Teaching at Bija
Bija teachers are passionate about their craft and dedicated to working with children. They act as facilitators, guiding children through experiences rather than dictating a specific pathway. They are mindful of their actions, knowing that children tend to model the actions of the grown-ups around them. Bija teachers listen to the children around them, and use this information to guide their own activity development and learning. Activities and lessons are collaboratively planned, but are never forced. If something doesn’t work, we stop doing it.
Bija teachers are expected to bring their own passions into the classroom, as their enthusiasm for a given subject matter is always contagious. Our teachers are authentic and willing to engage in real life conversations with children which helps them to prepare for the world outside. Bija teachers are thoughtful, but flexible.
Bija teachers never stop growing. They are committed to personal and professional development, and actively seek out opportunities for learning, even in the most unconventional of settings.
Teaching at Bija means providing children with the opportunity to learn and grow in a multi-sensory environment that is centered on life skill development and multiple intelligences. Rather than focus solely on numbers and letters, we teach our children how to be responsible citizens of the world and to love learning, moving, doing, creating, and playing. We integrate these skills into everyday activities. Being able to hold a conversation during a meal, tie one’s own shoes, and regulate one’s emotions and behavior are just a few of our goals. These Bija teaching goals are meant to provide a solid foundation from which any subject matter can be learned.
Our teachers work as part of a team, with every person contributing in a way that benefits the growth and development of the children, each other, and Bija as a whole.
Showing up for Shifts at Bija
All team members are expected to show up on time, well rested and inspired for their Bija shifts.
Do not ever email or send text messages if you are sick. If you cannot come to work prepared and focused, the required policy is to call Lauren or Mitch (in that order) as soon as possible. Filling shifts last minute for team members puts a burden on scheduling and all team members. While we don’t want teachers at Bija when they are sick, we also require our team to be mindful and courteous toward their teammates and to make professional decisions around not showing up for a shift. That means as much advance notice as possible and knowing when you aren’t well enough to be working.
Days Off and Vacation
Time off for vacation and other commitments needs to be submitted one month in advance to accommodate the scheduling cycle.
Staff should be dressed in a way that allows them to perform their job function with ease. At no point should your clothing prevent you from comfortably interacting with children or families, sitting on the floor, or appearing professional and competent. As a general rule, please do not wear the following items to work: short shorts, any top with bra straps showing, clothing with logos, holes or safety pins, and anything that shows too much cleavage, leg, or behind. Inside the Bija studio space, staff should be barefoot or in indoor-only shoes.
If you smoke, please do so away from the Bija studio or any building where we conduct classes or programming. At no time should staff smell like cigarette smoke or have cigarettes or a lighter visible to clients or students.
While working at Bija, please put your cell phone away. Staff should not talk, text, or check e-mail while working. Our expectation of the children is that they be present and aware while at Bija and it is our expectation of the staff as well. When leaving the building with children, you may take your phone with you but we ask you only use it in an emergency situation or to communicate with the studio. If you need to make a call during your shift please check in with other staff members and go outside. You can give the Bija main number to people who may need to reach you (your child’s school, your parents, significant other, etc.)
We work hard at Bija to create an environment of mutual respect and understanding. While communicating with other staff members, please be mindful of your tone and message. If you are challenged or frustrated, take the time to reflect on what and why. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and model for our students positive and constructive ways of communicating.
Food + Drink
Bija is a nut free environment. Please be aware and do not bring food with nuts into Bija as many children have severe allergies to nuts. You are welcome to eat/drink while working as long as it does not interfere with your ability to do your job well. Please be mindful that we are promoting healthy living and the food you eat in front of students should be a reflection of Bija values and beliefs. Food can be stored at Bija in our refrigerator during work shifts. Please do not leave food overnight or for prolonged periods of time.
General Expectations of the Kids
We make an active commitment to instruct children on the rationale behind proper behavior and expectations. Our expectations empower them to make positive choices in and out of the program.
Expectations and policies for kids at Bija include:
- Use walking feet indoors (no running)
- Treating your body and others’ bodies (children, teachers, and parents) with respect (no grabbing, pushing, hitting, biting, screaming)
- Eating snack and lunch at the table with good table manners
- Helping to prepare or set up snack and lunch in a rotation
- Cleaning up after oneself at all times
- Helping others when they need help
- Using words to resolve challenges with other kids or teachers
- Washing hands before eating and after using the toilet
- Treating materials and toys with respect
Please prepare materials in a way that is smart and environmentally aware. Unnecessary use of the printer or copier are discouraged. Whenever possible use reclaimed, recycled materials for projects with the kids.
Supplies are ordered on a monthly basis and we are generally well stocked. If there is a specific supply you need or want for an activity or to do your job well, please let the appropriate person know. Think about how you can accomplish the same task with the supplies we have on hand. If it is possible, please use what we already have.
For any and all types of incidents involving children at Bija we fill out Incident Reports. Some examples are falling at the park, getting into a disagreement that turned physical with a peer, developing a rash, vomiting. Incident Reports are kept at the front desk, in the classroom, and in the binder when leaving the building. The staff member present at the time of the incident should fill it out immediately following the incident. If the situation warrants, the parent should be called to disclose what happened. Otherwise the Incident Report should be shared with the parent at the time of pickup. All reports must be signed by the staff member who completed it, the parent/guardian upon pick-up, and by Bija Kids Director Lauren Maples. After signing, a copy of the report is emailed home and the hard copy is filed.
Discipline + Behavior Policy
Discipline is the ongoing process of helping children to develop inner controls and assume responsibility for their own actions. We accomplish this by modeling, explaining, and consistently verbalizing clear and understandable expectations, limits, and consequences prior to and as part of any disciplinary action. As much as possible in carrying out discipline, staff will use firm, positive statements or redirection of behavior. If necessary to help a child gain control, the teacher may remove him/her from the activity or group for a “Break Time” not to exceed one minute per year of age. This time will be spent reflecting and taking deep breaths to calm down. We will encourage children to resolve their own conflicts and consider their input in creating resolution.
Young children, due to their developmental age, are not capable of understanding the ramifications of many of their behaviors therefore they need to be encouraged to make good choices and to be prevented from harming themselves and/or others. This is accomplished through close supervision, gentle guidance, and redirection.
Here are some of the approaches that Bija Kids staff with use with your child:
- Model appropriate behavior
- Maintain realistic expectations of children
- Provide clear and simple limits
- Redirect inappropriate behaviors toward desired outcomes
- Giving children choices between two appropriate alternatives
- Encourage children to work together to solve problems
- Encourage children to use their words to solve problems or to elicit peer cooperation
- Provide logical and natural consequences for children’s actions
- Remove children from the situation until they are able to discuss the problem and calm down
Occasionally children will have a difficult time behaving in a way that is safe for themselves and others. Inappropriate and unsafe behaviors include
- biting other children or staff,
- throwing toys, materials or chairs,
- refusal to comply with teacher directions to have “Break Time” after an inappropriate behavior,
- inflicting bodily harm on staff or students, and
- running away on the street or at the playground.
We will make every effort to work with parents on behavior problems, although, we will not let other children or staff members suffer due to behavior problems from one child. The staff is committed to working with parents and creating a partnership in fostering a child’s social and emotional development. Communicating with the parents helps the counselors to share the strategies implemented in the classroom and to hear what solutions are used at home. This partnership ensures that the child is hearing clear and consistent messages from both parent and counselor. In addition, parents and counselors can set goals for the child and work together to provide the necessary tools, strategies, and techniques the child needs to be successful.
If a child does inflict bodily harm on another student or staff member, including but not limited to breaking skin, punching or biting, parents and authorized pickup person(s) will be called to pick the child up for the day. A meeting will be scheduled with the Director to decide when the child can return and what strategies will be used to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.