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Director Notes – Highlights and Reminders

May 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Parent Conferences

Throughout the year teachers are taking anecdotes about the children in key developmental areas. They record this information using the Online Child Observation Record (COR) which is a HighScope assessment tool.  Twice a year we share the report with families. Many families were able to meet with their child’s teaching team in April and May. Teachers really enjoyed the meaningful conversations they were able to have with parents about their children. If you were unable to make it to a parent conference, please be sure to let your child’s teacher know and we will make arrangements for a time that works for everyone.

Emergency Procedures

As you know, we have already had the opportunity to put our emergency tornado procedure into action this month. I thought I would share some information about our procedures in such a situation.

Seasonally, we practice tornado drills with the children. Each classroom has a designated area where they ‘take cover’ until we receive the all clear. Recently, we had a Critical Incident consultant, Thomas Mynsberge, walk around the building and point out the most structurally sound areas to take the children. Because there is not one place that we can bring all of the children together, we have to spread out throughout the building.

When a tornado watch is in effect, teachers prepare items (toys, snacks, books, etc) that they can bring in their designated areas to keep the children calm and distracted in the event that the watch  turns into a warning. administrative staff monitor the weather and we alert teachers of any weather conditions that would require going to the designated areas.

During this past incident, once everyone reported to their assigned area, the role of the administrative staff was to keep teachers updated and help wherever needed. This became increasingly more difficult because the phones rang continually while we were ‘taking cover.’ I understand that you are worried about your child and want to be sure that they are as safe as possible. I too had children in two different public schools in lockdown and was concerned.

Moving forward we plan to send an e-mail alert to parents (provided we have internet service) and a message will be sent out via twitter and will automatically update our website. This will help get you the information you need and will allow the Administrative staff to focus more on the immediate situation. If you have not signed up for the twitter account, it’s an easy process:

  1. Set up an account for yourself at
  2. Once logged into your twitter account, go to
  3. At the top of that page, click on the follow button.
  4. Once you see the green check mark and “following” message in that same spot, click on the mobile phone icon to subscribe to automated texts from us.

Warmer Weather

After such an extreme winter, it is so nice to have these warmer days. I want to remind everyone that we do go outside unless the temperature or heat index is 100 or above. We make sure water is available for both drinking and to play in. Time  in the shade is encouraged, limiting exposure to the sun and heat. Swimsuits that can be left at the center are great to have for water play. We also ask that sun hats are sent in so that children can have additional protection from the sun. We do provide sunscreen and the brand we are currently using is Coppertone Water Babies; Pure and Simple.

This is also a great time to take inventory of your child’s extra clothes that are kept here at the center. Please make sure that they have extra under pants (if appropriate), socks, pants/shorts, shirt and a bathing suit that is labeled here at the center.

Thank you,


About Laura Griswold
Dhu Varren Director Laura Griswold has been a part of the Gretchen’s House team for almost twenty years, starting in 1992 as an I/T teacher at GH Mt. Pleasant. Laura served as the director of GH-Mt. Vernon for six years and as the director at GH-Traver for four years before opening the Dhu Varren center in October, 2003. Laura earned a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development from Eastern Michigan University. She is a certified High/Scope trainer and also serves on the Washtenaw Community College Child Care Advisory Committee. Laura has two sons in elementary school who are GH graduates. In her spare time, Laura enjoys reading, scrap booking, and spending time with her family.

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