Child Abuse Prevention
Abuse and neglect of the nation's children is a serious and highly prevalent problem. Cornerstone endeavors to meet its obligation to protect the children in its care from abuse and neglect in the following ways:
As "mandatory reporters," our staff is trained in child abuse detection and reporting requirements on an annual basis.
- We check every child each day upon arrival. We seek explanations for injuries and complaints from the children.
- Staff are attentive to changes in children's behaviors, moods, attitudes and expressions. Unusual patterns are noted and shared with parents.
- We provide an "open care" environment with large rooms, many staff members constantly about, lots of windows, few doors and walls and an "open door policy" with regard to parental visits.
- Positive identification is required from any adult entering the premises.
- Children may not be removed from the Center except by duly authorized persons who have been positively identified.
- We encourage parents to use child safety seats, sunscreens, and appropriate discipline. We advise parents about nutrition, seasonal dress, typical child behavior and development.
- We encourage families having difficulties with their children to avail themselves of competent counselling. We provide referrals on request.
- Cornerstone is required by state law to report any evidence or suspicion that a child or children are being or have been abused or neglected directly to the state Department of Children and Families. We accept our charter as a "mandatory reporter" without equivocation.
At Cornerstone we believe that self discipline is best. Children in an active, child-driven and engaging program rarely require discipline. Such an environment encourages children to develop respect for others, self-control and social adjustment.
We believe children will develop self discipline if we:
- act as we expect them to act
- set reasonable and positive expectations
- respect their feelings and their need to express them
- trust them to succeed
- offer them good choices
- calmly resolve issues
At Cornerstone we:
- recognize and reinforce positive behaviors (all ages)
- redirect children to choose alternative choices
- (especially important for infants and younger toddlers)
- initiate problem solving, determine and discuss appropriate behaviors (especially important for older toddlers and preschoolers).
Time out is the only disciplinary sanction Cornerstone employs. Time out is appropriate for children 2.9 years in age and older only. Time out is not meant to be punitive as much as an opportunity for a child to regain self control. It is done in a non-specific space, aside from the main stream of activities, in the program space or in the office. Time out may only occur under continuous staff supervision and is limited to one minute for each year the child is in age.
Children who are disruptive, violent, crying inconsolably or those who are in the midst of a temper tantrum or other severe behavioral episode will visit in the office under one-on-one visual supervision for the period necessary to achieve control. Regrouping and reentry to group play is often easier without the distraction of an audience.
In the event of recurrent or severe behavioral problems, the teacher contacts the parent to discuss the problem and possible solutions. The Center works with outside experts and the parents to develop a plan to modify the behavior. The Center may refer the family to a behavioral therapist/child psychologist. The Center may require this referral as a condition of continued enrollment.
Prohibited Methods of Discipline
Anything that would cause physical or emotional harm to a child, including but not limited to abusive, neglectful, corporal, humiliating, or frightening punishment, and physical restraint, unless such restraint is necessary to protect the health and safety of the child or other people, is prohibited.