The Early Learning Center
2016 - 2017 School Year
WELCOME TO THE ELC COMMUNITY
We would like to welcome your family to The Early Learning Center.
Early Childhood is a time of huge leaps and bounds in a child’s development and learning. It is an honor as a school to be given the opportunity to care for your child in this time of their life. At the ELC, we provide a classroom environment that fosters a love of learning. Our teachers are invested in your children, forming relationships with them, keeping them safe, and seeing them thrive in their early childhood development.
As a school we strive to provide parents with a sense of knowing that their child is safe and happy while they are left in our care. Our teachers are qualified and well trained. We strive to hire enthusiastic, well trained teachers, who are devoted to children. As the director, one of my main jobs is to support your child’s teachers so that they can offer your kids their best; offering a peaceful, fun learning experience for the kids. Our school’s hope is to instill a love of learning that our students carry with them throughout their lives.
Thank you for choosing The Early Learning Center. We look forward to providing your child with a caring and enriching learning environment.
The Early Learning Center is a child enrichment program designed to create the love of learning with a partnership between parents and teachers. Through discovery, growth, nurturing and creativity the children develop their highest potential.
We provide an environment in which each child is immersed in stimulating activities, designed to strengthen their preexisting skills and develop their emerging skills. More than just the child, we believe that it is the entire family who are incorporated as active members of our community upon enrollment.
The ELC is licensed by the Colorado Department of Social Services and meets all state requirements. Further, we continue our annual evaluations by the Qualistar rating program. We are proud to have received 3 out of 4 stars after our last two assessments.
Colorado Department of Human Services
License – Day Care Center 1995-2014
Qualistar Rated – 3 Star out of 4 stars
Hours of Operation
Child care services are provided from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. Our 5:30pm pick-up time means that ALL FAMILIES MUST BE OUT THE DOOR BY 5:30pm, please plan accordingly and arrive no later than 5:20.
We are closed for certain holidays:
September 7 – Labor Day CLOSED
October 23 – Teacher In-Service Day (provided by Kids First) CLOSED
November 26-27 – Thanksgiving Holiday CLOSED
December 24-25 – Christmas Holiday CLOSED
January 1 – New Year’s Day CLOSED
January 18 – MLK Day – CLOSED
February 15- President’s Day CLOSED
April 29 – Cleaning Days CLOSED
May 30 – Memorial Day CLOSED
July 4 – 4th of July Fundraiser CLOSED (one family member must volunteer 2 hours on this day for our school fundraiser)
July 8 – Teacher Wellness Day CLOSED
August 24-25 – Cleaning Days CLOSED
***PLEASE NOTE: For information regarding snow days (school closures) please call (970) 925-3760 x8
Definition of Family
In this handbook we refer to family as a parent, legal guardian, sponsor or anyone else who provides for the well-being, best-interest and responsibility of the child in our care.
Admission & Enrollment
All admission and enrollment forms must be completed and enrollment fee paid prior to your child’s first day of attendance.
Registration fee of $55 is due at the time of enrollment. This fee is non-refundable. Materials fee of $75 once a year and a $500 deposit for each child to secure a space. The $500 deposit is refunded when account is current and a written notice is received 90 days prior to departure from the program.
Based on the availability and openings, our facility admits children from 8 weeks to 5 years of age.
Children are admitted without regard to race culture, sex, religion, national origin, or disability. We do not discriminate on the basis of special needs as long as a safe, supportive environment can be provided.
Due to the high demand for enrollment in our classrooms, ELC will no longer be able to pro-rate the first month or last month of attendance with our program. In order to lock in your days, families must pay at the beginning of the month for the whole month regardless of start date.
The Early Learning Center believes that children of all ability levels are entitled to the same opportunities for participation, acceptance and belonging in child care. We will make every reasonable accommodation to encourage full and active participation of all children in our program based on his/her individual capabilities and needs.
At the Early Learning Center equal educational opportunities are available for all children, without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, or parent/provider political beliefs, marital status, sexual orientation or special needs, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state or local laws. Educational programs are designed to meet the varying needs of all students.
Each family is a child’s first teacher. We value families as partners in the growth and development of children in our program. We encourage parents and other family members to be involved in the program, visit children’s classrooms, participate in events, and provide feedback on the program. We offer a variety of ways in which families can participate in helping us establish and reach our program goals. Please contact the office if a family member would like to visit, volunteer or be a part of event at the Early Learning Center.
Unless we receive your written consent, information regarding your child will not be released with the exception of that required by our regulatory and partnering agencies. All records concerning children at our program are confidential.
Our teachers are hired in compliance with the state requirements and qualifications as a base minimum. Typical staff certifications are as follows:
Director Certification in Early Childhood Education
101 & 111 ECE required Minimum of 2 years
Teachers participate in an orientation class and ongoing training in the areas of child growth and development, healthy and safe environments, developmentally appropriate practices, guidance, family relationships, cultural and individual diversity, and professionalism.
Any arrangement between families and our caregivers outside the programs and services we offer is a private matter, not connected or sanctioned by Early Learning Center.
Child to Staff Ratios
Children are supervised at all times. All caregivers receive scheduled breaks which reduce fatigue and help to ensure alertness.
Teacher’s shift times: 7:30am-1pm
9am-5pm (additional 4th teacher in any given classroom)
We maintain the following standards for child to staff ratios:
Age Child to Staff Maximum Group Size
2-18 months (Infant room) 4 to 1 8
12-30 months (Waddler room) 5 to 1 10
18-36 months (Toddler room) 6 to 1 12
2.5-4 years old (Preschool) 10 to 1 20
4-5 years old (PreK) 12 to 1 24
Communication & Family Partnership
Daily Communications. Daily emails from teachers will keep you informed about your child’s activities and experiences at the center. Notes will be placed into your child’s cubby at the end of the day, if needed.
Bulletin Boards. Located throughout the center, bulletin boards provide center news, upcoming events, faculty changes, holiday closing dates, announcements, etc.
Newsletters. Newsletters provide center news, events, announcements, etc. These newsletters are available at the sign-in/sign-out kiosk and emailed by the individual classroom teachers and director.
Email. We encourage you to provide an email address that you use regularly so that we may send you announcements, event invitations, newsletters and general updates.
Family Visits. Family participation is encouraged. Visit our classrooms, volunteer, come along on a field trip, or eat a meal with your child. Signing in is required for the safety and protection of our children. Each visitor must wear a visitor’s badge while on premises and sign-out upon leaving.
Family Night. Family nights are scheduled on a regular basis. These nights include snacks, drinks and fun filled age-appropriate activities for families. Family Nights allow families and children time to share, learn, and have fun. Families have an opportunity to be a part of their child’s learning experience and connect with other families. (e.g. - Thanksgiving Play/Potluck and classroom parties)
Conferences. Family & teacher conferences occur twice a year. During these conferences, we will discuss your child’s strengths, likes and dislikes, and styles of learning. We will work together to set goals for your child’s growth and development. You may request additional conferences regarding your child’s progress at any time. We encourage you to communicate any concerns.
Open Door Policy
We are delighted to have family members participate in our program. Parents/Guardians are welcome to visit the program any time during regular program hours. The infant room welcomes parents/guardians to nurse or feed their infants.
Open Door Policy does not mean the doors will be unlocked. For the safety and protection of the children, external doors will be kept locked at all times.
Our team will always do their best to speak with parents/guardians. Since staff days are devoted to caring for children, it is usually not feasible to have a long discussion during regular program hours. If a situation requires a longer discussion, kindly arrange for an appointment.
Unless the family indicates that they want their child to participate, we will not use pictures and names of children for publicity.
The ELC depends on parents to assist the program in a wide variety of ways. With parental help, everyone benefits and the quality of the children’s experience is greatly enhanced. This ensures a quality program for the children we serve.
The ELC is funded primarily by tuition, and subsidies provided by Kids First for the Infant and Toddler spaces. This money, however, does not cover the cost of operating the school, and each year there is a need to raise additional funds through grant writing and fundraisers. Parent participation is essential, in order to keep tuition rates as low as possible and school quality high. We try to limit the number of fundraisers occurring each year and to focus on those that will bring the most benefit for our efforts. Fundraisers scheduled each year include, but are not limited to:
July 4th: Every year, each family MUST volunteer at least 2 hours on the day of this event. Further, parents must contribute two silent auction items (only one if the value is $200.)
Each family is also asked to purchase or sell at least 10 ducks for the Ducky Derby(in July for August event).
THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS AND THE BOARD WILL ASSESS FINES FOR NON-PARTICIPATION BASED ON PARTICIPATION OF WHAT IS REQUIRED OF A PARENT OF ELC.
Curricula & Learning
We provide a rich learning environment with curricula that are developmentally appropriate to the specific ages in each classroom. We have a flexible day routine that allows children to advance at their own pace. We strongly believe that learning happens through play. Learning and exploring are hands-on and are facilitated through interest areas. Our program is designed to enhance children’s development in the following areas: creativity, self-expression, decision-making, problem-solving, responsibility, independence, and reasoning. We encourage openness to that which is different from us, and the ability to work and play with others.
Curricula & Assessment – Introducing Teaching Strategies Gold – September, 2014
The Early Learning Center uses curriculum, we gather information about each child’s developmental abilities and evaluate progress so we can modify and adjust what we are doing in our classroom so as to deliver the best individualized instruction for each child. This evaluation is communicated to families periodically during the school year using various formal and informal tools, forms, and resources.
For information about your child’s day, please see copies of daily schedules and lessons plans posted in each classroom.
Each teacher core gets together once a week to discuss the children and planning. Teachers adjust curriculum to children’s needs by observing them in play and designing plans drawn from their inspiration and interests. The room is then transformed into the plan or theme. The various areas of the classroom are set up to enhance and nourish the children, as they acquire knowledge and skills.
We specialize in children’s growth and development; physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and moral/ethically. We anticipate opportunities to discuss and respect each other’s differences. We believe that play is the child’s most important means of knowledge as well as solutions to conflicts between individuals.
Our school features 8 classrooms. Each room is arranged into areas of interest that are filled with materials that will enrich the child’s play. Interrelated learning results from exposure to concepts in the areas of math, science, art, computers, and language.
The purpose of art in the curriculum is to allow children to explore a wide variety of artistic media and materials, which invoke the creative expression of each child. Activities are set up to invite exploration and discovery of the materials and medium, allowing the children freedom to experience the process. It is often messy and possibly incomplete by adult standards, but it is a representation of the child’s world as he/she sees it, and an important form of self-expression.
The classrooms provide many opportunities to explore through the senses. The teachers plan activities to complement the unit. The water table can be filled with water and objects to explore the properties of water. It might be filled with sand, shaving cream, rice, flour, snow, mud, bubbles, ice or cornstarch mixed with water, along with objects and implements to use for experimentation.
Movement is a way of exploring the world, using one’s body as the tool for discovery. Through their bodies children learn about their natural rhythm. They learn how and where their bodies move in space, as well as the timing, tempo and rhythm of when their bodies move. Movement allows children the opportunity to develop their gross, fine, and sensory motor skills. Children gather important information about themselves and the world around them as they discover what their bodies can do.
Blocks are tools for young children to reproduce their experiences quickly and then play them out actively. Children are learning about science and mathematical concepts when building structures or representing the world symbolically. Sizes, shape, form, area, volume, space, grids, and patterns are all part of the content of block building.
Creating sounds is inherent in all humans, especially children. Music is rhythm and melody put together. Music is a means of developing creativity. Music provides opportunities to explore rhythm, patterns, and melodies. Playing with words and sounds stimulates children’s imaginations and lets them enjoy music in their own way.
Children interact with people and things in their environment. They develop an ever-expanding vocabulary. Eventually, they discover another means of communication, written language. Understanding that print has meaning, this is a first step in learning to read and write. Speaking, reading, and writing are all part of language development.
Dramatic play allows children to explore themes, events and feelings from their daily lives, as well as to engage in make-believe and fantasy. Through play they can act out their problems and fears, find solutions, create new experiences, and interact with others in a “safe” environment. Their play becomes the means for making sense of the world and their space in it.
Science is the understanding of things about the physical and natural world. Active investigation, (the core of scientific thinking), experimentation and discovery, are a natural part of children’s lives. Children are innately curious and natural scientists. They explore, experiment, observe, question and form theories. They are able to do this through active sensory involvement with everyday things. All ELC children explore the outdoors each day, and Pre-school children spend many wonderful guided hours at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
Children are doing math when they observe things around them. They notice size, shape and position. They wonder about how big, how long, how much and how heavy. In the child’s day at school they will measure ingredients in a recipe, build a structure in blocks, count how many children are in the room, and sort objects by noticing their similarities and differences.
Our classrooms are extended to the outdoors. Outdoor play provides a chance to use large muscles in ways that are more exuberant. Climbing equipment, riding toys, building materials and plenty of space gives children the chance to stretch and challenge their physical abilities. ELC is located next to one of the best playgrounds in Aspen. We also have a wonderful indoor gym. Physical education opportunities are also provided, outside of the school grounds, such as skiing, swimming, and gymnastics.
Social interaction helps children develop skills to learn how to make friends and get along with other people. Emotional development is how a child feels about himself, other people and the world he lives in. Children need to be around others to develop a sense of self. Through interactions with others, children learn to distinguish different feelings, and how to express them in culturally acceptable ways.
Outings & Field Trips
Weather permitting; we conduct supervised walking trips around the neighborhood. Children are accounted for at all times. A permission statement for participation in walking trips is included in the enrollment package.
From time to time, there will be supervised field trips, and we encourage you to join your child on the trip.
For field trips, please dress your child appropriately for the season. Walking shoes are a must. Sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for walking and make it difficult for your child.
The safety of children and staff will be guarded in all activities of child care programs. Proper restraint systems (seat belts) and the correct use of them are critically important during travel to/from the child care program as well as during field trips.
Your child’s transition in child care should be a positive and exciting learning adventure. We will work with you and your child to ensure the smoothest possible transition occurs as new routines and new people are introduced. We will schedule a meeting with you to discuss the transition period and allow for 3-4 weeks of visiting the new classroom.
Transition from home to center
Prior to your child’s first day, you will have an opportunity to tour the center, meet with your child’s peers and teachers, and communicate any anticipated concerns. At this time please share the best communication methods that the teacher may use to reach you.
Transition between learning programs
Children are transitioned to the next program based on age, developmental readiness, state licensing requirements, and space availability. During the transition, current and future teachers will meet with you to propose a plan to introduce your child into the new program.
Transition to elementary school
Transition activities such as a field trip to a local elementary school, creating a mural of special friends and special times at our center will be part of your child’s education at our center. We will provide you with information on local schools, what to expect, and ideas on how to talk to your child about going to elementary school.
Our normal daily routine does not include television watching, but from time-to-time, we may record a television show without advertisements as a teaching aid and discussion stimulator. Television consumption will not be longer than hour and the program will be screened prior to showing. Programs will consist of non-violent and high-quality educational material. Our focus is to provide your child a positive experience with increased understanding of the world.
Electronic Media are limited to 20 minutes or less per day per child. Internet sites and software are pre-screened to contain non-violence and high-quality educational content.
Multiculturalism is vital for all children because it sets social goals and promotes respect for all people and the environment we inhabit. We utilize books, music, games, and a wide range of activities as aids to teach our children respect for our world and the diversity of life upon it.
Our holiday policy encourages an enhanced understanding of and respect for different cultures and beliefs of children, families, staff and community.
Infants sleep according to their own schedule and are put to sleep on their backs.
After lunch, all children less than 5 years of age participate in a quiet rest time. Children are not required to sleep and may be given quiet activities.
School age children, although not required, shall be provided an opportunity for a regular rest period if the child desires. For children who do not want to rest, a space and time for quiet play will be made available.
The most important factor in making the toilet learning experience successful and as low-stress as possible is a family/teacher partnership that supports the child. Research indicates that children cannot successfully learn how to use the toilet until they are physically, psychologically, and emotionally ready. Many pediatricians say that most children under 24 months of age are not physically capable of regulating bladder and bowel muscles. Most positive toilet training occurs only after children show signs of physical control or awareness of their bodily functions and when they demonstrate an interest or curiosity in the process. We are committed to working with you to make sure that toilet learning is carried out in a manner that is consistent with your child’s physical and emotional abilities and your family’s concerns.
Code of Colorado Regulations
7.702.64 B #4 Physical Care
There must be no attempt to toilet train children under the age of 18 months.
7.702.85 E. & F. Toilet Facilities
E. Toilet facilities are not required for children under 2 years of age.
F. Toilet facilities must be provided for children 2 years of age or older.
The Early Learning Center is committed to each student’s success in learning within a caring, responsive, and safe environment that is free of discrimination, violence, and bullying. Our center works to ensure that all students have the opportunity and support to develop to their fullest potential and share a personal and meaningful bond with people in the school community.
Thoughtful direction and planning ahead are used to prevent problems and encourage appropriate behavior. Communicating consistent, clear rules and involving children in problem solving help children develop their ability to become self-disciplined. We encourage children to be fair, to be respectful of other people, of property, and to learn to understand the results of their actions.
Children are guided to treat each other and adults with self control and kindness.
Each student at [school] has a right to:
Learn in a safe and friendly place
Be treated with respect
Receive the help and support of caring adults
When a child becomes verbally or physically aggressive, we intervene immediately to protect all of the children. Our usual approach to helping children with challenging behaviors is to show them how to solve problems using appropriate interactions. When discipline is necessary, it is clear, consistent and understandable to the child. We maintain a zero tolerance to bullying. If you have any concerns about this at any time, please report it to the Director of the Center.
Physical restraint is not used or permitted for discipline. There are rare instances when we need to ensure a child’s safety or that of others and we may restrain a child by gently holding her or him only for as long as is necessary for control of the situation.
Notification of Behavioral Issues to Families
If a child’s behavior/circumstance is of concern, communication will begin with the parents as the first step to understanding the child’s individual needs and challenges. We will work together to evaluate these needs in the context of our program.
On rare occasions, a child’s behavior may warrant the need to find a more suitable setting for care. Examples of such instances include:
A child appears to be a danger to others.
Continued care could be harmful to, or not in the best interest of the child as determined by a medical, psychological, or social service personnel.
Undue burden on our resources and finances for the child’s accommodations for success and participation.
Tuition and Fees
Payment is always due on the 5th and/or 20th of every month with no deduction for any absences, holidays, or closures due to inclement weather, power outages, or other situations beyond our control. Payment is due as outlined in the Enrollment Agreement. Rates are included in enrollment packet.
Late Pick-up Fees
Late pick-up is not a normal program option. Late fees of $1 per minute until 5:35pm and $5 a minute after 5:35pm. This will be assessed beginning at 5:30 PM and will be charged to your account. Promptness is a MUST!
Special Activity Fees
From time-to-time there will be additional fees associated with special activities or field trips. These fees are due prior to the event, activity or trip.
Late Payment Charges
Late payments can pose serious problems for our programs. Therefore we have put procedures in place to reduce their impact.
If payment is not received on the day that it is due, a late fee of $50 will be applied to your account. If your account has not been paid in full within 10 business days, your child may be discharged from the program.
If payment is more than 90 business days past due, we may attempt to recover payment in small claims court and/or your account may be sent to a 3rd party collections agency. You will be responsible for all expenses associated with these actions including all court and attorney fees.
Returned Checks/Rejected Transaction Charges
All returned checks or rejected ACH (automatic debits) or credit card transactions will be charged a fee up to $40. This charge may be collected electronically. Two or more returned checks or rejected transactions will result in your account being placed on “cash only” status.
Additional Fees Credits
Vacation - to retain your child’s spot during vacation, 100% of your regular tuition is due.
Schedule Changes - Two weeks’ notice must be given to the Director for permanent schedule changes i.e. adding or dropping days. There is a $25 change fee for changing your schedule in any way (changing, adding or dropping days)
Withdrawals - if a child is suddenly withdrawn from the program without a 90 day written notice of withdrawal, and deposit of $500 will not be refunded. Families who withdraw and later re-enroll will be charged a re-enrollment fee.
Buy A Day - Families may sometimes want to buy extra days, which is possible when other children are temporarily out of the program. The Directors must be consulted ahead of the time, to insure smooth transitions. Payment for the extra day will be added to your account the day of. Buy a day rates are based on the age of the child and what room the child attends.
PLEASE DO NOT ask the teachers to communicate any changes.
If a child is enrolled at the Early Learning Center and parents are separated or divorced, both parents are equally liable for the tuition bill. If parents have an agreement on who is paying, it is their responsibility to enforce amongst their selves.
Attendance & Withdrawal
If your child is going to be absent or arrive after 8:30 AM, please call us at 970-920-9201 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be concerned about your child if we do not hear from you.
Only children who are enrolled year-round are eligible for make-up days. The number of make-up days each child receives is equivalent to the number of days per week your child is enrolled as of September 1 of the current academic year. Make-up days may be redeemed for a day’s attendance for days missed due to illness. For example: if you are enrolled for 3 days a week as of September 1st, you have 3 make up days for the year. This is applicable even if your number of days enrolled changes after the start of the academic year.
A written notice, 90 days in advance, is required by the center when a child is being withdrawn. Failure to notify will result in additional fees.
Transfer of Records
Whether transitioning to the next program setting or to a new classroom, your child’s records will be transferred internally.
If your child is transitioning to a new school, a written request from you with instructions to where the records should be sent is required.
Closing Due to Extreme Weather
Should severe weather or other conditions (i.e., snow, storms, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, loss of power, loss of water) prevent us from opening on time or at all, notification to the families will be announced on our Facebook page and school closures, please call 925-3760 x8. If the Aspen School District is CLOSED, the Early Learning Center is also CLOSED.
If it becomes necessary to close early, we will contact you or your emergency contacts as soon as possible. Your child’s early pick-up is your responsibility to arrange.
Drop-off and Pick-up
We open at 7:30 AM. Please do not drop-off your child prior to the opening. Parents are expected to accompany their children and sign them in.
We close at 5:30 PM. Please allow enough time to arrive, sign your child out, and leave by closing time.
Cell Phone Usage
The times you spend in the center dropping off and picking up your child are the primary windows of time we have to communicate with you about your child. In order to make the best use of these opportunities, as well as to be attentive to your child and other children, we ask that you NOT use your cell phone at anytime while visiting the center.
Authorized & Unauthorized Pick-up
Your child will only be released to you or those persons you have listed as Emergency and Release Contacts. If you want a person who is not identified as an Emergency and Release Contact to pick-up your child, you must notify us in advance, in writing. Your child will not be released without prior written authorization. The person picking up your child will be required to show a picture ID as verification. Please notify your pick-up person of our policy.
If a child has not been picked up after closing and we have not heard from you, attempts will be made to contact you, and the contacts listed as Emergency and Release Contacts. Provisions will be made for someone to stay with your child as long as possible, but if after 15 minutes we have not been able to reach you or a person listed as an Emergency and Release Contact, we will call the local child protective services agency.
Right to Refuse Child Release
We may refuse to release children if we have reasonable cause to suspect that any person picking up a child is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is physically or emotionally impaired in any way that may endanger the child. To protect your child, we may request that another adult listed as an Emergency and Release Contact pick-up the child or we may call the police to prevent potential harm to your child. Reoccurring situations may result in the release of your child from the program.
What to Bring
Infants: enough clean bottles for a day’s use, at least 6 diapers per day, and at least 2 changes of clothes per day.
Toddlers: enough clean bottles for a day’s use (if applicable), six diapers and at least two changes of clothes per day.
Older Toddlers: at least two changes of clothes or more per day if going through the toilet training program.
Preschoolers: at least one change of clothes, socks and shoes.
Kindergarteners: at least one change of clothes, socks and shoes.
After School Care Children: books for homework, appropriate play clothes
Please label all items brought from home with your child’s name (i.e., clothes, bottles, diapers, pacifiers, crib sheet, blanket, etc.) to prevent items from becoming misplaced or lost. We are not responsible for lost or damaged items.
Upon enrollment each child will be assigned a “cubby.” Cubbies are labeled with your child’s name. Please check your child’s cubby on a daily basis for items that need to be taken home.
Lost & Found
You can look for lost items and bring found items to the Lost-and-found Box located at the office. Please note that we are not responsible for lost personal property.
Toys from Home
We request that you do not allow your child to bring toys from home into the center unless they are part of a show-and-tell activity.
Nutrition : elc is a nut free center
Foods Brought from Home
Food brought from home is permitted under the following conditions:
Perishable food to be shared with other children, for special occasions-i.e. birthdays, holidays, must be store-bought and in its original package.
Baked goods may be made at home if they are fully cooked, do not require refrigeration and were made with freshly purchased ingredients. A list of ingredients is required, and there must be enough food for all children.
Foods should be labeled with the child’s name, date, and type of food.
Children will not be allowed to share food provided by the child’s family unless the food is intended for sharing with all of the children.
Leftover food will be discarded except for foods that do not require refrigeration and/or come in a commercially-wrapped package that was never opened.
Good Lunch Box Suggestions for a Balanced, Nutritional Lunch.
½ turkey sandwich
Sun butter on graham crackers
Sugar snap peas
Food Prepared for or at the Center
Food prepared for or at the center will be properly planned, prepared and portioned according to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/care/) and the state requirements for food service.
If your child has a food allergy, you must notify us in writing so that we can make appropriate substitutions. The written notification should list appropriate food substitutions and must be updated at least annually.
Food allergies can be life threatening and each child with a food allergy should have an action plan for emergency care completed by the family physician.
At meal time the dining table is set with plates and flatware, and the food is placed in small bowls from which the children can help themselves. Everyone sits at the same table. Children are encouraged to serve themselves from food passed around each table. Good table manners are modeled and encouraged.
All teachers are trained/certified in first-aid for choking is present at all meals.
Infant feedings follow these procedures:
Bottle-fed infants are fed while being held or sitting up.
Infants are fed “on demand” to the extent possible (at least every 4 hours and usually not more than hourly).
Breastfeeding is supported by providing a place for nursing mothers to feed their babies. Expressed breast milk may be brought from home if frozen or kept cold during transit. Fresh breast milk must be used within 48 hours. Previously frozen, thawed breast milk must be used within 24 hours. Bottles must be clearly labeled with the child’s name and the date the milk was expressed. Frozen breast milk must be dated and may be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Formula must be brought to the premises in a factory-sealed container in a ready-to-feed strength or powder or concentrate. Formula will be diluted at the child care site according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer or from the child’s health provider, using water from a source approved by the local health department. Formula brought from home must be labeled with the child’s name.
Solid foods will only be introduced after a consultation with the child’s family.
Children are encouraged to self-feed to the extent that they have the skills. Children are encouraged, but not forced to eat a variety of foods.
Round, firm foods that pose a choking hazard for children less than 4 years of age are not permitted. These foods include: hot dogs, whole grapes, peanuts, popcorn, thickly spread peanut butter and hard candy.
School Aged Participants
Snacks are provided in the morning and afternoon. These snacks are not a meal. Please make sure your child has had breakfast before arriving to school and is supplied with an adequate lunch for school.
Immunizations are required according to the current schedule recommended by the U.S. Public Health Services and the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org. Every January, we check with the public health department or the American Academy of Pediatrics for updates of the recommended immunization schedule. Our state regulations regarding attendance of children who are not immunized due to religious or medical reasons are followed. Unimmunized children are excluded during outbreaks of vaccine preventable illness as directed by the state health department.
Routine physicals are required according to the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org. A copy of your child’s physical should be received before but must be received no later than 6 weeks after your child begins the program. Families are responsible for assuring that their child’s physicals are kept up-to-date and that a copy of the results of the child’s health assessment is given to the program.
We understand that it is difficult for a family member to leave or miss work, but to protect other children; you may not bring a sick child to the center. The center has the right to refuse a child who appears ill. You will be called and asked to retrieve your child if your child exhibits any of the following symptoms. This is not an all-inclusive list. We will try to keep your child comfortable but he/she will be excluded from all activities until you arrive.
Illness that prevents your child from participating in activities.
Illness that results in greater need for care than we can provide.
Fever (above 100°F under the arm, above 101°F in the mouth, above 102°F in the ear) accompanied by other symptoms.
Diarrhea – stools with blood or mucus, and/or uncontrolled, unformed stools that cannot be contained in a diaper/underwear or toilet.
Vomiting – green or bloody, and/or 2 or more times during the previous 24 hours.
Mouth sores caused by drooling.
Rash with fever, unless a physician has determined it is not a communicable disease.
Pink or red conjunctiva with white or yellow eye discharge, until on antibiotics for 24 hours.
Impetigo, until 24 hours after treatment.
Strep throat, until 24 hours after treatment.
Head lice, until treatment and all nits are removed.
Scabies, until 24 hours after treatment.
Chickenpox, until all lesions have dried and crusted.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough), until 5 days of antibiotics.
Hepatitis A virus, until one week after immune globulin has been administered.
Children who have been ill may return when:
They are free of fever, vomiting and diarrhea for 24 hours.
They have been treated with an antibiotic for 24 hours.
They are able to participate comfortably in all usual activities.
They are free of open, oozing skin conditions and drooling (not related to teething) unless:
The child’s physician signs a note stating that the child’s condition is not contagious, and;
The involved areas can be covered by a bandage without seepage or drainage through the bandage.
If a child had a reportable communicable disease, a physician’s note stating that the child is no longer contagious and may return to our care is required.
Families are expected to notify us regarding children’s food and environmental allergies. Families of children with diagnosed allergies are required to provide us a letter detailing the child’s symptoms, reactions, treatments and care. A list of the children’s allergies will be posted in the main area and kitchen. We are trained to familiarize ourselves and consult the list to avoid the potential of exposing children to substances to which they have known allergies.
The Early Learning Center can only administer medication to a child once the family has filled out a Medication Administration form. These forms are available upon request from the office. In order for administrators to administer medication, there must be a written note from the doctor specifying frequency and quantity of dosages.
When an enrolled child or an employee of the center has a (suspected) reportable disease, it is our legal responsibility to notify the local Board of Health or Department of Public Health. We will take care to notify families about exposure so children can receive preventive treatments. Included among the reportable illnesses are the following:
Heamophilus Influenza (invasive)
Measles (including suspect)
Meningoccocal Infection (invasive)
Poliomyelitis (including suspect)
Rabies (human only)
Rubella Congenital and Non-congenital (including suspect)
Tetanus (including suspect)
Any cluster/outbreak of illness
Hand washing is one of the best tools in controlling the spread of infections. Be sure that all of the children perform good hand washing, which will greatly reduce the amount of sickness in your facility. The technique: Use soap and warm running water. Rub your hands vigorously as you wash them. Wash all surfaces, including the backs of hands, wrists, between fingers, and under fingernails. Rinse your hands well. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Turn off the water, using a paper towel, instead of bare hands.
Be sure to wash your hands when you start work, and before handling food. In addition, wash your hands after changing diapers, wiping noses, and cleaning up messes.
Be sure that the children’s hands are washed after they use the toilet and before they eat or drink. Wash the children’s hands for them if they are too young to do it for themselves. Teach children that good hand washing controls the spread of germs.
Children often learn by watching adults. It is important that employees use good hand washing techniques. When children are not washing their hands properly, it is necessary to show them proper techniques in addition to telling them. It is also good to remind children that hand washing will stop the spread of germs that might cause illness.
If your child is still in diapers, you must supply diapers and wipes.
Children in the process of potty training will be reminded frequently to try to use the toilet. Health laws prohibit the use of potty chairs. Remember to supply LOTS OF EXTRA CLOTHES as it takes a while until children get the knack of using the toilet at school. If a child feels extremely uncomfortable using the toilet at school, the teacher will use diapers until the child is ready. We have not found that pull ups are of any help to your child during potty training. It just prolongs the process and is much harder to clean after a dirty diaper.
When your child is in the midst of potty training, please bring your child into the toilet at drop off time and pick up time. It reinforces the entire potty training experience.
Please dress your child in practical clothing that allows for freedom of movement and is appropriate for the weather. Your child will be involved in a variety of activities including: painting, outdoor play, sand, weather, and other sensory activities. Our playground is used as an extension of the center, and daily programs are conducted outside whenever weather permits.
One particular aspect of concern is the risk associated with children’s clothing that may become entangled with climbing or sliding equipment that could lead to choking or other serious harm. All drawstrings from children’s clothes should be removed as a precaution.
Sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for center play and make it difficult for your child to participate in some activities.
Extreme Weather and Outdoor Play
Outdoor play will not occur if the outside temperature is greater than 99 °F or less than 37 °F degrees. Additionally, outdoor play will be cancelled if the air quality rating is 50 or below.
Communal, unsupervised water play is prohibited. Supervised children are permitted to engage in water-play. Precautions are taken to ensure that communal water-play does not spread communicable infectious disease.
Safety is a major concern in child care and so daily safety inspections are completed inside and outside the center area in order to prevent injuries. First aid will be administered by a trained caregiver in the event that your child sustains a minor injury (e.g., scraped knee). You will receive an incident report outlining the incident and course of action taken. If the injury produces any type of swelling or needs medical attention, you will be contacted immediately. Each classroom is equipped with a first aid kit meeting the state regulations.
In the event of a serious medical emergency, the child will be taken to the hospital immediately by ambulance, while we will try to contact you or an emergency contact.
Biting is a normal stage of development that is common among infants and toddlers – and sometimes even among preschoolers. It is something that most young children will try at least once.
When biting happens, our response will be to care for and help the child who was bitten and to help the biter learn a more appropriate behavior. Our focus will not be on punishment for biting, but on effective behaviors that address the specific reason for biting.
Notes will be written to the family of the child who was bitten and the biter’s family. We will work together with the families of each to keep them informed and to develop strategies for change.
All children and families will be treated with respect and dignity. In return, we expect the same from all of our families. We will not tolerate hostile or aggressive behavior. If this occurs, we reserve the right to ask you to control your behavior or to remove your children from our care.
The poisons in secondhand smoke are especially harmful to infants and young children’s developing bodies, therefore the indoor and outdoor center environment and vehicles used by the center are non-smoking areas at all times. The use of tobacco in any form is prohibited on the center’s premises.
The use of alcohol or illegal drugs is prohibited on the center’s premises. Possession of illegal substances or unauthorized potentially toxic substances is prohibited.
Any adult who appears to be inebriated, intoxicated, or otherwise under the influence of mind-altering or polluting substances is required to leave the premises immediately.
A dangerous weapon is a gun, knife, razor, or any other object, which by the manner it is used or intended to be used, is capable of inflicting bodily harm. Families, children, staff or guests (other than law enforcement officers) possessing a dangerous weapon will not be permitted onto the premises.
In cases that clearly involve a gun, or any other weapon on our premises, the police will be called and the individual(s) involved will be immediately removed from the premises. This policy applies to visible or concealed weapons.
Without a court document, both parents/guardians have equal rights to custody. We are legally bound to respect the wishes of the parent/guardian with legal custody based on a certified copy of the most recent court order, active restraining order, or court-ordered visitation schedule. We will not accept the responsibility of deciding which parent/guardian has legal custody where there is no court documentation.
Legal Disputes between Parents/Guardians
We will not be involved in child custody disputes, divorces, separations, or any other legal dispute between parents/guardians. Other than complying with an order of the court, we will not write letters, testify, or otherwise provide support in any legal dispute between parents/guardians.
Suspected Child Abuse
We are required by law to report all observations of child abuse or neglect cases to the appropriate state authorities if we have reasonable cause to believe or suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect or is in danger of abuse or neglect, no matter where the abuse might have occurred. The child protective service agency will determine appropriate action and may conduct an investigation. It then becomes the role of the agency to determine if the report is substantiated and to work with the family to ensure the child’s needs are met. Our center will cooperate fully with any investigation and will maintain confidentiality concerning any report of child abuse or neglect.
Lost or Missing Child
In the unlikely even that a child becomes lost or separated from a group, all available staff will search for the child. If the child is not located within 10 minutes, the family and the police will be notified.
Our center is fully equipped with alarms, lights and rolling cribs etc.
Our fire evacuation plan is reviewed with the children and staff on a monthly basis.
In the event your child needs to be transported due to a medical emergency, if no other authorized person can be contacted and the need for transportation is essential, an ambulance will be called for transportation. A proper escort will accompany and remain with the child until a family member or emergency contact arrives.
Early Learning Center Complaint/Grievance Procedure for Parents
if a parent or staff person has a worry, concern, suggestion or complaint, we want to address the problem immediately, directly, clearly, and respectfully. we understand that conflict cannot always be avoided, and that not all people have the same personality style when dealing with issues, and we are committed to a process whereby we can work out differences in a fair, compassionate, and timely manner.
please follow the following procedure:
if the problem is simple or minor, you should first talk directly to the person involved. It is important that each person has a chance to speak, and that each person not just hear but also listen. It can be helpful to repeat a person’s words back so that it is evident that a person is attempting to understand (and in fact that she/he actually does or does not understand). pick an appropriate and conducive time, and talk with an open mind. be willing to work out an agreement as well as compromise if and when necessary. It may mean you give a little from your position and they give a little from their position. Be mindful of your tone, body language, and intentionality at all times. Gossip and carrying grudges are to be avoided at all cost. Work to not take things personally or to pass judgments; it can be helpful to give others the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes it helps to pick your battles, and at no time is it helpful to lose your temper. Count to 10 or take a break if necessary
If the situation does not get resolved, then you should go to the lead teacher in the classroom or administration in the office. Schedule an appointment and review the problem and what steps you have taken to try to work things out.
If the situation does not get resolved at that time, then you should go to the director. Schedule an appointment and review the problem and what steps you have taken to try to work things out.
If the meeting with the director does not solve the problem, the next step is to go to an officer of the Early Learning Center of Directors.
If you or the director believes that this is a subject that needs to be reviewed by the Executive Board of Directors, then schedule an appointment. The ELC Board of Directors has the final authority regarding all parent or staff differences and disputes. The ELC Board of Directors also has the authority to call in a mediator if deemed necessary.
If a parent or a staff member believes that an ELC school policy or procedure is wrong, unfair, not correct or illegal then they need to follow this procedure:
Write down the policy or rule or situation that you feel needs to be changed.
Write the reasons you believe there needs to be an adjustment or change in the policy, situation or regulation.
Write how you would change the policy so that your concerns are addressed. Specifically, what would you do differently and how would you make this policy better?
Schedule an appointment with the director to discuss your concerns.
If you or the director believes that this is a subject that needs to be reviewed by the Board of Directors, then schedule an appointment and your concerns will be directly addressed.
6. The ELC Board of Directors has the final authority regarding all ELC School policies. The ELC Board of Directors also has the authority to call in a mediator if deemed necessary.
7. Any problems not resolved locally, including the reporting of suspected licensing complaints, should be referred to the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care, 1575 Sherman Street, First Floor, Denver, Colorado, 80203-1714, or call 1-303-866-5948.
Our center policies not included in this handbook are reviewed and updated as needed. They are available for review upon request to the center director.
Family Handbook Acknowledgement
Please sign this acknowledgement, detach it from the handbook, and return it to the center prior to enrollment.
This handbook may be updated from time-to-time, and notice will be provided as updates are implemented.
Thank you for your acknowledging the policies and procedures we have established for the safety and welfare of all children in our care. We look forward to getting to know you and your family.
I have received the Early Learning Center Family Handbook, and I have reviewed the family handbook with a member of the Early Learning Center staff. It is my responsibility to understand and familiarize myself the Family Handbook and to ask center management for clarification of any policy, procedure or information contained in the Early Learning Center Family Handbook that I do not understand.
Center Staff Signature
We offer a variety of ways for families to participate in the growth and improvement of our program. We encourage families to take an active role.
Parent Advisory Committee – meets 4 times a year to review progress toward annual goals.
Classroom Representative – serves as a liaison between classroom parents and teachers
School Committee – meets monthly to plan fundraisers
Family Events: We have several events throughout the year that bring our entire community together. Watch for the announcements!
Back to School Night
Raising a Reader
Annual Family Picnic/Camping
Classroom Activities: Enjoy and help your child’s class with these special activities.
Share a meal with your child
Chaperone field trips
Read to children at arrival or pickup
Volunteer in the classroom
Donate requested items
Serve as a parent representative
Welcome new families
Contribute to class Pot Luck Meal
Family Teacher conferences
Family/Parent Workshops: Our menu of family workshops changes annually. Below is a list of workshops we can typically offer. See the monthly calendar for scheduled topics. We welcome requests for workshop topics.
Positive Guidance and Loving Discipline
Safety in the Home
Child Proofing Your Home
Nutrition and Exercise for Small Bodies
Supporting Your Child in Times of Stress
How to Prepare for a Conference
Warning Signs for Developmental Delays
Value of Reading to Your Child