top of page

Small Bears Preschool

Parent Handbook 

Jill P. Griffin Owner/ Director

Small Bears Preschool

35 Standish Circle Wellesley, Ma 02481


(781) 237-6119       

Small Bears Private Preschool is licensed under the Department of Early Childhood Education and Care (EEC) and is located in the nurturing environment of a lovely private home

Staff Credentials

Director/ Lead Teacher Jill P. Griffin M. Ed. Jill earned her Masters of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College. She also has a Bachelor of Liberal Science degree in American Studies and Elementary Education from Lesley University and an undergraduate art degree from Boston University. She has over 30 years teaching experience in Wellesley. 

Regular Assistant Teacher Katie Flynn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Design from Lasell College. She joined Small Bears School in January of 2011. Katie has several years of experience working with children at the YMCA in Needham where she also served as the Assistant Director of the after-school program.

Jackie Sansone is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy and a Bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation Services from Springfield College. Jackie specializes in Sensory Integration. She joined Small Bears School in 2011. Jackie runs OT therapy groups as needed at Small Bears and she works privately with students at her office on Walnut Street.   

Ivy Kublin M.S.,CCC-SLP

Ivy has Master of Science degree in Speech Pathology from Boston University. She is certified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She joined Small Bears School in 2010. Ivy provides speech and language assessments for students at Small Bears school. She works privately, as needed, with students at her office on Walnut Street in Wellesley.

Table of Contents

Staff Credentials Small Bears Preschool

Program Description

Typical Daily Schedule Guidance/ Discipline

Parent Involvement Enrollment and Tuition Policies General Information Emergency Evacuation Plan

Lead Poisoning and Prevention Medication Administration

About Small Bears Preschool and Toddler Programs

Small Bears school is a private, in-home preschool and toddler program that is affiliated with the Association of Family Childcare Providers of Wellesley (AWFCP). It is licensed by the Massachusetts Office of Early Education and Care (EEC). Small Bears educational philosophy combines High Scope and Montessori approaches to early childhood education. Small Bears supports the five central principals of High Scope educational theory, which are:

1. Active learning - children learn by doing

2. Supportive adult-child interactions

3. Materials-rich learning environment

4. Consistent daily routine

5. Ongoing assessment

The Montessori approach has many similarities to High Scope but stresses multiage groupings and emphasizes child-directed activities that encourage natural learning. The Montessori teacher’s role is to provide a well-organized and material-rich environment that stimulates a natural curiosity for the child to explore the classroom and interact with the materials. At Small Bears that is what we try to achieve. At all times teachers use developmentally appropriate practices that are associated with both High Scope and Montessori approaches to early childhood education and care. The educational emphasis at Small Bears is on art and literacy but does not neglect to consider the child as a whole. Each learning domain is addressed and assessments are ongoing to be sure that each child is receiving an individual education plan based on their personal strengths and needs.

Program Description

Small Bears Private Preschool Program is designed as an enrichment program with a strong art and academic focus. The current curriculum meets many of the Massachusetts and National Standards and Frameworks for Pre K –2 in the subject areas of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and the arts. Students who graduate from Small Bears Preschool will enter kindergarten with a foundation of learning that will set them on the road for academic and social success for years to come. Recent studies show that children between 0-3 are establishing fundamental connections during their first three years that cannot be replaced later in life. Therefore, it is essential that early childhood programs and educators help children make these connections early on. At Small Bears Preschool, students develop concepts and skills, to help them achieve success and feel better about themselves as learners. It is our objective to introduce developmentally appropriate academic concepts and skills in a fun environment that promotes learning. The lesson plans use a variety of mediums and learning styles to maximize students’ results and minimize frustration. The goal is to instill confidence in your child by providing them with a foundation of learning, sharing, and socializing that creates a positive educational experience from the beginning and promotes a love of literacy.

Typical Daily Schedule

7:30-9:00 Daily activity centers and Guided Reading: Students arrive and begin their day with one to one or small group Developmentally Appropriate Practices(DAP) guided reading instruction, which facilitates speech and language development and other important emergent literacy skills. Next, the students select a daily activity center to play at. Daily centers include writing and other fine motor activities, blocks and building, computers, puzzles, dramatic play, art, cooking, puppet theatre, listening center, and a sensory table. Activity centers rotate around monthly themes such as Back to School in September, Fire Safety in October, Family and friends in November, Lights and crafts in December etc.   

9:15 Morning meeting and interactive read aloud: (Weather, calendar and storybook friends time) The teacher will introduce new books about friendship and family. Students will discuss the friendship themes and concepts in each story and create a yearlong list of what good friends do for each other (i.e., make a present or card for a friends birthday, send a card to a sick friend, share, take turns, etc.).   

9:30 Morning activity: (Usually art, music, language arts, math, or cooking) Students move to the art room for a teacher directed activity. Activities vary from day to day but usually follow a monthly theme. For example: In September, (Back-to-School Month), students create nametags, personalized placemats and choose nursery rhymes to post on the classroom walls. Over time, students learn to recognize their names and many other words and letters from the text-rich environment in the classroom. Monthly science themes such as apples in September, pumpkins in October, and leaves in November, serve as a focus for many of the morning activities. Books are specifically chosen around monthly themes. For example, in September students listen to stories about apples and participate in many activities that are related to apples. As part of the social studies friends and family curriculum, students often create story friends that relate to one of the books read at morning meeting. The children use the story friends to remind them of the books they listened to that day and throughout the year. There is a classroom wall devoted to story friends.

10:00 Snack time: During snack time students relax and eat while they listen to a story. Students listen to and chime in with the teacher as she reads or sings familiar nursery rhymes, stories, or songs.       

10:30 Recess: Weather permitting, students go outside every day. Students are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of games and activities that promote gross motor skills. If outside recess is not possible then students have indoor recess in a spacious tiled garage where they can ride bikes, paint or draw on an easel, play hopscotch, bowl, or participate in any number of other activities.   

12:00 Lunch

12:30 half day students are dismissed and full day students prepare for naps and quiet time.

1:00-3:00 Activities vary daily but often include math, science, and writing. There is typically a second recess for children who do not nap.

3:00 Afternoon Snack    

3:30 - 4:00 additional activities vary daily. There is usually a time for free play, puppet shows, and story time.


Guidance/ Discipline At Small Bears the philosophy of discipline is based on the understanding that school is a learning environment where there are rules for safety but it is understood that nobody is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes. The primary form of discipline is oral discussion. Teachers generally resolve problems by having a brief discussion with the child, which serves to redirect the child into a more positive alternative. Sometimes, if feasible, negative behaviors are ignored and positive behaviors are reinforced by attention and praise. However, it is the policy of Small Bears that the cases of more persistent or worrisome behavior problems are best handled in an atmosphere of ongoing discussion between parents and teachers in which mutually acceptable solutions are worked out and implemented. Time outs are not used as a form of discipline for children under 2 years old. In cases where safety is an issue, short 1-2 minute time out periods are used to give the student a chance to calm down and talk the problem over with a teacher before rejoining the group. Usually during that time there is a behavior plan outlined by the teacher and accepted by the student before the student can reenter the group activity.

Parent Involvement Small Bears welcomes parent involvement. Parents create a family collage poster for their child at the beginning of the year that is posted on the classroom walls and used many times throughout the year for numerous activities. Parents are invited to visit the classroom at any time, read a book to the class during snack or lunch, chaperone class field trips, or volunteer in the classroom on a regular or irregular basis. Parents are encouraged to share their children’s culture with the class in any number of ways. Some parents bring in games, food, music, books, costumes, toys etc. to share with the class. Other parents choose to join Parents and Educators of Young Children (PEYC), where they can meet other parents, listen to professionals in the field of early childhood literacy present, and discuss quality children’s literature. PEYC is a community partnership between parents and educators. Its purpose is to promote early childhood literacy and create a love for books. Parents who join PEYC will have a deeper understanding of the books their children are listening to, reading, and discussing in class and will have an opportunity to participate in some of the book choices.

Enrollment and Tuition Policies, Parent/school agreement:

The parent agrees to notify the school of any illness their child has come in contact with outside of school. The school agrees to notify the parent of any illness the child has come in contact with at school. Students must be free of vomiting, diarrhea or fever for at least 24 hours before returning to school. Financial Agreement Tuition will be billed once a month, in the beginning of the month, for the month. Tuition is due regardless of whether the student is present or absent. Make-ups may be available at no extra charge if space is available. Small Bears Preschool follows the public school calendar and therefore will close for three weeks of paid vacation, one week in December, February, and April. Small Bears will be open in the summer as an additional option. (See Jill for summer schedule) Parents will contract for one full school year at a time, from September through June. Special arrangements will be considered for clients with extenuating circumstances, however parents should provide at least 30 days written notice prior to leaving. There will be no charge if school is closed because of teacher illness. (Small Bears has only closed for one sick day and one personal day in twenty-three years, so we do not anticipate this to be a problem.) Paid Holidays include: Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, One week at Christmas from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, (which falls during the week of February vacation), Patriot’s Day, (which falls during April Vacation), and Memorial Day. A one-month non-refundable deposit for tuition guarantees placement for enrollment. Deposits will be credited towards your last month of tuition.

General Information/Requirements: Students entering Small Bears toddler program should be at least 18 months old by September 1. Students entering Small Bears preschool program should be between 2.6 and four years old as of September 1. Students bring a snack, lunch, and at least two beverages each day and should supply a change of clothes, wipes, diapers or extra underwear, and any appropriate seasonal clothing that is applicable. Students must provide proof of a recent health exam and a copy of their updated immunizations required by the state. Parents must complete and hand in a registration packet for each child they wish to enroll. Specific allergies or food requests should be documented in writing. Suggestions: We strongly suggest that you send your child in appropriate clothing. Things can get a little messy at times, especially during art, lunch and outside play. Your child will be encouraged to wear a smock or bib; however, accidents do happen. Many students feel constricted by bibs and smocks and refuse to wear them. As a result, there is a strong possibility that their clothing will get soiled or stained. 

Emergency Evacuation Plan:

In the event of a fire, gas, or other household emergency or for a fire alarm drill the children will be taken across the street to Audrey Callahan’s enclosed three-season porch to await the fire trucks and/or emergency personnel and vehicles. Audrey Callahan’s phone number is 781-235-7373. In the event of a fire, natural disaster, or other situation requiring evacuation of the building (such as a chemical spill or bomb threat), the children will be taken by car to the Wellesley Middle School. Parents will be notified by phone as soon as possible. Small Bears School will use its own vehicles to transport the children to the emergency location, or if needed the school will request assistance from the emergency vehicles. Small Bears School has sought permission from Wellesley Police Department to create this evacuation plan in order to be sure there is a safe, comfortable space for the children during an emergency. In the event the emergency is more widespread and requires the school to identify another location further away outside of the neighborhood the school will seek guidance from the Wellesley Police department as to where to take the children and how to reach the parents if telephone lines are unavailable. In a case where all local telephones are unavailable, the following contact person outside of Massachusetts is Jill’s sister Dee Ganley. Her phone number in East Andover New Hampshire is 603-735-5543. Her cell number is 603-848-5543. Dee will be the contact person to advise you where the children have been taken if the Wellelsey Police Department is unavailable. Dee’s email is:

If we must evacuate the facility, we will take the emergency contact information for all children including emergency consent forms, special medications needed by the children and first aid supplies. We will also take a school bag with pillows, blankets diapers, wipes, spare clothing, water, snacks, books, and toys, with us. An emergency cell phone will be taken with us to contact parents. We will use Jill’s cell phone, which is 617-584-3668. As in any offsite activity, we will count and make a list of all children in attendance before we leave the school. We will take attendance again, once outside, and once more before leaving the site. We will recount the children again once we reach our destination to be sure that all children are accounted for. We will document when the children are picked up and by whom. In some cases, it may be safer to remain on site until the emergency has ended. In event of severe weather or power outages, loss of heat, or water, Small Bears School will close and the emergency contact persons would be contacted. An emergency generator for the school is on site, which should provide enough temporary power. The water and sewage for Small Bears School are provided by the city and do not require electric power for service. All smoke and gas alarms have batteries for back up coverage in case of a loss of power. There are sufficient flashlights and batteries on hand on each level. There is a cell phone on site for emergency use in case of a loss of telephone service. There are sufficient emergency food supplies as well as blankets, flashlights, and other necessities to keep the children and teachers comfortable. There are plenty of materials on hand to keep the children busy until the emergency is resolved. In the event of a tornado, the students will move to the basement or hall closet. In the event of an earthquake there are emergency shut off valves for electricity, gas and water service in the basement and outside. Small Bears School shares its contingency plan with parents at the time of enrollment and review and updates its plan regularly.  

Lead Poisoning and Prevention

All family childcare educators are required by EEC to provide parents with information regarding the risk of lead poisoning. The following are some facts that parents should know about lead and lead poisoning.

1. Lead poisoning is swallowing or breathing lead. Lead is poison when it gets into the body.

2. Lead can stay in the body for a long time. Young children absorb lead more easily than adults do.

3. The harm done by lead may never go away. Lead in the body can: a. Hurt the brain, kidneys and nervous system. b. Slow down growth and development c. Make it hard to learn d. Damage hearing and speech e. Cause behavior problems

4. Most of lead poisoning in Massachusetts comes from lead paint dust in older homes. Many homes built before 1978 have lead paint on the inside and outside of the building.

5. When old paint peels and cracks it creates lead paint chips and lead paint dust. Children between 9 months and 6 years old are most at risk.

6. Home repairs and renovations also create lead dust.

7. Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick. The only way to know if your child has lead poisoning is to have a lead test. Ask your doctor to test your child for lead.

8. Some children may have an upset stomach, trouble eating or sleeping, headache, or trouble paying attention.

9. All children between 9 months and 6 years of age will have to provide documentation of a lead test.

10. I am required to disclose to you if I am aware of any sources of lead in my home. Small Bears School was built in 2006. There is no lead in any part of the school.

11. To learn more about lead poisoning you can visit http://wwwmassgov/dph/clppp or call the lead poisoning prevention program. 800 532-9571   

Medication Administration

EEC has regulations requiring educators to have a policy regarding the administration of medication to children in care. As a licensed family childcare provider. I am also required to take medication administration training. The following guidelines are common to all programs that are licensed by EEC. Prescription medication

1. Prescription medication must be brought into the program in its original container and include the child’s name, the name of the medication, the dosage, the number of times per day, and the number of days the medication is to be administered. This prescription label will be accepted as the written authorization from the child’s physician.

2. The parent must fill out the authorization of medication form before the medication can be administered.   

Non-prescription medication

1. The program needs written parental authorization to administer oral non-prescription medicine. The parent must fill out the authorization of medication form, which allows the educator to administer the non-prescription medication. The statement must be renewed on a weekly basis.

2. In case of unanticipated non-prescription medication that is used to treat mild symptoms (eg., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) the program must still have written parental authorization; however it must be reviewed annually.

3. The educator will make every attempt to contact the parent prior to the child receiving the non-prescription medication unless the child needs the medication urgently or when contacting the parent will delay appropriate care unreasonably.   

Topical ointments and sprays

1. Topical ointments and sprays such as petroleum jelly, diaper rash ointments, sunscreen, or insect repellant will be administered according to the child with parental written permission. The signed statement from the parent will be valid for one year and include a list of all topical nonprescription medication. The parent will provide all topical non-prescription medication and label the medication with their child’s name on it.

2. When topical ointments or sprays are applied to wounds, rashes, or broken skin, the educator will follow the written procedure for non-prescription medication, which includes the written order of the physician, which is valid for one year, and the written authorization for medication form signed by the parent.

All medications

1. The first dose of any new medication must be administered by the parent at home in case of an allergic reaction.

2. All medications must be given directly to the educator by the parent. 3. All medications will be stored out of the reach of children.

4. Jill Griffin and Katie Flynn are the only authorized educators to administer medication.

5. The program will maintain a written record of all medications given during the school day excluding topical ointments and sprays applied to unbroken skin. This record will include the child’s name, the time and date of each administration, the dose and the name of the person administering the medication. The complete record will become part of the child’s file.

6. All unused medications will be returned to the parent of disposed of according to the Department of Health guidelines. 

Our company is based on the belief that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance. Our entire team is committed to meeting those needs. As a result, a high percentage of our business is from repeat customers and referrals.

We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry.


35 Standish Circle

Wellesley, MA 02481


Mon - Fri: 9AM - 5PM

Sat: 10AM - 5PM

Sun: Closed

bottom of page