Young children, toddlers and babies enjoy a structured schedule that allows for flexibility. A schedule helps the day to flow more smoothly, allows the children to anticipate coming events, and aids in achieving a variety of goals. We will adhere to our written schedule to the best of our abilities, keeping in mind that anything can happen when children are involved.
There will be times when we have to make adjustments to the schedule. I would appreciate it if you consider our schedule when picking up or dropping off your children. It is better if arrivals and departures do not occur during quiet time, but when they do, please take note of the fact that children may be sleeping. Come and go as quietly and quickly as possible. Children who arrive during quiet time will be expected to rest or play quietly until the rest period is over.
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
Children are to arrive clean and fed (unless arriving just before a mealtime). It is normal for some children to have difficulty separating from parents, or cry when being dropped off. Please be very brief (no more than 5 minutes is sufficient) during drop-off times; the longer you prolong the departure the harder it gets. A smile, cheerful good-bye kiss, and a reassuring word that you will be back are all that is needed. In my experience, children are nearly always quick to get involved in play or activities as soon as parents are gone.
Please be very brief at pick-up times also. This is a time of testing when two different authority figures are present (the parent and the provider), and all the children will test to see if the rules still apply. An early arrival to pick up your child does not mean you may stay until the close of business. If you'd like to stay and visit please arrange this with us beforehand. But typically pick-up time needs to be kept brief.
We will try our best to send your child home with a clean diaper, and would appreciate the same consideration when you drop off. During arrivals and departures, we expect you to back up our rules (see House Rules), but if you do not, we will remind your child that their behavior is inappropriate and take action to correct, if needed. Please be in control of your child during these times.
We prefer that there are no pick-ups or drop offs during the designated daily quiet time, but if it is necessary please be as quiet and brief as possible. Children who arrive during quiet time will be expected to remain quiet (they may play/read quietly) until quiet time is over, so that others will not be disrupted from their naps.
Drop-off and pick-up times are not good times to discuss problems. Little ears and minds hear and understand everything. We are not comfortable discussing children in the presence of anyone except their parents. Topics that concern day-to-day events, or light-hearted discussions are fine.
Our normal procedure is to release the child only to his/her parents or someone else the parents designate. If someone other than the parent is to pick up the child, please notify us ahead of time. A verbal notice is fine on that day if this person is on the list of people who are authorized to pick up your child. If the person is NOT on that list, we MUST have written permission to release your child.
Please inform emergency contacts, or people designated to pick up your child, that if we do not know them, we would need to ask for photo identification. We do not mean to offend them. This is simply a measure taken for your child's protection. We will not let a child leave without a parent's verbal permission even if that person is listed as one of your designated pickup people.
ACTIVITIES & CURRICULUM
The main goal of this childcare is to have fun, improve social skills, and encourage creative expression. We will utilize a variety of activities to accomplish this goal. Free play, reading, math, arts and crafts, music/singing, dancing, dramatic play/pretend, puzzles, and educational TV/videos are just some of the activities we will be doing.
We also provide a preschool program for children ages 2 - 5. Some of the activities include arts & crafts, music, math, science, stories, games, as well as letter, shape, color, and number recognition in a monthly theme format. Some of the projects will be taken home to share with the family and others will be ones that you can ask about. The goal of preschool is to have fun and provide a little extra learning stimulation for the older children. It will not be a rigorous academic program as young children still learn best from participating in and observing the environment around them. Music helps to develop young brains and will play a strong role in day-to-day activities. We may have special music activities and may also play music during other activities, for example, during arts and crafts or meal times.
INDOOR & OUTDOOR PLAY
Indoor play: We provide a variety of age-appropriate toys for indoor play. Toys may be rotated or placed temporarily out of use so that the children do not become bored. Younger children have less-developed organizational skills and can get easily frustrated or upset when there are too many toys to choose from. It is also more difficult for them to help with clean up, when there are toys everywhere, because it is so overwhelming to them. For this reason, during free play times, each child may select one or two things at a time to play with. They will be shown how to put those things away before selecting something else.
Outdoor play: We will be playing outdoors every day that weather permits. Please make sure that your child is appropriately dressed for outdoor play at all times. Our activities will include taking walks, backyard playground, water play (sprinkler or wading pool in summer), bike/toy riding, sandbox, and more. During spring and fall, our outdoor play will probably range from 20 - 45 minutes, and in the summer it may be two hours or more long (maybe not all at once).
We are participant in the Food Program. Nutritious meals will be served to all children ages 12 months and up who are enrolled in this program at no extra cost to you. We have set meal times depending on whether or not school is in session and also the hours of the children in current attendance. Lunch menus for the week are posted at the front door; and all menus are available for you to look at per your request. You are responsible for feeding your child if he/she will arrive at childcare after a mealtime. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Infants are always fed on demand. Written feeding instructions are required from parents of infants including type of food and/or formula, amount of food and/or formula, and feeding times.
For children over 12 months, except for special occasions and when requested, please do not send any food, drink (this includes a morning sippy cup), or candy with your child. We believe mealtime should be a pleasant time; therefore, children are always offered food but are not forced to eat it. We do encourage each child to try one or two bites of everything, and they must eat a little of everything before given seconds of anything. Sometimes they are surprised by what they like! If a child refuses to eat their meal, there will be no food served until the next designated meal/snack time. We will not administer a modified diet to your child based on personal preferences (we do, however, accommodate for doctor's orders or other necessary diets).
CLEANLINESS & HYGIENE
We do our best to maintain strict cleanliness and hygiene standards. Children's hands are washed before and after meals and after toileting. We use paper towels for drying hands so children do not have to use the same towel. If parents provide a toothbrush and toothpaste, teeth will be brushed as well. We, the staff, wash our hands frequently and use antibacterial gel. Infants sleep in cribs or pack and plays with clean sheets. Beginning at about age 2 washable sheets are used on the cots. Each child has a separate cot with sheets, blankets and pillows that are washed weekly (unless soiled, then they are washed as often as necessary).
Children use separate cups, plates, bowls and eating utensils that have been washed, rinsed and sanitized before each use. High chair trays, tables, etc. are disinfected with a bleach water solution after each use.
NAPS & QUIET TIME
All children are required to lie down for a rest period in the afternoon. All children must nap or rest during this period. Rest time gives everyone a much-needed break during the day. Without rest time, some children are argumentative in the afternoon, short-tempered with others, and not real happy when they go home in the evening.
Naptime is our only opportunity to take a break, clean up after lunch, do paperwork, fill out daily notes and do activity planning. We provide cots. If your child has a special blanket or stuffed animal that he/she sleeps with, please send it along. We would ask that you please avoid picking up or dropping off your child during naptime as it disturbs the other children's rest period.
Infants nap at varying times and their schedules will be accommodated. Somewhere between 12 and 18 months, children usually drop down to one nap per day. At this time, we will attempt to put them on the scheduled nap/rest period.
Toilet training will be done in a relaxed manner with the cooperation of the family. If potty training is begun when your child is ready, the task is easy and quick. When we agree that the time is right for your child and until he/she is totally successful in his/her toileting, he/she should wear clothes that promote independence. In addition, your child must have two complete changes of clothes (don't forget the socks!) The best items are shorts and pants with elastic waists or dresses. Try to avoid really tight clothing, pants with snaps and zippers and belts, overalls and onesies. These are difficult for children to remove "in a hurry". Do not bring your child in panties or underwear until he/she has naptime and bedtime control established.
We ask that you begin toilet training at home during a weekend or vacation. We will follow through and encourage your child while in our care. When a child is ready, the process should go pretty quickly. If your child does not have immediate success, he/she will be put back into diapers, and after a respite, the process will be attempted again. The child must be kept in pull-ups or 5-ply training pants at all times. Putting a child in diapers part time and training pants part time can be confusing and delay the training process. Please keep in mind that the activity level here can distract your child from responding to an urge to use the potty more so than at your home. Therefore, we will continue to use diapers or pull-ups until your child can and will announce that he/she must use the bathroom (not just at home, but here as well) and can control his/her bladder and bowels for a few minutes beyond that announcement.
Your child's readiness is something we can discuss because consistency between our facility and your home will be very important. This is a special time for your child, a sign that he/she is growing up. Toilet training should be a good experience.
Occasionally, we may have the opportunity to take a field trip. All children will be placed in safety-approved car seats as required by State laws. You may be requested to provide a car seat for the day and/or pay any fees associated with the trip. You will be required to sign a permission slip that we will carry with us. We also carry copies of the emergency forms with a picture of each child attached. In the event of an emergency away from the childcare facility, your child will be cared for and you will be notified. It is not required that your child attends the field trip, but it will be your responsibility to find and pay for alternate care if you do not wish for them to attend. You still pay your regular child care fees.