Welcome! We would like to thank you for choosing Little Scholars and ensure you that we have a commitment to all parents and children enrolled in our Center. Our commitment is that the children will receive quality and loving care. We will also build up the children’s self-confidence and self-esteem with praise and positive redirections.
It is our goal to provide a variety of exciting, stimulating activities each day so that your child can develop socially, emotionally, physically and mentally to the very best of his/her ability. This handbook has been prepared especially for you, the parent of the child enrolled in our Center. You will find many of our policies and operating procedures explained here. By reading this handbook you will feel more confident in your family’s adjustment into our program. We suggest that you keep this handbook for reference throughout the year. Whenever you have questions, please feel free to call or stop by the office. My staff and I look forward to working with you and your child.
PHILOSOPHY AND OBJECTIVES
Little Scholars provides a clean, safe, healthy environment where every child can develop emotionally, physically, intellectually, and socially. We are committed to providing safety and security for all children. Little Scholars encourages learning and growth through play in an environment designed so that children may strengthen muscles, build coordination, stretch their imaginations, and have fun.
We believe that children should be allowed to grow at their own pace and to learn in ways that help them become confident in themselves as learners. Our goal is to provide all of the children with a clean, safe, comfortable, and nurturing environment. Respect toward self, others and the environment will be emphasized. We believe in the value of both structured and non-structured activities. Structured activities will include the use of a preschool curriculum, regular reading times, circle times, arts and crafts, and musical activities. Outdoor play and center times are some of the more flexible activities we have. It is our goal to create an environment and program where the child’s natural desire to learn is stimulated through meaningful, appropriate, and playful learning experiences, one that meets the needs of each child as an individual.
Little Scholars has a program for every child. The following are some of the many programs we offer: half and full day preschool, childcare for children 6 weeks to 12 years available Monday through Friday from 6am to 8pm, toddler socialization classes, mommy and me classes for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, summer camp, before and after school care, drop in care, and more.
Children participate in a variety of activities including the following:
Learning Centers – These are areas set up by teachers and students and are changed monthly to fit the theme for the month. Learning centers have activities that are suggested either by written or verbal cues from the teacher or can be developed daily by the children. Materials and equipment in each area are displayed in a manner that promotes individual and independent play. Often, problems are presented for children to solve for creative and cooperative problem solving sessions.
Practical Life – All children are encouraged to behave independently according to their individual development level. The staff encourage children to problem solve creatively, to learn to accept and appreciate diversity, and negotiate for what they want when it is in conflict with another’s desires. Staff will assist children in areas of practical life and self-help skill development by providing activities that encourage using undeveloped skills. The goal for children of all ages is to promote positive self-esteem and competence. Whether buttoning, pouring, folding, preparing food, or cleaning a table, children experience real life situations and activities that encourage them to expand their independence.
Monthly Themes – The program has general monthly themes that are established and coordinated center wide from infants to school age, designed to promote developmental skills, and to enrich all children’s understanding of their world. The themes have educational, social, cultural, and emotional value.
Circle Time – Circle time provides the children with the opportunity to interact with each other as a group. During this time, we will learn calendar skills, weather skills, sing songs, play games, read stories and learn about each other. During this time, the teacher will prepare children for the day and review the letter, number, theme, and color of the week.
Arts and Crafts – The majority of our projects are focused around the holidays and theme units. Arts and Crafts projects stimulate a child’s mind to be creative. These activities also assist in the development of fine and gross motor skills. Children also achieve a sense of pride and accomplishment through the development of projects. Our program is filled with hands-on learning activities as well as open-ended art activities. Open-ended art allows the child to explore the use of various materials and processes and enjoy what happens. Craft projects are designed to help the children develop their creativity and the use of specific skills. Uneven or lopsided projects are to be expected from children of this age. The children are in the process of learning. It is the “process not the product” that is important. Please keep this in mind and treat all of your children’s projects as masterpieces!
Letters and Numbers – Children will learn to recognize, identify, and eventually write the numbers and letters. We will concentrate on one letter and number each week. During this time, many of our songs, crafts, and games will focus on the letter and number of the week.
Specials – Specials will include math, science, and star of the week activities. Math skills will focus on number recognition, counting, sequencing, patterns, charts, and addition. Science will consist of simple science experiments usually focused around the theme of the week. Star of the week activities will include show and tell, ask the star, and learn about the star of the week.
Manipulatives – Manipulatives develop organizational skills like sorting, counting, comparing, classifying, matching, and shape recognition. Children integrate concepts through more physical involvement. By using more senses, children form more associations and learn.
Sensory Experiences – Children will be provided with a wide variety of hands on, concrete, real world sensory experiences appropriate for the child’s age and stage of development. They will learn about all of their senses and how to use them.
Computer Skills – appropriate for each child’s age and developmental level will be introduced and reinforced.
Kindergarten Readiness – Children will be taught the necessary skills to ensure success in kindergarten.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Your child’s safety is a top priority at Little Scholars. The doors to our facility remain locked throughout the day. Children must be signed in and out upon arrival and departure. Children may be released only to those persons authorized in writing by the parent/guardian. Identification will be required when someone other than the parent or guardian will be picking up your child.
Video and Audio surveillance cameras are located throughout the Facility in order to increase the safety and security of all children.
Enrollment is open to all children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. Enrollment will be granted without discrimination in regard to sex, race, color, religion, or beliefs. The proper paperwork must be completed and submitted for enrollment. Medical reports and emergency contact information must be current at all times.
The first week’s tuition and security deposit is due upon enrollment. Registration fees will be due as required for each program. Thje security deposit will be applied to the last week’s tuition as long as the required two-week notice is given.
WAITING LIST POLICY
Applicants who wish to have their name placed on the Little Scholars waiting list must submit a completed enrollment form. No registration fee is required at this time. Admission will be granted on the basis of availability. Parents/Guardians will be notified by phone when space becomes available. Enrollment must begin within 1 week or the space will be forfeited and the client’s name will be removed from the waiting list.
Drop-In Care is available to registered families from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm as space is available. You may register your child for drop-in care only. You may use this service daily, weekly, or even monthly – there is no limit on the amount of time you may take advantage of this service. To ensure space availability, call to schedule your child as soon as you know you need us. We ask that you call before you bring your child, but if that is not possible, feel free to drop by.
Parents should notify Little Scholars if a child will not be attending or will be late on a particular day.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
The designated pick up and drop off area is on the side of the facility and is clearly marked. There is a ten minute time limit on these spaces. Pkease use them only for dropping off and picking up your child. Children must be escorted into the building, signed in, and taken to their classroom.
For Miss Diane’s class: Children will line up with their parents on the sidewalk in front of the classroom until the doors open at the start of class. Parents must escort their children to the door – but allow the child to enter the classroom on his/her own. Parents must wait on the sidewalk for the Teacher to release the children at the end of class. A fee of $5.oo per 5 minute period will be charged for late pick-ups.
Separation can be stressful for both the parent and the child, especially in the early days. Please help us to make this time less stressful by adhering to the following guidelines:
1. Please do not attempt to sneak out without saying goodbye to your child.
2. Give your child a good-bye kiss and explain that it is time for you to leave and you will return later.
3. As difficult as it may be, make your good-bye short and sweet, even if your child is crying. The longer the goodbye, the longer the child will cry.
4. Little Scholars Teachers are trained to handle these difficult, but normal occurrences. They will comfort your child and involve him/her in an activity. 5. Ninety percent of the time, your child will have stopped crying before you get out of the parking lot of the facility.
6. Do not linger around after you have said goodbye, this can confuse your child and prolong the crying.
Little Scholars will make every effort to open on time and remain open during inclement weather. However, in the case of extreme road conditions, it may be necessary to delay opening or cancel classes in order to ensure the safety of our families and staff. School closings will be announced on our voice mail message as well as on the following radio stations: 101.5 WPDH, mix 97.9, 92.7, 96.9 WRRV, 94.3, 97.3. Information will also be available on the websites of the above mentioned radio stations. If it becomes necessary to close the school during the day, you will be notified by phone. There are no refunds for emergency closings.
AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE
Children will be released only to those persons listed on the Authorization and Consent Form. Identification will be required of any person picking up the child. The Director/Lead Teacher should be notified in advance, in writing, if someone other than the parent is to pick up your child. In the event of a discrepancy, the child will be detained until the Director/Lead Teacher can contact the parent by telephone. Temporary changes for the child’s release cannot be authorized over the telephone.
Child Health Policy: Children who are ill cannot be appropriately cared for in preschool setting. Parents need to have alternate care available for when this occurs. Examples of health symptoms that require exclusion from the center include ( but are not limited to):
1. Fever; Oral temperature above 101 degrees / Rectal temperature above 102 degrees / Axillary (under arm) temperature above 100 degrees
2. Persistent diarrhea
3. Conjunctivitis, which is an eye infection commonly referred to as “pink eye”
4. Undiagnosed rash, except diaper rash
5. Vomiting two or more times in previous 24 hour period, or any vomiting accompanied by other signs of illness
6. Jaundice (yellow) skin or eyes
7. Difficult or rapid breathing
8. Symptoms of strep throat or chicken pox
9. Head Lice, scabies, or other parasitic infections
10. Any condition in which the child acts ill and is unable to participate in classroom activities and which compromises the health and safety of others
Becoming Ill While in Care: BonkerZ Learn and Play Center will provide a child that has developed symptoms of illness a quiet place to rest that is in view of a childcare provider until the child is removed from the facility. The parent or emergency contact person will be notified of the illness by the child’s teacher and must pick the child up within one hour.
Daily Health Check: A Daily Health Check will be conducted by each child’s teacher upon their arrival. The teacher will be checking for symptoms of illness, communicable disease, child abuse and maltreatment. Information will be documented in the Daily Health Check File. All cuts, bruises, and behavior changes (whether or not suspected abuse) must be documented. All teachers will receive training relating to recognition of signs and symptoms of illness and child abuse, administration of medication and taking temperatures, and emotional and physical needs of ill children.
Administering Medication: Whenever possible, we ask that all medication be given to children at home. We understand that this is not always possible. If medicine must be administered during Daycare, the following policy applies:
Prescription and orally administered over-the-counter medication may be administered only upon written permission of the parent and written instructions from a health care provider stating that the provider may administer such medication or prescription and specifying the circumstances, if any, that the medication must not be administered.
Medication must be in the original container labeled with the child’s complete name, the medication name, recommended dosage, time intervals for administration, method of administration, expiration date and, for prescription medication, the prescriber’s name and license number.
Medication must be stored according to the instructions on the label in a place that is inaccessible to children. Medication must be returned to the parent when no longer needed.
If a child develops symptoms which indicate a need for over-the-counter medication, including topical ointments, while in care, such medication may be given under the verbal consent from the parent for that day only. The provider must document that verbal instructions were and approval were given by the parent.
Staff must document the dosages and time that the medication was given to the child.
BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT AND DISCIPLINE
All teachers at Little Scholars manage behavior in their classrooms in a non-punitive, age appropriate manner. All staff receive ongoing training in the areas of discipline and behavior management. They are trained in the process of positive discipline, which instructs children as to what they should do rather than telling them what not to do. For example “We walk inside the building” rather than “No running”.
Toddlers will begin to learn self-control by observing the natural consequences of their behavior. Teachers will quickly intervene if a problem does occur and redirect the child to a more appropriate activity. Language is utilized to help Toddlers begin to identify their feelings and learn to deal with them in a socially acceptable manner.
Preschoolers will be encouraged to learn problem-solving skills and become self- correcting. They will be given the opportunity to choose alternatives that will enable them to participate in a socially acceptable manner without reinforcing their negative behavior. For example, if a child is having difficulty sitting quietly during a story, he/she will be asked to do a puzzle or draw a picture until they feel they are ready to rejoin the group. Teachers will assist in pointing out logical consequences to both positive and negative behavior.
School age children will be encouraged to learn problem-solving skills and become self- correcting. Staff will assist children in creative problem solving by helping children to choose alternatives that will enable them to participate in a socially acceptable manner without reinforcing their negative behavior. Teachers will assist in pointing out logical consequences to both positive and negative behavior, and give children choices in solving problems.
Staff will use positive enforcement while supervising children, encouraging them to cooperate and continue using appropriate behaviors. Children will be redirected to an alternate activity if their behavior continues to be inappropriate. An example is when a child is doing something that could hurt others, themselves, or destroying property and choosing not to use problem-solving techniques. Teachers will continue to be an active listener and support the child with conflict resolution. Parents will be notified of the behavior management strategies used and receive an incident report. Individual behavior management plans will be implemented. If a child’s behavior is unmanageable within a group setting, parents will be consulted and an individual behavior plan implemented.
No child shall be subject to physical corporal punishment, humiliated, frightened, verbally abused, or denied food, rest or bathroom facilities. Children will never be disciplined for toileting accidents, sleep habits, or food consumption. Any violation of this discipline policy should be reported to the Director immediately. All staff employed by Little Scholars are selected with the greatest of care. All staff meet the New York State Office of Children and Family Services qualifications.
MEALS AND SNACKS
Little Scholars realizes that children have different eating habits and tend to be finicky eaters. Because of this, many parents prefer to provide lunch/dinner for their child so they can be sure that their child will eat. Parents are asked to bring in a nutritious lunch/dinner every day in a lunchbox clearly labeled with your child’s name. .
Little Scholars will provide morning and afternoon snacks. These will include goldfish, cereal, pretzels, crackers, cheese, etc. Milk and fruit juice are provided with all snacks. According to New York State Regulations, if your child is in attendance for over ten hours, you must provide a dinner meal.
Cereal and milk, muffins, bagels, or other breakfast items may be sent in with children who arrive prior to 8:30 a.m. Children who arrive after 8:30 should eat breakfast at home.
SOCIAL SERVICE REFERRAL
If a child is in need of assistance in addition to what the teachers can provide on a daily basis, the Lead Teacher will notify the Director. The Director will hold a conference with the parent (s) to provide information about appropriate social service agencies which can meet the child’s and/or family’s needs. The center will make every effort to lead parents in the correct direction for assistance. The director/staff will also assist in any additional services. The parent/teacher/director will work together as a team to document any concerns. The parents will be notified immediately when concerns arise.
WHAT TO BRING
Please provide your child with a backpack/diaper bag to carry his/her belongings. It makes for a much easier departure. Children should bring a small blanket for rest time. Children may only bring in small toys from home on his/her designated day, limited to a size that will fit inside the backpack. Please keep in mind that teachers will help the children to be careful, but cannot be responsible for loss or damage to items bought to school. Toy guns and weapons are prohibited. Diapers and wipes, if needed, should be sent in your child’s diaper bag daily.
Our playground is used as an extension of the classroom, and daily programs are conducted outside whenever weather permits. In order for your child to enjoy participation in the program, please have him/her dress for the weather. If it has just rained, please send boots for the puddles; if it is raining lightly, waterproof outer clothing is needed; if it snows, please send snow suit, hat, gloves, and boots. In general, durable clothing that can withstand the energetic activity of young children is the best bet. If the day is extremely cold, send an extra sweater and hat. We will probably be outside for a brief time. Children need to run around, have some large muscle activity, and get some fresh air. If the child is well enough to come to school, he/she should be able to play outside as long as he/she stays dry. Therefore, we ask that you leave a complete set of extra clothing, especially socks, at all times. Also, if a child is newly toilet trained, it is helpful to keep an extra set of underwear on hand. Please replace the items when they become soiled. When buying indoor or outdoor clothing for school, make sure the child can put them on himself/herself. If you are using shoe boots, please send slippers or sneakers so that your child won’t have to keep his/her boots on indoors. We expect to do a good deal of painting and messy projects, so we suggest clothing than can wash easily. This way your child can enjoy the Program without being concerned about his/her clothes.
PLEASE LABEL ALL CLOTHING WITH YOUR CHILD’S NAME. The teachers are not responsible for lost or damaged articles.
Little Scholars will provide a nap/rest time on a daily basis for children who are in care for four or more hours per day, as required by the New York State Daycare Regulations. Your child does not have to sleep, but will be expected to rest quietly and not disturb other children. You may bring in a small blanket, pillow, and stuffed animal for your child to rest with. Blankets and pillows will be sent home every Friday for laundering. Please return them every Monday.
Your child may be ready for toilet training if he/she:
1. has a dry diaper for two or more hours and/or after naptime
2. tells you when the diaper needs to be changed.
3. tells you when he/she is going in the diaper
4. shows an interest in using the toilet
Toilet training should begin at home on a weekend or Holiday. However you decide to train your child, consistency is important. Please provide us with at least three sets of underwear and clothes each day until your child is trained.
There will be many times and ways you can get involved in your child’s preschool / daycare experience. You are welcomed and encouraged to participate in any or all of these. Some examples of ways to be involved include:
- Chaperoning on field trips
- Lending objects for units of study
- Coming and talking about your job, when asked
- Helping your child at home with the concepts we are studying here (see monthly newsletter)
- Helping your child prepare for “Show and Tell”
- Helping to provide treats or other items for our parties
- Attending your child’s birthday party
- Coming in to read to the class
- Volunteering to help with projects or games
- Please speak to your child’s teacher about becoming involved and he/she will set up a schedule for you.
Birthdays are a special time and we like to celebrate them by holding birthday parties for each child. You are welcome to bring a special snack for your child to share at school. You are welcome to join your child during his/her birthday party. If you choose to send party bags to school, please make sure there is one for every child in the class. Gifts for the birthday child are strictly optional. If you choose to provide a gift for the birthday child, please make it an inexpensive one.
As part of Little Scholars, field trips will be planned occasionally. Prior to each trip, information will be sent home detailing the date, time, cost, location, chaperones, etc. The permission slip must be signed and returned to the teacher in order for the child to attend. We welcome parents to join us for trips. All children will be placed in safety-approved car seats as required by New York State law. Parents may be requested to provide a car seat for the day. If you do not wish for your child to participate in the field trip, notify his/her teacher so that other arrangements can be made for the day.
Communication between home and school is extremely important in order to ensure the success of your child. Please feel free to discuss any concerns you have with your child’s teacher or the Center Director. It may not be possible for you to have a long conversation with your child’s teacher at drop-off or pick-up times as the teachers are responsible for supervising all of the children in their care. If you have a special concern, a meeting or phone conference may be arranged. Little Scholars provides many opportunities for parents to receive information on the progress of their child as well as the activities and events at our Center. The following details the types of communication that parents will receive:
Daily Reports: A daily report will be prepared if requested by the parent / guardian. This will provide parents with an overview of the child’s performance throughout day. Information on meals, toileting, sleep, and child’s overall mood will be included on this form.
Parent Conferences: Parent/Teacher Conferences will be scheduled two times per year, or more often by request. This conference will summarize each child’s progress in our program. Conferences will be scheduled in November and May. Parents are welcome to schedule a conference at any time.
Information Board: Information about upcoming activities and events will be posted on the information board in the lobby. Classroom schedules and special classroom events will be posted on the information board in each classroom. Please check the boards regularly to keep informed about our upcoming events.
If an emergency arises, a qualified staff administers first aid care, calls the parent, and if necessary emergency medical personnel. Staff will accompany the child to the nearest hospital where emergency treatment is administered. The staff will remain with the child until the parent arrives. In the event neither parent can be reached, the child’s physician will be contacted. It is essential for parents to provide information on where you can be reached, physician name and phone number, signed emergency waivers, and updated emergency contacts and waivers.
An accident report log is kept at the front desk with detailed information on any injury to a child. An incident report is kept in the log, in the child’s file, and a copy given to the parent within 24 hours of any injury.
CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT PROCEDURE
All staff are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. They are required by law to report suspected abuse and neglect.
Two weeks written notice is required for withdrawing for any reason. The security deposit will be applied to the last week of enrollment. If the required notice is not given, parents will be charged for the two-week period.
Little Scholars reserves the right to discontinue service to a family if financial commitments are not met or if it becomes apparent that the program is not equipped to meet the psychological or developmental needs of the child. Written notification will be given to the parents to allow for ample time to find alternative care. The staff/director will make every effort to resolve any problems prior to termination. Documentation will be provided upon request prior to suspension or termination. Parents and children are given advance notification when suspension will take place based on child’s behavior.
Little Scholars summer camp will run from the end of June to September for a total of 10 weeks. Camp sessions will be available half day, full day, or extended day. Children will enjoy a fun filled summer participating in activities such as sprinkler play, crafts, sports, games, music, and so much more.