Policies & Procedures
Welcome to The Community Preschool/Kindergarten of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. Our purpose is to provide the highest quality education in a secure, nurturing and stimulating environment. The Community Preschool/Kindergarten serves the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of the children and their families.
We meet these goals with our age-appropriate curriculum, our highly qualified staff, state-of-the-art equipment, the highest standards of cleanliness, and our ongoing communication with parents.
This Parent Handbook has been designed to provide important information that parents need when selecting the childcare program for their child.
The dedicated, caring staff at The Community Preschool/Kindergarten wants to be certain that your child has the very best early childhood experience possible. We want to thank you for entrusting us with that privilege and responsibility.
Please take the time to read all the following information to help you better understand our program and philosophy. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the directors.
It is a mission of The Community Preschool/Kindergarten to provide a fully integrated program to foster the child’s social and emotional growth as well as their physical and mental development. Additionally, our sequential learning curriculum was developed to prepare the child for academics in kindergarten and elementary school.
The goal of the school is to guide each child in the growth of his/her total personality. Areas related to physical, mental, emotional and social development are all given equal attention when preparing a curriculum to fit the needs of each child. A child’s self-expression, creativity and analytical thinking are worked out in play. Through observations, the teacher may help a child succeed in areas where they do not excel. The teachers strive to aid each child in developing a positive image of self.
Please use caution when driving through our parking lot. Parking spaces are provided for your convenience. Please be sure to hold your child’s hand to and from the doors. Remember that our behavior sets an example for our children. Speed limit in the parking lot is 5 MPH. We ask that everyone observe the speed limit for the safety of all.
Car Pool Rules and Procedures
Our car pool process is designed for a safe, quick manner for you to bring children to school and to pick them up accordingly. Please make every effort to not slow down our traffic flow. Every vehicle will be assigned an identification number which should be hung from your rear view mirror to be visible to the teachers working the loading area.
- Drop Off Time is 8:45 – 9:00 am OR (beginning at 7am if your child is attending Early Drop Off)
- Pick Up Time is 11:45 – 12:00 OR 1:45 – 2:00 pm, 3:45 – 4:00 pm or 4:45 – 5:00 (if your child is attending Extended Day Lunch Bunch) You may always enter the building to pick your child up at any time.
If your child is not riding in their regular car or car pool, please send a note to their teacher and photo copy your carpool identification number for the new driver to hang from his/her rear view mirror. The Community Preschool/Kindergarten Staff will not allow children to leave with anyone else without the written permission of the parent or guardian and without seeing the child’s car pool identification number. Additionally, staff will ask any new driver to provide his/her operator’s license before placing a child in a car driven by a face we do not recognize.
When dropping your child off in the mornings, please unbuckle your child once you enter the car pool line. Pull up past the entrance and one of the teachers will reach in to assist your child out of his/her car seat. DO NOT EXIT YOUR CAR. We want to make certain that the car pool line flows smoothly and quickly so that nobody is made to wait more than a couple of minutes. If you find you are running late, please note that all downstairs doors will be locked at 9:00 am. You will need to park and bring your child in through the upstairs entrance. This is not to inconvenience you in any way, but strictly for the safety of the children. We have an information desk in the upstairs lobby that is always staffed and this individual will keep an eye out for anyone entering the premises.
When picking your child up from preschool, please pull up past the doors and one of the teachers will assist your child into his/her car seat. DO NOT EXIT YOUR CAR. Please then pull down the hill and into a parking space before buckling your child into his/her car seat. This will ensure that the traffic flows smoothly and quickly.
Should you wish to walk your child in, please park in one of the spaces and enter through the garden door (before 9:00 am) or the front portico door (after 9:00 am).
It is recommended that parents use the car pool line to drop off their children. Children that have difficulty leaving their parents may find this to be an easier separation point rather than in the classroom. Using carpool makes the transition from parent to teacher easier on the children, the parents, and the teachers.
If someone other than yourself is bringing or picking up your child, please explain these carpool rules to this individual so we don’t have any traffic jams before or after school.
We prefer that children arrive by 9:00 a.m. We do not want the children to miss any instruction. If the children all arrive ready to begin their program at 9:00, the transition is much easier for the children and the teachers. If your child will arrive late for any reason, please contact the school office before 9:00 a.m. You will need to enter the front doors of the church if arriving later than 9:00 a.m. All downstairs doors are locked for safety purposes.
All schools have an emergency disaster plan in place. Staff members are First Aid and CPR certified and prepared to handle an emergency.
Please inform us with a note or phone call if someone other than those you have originally authorized will be picking up your child. The authorized person must be over 18 years of age and present a photo ID. Your child’s safety is our number one objective. We will check ID’s prior to placing your child into the vehicle of a new face.
Refunds and Withdrawals
If it becomes necessary to withdraw a child during the school year, 30 days advance written notice is required. Tuition payments are non-refundable and non-transferable, unless your child’s spot is able to be filled, at which time we will happily refund 50% of the remaining amount.
One-Time Yearly Fees
Annually, every child enrolled in the Community Preschool will be assessed a $150 non-refundable Registration Fee and a $25 Supply Fee.
In the event of unusual weather conditions such as heavy snow or ice, please check your email prior to leaving for school. The directors will send a school-wide email no later than 6:30 am informing you of any closings or delays. The Community Preschool/Kindergarten has placed “snow make-up days” into the yearly calendar. We will make every effort to make up missed days.
Vacations and Holidays Observed
The Community Preschool is closed on the following holidays/staff development days:
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Day After Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- New Year’s Eve
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents Day
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
- The Community Preschool will follow the Jefferson County Public Schools winter/spring break schedules.
The Community Preschool strongly encourages children 3 or older to be toilet trained. Due to Licensing regulations and the set-up of our classrooms, we are not equipped to change diapers or pull-ups for our children aged 3 and above. While we can certainly handle the occasional accidents, we can’t change children of that age on a regular basis. If a child has continued accidents in classrooms for ages 3 and above, we will potentially need to move them to a classroom that has a sink and a changing table. For the younger children, please bring in diapers or pull-ups to store in his/her classroom.
Lost and Found
Please mark all items of personal property. We will make every attempt to locate and return lost items. This task is much easier if your child’s name is on the items. We cannot be responsible for any personal items that your child may bring to school.
Children must be fully dressed when they arrive at school. Because play activity is such an important part of the curriculum, clothing should be practical and comfortable. No open toed shoes, sandals, jellies or cowboy boots are permitted. Little toes are easily hurt and children have a difficult time on the playground. We also prefer that children do not wear jewelry.
Every child needs to always have a complete change of clothing including socks and underwear. If your child has changed clothing during the day, please take home the soiled items and replace them the next day. All clothing items must be labeled with the child’s full name.
As part of the snack program, each child will be assigned a week in which they will be responsible for providing snack for the rest of their classmates. Each student will have an assigned week that will rotate throughout the year. The snack rotation list will be provided by your child’s teacher. The following is a list of acceptable snacks:
- Fresh fruit (apples, bananas, strawberries, melon, etc)
- Vegetables with dip, etc.
As with any behavior, how biting is dealt with depends upon the ages of the children involved, the reason for the biting (if it can be determined), frequency of the biting and many other specific circumstances. General guidelines for biting include:
- Helping the bitten child feel better or providing appropriate first aid, if warranted.
- Completing an Ouch report for the parent of the bitten child
- Discussing the situation with the biter’s parent
Depending on the ages and circumstances involved, additional actions might include:
- Discussing a better solution with all children involved
- Separation of involved children
- Showing/giving the biter something appropriate to bite (teething ring)
- Ensuring that the environment provides enough challenging activities
- Carefully observing the involved child to identify precipitating events and prevent recurrences
- Maintaining a log to track when the behavior occurs
- Conferences with parents to discuss the child’s actions at home, parental discipline techniques, search for outside resources, etc.
Just as any other behavior issue regarding a child is confidential, the name of the child that has bitten is also confidential, in order to ensure the privacy of the child and family and prevent bias from others enrolled in the center. We will keep you informed as to what steps are being taken and if bites are from the same or a different child. Information handouts are given to parents regarding biting.
Children who break the skin of another child twice will be terminated.
Colds, flu and other contagious diseases seem to occur frequently and spread easily among preschool and toddler children. To help protect your own child’s health and to minimize the possibility of contagion at school, please keep your child at home if you observe any of the following symptoms:
- Nasal discharge that is green or yellow
- Complaints of ear pain
- Productive cough
- Severe sore throat
- Eyes that are pink, burning or itching or producing discharge
- Diarrhea or vomiting
If these symptoms of possibly contagious conditions are observed in your child during the day, you will be called to pick up your child immediately.
When your child has a fever, please keep him/her at home an additional 24 hours after the temperature returns to normal. Likewise, if your child has had diarrhea or has vomited, we ask that you keep your child at home for an additional 24 hours following the last incident. This will help to ensure that the illness has actually passed and that your child will be well enough to resume school activities.
This is a very common occurrence in young children. This has nothing to do with cleanliness. They are very easily transmitted by leaning back in an upholstered chair where someone had previously sat who had head lice, sharing caps or helmets, hair accessories, brushes, combs, even sitting close and touching heads.
Random lice checks are conducted by office personnel. If head lice is found on a child, the following steps are taken:
- Parents are notified and child must be picked up from school
- At home, the child’s head must be treated with a product formulated to remove head lice
- Nits must be removed with a special nit comb included in product
- A handout of information regarding head lice is given to all parents at the time of pick-up
To avoid infestation, it is important to inspect all family members for two weeks and treat if infected. Nits on the scalp may be seen more easily on the hair at the back of the neck and above the ears. Please be assured that we will do everything possible to prevent infestation in our school. With your support, we will stop the lice from spreading.
The directors are to be informed at once if a child contracts or has been exposed to a communicable disease. Since the risk of contracting an infectious disease in any school community exists, The Community Preschool/Kindergarten recognizes the need to guard against the health and safety threat to the school community. When a child is diagnosed with any communicable disease including but not limited to measles, mumps, chicken pox, hepatitis, tuberculosis, or has been exposed to these or any other health threats, information about a child’s condition must be provided to the directors. Information about a child’s condition will not be disclosed to others except as authorized in writing by the parents or legal guardians.
What Your Child May Bring From Home
In most classrooms, share day is once per week (your child’s teacher will determine), at which time your child may bring one toy or item to share with his/her class. Books, cassettes and CDs are welcome at any time. Please do not allow your child to bring in items other days as toys wind up lost, broken, or create hurt feelings with other classmates.. Violent toys, violent videos, violent books, guns, and swords may not be brought to school.
In relation to special blankets, pacifiers and other “lovies,” those items will only be allowed in the classrooms of our Infants and Ones. Older children who stay for aftercare and must nap can keep those types of items in a backpack and use them only for napping. In relation to bottles, only our Infants and Ones will be given bottles that are provided by the parents. Children 2 and older should either have a sippy cup or be prepared to drink from a small plastic cup.
After Care Rest Time
According to Licensing regulations, all children in the preschool who stay for after care past 2pm must have a nap or rest period not to exceed 2 hours. If you have a 1 year old staying for aftercare, please provide a crib sheet and a blanket with the child’s name on them in their backpack. We will use those items during the week and then send them home on the child’s last day of each week to be laundered and returned the next week. If you have a child 2 or older who would like to have a blanket or “lovie” of any type, please put the child’s name on the item and send it in their backpack. It will be used throughout the week and sent home on the child’s last day of the week to be laundered and returned for the next week.
After Care Snack
Due to children’s different diet restrictions and taste preferences, we are now asking that you pack a snack for your child for after rest time in the afternoon. We will collect those snacks in the same manner that we collect lunches each morning. Please mark the snack with your child’s name and if it needs to be refrigerated, we will do so.
Birthdays are special and important occasions. You are welcome to bring store-bought cupcakes or cookies to share with your child’s class. Due to allergies, any treats must safe according to our nut-free policy. Please see above in the “Snack” section. All food items must be pre-approved by one of the directors. Please make arrangements with your child’s teacher for any special plans to make your child’s birthday one of a kind. As balloons present a choking hazard, we ask that you refrain from balloons of any kind.
If you would like to bring a gift to the classroom for your child to open, whether it is an educational toy or book, this is welcome. Check with your child’s teacher to see what might be needed in the classroom or what might best be contributed.
Parents Visiting and Observing
Parents are welcome and encouraged to visit in your child’s classroom anytime. If you have a child with separation anxiety, it may be better to week until he/she is fully acclimated to the classroom before visiting. This is a time to observe your child but not to discuss with his/her teachers. It is advisable for siblings not to visit at this time. Please limit visiting time (unless participating in a special event) to 30 minutes, as a parent in the classroom can become more of a distraction, than a help.
Scheduled parent-teacher conferences will be held each school year. Additional conferences may be scheduled at any time during the year by the parents or teachers. Please send a note to the teachers or contact the directors to arrange a date and time.
Termination of Enrollment
In certain circumstances, it may be necessary for the directors to decide to discontinue a child’s attendance. Such a decision would be based on whether it is in the best interest of that child. Every effort will be made to correct a problematic situation before a final decision is made. Termination of enrollment may be the result of the following:
- Abuse of other children, staff, or property
- Disruptive or dangerous behavior
- The center’s inability to meet the child’s needs
- Biting and breaking the skin of another child, twice
- Tuition payments in arrears 30 days or more
In order to maintain a happy, healthy, disciplined environment, the children are taught the importance of safety, care of property, good habits, rules of conduct and consideration and respect for others.
Constructive methods of discipline are used to maintain group and handle individual behavior. Our main focus on discipline (teaching/training) is preventative in nature, as we aim to build self-discipline in the child.
Constructive Measures to Extinguish Unacceptable Behavior
When a child exhibits unacceptable behavior or attitudes, he/she is instructed as to what is wrong and then directed to a positive alternative approach/behavior. Along with these new attitudes and behaviors, the child is guided in the direction of self-discipline by encouraging him/her to make as many decisions as possible within limits. The limits are as follows:
- If a child strikes another child, he/she and the other child are respectfully separated. Each child is asked to explain what happened (define the problem). After each child has verbally given information, they are asked to help solve the problem, talk to each other, reconcile with one another and are redirected to another activity.
- If a child is disruptive, he/she will be respectfully asked to stop the behavior. If the child persists to the point of disruption again, he/she is reminded of his/her behavior and how it affects others.
- If a child continues to misbehave and disrupt the class, the parents will be asked to come in for a conference to discuss how we can best meet the needs of the child.
Impaired Driver Policy
The Community Preschool/Kindergarten is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all enrolled children. Should a parent/guardian appear impaired at the time of pick-up, a Community Staff Member will encourage the parent/guardian to take a cab or contact an alternate person to drive the children / family home. If the parent/guardian is unwilling to do this, the Staff Member is required by Community Policy to contact the police and Child Protective Services so that an objective determination may be made by those individuals / agencies. If a parent / guardian arrives to the school exhibiting the following behaviors, the Impaired Driver Policy will be immediately put into action:
- Smelling of alcohol, marijuana, or other illicit drugs
- Slurred speech
- Gross motor impairment
- Other signs of intoxication, including but not limited to inappropriate behavior, staggering, or drowsiness
- In any way appears too unhealthy to drive home or care for children
Please understand that your child’s safety is our first and foremost priority.
Parents have asked us about opportunities to make financial contributions to The Community Preschool. As the school is solely funded by tuition and fees, such tax-deductible donations are always appreciated. Funds may be allocated to endowment funds, tuition assistance, teacher education or other special projects. To learn more, please contact the directors. You can also check with your child’s teacher or the directors for a supply wish list if you would like to donate directly to a classroom.
We also accept donations from businesses or services for our Spring Fling Family Night raffle/silent auction to raise money for the school. If you have a business or have a service that you would like to donate for this event, please contact the directors or notify your child’s teachers.
Managing Board of Directors
The Community Preschool is run by a group of individuals made up of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church members, Community Preschool teachers and parents.
The Managing Board meets regularly to discuss ways to continually improve the quality of The Community Preschool.
For the Parents...
Separation from the Parent
The process of separation from the parent as the child enters and attends preschool/kindergarten is one of the most important accomplishments of your child.
At each age level, a child will react differently. As children mature, they begin to identify themselves as independent personalities. In separating from you, the parent, your child is learning:
- To develop an interest in the activities of the preschool
- To feel comfortable with others at preschool
- To understand that his/her parent will come back and pick him/her up
- To understand that all parents leave their children and come back for them
- To understand that parents often must concentrate on their own interests and duties which are separate and different from those of a child.
It is important to point out that sooner or later after the initial successful adjustment at school is made, all children want to explore the limits of not going to school. This period may occur in October or December or in Spring, but it usually lasts only a short time. When this occurs, here are some suggestions which may help you handle the situation:
- Place an emphasis on what the child is doing at school rather than what your activities are while he/she is in school
- See that the child is involved in a specific activity or is in the hands of a teacher before you leave him/her
- Tell the child when you are leaving. Avoid prolonged good-byes.
- Ask the teacher to help in separation. We expect the crying and usually the tears are for the parent’s benefit.
As school progresses and the children adjust to their new classes, we will try to provide you with continuing information regarding our programs at The Community Preschool/Kindergarten. We will keep you informed of special events, school programs, holidays, curriculum and other important information through our monthly school newsletter and weekly teacher reports.