Rules and Regulations Handbook
GOALS OF THE SERVICE
Welcome to APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER (ATLC)! Your child is about to take part in our program designed to enrich his/her experiences while learning the art of cooperative living. Like most of the schools in the area, children in our school are surrounded by early learning materials, play materials, building blocks and toys.
Our socially and culturally balanced programs, planned by our experienced staff, help children learn:
- To get along with others
- To explore, experiment and share
- To conform to school rules and group living
- To solve problems and develop positive self-image
Additionally, our programs are planned to provide fun to enrich children’s language skills to stimulate their life with active and imaginative play.
Recognition of the letters and the numbers is enhanced by the use of pre-reading materials and activities.
Early learning materials are used to broaden children’s basic eye-hand coordination skills as well as help further develop their senses of recognition and discrimination of shapes, sizes and colors.
PURPOSE AND PHILOSOPHY
ATLC has been established as a learning center for the purpose of creating favorable conditions for preschool-aged children;
- Where children’s social development is as important as their readiness for intellectual accomplishment
- Where children can challenge new activities without the pressure of competition
- Where children can discover, use and develop their abilities
- Where caring for children is an important part of the meaningful relationship
- Where parents are encouraged to have an ongoing relationship with the staff.
Our staff and teachers are trained and experienced, but most of all, they are selected for their sensitivity, resourcefulness and commitment.
SAMPLE OF DAILY ACTIVITIES
The ATLC program begins at 6:30 AM and ends at 6:00 PM. Our program combines balanced periods of quiet and active play. A sample of the daily program contains the following supervised activities:
Arrival and Self Selected Activities
Morning Meeting: Exercise, Singing and Planning
Preparation for Snack
Self Directed Learning Activities and Projects
Clean Up Time
Circle time, Story Time and Sharing
Preparation for Lunch
Preparation for Snack
Story Time and Sharing
Self Directed Learning Activities
Clean Up Time
Small group, Quiet Play Time
A pre-admission conference visit with parents and their child is required. Visiting the program allows both the parents and the child to become more comfortable with our environment, staff and schedule. A number of forms need to be completed and turned in wit the deposit of one week's tuition and a registration fee prior to your child's first day in the program.
Forms to complete.
Before your child can be enrolled and can start school, the following forms must be in his/her file:
- Medical report inclusive of Lead Poison Test given not more than six months prior to enrollment.
-Immunization record as required by the Illinois Department of Public Health: Poliomyelitis, measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophilus influenzae B, hepatitis B and varicella (chickenpox) or proof of immunity if any.
- Pick-up authorization Forms,
- Photo - Video,
- Emergency Release Contact
- Tuition Agreement
Download the Agreement for Registration form in format PDF
If the child is in a high-risk group, a tuberculin skin test by the Mantoux method will be requested. Exceptions from such due to medical reasons shall, however, be indicated by the physician on the child medical form.
In accordance to the amended Child Care Act of 1969, a parent may request that immunizations, physical examinations and/or medical treatment be waived on religious grounds. A request for such waiver shall be in writing, signed by the parent or parents, and kept in child's file.
The only persons permitted to see your child's file will be you-the parent or legal guardian, the Director, the child's teacher, and the state licensing examiner.
A registration fee of $40 (with a 10% discount on two or more children in the same family) is charged at the time of enrollment and is non refundable.
Upon signing the Admission Form, the parents or legal guardian will then be required to sign the Agreement Form for Registration, Security Deposit and Tuition Fees.
Download the “Agreement for Registration, Security Deposit and Tuition Fees” form in PDF format
Field trips are done to serve as learning experiences for children. These can be in the form of watching children’s plays as well as trips to national parks that expose the children to science and the arts. Lessons learned from these are processed in the classroom by way of sharing experiences or doing related projects.
The center gets the services of a fully licensed school bus company whose vehicles are properly equipped with security materials such as windows screens and individual seatbelts, primarily for the purpose of transporting children safely.
Parents are required to submit the consent form for the field trip as well entrance fee on or before the set deadline. This fee shall cover the entrance tickets, transport services and food.
Children are likewise required to wear the official APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER shirt during the field trip for easier identification and facilitation.
Download the “Field Trip Permission Slip” in PDF format.
School Closing/Daily Closing Time Policy
The school is open all year around with the exception of the following legal holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King’s Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after it, Christmas Day.
In case of emergency closing; i.e. broken of frozen water main, an announcement of the school’s closing will be made and parents will be notified by phone.
In the event that your child is still at the center at 6:30 pm and we have not heard from you, we will take the following steps (in order):
1. Attempt to reach you at home, work or school.
2. Call the people listed on the Emergency and Authorization Form as “persons to contact when it is after closing time and we have not received a phone call from you.”
3. Call the authorities
If you no longer need child care, we require that you provide two week’s written notice of your child’s last day in the program.
Termination of Care by the Program.
If the program staff does not feel that the staff or Center is meeting the child’s needs, we reserve the right to terminate the care arrangement on a timeline that is the child’s best interest. This will be done after several conferences with both the teacher and the parent. Other reasons which may result in the termination of a specific care arrangement are as follows:
1. Non-payment for child care services and/or lack of adherence to our tuition payment policies;
2. Lack of cooperation from parents with the program’s efforts to resolve differences and/or to meet the child’s needs through parent/staff meetings;
3. Abusive behaviors and/or verbal threatening means of disciplining children while at the Center;
4. Parents using other than non-threatening means of disciplining children while at the Center;
5. Child exhibits special needs or his/her needs are related to a serious illness that can not be met at the Center. In this case, the staff will make every effort to involve the parents and possibly other resource persons, in order to decide the best course of action for the child prior to termination.
Download the “Disciplinary policy for Terminating Problem Child/ren or Child/ren with Special Needs” form in PDF format.
Children’s arrival and departure
For your child’s safety, we require that you or other authorized adults bring your child into the center each morning and get him settled. Sign your child upon arrival. We do not require that all children arrive at the Center before 9:00 am.
If you are going to be away from your place of work for the day, be sure to leave a phone number where you can be reached in case you are needed for a medical emergency.
Please call the Center by 8:00 am if your child will not attend that day.
Once you arrive at the Center to pick up your child, you are responsible for your child. Be sure that the teacher knows you are and your child are leaving. Likewise, remember to sign your child out. This procedure is for your child’s safety.
Meals and snacks
The Center provides nutritionally-balanced warm lunch and two snacks which are planned to meet a varied ethnic grouping of children in the Center. These lunches are prepared by a duly-recognized and licensed caterer for Day Care Schools.
Children are encouraged to feed themselves. Meals and lunches are served family-style; thus, creating additional opportunities for the children’s social and language development
Provide an extra set of clothes including socks and underwear in a bag in your child’s cubby in case of accidents. Remember that as our weather changes abruptly, it is also wise to bring extra clothes for this purpose.
Please label with your child’s name all clothing coming in to the Center. There will be extra clothes available in our Lost and Found bin should a child not have any extra socks, pants, etc. However, these clothes need to be washed and brought back to Center promptly.
It is extremely helpful when you can administer medication before or after Center hours. There maybe times, however, when your child needs medication during the day. APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER staff will administer medication prescribed by your physician which is dated, properly labeled and in its original container, if you have completed our Child Medication Report.
Over-the-counter medications can be administered only if we have a signed statement from your physician. Please do not end medication in your child’s bag or coat pocket. All medications should be labeled with your child’s full name and give to the Center Director.
Download the “Medication request” form in PDF format
We have simple birthday celebrations on or near each child’s birthday. On the day of the celebration, the child may bring a simple treat for the daily snack time. The staff requires that these be nutritious and store-purchased. If the child brings candy, this will not be served as a snack.
Toy from home
Except for a toy that is needed as a transitional object to help ease your child’s transition from home to school, please keep other toys in your car or at home. Blankets, stuffed animals/dolls to sleep with at naptime maybe brought and kept in the cubbies until naptime. Books that are clearly labeled with the child’s name maybe brought into the Center. For health reasons, bottles are not permitted in the Center at anytime.
Child abuse policy.
If a staff member suspects that a child is being abused or neglected, by law he/she is required to notify the Chicago Department of Children and Family Services immediately. The suspected abuse will then be written up and the statement will be signed by both the teacher and the Director and kept in the child’s file.
All staff members are strongly encouraged to be trained in child abuse recognition and prevention. Download the “Child Abuse Policy” form in PDF format.
Anytime bad weather causes the Chicago Public School System to be closed, so shall we. Listen to the radio for school closing but if in doubt, call the Center.
If anytime events at home affect your child emotionally, please let the classroom teacher know. This helps the teacher understand any unusual behavior exhibited by your child. The teacher can then provide materials such as a book which is relevant for the child’s situation. Teacher might also be able to provide parents with articles or books to help their child cope with what is happening at home. Anything we are told is held in utmost confidence.
The philosophy of APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER is to promote a positive approach to managing the behavior of all children. Discipline at the program has two primary goals. First, we strive to find a solution to the current situation. Second, we attempt to help the child process feelings, recognize consequences, explore alternative solutions and outcomes, and develop internal self-control. To accomplish these goals, we use the following techniques on a daily basis:
- Prevention – A well-designed and well equipped classroom tailored to the developmental level of the children prevents frustration, interruptions and hazards. In addition, the daily routine provides enough time for play, a sense of security, little waiting and a few transitions.
- Positive Redirection: The basic procedure used in all classrooms is positive redirection, which is redirecting unacceptable behavior to an acceptable alternative. This may be enhanced by verbal praise and other reward systems. We praise children for their appropriate behavior and successes by describing what we see and how we fell. (I see books are all on the shelf. It’s nice to have such a class room).
- Modeling: Teacher-modeled, appropriate behavior and communication as well as positive peer models are provided to help children learn responsibility for their actions.
- Problem solving: We appeal to the preschooler’s growing intellectual and moral reasoning by using natural and logical consequences as well as by asking questions to encourage problem-solving. Teachers help children identify their needs, feelings, causes, alternatives and choices. We provide cues such as the statement: “Use your words”.
- Managing behavior: When a child has a physical or emotional outburst, we provide comfort and privacy. This allows the child to regain composure and ensures the safety of other children and staff. “Time out” will be used only as a last resort when a child is unable to break a pattern of negative or attention-getting behavior. This is not a punishment, but rather, a time of renewal for the child. When the child has regained self-control, he should be allowed to rejoin the group. In any event, the “time out” should not exceed the number of minutes corresponding with the age of the child; i.e., three minutes for a three-year-old child and so on. All “Time out” separations are noted in a daily log.
It is our goal to help children become happy, responsible, cooperative participants in this program through positive, non-threatening, teaching techniques. Never at any time is a child allowed to feel that he was “bad” or unloved. He must understand that his behavior is not appropriate, but that he is still valued and loved. Disciplinary measures are designed and carried out in such a manner as to help a child develop self-control and assume responsibility for his own acts.
Download “Disciplinary Policies” in PDF format
These approaches to child discipline ARE NOT USED in our center:
- Unusual, harsh and/or cruel punishment
- Humiliating and/or shaming children
- Verbal abuse, profane language, or words that would threaten a child
- Imposing restrictions on children because they fail to eat or sleep or because they had toileting accidents
- Using food, activities or bathroom as rewards
- Corporal punishment such as punching, shaking, biting, hitting, rough handling, pinching, spanking or slapping
- Confining children to locked rooms or confined space, physical or mechanical restrains.
Guidelines for teachers
1. Watch and Observe the children constantly in order to avoid any anticipated trouble that will lead to further annoyances and complications.
2. Clarify Messages of praise, compliments and unsatisfactory behavior.
3. Give Gentle Reminders and try to distract the child in a positive manner, using humor and offering choices.
4. Point Out natural and logical consequences if the child is not listening. Discuss the situation with the children if time permits.
5. Time Out the child only after nothing stops him/her from disturbing the other children while making sure that the child knows why the teacher feels unhappy with the situation at hand.
6. Give the Child an Opportunity to participate in the activities while standing close to the group and facing the class.
7. Return the Child to the Group after gaining control. Periods shall not extend fifteen minutes per occurrence.
8. If Necessary, Take the Child for a Talk with the Director in the office explaining the situation and discussing the unacceptable behavior.
9. Encourage Self-Discipline and allow children to solve their own impersonal conflicts as well as take a stand and make your own judgment known to them.
10. Inform the Parents of all unacceptable and inappropriate behavior of the child as it was observed in school.
MANAGEMENT OF ILLNESS/ACCIDENTS
1. APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER’s policy for the care if ill children is based on ensuring that facilities and staff available can meet the needs of all children in the group. Children will be excluded if:
- Illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in activities
- Illness requires greater care than the staff is able to provide without compromising the needs of other children in the group.
- Keeping the child in care posses an increased risk to the child, to other children and to adults with whom the child comes in contact.
2. Do not bring your child to the Center if he/she is not well enough to participate in a normal day’s activities, is exposed to a contagious disease, has developed symptoms of a contagious disease or is diagnosed by a physician as having a contagious disease.
3. Should your child become sick during the day, your will be notified as soon as possible. Upon notification, parents are required to promptly pick their child from the Center. In case of illness or injury to a child where parents are not available, a person on the emergency list will be notified. If still unable to locate any, the Center’s attempts to do so shall be documented in the child’s file.
4. APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER must be authorized by each parent or guardian to obtain emergency medical treatment by calling the paramedics 911 and by having the child transported to the nearest medical facility if deemed necessary. Such medical treatment shall be at the expense of the parent’s guardians.
Guidelines for Managing Illnesses.
Please keep your child at home of he/she develops fever (100 F of above on oral thermometer, 101 F or above on rectal thermometer) along with any of the following symptoms of contagious disease. A medical certificate is required prior to allowing your child to return to the center.
- Diarrhea (increased frequency and amount of stools per bout)
- Vomiting two or more times in the previous 24 hours, unless this is determined to be due to a non-communicable condition and the child is not in danger of dehydration
- Severe coughing, until five days of antibiotic treatment is completed
- Difficult or rapid breathing
- Mouth sores with drooling
- Rash with behavior change
- Chickenpox, until at least six days after onset of rash
- Mumps, until nine days after onset of swelling
- Measles, until four days after disappearance of the rash
Likewise, keep the child at home as required, if the following condition is present:
- Tears, redness of the eyelids and presence of discharge (pink eyes), until 24 hours of treatment.
- strep throat or trouble in wallowing, until 24 hours of treatment and until fever is absent for at least 24 hours
- Impetigo and scabies (skin rashes), until 24 hours of treatment
- Head lice, until 24 hours of treatment
For the protection of all children and staff, we ask that you notify the Center within 24 hours after your child has developed a known or suspected communicable disease, or if any member of the child’s immediate household has a communicable disease. When your child has a disease requiring exclusion, we ask that you inform the Center Director of the diagnosis.
If we become aware of a communicable disease affecting children in the Center, a health alert will be posted. We will attempt to indicate the earliest symptoms so that additional exposures can be avoided.
RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN
What is Risk Management Plan?
By definition, it means a document that outlines the process for identifying and analyzing loss exposures, examining alternative risk control method as well as making and carrying out decisions that will minimize the adverse effects of accidental losses.
Risk management plan on staff.
1. Signed contract – A consent on the part of the applicant to make the future employee or current employer know his/her personal data, experiences or willingness to be trained on the job, as well as providing references to be able to follow up his/her personal character;
2. Medical examination on a form provided by the DCFS, providing that he/she is physically/mentally fit or is healthy to work with children;
3. Fingerprinting – Initial background check; a verification that the applicant has a clean record with the Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System (CANTS) and the Child Sex Offender Registry;
4. Awareness of JOB DESCRIPTION based on education, experience or training;
5. Awareness of the POLICIES of the management concerning benefits, insurance, compensation, etc;
6. Awareness of the POLICIES of the Center concerning discipline, schedules, etc.
Facility and equipment.
1. Approved and licensed by the Department of Health and the DCFS;
2. Letter of Approval from Chicago Fire Department;
3. Classrooms should be equipped with the following:
- Sufficient indoor space to conduct the program.
- Proper ventilation – provided by big glass windows as well as fluorescent lights.
- Washrooms and sinks with enough running supplying both hot and cold temperatures – placed in such a way as to prevent traffic in the hallway and convenient both to children and teachers to easily follow up the former as they wash their hands and carry out some classroom activities like painting, cooking, washing and disinfecting toys.
Procedure on disinfection.
Disinfection is the process used to eliminate virtually all germs from inanimate surfaces trough the use of chemicals or physical agents such as heat from running water.
In a child care environment, a solution of ½ cup of household liquid chlorine bleach added to a gallon of tap water is prepared fresh daily as an effective disinfectant for environmental surfaces and other objects.
1.Toys and furniture are washed and disinfected by the teacher and assistant teacher every Wednesday. However, tables and chairs as well as toys frequently used by children especially in the two year old class are washed and disinfected daily.
2. APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER gets a licensed exterminating company which sends experienced pest control specialist to do extensive extermination of pests and rodents in all classrooms, hallways, as well as closet, under the supervision of the Director or Assistant Director.
3. Classrooms and hallways as well as janitor’s closets, storage room and Director’s Office are cleaned by the teachers and assistant teachers who have assigned areas and dates.
4. Garbage is disposed by the assistant teacher of each classroom every middle of the day (after lunch) and collected again by one assistant teacher at the end of the day.
APPLE TREE LEARNING CENTER has a playground located by Ravenswood and Berteau. Transport of children is supervised by the teacher and his/her assistant/s in the case of the two-years-olds. The playground is surrounded by a four-feet fence and is equipped by build-in house, balancer and slide all in one. The ground is protected by wood chips. The gate is locked with chain and padlock so children won’t be able to open it by themselves.
Parents are also informed that the Center uses two other public playgrounds for the big children namely, the Ravenswood and the Hermitage Park located at Hermitage St. which is almost two blocks from the school.
1. As mentioned, the Center provides warm lunch and two snacks. The snacks consists of cookies, fresh fruit or vegetable, fruit juice with 100% vitamin C or 2% milk or 1% chocolate milk. Warm lunch is provided by a duly approved and licensed caterer by the Department of Public Health. Food is ensured to meet the nutritional requirements of the children and is given at appropriate sizes and cuts.
2. Food temperature is maintained by the steamer or by the refrigerator. Occasionally, the microwave oven is used to warm up food.
3. Cookies, cereals and crackers are kept in the pantry at normal temperature.
4. A certified food manager supervises the preparation and handling of lunch and snacks to be given to the classrooms. This trained person is also trained how to wash and sanitize the kitchen of a day care center.
5. Each classroom I provided with a Choking Procedure poster while each staff’s training/certificate on CPR and First Aid Procedures is renewed yearly.
Risk Management Plan on Owner/s, Director and Assistant Director.
1. Right number of staff to the children ratio: For two-years-olds, 1 staff to eight children and for 31/2 to six-year-olds, 1 staff to ten children.
2. Submitting to the licensing representative the signed contract and medical form as well as the background check (fingerprinting).
3. Certification of the staff on CPR and First Aid Training.
4. Submitting the approval letter from the Chicago Fire Department and the license from the Department of Health.
5. Submission of the necessary building documents such as liability, insurance, building insurance, lease or documents of ownership by laws or condominiums.
6. Proper job description of the staff and information regarding compensation benefits, holidays, vacations, termination of employment or promotion based on performance, training and education.
7. Organizing or conducting in-service training to update the knowledge and method of teaching with regards to school programs with less pressure.
8. Providing parents with brochure student handbook, monthly calendar and weekly reminders of the activities of the children.
9. Having fire drills.
Children’s hands should be washed routinely and frequently with liquid soap and water, at least at the following times:
- Upon arrival at the Center;
- Before and after each meal or snack;
- After using the toilet of after diapers are changed;
- After handling pets or animals;
- After whipping or blowing his/her nose;
- After touching items soiled with body fluids or wastes such as blood, drool, urine, stool or vomit;
- Before and after cooking or other food experience;
- After outdoor playtime;
- Before and after using the water table.
Staff’s hands should be washed routinely and frequently with liquid soap and water, at least at the following times:
- Upon arrival at the Center;
- After using the bathroom or helping a child use the bathroom;
- After changing a child’s diaper;
- After whipping or blowing his/her nose or helping a child wipe or blow his/her nose;
- After handling items soiled with body fluids or wastes such as blood, drool, urine, stool or vomit;
- After handling or carrying for a sic child;
- After handling pets or other animals;
- Before or after eating or drinking;
- Before dispensing any medication;
- Before and after administering First Aid;
- When changing room or carrying for a different group of children.
The following technique for thorough hand-washing should be used:
- Wet hands under warm, running water;
- Lather both hands well and scrub vigorously for at least 15 seconds;
- Dry both hands with a new single-used towel or automatic hand dryer;
- For hand-held faucets, turn off the water using a disposable towel instead of bare hands to avoid recontamination of clean hands.
When children are too young to wash hands by themselves, staff should wash their hands using the above technique. As children are developmentally ready, staff should teach children the proper hand-washing technique as well as assist and supervise the procedure as needed.