About Stepping Stones
A Play-Based curriculum; focusing on Social Emotional Skills
Our Mission is to provide a positive, explorative and child-centered environment that promotes creativity, inner-discipline, independence, problem-solving skills, and positive relationships with peers and caregivers. Stepping Stones Children’s Center admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarships, and programs.
We will admit children with special needs if it is determined that Stepping Stones can adequately meet the emotional and physical needs of that child. Stepping Stones is a designated site for children with special needs for the RE1-J school district and can call on their services and expertise at any time.
While each group has its individual goals for the children, depending on their age appropriateness, we at Stepping Stones Children’s Center have certain school goals that we aim for consistently. Above all else, we strive to encourage the development of self-awareness and self-esteem. We believe this to be the most important ingredient for building a solid personal foundation from which to draw on when meeting the challenges of life. Our mission is to encourage curiosity, a joy for learning and discovery.
We wish not to fill children with facts but to cultivate their own natural desire to learn so that they may achieve their intellectual, social, emotional, and creative capabilities to the fullest potential. We also wish to help the children develop wisdom in the broadest sense, including ethical values and compassion. The child learns respect from being respected, listened to and accepted. We praise accomplishments, display children’s artwork, honor their individuality, and discipline without shame or dominance.
We ask parents to be aware of and support these philosophies. We also invite you to become involved in the school, visit when you can, notice and ask questions of your child about what they are doing in school; this supports transitions in your child’s life. We draw from many educational philosophies. We use ideas from Montessori, Piaget, Reggio, and other child development theorists and researchers. We believe that children acquire knowledge about their physical environment through experience and playful interaction with materials and people.
Infants and Toddlers
Stepping Stones provides quality Infant and Toddler care for children 12 weeks to 30 months. Above all else, we will ensure their health and safety while they are in our care. We strive to provide a
home-like environment that is warm and comforting, quiet (as possible!) and stimulating.
Our guiding philosophy for this young age group is to support the child's individual natural developmental progression. Our teachers and caregivers are mature and responsible adults who love young children and are committed to providing the best possible care to our youngest students in their first experience away from home.
We actively engage in Responsive Care Techniques. Infants will be held, talked to, played with and cognitively stimulated. We will encourage their progression by providing the opportunity to roll over, grasp objects, smile, laugh, sit up, crawl and reach other developmental milestones.
As the children grow and move into the toddler classroom, our teaching philosophy focuses on the Reggio approach. Emphasis is on verbal skills, expression of needs and of their creativity, positive interaction with peers and adults, and gaining more independence.
In both classrooms, you will hear lots of singing, laughing and playing. Children will go outside, do lots of art projects and gain knowledge through interaction with toys, pictures, books, nature objects and people.
We track all of the children's growth throughout the school year with portfolios that document developmental goals, artwork, and photographs of their daily interactions.
We provide a Preschool Program for children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 5 years. Children belong to a primary care group of their peers, and also get to benefit from interaction with children both younger and older.
We offer an emergent curriculum that is varied, engaging, and designed specifically for the children's developmental levels. We observe our children and truly listen to them, their ideas, and their interests. Our curriculum has also been inspired by the Creative Curriculum, Reggio Emilia and Montessori.
Many ideas are then carried out through a project that can last anywhere from one day to several weeks. This curriculum enables children to think for themselves, make many of their own decisions, be creative, self-motivated and problem solvers.
In 2010, our school was the implementation site of a fantastic social/emotional program called Pyramid Plus.
We also use "Second Step" to teach social/emotional skills to children. Both programs teach friendship skills, problem-solving skills, feelings and controlling emotions in a positive way, having empathy for others and how to get along. At Stepping Stones we believe social/emotional is the foundation for all learning.
Summer Day Camp
Stepping Stones provides a Summer Day Camp program. This is a drop-in program focusing on fun in the outdoors. It is available to resident and visiting children between the ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old. DUE TO HIGH DEMAND FROM LOCAL FAMILIES, WE WILL NOT BE OFFERING A SUMMER DROP IN PROGRAM THIS YEAR, 2022.
Adventure Club is for the 5-6 year-olds- They head to Blue Mesa, Lake Irwin, mine for crystals, swim in long lake and hike in the mountains. This age group focuses on science and exploration in the outdoors, as well as creative outdoor art projects and crafts. Bring your bug spray and sunscreen because this group is outdoors all day:)
Day Camp is for 4 year-olds- They head to local parks, ride the bus to Mt. Crested Butte and play the day away!
Park Play is for 3 year-olds- They do water play, art, games and much more!
The Bluebird class is for 2 year olds-They also do water play, art, games and much more!
Toddler care is also available!
Call for reservations! We fill up quickly in the summer! 970-349-5288
Register no later than May 1st!
Facts, Questions, Answers
Q: What does non-profit mean?
A: Non-profit means that we are governed by a Board of Directors. Our current board members are: Willa Williford, Jillian Liebl, Jen Verdecchia, Earl Marshall, Melissa Wozniak, Wendi Birchler, Mark Ewing and Jenny Whitacre. This board helps make policy decisions, awards scholarships and provides advice and support in the development of the school.
Q: Are you licensed?
A: Yes, we are a fully licensed childcare facility. We are a member of the Colorado Child Care Association, Colorado Preschool Program, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. We are very proud to be a nationally accredited school! We are also COLORADO SHINES RATED!! We adhere to and are accountable for the Quality Standards set forth by each of these organizations. Staff members attend conferences put on by these organizations annually.
Q: Do you offer part-time childcare?
A: Yes, we do offer part-time care. We have a minimum schedule requirement of two half days per week during our school year. We do not offer drop-in care during the school year but we do offer it in the summer based on availability. Please call or email to make a reservation for drop in care in the summer.
Q: What if my schedule changes each week?
A: During our school year, your child's schedule will need to be the same each week. We do have a more flexible option during the summer months where we have a daily drop-in program.
Q: How do I enroll?
A: Please call Jen at (970)349-5288. She will be able to get you started on the enrollment process. The State of Colorado requires that all children have an immunization record and physical evaluation in order to enroll.
Q: When is tuition due?
A: Tuition is due no later than the 15th of the month.
Q: What is your sick policy?
A: Any child exhibiting any of the following will be sent home. Fever, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, severe cough, unusual yellow color to skin or eyes, skin lesions or eyes that are weeping or pus-filled, unexplained rashes, stiff neck, and headache, difficulty breathing or complaints of severe pain.
No child will be accepted for return to the Center unless they are symptom-free or have a note from a health care practitioner stating that they are cleared to return to childcare.
Children will be fever free for 24 hours without medication. Also, children are considered contagious until they have been on antibiotics for a full 24 hours. We must remain adamant about our policies for sick children, as health care is a chief concern among families and staff.
Q: What is your discipline policy?
A: Our approach to discipline is to acknowledge and praise positive behavior, redirecting negative behavior and setting clear, reasonable limits. We try not to dominate and control situations but act as mediators to encourage children to find their own solutions or to make better choices. At this age redirection is the primary method of discipline. As the children get older, we use disciplinary techniques, which include giving choices, cooperative problem solving, explanation of logical and reasonable consequences, "Time Alone' and redirection.
Q: What is your makeup day policy?
A: Make-up days are offered as a courtesy, not a guarantee. They must be scheduled with the director. You may use your make up days for the entire fiscal year, they will not roll over into summer. Credits for vacation days will not be given out.
In order to receive an absence as a makeup day, you must notify via email or phone call by 8:30 am on the day of the absence. If we are not notified by 8:30 am on the day of the absence, it will not be eligible as a makeup day.