First English Lutheran Church

Child Development Center

Handbook for Parents

Austin, Texas—June 2018

 

Philosophy, Goals and Licensing

Our Philosophy

Our Goals

Licensing Requirements

Organizational Structure

The Church, the CDC and the Board

The Director and the Assistant Director

The Classrooms and Staff

Enrollment, Tuition and Fees

Waiting List

Enrollment

Supply Fee

Tuition

Withdrawing from the CDC

Fees for Late Payment or Returned Check

Fees for Late Pickup

Refunds

Class Placement and Advancement

Operations

School Year

Hours, Days of Operation

Arrival

Departure and Release of Children

Inclement Weather/Emergency Situations

Fire

Evacuation of Premises

Severe Weather

Lockdown

Discipline/Guidance

Discipline

Guiding Children’s Behavior and Resolving Conflict

Early Identification of Children Requiring Specialized Attention

Procedures for Handling Challenging Behaviors and Dismissal

Health and Safety

Immunizations and Health Records

Illness

Medications

Hearing and Vision Screening

Injuries/Emergencies

Child Abuse/Neglect

Insect Repellent and Sunscreen

Pest Control

Daily Life

Absences

Meals and Snacks

Clothing

Toys, Dolls, Stuffed Animals and Other Items From Home

Physical activity, Outdoor play, and Sprinkler Play

Field Trips

Screen Time

Birthdays and Other Celebrations

Animals/Classroom Pets

Nap Time

Chapel

Enrichment Activities

Communication

Parental/ CDC Communications

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Grievance Procedure

Parent Participation and Visits

Parent Education and Resources

Parents and the CDC Board

Parent/Staff Relations Outside of the CDC


Philosophy, Goals and Licensing

Our Philosophy

The First English Lutheran Church Child Development Center (CDC) is a child-centered developmental program.  The CDC provides full-day, year-round care for children aged 18 months through 5 years in a loving, stimulating and safe environment. The CDC is licensed by the State of Texas. The CDC serves families regardless of race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin or political beliefs. The CDC complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

The CDC strives to create an atmosphere in which each child is respected as an individual. CDC staff members are knowledgeable about the developmental characteristics of the children in their care. They are aware of children’s abilities and needs and how those abilities and needs fit into the wider spectrum of children’s development.

 

Development of the individual includes nurturing physical, emotional and intellectual growth. The CDC believes that these areas of growth are interconnected and together promote the healthy functioning of the child. By providing nutritious meals, a safe and challenging playground and a curriculum that teaches children respect for their bodies and the bodies of others, the CDC supports physical growth. Staff members build a secure environment, based on trust, in order to facilitate emotional development. The CDC’s atmosphere of trust communicates itself to the children. The children in turn trust the teachers to treat them fairly and to communicate clearly. Teachers help children learn to express their feelings and needs, and how to listen to the needs and feelings of others.

 

The curriculum at the CDC responds to children’s desires to explore their environments and expand their understandings. The CDC staff regards each child as a competent learner, able to contribute positively to the center activities. Intellectual development occurs within a child-directed, play based curriculum. The staff shares information about developmental principles with the parents in order to promote the growth of parents and children as family.

 

Quality childcare programs rely upon the retention of skilled, caring staff members. The CDC supports staff by providing adequate compensation, continuing education and opportunities for professional growth.

 

Our Goals

 

Licensing Requirements

The following information is posted and available for review in the CDC office:

 

Parents may contact the licensing office, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services child abuse hotline and FPS web site as follows:

Local DFPS Licensing Office: 512-834-3195

Texas Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400 or www.txabusehotline.org

DFPS web site: www.dfps.state.tx.us/child_care

DFPS Licensing Address:

14000 Summit Drive Suite 100

PO Box 15995

Austin TX 78728

 

Organizational Structure

 

The Church, the CDC and the Board

The Child Development Center (CDC) is a ministry program of First English Lutheran Church (FELC), a congregation of the Southwest Texas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The CDC was opened in 1972 as a service to the community and manifestation of God’s love.

 

The Congregational Council of First English appoints a Board of Directors to govern the Child Development Center. The CDC board includes members of the Church and member and non-member parents whose children attend the CDC. The board establishes policies, administers the annual budget and serves as liaisons with the FELC congregation. Final decisions for all church activities and programs (including the CDC) rest with the Congregational Council.

 

The CDC board also provides a Director Support Committee to assist the director as needed.  This committee is led by the Chair of the Board and is also available as part of the grievance process (see “Grievance Procedure” under “Communications.”)

 

The CDC board welcomes and encourages parent participation in the activities of the CDC. Parents are invited to attend meetings of the board. (See “Parents and the Board of Directors” under “Communication.”) The director provides information about board meetings to parents.

 

The Director and the Assistant Director

The CDC Board of Directors hires and supervises the CDC director. The director manages the day-to-day operations of the CDC. The director maintains permanent and substitute staff, assists the lead teachers in developing and implementing the curriculum, collects tuition and fees and ensures CDC compliance with the Minimum Standards for Day Care Centers in the State of Texas. The director interprets and implements policies set by the CDC Board of Directors.

 

The director hires an assistant director to assist with day-to-day operations. The director and assistant director alternate schedules to provide management during hours of operations.

 

The Classrooms and Staff

The CDC’s five classrooms serve different age groups of children. The staff/child ratios reflect the developmental range of each class and are approximate:

 

 

Daily responsibility for the activities and operation of the classroom rests with each lead teacher. Under the instructional leadership of the director, each lead teacher designs and implements curriculum, communicates with parents, and arranges parent conferences at least twice yearly. Each classroom has a team of teachers to ensure continuity and minimize transitions.

Enrollment, Tuition and Fees

Waiting List

The CDC maintains a waiting list for prospective enrollment. A non-refundable fee of $25 is required to add a child to this list. While the CDC serves all families in the community, preference is given to members of FELC, families of siblings currently enrolled, children of staff and special circumstance criteria set by the CDC board.

 

Enrollment

At the time of initial enrollment, the CDC collects a non-refundable registration fee of $200 for each child.

 

Upon initial enrollment, parents receive an enrollment packet that includes a parent handbook, child history form, Child and Adult Food Program Form and a request for medical records. In addition, the CDC maintains a Student Emergency Information Sheet on each child and the numbers listed on that record will be used to contact you in an emergency. (Also see “Immunizations and Health Records” and “Injuries/Emergencies” under “Health and Safety.”)

 

The Enrollment Packet must be complete and on file on or before the child’s first day of attendance at the CDC.  Parents will be asked to update paperwork before the beginning of each school year and other times, as needed  

Supply Fee

Annually, the CDC collects a non-refundable supply fee of $250.  The first installment of $125 is charged in October.  The second installment of $125 is charged in February.

 

Tuition

The CDC Board sets the monthly tuition in preparation of each annual budget. Parents receive tuition rates from the director on or before September 1 each year.

 

Full tuition is due no later than 6:00 p.m. on the fifth day of the month. When the fifth falls on a weekend, tuition is due the following Monday. First English Lutheran Church asks that tuition and other CDC fees are paid on time by check or money order (please, no cash).

 

Monthly payments for optional extra activities are due at the time specified by the individual program.  (See “Enrichment Activities” under “Daily Life”.)

 

 

Withdrawing from the CDC

If a family wishes to withdraw their child from the CDC, a 30-day written notice of intent to leave is required, and the withdrawal will be effective on the 30th day following the CDC’s receipt of the notice unless the family indicates a later effective date in the notice. The CDC requests that parents provide as much advance notice as possible.

 

The family shall pay tuition through the end of the month in which the withdrawal is effective, (i.e., if CDC receives the notice on May 15, and the effective date is June 14, the family shall pay tuition for all of June).

 

When the withdrawal is effective on a date that is not a month-end, the CDC will make an effort to fill the withdrawing student’s spot with a new student.  In this instance, the withdrawing student’s tuition for the month in which the withdrawal is effective will be prorated to reflect a reduction for the days attended by the new student.

 

For Explorers who are leaving in August to start kindergarten, tuition will be prorated to reflect the beginning of the AISD school year.

Fees for Late Payment or Returned Check

Failure to pay tuition as stated results in a $15 late fee. Tuition that remains unpaid after the fifteenth of the month garners an additional $15 charge. If paying tuition at the beginning of the month presents a budgeting problem for you, please talk with the director to discuss an alternate payment plan. Chronic late payment or failure to pay may result in expulsion.

 

The CDC handles checks returned for insufficient funds in the following manner:

Fees for Late Pickup

The CDC closes promptly at 6:00 p.m. If you sign out your child after 6:00 p.m. you will be assessed a late fee of $15 and an additional $10 for every 5 minutes thereafter. Parents will receive confirmation of the late pickup time and the late fee will be due with the next month’s tuition. The director may intervene in cases of chronic lateness.

 

Refunds

The CDC gives no refunds for temporary absences such as short-term illness or vacations.

 

If your child misses two or more consecutive weeks due to illness, you will receive one-half month’s tuition credit for the total absence period. A letter from the child’s physician will be required to receive tuition credit.

 

If the Health Department orders the removal of a child, the parent will receive full credit for the entire period of absence as stated in the Order.

 

Class Placement and Advancement

As stated previously, the CDC gives preference to members of First English Lutheran Church, families with siblings currently enrolled, children of staff and special circumstance criteria set by the Board of Directors. When establishing classes and filling vacancies, the primary goal is the heterogeneous grouping of children by gender and age range. Consideration is also given to a child’s learning style, social interaction/maturity, cognitive ability, and teacher’s teaching style and class gender balance.

 

Children are initially assigned to a group based on their age, skills, and overall level of development as evaluated by the director and lead teachers involved. Generally, children are moved up in waves as positions become available.  In order to assess a child’s readiness, the Director takes into consideration a teacher’s recommendations as well as parental input.

Operations

 

School Year

The CDC operates on an annual basis coinciding with the start of the Austin Independent School District school year, although children can be enrolled at any time if there is an opening. The CDC does not enroll children on a part time basis.

Hours, Days of Operation

The CDC is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The CDC operates year round with a new session beginning the same week as the Austin Independent School District.

 

Holidays and school closures include:

 

When any holiday falls on a Saturday, the board designates the Friday before off.  If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the Board designates the Monday after as the CDC holiday.

 

(Also see “Inclement Weather/Emergency Situations” below.)

 

Arrival

The arrival transition often sets the tone for a child’s (and the parent’s) day. CDC staff tries to make arrival pleasant by greeting children and parents and introducing activities to engage children’s attention.

 

Anxiety about separation is a natural part of life. The CDC is committed to working together with families to manage this important transition for young children. It is essential that parents and teachers work together to ease children into the program and to minimize stress. Trust and good communication between teachers and parents builds a partnership that can support children. How we help children through these first goodbyes creates a framework for their lifetimes, and we acknowledge the significance of this event. In keeping with developmentally appropriate practices, we will respond to each child and the needs of their family on an individual basis. The teachers and administrative staff are available to discuss your child’s need concerning separation.

 

Help provide a smooth transition for you and your child by observing the following guidelines:

Departure and Release of Children

The CDC closes promptly at 6:00 p.m. Please arrive before closing time to allow time for your child to gather personal belongings. Be certain that the teacher is aware of your departure. Sign your child out at the time of pick up.

 

Children will be released only to parents or those authorized in writing by the parents to pick up. Please notify your child’s teacher if someone other than a parent is picking up your child. If the person picking up your child is not listed on the enrollment card, you must notify the CDC in writing. Designate the person by name and relationship, include the date and sign the note. Notes are left on a clipboard in the office.

 

Anytime someone other than a parent picks up a child, he or she must report to the CDC office, show a photo ID and sign the child out. No child will be released to others without appropriate written permission and identification. This includes a relative, other CDC parents and CDC staff. Siblings under the age of 18 cannot pick up children. Do not send siblings into the CDC unattended.

 

Check cubbies, mailboxes and coat pegs for items that need to go home. Take time to read notes about your child’s day that the teacher has posted on the bulletin board.

 

Inclement Weather/Emergency Situations

We follow the Austin Independent School District’s school closure determinations. If A.I.S.D. closes or starts late, we will follow their schedule. You are encouraged to monitor the media advisories for information on closings.

 

Fire

In the event of a fire, a fire alarm will alert each classroom teacher. Each lead teacher will take his/her sign in sheet, and the Sunbeam, Moonbeam, Star and Rainbow classrooms will exit the back doors into the alley and through the gate to the playground. An administrator will alert the Explorer classroom. The Explorer classroom will exit the back fire exit through the closet and through the gate to the playground.  All classrooms will relocate to the back fence on the playground.  Teachers will do a check of their children to ensure that all are accounted for. Teachers and students should wait, sitting along the fence, for further instructions from an administrator.

 

Evacuation of Premises

In the event that the center needs to be evacuated, an administrator will notify all the classroom teachers. All classrooms will exit the building according to fire exit plan, and instead of going to the playground, the children will be escorted to the fire station across the street. Once there, the teachers will do a check of all children to ensure that they are all accounted for.  An administrator will bring the emergency contact binder and a cell phone to contact families. The fire station is equipped with a first aid kit as well as a phone line. Teachers and students should wait for further instructions from an administrator.

 

Severe Weather

In the event of severe weather, an administrator will notify all the classroom teachers. All classrooms will relocate to the back hallway near the sanctuary entrance. Once there, the teachers will do a check of all children to ensure that they are all accounted for. An administrator will bring the emergency contact binder and a first aid kit. Teachers and students should wait for further instructions from an administrator.

 

Lockdown

In the event that the center needs to be locked down, an administrator will notify the teachers of “lockdown” mode. All classroom doors and windows should be closed and locked with the curtains drawn. An administrator will notify the Explorer teachers to escort the children quickly into the main building.  An administrator will lock all doors and check all windows (including those in the kitchen, fellowship hall and the sanctuary).  The teachers and children will remain in the main building until notified by the administrator.  In the event that staff and children need to be away from windows, administrators will notify teachers to follow the “severe weather” procedure in which the children will be escorted to the back hallway near the sanctuary.  An administrator will cover the window of the door.  All staff and children should remain in “lockdown” mode until an administrator indicates that the lockdown is over.

 

Discipline/Guidance

 

Discipline

We respect each child as a unique person. Discipline is handled using positive techniques of guidance including redirection, anticipation of and elimination of potential problems, and encouragement of appropriate behavior.

 

Discipline will be:

 

There will be no harsh, cruel, or unusual treatment of any child. The following types of discipline and guidance are prohibited by the CDC:

 

(Also see “Child Abuse/Neglect” under “Health and Safety.”)

 

Guiding Children’s Behavior and Resolving Conflict

Discipline/guidance at the CDC is positive in nature and directed toward teaching the child acceptable behavior and self-control. Children are taught to use their words to settle conflicts. Teachers use positive redirection and consistent consequences to help encourage self-control, good self-esteem and self-direction.

 

Classrooms are set up in such a way that children are able to flow freely between activities. Toys, manipulatives and activities are chosen with care to help foster self-direction. When children are developmentally too young to share, more than one of a favorite toy is provided. Sharing is encouraged as the children develop.

 

Within the CDC’s philosophy of positive guidance, children are given the opportunity to develop self-control, self-esteem, and self-direction. Our goal is to provide clear, simple, and consistent limits for children designed to maintain their physical and emotional safety, and to create an atmosphere of respect for oneself, for others and for the environment.

 

We recognize that conflict is an ongoing part of functioning as social beings. When difficult situations present themselves, they will be looked upon as opportunities to grow and learn:

 

Early Identification of Children Requiring Specialized Attention

Our CDC is staffed with teachers and assistants at ratios within the state maximum, but not small enough to allow for individual attention for any one student throughout the entire school day. Our staff is well qualified with many teachers either holding degrees or having specialized training in early childhood education.

 

The CDC has a referral system in place for the identification of children who require additional support and/or adult supervision during the school day. These children, who may be better served in an alternative environmental or benefit from a more specialized environment, are identified through a collaborative yet confidential process. Discussing the situation with the teacher, conducting observations within the classroom setting, making interventions in the classroom and talking with the parents are all integral parts of their collaborative process. At the conclusion of the referral process, the director will communicate the results and recommendations to the parents. It then becomes the parent’s responsibility and expense to act upon the recommendations in a timely manner.

 

Procedures for Handling Challenging Behaviors and Dismissal

The CDC will take the following steps to help a child who is exhibiting challenging behaviors:

 

If an independent educational consultant or therapist is recommended, using such a resource is at the parent’s expense. Failure to follow through with the CDC’s recommendations could result in removal from the program. If the CDC decides that it is unable to meet the needs of the child, the director will assist the family in finding appropriate placement or services.

 

Since every child is unique, it is impossible to set forth the exact criteria or instances that might result in CDC action to remove a child from our school. So the center takes each situation on a case-by-case basis.

 

If your child is not yet ready for the group experience or if his or her needs are not best met in the group setting, the director reserves the right to remove the child after a confidential conference with the parents. We do not believe the child should remain in the CDC unless he or she derives some benefit from the program.

 

 

Health and Safety

 

Immunizations and Health Records

State licensing for the CDC requires that each child’s file contain an original or a copy of the original immunization record signed by the physician on the date of admission. Immunization records must be kept current as children receive additional immunizations and must remain current for the entire school year or the child will be unable to attend class.

 

Also required is a signed statement from a licensed health professional that has examined the child within the past year indicating the child is physically able to take part in the CDC’s program. This health statement must be on file with the CDC within one week of enrollment and is a one-time requirement.

 

Immunizations must be maintained in accordance with Texas Department of State Health Services requirements. Exemptions for immunization requirements must meet criteria specified by the TDSHS.

 

Parents will receive periodic requests to update the CDC’s information about their child. The CDC director may require other medical records deemed necessary.

 

Please inform the director and teachers of any existing medical conditions that affect your child. In the case of food allergies, please see “Meals and Snacks” under “Daily Life.”

 

Illness

We rely on you to help us maintain a healthy and safe environment at the CDC. Please keep your child home if he or she:

 

If your child displays any of these symptoms or has been sent home with such symptoms, please keep your child home until your child has been symptom-free for a full 24 hours.  If your child exhibits one of these symptoms at school, a staff member will call to request that you pick your child up as soon as possible.  Ill children remain in the CDC office until a parent or other designated adult arrives to take them home (see “Departure and Release of Children” under “Operations”).  If we cannot reach either parent, we will call the emergency contact person designated on the enrollment forms.

 

Notify the school if you have taken your child to the doctor and have a diagnosis of a contagious illness.  Your child will need to remain home with any of the following: chicken pox, strep throat, pink eye, lice, giardia, impetigo, roseola, and any unidentifiable rash.  Please let us know if your child has a contagious illness. We reserve the right to send your child home anytime we have a concern.  We follow Health Department directives and expect our families to do so also.

 

 

Medications

Staff may administer medications to children with authorization from parents. Parents fill out a request form and leave it with their child’s teacher. Medications should be labeled with the child’s name, the dosage and time to be administered. All medications must be in their original container and have the child’s name clearly labeled. All medications will be locked in the small cabinet in the CDC office. There is a small refrigerator for medications that require refrigeration.

 

If the child has a periodic or recurring medical problem such as asthma attacks, or allergic reactions, the parent or the child’s health care professional may sign a Medication Authorization form allowing CDC staff to administer the medication when symptoms occur. Emergency medication must be labeled and will be kept in the CDC office.

 

Hearing and Vision Screening

The State of Texas requires all children in school or daycare be screened for vision and hearing at age 4. Each fall, the CDC arranges for a speech and language pathologist to come to the school to conduct screenings. Parents may use this service for a minimal fee or have their own pediatrician perform the screenings.

 

If you choose to have your own screenings done we need a copy of the results. If you fail to provide a copy by December 31, your child may not be allowed to attend the program.

Injuries/Emergencies

In the event of an injury or medical emergency, trained staff will immediately administer first aid and notify a director if further assistance is needed. If we believe the situation may call for parent involvement or professional medical attention, the CDC will attempt to contact a parent or other authorized emergency contact. If the condition is serious, the CDC will call 911 for an EMT response.

 

You will be contacted immediately if your child:

 

You will be notified of less serious injuries when you pick the child up from the CDC. Less serious injuries include, but are not limited to: minor cuts, scratches, and bites from other children requiring first-aid treatment by CDC staff. An incident report form will be filled out and placed in the “Hurt Alert” binder located in the office.  A “Hurt Alert” sign placed on your child’s mailbox will indicate that there is an incident report for a parent to read and sign.  Licensing requires us to have the report signed by a parent within 48 hours of the incident; therefore, it is important to the center that you take a moment to stop in the office, read and sign the report.  Once signed, you will receive a copy of the incident report and a copy is placed in your child’s file.

 

It is extremely important that you provide accurate and complete information as to how or where you can be reached by phone each day. The information given to us on the emergency form sheet is used to locate you in case of an emergency.  Please be sure to update this information any time it changes.  Numbers listed on the Student Emergency Information sheet kept in each child’s file in the office also will be used (see “Departure and Release of Children” under “Operations”).

 

Child Abuse/Neglect

The neglect or abuse of children is not tolerated at CDC.

 

All persons, including the CDC director and staff, are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Family and Protective Services within 48 hours of first suspecting that a child has been or may be abused or neglected.  The CDC takes this obligation seriously, and this includes the staff training in how to recognize and report abuse and neglect. Once a year the CDC will offer this same training to parents and families.

If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, make a report using the Texas Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-5400 or www.txabusehotline.org.

Insect Repellent and Sunscreen

At the beginning of each school year, the CDC will ask for your permission on the Various Permissions Form to apply insect repellent (bug spray) and sunscreen during the months of the year in which they are needed.  We use an insect repellent containing 7% deet or less and Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen.  If you would prefer to supply your own bug and sun products, we will apply them for you.  Bug spray is applied in the morning and afternoon as soon as the children arrive on the playground.  Sunscreen is applied in the afternoon during the hotter months of the year, approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour before the children go to the playground.

 

Pest Control

As part of our commitment to provide your child with a safe, pest-free learning environment, First English Lutheran CDC may periodically apply pesticides to help manage insects.  Pesticide applications on CDC property are made only by trained and licensed technicians.  Should you have questions about our pest management program or wish to be notified in advance of pesticide applications, you may contact the CDC office.

 

Daily Life

 

Absences

If you know ahead of time that your child will be out, please notify your child’s lead teacher or the director.  If your child is out due to illness, please contact the center in the morning either by phone or email to let us know that he/she will be absent for the day.  Also, if you have a doctor’s diagnosis of a contagious illness, please notify the center as soon as possible. 

Regular attendance is encouraged in order that children may become accustomed to routines, form bonds with caregivers, and take full advantage of daily activities.

 

Meals and Snacks

Meals are prepared and served each day by the CDC’s certified food service staff. The CDC menus comply with nutritional regulations of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program. Also, the CDC is a NUT AND EGG FREE facility. To safeguard the health of every child, we do our best to exclude foods containing these ingredients or manufactured in a facility that has them.  All food served at FELCDC is either commercially prepared or prepared in our kitchen, which is regularly inspected by local health officials.

 

The director posts a copy of the week’s menu on the parent bulletin boards. Parents may request copies of the menus from the director.  The director administers the food program according to USDA specifications. Additional food program information is available from the director.

 

Meals are served family style. All of the classes eat breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack at roughly the same times:

Breakfast                      8:45 a.m.

Lunch                           11:45 a.m.

Afternoon snack             3:15 p.m.

 

To eat breakfast with your child’s class you should arrive by 8:40 a.m.

 

The CDC will prepare special meals (at no extra cost) for children who require a restricted diet. A signed physician’s statement must be presented to the director detailing the child’s special needs and the specific requirements of the alternate diet. In the case of food allergies or temporary medical dietary restrictions, parents may be asked to provide the appropriate alternative foods. If a child’s food allergy prohibits his or her consumption of a USDA required meal component (essentially, dairy products), the director must receive a signed physician’s statement requiring the exclusion of that meal component.

 

The CDC asks that children do not bring lunches or snacks unless specifically requested by staff (such as for a field trip or picnic). Likewise, the CDC asks that children not bring remnants of breakfast into the CDC.

 

The CDC welcomes and encourages parents to join their children for an occasional meal. Please call in advance (478-5424) so that staff may prepare a place for you. A donation of $2 per meal is appreciated.  (Also see “Parent Participation and Visits” under “Communication.”)

 

All parents have a right to breastfeed or provide breastmilk for their child while he/she is in our care. The center provides a designated area in the office for this purpose.

 

Clothing

Bring your child to school in comfortable, easy to remove clothing. Belts, suspenders and other complicated fasteners make it difficult for children to manage toileting on their own. Shoes with good traction help prevent slips and falls.

 

Remember that many of the activities planned for children invite sensory exploration—splashing, smearing and spilling will happen. Save clothes that you want to remain unstained for wear outside of school.

 

Please keep two changes of seasonally-appropriate clothing in your child’s cubby. We do have extra clothes, but children usually feel most comfortable in their own clothing. Please label all clothing, including socks and underwear.

 

 

Toys, Dolls, Stuffed Animals and Other Items From Home

Some items from home help a child feel more comfortable at school. Crib-sized bedding fits our nap mats and also fits into cubbies easily. Stuffed toys or dolls comfort children and serve as naptime friends. (See “Nap Time” under “Daily Life.”)

 

Please leave all other toys, gum, candy and money at home or in the car. Young children often feel eager to investigate each other’s possessions, which can lead to broken or lost toys and unnecessary conflict.

 

The CDC invites children to share books, audiotapes, objects made by children and objects pertaining to science, nature or cultural studies. If you feel uncertain about the suitability of a particular item, please discuss it with your child’s teacher before bringing it into the classroom.

 

 

Physical activity, Outdoor play, and Sprinkler Play

Providing adequate time for physical activity is an important part of our curriculum.  Weekly classroom lesson plans include activities to help children develop large motor skills. Every class spends a part of each day outdoors. Teachers adjust outdoor schedules according to the children’s needs and weather conditions. When rain or very hot weather shortens usual play, the teachers often use the Fellowship Hall for large motor play.  

 

During warm weather months, the children can participate in sprinkler play activities. Suitable and safe sprinkler play will be decided by the lead teachers and administration.  The center does not use splashing or wading pools. Children may bring swimsuits from home (Remember to label swimsuits with your child’s name).

 

Field Trips

The center does not participate in field trips.

Screen Time

Screen time is limited at FELCDC.  Children may watch director-approved videos a few times each year for special occasions. Tablets may occasionally be used in the classroom to watch videos on subjects the children are learning about (e.g. a video about insects when the class is learning about insects.)  Children under 2 will not be shown videos.

It is the philosophy of our center that children learn best through experiential, hands-on activities, and therefore, we limit the use of all technology in our classrooms.  

Birthdays and Other Celebrations

Each classroom celebrates a variety of holidays. Teachers post their party plans in advance. Sometimes teachers plan for children to make their own treats in the classroom—sometimes they request family contributions. If you have questions or suggestions, please speak to your child’s teacher.

 

Feel welcome to celebrate your child’s birthday at school. Please keep the celebration simple and avoid fancy theme parties with favors. Be aware that the CDC is a NUT FREE facility. To safeguard the health of every child, we cannot allow foods containing these ingredients or manufactured in a facility that has them.  Therefore, the CDC limits birthday treats to fruit popsicles.  Please see the office for acceptable brands.

 

Animals/Classroom Pets

Pets such as guinea pigs, fish, birds, hamsters and gerbils may be in classrooms. Caution is taken to assure sanitary and safe conditions. If your child is allergic to one of these pets, please notify the classroom teacher.

 

Permission must be obtained from the director for you to bring any other animals into the building. Parents will be notified in advance if other animals will be visiting the CDC.

 

 

Nap Time

All classrooms schedule a daily rest period from approximately 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The CDC provides mats. Each child should bring a crib-sized sheet to cover the mat, a personal blanket and a stuffed toy they wish to have at naptime. Crib-sized or small throw pillows may also be left in cubbies. Please label all items from home.

 

Encourage your child to bring only one nap mate at a time, as cubbies quickly overflow. Staff members do not require any child to sleep. However, all children are encouraged to rest and respect others’ need to sleep. If you need to pick up your child during naptime, please make arrangements in advance with the teacher.

 

 

Chapel

The CDC is a ministry program of First English Lutheran Church. Weekly, the pastor or the pastoral intern conducts an optional Chapel in the church sanctuary for the two older classes. First English Lutheran Church and the CDC respect and cherish the ethnic and cultural diversity of the schools’ children and their families. Great care is taken so that no child feels pressured to attend Chapel, nor to feel left out if not attending.

 

The pastor contacts each family in September, offering information about First English Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Weekly Chapel. The pastor prefers written consent for children to attend Chapel. As with all activities at the CDC, parents of enrolled children are welcome to visit and observe Chapel.

 

Enrichment Activities

For many years parents have asked for additional special area instructional activities for their children. The director annually receives contract applications for such activities as gymnastics, music and art. The CDC board approves contracts that require a pre-set tuition fee.

 

These activities are optional and parents pay fees directly to the contracting service vendor. Payments are collected in the CDC office.

 

 

Communication

 

Parental/ CDC Communications

Communication between the CDC and parents can take several forms:

 

 

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Formal parent-teacher conferences are provided twice during the year, once in the fall and once in the spring. This is an opportunity for parents and teachers to share information about each child.

 

Additional conferences may be conducted by telephone at the discretion of the teacher or the director. A variety of information assessment methods are used in the assessment of social, emotional, and cognitive growth and development.

 

Grievance Procedure

If a parent has a grievance, a meeting with the CDC director should be arranged. In the event a parent is dissatisfied with the response or action taken by the director on any matter, the parent may request a meeting with the Director Support Committee, via the Chair of the CDC board. (See “The Church, the CDC and the Board” under “Organizational Structure.”)

 

If the parent requests a meeting, the parent should not only be able to explain the issue of concern, but should also be prepared to articulate the nature of the response or action that he or she believes the committee should take to resolve the matter. The decision of the committee will be the final decision for the CDC, and the parent and administration will be expected to accept and support the decision in a professional manner.

 

Parent Participation and Visits

Upon enrollment the director will schedule an orientation for families new to the CDC. The orientation covers CDC policies and procedures. Time is planned to answer parent questions. Once your child is enrolled, you are welcome to visit by checking in at the office. If you would like to eat with your child, please call in advance so that we may set an extra place for you (see “Meals and Snacks” under “Daily Life”).

 

The CDC organizes two required parent workdays per year, usually focusing on specific projects, such as painting a classroom or moving sand on the playground. Participation is essential for our small program in order to keep costs low.  Those families who choose not to participate can opt to engage in a take home project or choose to contribute $50 towards supplies for center projects. We also ask for volunteers for smaller tasks such as helping to dig a garden or sewing classroom pillows. Each family is asked to take a turn laundering the mat sheets.

 

Periodically, we hold fundraising events.  We rely on parent participation in fundraising to keep the center equipped.

 

We encourage parents to participate in classroom activities, read stories for an hour and bring in special materials or resources for the class. Use your imagination and discuss your ideas with your child’s teacher. Stay informed about CDC activities and events by reading the notes on the classroom bulletin board and checking your child’s mailbox daily.

 

Anytime you have a suggestion, comment or concern, please feel free to discuss it with staff, the director, or members of the CDC board.

Parent Education and Resources

The director schedules opportunities for parents to attend workshops with experts on topics related to child development at least twice each year. A Parent Resources Binder is available to parents in the office. It contains brochures and lists of therapists and referral services in the community.  Parents are welcome to borrow resource books from the office library. 

Parents and the CDC Board

At the beginning of each school year, the director recommends names of parents to become room representatives on the center’s Board of Directors. Each room has one parent representative for a total of five. These five representatives choose among themselves two that will serve as voting members of the board.  The teachers also elect one teacher per year to represent them at the during the Board meetings.

 

If you would like to volunteer to represent your child’s classroom on the board, please contact the director.

 

If you have questions/concerns that you would like the board to know about, please contact your room’s parent representative and he or she will take your issue to the board. However any parent is welcome to attend meetings of the CDC board, which are usually held at 6:15 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month.

Parent/Staff Relations Outside of the CDC

Parents occasionally approach CDC staff about babysitting off-hours or to attend parties. All non-work related communications between parents and staff should be kept to a minimum during school hours.

 

Please be aware that our staff is bound by confidentiality and professional conduct policies.

 

 

 

Please sign and return this to the office as soon as possible.

 

I, _______________________________, the parent of _________________________, have received a copy of the June 2018 Parent Handbook for First English Lutheran Child Development Center.

 

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