Frequently asked questions

Camp Fire Child Development Center

What are Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP)?
How do activities and classrooms look if they are using DAP?
Do you use technology in the classroom?
What kind of discipline methods to you adhere to?
Is Conscious Discipline how you punish poor behavior?
Are the teachers certified?
How is class size determined?
Can we enter the school mid-year?
What is your inclement weather policy?

Q: What are Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP)?
A: Developmentally Appropriate Practices, or DAP, is a framework of principles and guidelines for best practice in the care and education of young children, birth through age 8. It is grounded both in the research on how young children develop and learn and what is known about education effectiveness. They outline practices that promote young children's optimal learning and development.

Effective early childhood educators take into consideration knowledge in three areas to determine the appropriateness of learning practices:

  1. What is known about child development and learning?
  2. What is known about each child as an individual?
  3. What is known about the social and cultural contexts in which children live?

Q: How do activities and classrooms look if they are using DAP?
A: Developmentally appropriate practices include the following teaching strategies:

  • Active Learning Experiences - Children manipulate real objects and learn through hands-on, direct experiences.
  • Varied Instructional Strategies - Such approaches may include process writing, skill instruction, guided reading, modeled writing, cooperative learning, independent learning activities, peer coaching and tutoring, teacher-led instruction, thematic instruction, projects, learning centers, problem-based learning and literature-based instruction.
  • Balance Between Teacher-Directed and Child-Directed Activities - encourages a mixture of teacher- directed and child-directed activities. Teacher-directed learning involves the teacher as a facilitator who models learning strategies and gives guided instruction. Child-directed learning allows the child to assume some responsibility for learning goals.
  • Integrated Curriculum - combines many subject areas into a cohesive unit of study that is meaningful to students. It often relates learning to real life and recognizes the importance of basic skills and the inclination to use them. One technique for integrating curricula is a thematic approach, which motivates students to investigate interesting ideas from multiple perspectives. The central theme becomes the catalyst for developing concepts, generalizations, skills and attitudes.
  • Learning Centers - independent stations set up throughout the classroom where children can go to actually engage in some learning activity. Children choose the center they will go to and decide on the amount of time to spend there. Learning centers offer an opportunity for children to be responsible for their own learning; this responsibility is the foundation for lifelong learning.

Q: Do you use technology in the classroom?
A: We utilize active technology, such as computers with educational games, in our 3 year old and Pre-K classrooms. We also have observation rooms on site where parents are welcome to watch their children work and play. However, we do not currently offer streaming of the classroom. We have found that some families are not comfortable with their child being available for others to view at their worksite, home etc.

Q: What kind of discipline methods do you adhere to?
A: The Child Development Center promotes social-emotional development through Conscious Discipline, a research-based emotional intelligence system. Through this system, children become part of a "school-family" and are nurtured to be internally motivated to contribute positively to the group. Interested families are encouraged to drop by and see Conscious Discipline in action.

Q: Is Conscious Discipline how you punish poor behavior?
A: Conscious Discipline is not a form of punishment. While punishment administers a penalty for a child's poor behavior, discipline helps teach children to respond to daily conflict in a way that creates an opportunity to teach critical life skills. Through most "discipline" issues we find an opportunity for learning; with guidance from a skilled teacher, children learn from conflicts in the classroom and how to better handle them in the future. Very young children may also be redirected to appropriate activities when issues arise.

Q: Are the teachers certified?
A: We strive to have CDA (Child Development Associate) certified teachers in each classroom. This ensures that the teacher has completed a minimum of 120 hours of training specifically in the area of child development and class instruction and must continue their education requirements at a higher level than mandated by the State of Texas. In addition, our teachers participate in a rigorous, purposeful professional development program to help ensure they are able to demonstrate best practices during curriculum implementation and teaching. This is essential as a demonstration school, but also for the children who benefit from high-quality experiences.

ALL are current and up-to-date with CPR, First Aid training and maintain a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education in early childhood and development classes annually.

Q: How is class size determined?
A: We keep our ratios equal to or lower than what is mandated by the State of Texas. While that does determine how many children there can be cared for by one teacher, what many do not realize is that those ratios change when you add teachers to a group size.

We take ratios one step further keeping our overall classrooms smaller. By maintaining a smaller class size overall, it allows for more concentrated attention from the teacher and a more structured learning environment. This chart shows this equation comparison. **Ratios will vary by the ages of children in the classroom.

 

Q: Can we enter the school mid-year?
A: We have open enrollment and will enroll at any time provided there is an opening.

Q: What is your inclement weather policy?
The Camp Fire Child Development Center follows Fort Worth ISD when it comes to school closures and delays. If Fort Worth ISD is closed, we will be closed. If they are delayed (10 a.m. open), we will open the same time. If they have early dismissal (2:30 p.m.), we will close at the same time. It may also be the decision of Camp Fire to close early should we feel it is hazardous for our staff and families to be traveling. It will be televised on Channel 5 News, you will receive a Remind 101 text alert and we will post it on our Facebook page, Facebook.com/CampFireFW, and possibly on a rotating banner on
our website.