LITTLE LIGHTS CHRISTIAN EARLY LEARNING CENTER
PARENT HANDBOOK of Policies & Procedures
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Admission and Registration
Ages of Children Served and Hours of Operation
Americans with Disabilities Act & Non-Discriminatory Policy
Children’s Arrival & Departure Policies, Unauthorized Pickup, Late Departure Fees
Children’s Location throughout the Day
Children’s Services for Meeting Developmental Concerns
Communication & Newsletters
Curriculum and Learning Environment
Days Closed, Full Day and Preschool Only
Illness: General, Medication Administration, Reporting Communicable Illnesses
Licensing and Certificates
Miscellaneous Policies: Dismissal, Licensing Violations, Reporting Child Abuse, Significant Changes, Withdrawal
Snacks and Meals
Video and Television Viewing Policy
Agreement to Policies and Procedures Statement
ADMISSION AND REGISTRATION
After your opportunity to visit our program and meet with our Director, a consideration will be made together whether our program will meet your child’s and your family’s needs. If an opening is not currently available, your child’s name will be added to our wait list. Your desire for your child’s admission to our program indicates you support the Christian teaching environment that we provide.
Before your child’s first day of school, you will need to complete the following required forms and pay the registration fee. Starred forms need to be updated on an annual basis.
Registration/Emergency Info form* – completed by parent
Health Status/Physician’s Statement* – signed by your child’s physician
Immunization Record* – also signed by your child’s physician or staff
Release form – parent permission for photos, field trips, sunscreen, etc.
Including agreement to Little Lights' Parent Handbook of Policies & Procedures by checking box on form
The registration fee is due annually and is used towards parent/teacher conferences. Registration fees are invoiced in March to reserve a place for your child in our classroom for the following school year beginning in September. After August 1 the registration fee is non-refundable. If any families need to change their plans by withdrawing their child after August 1, the registration fee collected will be applied to our scholarship fund.
AGES OF CHILDREN SERVED AND HOURS OF OPERATION
Our Morning Preschool/Pre-K program is offered Monday through Friday, from 8:45 to 11:45 am for children 2 ½ to 5 years of age. The Afternoon Pre-K session, offered Monday through Wednesday, is for children 4 & 5 years old, and meets from 12:45 to 3:30 pm. Our Full Day Program, which includes the Preschool session, is available Monday through Friday, for any hours between 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. The enrollment for these programs is based on space available.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT & NON-DISCRIMINATORY POLICY
As outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.), we integrate children with special needs with typically developing children in the classrooms. We welcome all children who can benefit from our program with reasonable accommodations.
In compliance with title VI of the Civil Rights Act, it is the policy of Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center to employ and/or provide benefits and services to all persons without regard to race, sex, color, and national or ethnic origin.
BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT POLICY
Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center strives to assist children in learning self-control and ways to express their differences with others appropriately. Everyone is expected to be kind and considerate to one another and to make choices that are safe for all. Teachers offer positive guidance by stating what the child can do and redirecting inappropriate behavior. Teachers also help the children to “use their words” to express what they are feeling.
If there is a continual recurrence of inappropriate behavior, we will meet with the child's parent/s. Together we will strategize behavior management techniques and agree on logical consequences to use both at school and at home, to positively improve the pattern of behavior. Parenting and child development resources, both written and on-line will be shared at that time. Teachers and parents will be in close contact with each other, sharing experiences at home and at school as we work together for their child.
If the inappropriate behavior continues, parents and teachers will meet again for discussion, support, and teamwork in addressing this need. The visit of a specialist (therapist or mental health consultant) will be arranged either for observation here at school or for a personal appointment with the parent/child only in their office, for their educated expertise in the matter as now home/school/therapist work together for the benefit of the child.
CHILDRENS ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE POLICIES
Each classroom has a sign in/sign out book. It is most important for you to sign your child in when you drop off and to sign them out when you pick up, noting the time of day. This provides a written record of your child’s attendance and an accurate record for the day in case of an emergency. Please make eye contact with one of the teachers in the room as you arrive or pickup if they are involved with another child, so they know the presence or departure of your child. Note: Whenever the children move from one location to another the teachers check to be sure every child is accounted for.
Only those adults you have listed on your child’s form will be allowed to pick up your child. It is important for you to make a notation in writing on your child’s sign in sheet when you expect someone other than the regular person to be picking up your child on a certain day. Our teachers will not release your child, without a personal call made to you, when they have not been informed in advance, even if that person is authorized to pick up.
Emergencies do arise. If something comes up and you have had to ask someone else to pick up your child, you must call to inform us so that we will be expecting them. You may be asked to fax written authorization if we do not recognize your voice. If your child’s teacher does not know the person picking up, identification will be asked for and checked before releasing your child to them. A staff member will check each classroom before leaving for the day to be sure all children have been picked up.
–ATTEMPT OF UNAUTHORIZED PICKUP
If an individual, not authorized by parent/guardian, attempts to pick up a child, we will not release to them. The parent/guardian will be contacted by phone. If they are unavailable, we will contact, in order of listing, those adults referenced by the parent as authorized for emergency contact and authorized for pick up.
–LATE DEPARTURE FEES
We close at 5:30 pm. Please call if you will be late. Parents arriving after 5:30 pm will be charged $1.00 per minute late, which fee is due and payable to the staff member who has stayed late with your child. At 5:35 pm we will begin calling emergency contacts on your child’s record if we have not heard from you. After all emergency contacts have been exhausted, the authorities will be contacted at 5:45 pm.
Your child will have their own cubby, to put art projects or other items in to take home; and a coat hook, for a place to hang their coat with space to place their boots beneath. Please label your child’s belongings with their name. Be aware of what your child is bringing to school as we cannot be responsible for lost or broken items. If your child should need a change of clothes while at school, we have a supply on hand. Please wash and return the clothing items your child needed to borrow. If your child is staying for nap, they may bring one soft item that would fit easily into their cubby to sleep with.
CHILDREN’S LOCATION THROUGHOUT THE DAY
If you arrive when the children are away from the classroom, please check with the Director, who will assist you. During the day the Director may contact individual classroom teachers or review the written daily attendance record to determine, at any time, who is present at the center.
CHILDREN’S SERVICES FOR MEETING DEVELOPMENTAL CONCERNS
Child Find is a government-mandated program to provide services to children through your local school district. The contact number for families living within Adams 12 School District is 720-972-6145 and for those living within Brighton School District 27J, the number is 303-655-2946. Children can be screened (a free service) in speech, language, hearing, social/emotional/behavioral, and physical developmental areas. Our staff is very helpful, knowing that preschool children who receive the intervention they need are less likely to have any ongoing delays.
COMMUNICATION AND NEWSLETTERS
You are welcome to visit your child at any time of the day or feel free to call your child’s teacher, while kindly being considerate of your child’s needs as well as the responsibilities of your child’s teacher. Each of our families will receive a monthly newsletter containing general information, parent notes of interest, upcoming activities in your child’s classroom, learning themes, special events, requests for assists, etc., to help provide a strong contact between school and home.
CURRICULUM AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center exists to partner with you in surrounding your child with a loving, experience-rich environment in which to learn and grow. We know that every child is a unique creation of God; with their own personality, learning style, needs, and interests. We have developed a broad-based curriculum to provide your child with a variety of learning experiences using themes, interest centers, and book extensions.
Our staff truly enjoy interacting with young children and are educated in the field of early childhood. They are dedicated to helping provide an environment where your child can develop physically, learn social skills, know they are uniquely valued, while stimulating their intellectual curiosity and creativity. Through teacher guided play children understand new concepts, build self-confidence, and develop new skills. A copy of our basic curriculum structure is available on our website, Curriculum Basis link.
Little Lights seeks also to present the truth of God’s Word, the Bible, in a way young children can understand and relate to. They learn that God created everything in this world, that prayer is talking to God, that Jesus is God’s Son and learn how He wants us to treat one another.
Each classroom follows a basic, flexible schedule designed to meet the current needs of the children. It is filled with a balance of activities to meet your child’s developmental needs and to provide for their personal care. This gives organization and structure to your child’s day. Schedules are posted in the individual classrooms.
–FULL DAY PROGRAM
Our center is closed on six major holidays. Tuition fees for our Full Day Program include payment for these as our full-time staff receives holiday pay. Our center is also closed the week between Christmas & New Year’s Day, plus the last week of August. Parents are not charged for these two weeks. (Please see our current calendar for actual dates.)
Paid Holiday Closures (with unpaid closures in parenthesis):
September – Labor Day
November – Thanksgiving Day and day after
December – Christmas (Week between Christmas & New Years’ is not paid by parent)
January – New Year’s Day
May – Memorial Day
July – Independence Day
August – (Last week of August for Fall Preparation & Staff Training is not paid by parent)
–PRESCHOOL ONLY SESSIONS, HAVE ADDITIONAL CLOSURES AS FOLLOWS:
Our Preschool is in session the traditional school year, from September through May. In order to provide for Parent/Teacher conferences and in consideration of the local school district calendar, we are closed the following days, in addition to those stated above. Parents of "Preschool Only" children are not charged for the days our Preschool session is closed. (Please see our current calendar for the actual dates.)
October – Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences & Staff Development, three days
November – Veterans' Day & an additional day before Thanksgiving
December – One additional week of Christmas Break
January – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February – Professional Development Day for Staff, Presidents' Day, & two days for Spring P/T Conferences
March – Week of Spring Break
ALLERGIC REACTION: Children’s food and environmental allergies are posted in the kitchen and classroom and followed carefully. If at any time a child displays hives and/or vomiting, parents will be contacted immediately and Benedryl will be administered. If a child experiences an allergic reaction that causes difficulty breathing, an Epipen, if on hand, will be administered, and 911 will be called as well as the parents. Staff members are certified in First Aid/CPR and will continue to provide aid until help arrives.
ATTEMPT OF UNAUTHORIZED PICKUP: If an individual, not authorized by parent/guardian, attempts to pick up a child, we will not release child to them. The authorized parent/guardian will be contacted by phone. If they are unavailable, we will contact, in order of listing, those adults referenced by the parent as authorized emergency contacts.
EMERGENCY TRANSPORTATION: If an emergency (other than physical) exists, requiring personal transportation, a Director, Assistant Director, or Early Childhood Teacher will be available to provide transportation.
EVACUATION OF PREMISES: If for any reason we would need to evacuate our school, an example would be due to a fire; we will call/email/text parents, transport the children, and wait for your arrival. Our evacuation site is just south of us (144th & I-25) at Hilton Garden/Candlewood Inns (managed together) at 14362 Lincoln Way, Thornton, 80023, Phone: 303-255-1000 or 303-227-3505, Aryell Mattern, General Manager.
FIRE: Fire evacuation plans are posted in each classroom by the door. We have a monitored fire alarm system. If a detector senses smoke or fire, an alarm will sound in our school and will automatically notify North Metro Fire Department for their response. An orderly evacuation of the school will begin immediately, followed by contacting parents to come pick up their child. Drills are scheduled by the Director, at various times, so everyone is familiar with the routine and conduct of same. Our school is also inspected annually by the Fire Department for fire safety. A child with any physical disability preventing them from walking on their own will be carried to safety.
INJURY/ACCIDENT/ILLNESS: If a child is hurt while at school, an accident report form will be completed so the parents will know the details of the incident. Parents will sign the form to acknowledge they were advised. If the accident is more than a scrape or small cut, for example, a lump from being hit by a swing, parents will be called to inform them of the accident. In the event of an accident requiring immediate professional medical assistance, 911 and the parents will be called. If a child becomes ill while at school the parent will be called to pick up and their child will wait in the office for their arrival.
LOCKDOWN/INTRUDER: If an unknown person, perceived in any way as a threat, enters our property or attempts to enter our school, 911 will be called immediately. Any children/teachers on the playground will immediately called inside and the door to the playground will be locked. (All other doors are locked throughout the day.) Children and teachers will take cover inside being protected from windows and kept out of sight. Parents will be notified. If a SHOOTER somehow enters our school, 911 will have already been called, teachers will lock their own classroom doors and, with children, will huddle in a tight-knit, quiet group behind the protection of our heavy classroom tables turned on their side.
LOCKOUT or SHELTER-IN-PLACE: If a nearby school or news alert informs us of a threat in the area, we will be on guard and begin our “Lock Out” procedures. Any children/teachers on the playground will be called in. All exterior doors will remain locked. The Director or Assistant Director’s sole responsibility will be to monitor the reports being received from the police and maintain a visual of our school grounds. Upon hearing local news, parents may choose to pick up their child, at any time, by coming to the door (no one will be allowed in the school as a way to monitor each person) and we will release their child, at the door, to them.
MISSING PERSON: Teachers are required to continually account for each child. In the event a child is missing, our staff will search the building and playground. If not found, the police and the child’s parents will be notified while our staff begins searching the area surrounding the school.
PHONE: During hours of operation, a phone is available to staff to receive incoming calls and place outgoing calls. Local emergency phone numbers are posted by the phones, as well as the number for Poison Control. If our phone service is down, staff will use personal cell phones to complete calls.
POWER FAILURE: Each classroom has windows to the outside so no one will be in the dark. A phone is also available for emergency calls in the event of a power failure.
SEVERE WEATHER CLOSURE: Please view our website home page or check Channel 4 News. If Adams 12 School District is closed, we will close our Preschool/Pre-K sessions as well. If we must close our Full Day Program, parents will receive a personal call notifying them of same. In the event of blizzard conditions occurring during the day, the staff will care for the children at the center until the parents/guardians can pick them up. Please be aware of weather conditions and plan to pick up your child early if severe weather is approaching.
TORNADO: In the event of a tornado alert by our weather radio, Pre-K children will sit along the long interior wall of their classroom with heavy tables laid on edge for further protection. Preschool children will move into the main hallway and restrooms for their protection. Drills are scheduled in the spring so all are familiar with the routine and precautions.
UNFORESEEN CLOSURE: Parents will be notified by email/phone/text, to pick up their child if for some reason the school would need to close during the day.
WATER FAILURE: If we were to lose our water supply and it could not be restored within a reasonable amount of time, parents will be notified by email/phone to pick up their child.
WILDLIFE EMERGENCY: In the event a snake is sighted on our property, the children will be kept away from the area. If the snake is on our playground, the children will reenter the school. In either case, our snake remover will be called to collect it. In the event a wild animal is spotted, the children will remain inside the school until we have watched the animal move way beyond our two acre property.
If a field trip is planned, parents will receive notice of details well in advance and must turn in a field trip permission slip and any applicable fees in order for their child to go. The same adult/child ratio is maintained on a field trip as at the center and emergency information on the children is brought along. Each vehicle will be driven by a licensed driver, and have proper seat belts/car seats for each child. A cell phone will be available for emergencies.
If you arrive at the center finding your child’s group has already left, you may drive to their field trip location and personally connect with your child’s teacher for your child to join the group. Children transported by the center must return by the transportation arranged by the center so that all children will be accounted for.
ILLNESS and MEDICINE ADMINISTRATION
All of us together are working to maintain a germ-free as possible environment by each of us (teacher and parent/child) being responsible to stay home when sick or a family member is sick, exercise good personal hygiene, and keep our environment clean.
When a child is ill they must be kept home or picked up from school if the symptoms begin after their arrival. This is for the comfort of your child and the consideration of the other children at school as well. Illness symptoms include:
Temperature over l00 degrees, orally, (or less depending on child’s normal temperature)
Intestinal disturbance accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting
Any undiagnosed rash
Sore or discharging eyes or ears; runny nose/nasal discharge
Any symptoms indicating a contagious illness as new cough, sore throat, body aches
Children’s little bodies do a great job fighting off all kinds of germs and recovering from illnesses with rest, fluids, and fever reducing medicine if needed. If your child’s symptoms persist beyond 48 to 72 hours or if they worsen (such as a high fever, bad cough, continual sore throat, trouble breathing, unexplained rash, continual vomiting or diarrhea, lethargy, or other concern), call your child’s doctor. Your child may return to school when they feel well again (runny nose/cough symptoms gone).
With an illness requiring antibiotics, your child will need to be taking the antibiotics for over 24 hours before returning to school, an example would be strep. It is important for you to call us to advise us of your child’s absence and to inform us of the symptoms or diagnosed illness your child is experiencing so that we may pass this information on to other families whose children may have possibly been exposed.
The preferred arrangement is for all medicine to be taken at home. Often the doctor can adjust the prescription to do so.
For medicine to be administered at school, State regulations require you to have your doctor complete and sign an Authorization for Medication form (print from our website) which requires your signed permission as well. Without this, we are unable to give your child the medicine he/she needs. Medication must be in its original pharmacy container, appropriately labeled by the pharmacy. Please give the completed authorization form and the medicine to the Director. A staff person trained in Medicine Administration, delegated per the Nurse Practice Act to dispense the medicine according to the doctor’s instructions, will provide for your child.
Non-prescription or over-the-counter medicines would also require an Authorization to Administer Medicine form from your child’s doctor and written parent permission as well.
–REPORTING COMMUNICABLE ILLNESSES
It is a State regulation for you to inform us immediately if your child is diagnosed with a communicable illness such as hepatitis, measles, mumps, meningitis, diphtheria, rubella, salmonella, tuberculosis, giardia or shigella. Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center will then notify Tri-County Health Department @ 303-288-6816. Please inform us even if your child has just been exposed to one of these communicable illnesses.
If a child is hurt while at school, an accident report form will be completed so the parents will know the details of the incident. Parents will sign the form to acknowledge they were advised. In the event of an accident requiring professional medical assistance, 911 and the parents will be called.
This is a time to share with the children, at a level they can understand, an event and/or teaching from the Bible, and to sing songs to remind them of what we are learning. Led by the Director, this introduces the children to the love of God, our Creator, and His Son, Jesus.
LICENSING AND CERTIFICATES
Current Fire and Health Department inspection reports are on file. Upon your request, you may review them. Our current licensing certificate is posted. Teacher/child ratios are posted in each room.
Admission to Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center is a privilege, not a right and there are some situations that we are just not equipped to handle. Some situations that may result in dismissal include, continually late tuition payments, determining a group care environment is not what is best for your child, a family’s continual discontent with our program, or a child requiring constant one-on-one adult supervision.
If you would like to file a complaint about child care or licensing violations, you may contact:
Colorado Department of Human Services - Office of Early Childhood
Division of Child Care
1575 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80202 Phone: 303-866-5958
–REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
By law, Little Lights Early Learning Center is required to report any suspected signs of child abuse or neglect to the Adams County Department of Social Services, Human Services Building, 4430 S. Adams County Pkwy, Brighton, CO 80601. Phone #303-659-2120.
Any significant changes to our policies, procedures, or services will be provided to parents in writing so they can decide if our center continues to meet the needs of their child.
If your needs change and you need to withdraw your child from Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center; a two-week written notice is required.
Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center is a non-profit entity as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and further classified as a public charity. Contributions made to Little Lights are tax deductible. A receipt will be given at the time of the gift.
Time to play outdoors, which is important for growth and development, is scheduled into each day. On days the weather is inclement or extremely cold, large muscle activities will be provided in our indoor playroom. It is important to label coats and jackets with your child’s name.
Two events are scheduled each year to allow the children to share with their family some of the things they enjoy or have learned at school. This is also a great opportunity for families to get to know each other as well. Our Christmas Program celebrates the birth of Jesus and is scheduled mid-December, just before Christmas break. Our Year-End Celebration is scheduled late May.
During February our Community Helpers/Occupational unit takes place. Here is another way for you to be involved in your child’s experience at school. We invite you to make arrangements with your child’s teacher to share your job, or an area of interest you have, with the children in your child’s classroom. This activity has become a much-enjoyed highlight of our school year as the children and teachers both appreciate your visit and learn so very much!
Our regularly scheduled Parent/Teacher Conferences are held in October and February are designed to build relationships with parents, share teaching strategies, and discuss observations of child development. It is our desire to be able to meet with every parent. A conference can also be scheduled by a parent or by a teacher anytime to make additional connections.
A limited amount of tuition scholarships are available to Pre-K aged children for those families who can demonstrate need, with Board approval.
SNACKS & MEALS
Children attending our Preschool/PreK morning session are served a snack, at approximately 9:45 am (or 2:45 pm if attending our Afternoon PreK). Snack consists of two different food groups. Children attending our Full Day Session are also served an afternoon snack at approximately 3:30 pm. Parents of children in our Full Day program are responsible for providing lunch for their child which we will refrigerate and serve at approximately 12:15 pm. Please give consideration to a lunch that includes all food groups.
For children recently mastering toilet training, we will work closely with you to solidify that learning by asking you the time they last went potty as you are dropping off, to further help them be successful and get to the toilet on time. If your child is a recent learner, please have them wear thick cotton underpants and bring a change of clothes for the first week or two. We're happy to help your child change into clean clothes if an accident occurs!
Please understand we are not equipped to change soiled underwear on a regular basis. We follow State and Health regulations in providing a sanitary procedure for everyone. Soiled clothing is placed in a plastic bag and placed in your child’s cubby to take home. If your child needed to borrow an outfit from us, please wash and return.
For fees, please see our Tuition & Fees Statement for the current year. Tuition is paid in advance and is due on the 1st day of the month but no later than your child’s first day of scheduled classes for the month. Monthly tuition is determined by calculating the total due for your child's schedule for the school year, then dividing that total by 9 months, so the payment amount is the same every month. For Full Day children, the tuition is considered for 50 weeks, then dividing that total by 12 months, so the payment amount is the same every month.
Tuition invoices will be emailed approximately one week before payment is due. Our electronic invoice has a payment link option for you to transfer the amount you indicate from your checking account to Little Lights' or you may bring in a paper check payment. to place in one of our payment boxes. Cash payments must be handed to the Director. If, for convenience' sake, your paper check or cash payment is made before the 1st of the month, your payment will not be deposited until the 1st.
If your child is absent from school, payment for that day is still due as our staff needs to be paid. If you need to withdraw your child from Little Lights, a two-week written notice is required.
If payment is not received by your child’s first day of scheduled classes for the month, you will be charged a $15.00 late payment fee. If the tuition payment due the 1st of the month has not been received by the 30th of the month, your child will be dis-enrolled and eligible for re-enrollment only when payment of all back tuition and fees has been made and then, only if space is available in the classroom.
VIDEO AND TELEVISION VIEWING POLICY
The videos we have available for classroom use are religious/educational. They are used to extend the learning of a particular topic and their use is limited. There is no television viewing by staff or by children.
All visitors must check in with the Director. Parents are welcome to visit their child at any time of the day or feel free to call, while kindly being considerate of your child’s needs and the responsibilities of your child’s teacher.
For our first-time visitors if we are expecting you, our Director or Assistant Director, would be pleased to show you around. If not, we will visit with you briefly, provide you with written information about our program, and ask you to schedule a time you can return for a tour. Tours are given by appointment, during the morning or late afternoon hours.
Visitors other than prospective parents are required to make an appointment with the Director in advance in order to schedule enough time to accomplish the purpose of their visit. Visitors who are strangers to the personnel of the center will be required to show identification. A log of visitors will be maintained by the Director, noting the purpose of the visit.
Thank you for reviewing our Parent Handbook with its Policies and Procedures.
Please see our “Release Statement” form to check the box at the bottom as you complete it for enrollment. This indicates your agreement with our policies and procedures.
Or, you may copy and paste the simple paragraph below, type in your name, and email it to us at:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have read, and agree to, the Policies and Procedures of
Little Lights Christian Early Learning Center
* * * * * * * * * *
Or, here's the link to complete our
Release Statement form
and check the box: