Beginning Steps Early Learning Center
279 Pine Street
Bourbon MO
(573) 732-9009

Parent Handbook
Table of Contents

Mission
Philosophy
Program Goals
Child Goals
Daily Schedule Sample
Admission and Tuition Policies
Transportation
Arrival Procedures
Departure Procedures
Health Policies
Medication Procedures
Sample Menu
Services Provided
Discipline Guidelines
How to Volunteer
Family Involvement
Things to Bring

Mission
Beginning Steps Early Learning Center is an early care and education facility, which strives to provide high quality education to children ages 6 weeks to 6 years.  High quality education is composed of affordable yet reliable care, which motivates imagination and creativity of not only the children but also the staff.  Beginning Steps ensures an educational level comparable to that of which a child would receive in their own home.  Guided by this, Beginning Steps also collaborates with families to maximize the well-rounded educational experiences.  All of the experiences are promoted by maintaining a small group of 20 children and a low staff to child ratio.  Beginning Steps also partners with community agencies such as First Steps, Parents as Teachers, and special education programs to insure that every child discovers their full potential.

Philosophy

Beginning Steps Early Learning Center is designed to establish, bolster and influence social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and language development in children ages 6 weeks to 6 years.  Beginning Steps believes that children construct their knowledge through play and hands-on experiences within their physical and social world.  The hands-on experiences are devised to let the child experience tangible objects in a safe, suitable environment.  Also at Beginning Steps, knowledge is acquired through staff modeling appropriate behaviors and the children being involved in developmentally appropriate activities.  In turn, this will enhance the development of the whole child.  Likewise, Beginning Steps works with families to provide the highest quality care for their children.  Examples of working with families include but are not limited to parent teacher conferences, informal communication, parenting classes, and family events.  The entire community is eligible to be served by Beginning Steps regardless of race, gender, class, ability, and/or ethnic background.  The employee hiring standards also adhere to this policy.  Beginning Steps fosters an educational program, which appeals to children of all abilities.  If children and families are in need of extra assistance, outside entities will be utilized. Children will not be hindered physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually.  Beginning Steps Early Learning Center is a private institution, which will celebrate and recognize any holidays and/or traditions that are meaningful to the families served.  Diverse cultures will be analyzed and explored in a developmentally appropriate way.  Beginning Steps demonstrates a multitude of values.  Included in these values are respect of peers and self, common courtesy, acceptance of others, self-regulation, problem-solving techniques, and open-mindedness.  Beginning Steps Early Learning Center observes that children need not be forced into learning.  The children motivate themselves by their own desire to make sense of the world.
Program Goals
Beginning Steps provides high quality education in a supportive home-like atmosphere for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years.
Promote a comprehensive developmentally appropriate program for each individual child.
To be considered an extension of the families served by working with the families to achieve the best possible care.  This is achieved through parent volunteers and family questionnaires, assessments and input.
Serve as a model for best practices for the community.  This is done by low child to teacher ratio, informing the community about redirection techniques, hiring competent employees, giving incentives to employees to lessen turn-over rates, and abiding by the mission and philosophy of the program.
Foster the child’s natural desire to learn through age appropriate activities and experiences.

Child Goals
To represent ideas and feelings through play.
To become a productive member of the community.
Construct knowledge of the physical world, manipulate objects, and understand cause and effect.
Use language to effectively communicate wants/needs and to facilitate thinking and learning.
Establish and reinforce trusting relationships with adults and peers
Gain a positive self-concept, self-control, a sense of belonging, and a positive attitude towards learning.
Strengthen basic gross and fine motor skills and coordination in physical development.
To develop effective and creative problem solving skills.

Daily Schedule Sample
-Schedule may vary depending on weather, temperament and/or needs of the children.

Morning Schedule
Anytime after
6:00 a.m.             Arrival- free choice
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.         Clean up, bathroom, breakfast
9:00 – 9:15 a.m.         Circle Time – Calendar, Weather, Stories, and Songs
9:15 – 10:00 a.m.         Free choice
10:00 – 11:00  a.m.       Outside*
11:15-11:30                        Get ready For Lunch
11:30 – 12:15                 Lunch time
12:15-1:00                   Outside* or free choice
1:00                              Get ready for nap
Afternoon Schedule
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.        Nap/Quiet Time
3:00 – 3:15 p.m.        Wake Up/Toilet/Diaper Change/Snack
3:15 – 4:30 p.m.        Circle Time/Stories or Games
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.        Outside or Free Play

*This time will be held indoors during extreme hot and cold weather, precipitation or other inclement weather.

Admission and Tuition Policies
To enroll your child at Beginning Steps Early Learning Center you must submit a completed enrollment application with a $20 non-refundable registration fee per child.

1. Tuition is charged weekly (please contact us at (573)732-9009 for current rates

2. Tuition is due on Friday for the next week. If it is not paid by closing on Monday a $10 late fee will be charged. If it is not paid by Tuesday at closing an additional $15 late fee will be charged. If any balance is carried over past the next Monday at closing and additional 10% will be added.

3. A deposit equal to one week’s tuition is due on the first day of attendance and will be refunded upon withdrawal, provided two-weeks notice is given.

4. Due to ongoing staffing requirements and expenses, tuition is expected to be paid in full regardless of illness, absence or holidays. There will be one week (based on enrolled schedule) of vacation credit per child, per year, beginning on the first day of attendance. (Example: If your child’s enrollment is September 4, 2008 through September 3, 2009, then they are eligible for a weeks worth of vacation.) For staffing reasons, please give a week’s notice before using your child’s vacation week. Note: Vacation days do not transfer from year to year.

5. Any tuition check returned due to insufficient funds will be subject to a $15 return check fee and possibly a late tuition fee. If more that one check is returned in a six-month period, all future payments must be made in cash.

5. Receipts will be given for every payment received. Please save these for tax purposes as year end statements will be provided for a fee of $15.

6. All fees and tuition are subject to change with a minimum notice of 30 days.

7. We reserve the right to suspend service to families if accounts become delinquent. Any account that exceeds $150 past due could result in services terminated and the child’s spot relinquished.

8. State subsidy, parents will be responsible for any balance not paid by the state.

9. State Subsidy families will receive beginning and end of the month statements, to avoid late fees, please arrange for any remaining balance to be paid within a week of statements being issued.

Transportation
Beginning Steps does not provide transportation.

Hours
Beginning Steps will be open 6am to 6pm Monday through Friday. Children may be dropped of and picked up at any time throughout the day. Please keep in mind that a consistent and regular schedule helps children feel safe and secure.

Arrival Procedures
In order to assure a safe and secure environment, it is required that you escort your child inside and sign and clock them in each day. Likewise, morning communication between parents and teachers helps to start your child’s day on a good note. We truly value the link between home and school.

If anyone else is dropping off your child, please be sure the person is aware of the procedures outlined here. If possible, please notify us of any changes in your child’s routine. This will prepare us for possible anxieties your child may experience.

Departure Procedures
We will only release your child to people you have authorized in writing. If there is any change in this list, it is your responsibility to notify us in writing. To insure your child’s safety, any new person picking up your child will be asked to show some form of identification before your child will be released. Please make any authorized persons aware of this policy to avoid confusion or embarrassment. When departing for the day, be sure to talk with a teacher and sign and clock your child out in the attendance book.

Note: We close promptly at 6 p.m. to allow our staff time to spend with their own families and to attend continuing education classes and workshops. Although unfortunate delays do happen, a late fee of $1 per minute will be assessed starting at 6 p.m.

Health Policies
Beginning Steps Early Learning Center health policies, as outlined below, have been established to protect the health and safety of all children and adults. We cannot accept responsibility for a child who is not well; or in good conscience, expose other children to the illness.

According to the Missouri State Licensing Guide Lines, if a child exhibits any of the following symptoms while in our care they must be sent home:

Diarrhea, more than one loose stool.
Severe coughing, or if the child gets red or blue in the face or makes a high-pitched croupy or whooping sound after coughing.
Difficult or rapid breathing.
Yellowish skin or eyes.
Pinkeye, redness of eyelid lining, irritation with swelling or discharge of pus.
Unusual spots or rashes.
Sore throat or trouble swallowing.
An infected skin patch(es) – crusty, yellow, dry or gummy area of skin.
Unusually dark or tea colored urine.
Gray or white stool.
Fever of 100° F by mouth or 99° F under the arm.
Headache and stiff neck.
Vomiting more than once.
Sever itching of the body or scalp, or scratching of the scalp. These could be symptoms of lice or scabies.

To be readmitted, your child should be free of fever and/or other symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours. This means they must be fever free without taking over the counter fever reducers such as Tylenol or Motrin.  If antibiotics are needed, the child should have begun taking them 24 hours before returning. If your child should become sick while in our care, you will be notified so that arrangements to pick up your child can be made.

Medication Procedures
If your child should need to receive medication while in our care, you must fill out a Medication Authorization Form. All prescription medicines must be labeled with the patient’s name, date, and doctor name, name of medication, dosage and schedule. All prescriptions must be in their original containers as received from the pharmacy. Note: Pharmacies will split a prescription in two bottles if you ask. Splitting the prescription will eliminate the need for you to transport it back and forth each day or forgetting it all together. We cannot administer Aspirin to children due to its connection with Rye’s Syndrome. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin) will not be administered; both are temporary fever reducers and could mask a potentially contagious condition.

Sample Menu
Breakfast             Lunch                 Snack
Fluid Milk             Fluid Milk                 Multigrain Bars
Pancakes             Spaghetti with meat sauce        Apple Juice
Mixed Fruit             Corn
Pears

Services Provided
Beginning Steps will collaborate with community agencies such as, Parents as Teachers, Early Childhood Special Ed. and Speech, Physical, Occupational, Music and other therapies needed by the children.

Holiday Schedule
Beginning Steps will be open year around with the exception of the following holidays:
·    Memorial Day
·    Fourth of July
·    Labor Day
·    Thanksgiving Day
·    Friday Following Thanksgiving
·    Christmas Eve ( closing at 1pm)
·    Christmas Day
·    New Years Eve (closing at 1pm)
·    New Years Day
·    Good Friday
* If a holiday falls on Saturday we will be closed on Friday. If it should fall on a Sunday we will be closed on Monday.

Holiday Celebrations
Like many families, the Beginning Steps family feels that it is important to celebrate holidays through out the year. With that said we are open to celebrating any developmentally appropriate holiday with the children. BSELC feels that it is important to educate children on the different types of holidays and traditions that many families celebrate. Please feel free to educate us on any of the holidays or traditions that your family has; so that we can use that knowledge to educate the children.

Emergency Closing Procedure
If we need to close do to inclement weather, or power outage, we will change the out going message on the voicemail to indicate the change. Also we may contact you at home, please make sure that the numbers that we have for you are current and up to date.

Discipline and Guidance
We follow the National Association for the Education of Young Children Guidelines on discipline, as well as the laws of the State of Missouri. Our staff uses no form of physical punishment or verbal abuse. There are three basic rules that we expect all staff and children to follow.
1. Do not hurt others, physically or emotionally.
2. Do not endanger yourself or others.
3. Do not misuse or destroy property.

Children are capable of living by these rules. If they know what is important to adults, it becomes important to them as well. It is our promise that your child will arrive at Beginning Steps to find loving care, reasonable order, consistent age-appropriate expectations and interesting, stimulating activities. Through an environment like this, your child will easily learn respect for themselves and others. Likewise, in most cases discipline problems are greatly reduced.

Praise and positive reinforcement of good behavior help to develop good self-esteem as well as self-control. Experienced teachers can recognize potential problems before they occur and redirect the behavior before it becomes unacceptable. Logical consequences are a part of life for children as well as adults. Example: If a child chooses to color on the table instead of paper, they will be asked to clean it up before they can continue to play.

When a conflict arises between two or more children, they will be encouraged to “use their words” to come to a peaceful resolution. For younger children this may take some adult guidance. However, as they mature, they will be able to solve most problems on their own.

Occasionally, a child may become disruptive or lose control. In some instances, the child may need to spend a short time alone to regain control and be reminded of appropriate behavior. They will then be invited to rejoin the group.

Since BSELC does not feel that spanking or any other form of physical punishment is affective and we feel that school needs to be a safe place. We will not tolerate physical punishment on school property by anyone; staff, parents etc.

**All employees at Beginning Steps Early Learning Center are mandated by the laws of the state of Missouri to report or force a report to be made of any suspected abuse and or neglect. **

How to Volunteer
Beginning Steps would gladly appreciate any help or volunteering that your family would like to provide. Examples of this that your family could help with are things like painting, general maintenance and preparing for family activities.

Family involvement
Beginning Steps will have many events in which parents and families will be encouraged to become active participants
Bourbon Boosters sponsors the Fall Festival, we hope to have a booth there as well as participating in the parade.
We will also have a family Thanksgiving Feast. This event includes the children making friendship fruit salad and invitations for family and/or parents to come to school that day to join us for lunch. Traditional thanksgiving food will be served to all.
In addition, we will be having small activities through out the year including family cook nights, read to me weekend, and kindergarten ready or not for our kids going to kindergarten each fall.

Things to Bring
Please bring diapers, wipes and ointment if necessary. You will be reminded when your child’s supply runs low.
Please bring an extra change of clothes labeled with your child’s name  (appropriate for the current season).
Please be sure your child is prepared for the seasons outdoor activities. (i.e. boots, gloves, and hats for winter swim suits, towels, water shoes, mosquito repellant, and sunscreen for summer.)
A small blanket will be necessary for rest times and will be sent home each Friday to be laundered. Remember to bring them back each Monday. (A sheet will be provided.)
A recent photograph of your child to be displayed next to his or her personal cubby.
Please bring necessary self-soothing items such as pacifiers, pillows, and blankets for infants and for older children to use at naptime.
Please bring a sippy cup or water bottle that your child will know for water outside.

*Please, do not bring toys except on designated “Show and Share Days.” Toy weapons will not be allowed on the premises. We have an ample supply of toys for everyone.
Parent Awareness Sheet

I ____________________________________ have received a copy of the Parent Handbook for Beginning Steps Early Learning Center. I have read and understand all policies and procedures and have asked for clarification where needed.
I also understand that Missouri State Child Care Licensing Rules are available for parents to review and contact information for the licensing office is also available for parents.
Date_________________