- Q: What is the teaching philosophy & practice of Duck’s Nest?
- A: Duck’s Nest is a play based program; our fundamental belief is that children learn best through play and social interactions. We set up our environment each day to allow the children to explore, take risks, and engage in social play. We follow an Emergent Curriculum or Project Based Approach by observing children and building our curriculum from children's interest. We have been inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. To know more about our Emergent Approach, click on the "Curriculum" Tab.
- Q: What is the Teacher to Student ratio in each classroom?
- A: Duck’s Nest has one of the best child to teacher ratios in the Bay Area.
- 2 and 3 years old: 1 teacher for 5 children.
4 and 5 years old:1 teacher for 6 children.
- Our excellent ratio gives us the ability to work with small groups of children and one on one attention your child may need.
- Q: Safety & Child security? Is my child safe at school?
- A: Every day we make it our priority to create a safe environment for your child. Duck’s Nest is proud to say that our entire staff has a Pediatric CPR and First Aid certification. We take the potential for Earthquakes in the Bay Area very seriously. Teachers hold monthly fire and earthquake drills so that your child will know what to do in an emergency situation. We practice a school wide evacuation drill twice a year as well. All of our schools are stocked with a 4 day supply of food and water as well as other emergency supplies. In case of a major earthquake, teachers and administration staff will stay at school with the children until everyone has been picked up (even if it takes several days…)
- Q: What is the teaching turnover rate? Does Duck’s Nest offer employee benefits to their staff?
- A: Our turnover rate is extremely low! We find most teachers leave Duck’s Nest to go back to school or retire from the field, have children of their own, or relocate from the area. Duck’s Nest provides its teachers with competitive wages, Health & Dental Benefits, a 401K retirement plan, and paid holidays and vacation. We encourage our staff to continue their education, and pay for additional classes when possible. We provide ample professional development opportunities with Staff Development days and monthly Staff Meetings throughout the year.
- Q: How long has Duck’s Nest been in Business?
- A: Duck’s Nest opened its doors at our Berkeley location in 1984 with 12 children. We have grown to service approximately 225 families per year in our 3 locations.
- Q: What is the daily routine? / What can my child expect during the course of a normal day at Duck’s Nest?
- A: Each morning when the children arrive, they have a choice between several creative, interactive activities, free play, reading, block play or teacher guided projects. The morning has a scheduled daily routine that includes projects time, circle time, snack, and outdoor play. The children have lunch in their classrooms or outside weather permitting followed by rest time. Depending on the age of each group and their readiness, there may be multiple circle times and or projects planned which vary in length. The order in which these activities happen during the day also varies in each classroom. We have regular Music and Language classes at every Duck’s Nest locations.
- Q: Does my child need to be potty trained?
- A: Duck’s Nest does not require your child to be potty trained before entering the program. When the teachers or parents see signs of readiness or interest using the potty, we will work to reinforce and encourage toilet training here at school. Parents and teachers are working together with the child to make that transition to a diaper free life!
- Q: Discipline, How does Duck’s Nest handle discipline problems?
- A: The word discipline comes from the Latin word discipulus, which means “to learn”. Many people associate the term discipline as a means to correct unwanted behaviors. At Duck’s Nest we think of discipline as a teachable moment.
Our teachers are trained and used to handling conflicts according to every child’s age and individual stage of development. Through redirection, our teachers guide the child to refocus his/her attention to a different and more positive experience. With the teacher’s help, the children are encouraged to verbalize and resolve their feelings when conflict arises. It is always Duck’s Nest’s goal to enhance the child’s understanding of how his or her actions affect others. Conflict resolution is, in a way, an opportunity to work on essential social skills; which a person will need forever.
Of course, demeaning a child or physical punishment is NEVER an option at Duck’s Nest. Our staff will never use criticism, threat, competition, nor associate food, rest or isolation with conflict resolution. Occasionally a child needs to be removed from a difficult situation. When needed, a teacher will sit with that child to reflect or find a solution about what happened.
Over the years at Duck’s Nest the children practice how to be good friends, and compassionate human beings. They learn how to manage their emotions and reactions in challenging situations in order to develop their coping mechanism.
- Q: Which classroom will my child have?
- A: Duck’s Nest has long since established the tradition of giving each classroom and its students a special group name: Ducklings (2 y/o), Wood Ducks (young 3s), Puddle Ducks (older 3s), Mallards (younger 4s), Mandarins (older 4s and 5). Quack quack!
- Q: Do you provide lunch or snack for the children?
- A: Parents provide lunch. Each child has a cubby where the lunch boxes are stored in the morning. We have a no sweets policy and are asking our parents to provide a balanced meal for your child each day. Duck’s Nest will provide your child with 1-3 snacks per day depending on your child’s schedule. We provide a morning snack, a 3:30 snack, and a 5:00 snack during the day.
- Q: Does Duck’s Nest require Parent involvement?
- A: We strongly encourage our parents to get involved at school! All of our locations have a Non-Profit Parent Association and their main goal is to build a strong community amongst the parents. As a parent at Duck’s Nest, you automatically become a member. We need and appreciate your participation to all great events during the school year. From being part of the steering committee to volunteering some hours a couple of times a year, your help is always welcome and needed!
You can also get involved by driving on fieldtrips, going to class potlucks, sharing a story/or circle time for your child’s birthday, or staying informed with the current events at the school. See our “Parent Association” links.