Ben Samuels Children's Center

What is the ratio of teachers to children?

Each group of eight infants has one full time early childhood educator and a full time early childhood teaching assistant. This is supplemented by part time teaching assistants who are typically University students. Support staff members are added based upon the specific needs of children with disabilities.

Each group of twelve toddlers has one full time early childhood educator and a full time early childhood teaching assistant. This is supplemented by part time teaching assistants who are typically University students. Support staff members are added based upon the specific needs of children with disabilities.

Each group of eighteen preschoolers has one full time early childhood educator and a full time early childhood teaching assistant. This is supplemented by part time teaching assistants who are typically University students. Support staff members are added based upon the specific needs of children with disabilities.

Additionally there may be University students who are participating as part of their studies.

  • What opportunities are available for families?

There is an open door policy which welcomes families into each classroom everyday anytime. Families are encouraged to spend time with their child during both the arrival and departure process. Families influence the classroom curriculum by bringing their interests and customs to share. Throughout the year there are family social events some of which are classroom specific, some that involve a few classrooms and others of which are center wide. Twice a year families are offered conferences with the teaching team to discuss their child's interests, growth and development. Some classrooms have family committees that bring families and teaching team together for reflecting and planning; some have distribution lists for on-line conversations; many have classroom newsletters. Family participation is welcome in classroom and school events e.g. field trips, summer celebration, book fair, search committees for new staff members. The Center also provides some informational and support sessions e.g. an interactive workshop series for parents of children with developmental delays "Using the DIR® Model to Learn About Your Child and Yourself".

The Center's Advisory Committee which is appointed by the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services includes family representatives.

  • What is your discipline policy?

Challenging behaviors are viewed as communication. The staff works together with families to assess the contributing factors which may include but are not limited to medical factors, family stressors, sensory needs, as well as frustration regarding communication challenges. Families and staff members work together to problem solve and develop plans to make necessary accommodations to support each child's needs. Discipline means "teaching" not punishment (Touchpoints, Berry Brazelton, M.D., 1992). The goal for discipline is to encourage the development of internally disciplined individuals who eventually make decisions as independent thinkers regarding their own behavior. Helping a child be in control of his or her own behavior results in higher self-esteem.