Dear Parents:

We are excited to welcome you all to our school family. We know you must have lots of questions. Please read through this handbook and let it act as a map.  It is designed to answer as many of your questions as possible, and to guide you through your time at The Little School. Our doors are always open to you, should you have any additional questions or just want to chat.  Our community is built by amazing families like yours, and we look forward to getting to know you all.

Warmest Regards,

Jennifer Adams, Founder, Executive Director

 

The History of the Little School

In the fall of 2004, founder Jennifer Adams began the search for quality childcare for her two young children as she began her plan to return to work as a school psychologist in a neighboring school district. It quickly became apparent that quality childcare was more difficult to find than anticipated, that high quality centers maintained extensive waiting lists, and that there was an obvious need for additional centers in the area.

After failing to find the center that was the best fit for her children, she decided to open her own school. At the same time all those ideas were churning in her head, Mary Swanson walked into her life. Mary had spent many years managing businesses and was ready to use those skills for a new adventure. Mary jumped right in and together they developed a blueprint for their new school. Through a series of very fortunate events, and lots of hard work, Jennifer opened her own school, with Mary as the first teacher. The first Little School opened in September 2005 in a beautiful wooded setting in southern Hillsborough with three classrooms, six teachers, and lots of plans and ideas.

After five years the school was bursting at the seams. With a desire and vision for a larger campus combined with the knowledge and experience gained from the first school, Jennifer and Mary made the decision to design and build their dream school. The Little School at Waterstone opened in January 2010.

In 2011, The Little School contracted with Duke University to create The Little School at Duke. After a year of renovations to what was the former Duke School for Children campus, the newest Little School campus opened in September of 2012.

What began as a lofty dream has become a vibrant and successful school and business. The original intention for Jennifer to find the perfect place for her own children, drives Jennifer and Mary’s continued commitment to the highest quality early childhood experience for the children in our care. We hope that this beginning will always define us as such a place.

Our Philosophy

The Little School’s driving forces, or Five Big Ideas, are born from a variety of sources and experiences.  The Little School today is a result of years of research, experience, discussion, and education.  When the school opened in 2005, the initial mission was to incorporate the Reggio approach into our school, including components such as a purposeful and beautiful learning environment, and a child-led curriculum focused on inspiration and discovery.  From there, as we learned and grew, we were propelled into a deeper appreciation of the impact of nature on children, the significance of purposeful observation and documentation of children, the power of a positive approach to discipline, and the potent responsibility we have to go beyond simply feeding our children, but to nourish their bodies.

In short, the Five Big Ideas:

Reggio

Natural Play

Observation and Portfolio

Conscious Discipline

Nourishment

These “Five Big Ideas” carry with them many of the same concepts – among them community, growth, choice, beauty, understanding, intent.  While each of these big ideas could stand alone, together, they grow and combine to create a broad framework for who we are as a school. The result is an educational program that is challenging, creative, nurturing child-centered, and pretty magical.

We are happy to share more information and articles on any of these Five Big Ideas.  A more detailed explanation of each can also be found on our website www.thelittleschool.net.

Our Campuses

The Little School of Hillsborough at Waterstone is a campus with five buildings bordering a central courtyard. The front building houses the administrative offices, art space, discovery area, dining room, and kitchen. The remaining four buildings are devoted to classrooms. They are loosely divided into buildings for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and pre-kindergarteners. Fenced play spaces with natural materials and gardens enclose the buildings on all sides.

The Little School at Duke is a campus with two buildings located on Duke campus.  One building houses the office, art space, kitchen and 4 classrooms. The other building houses 7 classrooms, along with a gross motor space, art space and administration office.  Fenced play spaces with natural materials and gardens enclose the buildings on all sides.

Our Ratio and Total Group Size

There are sixteen classrooms for children ages 12 weeks through 5 years. There are three teachers in each room. This allows for greater flexibility, closer observation and supervision, and most importantly more opportunities to build, close and secure relationships.

Age Ratio Group Size
Infants 1:3 9 Children
One’s 1:4 12 Children
Two’s 1:5 15 Children
Three’s 1:6 18 Children
4’s & 5’s 1:7 21 Children

*A 10% tuition reduction will be given for siblings. The discount for the second child will be taken off the lower rate. For families with more than two children, please see the Head of School to determine the tuition reduction.

*Tuition is not prorated; tuition will remain the same regardless of any absence, vacation, or holiday, or portion of month unused.

* On a rare occasion, the school may shift the ratio in a particular classroom.  In this instance, the tuition would also be amended.

Fee Schedule

Tuition is due on the 1st day of the month. At TLS Hillsborough checks should be made payable to The Little School and placed in the tuition box. At TLS Duke most families will have tuition taken from Payroll Deduction. This may take 2 months to set up. For other families, checks should be made payable to The Little School at Duke and delivered to the office.  At both schools a charge of $25 will be added for any payments received after the 3rd and will be added to the next month’s tuition payment. If tuition is not paid by the 15th of the month, the child may be withdrawn.

Our Day

Each classroom has its own unique personality, flow, schedule and activities. However, some components which will be incorporated into the regular schedule for all classrooms are:

Whole Group Activities

The “school day” generally begins in each classroom at approximately 9am with a morning meeting or “circle time”.  Children gather as a group for sharing, songs, and discussion of the day’s events. In addition to the morning meeting time, children generally are together as a whole classroom group for meal times, nap time, and morning and afternoon outdoor play.

Small group activities

During much of the day, we break into smaller groups in which a primary caregiver works with a small group of children. This small group time is used for investigation, discussion, and experimentation that may not be possible within the larger group.

Small groups may also participate in enrichment activities such as various sports games, dance, art, spanish, martial arts, and gardening.

The Structure of Learning

Our teachers are trained to observe and listen to children’s interests and thoughts and build their curriculum around these.  A topic of interest may extend across weeks or months or it may be focused and brief.  Teachers may provide a provocation or ponder a question, but they do not prepare a theme of the week, provide worksheets, or teach concepts out of context.  Children “learn their letters and numbers” by being immersed in an environment rich in language and mathematical experiences with activities that are meaningful to them.

Indoor Learning

Each classroom contains the areas or “learning centers” appropriate for the children’s age and developmental level that is required of all high-quality childcare centers and schools in North Carolina.  These include literacy and language, blocks, manipulatives, art and music, science and nature, and dramatic play. Our intention is to exceed these guidelines and also make these areas as beautiful, inspiring, and natural as possible.  Materials are presented to encourage curiosity and exploration, and the aesthetic of the learning environment is a priority.   

Outdoor learning

Engaging with the natural world is a strong component of our program. Conservation and stewardship are emphasized while we discover and investigate all that nature has to offer.  All the children, including our infants, spend time outdoors in all weather conditions. Rainy days mean puddles and streams. And mud!! Cold days are a chance to see our breath and feel snow. We follow the air quality guidelines in severe heat, and in temperatures below freezing we limit our outdoor adventures to a few minutes at a time.  But our general rule is there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. Please ensure that your child is properly dressed for the weather each day.

Meals

Mealtimes are a vital part of the children’s daily experience. It is an opportunity to try new foods, to take risks and discover new tastes, a chance to connect to their world around them, and practice independence. It is a time to listen to each other and be heard, to practice turn taking, and to expand their vocabulary.

It is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate our belief that children are capable and competent. We do not assume that children have only a limited repertoire of foods. Instead, we offer creative and delicious meals prepared by our chef that are child-friendly but also extraordinary.  We operate with the understanding that it can take one thousand tries before a child embraces a new food.  Our job is to encourage but not coerce.

A morning and afternoon snack is provided. This consists of sweet or savory freshly baked bread, crackers, granola or other sumptuous treat prepared by our chef accompanied by a fresh fruit or vegetable compilation.

Each family is expected to bring in a piece of fresh, uncut fruit or vegetable every day. Dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, or cherries are also welcome. This is an important contribution for each child to offer and can serve as an effective transition object between home and school.

Lunch is served family style. Meals are prepared using fresh, organic ingredients from our local farms as much as possible. Milk is provided by Maple View Farms. A weekly menu is posted on our website and in each classroom. A detailed description of each day’s menu is posted in the front hallway every morning.

Rest time

Between approximately 1pm to 3pm, the school rests. This is naptime for most children, but others rest and engage in quiet activities or listen to music or audiobooks while respecting their friends’ need for sleep. During this time teachers take personal breaks to refuel themselves for the afternoon.

For infants, many come to school still on a two-nap schedule.  When the children in the group are ready, teachers work to consolidate this nap to one and the group then all rests together.

We do not wake up sleeping children.  If a child is still asleep when rest time is over for the group, we will make the environment less conducive for sleeping with lights on and children moving about in the room.  If a child continues to sleep even through this, we consider this the child’s body telling us that he or she is still in need of rest and we respect that.

We also do not purposefully prevent children from falling asleep.  At times a parent will request this when bedtimes have become difficult.  We will provide activities on the child’s mat if he or she chooses to remain awake, but if the child falls asleep, we respect that need. We know that biologically and physiologically, sleep begets sleep, and often a child who is resisting bedtime is actually severely sleep deprived.

There are instances in which a child’s sleep pattern is creating a particular challenge.  In these cases, the teacher will work closely to develop a plan with the family to address the issue.

Admission Requirements and Enrollment Procedures

The Little School welcomes children from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, as well as children with special needs when the child’s needs can be met with reasonable accommodations. The Little School recognizes that all children bring their own unique gifts to our community, thus enriching the environment for us all.

Arrival and Departure

TLS Hillsborough is open from 7:15am to 6:00pm. TLS Duke is open from 6:00am to 6:00pm. Please remember to sign in and out EVERY DAY and be sure to greet the teacher, and support your child as he or she transitions from home to school. Teachers will help this transition by offering suggestions for an I Love You Ritual, or predictable ritual for you and your child to do together as you say good-bye.

Extended good-byes can be stressful for children. While parents are always welcome in their child’s classroom, it is usually better to read a book, tour the room, or hear about a project at pick-up at the end of the day when you have reunited with your child. Please remember to sign your child out at pick-up.

The school closes at 6:00pm.  We ask that children be picked up by 5:45pm, and infants by 5:40pm, to allow time for the transition at the end of the day. After 5:40pm our classrooms begin to combine to create time for our teachers to prepare for the next day. During this time you may or may not have an opportunity to speak with your child’s teacher. This is also a very active time for the school which makes it difficult to give every parent an accurate account of their child’s day. The best time to talk to your child’s teacher is at drop off, through email, or scheduling a parent/teacher conference. You will also see daily accounts on the “Today We…” boards and weekly in the newsletters.

Parents should only enter and exit through the front door of the school.  Entry through the play space gates is prohibited.

Arriving on time for pick-up is one of the most important things you can do to support the school. Your child has been working very hard all day and is anxiously awaiting your arrival.   It is important to allow time for a smooth, composed, and most importantly unhurried reunion with you. Our teachers need your support at this late hour as well. Time is built in at the end of their day to clean up and get organized for the next day and it is extremely important that this time is used for this purpose. We value their time with us as well as their time for their own lives and are very serious in our efforts to allow them to be efficient and focused so that they can leave when their day is done.

It is essential that your focus and attention be solely on your child during this time. Cell phones should not be used when in the parking lot and when in the buildings.

Parents must maintain current information on their contact list and authorized pick-up list. Only previously authorized adults will be allowed to pick-up a child, even in case of an emergency. If we do not recognize the person picking your child up, we will ask for identification.  Please be sure to alert anyone picking up your child that they should bring identification with them.

Parents are asked to please monitor their children while in the building and in their care. It is very important that we work together to help our children understand the importance of respecting each other and our community. If you allow your child to play with materials or in an area of the classroom, help your child clean up the materials when finished.

Late Policy

When a parent is late to pick up a child, anxiety is felt by everyone – the parent, the teacher, and most importantly, the child. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. If an emergency arises, please notify the school as soon as possible so that alternate arrangements can be made. If your child is picked up after 6:00pm, even with prior notice, and regardless of circumstances, your child will be in the office with an administrator, and the following late fees will apply:

When the parent is late they will receive an invoice from the school which reflects the late fee. The cycle of late pick-ups is reset every year and is calculated August 1 through July 31 of the next year.

Paying an additional fee can be frustrating, particularly when a parent has rushed to “beat the clock” and missed the closing time by mere minutes.  We understand that frustration, but ask that you appreciate the importance of having a strict cut-off time for our schools.

*If a child has not been picked up by 6:00 The Little School staff will attempt to reach both parents using all known contact numbers, then all listed emergency contact telephone numbers. In the event that no listed emergency contact is reached, at 7pm the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office or the Durham Sheriff’s Office will be contacted to help us find an appropriate person with whom to leave your child.

School Calendar

A yearly schedule of holidays and vacations is posted on the website for each school. The calendars for each school are a bit different, please make sure you click on the appropriate school.

Inclement Weather Policy

At TLS Hillsborough the decision to delay opening or close the school early for the day is not a decision made lightly.  We must consider road conditions and ensure that our teachers are able to arrive to work or get home safely.  We understand the responsibility we have to our working parents while also balancing our staff’s safety. Changes in schedule due to inclement weather will be posted on our website, the school’s Facebook page, and on WRAL by 7:00am.

At TLS Duke the decision to delay opening or close the school early for the day is not a decision made lightly.  Duke will advise us if we are going to be closing early or delayed – We follow the Inclement Weather Policy for Duke.

Transitioning into New Classrooms

While we roughly outline an age range for each classroom, our program is based upon the cognitive, emotional and social development of each child, rather than strictly chronological age.

As a general rule, children move classes all at once, when the new school year begins at the beginning of August.  As children prepare to transition to their new classes, they begin to visit their new classrooms and spaces several weeks in advance.

At times, a child may be ready to move mid-year. When this occurs, the next available opening will be offered.  However, our community is very stable as a whole and spaces may not become readily available in the next classroom until the summer transition.

Some teachers prefer to move with the children, while most choose to remain within their current classroom.  We respect our teachers’ choices and work to meet their requests when at all possible.

What Children Need to Bring to School

Children should wear washable play clothes to school that are comfortable and appropriate for the season. We play hard and get messy often. We change clothes often so children need at least two clean, weather appropriate changes of clothing every day in their cubby.

The children all sleep on mats or cots at naptime. Parents are asked to bring in a standard crib sheet, or a week’s worth in our infant classrooms, to cover the sleeping service. If your child has a special blanket or stuffed animal that is required during sleep time, please have it available on a regular basis.

Otherwise, all toys and other personal items should be left at home at all times. In addition, please keep candy, gum, money, and jewelry at home. These items can be difficult to share or get lost or broken. If your child is having breakfast “on the go” they should finish eating before entering the classroom.

Children may be asked to each bring in an umbrella, raincoat and rain boots for nature walks and play in the rain.

LABEL EVERYTHING THAT COMES TO SCHOOL!! It is amazing the amount of lovely clothes, coats, and shoes that go into our lost and found each year.

A Special Note to the Parents of Infants

Infant room parents must label everything with the child’s name. Any bottles or food must be labeled every day with their child’s name and date. Breast milk may be frozen in the classroom freezer for up to one week in a clear plastic container as long as it is labeled and dated. Any bottle or food that is not labeled and dated will not be served. When a child is trying new foods, we ask that the first introduction to a new food be done at home and be repeated for several days before bringing it to school. Our teachers are experts on infant weaning and will work closely with you when your child is ready.

For children with an older sibling in another room, we ask that you drop the infant off last in the morning and pick him or her up first in the afternoon. We try very hard to limit the exposure of our infants who are still developing their immunity. It is also difficult for our teachers to manage older children when they are (understandably) excited to be playing with the babies.

Potty Training

When your child is ready, teachers will work closely with you to develop a plan for success.  Readiness at school may be different than being ready for the potty at home.  We consider a child ready when they feel the urge to go, initiate the request to go to the potty on his or her own, recognizes and demonstrates discomfort when wet or soiled, and has the fine motor and self-help skills to dress and undress independently.

At school, we will not force your child to sit on the potty.  Instead, we will encourage, motivate, and support the children to choose to use the potty. If sitting on the potty seems to cause the child distress, the teacher will not force the child to stay seated on the potty.

Children should remain in diapers while potty “practicing”. When the parent or caregiver is in charge of when the child is going to the potty (as opposed to the child initiating) we consider this “practicing.”  While this is a very important part of potty training, your child is not ready yet ready to come to school in underwear. We will practice at school several times a day during this period as well, but underwear should wait until accidents are infrequent.

Celebrations

Children’s birthdays are an exciting time and we enjoy sharing in the joy of these celebrations. Usually, celebrations take place during our afternoon snack time at around 3:00. Parents are welcome to come and help us serve snack and enjoy the festivities.  Please coordinate with your child’s teacher at least three days in advance. Parents may bring in a commercially prepared healthy party snack or you may choose to request that the chef prepare the classroom treat for a nominal fee per child. Chef-prepared treats include 100% fruit popsicles, yogurt parfaits, shortbread cookies, special muffins and popcorn for older children. This is not required by any means and is a personal choice for you to make. We will celebrate anyway so a snack is not necessary, just icing on the cake (or bran muffin as the case may be).  If you choose to bring in a birthday snack, please adhere to the school’s nutritional guidelines.  Establishing healthy eating habits now is very important to us and we ask that parents support us, and each other, in this effort.

There are many healthy options that children have loved in the past.

Suggestions include:

Bagels and cream cheese

Yogurt and muffins

Cheese sticks

Fruit and veggie trays

Smoothies

Fruit juice or fruit popsicles

The following items are not allowed at birthday celebrations at school: favors, decorations, small toy treats, or party bags. These items should be saved for your child’s party at home. We ask that parents not bring in invitations unless every child in the class is invited. Classroom rosters are available from your child’s teacher.

Parent Participation

The Little School maintains an open-door policy and parents are welcome and invited at any point in the day. We invite parents to be involved and share in your child’s school experience. If you have items, books, or experiences that reflect what the children are learning, please let your child’s teacher know. Parents are also welcome to assist in the classrooms in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

Parents are encouraged to present their own ideas for participation as well. Let us know your talents and interests so we can put them to good use! It is our hope that everyone in the child’s community is informed and involved in the school as a whole.

Communication

Parents of children in the infant class will receive an individualized daily report. All children have a portfolio documenting their development, including observations, artwork and photographs.  The teachers will provide a snapshot of the day on a  “Today We” board in the classroom.  Teachers send out a weekly email with a more detailed description of the happenings in the classroom and announcements of upcoming events or topics of study.  Please be sure to read these consistently.

In addition to your classroom teacher, we have mentor teachers.  These individuals are veteran teachers of the school and are in place to provide support and expertise in the classrooms.  They are available to parents and families for support, advice, encouragement, or to assist with any issues that arise in the classroom.

If an issue arises that needs to be negotiated, we ask that the discussion take place outside of the child’s presence. We are happy to discuss any aspect of your child’s development, school policies, or goings-on in the school.  We want to hear from our families before an itch becomes an issue!  However, we respect our children’s right to privacy and take confidentiality very seriously. We will not discuss another child with someone who is not a parent or family member.

It is important to remember that while communication is important, it is the teacher’s’ primary responsibility to supervise the children at all times. If you are requiring more than a quick check-in with your child’s teacher, please schedule a time to see them one-on-one.

Discipline and Behavior Management

We use Conscious Discipline at The Little School.  Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive classroom management program and a social-emotional curriculum, focused on developing self regulation skills, or self control.  Self-control is not pretending to be calm in difficult moments. Self-control is the ability to reach out and empathize with others; to accept and celebrate differences; to communicate feelings directly; resolve conflicts in constructive ways; and to enjoy becoming a contributing member of a community.

It has been specifically designed to make changes in the lives of adults first. The adults, in turn, change the lives of children. These powers allow teachers to draw from within themselves to become proactive instead of reactive during moments of conflict. Teachers stay in control of themselves and positively influence children.

Conscious Discipline skills include maintaining composure, setting limits respectfully, building self-esteem and willpower through allowing choices, empathy, assuming positive intent, and helping children learn from their mistakes.

We focus on what we want the children to do, rather what not to do.  Our goal is to help children choose to be successful instead of attempting to coerce or control them to behave. 
We focus on making connections with children so that when a conflict arises, trust and understanding is already established and children are motivated to cooperate.  
We do not “save” children from the consequences of their actions.  Rather we help children handle disappointing choices and empathize rather than lecture. We view conflicts as opportunities to teach and utilize these moments to guide children to handle the conflict rather than punish them for not knowing how to solve the issue.

If a child begins to demonstrate a need for more support, a behavior plan may be put into place. A behavior plan is designed to address the child’s challenge by evaluating the environment, instruction, and interactions in order to support the child. Teachers, parents, mentors and/or the directors work together to develop and agree upon strategies to prevent and/or respond to a challenging behavior, plan for the implementation of strategies and review the plan for effectiveness.

If a more intensive plan is appropriate to the circumstances, the director may invite a behavioral specialist from Orange County Child Care Services (or other appropriate agency) into the classroom to observe the child’s behavior.

If a child’s behavior is dangerous to themselves or others on an on-going basis and there is no response to the interventions put into place, the family may be asked to find a more suitable program to support their child.  However, this is only done after all other interventions and strategies have been put into place, sufficient time is allowed to determine the response to interventions, and the highest level of support the school can provide is offered and the behavior continues despite the support.

Health Policy

Maintaining the health and wellness of our children is both the school’s and family’s’ responsibility.  When a child becomes sick or is not feeling well enough to participate in the day’s activities we remove the child from the classroom to the office or other quiet area and parents will be notified immediately. When you are notified that your child is sick is critical that all efforts are made to come to the school to pick up the child as soon as possible. If it is going to be more than one hour before you are able to arrive to pick up your child, we ask that you make arrangements for another person on your authorized pick up list to come for the child.

Please know that before we make that call, we have done everything in our power to make the child comfortable and meet the child’s needs.  When we make the decision to call the parent, we do so knowing that we are asking the parent to leave their work or other responsibilities. While we understand the difficulties this causes, it is our job to protect the children in our care and to create the healthiest environment as possible for the children and teachers.

A child must be symptom-free, without a fever, vomit or diarrhea for 24 hours and well enough to participate in all activities, including outdoor play, before returning to school. Please refer to the Wellness Guidelines for more detailed information regarding specific illnesses.

We ask that parents use good judgment and common sense when considering bringing their child back to school after an illness. If a child is sent home in the afternoon due to illness, the child should stay at home the entire next day and return in the morning of the following day. In addition, if a child is sick with a contagious illness, it is best practice for parents to also keep siblings at home to try to limit further exposure.

We work very hard to keep the school germ free by washing our hands A LOT, disinfecting toys, and teaching the children healthy practices such as coughing into their elbow and wiping noses with a tissue. We ask our families to support our efforts by always washing hands upon arrival, informing us about illnesses, and maintaining healthy practices in their homes.

Parents are asked to notify the school if a child is going to be absent from school, particularly if this is due to a contagious illness such as pink eye or chicken pox, etc. In these cases, parents of the child’s classmates will be notified that there is an illness in the room, but your child’s privacy will be respected.

Head Lice Procedure

To prevent the spread of lice we follow the guidelines on these websites:

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/prevent.html

http://children.webmd.com/news/20110119/fda-approves-new-head-lice-treatment

Administering Medication

As a group-care setting for well children, The Little School staff members do not administer any prescription medication at any time even with a doctor’s note or prescription, with the exception of inhalers. In addition, The Little School teachers will not administer any over the counter medication EXCEPT non-prescription diaper ointment in its original container as long as it is not expired and with a completed and signed medication form available from your child’s teacher. Decisions regarding other over the counter topical medications will be determined on a case by case basis by the directors of The Little School. No medications can ever be left at the school in a diaper bag or cubby at any time.

Sunscreen is applied once a day in the summer months if the child has a signed administration form. The school uses Blue Lizard brand sunscreen. Parents are asked to apply sunscreen in the morning before arriving to school.

First Aid

In case of an accident, staff members will use standard first aid procedures. Employees are CPR and first aid certified. If we feel medical attention is required, we will call the proper emergency personnel and then call your designated contacts. If an accident or injury occurs during the day that does not require a doctor’s attention, our teachers complete an “Oops Form”. This form outlines specifically what occurred and our response. In addition to the form if the injury involves the head, face, or broken skin we will also notify the parents. If a child causes an injury to another child such as a bite or scratch, we use the Oops for both the child harmed and the child who caused the incident. We do not share the children’s names with the other families. The Oops form serves as a way to inform our parents, and as a tool for the school to problem solve and track behavior during the day.

 

Guidelines for Preventing Child Abuse and Child Neglect

The Little School will:

  1. Screen applicants with thorough background checks, including talking with last employer.
  2. Develop clear guidelines on behavior management.
  3. Immediately report any observations or incidents of suspected child abuse or child neglect – for legal, ethical and self-protection reasons.
  4. Provide some opportunities for caregivers to have some relief – breaks, caregivers, etc.
  5. Maintain manageable group sizes. 6. Have clear substitute policies and an up-to-date list of well trained substitutes.
  6. Don’t hesitate to talk to parents of children who are disruptive and to insist on professional help when it is needed.
  7. Make provisions for regular in-service training.
  8. Evaluate staff often. Visit classrooms frequently.
  9. Don’t hesitate to terminate an employee who has overstepped reasonable discipline practices.
  10. Insure through adequate staffing and policies that no child is ever our of sight of a caregiver.
  11. Make sure caregivers have adequate knowledge of child development so that children’s social/emotional and physical needs are met.
  12. When appropriate, report complaints you have received concerning other caregivers (to DSS or DCD).
  13. Hire all new staff for a probationary period.
  14. Develop procedures for recording all injuries or accidents involving children. Include the date, time of incident, description of incident, and any action taken by staff. Also record any unusual marks or bruises that a child has upon arrival so that they cannot be attributed to the program.

Any suspicion of abuse or neglect must be reported immediately to either the Mentor Teacher or any other member of the Leadership Team. Failure to report suspicion of abuse or neglect will result in immediate termination. Reports may be made orally, by telephone or in writing. Reports shall include information as is known to the person making it including the name and address of juvenile and family (guardian); nature and extent of any injury or condition resulting from abuse or neglect; and any other information which the person making the report believes might be helpful in establishing the need for protective services or court intervention.

North Carolina law requires any person who suspects child abuse or neglect to report the case to the county department of social services. In addition, any person can call the Division of Child Development at 919-662-4499 or 1-800-859-0829 and make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect in a child care operation. Reports can be made anonymously. A person cannot be held liable for a report made in good faith. The operator of the program must notify parents of children currently enrolled in writing of the substantiation of any abuse/neglect complaint or the issuance of any administrative action against the child care facility.

Healthy Environment Guidelines

One of the aspects of NC’s licensing requirements for quality childcare centers considers the way in which a healthy and sanitary environment is maintained.  A cleaning schedule is required and parents must be informed of the process.

Cleaning Schedule

Daily Person Responsible: Teachers (End of day)

Infant Cleaning Checklist (in addition to above):

Additional Nightly Cleaning:

Cleaning Checklist – Weekly Person Responsible: Teachers

Monthly Cleaning Checklist:

Additional Cleaning Every six months:

 

Well Child Guidelines

Please use the guide below to help make decisions about the appropriateness of bringing your child to school.

Vomiting

When a child vomits at school he or she must go home. The only exception is if there is an obvious and immediate reason, such as gagging on a bite of food. A child must remain out of school for 24 hours after the last vomiting episode.

Diarrhea

More than 3 watery stools, not simply loose stools, in a single day is considered infectious OR if a child has a single episode where the diarrhea can not be contained by their diaper. A child must stay home for 24 hours after the last episode of diarrhea.

 

Conjunctivitis

If a child presents with symptoms the parents will be notified, and care will be determined by the parent. If more than 2 children present symptoms the health authorities may be called to determine the cause.

Fever

Your child needs to be fever free, without the aid of medication, for 24 hours to be considered free of infection. A fever is defined as a temperature over 101 degrees. A child must remain out of school until fever free, without the aid of medication, for at least 24 hours.

Ear Infection

This is not considered infectious, but the cold that can lead to it is. Please go by these symptoms.

Antibiotics

Your child is no longer contagious after being on antibiotics and fever free for 24 hours.

Colds, Sore Throat

Unless accompanied by fever or other symptoms, your child is considered safe to attend. Please simply judge how your child feels.  Two aspects to consider when making the decision:

 

Coughing

If the cough is persistent to such a degree that a child is unable to participate in both indoor and outdoor activities, he or she must stay home.

 

Lethargy

If your child is symptom free, yet unable to participate in either indoor or outdoor activities he or she must go home.