Shine ALC - Family Handbook
Shine is open Monday and Wednesday 9:30am-3:30pm
Pick-up and drop-off will happen at the Shine campus, 844 Robinson Road in Sebastopol.
The pick up window is between 3:30 to 3:45. Pick ups need to happen by 3:45 because we will be having staff meetings at 3:45 on both days. If you cant make it in time please ask another parent to stay with your child until you arrive. We will plan to bring the children into the front yard promptly at 3:30 for pick up.
Robinson rd. Etiquette (very important)
It is important that all families understand that keeping the neighbors happy on our portion of Robinson rd. is integral to the program continuing. The neighbors are supportive of the program, but are concerned about increased traffic. Therefore we must implement a system to keep the impact of traffic to a minimum. Carpooling is greatly appreciated. Families will be divided into those accessing the property from Pleasant Hill rd. and Robinson rd. and we will make a plan to keep the traffic equal from each direction. It is also imperative that families leave the property from the same direction that they came. This way we can minimize the impact from each direction. We will be addressing this with each family individually.
We have two driveways at Shine. An upper and Lower driveway. In order for everyone to have space to park, it is necessary that cars may need to park behind one another. Please pull all the way forward. If you are concerned about getting blocked in, pull in to one of the spaces in the upper/west driveway and just drop your child off. During pick up, we will bring the learners to the front yard for easy and quick pick up. If you need to come in or want to stay longer, pull into a space where people can park behind you. Orchestrating the pick-up and drop-off will take some patience as we figure out the best system. Please be patient with us and with each other.
At Shine, all learners, facilitators, and staff commit to uphold the following three agreements: Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Each other, and Take Care of the Space. These agreements inform how we show up to Shine. We often point back to these three agreements as a way of holding ourselves and each other accountable to being in a safe and caring community for all.
● Closed toe shoes are recommended, especially for those intending to work with tools or on the skate ramp.
● Clothes your children do not mind getting dirty. A full change of clothes is recommended for our younger learners. Water/mud play, clay, and paint all exist in this space. It's often a good idea to have a back up set of clothes.
● Hats/sun protection. Please apply sunscreen to children before coming to the
Hate speech is not tolerated on campus. It is also not tolerated when represented on clothing.
Please note, that while we do not implement a traditionally strict or formalized dress code, staff does reserve the right to identify and request a change when attire appears inappropriate for holding the safety of the setting.
Please send the following everyday
● Backpack, water bottle, snack, and lunch
ATTENDANCE & TARDINESS
It is best for learners to arrive at the program at 9:30am before opening circle at 9:45am. This gives time to greet friends and to put away lunches, jackets, books, etc. Learners are asked not to come before 9:30, however, because facilitators are preparing the space and are unavailable for supervision.
Frequent lateness may leave a child feeling out of sync with the community events as many are announced and or reinforced the morning they are taking place. It is also during this time that learners state their intentions and request mentor support they may need on that day.
IF YOUR CHILD IS SICK
Shine is a unique environment where learners and facilitators are in close contact on a regular basis and illness can spread quickly. To ensure the health and safety of all persons on campus please do not bring your child to program if they are exhibiting symptoms of illness. Learners who develop symptoms while at Shine will need to be picked up and taken home.
In keeping with County Health Department requirements, all cases of head lice are reported to staff immediately. In the event of exposure to head lice, children are checked; if there are any lice or nits, the learner must stay home until they are gone. Lice control information is available on the web at http://www.cdc.gov/lice/.
PICTURES OF YOUR CHILDREN
We love to share the goings on at Shine via pictures. It can be a great way to get a glimpse into your child’s time with us. Because many of us already use Facebook, we periodically post learner pictures here. If you are uncomfortable with this please let us know.
Because Shine is a small program without a receptionist and we are committed to modeling full engagement with your children, please contact us only in emergency during program hours. Facilitators will check messages during pick-up times to communicate any changes in transportation plans.
Messages can be left for facilitators via voicemail, text, or email. If you wish to confer with one of your child’s facilitators, please schedule an appointment in advance.
FACILITATOR RESPONSE TIME TO MESSAGES
Ever-changing and ever-faster computer technology continues to challenge mentors, parents, and learners to be mindful about how we communicate with each other. There is a growing expectation that emails, texts, and phone messages will be answered instantly, with a resulting loss of thoughtfulness in response. In keeping with our intention that staff communicate with parents in a caring and compassionate way, the following email, telephone, and text message response policy is in place.
Facilitators usually check their messages before the day begins (prior to 9:30am) and at the end of the day (after 3:30pm) but may not be able to respond immediately. Facilitators will, however, make every effort to respond to parent email, texts, and phone messages within 24 hours during the week. On non-program days – weekends and holidays – the expectation is that emails, texts, and phone messages will be answered on the first day back (typically a Monday). During the day when facilitators are with learners, they do not check email messages or texts regularly.
Shine has developed behavioral boundaries and consequences to keep the community safe. These boundaries are will be assessed and discussed amongst staff and amongst youth. Behaviors that will result in immediate action, such as a child being sent home to cool off and reflect, completion of an incident report, or a required break from attendance, include but are not limited to the following: physical aggression, hate speech, harassment, drug use, and sexual misconduct. We take these behaviors seriously and will examine appropriate next steps whether these behaviors occur on or off campus. Whenever possible we use restorative justice practices in addition to time away from campus to support our community members.
When issues arise, Facilitators model compassionate communication, engaging in fact finding, stating observations, feelings, needs, and requests. The steps involved in our conflict resolution practice are posted throughout the campus. We also use the structure of the “all program meeting” in which any community member may call a meeting of the entire program to address an issue that may need to be supported by the setting or revisiting of a norm. For example, a learner may feel unsafe on the playground due to a missing norm about where different games can be played. The community will discuss an issue at an all school meeting and form a culture committee made up of all interested parties. Anyone on the culture committee may put forth a motion to resolve the issue and if the motion passes with a majority, it is adopted and recorded, and, if relevant, will be communicated to parent.
It is hard to overestimate the impact our relationship to technology has on our well-being and that of others. Technology has the potential to alleviate hardship and support creativity. On the other hand, it has the potential to contribute to depression, disconnection, and destruction. What is undeniable is that it is and increasingly will be an integral part of our children’s lives. For these reasons, it is imperative that learners have the opportunity to practice responsible technology use and that our community has the opportunity to set norms that support the relationships we would like to have.
We do not have many pre-set technology rules. Rather, using our core guidelines of taking care of ourselves and each other, we will each year, and perhaps many times throughout the year, visit the issue of technology in all program meetings and culture committee meetings. Our hope is to think critically as a group and come up with conscious practices around technology use that serve to connect and enrich our lives. We will share the agreements we come up with via email and we ask that all adults in the community model appropriate device usage on campus.
The only preset expectations we have regarding technology use is that all age restricted material not be accessed on campus on any device without prior parent approval. As we are a mixed-age campus, it is possible that a child of any age may be within ear or eye shot without another person’s knowledge. It is thus imperative not to casually view material intended for older audiences.
We will keep a birthday calendar in the yurt with all of the learners birthdays. We will have a once a month celebration after lunch to celebrate all the birthdays that occur that month. Parents are welcome to send in a treat (not candy) for the group to share. If there are many birthdays in one month we will coordinate with parents.
COMMUNICATION AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROTOCOLS
Effective communication is the basis of a harmonious community and in turn society. As it is Shine's intent to foster the skills to live in harmony with one another, we practice the following conflict resolution protocol.
ON CAMPUS – LEARNER-TO-LEARNER CONFLICT
One of Facilitators primary roles is to nurture learners’ social and emotional growth by supporting them in resolving interpersonal conflicts. At Shine, we see conflict as an opportunity to learn about oneself, others, and relationships. As physical and emotional safety are foundational in any successful community, facilitators are always available to address interpersonal needs. However, there will be times when an incident occurs that an adult is unaware of. Learners are asked to seek help when needed, just as they would a more practical issue.
Parents can support their children and the community by responding thoughtfully to their child’s report of interpersonal conflict at Shine. Sometimes a child might be sharing the issue simply to be heard. Before jumping in to “fix” the problem, validate their feelings, then ask them if they need help. If the answer is no, we support you in trusting your child. If your child’s answer is yes, or if you have a gut feeling that your child is in need of assistance but unable to request it, ask them what facilitator they are in communication with regarding the issue. If the answer is “no one,” encourage them to talk to a facilitator they trust. Please know that we will do all we can to support your child and involved community members to gain understanding about the issue and restore a sense of safety.
Important to note in regards to resolving issues of conflict: Facilitators do not necessarily intervene when conflict is observed. It is our intention to allow learners the opportunity to engage in problem solving. Neither do facilitators necessarily offer or enforce solutions that are adult created. Again, facilitators seek to support youth in conflict resolution that is satisfying for them.
If appropriate, a learner or group of learners may call a culture committee meeting and see if the issue would be best addressed by passing a resolution, or social agreement, for the whole community to support and enforce. An example could be a conflict started regarding language use that a particular learner finds offensive. If a learner feels their requests are not respected by a given individual, they may want to call a meeting to discuss language use as a community norm. Perhaps the community would like to pass a motion the learner proposes banning certain language from campus. Or perhaps other suggestions arise from
the group meeting as to how these learners can co-exist peacefully.
GENERAL CONCERNS AND LEARNER OR
PARENT TO MENTOR CONFLICTS
In order to be a resilient, nurturing community, we must have honest, compassionate communication, particularly when concerns arise regarding what we value most - our children. We ask all members of our community to consider the following when met with a concern or conflict.
Step One – Fact-finding, and clarifying situations before taking action can often resolve an issue before it develops into a real conflict. Sometimes a concern is based on limited information, a misunderstanding, or a rumor. If a learner or parent has a concern, we ask that the first step taken is to SPEAK WITH THE PARTIES INVOLVED WITH AN OPEN MIND; ASK QUESTIONS and CLARIFY before passing judgment or sharing information with others. This approach can often resolve concerns before they become conflicts.
Step Two – Direct communication with the other party: When a genuine concern or conflict arises, THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT RESOLUTION MUST BE DIRECTLY WITH THE OTHER PARTY. We ask that learners and parents do this before speaking to uninvolved parties. Barring extreme circumstances, in the case of a conflict with a facilitator, speak directly to the facilitator involved, do not first report the conflict to directors. It is every facilitators’s intention and training to address concerns with openness, kindness, and responsibility. If otherwise uninvolved parents or community members are brought into the issue before attempting to resolve it directly, it can create a sense of “sides” or social alliances which can escalate conflict as opposed to honest one-on-one communication which tends to de-escalate conflict. It is important that communication be made by setting up a face to face meeting with the other party. PLEASE DO NOT
USE EMAIL TO COMMUNICATE SENSITIVE ISSUES.
Step Three – Mediation: If Step One and Two do not result in satisfactory resolution, learners and parents should seek help with mediation from directors. Again, please set up a face to face meeting during non-program hours to bring up issues of concern with a director. From this initial meeting, a plan will be made to further mediate the problem.
FOOD AND LUNCH
Parents/learners are responsible for providing a healthy snack and lunch. Please make sure that learners have a water bottle as well.
Parents are asked to bring healthful food to school events. To avoid excess use of paper and plastic products, please bring the necessary plates and utensils for your family’s use.
GENERAL FOOD-RELATED HEALTH
A child’s physical and emotional health is related to diet and for this reason we ask families to take care in choosing the snacks and lunches they send with their children to program. Additionally, because of the addictive and highly alluring quality of sweet food, it can become a cause for conflict between a child who has a sweet food and another who doesn’t. For these reasons we ask that candy, sodas, and other highly processed, high-sugar foods not be packed in your child’s lunch.
Lunch is a time for connection and rest for the community. Facilitators request learners to be respectful of this intention and not run or shout in the eating areas during lunchtime. Learners are required to stay at lunch tables a minimum of 15 minutes with lunch boxes open so that they have ample time to decide how much their body needs on that day. Shine asks that young learners not share their lunch so that parents may monitor their children’s diet more accurately.
In an effort to curb consumption of plastics and cut down the amount of trash generated on campus, please pack snack and lunch items in reusable containers clearly marked with your child’s name. Any trash generated by snacks and lunch brought from home, should be taken home.
ON CAMPUS VOLUNTEERISM
After the first few weeks of the program, we welcome parent volunteers during program hours! By participating in the community, we model our own enthusiasm for learning and sharing our skills. We understand that some families will not be able to participate during program hours and are appreciative of the many ways that parents add to the community.
Here are the guidelines for parent participation:
Parents can participate by offering a project or activity to students. Offered
activities can be anything from a complex, multi-day project, to simply reading
books or singing songs with children.
We also ask for regular supervising assistance at the outdoor component of the
program. This volunteer position consists simply of being an extra set of eyes to
track the location of students on the property.
There are also numerous campus care jobs that we appreciate support in
Keep in mind that Shine is a self-directed, collaborative learning
community. This means that students (including your own child) may choose to participate or not in any of the offerings of the day. We request that parents not pressure any student into any activity.
There are many fun, unique tools and activities on offer every day. You may want to jump in! While modeling your own curiosity and enthusiasm is great, we ask that you keep in mind that the space and materials are first and foremost for the
children. When space is limited, please always defer an opportunity to play or use the materials to the students.
PARENT & LEARNER FEEDBACK
Parent and learner feedback is an essential component to the continued growth of our program. While not all feedback can be acted on, we still welcome fresh ideas for program-wide improvement. Facilitators regularly ask younger learners for informal feedback and older learners are given opportunities in the year to give feedback to the facilitators.