Parent Handbook

Welcome To Growing Years Preschool!

We look forward to getting to know your family during the school year. This handbook is a valuable tool that will lead you through our program and answer questions you may have.

Our Goals

  • To provide a nurturing environment where self concepts are enhanced, independence encouraged, social skills acquired and individuality respected.
  • To provide children with opportunities to gain competence in a variety of skills such as; art, science, music, movement, and language arts, through hands – on experiences.
  • To provide an atmosphere that promotes respect for each other.
  • To develop in the child, an active curiosity about the world in which they live and an enthusiasm for learning.

We encourage you to communicate with us and share information about your child and your family. This will allow us to provide an optimum learning environment for your child.

Your suggestions and comments, as well as your support, are always welcome and very much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Shalimar Moniz, Director

Our Philosophy

We believe that each child’s development should be an even and well balanced progression that allows success socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively, and creatively.

We believe that it is the process not the product which is most important. Learning and development occur within a process and are not sought directly as a goal, but as a journey of discovery.

We believe that play is one of the most important tools to assess a child’s development. Through play we can observe a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, creative, and physical selves.

We believe that children learn best through hands-on, interactive experiences, therefore our curriculum is based on child interests and our classrooms are set up to promote exploration.

We believe that a positive preschool experience filled with love, respect, friends, play, praise, confidence, imagination, acknowledgment, playdough, dancing, tricycles, singing, blocks, hugs, stories, exploration, creativity, fun, independence, laughter, painting, science, cooking, puppets and games, is the foundation for a life-long love of learning!

Growing Years is operated on a non-discriminating basis and no one shall be denied enrollment because of race, color, religion, or national origin. Our goals are to provide a loving, caring atmosphere in which a child grows in self-confidence and self esteem.

Curriculum

We know that children learn best through hands-on experiences therefore our curriculum is designed to offer the best opportunities for children to explore in a child-centered environment. We use child initiated themes as the basis of our curriculum and we believe that play is the best way in which children learn new skills and process concepts. In our daily program you will find a balance of child directed and teacher directed activities, long periods of uninterrupted playtime, and lots of hands-on activities.

Some of the activities offered in our program include dramatic play, block building, art activities, puzzles, literature (flannel board stories, books, puppetry, etc.) science, cooking, music and movement, games (for concepts of size, shape, colors, sequence, letters, numbers, discrimination and identification), outdoor play activities and field trips.

In addition to child and teacher initiated themes, we feel it’s important to expose the children to customs and traditions of other cultures. We encourage families to share their rich heritage with our school by bringing in articles from home, speaking in our classrooms, and helping us celebrate our diversity. If there are special days your family would like to share with our classes, please make arrangements with the director and your child’s teacher.

We acknowledge and celebrate many holidays throughout the year. Some of these holidays are celebrated with parties, while others are taught as part of our curriculum. Throughout the year we will be celebrating / learning about the following holidays; Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.

Our Classes

The children in our program are divided into small groups according to age. We have a teacher/child ratio of 1/10, sometimes 2/16. Group size may vary on any given day.

Our Staff

We employ highly qualified teachers and experience low staff turnover. All teachers are required to complete the appropriate college units in the subject of Early Childhood Development and Early Childhood Education. All staff members are CPR and First Aid certified and re-certified every 2 years. Staff members take part in yearly workshops and conferences to obtain professional growth. All staff members have been screened by the Department of Social Services. Background checks and finger print clearance is required by all staff members prior to employment.

Discipline

Development of positive self-image for the children is very important to all the staff of Growing Years Preschool. Sharing, cooperation, patience, and kindness toward others are stressed. Corporal punishment or frightening techniques are never used in disciplining. It is expected that the children will function within a simple set of rules that have been established.

Growing Years Preschool has three basic rules which must be adhered to by the children.

  • You may not hurt yourself.
  • You may not hurt others.
  • You may not harm school property.

There are three means of disciplinary techniques used in helping the children follow the guidelines set.

  • Observation and timely interference before a negative situation develops.
  • Redirecting the child to a new activity.
  • Time Out, sitting the child aside from the group to think about what he/she did. It is important that the teacher discuss with the child his/her behavior.

It is expected that when any behavior problem of extreme nature persists, a teacher will ask the parent to meet and discuss the situation.

In serious cases, if your child is found to be frequently abusive to the other students his/her enrollment will be immediately terminated.

Health Policy

Your child must be up to date on all immunizations and be in good general health. For the health of your child and all others, please keep your child at home if they are sick or not feeling well. If your child stays at home due to illness, we require a phone call from the parent explaining the child’s symptoms regardless if they are contagious or not. Health regulations require parents to notify the school of any contagious disease or serious illness so that we can inform the other families of the symptoms and help contain the number of outbreaks.

All parents will be notified of any communicable diseases that may be circulating through the preschool. The school will use the following guidelines for a child’s return to school after recovering from a communicable disease:

  • Strep Throat: Stay at home for at least 24 hours of treatment and fever free for 24 hours.
  • Chicken Pox: Stay at home until all pox are scabbed over. This can be anywhere from 5 – 10 days.
  • Head Lice: May only return following 2 treatments. Any nits (egg pockets) are completely off hair. Treatments are usually given 7 – 10 days apart.
  • Pink Eye: May not return until treatment has been started, eyes are clear and there is no discharge in the corners.

A doctor’s release may be required to re-enter after any illness if the director feels it is necessary.

Your child may be sent home if he/she appears to have symptoms of illness during the day. In such cases, the child is immediately isolated from others (e.g. resting in the book corner), and a parent is contacted. We ask that you make arrangements to have your child picked up within 30 minutes of being notified of their illness.

If your child is recovering from an illness (but is no longer contagious) and requires medication, it may be given at school if:

  • The child’s name, date and the correct dosage are on the label.
  • A medication form has been completed and signed by the parent upon leaving the medication with a teacher.

NEVER LEAVE MEDICATIONS IN YOUR CHILD’S CONTAINER.

Health Policy

Keep your child home if he/she:

  • has an illness that prevents him/her from participating comfortably in school activities.
  • has an illness that results in a need for greater care than the staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of the other children.
  • has had a temperature of 100° or greater (children will not be allowed to return to school until they’re fever free for a 24 hour period)
  • has a fresh cold, one that is less than 2 days old
  • has a heavy nasal discharge or constant cough that needs to be checked by a physician
  • has uncontrolled diarrhea (may not return until diarrhea stops completely)
  • has two or more episodes of vomiting in the previous 24 hours
  • has the symptoms of a possibly communicable disease

Children with a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting will not be allowed to return to school until they are symptom free for 24 hours.

Payment Policy

Tuition is payable in advance. Tuition payments can be made weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Monthly: payment is due the first day your child attends in the first week of each month.
Bi-weekly: payment is due on the first day of the first and third week in the month.
Weekly: payment is due on the first day your child attends each week.

Dates on which tuition is due are based on Monday being your child’s first day of school each week. You may adjust the dates to fit your particular attendance schedule (i.e. if Tuesday if your child’s first day of attendance in the week your payment can be made on Tuesday’s instead of Monday’s).

When paying by cash please give your payment directly to a staff member so a receipt can be given. Do Not Put Cash in The Tuition Box!

Late tuition payments are subject to a late fee of $20.00 per day.

Additional Fees:

  • Returned Check Fee: $50.00 (must be paid in cash)
  • Re-Deposited Check Fee: $20.00
  • If two checks are returned due to insufficient funds you will be required to pay in cash for the remainder of the school year.

If your child misses an entire week of school (Monday – Friday), half of your weekly tuition rate is due for that week. If your child attends any of his/her scheduled days during that week, the entire amount of tuition is due.

Refund Policy: If for any reason you make an overpayment of tuition, the overage will be credited to your next tuition payment.

Tuition during vacations must be paid in advance prior to your vacation time.

If multiple parties are sharing the cost of the child’s tuition, please make arrangements between yourselves to insure that tuition is paid. The person who enrolled the child and signed the admission agreement will be held responsible for tuition.

Supply Fee

A supply fee of $50.00 will be charged for each child at the beginning of the school year. This is a yearly and non-refundable fee. The supply fee will be applied to the cost of your child’s portfolio with any remaining funds going towards the purchase of art supplies or other classroom materials.

Fundraising

Growing Years offers fundraising opportunities twice a year (Fall and Spring). The money raised from the fundraisers goes directly to the purchase of items for our school (paint, paper, art materials, tricycles, scooters, books, playground equipment, etc.).

In addition to our school fundraisers, Growing Years also participates in fundraisers for organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The children are active participants in the fundraising by completing a Mini March or Trike-A-Thon and obtaining sponsors to support them.

The support and participation in our school fundraisers is greatly appreciated but not mandatory.

Holding Fee

A non-refundable holding fee in the amount equal to one month tuition (at your current tuition rate) will be accepted if your child will not be attending Growing Years during the summer session. A holding fee will not be accepted during the school year. If for some reason your child will be absent for an extended period of time, Growing Years reserves the right to fill your child’s position in the program.

Notice Of Withdrawal

Should it become necessary to withdraw your child from Growing Years Preschool, we require a two week notice in writing. If your child is withdrawn without a two week notice you are responsible for paying tuition for that two week period at the full rate. This is necessary to insure that Growing Years continues to receive the estimated income to meet its operational costs. If you have pre-paid your tuition, the balance, excluding the two week notice period will be refunded.

Absences And Tardies

If your child is ill or coming in late we ask that you call and notify the school. This helps the teachers plan their day more efficiently. We do not allow schedule changes in order to make up absences nor do we grant refunds for holidays or illness.

To maintain the flow of our daily program, we ask that you try to schedule doctor visits and other such appointments towards the end of the day. Children who are dropped off well into the day have a harder time transitioning in and we find it to be disruptive to our program. If your child is not at school by 12:00 they will be considered absent for the day. Midday drop offs will not be permitted.

Arrival And Dismissal

Children must be brought into the classroom by a responsible adult, signed in, and a teacher made aware of their presence. A child may not leave the school grounds until he/she has been released to a responsible adult. It is state regulation that all children be signed in and out daily. Adults must sign their full name and time when signing in and out.

Late Fee: There is late charge for any child not picked up on time. The charge is $1.00 for every minute after 6:00pm. This fee must be paid in CASH, directly to the closing teacher who waits with your child.

Pick Up Authorization

No individuals other than a parent/guardian or person stated on the release form, is permitted to take a child off school grounds unless the parent/guardian has given written consent. In an emergency a parent may phone or write a note giving authorization. Any “unknown” person(s) picking-up will need proper photo identification before the child will be released.

Newsletters and Notes

You will receive a monthly newsletter and many notes during the year, informing you of curriculum, parent events, special functions, field trips, and other important information. Please read these carefully, thereby aligning with our goal to communicate with you clearly and efficiently.

Parent Conferences

You may request a conference at any time with your child’s teachers regarding issues concerning you or your child. Conferences can be scheduled before 9:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. You must notify your child’s teacher in advance so that she is able to find coverage for her classroom. If you need to talk to a teacher through the course of the day the best time to call is between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Formal conferencing is conducted in the Fall and Spring.

Holidays

Growing Years Preschool is closed in observance of the following holidays:
Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day (and the Friday following), Christmas Eve through New Years Day (possibly 2 full weeks, the week of Christmas and the week after).

In addition to holidays, Growing Years Preschool will be closed 2-3 times per year for Staff Development. Development days provide staff with up to date information on child development and daycare operation issues. Guest speakers and workshops help staff focus on ways to improve our service to the children and their families. We will provide parents with specific dates at least 30 days in advance.

Clothing

Children should be comfortable at all times. Clothing should be appropriate for the changing weather. Outside playtime is a part of our daily schedule year round. Make sure your child is wearing appropriate outside play clothes (jackets, sweatshirts, etc.). Children should wear play shoes with rubber grip soles for climbing and running. LABEL all jackets, sweaters, coats and other outer garments with your child’s name. We are not responsible for missing objects so make sure all items are clearly labeled.

Our program includes messy, hands-on activities. Clothes worn to school are guaranteed to get soiled and stained regardless if smocks are worn. Send your child in play clothes that are o.k. to get dirty. Make sure your child has a complete set of spare clothes at school (underwear, pants, socks, shirt). Clothing should be placed in a plastic freezer bag clearly labeled with your child’s name. Your child will need these spare clothes in case of potty accidents, water play, spills, etc. Please remember to replace them immediately if they are used and sent home.

Potty Accidents

Our state license allows Growing Years to care only for children who are completely toilet trained. Diapers / Pull Ups are not allowed. We expect toileting accidents from time to time and we know adjustment to a new setting may be accompanied by some toileting issues.

Children who frequently wet or soil their clothing and continue to do so will be considered for temporary dismissal. Each child’s situation will be considered on an individual basis depending on how many days they attend, how often they are wetting, and if there are any other outside circumstances that may be attributing to their wetting.

Before temporary dismissal, contact with the parents through meetings / phone conversations will take place, involving the child’s main teacher and the director. In the interest of the child, a position will be held for a two week period if the child is asked to withdraw due to wetting. If after this period of time the child is still not fully ready to return they will be placed on priority standing on our waiting list.

Share Days

Share days are every Wednesday and Thursday. Share items must be able to fit in your child’s container. Children may not bring toy weapons of any kind or action figures with small pieces. Books and CD’s (age appropriate) may be brought to school any day.

Birthday Celebrations

Each child’s birthday is a special occasion. Birthday boys and girls are given a special birthday crown and their class will help them celebrate by singing “Happy Birthday”. Parents are welcome to bring a snack to share with the class. Snack suggestions that are acceptable; fruit, cookies, cereal bars, yogurt, ice cream cups, rice krispie treats. We prefer that you send items that can be handled easily by the children with minimum mess. Cake and cupcakes are not allowed. Talk to your child’s teacher for more suggestions on what to bring and for how many students.

Snacks and Lunch

The children are served a morning and afternoon snack of juice/water, crackers, fruit, cheese or cookies. Our lunch program follows the state food program guidelines and varies daily. All lunches are served with 1% low fat milk. If your child has food allergies or must follow a special diet, please submit the information in writing to the director. Lunch and snack menus are prepared monthly and are posted in the front entrance.

Breakfast may be brought from home and eaten at school up until 7:30 a.m. Any leftover food will be discarded so bring an appropriate portion.

Programs

Half Day Program (7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
Children enrolled in the half day program should arrive by 8:50 a.m. Please do not be late. Late arrivals miss out on a core part of our program as well as being disruptive to the instruction in progress. Children enrolled in the half day program may arrive as early as 7:30 a.m. if needed, and must be picked up between 11:45 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

Due to the limited parking space, we ask that parents refrain from lingering during half day pick up. This is a busy time for staff as well, so if you need to talk to a staff member please make arrangements to speak at another time.

Extended Half Day (pick up by 12:45 p.m.)
Children enrolled in the extended half day program will eat lunch with their class then be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. Children must be picked up by 12:45 p.m. as not to disturb the full day students who will be preparing for their nap time.

Full Day Program (6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
Children enrolled in the full day program should arrive by 8:50 a.m. Please do not be late. Late arrivals miss out on a core part of our program as well as being disruptive to the instruction in progress.

Children enrolled in the full day program may arrive as early as 6:30 a.m. if needed, and should be picked up between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. If your child is picked up after 6:00 p.m. you will be charged a late fee of $1.00 per minute. Late fees must be paid in cash to the closing staff member.

Nap Time / Rest Time

Children enrolled in the full day program are required to nap/rest from 1:00 pm -3 :00pm. Children are not forced to sleep but rather encouraged by gentle music and back rubbing. If a child cannot sleep, quiet resting is encouraged.

Children are assigned their own mat for nap time. Mat covers (sheets) are provided and are removed and washed at school on a weekly basis. Children may bring a CRIB SIZE blanket from home. Blankets are stored in each child’s mat and sent home at the end of the week for washing. Please remember to return your child’s nap blanket promptly the following week.

Inspection Authority Of The Department

Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing
1515 Clay St. Suite 1102
Oakland, Ca. 94612
(510) 622-2602

Section 101200
(b) The Department or licensing agency shall have the authority to interview children or staff and to inspect and audit child or facility records without prior consent.
(1) The licensee shall make provisions for private interviews with any
child(ren), or any staff member, and for the examination of all records
relating to the operation of the facility.
(C) The Department or licensing agency shall have the authority to observe the physical condition of the child(ren), including conditions which could indicate abuse, neglect, or inappropriate placement, and to have a licensed medical professional physically examine the child(ren).

Note: Authority cited: Section 1596.81, Health and Safety Code. Reference: Sections 1596.72, 1596.73, 1596.81, 1596.852 and 1596.853 health and safety code.