that it’s a parent who participates in the classroom, and know this doesn’t work for every family. We do have families for whom a nanny or grandparent is the classroom aide. We can talk to you about how this works.
When do you have open houses or tours?
We think it’s very important that you take a tour before deciding if a school is right for you. We offer Open Houses in January and August, and a tour visits can be arranged any time.
Let us know you’d like to arrange a visit! Your children are very welcome to come with you when you visit.
What if my child turns 18 months in December? Can we apply then?
Our policy is that children must be within the age range as of Sept 1st. In December, your child will be months older, but the entire class will also be months older.
Are there ever age exceptions?
Age exceptions are occasionally granted when both the teacher and our school Board approve. Exceptions are granted provisionally, only for the current school year and must be reapplied for every year. Your written request for an age exception must be submitted to the board, and your child must be recommended by the teacher.
Placements are first filled by children meeting the age requirements. Then in August, age exceptions are considered. Age exceptions are granted on a 1-month trial period to ensure that the teacher and parents feel that the child will thrive in the class.
What if I can't ever make it to the evening meetings?
These are mandatory!
Parents act as teacher's aides in the classroom, and the evening meetings provide us with some time away from the children to discuss classroom issues. In addition, evening meetings include the wonderful curriculum that the teachers develop to share with everyone.
This curriculum provides parents with opportunities to increase their understanding of children's behavior and development. Our parent education program aims to foster interaction between adults and children that is dynamic, harmonious, and mutually respectful.
As an added bonus, evening meetings provide us with the opportunity for adult-only bonding time that parents at other schools often miss out on. Once you go to the meetings, you'll be happy that you do because you will get so much out of them!
Can I bring my baby to school with me on my workday?
On your workday, your responsibilities will include duties such as supervising the children on the climbing structure, preparing healthy snacks for the class, and cleaning the children's restroom. So for the safety and well-being of students and babies alike, it is not feasible to bring younger siblings to your child's class on your workday.
Many families find that it works well to find another family with a baby in their child's class and trade babysitting duties.
Why does Sunnymont-Westside schedule the 1 Day Toddler Experience class in the afternoon when most toddlers are napping?
In an ideal world, we wouldn't!
However, we have only one classroom. And since our 2 and 3 year olds also do best in the morning and attend school more days of the week, they got “dibs” on that time of day.
The good news is that the afternoon actually works fairly well for most toddlers. It's only once a week, and for that day, we find that most of our toddlers do great during class, although they may fall asleep on the way home, and you might have a quiet dinner time on Sunnymont-Westside class days! Come and visit and ask current parents how it’s working for them.