Little Discoveries Childcare/Preschool
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Little Discoveries
Childcare/Preschool

…where the little things are discovered!!

Parent Handbook

Dear Families,
           
            We would like to extend a big hello to you and your family.  It is my mission to ensure your child’s emotional, cognitive, intellectual, and physical well being during the most important years of their lives.  My philosophy is as follows:

Every child is different and unique in everything he/she does.  It is this knowledge and experience that my philosophy is based on.  I fully agree with the stages of development in Piaget’s theory.  It would be inhuman to expect every child to accomplish the same tasks and skills at the same age as each other.  Everyone should have the opportunity to reach their milestones at their own rate.  Children that are placed under my wing will have the ability to adjust, develop, and succeed at their own pace.  I will be there for guidance and appraisal, which is required by their young minds.  With the proper assistance and role models around, every child will be able to form his/her own identity.
                         

Thank you for joining our family. 
 
 
As one great big family, “our” children will sure be bright individuals and positive role models for their children and grandchildren.

 

Introduction

      Thank you for choosing Little Discoveries Child Care/Preschool.  I am a professional childcare provider, who has been operating since 1995.  I have accomplished my AAS degree in Early Childhood Education in the year 2001 from Prairie State College and my Bachelor's of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2007.  My prior experience is that of a Certified Nurses Assistant of five years and a Site Supervisor of the summer camps for South Suburban Special Recreation Association (SSSRA) for six years.  To gain an understanding of the operations of our childcare, I compiled this handbook.  It covers all policies, procedures, and expectations of parents, children and myself.  Please read this handbook in its entirety and feel free to discuss with me any questions that you may have. Each parent will receive a hard copy of the handbook along with any necessary forms for enrollment during a scheduled interview visit. It is requested that the child/children be present during the interview visit to allow the children and provider to meet. This helps to cut down or eliminate any possible first day hesitations or jitters.



Admission and Enrollment Procedures


1.   One half-hour visit to the family child care facility for you and your child to meet with the provider.  During this visit, I will answer any questions that you may have and provide you with a sense of security and critical information about our family facility.  This visit provides an introduction to me and the environment, which will help to reduce first-day fears.


2.  After a confirmation of your reservation has been made for enrollment, you must provide the following forms:

  • Handbook Agreement
  • Child Information Form/Enrollment Record
  • Contract Agreement
  • Day Care Consent Form
  • Medical Record Form/Physical Form
  • Emergency Consent Form with complete addresses listed in child pick-up section
  • Travel and Activity Authorization
  • Deposit: One Full time week
  • Registration Fee
  • Signed acknowledgement of standards book received
  • Food program registration form
  • Picture Permission 
  • Transportation form/School pick-up/drop-off
  • **If you are a client of the Department of Human Services, all forms must be completed with copies of paystubs submitted and kept on file at the daycare facility.



Hours of Operation


Little Discoveries Home Childcare/Preschool operates Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Evening and odd-hour care is only on a contractual basis.  Please make an appointment with Fran to discuss further details.  If your child is called off on a scheduled day, payment is still required.

Major holidays will be observed.  (Exact dates will be provided upon enrollment and by the last Friday in attendance in December.)
 

There will be 10 days throughout the year that I am entitled to as paid days for emergency/personal days. 

* If your child is usually here on any of the days mentioned, payment is due for that day.
**If you receive state assistance, payment for listed holidays is due out of pocket.

I close for two weeks during the year for my family vacation.  A two-month notice will be given for these dates.

New Year's Day                                                                   Thurs, Jan 1, 2015

Personal days        Thurs, February 5 & Fri, 6, 2015

Personal day        Fri, March 13, 2015

Good Friday (Friday before Easter)                                 Fri, Apri 3, 2015

Memorial Day                                                                     Mon, May 25, 2015

Independence Observance                                                Fri, July 3rd close @ 3pm exactly 

Clean-up & Clean-out day Record review                      Fri, July 17, 2015

Labor Day                                                                          Mon, Sept. 7, 2015

Veteran's Day                                                                     Wed, Nov 11, 2015

Thanksgiving Observance       Wed, Nov 25, 2015 close @ 3pm

Thanksgiving Day                                                              Thurs, Nov. 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Friday                                                          Fri, Nov. 27, 2015

Christmas Observance        Wed Dec 23 clsoe at 3pm

Christmas Eve                                                                    Thurs, Dec. 24, 2015

Christmas Day                                                                    Fri, Dec 25, 2015

New Year's Eve                                                                   Thurs, Dec 31, 2015

New Year's Day                                                                  Fri, Jan 1, 2016                                                                          

The above days are paid holidays as noted in contract. Full payment is due. Payment is due by all State assistance clients as well. 




Payment Plans and Fee Schedule


This Fee Schedule Effective November 1, 2013
Child’s Age
                                                       Full Time week       Part Time
Infant – 24 months                                            $185.00                      $4.50
24 months – 36 months                                     $165.00                      $4.50
36 months – 5 years                                          $165.00                      $4.50
children attending all day school (vacations)    $125.00                      $4.50

children attending all day school*                                   $95.00 plus transportation $20/week                        

1.  A nonrefundable registration fee of $35.00 per child shall be paid upon enrollment or $50.00 per family.
2.  
A one-week deposit is required at registration. The deposit will be credited to your acclount and used in your final week of enrollment. It is not a first week's tuition payment.
3.  Attendance hours must agree with "scheduled hours" noted on the contract form unless a 24 hour notice is given and agreed upon.
4. If your child is not here by 9:00am, they may not come unless arrangements were made at least 24 hours in advance.

5. Late fees of $1.00 per minute for children picked up later than contracted times will be due at drop-off on the next business day.  Fees start at 15 minutes late. Contract times should be updated if lateness becomes routine.
6. Weekly fees are due by Monday at drop off time for that week.  If payment is not received, your child cannot stay and a $5.00 late fee per day will be due at drop off of next day in attendance, but not to exceed $25.00 at which time the termination process will begin. Payments in advance are welcomed.
7. Fees cover all basic supplies and food.  Parents of infants must supply diapers/Pull-ups, wipes, formula, jarred baby food and soy produts (if needed).
8.  20% discount is given to additional children from the same immediate family.
9.  
Rate changes are evaluated annually, with four weeks notice.
10.  
If you have the day off, I expect your child to be with you. Children grow so fast, take this opportunity to spend time bonding wth your child. Ultimately, the care of the child is the parents' responsibility. 
11.  
Schedule changes must be given in writing one week prior to the change.
12.  
Payment is still required and due ‘on time’ as noted above for any personal or vacation days.  Payment is not due for my weekly vacations.
13. School rates include any single days off.  This would include parent-teacher conferences, teacher institute days, emergency closings, etc.  The only time rate changes for school-age children is during weeks of more than three off days are scheduled.

14. If we are under severe or threatening weather conditions, we are closed (tornadoes, blizzard-like conditions, severe wind chills and/or temperatures, power outages or interruptions in water and/or power supply. Typically, if the schools are closed then so are we.

15. There will be a $35 charge for all checks returned nsf plus any additional charges incurred to myself and/or the bank. Once a check is returned nsf, no additional checks will be accepted. Cash or money order payments will be expected.
*16.  Transportation is available dependant on the facility's availability schedule.  A nominal fee of $20.00 per week full time for local schools or $5.00 per local trip is due with tuition payment at the beginning of the week. (Rates are subject to change depending on economic issues, distance traveled and gasoline rates.) 

17. Upon acceptance into the Little Discoveries program, an agreed upon time schedule will be documented and expected to be abided by by both parties. If an unforeseen chnge in time occurs, the parent is to notify the provider of the change as early as possible. It is the parent's responsibility to arrange for pick-up of the child/ren at the agreed time.

In case of emergency, illness or other unexpected situation resulting in the retrieval of your child/ren, it is expected that the parent pick up the child/ren or make arrangements within 30 minutes of parent contract. If the parent is unreachable, the emergency contact person listed on the Child Application Form will be contacted and the same measure must be taken to retrieve the child.

Please be sure to keep all phone numbers, cell numbers and contact information up to date at all times. This will help in ensuring the best possible care for the children.


                                                          State Assistance Fees Procedures

1. All paperwork will complete and submitted to Little Discoveries for processing. Any applications, re-determinations or requested documents will be handled through LIttle Discoveries where a copy of all documents will be kept on file. 

2. A full two week deposit is reuired to start. Any money paid will be aplied to the state assigned co-pay once accepted into the program. If a denial is received, all payments scedules and handbook terms will be expected to be followed.

3. The state assigned co-payment is due at the beginning of the month, or at the beginning of the week. An agreement must be signed as the payment schedule.

4. Unfortunately, the state does not pay what Little Discoveries charges. Therefore, the parent is responsible for paying the difference. Since the rates vary by family based on State acceptance and co-pay amounts, please see Fran for exact rates due.

5. The State program does not pay for the following holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Thanksgiving Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.  The parent is resonsible for paying the daily rate on these holidays.

6. It is the parent's responsibility to sign the Child Care Certificte at the end of the month for payment by the state. If the form is not signed, the parent will be help responsible for the month's tuition.

If there are any questions, please feel free to ask...that's what we are here for!

 

                     Types of Developmental Activities


Free Play
Free play provides an opportunity for children to direct their own learning.  The caregiver supervises and helps children, but the child directs the play.  There are various centers that the children use for free play during the day.  While doing this, they are developing:
Cooperation – learning to play with others
Social skills – pretending helps children express their opinions and views
Fine motor skills – using scissors, drawing with crayons or pencils help children strengthen their fine motor skills
Math and reading readiness – playing independently with learning toys gets children ready to learn math and reading


Planned Activities
Children also learn through planned activities.  These activities are usually short, but structured, in order to introduce a new concept or reinforce concepts already learned by the children.  Activities include:
Stories which provide time for reading-readiness skills of listening & retelling, and moral reasoning.
Exercise to strengthen overall health and muscles.
Music with instruments and singing to develop both vocabulary and listening skills.
Arts and craft activities to build on a child’s imagination.
Backyard science experiments to help children begin to learn about the world around them and how they fit into it.
At times, we may send a small list of recyclables to be brought in by you to make our projects possible.

Computers
With the growing technology, we have two computers for the children’s use.  Basic keyboarding skills will be taught in addition to practicing the alphabet, numbers, shapes, sorting, etc.  For the older child, JuniorNet will be installed to assist in surfing the web safely.

 School-age children

Homework time for the children attending school will be given in a quiet place at a desk or table directly from returning from school. We offer homework support. We are not a tutoring facility. A timeframe of 30-45 minutes will be allowed based on their age. Any additional time needed for homework will be done at home. If tutoring is requested, the fees for doing so will be at your expense and based on availability.



Health Policies and Procedures

First-aid procedures:

  • Red Cross first aid and poison center guidelines will be followed.
  • Provider and assistants are certified in Emergency Care and CPR for infants, children, and adults annually.
  • A first-aid kit containing items meeting the DCFS standards will be on the premises and accompanying the group on all field trips.
  • Parents will be notified of accidents, and an injury record is kept for each child.


Medical emergencies:

  • Immediate first aid will be given.
  • Ambulance will be called and paramedic recommendations followed.
  • Parents will be notified as soon as possible.
  • When parents are not available, your emergency reference will be called.
  • Parents are responsible for any expenses as a result of emergency room care, ambulance, etc.
  • Hospital used for emergencies is St. James Hospital, Chicago Heights.


Communicable disease prevention and reporting:

  • Your child must be current with his/her immunizations.
  • Your child may not attend if he/she has a communicable disease.
  • Each child is observed daily for illness.
  • Individual bedding, towels, washcloths, glasses, etc., will be used to minimize the spread of infection.

Hand washing, diapering, sanitizing and laundering policies

  • Childcare providers will wash hands before and after diapering, toileting, eating, handling and preparing food, and handling contaminated materials.
  • Diapers will be changed regularly and immediately after soiling.  Bottoms will be thoroughly cleaned, and ointment/cream will be applied as needed. 
  • Bedding and toys will be laundered once a week or as needed.
  • Bottles and nipples will be washed in the dishwasher and rinsed again with hot water before filling.

Management of medication:

  • All prescribed medication must be labeled with the child’s name, directions, date issued and doctor’s name and must be accompanied by written permission from the parent for dispensing.
  • Medications must be contained in the original containers as prescribed.

Health records:

  • Immunization records must be up to date and a complete physical must be received, not older than 6 months. Updated physicals are due annually.
  • Lead screening and tuberculin tests must be done on children nine months or older.

 Illness:

If your child becomes ill during the day, you will be notified and expected to pick your child up within 1.5 hours or make arrangements for emergency contact persons to pick up in specified time frame.

If your child will be missing childcare due to illness, please notify me by phone the previous evening or the morning of the absence.

If your child has any of the following symptoms, he/she may not be in attendance until the symptom has cleared up: 

  • a continuous cough and/or runny nose for more than two consecutive days
  • if your child has a fever of 100.0 orally, 101 rectally, or 99 via the armpit or higher
  • vomitting
  • diarrhea
  • sore throat
  • draining eyes or ears
  • unexplained rash
  • lice

If you are not sure your child is well enough to attend child care, please call and discuss it with me.

Masking your child's symptoms with over-the-counter medications and bringing them to care anyway is not allowed and could be cause for immediate termination. It is also inconsiderate to al lfamilies involved. A sick child should be allowed to recuperate fully at home after an illness so that the other children and provder do not risk unnecessary exposure. If you are unable to stay at home with your sick child it will e necessary for you to make arrangements at your own expense. If your child is out ill, regular fees still apply.

Your child may e brought to care if they have a common cold (which means a slight cough (no "bark"), clear runny nose, sneezing); however I will call you if your child is just plain miserable (whinig, crying, repeatedly asking for you). You child should not attend if they are not feeling well enough to participate in our daily activities (i.e. a child wanting to sleep all day, lay on the couch/cot and watch tv, etc.).

I have the right to refuse a child that I believe is exhibiting signs of being ill. I am responsible for the health and well-being of many children so I will closely follow health department regulations when it ocmes to illness. I understand and respect your need to be at work, but your cooperation is extrememly important on this.



    Discipline Policy:
    One of our goals is to be sure the children learn appropriate behavior.  We want children to act with:

    • Self-control
    • Self-worth
    • Respect for others
    • Obedience
    • Manners

    To help children reinforce these actions, we:

    • Model the behaviors that we want to see in the children
    • Establish clear, consistent and simple limits
    • Explain the reasons for rules
    • Remain positive in our approach
    • Understand that all children are unique individuals and will act differently to all situations

    In most cases, the way we encourage these actions is to reinforce positive behavior. 

    In some cases, however, discipline is necessary.  Before discipline of any kind is administered, a review of the other possible causes will be considered.  Is the child sick, tired, hungry, or did something outside the facility trigger the behavior?

    When discipline is necessary, we will:

    • Redirect the child’s attention to an acceptable action
    • Explain the negative behavior and help the child identify solutions
    • Time-out – a time to cool off and change attitudes
    • Miss-out – a lost privilege, within reason
    • All discipline is followed with a big hug and smile to let the child know that they are still loved and it is their action that was wrong, they are not "a bad kid".  No child will ever experience the feeling of not being wanted or feel ashamed of their actions while enrolled here.

     

    Incident Reporting


    When a serious incident involves a child in this childcare setting, an incident report is made.  This information is provided to the parent/guardian, licensing board and insurance company.  The purpose of these reports is to inform and follow-up on actions taken concerning the incident.  Incident reports are made for the following serious incidents:

    • Injuries involving serious accidents, falls (2ft. or more) or motor vehicles.
    • Unexpected illness, contagious disease
    • Poisoning or medication error
    • Aggressive or unusual behavior
      In addition, the childcare provider is required by law to report any observed or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Child Protective Services Department.


    Environmental Safety Policies


    The following safety measures are taken to provide a safe learning environment for the children.  Most importantly, children are continually supervised, and the home is maintaining the proper staff/child ratio as set out by DCFS:

    • Community service telephone numbers are posted by the telephone (police, fire, hospital, ambulance, and poison-control center).
    • The play yard is free of dangerous objects such as broken glass, construction tools, lawn tools, etc.
    • Cribs, high chairs, playpens, and other equipment are safe and work well.
    • Small or broken toys are removed.
    • Old electrical outlets have childproof covers.
    • Furniture and equipment are maintained to ensure safety.
    • Fire extinguishers are placed on both levels of the facility.
    • Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors are placed on both levels and near the furnace area.
       
      Things that can cause harm to children are kept out of reach:
    • No cords or table cloths are hanging
    • Knives, razors, matches, cleaning supplies, medicines and other toxic substances locked in cabinets.
    • No guns in the house.
    • No smoking is allowed at any time inside or on the property.     
                      
       
                       
                               
      Discharge Policy


    Child Withdrawal
    If the parent or guardian deems it necessary to withdraw a child from care, he/she must give a four-week paid notice to me prior to withdrawal in writing.  The deposit, amounting to one week of care, will be kept if a parent/guardian neglects to provide a four-week notice.  A payment arrangement must be made for the additional three weeks.  If payment is not received, I can and will refer your name to MoneyQuest, Inc. Collection Services where an additional 25% of balance due will be added to the original balance for collection fees, along with a $25.00 filing fee imposed by the collection services.

    Child Discharge
    It might be necessary for me to give notice to a parent/guardian to stop caring for a child.  I will give the parent/guardian a ten-day notice prior to ceasing care.  In rare cases of severe problems, I may be forced to release the child from care without giving any notice.  Care may be terminated for the following reasons:

    • Child is increasingly unhappy and unable to become comfortable with the family child care facility.
    • Child consistently physically or verbally hurts other children.
    • Parent/guardian routinely abuses drop-off and pick-up times.
    • Parent/guardian doesn’t pay childcare fees on time.
    • Parent/guardian does not work with the childcare provider as a team to provide consistent guidance and discipline.


    Other Policies

    You are welcome to visit at any time.
    Smoking is never allowed in the facility.  If you must smoke, please be courteous and do not litter the premises with the cigarette butts and wrappers.
    Parents may call to check up on their child at any time.   If I am unavailable, your message will be returned within 2 hours.  Please don’t panic if the phone is not answered, it just means I am tending to the children.
    Blankets and other security items are welcome however, please do not encourage your child to bring toys that they are unwilling to share.
    We are a no tolerance facility.  Please do not allow your child to bring play guns, swords, or squirt guns of any size.