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Handbook

Little Voices Early Care and Education

104 Needham Road
Hyde Park, Ma. 02136
Parent Handbook

 

Philosophy Statement

The purpose of Little Voices Early Care and Education is to provide high quality education and childcare for children between the ages of zero to six years old and their families in and around the greater Boston area. We also offer an after school program for children in elementary schools in the area. This program is devoted to providing quality childcare at an affordable price for parents.

 

Curriculum

Little Voices Early Care and Education is a program based on Developmentally Appropriate Practice. This means that children are developing at different rates and are in different stages of development based on age and ability. Current, ongoing research on Brain Development has proven that who we are today is already in place and mapped out by the time we are five years old. Our program offers a stimulating, safe, loving environment with age appropriate activities so children will develop positive self esteem. They will grow physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively at their own pace and with their own learning styles. In this program, we develop our curriculum by following the quality guidelines from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Massachusetts standards for Preschool, the Massachusetts guidelines for Infants and toddlers and the Creative Curriculum system. Following an ant-bias curriculum we develop activities in the areas of math, science, language and literacy, physical development and the arts that are stimulating and appropriate for all children. We work with the community and appropriate agencies essential to children's health and learning.

 

Teaching Staff

Teaching staff are hired to work with a particular age group. All efforts are made to keep consistency in classrooms to help children to develop relationships with children and teachers.

 

Transitions to New Classrooms

 

When the child begins to be ready for the transition to the next class, Little Voices staff schedule, with parent’s permission, supervised visits with a familiar teacher. When the transition happens, a familiar teacher is also transitioned to keep continuity of care for the child. The child will move to a new teacher with an old one, ensuring children are with their teaching staff for longer than nine months.

 

 

Language Acquisition

 

At Little Voices all children are encouraged to practice and develop language on a regular basis and in multiple ways. Children have many opportunities throughout the day to engage in conversation with peers and teachers. They are talked to, sung to and read stories throughout the day. Baby signs are used for infants and young children helping them to gain a means of communicating while older more verbal children are encouraged to interact and converse. Children eat in small groups, are asked open ended questions and talked to in various ways.

Children who are dual language learners are encouraged to communicate in both languages as comfortable to allow them to acquire the English language while allowing them to practice their home language. Little Voices staff will use labels to show print in both English and the child’s home language. Parents will be asked to participate in and encouraged to help develop the important words of the culture.

 

 

Hours of Operation

Little Voices is open Monday through Friday, 7am to 5:30 pm.

 

Holidays and Vacation Days

Little Voices will be closed, observing the following holidays:

New Year's Day

Thursday 1-1-2015

 Labor Day September 7, 2015 

Martin Luther King Jr.Birthday

Friday 1-16-2015

Columbus Day Monday10-13-2014

Veteran's Day 11-11-14

President's Day

Monday 2-16-2015

Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following

11-27-14 and 11-28-14

Patriot's Day

4-20-2015

Christmas  12-25-14 and 12-26-14

Memorial Day

5-25-2015

Professional Development

TBA

Friday July 3, 2015

Professional Development

TBA

Fees

Fees are to be paid on the Monday of each week. There is an option for biweekly or monthly payments with prior arrangement.

Cash, money order or checks are accepted. All checks are to be paid to Little Voices Early Care and Education.

Vacation, snow days, illness, holidays or absence do not affect rates.

 

Trial Period

All children and families are accepted on a two week trial period. This gives the family and the program staff an opportunity to briefly work together on a trial basis. At the end of the two weeks, the parents and the Director will meet to assess and evaluate the appropriateness of the placement. If it has been decided the placement is inappropriate, the Director will help the parent find a new placement. If it is decided the placement is appropriate, a contract will be signed between the parents and the program.

 

Absences

Parents are asked to notify the program as soon as possible in the morning regarding a child's absence. Fees are expected to be paid as per contracted.

 

Sickness and emergency

All children get sick from time to time. All precautions will be taken to keep the environment and the children healthy. Bleach is used on all surfaces as well as on toys. Any mouthed toys are immediately taken from circulation and replaced when sterilized. The following is a guide to follow if children get sick:

If a child has a fever, he/she can return to the program when the child shows no signs of a fever for 24 hours.

If a child is vomiting or has diarrhea, the child can return to the program when he/she shows no signs of vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.

Bacterial infections require 24 hours of antibiotic before returning to school.

Unidentifiable rashes require a doctor's attention before returning to school.

Head Lice must be treated and child must be nit free and checked by the Director before re-entering the classroom.

Conjunctivitis must be checked by a doctor and treated with anti-biotic ointment for 24 hours before returning to school.

Children who have had any surgical procedures are required to stay home for 24 hours to ensure there are no reactions to anesthesia.

Children, who become sick at school during the day, will be isolated from the other children at the discretion of the teacher until a parent arrives.

Parents will be notified of a child's illness and required to arrange for the child to be picked up from the program.

NOTE: Tylenol and Motrin only mask a fever or an illness and when the medicine wears off, the child is usually worse. It is recommended if a child needs these medications for something other than teething pain, the child should stay home.

In Case of a medical emergency, the parent will be notified and the child will be taken to the emergency room of the parent's choice.

If the parent cannot be reached the child will be brought to the emergency room listed on the registration form.

 

Child Abuse and Neglect

All children will be protected from abuse and Neglect while enrolled at Little Voices.

All staff members are mandated reporters of abuse and neglect. If abuse or neglect is suspected the teacher will make at least one written observation and notify the director immediately. The director and teacher will file a report of suspected abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services.

The Director will notify the Office of Early Education and Care after filing a 51A. Little Voices will cooperate with any and all investigations of abuse or neglect including identifying parents currently or previously enrolled: providing consent for disclosure to the Office of information from, and allowing the Office to disclose information to, any person and/ or agency the Office may specify as necessary to prompt investigations of allegations and protection of children. Failure to cooperate may be grounds for suspension, revocation, or refusal to issue or renew a license.

In the event the staff member is in question, he/she will immediately be given a leave of absence until a full investigation has taken place. Any staff member abusing a child physically or verbally will be dismissed. In the event of physical abuse, the police will be notified.

 

Medicine

Prescription medication will be dispensed with a doctor's order on the original bottle and a signed permission form with instructions. Forms will be provided to parents as needed.

 

Behavior/Discipline

Little Voices encourages children to use problem solving skills taught and modeled throughout the child's enrollment. Behavior management techniques such as having children use their words and verbalize their feelings are used throughout the day. Children are offered choices and learn to develop self control through redirection, understanding limits and developing empathy towards others. They also help develop their rules when appropriate.

Little Voices shall prohibit:

·         Spanking, shaking or any other forms of corporal punishment of children

·         Subjecting children to cruel or severe punishment such as humiliation, verbal or physical abuse, neglect, or abusive treatment

·         Depriving children of meals or snack

·         Force feeding children or disciplining a child for soiling, wetting or not using the toilet; or forcing a child to remain in soiled clothes or forcing a child to remain on the toilet, or using any other unusual or excessive practices for toileting.

 

Termination and Suspension

No student shall be terminated or suspended unless all methods of communication with parents are exhausted. Reasons may include lack of follow through with a referral; parents break a contract or failure to abide by the policies upheld by Little Voices staff.

 

Children's Records

All records belonging to children are personal and confidential. They will not be accessible to anyone or any organization without written consent of the parent. Little Voices will notify the parent if the child’s file is subpoenaed.

Upon written request, the parent has access to the child's file at all reasonable times.

A log of information released will be held in the file and parents can have access to that information as well.

The parents have the right to add relevant information or correct objectionable material in the child's file with a conference with the director.

 

Referral Services

After observing a child, if the child shows signs of red flags; the teacher will notify the Director of the concerns and share any written observations. The teacher should have at least two completed observations. The Director will address the teacher's concerns with a follow-up observation. If written observations have yet to be completed the teacher will do so. The parents will be asked to come in for a conference with the teacher and the director. The observations will be shared with the parent and a request for a pediatrician's input discussed. The parent will also be provided with a list of the most appropriate referral agencies available. In the case of infants/toddlers Early Intervention will be notified. For children over three, Childcare Choices of Boston will be called.

Parents will be provided with a written statement of their rights and no referral will be made without a parent's consent.

Little Voices will maintain all records, including parent conference and results.

 

Contracts

Parents must adhere to the signed contract and its' times. Days can only be substituted at the discretion of the teacher in order to remain in compliance. Contracts will be signed each September for the new school year.

 

 

 

Summer/ Winter Policy

 

Children are outside daily, weather permitting. In the summer staff and administration watch the outdoor conditions to be sure the air quality is safe for children. In winter as well staff monitor conditions to be sure temperatures are easily tolerated and safe for children. When outdoors is not appropriate, staff will allow one hour in the am and pm for gross motor play.

 

 

 

What children need to bring

Parents are responsible for bringing the following items:

·         Diapers

·         Formula/breast milk if school offered formula is not desired. Similac w/Iron is the formula of choice

·         Extra clothing (appropriate for the season)

·         Boots, hats and mittens in cold weather

·         Swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and a hat in hot weather

If laundry is sent home, /please replace it the next day.

 

Diapering

 

All children who wear diapers will be changed and checked at least every two hours, more frequently as needed. Infants and toddlers will be checked every hour or more frequently as needed. Parents supply commercial diapers or pull-ups of their choice. In the case of younger infants, cloth diapers can be used if this is the choice of the parent provided there is an absorbent insert and a waterproof shell to avoid leaking. The diaper needs be changed as a unit and the entire unit is returned at the end of the day, properly wrapped to the parent.

 

All soiled clothing and cloth diapers will be wrapped in a plastic bag and returned at the end of the day. Little Voices does not have the capacity to wash or rinse soiled clothing. It will be handled as little as possible.

 

Infants and young toddlers are changed on the changing table in their classroom with a teacher keeping one hand on them at all times. Older toddlers and preschoolers still wearing diapers will be changed standing up in their classroom’s bathroom with an open door but separated from other children and activity. This ensures privacy for the child but allows staff to get assistance if necessary.

 

The Community

We love to go outside and we love to take walks to the park and take trips. Permission slips will be sent home for field trips. Proper car seats will be used at all times if trips are taken.

 

Meals

 Little Voices will provide breakfast, lunch and a snack throughout the day. If you choose to bring something from home, please remember children will want to eat less nutritious foods first so these foods can be saved as a treat at home. Nutritious foods can include:

Fruit

Sandwiches

Cut meat

Pasta

Vegetables

Dried fruit

Cereal

Potato

Yogurt

Crackers

Salad

Rice cakes

Your child's teacher can offer other ideas.

Food will be prepared and delivered by The Children’s Chef of Waltham, Ma.

 

Eating Policies

 

Little Voices is a full day program and therefore provides breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Children are supervised primarily by sight while eating and teachers sit with the children while they are being served and eating to promote good table manners and ensure children are eating some of their food. Children are encouraged to use utensils except for babies and young toddlers. In this case, children are encouraged to explore their food to learn about different textures. Children are also encouraged to use language and conversation skills at the table while at the table. Teachers sit with children to help promote and stimulate conversation. Food is catered by the Children’s Chef. They provide nutritional food items that meet the guidelines from the Massachusetts guidelines for Nutrition from the Department of Nutrition.

 

Infants

 

Our infants are new born to fifteen months old. They will be placed to sleep on their backs and when appropriate will turn over themselves onto their stomachs. This reduces the chance of SIDS ( Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).All children under one year will be placed in a crib to sleep.

 All of our children will be helped while they drink their bottles until they are developmentally ready to hold them themselves or sit up to eat. Children will not be given bottles in a crib.

When the child is developmentally ready to drink from a cup and the family is ready, they will be offered sippy cups to drink from. At that time they will be encouraged to sit at the table while they drink and eat.

 

 

Sleeping Policy

 

All children at Little Voices will have rest or nap time. While resting, children will stay quietly in a designated area and rest their heads or sleep on mats that are assigned to them at the beginning of the new school year. At the teacher’s discretion, children will be offered books, read stories or quiet activities to help pass the time until sleeping children are awake. During naptime, all children are supervised at all times. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers are under direct supervision at all times. If a teacher leaves the area to put a dish in the sink or change a diaper, the children are supervised by sound and mirrors.

 

Naps will be taken after lunch. Younger children have their own schedules which will be accommodated. Older children enjoy a nap or a rest after lunch. Children can bring a blanket or a special stuffed toy from home or one will be provided. All children have their own pillows, blankets and beds.

 

Supervision Policy

 

All of the children at Little Voices will be directly supervised at all times. Teachers supervise primarily by sight. All children are supervised at all times. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers are under direct supervision at all times. If a teacher leaves the area to put a dish in the sink or change a diaper, the children are supervised by sound and mirrors. Older children who may need privacy to use the bathroom or are in a library area or computer and are out of direct sight are supervised by sound and are checked on periodically and frequently.

 

 

Assessments

 

All Little Voices children will be assessed on an ongoing basis using observations, portfolios, parent input and the Creative Curriculum assessment tool. The purposes of the assessments are to inform the curriculum, to enhance program goals, to gain information about children and their development. The results will be used to share with parents and to develop curriculum that is appropriate for children and to individualize the curriculum.

 

Children will be assessed in their own classroom during a typical day. Children be assessed on an ongoing basis with a formal assessment being done twice a year, in the fall and spring. This information is shared with families at a Parent/Teacher Conference held twice a year.

 

All children’s information is kept in a locked file cabinet and a secure website. It is kept confidential and shared only with parents and staff associated with the child. Families are asked to share anything relevant to the child on an ongoing basis and at conference time they are encouraged to participate in developing goals for their child.

 

Assessment tools are used to also catch any issues or concerns about the child. If red flags are present, Little Voices Staff and Director will direct and support the parent to have the child referred to outside sources for additional screening. In the event of infants/toddlers Early Intervention will be called. In the event of a preschooler, Boston Public Schools or Childcare Choices of Boston will be suggested. The parent can also consult with their pediatrician and request a private evaluation.

 

Assessment tools are also used to understand what the child’s strengths, interests and learning styles might be. While observing the child these areas are uncovered. Developmental progress is also addressed to keep the child challenged.

 

Assessment tools are used to inform the curriculum. Planning, implementing curriculum and adapting space are dependent on the assessments. Teachers use these tools to see where children and use the results to adapt or adjust the curriculum, finding children’s interests to develop curriculum that is meaningful to children and individualized as needed.

All of this information is shared with families on an ongoing basis to keep them informed of their child’s progress.

 

 

 

 

Communication

Communication with parents is essential. Communication is ongoing by way of phone conversations or a few minutes at the end of the day. Newsletters and communication boards are all modes of communication. Please feel free to stop by and speak to one of us or call if necessary. A telephone answering machine is checked regularly to answer your calls and the director can be reached via telephone or email.

Teachers gain information about the ways families define their own beliefs and cultures etc. through the development and enrollment forms. Parents are encouraged to share information about culture, language and anything else they want to share with the program. Teachers also engage in daily communication and informal conversations with parents throughout the year.

Parent/ Teacher conferences will also be held twice a year to evaluate your child's progress. At the conference, the teacher will have a prepared evaluation to share with the parent. This written evaluation will be kept in the child's file with a copy provided to the parent.

For children with disabilities, conferences will be held every three months. Any special issues will be brought to the parent's attention as they arise.

Parents will participate in the development of goals and objectives for their child at the end of these conferences.

Little Voices has an open door policy and parents are welcome any time during the day.

During family conference, meetings or events, a translator will be provided upon request.

 

Little Voices is a smoke free environment. There is no smoking in or around the property and never in the presence of children!

 

Little Voices Early Care and Education will not discriminate against anyone based on race, creed, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation or ability.