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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Fort Hill?

Fort Hill is located at 28 Lyman Road, a short walk from campus. Walk down Elm street away from Smith and towards downtown Northampton.  Make a right onto South Street (Route 10 south). Follow Route 10 through one set of lights and take your second left after the lights, Lyman Road. The entrance to Fort Hill is a one-way driveway on your left at the far end of Lyman Road. (Parking is available in the lot adjacent to the school.)

How do I get into the building?

When you arrive please ring the doorbell located to the right  of the entrance way to the school, someone will open the door for you. 

What do I do when I arrive?

Once you get into the building, please sign in at the front counter. Someone will be there to help you find your classroom and introduce you to the teacher.

What do I do if I am sick or can't come in?

Please do not come to Fort Hill if you are contagious. 

Email Lois and call the front desk as soon as possible so teachers can make other coverage arrangements.  (Although the school does not open until 8 o'clock the answering machine is checked at 7:45, don't hesitate to call early and leave a message!)

What do I wear to Fort Hill?

Please dress appropriately for the kind of work you are doing.  Certain kinds of clothing (e.g. short shorts, ripped jeans, mini skirts, midriff shirts, etc.) are not appropriate for a program that tries to convey to others that we are professionals.  Other kinds of clothing and accessories (e.g., spiked heels, certain kinds of jewelry, clothing that doesn't allow for easy movement) may interfere with your job performance or be unsafe. 

Casual outfits and footwear that are comfortable and allow for easy movement are appropriate.  Out of respect for children and adults who have respiratory problems, we encourage staff not to wear strong perfumes or colognes.

The children at Fort Hill go out every day, even if it is for only a few minutes.  Please dress appropriately- snow pants, neck warmers, mittens, warm boots and raingear are encouraged.

What shoes can I wear in the classrooms?

Several spaces at Fort Hill are shoeless environments.  These include The Common (we also ask that no food or drink be brought onto the carpet in The Common) and the Infant/Toddler wing.  Please bring slippers to wear, especially if you are working in an infant or toddler classroom. 

Where do I put my stuff when I'm working?

There are cubbies in the hallways labeled "student" please feel free to hang your coat, change your shoes, or place any personal belongings or bags in your cubby. We ask that you turn your cellphone off and leave it in your cubby.

How do I interact with the children?

Guidance:  The goal of our guidance philosphy is to support children as they develop the ability to self-regulate their emotions, impulses, and attention.  Please acknowledge children's feelings, e.g., "you look very sad" rather than telling them "there's no reason to cry" or "four-year-olds don't cry." By observing the teachers, you will notice a style and way of interacting that is individualized and supports children as they develop self-discipline. 

Please do not talk about children or adult conversation in front of other children or adults.  When the adults are positive and maintain control children learn self-regulation and feel safe.

Conflict Resolution: Before stepping into a situation, decide if children can settle things without your help.  Please carefully observe how teachers facilitate conflict resolutions between children.  Especially notice body positions, tone of voice, choice of words, and questions asked.  Please note we do not require children to say, "I'm sorry."

Drawing/Creating:  We ask adults to refrain from making models for children.  If a child asks you to draw for them, please refrain from drawing and instead, talk with them about their ideas and support them in their efforts. (More on this in the handbook)

Will I have to be alone with children?

Students should never be alone with children.  Please be sure a regular staff member is in the room with you.  Children should never be left alone- each child should be able to be seen and heard at all times.

What happens if there's a fire drill?

Emergency exits are posted in each room, and the staff is trained in emergency procedures.  Fire drills are conducted once every other month. 

How do I protect myself and others against germs?

Staff, children and families wash hands when entering the classroom, before eating or handling food, after toileting and diapering and after coming in contact with bodily fluids and discharges. 

Protective gloves are available in all classrooms, bathrooms, studios, and the kitchen.  Please wear protective gloves whenever you may come into contact with bodily fluids, e.g., wiping noses, applying band-aids, changing diapers, etc. Also wear gloves when preparing and serving snacks.


Who is my supervisor?

The supervising teacher is your supervisor.  If you work during a time of day when the supervising teacher is out of the room then the assistant teacher is your supervisor.

Who do I talk to if I have a question about Web Time Entry?

Students submit hours on BannerWeb bi-weekly.  If you fail to submit your time by the deadline, you may submit them in the next pay period under "retro pay".  If you have any questions, please contact Lois Ducharme.

Can I babysit for families that I meet at Fort Hill?

Families often ask for the names of students who would like to babysit in their homes.  Each fall we ask students if they would like to have their name and e-mail included on a list for parents to contact.  If you develop a relationship with a family outside of Fort Hill, please remember that confidentiality is of the utmost importance.  Please refrain from discussing the child's school experience with the family and refer them to the teacher.  Please do not discuss other children or staff members with families.


Please refrain from taking photographs and using your cell phone during your time at Fort Hill.

Student Assistant Responsibilities

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions


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