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Parent Handbook

Mission Statement & Philosophies

Ready Set Kids is dedicated to providing a high quality early childhood preschool program by incorporating play-based enrichment, recreational, and social programs.  The Ready, Set, KIDS! preschool program will maintain toddler/preschool licensure by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

The Ready, Set, KIDS! Preschool aims to provide a warm, nurturing, respectful and fun community of students and teachers. We believe that students will have a variety of needs, and the program will work to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of each child in a supportive and safe environment.

We believe that instructors make the difference. Our amazing instructors are an intelligent, interesting, engaging and globally aware group of leaders.

We believe that all children are intelligent.  Children learn best if the content being taught and method of instruction relates to their interests. This allows a child’s natural love of learning to take over, encourages feelings of competency and increases classroom success.

We believe in developing social and emotional skills in children, at whatever level they are at. We use the Sanford Harmony curriculum which works to reduce bullying, and help children develop into tolerant, compassionate, and caring adults for the future. This includes their Diversity & Inclusion curriculum to develop cooperation skills and empower students to resolve conflict, communicate efficiently, and develop healthy relationships.

Therefore, our STEM-based curriculum philosophy is centered around creating an inclusive environment where children feel empowered to follow their curiosities and explore their world. This child-led, emergent curriculum exposes children to a wide variety of experiences including daily exposure to: Spanish or Mandarin, music, martial arts, dance, and of course many of the sciences. Daily engineering challenges help children to problem solve and observe, hypothesize, experiment and reflect upon their world.

Student Eligibility

Ready Set Kids maintains a nondiscriminatory policy with respect to staff and enrollment.  The Program is open to children ages 3-5 without regard to race, religion, cultural heritage, political beliefs, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or toilet training status.

In order to serve a child with disabilities, the parent will identify specific accommodations, if any, required to meet the needs of the child in the program.  If the accommodations required would cause an undue financial burden to the Program, the Director shall provide parents with written notification if enrollment is not feasible.

A Typical Preschool Day*

9am Classroom doors open

9-9:45 STEM Centers

9:45-10:00 Toileting/Snack

10:00-10:45 World Language Groups

10:45-11:45 Gross Motor Play/Outdoor Time

11:45-12:15 Lunch

12:15-1:00 Specials Rotation: Makerspace, Dance, Martial Arts, Music, Languages

1pm Pick Up Time

*Tuesday pick up time is at 12:30

Optional Extended Day: Available until 2pm every day except Tuesdays, and spaces are limited. Available on first-come, first-served basis. Sign-up is at the front desk. Centers and quiet time are options for children until the 2pm pick up time.        

Outdoor Time: In our program, outdoor play is a priority. Much of our curriculum is based on exploring the world around us and our classroom is extended into the outdoors during this time. Preschool students are outdoors daily, in and around Spy Pond Fields, just two blocks away, except during inclement weather. If the field is not in good condition (mud or deep water, icy,  etc), outdoor time is held at Spy Pond Playground or groups may be taken out for neighborhood walks. Families are asked to send their children with weather-appropriate clothing, including snow or rain gear, sunscreen, or bug spray when necessary.

World Language (Spanish & Mandarin) Groups: Families chose a language for their children to learn and groups are exposed to language with the Yak Academy language curriculum each day that they are enrolled in class. Language is taught in a play-based immersion environment, learning through games, songs, stories, creative activities, movement, and much more. Instructors speak only the target language during class.

Appropriate Clothing 

Please ensure that your child has clothing appropriate for the season. The preschool will spend time outside every day, unless there is heavy rain, unsafe cold or lightning.  All clothing items (coats, hats, mittens, etc.) should be clearly labeled with your child's name.

Snack and Lunch

Children should bring a nut-free snack and lunch from home each day. Lunch follows shortly after snack, so snacks should be separately packed and smaller. Please label all snack and lunch containers with your child’s name. Please also send any utensils that your child would need to eat their snack or lunch.

Registration Information

Registration opens December 10, 2018 for returning students and their siblings, and December 15, 2018 for new families (at noon) for the 2019-2020 school year. Slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, however, age and gender are taken into account to create an even mix of children in the classrooms. All registration information and links to register will be provided on our website www.ready-set-kids.com. Children must be at least 2 years 9 months by September 1st. Please know that children will not be fully accepted until all EEC required forms are received by the program.  Forms will be provided upon receipt of online registration. Also note that children need not be toilet trained to attend the program.

Wait List

As days fill up during registration, interested families will be placed on a waitlist, and families will be notified as soon as a space becomes available.

If you would like to visit the program and/or meet with an administrator by phone or in person you are encouraged to do so.  Your child is welcome to accompany you on your visit.

Responsibilities of Parent

When you enroll your child in the Preschool program  you are agreeing to the following responsibilities:

  1. It is your responsibility to pay your tuition prior to the first of each month.
  2. It is your responsibility to pick up your child no later than 1:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 12:30 pm on Tuesday.
  3. It is your responsibility to fill out your child's registration form and include any pertinent information in the forms. It is your responsibility to make sure that the staff is aware of any allergies, medical issues, special needs, or other special concerns that might affect your child's preschool experience.
  4. It is your responsibility to keep the program informed when phone numbers, address, email address, emergency information, insurance information, pick-up people, etc., change.
  5. It is your responsibility to abide by the policies and procedures listed in this handbook.
  6. It is your option to attend parent orientation or meet and greet days.

Daily Schedule and Other Information

Most communications are sent via email. Please be sure the emails in our Parent Portal are accurate.

Changing Your Child’s Schedule and Drop In Days or Withdraw 

Approval for increased enrollment, changing days of enrollment, or drop in days will depend upon available space and staffing ratios. Changes must be approved by the Director in advance of the days in question. Changes will take place at the beginning of the month only and must be requested by the 15th of the previous month. Switching days will not be allowed to cover absences that have already occurred.

Similarly, notice of withdrawal from the program must be received by the 15th of the previous month to ensure cancelation of the next billing cycle.

Program Schedule

Ready Set Kids Preschool operates daily when Arlington Public Schools are in session. The Program will not operate on days when school is cancelled because of snow or other emergencies.  The monthly fee will continue to be a fixed rate, regardless of absences or snow days.  If the Program must close due to inclement weather, parents will be notified by email.

Fees

Payments are made in 10 equal, monthly payments, regardless of how many days are in the month. They are made on the first of the month via automatic credit card charges from September through June. There is no deduction in fees or refunds for absence, sick days, snow days, holidays, unexpected school closings or failure otherwise to make full use of the program.

Ready Set Kids Preschool  Monthly Fees 2019-2020  School Year

A non-refundable one-time registration fee of $55

Tuition - Monthly

1 day                           $275

2 days                     $515

3 days                         $740

4 days                         $895

5 days                         $1060

Additional Siblings        (10% off)                

Early drop off (8:30-9am): $7/day^

Extended day(1-2pm): $14/day*

Early drop off AND Extended day: $20/day.

*available until 2pm every day except Tuesdays, and spaces are limited. Available on first-come, first-served basis. Sign-up is at the front desk.        

^available daily        

Discipline, Behavior Management and Consultation

Ready Set Kids Preschool aims to support the social and emotional well-being of each child. Our policy is to encourage child self-control, self-direction, self-esteem and cooperation.  The goal is to guide children towards making appropriate choices by themselves and not rely on adults to make behavioral decisions for them.

At Ready, Set, KIDS! teachers model positive and respectful behavior towards students and other staff. The staff work tirelessly to form positive and strong bonds with students and our language consistently asks students to prioritize respect to themselves and one another. In our program, all rules are logical and based upon being safe and respectful of others.  

Teachers use a variety of strategies help students succeed in the classroom.

If students are struggling with behavioral challenges in such a way that is disruptive to the class, they may be asked to take a break from class and sit with the Director, where they will discuss strategies for how to better handle their challenges and/or calm down until they are ready to return to the group. Generally a 4-5 minute break from the classroom is sufficient to help most students feel successful in the classroom again. For more disruptive and/or consistent behaviors, an Incident Report will be filed so parents and educators can work on a Behavior Improvement Plan to reduce incidents and develop a positive path forward.  

At Ready, Set, KIDS! Preschool, our behavior management policies do not include punishment or humiliation of any sort. There is never a consequence or punishment for soiling/wetting clothing or not using the toilet.

Behavior Improvement Plan/Dismissal Procedure/Termination Policies

If after creating and implementing a Behavior Improvement Plan, it appears that the difficulty is not likely to improve, the child may be asked to leave the program either temporarily or permanently. If at any time, it is determined that a child’s behavior is deemed unsafe and so dangerous as to pose a true physical threat to himself or others, the Director retains the right to immediately terminate the child from the program immediately. The parent/guardian will receive a written notification of the termination and the reasons for the action. Other conditions for terminating Program services may include, but are not limited to the following:

Ready Set Kids Preschool reserves the right to make all final decisions regarding enrollment.

In almost every situation, consistent and sincere cooperation of the program staff and parent/guardians with a mutual plan of action on behalf of the child can avert termination from the Program.

Parent Conferences

It is a priority to have strong communication with parents, so in addition to weekly email newsletters and daily availability for short discussions before or after class, parents are invited to come in for a conference with your child’s classroom teacher mid-way through the school year, typically in January. A written progress report will be provided to parents at this time. Families of students with special needs will be provided with written progress reports every 3 months.

Parents may request a meeting with the teachers or Director any time during the school year to discuss larger student concerns, and similarly teachers may request a conference with parents at other times during the school year if there are items to address at other times during the school year.

Ready, Set, Kids preschool encourages parents to provide feedback on the program or share any input or concerns about the program or their child at any time during the school year, and we encourage families to share this to the Director in person, via phone or email.

Information Exchange 

The Preschool staff wants you to know what happens in your child's day at the program.  It would help us if you would inform us of any occurrences at home or school which might affect your child's preschool experience (i.e. the death of a pet, a new sibling, an injury or illness to a relative or friend, etc.).

Diapering and Toileting

Children have access to use the toilet as needed throughout the day. The classes take group bathroom breaks twice throughout the morning, so that they are able to use the toilet and wash hands before snack and lunch. However, students may use the bathroom any additional times throughout the morning and will be accompanied by a staff member.

Students in diapers will be changed as needed. Our diaper changing policy is as follows:

We believe that toilet learning varies from child to child, and we are happy to work with you on your family’s toilet-learning plan. Hands are always washed after using the toilet. Accidents do happen and a teacher will assist the child in changing into the spare clothing provided in his/her bag . We encourage you to discuss with us any concerns or issues you have, tell us when you are sending a child in underwear for the first time, etc. so that we can best assist your child. Your child does not need to be toilet trained to attend our preschool program.

Supervision  

Children are supervised at all times while participating in program activities to ensure the health and safety of each child.  The Director is the administrator for all aspects of the program.  Among other duties, the Director develops policies and curriculum, hires and supervises the staff, coordinates enrollment and parent communication, and has ultimate responsibility for the program.  

The Director is responsible for the daily operation of the program including the safety and well being of the children, supervision of staff, and parent communication.  If you have questions or concerns about a policy, a Lead Instructor, an Assistant Instructor or any other Ready, Set, Kids affiliates, please make an appointment with the Director to discuss your concerns.  All teaching staff counted in the ratio will be over 18 years of age and meet or exceed the qualifications for their positions, including agreeing to and passing the required background checks, as mandated by the Department of Early Education and Care.

Closing Time, Late Fee and Snow Day Policies
If the Arlington Public Schools are closed, the Ready, Set, KIDS Preschool program is closed.  Parents are encouraged to listen to the radio or watch TV for school announcements.  

There will be times that school is dismissed early due to severe weather conditions or hazardous road conditions. If the Superintendent of Schools cancels all PM activities or dismisses school early, Ready, Set, Kids may close early. If snow develops during the course of the school day, parents are urged to arrive to pick up their children as early as possible.  

Emergency and Evacuation Procedures

Attendance is taken, children and teachers line up at the nearest exit and proceed outside and eastward to the end of the block on Broadway and in the case of inclement weather, to the designated evacuation site, the fire station.  The director and designated staff will check hallways and bathrooms.  

Medical Emergencies

The signing of the Emergency Medical Authorization Form gives the Program full parental authorization to have a child transported to the hospital should an accident occur.  All attempts will be made to contact parents/guardians as soon as possible, while a member of the program staff escorts the injured child to the hospital.  Parents/Guardians also give their permission to have authorized hospital staff begin emergency treatment as it is deemed necessary.  In less serious cases, parents/guardians will be contacted before medical treatment is ordered.

Child Records

All information contained in your child’s file is confidential, and maintained in secure databases and in locked files. Ready, Set, Kids Preschool will not distribute or release information in your child’s records without your written consent to anyone other than a parent. The school will notify the parent(s) if a child's record is subpoenaed. A child's parent(s) shall, upon request, have access to their child's record at reasonable times. In no event shall access be delayed by more than two school days after the initial request, unless the parents agree. When the record is provided, the child's entire record, regardless of the physical location of its parts, shall be made available. The program will establish procedures governing access to, duplication of, and dissemination of such information and shall maintain a permanent, written log in each child's record indicating release of the record. The log shall indicate the following information: the name of the school staff member who was responsible for disseminating or releasing the record, his or her signature, his or her position/title, the date, the portions of the record which were disseminated or released, and the signature of the person to whom the information is disseminated or released. The log shall be available only to the child's parent(s) and school staff responsible for record maintenance. Charge for Copies: The school shall not charge an unreasonable fee for copies of any information contained in the child's record.

Amending Records: A child's parent(s) shall have the right to add information and make comments on data or any other relevant materials in the child's record. A child's parent(s) shall have the right to request that information in the child's record be deleted or changed as follows: If the parent(s) believes that adding information doesn't sufficiently explain, clarify, or correct objectionable material in the child's record, the parent(s) has the right to have a conference with the Director to make the objections known. The program shall, within one week after the conference, give the parent(s) a decision on the matter in writing stating the reason for the decision. If the decision favors the parent(s), the parent(s) shall immediately take steps as necessary to put the decision into effect.

Transfer of Records: When the parent(s) makes a written request, the school shall transfer the child's records to the parent(s) or any other person the parent(s) identifies, when the child no longer attends the program.

Illness and Attendance Guidelines

Children who exhibit symptoms from the following types of infectious diseases, such as gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin or direct contact infections may be excluded from care at school, if it is determined that any of the following exist:

If a child becomes ill (persistent cough, fever over 100 degrees, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) during the preschool day, the child must be picked up immediately after notification of parent/guardian by staff.  In all cases, the Director’s judgment must be respected as he/she bears the responsibility for all children at the program.  It is important that parents/guardians keep phone numbers up to date at the program so that they may be reached if a child is ill. If your child becomes ill while at the program, we will provide a quiet area where he/she can rest while we contact you to come and take him/her home.  

Children may return to school 24 hours after diarrhea, vomiting or fever have subsided. Children with persistent symptoms (diarrhea, cough, runny nose, rashes) or a children who have been excluded from the program due to an infectious disease may be asked to bring a note from the doctor assuring the staff that they are no longer contagious and healthy enough to return to the program.  

Plan for Infection Control

Children and staff will wash their hands after using the bathroom, playing outside, coming into contact with bodily discharges or fluids (ex. wiping noses) and before eating.

Tables and surfaces are disinfected daily. Toys are cleaned and disinfected daily after use, or immediately if they have been mouthed.

Injury Prevention

Staff members check rooms and equipment daily to insure safety. Staff is directed to inform the director of any unsafe equipment or classroom environment.  If an injury occurs, an injury report is written and shared with parents if applicable.

Notification Immediately or at Pick Up

The standard procedure for immediate notification to parents by phone will be under the following circumstances:        

        An injury or illness requiring immediate medical attention, such as:

                eye injuries, fever or vomiting, headaches/head injuries, and/or

                inappropriate/unsafe behaviors

        

        An injury that will be reported at pick up:

                bloody nose (that has stopped bleeding), bruises and/or scrapes,

(that may require First Aid treatment), observation that a child just “does not seem like him/herself” and/or unsafe behaviors

The Director will use discretion to determine appropriate notification to parents in instances of illness, injury or behavior issues.

Medication Policy 

If your child requires medication, we will establish a plan for dispensing medication during the enrollment process. An annual evaluation will be held determining the ability of any staff authorized to administer medication to follow the medication administration procedures specified at 606 CMR 7.11(2).

Parents are required to provide written authorization by a licensed health care practitioner for administration of any non-topical, non-prescription medication to their child. Such authorization shall be valid for one year unless earlier revoked.

Please note: We are not permitted to administer the first dose of a medication prescribed to the child.

In anticipation that prescription medication might need to be dispensed to your child, we must have the following:

All Staff and teachers have completed a medication administration training. Before dispensing medication teachers will complete a Medication Administration Training as provided and required by EEC. If your child is administered any medication, all information will be recorded in the medication log (child’s name, teacher’s name, medication, dosage, date and time of administration). All medications will be kept in their original containers. They will be stored in a location which is not accessible to children. 

We will work to meet children's individual health care needs, including allergies. We will work with each family on a case by case basis to determine the plan that works best for their child including but not limited to EpiPen administration.

Individual Health Care Plan and Students with Disabilities

We plan to allow parents, with the written permission of their child's health care practitioner, to train staff in implementation of their child's individual healthcare plan.

We plan to ensure that all appropriate specific measures will be taken to ensure that the health requirements of children with disabilities are met, when children with disabilities are enrolled.

Abuse/Neglect

All staff members must report any and all suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the Director, DCF (Department of Children and Families) and the Department of Early Education and Care (ECC) immediately by telephone, followed by a written report within 48 hours.  As childcare providers we are mandated to report serious concerns and should have written documentation to present for review.

Referral Services

Referrals for further  appropriate social, mental health, educational and medical services including but not limited to dental check-up, vision or hearing screening for their child, will be provided should the program staff feel that an assessment for such additional services would benefit the child.  The director will observe and record the child’s behavior and review the child’s record prior to making a referral.  A date and time will be agreed upon to meet with parents to notify them of the program’s concern.

The Director will inform the parent of the availability of information. A current list of referral resources including the contact person for St. 1972, c. 766 and Early Intervention Program referral will be maintained in the office.

Notification by Parents of Changes in Critical Information

Parents are responsible to notify the Director of any changes in information contained in the registration forms for their children.  This includes changes in: address, home and work phone numbers, emergency contact phone numbers, who may or may not pick up the child, health status, etc.  As required by our child care license, we will ask parents to update their emergency information in writing at least 2 times per year.

Pick-Up Procedure

Children will only be released to their  parent/guardian and adults listed on their authorized pick-up list. Adults, other than parents/guardians, will be required, in addition, to provide photo identification when picking up a child.  If your child will be picked up by an adult, other than a parent/guardian, please let your child’s classroom teachers know when you drop your child off in the morning.

Transportation 

All students shall be dropped off in a classroom by an adult. Adults should walk children into the center and help students find their classroom. All students shall be picked up from their classroom by an adult on their authorized pick-up list. Parents are encouraged to carpool.

Family Information Sharing Policy

The Ready, Set, KIDS! Preschool takes lots of photos throughout the school day. These photos are only for internal use to help teachers reflect upon the students’ learning, as well as to share the learning with families. The photos will never be shared on social-media or any advertising materials without explicit permission from parents/guardians.

Each classroom will share a “class list” with the enrolled students’ families. This class list will include the student’s names and their parent/guardian’s email addresses. This class list can help with community building activities such as weekend playdates, meet-ups and birthday parties. If you would like to “opt-out” of having your email address included in the “class list”, please let your child’s teacher know before the start of the school year.

Donations

Ready Set Kids program always accepts donations of clean recyclable or reusable materials or toys: cardboard rollers, egg cartons, etc.  Check with the director to see if they have any specific needs.

Preschool Calendar 2019-2020

TBA: follows Arlington Public School calendar

                                        

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care will license this program and can be reached at:

360 Merrimack Street, Building 9, Third Floor

Lawrence, MA 01843

Phone: 978-681-9684

Fax: 978-689-7618

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