This handbook is a supplement to our Childcare Agreement, and further describes the policies and procedures of Good Earth Childcare. By entering into a Childcare Agreement with Good Earth Childcare, parents agree to the contents of the Handbook in its entirety.
I am honored that you have chosen Good Earth Childcare to provide care for your child. Rest assured that your child will receive lots of love, hugs and kisses here. I look forward to a successful relationship with your child and you.
I believe that parent/provider communication is key to a successful child care relationship. Beyond communication, I provide a healthy, safe and loving home environment for all children where they can learn and grow. The policies and procedures in this Handbook have been carefully considered, and are in place to ensure a peaceful environment for the providers and the children in their care.
OPEN DOOR POLICY
We maintain an open door policy during your child(ren)'s hours of care. Please take into consideration the Daily Schedule when dropping in or calling, and remember that visitors (even parents) usually cause the children to react in an excited manner that does not normally occur when they are in our care. We respectfully request that no drop-offs, pick-ups or visits be made during our daily Quiet Time. You may drop in to visit at other times during the day, but please be prepared to take your child with you if your child’s personality is such that they will become inordinately upset at your departure. Please remember that visits may be especially upsetting to children who are adjusting to the childcare schedule and environment.
Our regular business hours are Monday-Friday from 7:30am-5:30pm, and our 2013 calendar of events and closures is listed below. Additional policies related to business hours, holidays, sick/personal days, vacations and emergency closures are outlined in our Childcare Agreement.
2013 CALENDAR OF EVENTS AND CLOSURES
Below is a list of events and closures that are scheduled for 2013. Unless otherwise noted, all parties will take place at 3:30pm. Parents are welcome to attend the parties, and/or provide a treat, decorations, or a craft/activity.
Thursday, February 14: Valentine Party
Friday, February 15: Closed (personal day)
Friday, March 15: Shamrock Party
Friday, March 29: Closed (Good Friday)
Monday, May 27: Closed (Memorial Day)
Wednesday, July 3: Patriotic Party
Thursday, July 4: Closed (Independence Day)
Monday-Friday, July 22-26: Closed (vacation; contracted parents who wish to take this week unpaid must notify provider by Friday, June 21)
Monday, September 2: Closed (Labor Day)
Monday-Tuesday, October 14-15: Closed (personal days)
Tuesday, October 29: Halloween Party
Thursday, October 31: Close @4pm (Halloween/Beggar's Night)
Tuesday, November 26: Thanksgiving Feast (lunchtime)
Thursday-Friday, November 28-29: Closed (Thanksgiving)
Thursday, December 19: Christmas Party
Tuesday, December 24: Closed (Christmas Eve)
Wednesday, December 25: Closed (Christmas Day)
Monday-Friday, December 30-January 3: Closed (vacation; contracted parents who wish to take this week unpaid must notify provider by Friday, November 29)
There are several forms that must be completed and on file at Good Earth Childcare before we can assume the responsibility of caring for your child. You are required to keep us informed of any changes in employment, addresses, telephone numbers, health needs, or other pertinent information as it arises.
Before your child is admitted into childcare, a Security Deposit in the amount of $100 per family must be paid. This deposit is refundable upon termination of care, provided all provisions in the Childcare Agreement have been met. In the event your child does not start care by the agreed upon date, your position will be forfeited and your Security Deposit to hold the position will become non-refundable. Good Earth Childcare will hold a future spot for your child for up to two weeks with a Security Deposit and a signed contract. Beyond two weeks, full child care fees are due for each week you would like your spot to be held.
All new children will be cared for on a two-week (14 calendar days) Trial Period beginning on your child’s first actual day of care. During that time the parent or Good Earth Childcare may terminate the Childcare Agreement with 24 hours notice. No fees or deposits will be refunded upon cancellation during the Trial Period.
RATES & SERVICES
Your rates and services are detailed in your Childcare Agreement.
FEES & PAYMENT
Weekly fees are due on your last scheduled day of care in the current week. Additional policies related to weekly fees are detailed in the Childcare Agreement.
EARLY DROP-OFF & LATE PICK-UP FEES
Our business hours are structured to be convenient for most families, while still allowing time for us to care for our own families and not have an inordinately long work day. Unexpected drop-offs and pick-ups outside of our business hours are difficult for your children, and extremely disruptive to the providers' families. For this reason, the Early Drop-Off and Late Pick-Up policy detailed in the Childcare Agreement is strictly enforced.
LATE PAYMENT FEES
Our late payment fees are detailed in the Childcare Agreement.
Our returned check fees are detailed in the Childcare Agreement
Our payment methods are detailed in the Childcare Agreement
SUPPLIES & BELONGINGS
DIAPERS & WIPES
If you use disposable diapers and wipes, you must provide a one-month supply of diapers and wipes for your child(ren) by the 3rd of each month. Alternately, you may pay a Supply Fee of $25 per month and we will supply diapers and wipes for you.
Cloth diapers and gDiapers are welcome at Good Earth Childcare! We have experience with most types of cloth diapers, and if it’s something we haven’t seen before, we're happy to learn.
You must provide one full change of clothing that is seasonally appropriate for your child(ren). All items must be labeled with your child’s name. When soiled clothing is sent home, a clean change of clothing must be brought back on your next scheduled day of care. It is your responsibility to maintain these items at all times. Keep in mind that as the seasons change and your child grows, the spare outfit should be replaced with something appropriate for the current season and in the right size.
Please remember that daycare can be a messy place, and dress your child in shoes and clothes that can get dirty. We are in the business of taking care of kids, not their clothes. Appropriate shoes are important! Your child's shoes should allow them to run, jump and play safely.
We spend time outside every day, except in the case of rain, excessive wind, or very cold or hot temperatures. Please dress your child appropriately! Snow pants in the winter and shorts in the summer are encouraged. In the Spring and Fall, the weather can change quite drastically from morning to afternoon. Layers are very helpful during these seasons. If we are planning an activity that will require particular attire, I will provide notice at least one week in advance.
Additional information related to proper attire is detailed in the Childcare Agreement.
QUIET TIME SUPPLIES
Information related to Quiet Time supplies is detailed in the Childcare Agreement
TOYS & SECURITY ITEMS
With the exception of Quiet Time supplies, please do not send toys or security items with your child unless they have been specifically requested for theme days or share days. If your child arrives with a toy or security item, it will be put in their box for the day, and they may have it back when you arrive for pick-up.
This is a general overview of your child’s daily activities. Our schedule may vary due to the ages and temperaments of children in our care, children’s wishes, special activity or field trip days, the weather, school schedules, etc.
7:30-9:00am ARRIVALS / FREE PLAY
9:00am GROUP ACTIVITIES
10:00am OUTDOOR or INDOOR FREE PLAY
11:00am GROUP ACTIVITIES
12:30pm QUIET TIME
2:30pm* SNACK TIME
3:30-5:30pm DEPARTURES/ FREE PLAY
* Snack time may vary depending on what time the kids wake up from their nap.
DROP-OFF & PICK-UP
DROP-OFF & PICK-UP SCHEDULE
Regular drop-off is from 7:30am-9am, and regular pick-up is from 3:30-5:30pm. Please notify us if you will drop-off or pick-up outside of these times so that we may plan accordingly.
Children are not permitted to enter the premises at drop-off nor go out to the car at pick-up unattended. When dropping off or picking up your child, you must come to the front door (unless there is a note on the front door indicating we are all out back, in which case, you should come around to the back).
ONE DROP-OFF/PICK-UP PER DAY
Each family is permitted one drop-off/pick-up per day. For example, if your child has a mid-day doctor appointment, your child may either attend child care before the appointment or after, but not both. NOTE: This rule is per family, not per child. All siblings must be dropped off and picked up together.
It is normal for some children to have difficulty separating from parents in the morning or not to want to leave when it’s time to go home. Please be very brief (no more than 5 minutes) during these transition times. The more prolonged the departure, the harder it gets. A smile, cheerful good-bye kiss and a reassuring word that you will be back are all that is needed in the morning. Children are nearly always quick to get involved in play or activities as soon as their parent is gone. This is a time of testing when two different authority figures are present (the parent and the care provider). Many children will test to see if the rules still apply. During arrivals and departures, we expect parents to back up our rules (see also: House Rules). If you do not, we will remind the children that their behavior is inappropriate and take action to correct, if needed.
WHO CAN PICK UP?
NOTICE: This policy is in place for the protection of your child, and it is strictly adhered to.
Your child will only be released to you or someone else you designate. If someone else is to pick up your child, please notify Good Earth Childcare in advance. If the person is on the list of people authorized to pick up your child, verbal notice of the change is sufficient. If the person is NOT on that list, we must have written permission to release your child. Please inform emergency contacts or other people authorized to pick up your child that we may ask for photo identification if they are not familiar to us. We will not let a child leave with anyone other than a parent without prior permission from a parent, even if that person is one of your authorized pick up people. This policy ALWAYS applies, even if the person attempting pick-up is familiar to us and/or your child, and includes relatives. If we have not received notification of the change from you, your child will not be released.
MEALS & SNACKS
WE ARE A TREE NUT FREE FACILITY
We have a child in our home who is severely allergic to several types of tree nuts. Due to the potential severity of the reaction, we can not allow any type of tree nut in our home. Tree nuts are commonly found in packaged foods, and often used in home baking. Below is a list of tree nuts. Please keep an eye on labels as you purchase foods to send with your child on Picnic Day, or if you send a snack for Sweet Treat Day. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our child safe.
COMMON TREE NUTS
* Coconut oil is found in many products, and is SAFE for our child to consume. You do not have to avoid bringing products that contain coconut oil.
AGES 12 MONTHS & OLDER
Nutritious meals, snacks and beverages are provided by Good Earth Childcare at no additional cost to you. Meals are prepared daily, and processed foods are limited in favor of natural foods. Children are offered a variety of foods at each meal, but are never forced to eat. We do encourage children to try a bite or two of everything, and they must at least taste each item on their plate before they will be given seconds of anything.
Meals are provided on the following schedule:
* Snack time may vary depending on what time the children wake up from their nap.
You are responsible for feeding your child at home if he or she will arrive at Good Earth Childcare more than 15 minutes after a scheduled meal time. Please do not send food with your child to consume outside of our regular mealtimes, as this practice is highly disruptive to the other children and our daily schedule.
If a child refuses to eat at any meal, no other food will be served until the next meal. If you have an exceptionally picky eater, please discuss your concerns with us so that together we can form a plan that fits both the needs of your child, and the other children in our care.
AGES 6 WEEKS – 12 MONTHS
Parents of children under age 1 year must provide breastmilk or formula and baby food (if desired) until the child is solely on table foods. These items may be provided daily, or you may supply a quantity and we will let you know when we are running low. It is strongly preferred (and recommended by the AAP and WHO) that babies not be given any solids, including baby cereal, until they are at least six months of age. We will not add cereal to bottles or spoon feed children who can not sit well without support. Whole milk, peanut products, shellfish, and honey will never be given to children under 1 year of age, and then only after the parent has confirmed the child has consumed the item at home without issue.
Infants are always fed on demand. As solids are introduced, we gradually adjust the feeding schedule, with the goal of having the child’s schedule match our normal meal schedule around the time they are 18 months old.
ALLERGIES AND MODIFIED DIETS
Common allergies such as eggs and peanuts can be accommodated in most cases. Other restricted diets (vegetarian, religious/cultural observances, etc.) will be discussed on an individual basis. If your child has extensive food allergies or an allergy or restricted diet that is difficult to accommodate, you will be required to provide meals and snacks for your child.
ABSENCES, VACATIONS & EXTENDED LEAVE
Please notify us prior to your scheduled drop-off time if your child(ren) will not be in attendance for the day, or if you will arrive more than 15 minutes after your scheduled drop-off time. If we have not heard from you and you have not arrived by 15 minutes after your scheduled drop-off time, we will assume your child will not be in attendance for the day, and may fill your child’s spot with a last-minute drop-in, leave for a scheduled field trip or outing, or otherwise be unavailable to provide care for your child(ren) that day.
In the event of a scheduled absence, such as for a vacation, appointments, or personal time off, advance notice is appreciated so that we may adjust our schedule accordingly.
No refunds or adjustments to weekly fees are given for scheduled or unscheduled absences.
Each family may take up to two weeks of vacation per calendar year, for which childcare fees are waived. These vacations may be taken as two consecutive weeks, or broken into two one-week vacations. A minimum of 30-days notice of your vacation is required in order for your fees to be waived.
In cases of absence due to extended leave (e.g., maternity leave, summers for teachers, etc.), your child’s position will be held as long as your weekly fees are paid for the duration of your leave.
The health and well-being of all the children and care providers at Good Earth Childcare is very important. The policy detailed here and in our Childcare Agreement is strictly adhered to.
SYMPTOMS REQUIRING REMOVAL OF CHILD FROM CHILDCARE (no exceptions)
Communicable Diseases: Including but not limited to: infectious conjunctivitis (pink eye), impetigo, hepatitis A, scabies, ringworm, infectious diarrhea, chicken pox, scarlet fever, lice, strep throat. If your child is thought to have a communicable disease, you will be notified and asked to pick up your child as soon as possible. Your child will be accepted back into care when he or she is no longer contagious. All parents will be notified of the possibility of exposure to a communicable disease and what symptoms to watch out for. Good Earth Childcare reserves the right to require a doctor’s note prior to allowing the child’s return for care.
Fevers, Vomiting & Diarrhea: Our policies related to fevers, vomiting and/or diarrhea are detailed in the Childcare Agreement.
Other mild illnesses: Typically by the time a child is showing symptoms of a cold or other mild illness, the germs have already been spread, so there is no point keeping them home. In general, we want to provide you with the childcare you need, while keeping your child and the other children in our care as safe and comfortable as possible. If your child is truly miserable, please keep him or her home. If they’re just feeling a little under the weather, you may bring them for care. Should their condition worsen significantly during the day, we will notify you and ask that you pick up your child as soon as possible.
We will administer non-prescription medications, ointments and creams only if needed. Parents are required to supply all non-prescription medications in their original containers and labeled with the child’s name. We will not vary from the manufacturer’s age, weight and dosage recommendations without written instructions from the child’s physician.
We will administer prescription medications only from the original container with the child’s name and dosage instructions clearly labeled.
HOUSE RULES & DISCIPLINE
Walking Feet and Calm Voices in the house: Running, jumping and screaming is saved for outside play time.
We eat and drink in the kitchen: Cups and sippy cups of water may be left on the kitchen counter for the child’s use throughout the day. Sippy cups or bottles may be used during Quiet Time if requested by the parent.
We respect each other: Name-calling, teasing, bullying, swearing or bossing is not allowed. No hitting, pushing, biting, grabbing, kicking, pulling, pinching, or otherwise hurting others (including the pets, the providers, and the parents, too). Do not lift,carry, climb on or sit on other children (or the pets).
We respect our belongings and our environment: Take care of the toys and supplies – they are not weapons or things to throw, pound or smash. Climbing and jumping happens on the playground; the furniture is for sitting or lying. We draw on paper or chalk boards, not walls or tables or each other. Trash goes in the trash can, and recycling goes in the recycling bin. The grass, flowers and plants stay in the ground for everyone to enjoy. The leaves and branches stay on the trees so they can give us shade.
Discipline is used to teach a child, not as punishment. We achieve this through love, consistency and resolve. We stress respect for other people and respect for property and our environment. The House Rules are explained frequently and consistent words and phrases are used so that everyone understands the rules and knows what is expected of them.
The following methods of discipline are used:
Encourage children to solve the problem themselves
Intervention, discussion and redirection
Loss of privileges, logical consequences
Time out, followed by discussion
If we feel there is a chronic behavioral issue that needs attention, we will discuss the matter with you to ensure that there is continuity of expectations and discipline between our homes. We will work together to find a solution. Please remember that some behaviors which may be considered cute or funny at home can become problematic in large groups of children.
In the case of severe behavioral issues, you may be called to remove your child if his or her behavior is a danger to other children or prevents us from being able to properly attend to all the children in our care. If the problem continues and we are unable to find a mutually agreeable solution, you may be asked to make other arrangements for the care of your child.
A special note on biting: Biting is a phase that some kids just go through. It's unpredictable, it can inflict serious injuries on the victim, and it is very difficult to prevent. For these reasons, a child who is going through a biting phase may be isolated during times when we can not be in the same room with them and/or supervise them directly. This is not punishment, but it is necessary for the safety and well-being of all the children in our care.
Children generally achieve potty training between the ages of 2½ to 4 years old. Children train easily when they are ready. For this reason, we will not begin the potty training process at Good Earth Childcare until your child is at least 2½ years old. If your child is truly ready earlier than that, we will recognize the signs discuss beginning the process with you. However, please know that those cases are rare. Signs of readiness include appropriate language skills to communicate the need to use the potty, staying dry for long periods of time, the ability to dress and undress with little or no assistance, and an interest in staying dry or clean. We take a very relaxed attitude towards potty training. Please remember that this should be your child’s accomplishment, not yours or ours.
BEGINNING THE PROCESS
Parents must begin the potty training process at home. We use a potty ring that fits on a standard toilet seat here, and we strongly recommend you use the same system at home, rather than a typical potty chair. This allows your child to be more independent, and avoids potential regression when it’s time to transition to the “big potty.”
If you have some success at home and we agree that your child is ready, we will support your potty training efforts here. “Success at home” means that your child is eager to use the potty, and is willing to relieve him/herself there. It also means that your child can pull their own pants down, get on and off the potty unassisted, and pull their pants back up. They may need help wiping after a bowel movement, but they should be doing most of the required actions on their own.
POTTY TRAINING DRESS CODE
Please dress your child appropriately while they are learning to use the potty: no overalls, onesies, belts, buckles, snaps, buttons or zippers. Your child should be in clothing that he or she can easily take down and pull up themselves. Also keep in mind that changing a soiled pull-up requires that we remove your child’s pants completely. Therefore, leggings, tights, “skinny” jeans, and any other pants that fit tightly at the calves/ankles are discouraged. Loose and comfy is the way to go while your child is learning to use the potty (actually, that could be a philosophy as well as a dress code!)
Your child is required to wear pull-ups to Good Earth Childcare until we have given the green light for underwear. The activity level here can distract your child and make their potty habits less reliable than they may be at home. We will continue to use pull-ups at child care until your child can and will announce that he or she needs to use the potty, and can control his or her bladder and bowels for a few minutes beyond that announcement. Approval to bring your child to care in underwear is given solely at our discretion.
Even after your child transitions to underwear, the Potty Training Dress Code remains in effect. Your child should be able to complete all the tasks required to use the potty with very little or no assistance from an adult, so remember… keep it loose and comfy!
You will be notified of field trips in advance. If we are driving, all children will be placed in safety-approved car seats as required by Ohio State Law. You may be requested to provide a car seat for the day and/or pay any fees associated with the trip. If you do not wish your child to attend the field trip, you are responsible for securing alternate childcare, and no adjustments or refunds of childcare fees will be provided.
BIRTHDAYS AND HOLIDAYS
You may provide a snack in celebration of your child’s birthday or other special occasion if you wish. Please provide advance notice so that we can plan accordingly. Keep in mind that little hands often have difficulty managing cake and cupcakes. Slightly less messy treats such as cookies or brownies are appreciated!
We will have themed parties to celebrate various holidays throughout the year, including Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others. There will be opportunities to provide snacks or volunteer to help with the parties. Information will be provided prior to each celebration.
The children do not exchange gifts at Christmas. Instead, you will be asked send in a wrapped gift of your choice for our Christmas party. Gently used items are welcome! We ask that toys be sturdy and not contain many pieces, as it will get a lot of use. Items suitable for ages infant through 5 years are best. The children unwrap these gifts as part of our Christmas celebration, and the items remain at Good Earth Childcare for year-round enjoyment.
TERMINATION BY PROVIDER
Except in cases as outlined in the Immediate Termination by Provider section, at least 2-weeks notice of termination will be provided to you in writing. If your child is absent on the day we intended to provide notice, we reserve the right to provide notice of termination via telephone, email, postal mail or voicemail. Childcare Fees for your child’s final two weeks are due in full, regardless of your child’s attendance. If all provisions of this Handbook and your Childcare Agreement have been met, your Security Deposit will be refunded on your last scheduled day of care.
TERMINATION BY PARENT
You are required to give 30-days notice should you decide to terminate your Childcare Agreement. Your termination notice may not be given when you or provider is on vacation. Childcare fees for your child’s final month are due in full, regardless of your child’s attendance. If all provisions of this Handbook and your Childcare Agreement have been met, your Security Deposit will be refunded on your last scheduled day of care.
IMMEDIATE TERMINATION BY PROVIDER
Good Earth Childcare reserves the right to give verbal notice of immediate termination when there are extenuating circumstances that affect the safety and well being of the care providers, other children in care, or the day-to-day operations of Good Earth Childcare, or in response to blatant disregard of persons, property, and/or policies. Your Security Deposit is forfeited in the event of immediate termination.
The policies detailed in this Handbook and in the Childcare Agreement are in place for the safety and well-being of the providers and the children in their care, and they generally will be enforced without exception. Failure to enforce any policies detailed in this Handbook or the Childcare Agreement at any time does not mean the policy is no longer in effect.
Revisions to this Handbook and accompanying forms and agreements may be made from time to time. All changes will be provided in writing, and written acknowledgement of the change must be on file with Good Earth Childcare in order for care to continue uninterrupted.