Policies & Procedures

POLICIES & PROCEDURES

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OFFICE HOURS OF OPERATION
Office: Monday – Friday | 6:30am – 6:00pm
Website: www.littleexplorerslearningcentersa.com

CONTACTS
Eleanore Lopez Director of Little Explorer’s Learning Center
Littleexplorerslcsa@gmail.com
210.501.7573

Evangeline Perez Assistant Director of Little Explorer’s Learning Center
Evangelineperez7@gmail.com
210.889.2618
Evangeline is available to meet with parents regarding Little Explorer’s Learning Center matters, parenting questions and Licensed Child Care needs in the absence of the Licensed Director.

Enrolment Requirements
Before your child Can officially be enrolled in the Little Explorer’s Learning Center you must complete and provide the following documents:
• Signed parent contract and rate agreement
• Completed child profile & copy of immunization record (or signed waiver)
• Signed consent forms (those that are applicable)
• Registration fee ($75) *

We do ask that the parent/guardian and their child(ren) visit our center prior to enrollment. This process allows you child(ren) to become more familiar with our daycare and staff.

*Spaces will not be held by verbal contract; registration fee must be paid for a spot to be held for you and your child.

Tuition IS expected for days your child may be absent due to illness, family emergencies, doctor visits, hospitalizations, vacations, or any other reason. Please note that tuition rates do not change in the event of a week including a holiday. After extensive research, we have found our policy to be consistent with other schools and child day care centers. Because our costs remain the same throughout the year, we rely on the specified tuition to be paid each week in order to meet our expenses. Consequently, as much as we might like to, we cannot make allowance for any days missed in your regular attendance schedule.

• Monthly Payment is due the 1st day of each month and is considered Late after the 6th day.
Tuition X 50 weeks ÷ 12 months= Rate due

• Weekly Payment are due by 6 p.m. every Monday and is considered late after 6 p.m. on the second day.
Tuition is based on 52 weeks.

There will be a fee of 25$ for all late tuition payments.

Little Explorer’s Learning Centers Philosophy

Little Explorer’s Learning Center provides a secure environment for children during the most important time of their development. Little Explorer’s Learning Center offers a home away from home, providing children with “siblings” of all ages, to play, socialize, and learn from. Our goal in providing quality child care for your child is to provide…
• A safe environment
• A nurturing environment
• A learning environment… learning is not necessarily the ABC’s and 123’s but is also the learning of values. The learning of honesty, respect, self–reliance, and potential, self-discipline, and moderation, the values of being; dependable, love, sensitivity to others, kindness, friendliness and fairness are the values of giving.
• A proper approach to discipline (guidance)… Since children occasionally need discipline (Guidance), it is important that we share a similar philosophy so that your child is not too confused as to where the boundaries are and what is expected of him/her. Children are taught which behaviors are inappropriate, and why, and given alternatives that are acceptable. In this way, the behavior is being changed, without making the child feel “bad” or unloved. This helps develop their self-esteem and teaches them how to handle difficult situations themselves in the future. Your child’s teacher will express disapproval (without attaching character), state expectations and show your child how to make amends. We give choices, and in extreme situations a child may be given a “time out”; because at times a child may be having trouble making choices of their own and they just may need a couple of minutes to calm down and think about their choices.
• And to foster unconditional love… this kind of love is very important to us because children should not grow up feeling that to be loved and cared for they must meet numerous conditions.
Communication is key to a successful child care arrangement. The parent and provider need to have a good working relationship, so they can communicate and work together. Parent and provider need to exchange pertinent information in the child’s life such as changes in routine, special events, or activities, as well as changes such as death, divorce, separation, moving, visitors, etc. All this information can be important in understanding the child’s feelings, behavior, and wellbeing.
We invite you to share with me in writing, by telephone, or schedule an appointment to talk about your concerns on any area that you feel is being neglected and we will do my best to make sure improvements are made in that area.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

Tiny Tots
Our Tiny Tot program serves children from 13 to 18 months. Your Tiny Tot will eat, sleep, and play according to his or her own schedule. Every infant is an individual with unique abilities, desires and emotions. Our program is designed to meet the individual needs of each child and to provide them with educational experiences. We provide a creative and stimulating program which encourages visual, language, gross motor and small motor experiences to enhance learning through their own natural curiosity. Your Tiny Tot teacher will guide and encourage your child in every stage of his or her development. We firmly believe in the need for open and thorough communication between teachers and each family to provide loving care for each child and confidence for each parent.
Toddlers
Our toddler programs are divided into two separate classrooms our Terrific Twos (18 months-2yrs old) and our Thrilling Threes (3 yr. old’s). Our toddler classrooms are designed to provide stimulating experiences for the children where they can learn through their own inquisitiveness. The emphasis during the toddler years is on building self-confidence and fostering the natural curiosity that toddlers possess. Throughout the day toddlers enjoy the large variety of play materials that are readily made available to them, as well as creative centers where children can dress-up, build with blocks, and experiment in the sensory table. Art, music, language and science activities geared to little hands are also introduced. Our teachers offer the tenderness, warmth, and patience so essential to this young age. Children feel comfortable in our toddler class settings when their parents leave. Deep respect for each child ensures that your toddler will truly love his or her school environment and, from that, develop a long-lasting love for learning.
Preschoolers
Little Explorer’s has two preschool classrooms that serve our Fantastic Fours and Fabulous Fives. Our preschool program prepares children socially and academically, as well as, supports and encourages the development of independence, responsibility, and confidence, all of which are essential for the child’s ongoing success in kindergarten. Our educational program focuses on each child’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development by offering concrete, hands-on activities for the child to explore. The preschool curriculum is designed to actively engage each child in developmentally age appropriate activities exploring the content areas of literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and technology. Our skilled teachers prepare curriculum that is exciting and challenging, as well as supportive of each child’s own learning style. Our preschool room arrangement creates the optimum learning environment. It allows children easy access to educational toys, materials and books, enabling them to initiate and expand their activities. Each classroom is organized with areas for block play, manipulative toys, art creativity, dramatic play, and reading in addition to larger spaces for group activities.
Placements into Older Classes
Children are assessed for class placement into the older classes by chronological ages and in terms of their total development – social, physical and emotional. Interest level in the activities typical of each group is also taken into consideration, as is the actual availability of an open place at a particular time that matches the enrollment days of the child being moved. The classroom teacher is also consulted as to the readiness of the child. Parents will be notified and encouraged to set up a transitional conference with the new teacher.
Assessment of Child Progress
All age groups are assessed formally and informally to ensure that the teachers plan their curriculum goals and activities to support individualized learning. Our teachers observe, record and document children’s development, participation and learning throughout the year. The assessments are ongoing, systematic and gathered from natural play activities and realistic setting that reflects children’s actual performance. Our center uses variety of methods such as observations, checklists, rating scales, and individually administered tests. The assessment results are used to benefit children by informing sound decisions about children, teaching, and program improvement. When assessments identify concerns, appropriate follow-up, referral or other intervention is used. Our formal assessments are done twice a year. All our assessments are kept in the child’s portfolio, which follow the child from group to group to show the progress in cognitive, language, physical social and emotional areas of development that are consistent with our program curriculum and philosophy. Our families are part of assessment process with regular communication, partnership and involvement. Once the formal assessments are completed the head teacher will schedule a parent conference.

Getting to Know Our Center Families.
Little Explorers Learning Center builds a positive relationship with our families by being familiar with their unique characteristics, strengths and issues important to each of them. To develop partnerships with the families we create a welcoming environment and opportunities for involvement. Our center gathers information during the enrollment process by asking parents questions and collecting the following items: enrollment form, health history, child’s and family background information. All the data is kept strictly confidential in the child’s file and kept locked in the director’s office. Our Center only releases your information under your authorization. In addition, we schedule visit days to meet the family members and create a smooth transition for the enrolled child.
Communication
Proper communication between our parents or teachers and the staff is extremely important. Teachers will be sending home information on a regular basis. Infant and toddler parents will receive daily reports. You are welcome to call to arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher–even just to become better acquainted! Concerns about any aspect of our program, or your child’s care, may be expressed to the center director. Each child is provided with a mailbox and/or cubby. Please check these daily for notes, newsletters and daily reports. Remember to communicate in writing any changes in your child’s schedule. We must be informed, in writing, regarding any changes in the person picking up your child. You may add or delete names of authorized adults allowed to pick-up your child on the Child Information Record.
Our main office must be informed of any of the following changes:
• address and/or phone numbers, or e-mail address
• parent/guardian employment,
• health/immunizations up-dates, or;
• other pertinent information related to your child.

Open Door Policy

The Little Explorer’s Learning Center has an open-door policy. Parents may visit the center at any time during the day without securing prior approval.

Parents Visit
Parents may visit the center at any time. However, if there are problems arising from parent visits that interfere with the deliverance of quality childcare, then the parent(s) will not be permitted in the classroom
Security
All doors that open to the exterior of the building will remain locked at all times. Teachers and staff are instructed not to open these doors for anyone, as all visitors are to enter through front of the building.

Inclement weather changes
In order to ensure the safety of our families and staff, we adhere to any and all NISD closures Little Explorer’s may delay opening or close due to inclement weather conditions that make travel hazardous. Little Explorer’s will inform families of delays via Facebook and Website updates. Should snow or icy conditions begin during the day, Little Explorer’s may ask families to pick up early in order to get families and staff home before conditions worsen.

Arrival & Departure
We stop serving breakfast at 8:30 sharp. We enforce a strict morning cut off time of 9am. Any child accepted after 9am the parent or guardian will be required to pay a 25$ late fee. It is important that our children and staff maintain a scheduled routine. Our center closes at 6pm Monday-Friday any parent that arrives to pick up their child(ren) after 6pm will automatically be charged a $25 late fee and an additional $2 for every minute that passes after 6:pm /continual late pickups will result in termination of services. Please send your child clean, dressed, ready for the day, as well as all of your child’s necessary supplies needed for that day’s care. Please make your goodbye brief (no more than a couple minutes): the longer you prolong departure the harder it gets for both parent and especially for your child. Never leave without telling your child goodbye. Please be in control of your child during drop-off and pick-up times

Parking
There is limited short-term parking available at our center. We ask that you do not park in the Loading/Unloading area. We also ask that you do not leave car motors running or leave other children unattended within your car when you enter the building.

Supplies Needed at Daycare:
Parents are responsible for supplying the following items: diapers/pull-ups, wipes, diaper creams along with a signed consent form (see office administrator), weather appropriate clothes and 2 changes of clothes please provide a few extra changes of clothing based on your own experiences with your child, jacket, shoes that lace-up or Velcro and/or stay on feet (no flip-flops please), sunscreen and bug spray both which require a signed consent form on file. Our center will provide sleeping matts we ask that you provide a crib sheet, a blanket, and If necessary a comfort object for rest-time, and anything else your child may need. Your child’s crib sheet and blanket home every Friday so they can be washed and returned to the center the following Monday. There is a good possibility your child will get dirty throughout the day because of food, paint, markers, dirt, bubbles, potty accidents, etc. So please dress your child accordingly for play. Wet, dirty, and soiled clothes will be put in a plastic bag in your child’s cubby to be taken home and cleaned. We are not responsible for replacing stained or soiled clothing. We suggest that you write your child’s name on the tags of their clothing to prevent any clothing mix-ups.

Note: Please periodically check your child’s cubby to make sure they still have all of their necessary items needed. Furthermore, as the weather changes throughout the year, so do your child’s items. We greatly appreciate your adherence to this subject, having your child’s belongings helps his or her day run smoothly and allows us to can care for your child in the best possible way.

Daily Health inspections
For the safety and protection of the children, each classroom will follow the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) by providing each child with a health check prior to his/her entering the group. Each child will be checked for the following:
• Severe Coughing
• Breathing Difficulties
• Yellowish Skin or Eyes
• Pink Eye (Tears, redness of the eyelid lining, irritation, swelling, discharge, etc.)
• Infected Skin Patches or rash accompanied by fever
• Feverish Appearance
• Unusual Behavior- crying more than usual, lethargy, generally feeling unwell
• Scratches, Cuts, Or bruises

When a child becomes ill during the school day, we make every effort to reach parents. Parents are also expected to promptly (within one hour) pick up their child(ren) from the center when any of the of the conditions above develop while in care. If after 30 minutes we have not been able to make contact with a parent, we will call the emergency contact listed in the child’s file.

Medical policies
Exclusion Due to Illness
We have a policy that requires parents to wait a full 24 hours after the last time one of the following symptoms was observed in your child before sending him or her to school:
• Elevated temperature {100 degrees or higher}
• Acute cold, persistent cough, sore throat
• Vomiting, nausea, serve abdominal pain
• Repeated diarrhea (3 or more)
• Continuous discharge from the nose {other than clear}
• Red, inflamed or discharging eyes {conjunctivitis}
• Acute skin rashes or eruptions, any weeping lesions, chickenpox, impetigo, or any other contagious skin infection
• Head lice, unless treatment has been completed and all nits removed
For the benefit of all the children, this policy will be strictly enforced. If a child becomes ill while in Child Care, the parent will be notified immediately and asked to pick up the child. Child Care requires a child to be sent home if he or she develops any of the preceding symptoms while in our facilities. When a child is sent home with any of these illnesses, that child may not return until he/she has been free of these symptoms for at least 24 hours. A note from the child’s doctor that confirms the illness is no longer contagious is also acceptable.

Medication
With the exception of the Epi-pen, Child Care staff cannot administer scheduled medicines. If your child requires an over-the-counter or prescription medicine while in our care, we ask that you return to the Center to administer the medicine to your child.
It is the parents’ responsibility to provide Little Explorer’s with a current Epi-pen for use as needed for their child. Little Explorer’s must have a completed Parent Consent and Instructions for Administration of Medication form on file in the office. If your child contracts a communicable illness or disease soon after leaving the center, please notify the director or administrator as soon as possible so that the parents of other children in your child’s room may be notified of the illness.
Little Explorer’s teachers can only apply sunscreen or bug spray if parent requests teachers to do so in writing and parents must sign a consent form and provide the sunscreen or bug spray.

Medical Conditions and Allergens
If you indicate during enrollment that your child has any chronic medical condition or allergies {other than seasonal}, you may receive a request to have a care plan meeting with the Licensed Director. This meeting will allow us to better understand your child’s health history and needs, ensuring a safe environment.
Our facility is nut-free. Please do not send any food items with your child that contain nuts or nut butters.
Medical Emergencies
In case of medical emergency, Child Care will call 911 and immediately notify parents. Little Explorer’s teachers and staff assumes no obligations or responsibilities in connection with its treatment or handling of medical emergencies.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
Lock-Down
The Lock-Down procedure will take place in the event that there is a perceived threat from an intruder, or if a warning from the police department is issued. A Lock-Down alert is given personal communication. Teachers will:
• Proceed quickly to the nearest classroom
• Close and lock all access doors to the rooms
• Move children out of sight as much as possible
• Turn off lights
No one except emergency personnel will be allowed to enter or leave the building. Everyone will remain in position until notified by law enforcement, the fire department or Little Explorer’s
Building Evacuation
In the event the building must be evacuated due to emergencies such as fire, gas leak, or water break, teachers will quickly move students out of the building following their designated route. Everyone will remain in position until further instruction is given by law enforcement, the fire department, or a church official. If it is unsafe to re-enter the building, parents will be notified via phone to come pick up children from the safe location outside the building. Children under the age of 24 months and those with handicap will be escorted out of the building using evacuation cribs, strollers/buggies, or will be carried out by a teacher.
Tornado
In the event of a tornado warning, students will proceed with their class to the designated spaces within the Center or nearest interior closet or bathroom. During a tornado response, children will not be released until the incident is over and the facility receives an official all-clear. Following the emergency, parents will be notified via phone or email of further actions.

Discipline & Guidance
Little Explorer’s takes a pro-active, positive approach to discipline as a first step. The goal of discipline is to teach. Teachers provide clear expectations and consistent routines and procedures. Children will be gently redirected as necessary and will never be shamed in front of other children or parents. Positive reinforcement and praise will be used frequently.
Teachers will use redirection and reminders as a form of guidance. As appropriate by age, teachers may also use:
• Redirection and reminders
• Reflective time-out not to exceed the child’s age in minutes
• Loss of privilege {never in the form of exclusion from snack, lunch, specials, or any other activities} Individualized behavior plan
Teachers will notify parents as appropriate and will involve the Licensed Director or Administrator as necessary to intervene with more serious or ongoing misbehaviors.
Children will never be handled roughly, yelled at or have any form of corporal punishment. Minor misbehaviors will be handled in the classroom unless they become chronic and interfere with the safety of others. At that time, the child may be referred to the Licensed Director.
The Licensed Director will implement consequences based on each unique situation. Multiple referrals to the office may result in the child being sent home for the remainder of the day, being asked to stay home for a period of time, shortening of a child’s school day, moving a child to another class, or removal from the program.

Biting
Biting is a common and normal part of child development. The goal of Little Explorer’s child care teachers is to recognize triggers that cause biting and redirect a child before the incident occurs. In the event we are unable to intervene, the following steps take place:
• The provider will first attend to the bitten child by comforting and then cleaning the bitten area with soap and water. Ice will be applied to help prevent bruising.
• The child who did the biting will be removed from the setting and in an age-appropriate manner, it will be explained that this behavior is unacceptable.
• The incident will be documented, and parents of both children will be notified. The parent of the biting child will be asked to work with their child in discouraging the behavior. We will not identify the child who did the biting or who was bitten.
Additional measures will be taken according to the specific situation as needed.
Termination of Services
1. You are required to give thirty (30) day’s written notice of your attempt to terminate care. we will ask you to fill out an exit questionnaire. Daycare tuition is required to be paid in advance of services and if you should terminate your child’s care without providing the full 30 days’ notice any tuition for the unused portion of the last month will not be refunded

2. The following are conditions that will cause childcare to be terminated
• Continual late payments
• Child behavioral problems that cannot be controlled
• Not respecting child care settings and policies (children and/or parents
• Continual late pick ups

Breakfast, Lunch & Snack
Little Explorer’s will provide a well-balanced breakfast and nutritious snacks. Children should bring their own lunches to the center. Lunches must be nut-free and healthy.
Immunizations & Physicals
All children who attend child care programs are required by law to be fully vaccinated. Our center requires all children enrolled in our program to be immunized or on the path of vaccination.

*Important: It is your responsibility as parent or guardian, to maintain up-to-date immunizations and physicals for your child (ren). Updates must be reported to the center director in writing.
The Texas Department of Health requires the following immunizations:

Children Ages 2 Months through 3 Months
• 1 dose of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DPT)
• 1 dose of polio vaccine
• 1 dose Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
• 1 dose of hepatitis B vaccine
• 1 dose pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)

Children Ages 4 Months through 5 Months
• 2 doses DPT
• 2 doses polio vaccine
• 2 doses Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
• 2 doses hepatitis B vaccine
• 2 doses pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)

Children Ages 6 Months through 18 Months
• 3 doses DPT
• 2 doses polio vaccine
• 2 doses Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
• 2 doses hepatitis B vaccine
• 3 doses pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)

Children Ages 19 Months through 4 Years
• 4 doses diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DPT)
• 3 doses polio vaccine 4 doses pneumococcal conjugate (PCV)
• 3 doses hepatitis B Complete series, or
• 1 dose Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
• 1 dose measles, mumps, rubella vaccine
• 1 dose Varicella

A Health Appraisal record of your child’s physical exam must be submitted and is also a requirement by the Texas Department of Health. Physical regulations are as follows:
• Children younger than 2 ½ years must have a physical within 3 months preceding enrollment and repeated yearly.
• Children 2 ½ years to kindergarten– a physical must be within the previous year (before enrollment) and repeated every 2 years.
• Kindergarten children and older–parents must sign the Physical Health/Immunizations Parental Acknowledgement for School-Age Programs letter, plus submit a copy of the child’s immunization record to the office. A new letter must be signed yearly.

Licensing
Little Explorer’s Learning Center licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). A copy of the minimum standards for operations, as well as the most recent Licensing inspection report, are available in the main office for your review upon request.
DFPS San Antonio Licensing Office: (210).333.2004 DFPS child abuse hotline: 1-800-252-5400
DFPS website: www.dfps.state.tx.us/child_care
Gang-Free zone
Under Texas Penal Code, any area within 1000 feet of a child care center is a gang-free zone, where criminal offenses related to organized criminal activity are subject to harsher penalty. LELC is a gang-free zone.
Child abuse & neglect
Teachers are trained annually to recognize signs of child abuse and neglect. Texas law says anyone who thinks a child is being abused, neglected or exploited must report it to DFPS. Little Explorer’s will work with various community resources to better inform parents and staff about issues regarding child abuse and neglect and prevention techniques by suggesting opportunities to learn more. One such option is to take the free online course offered by TDPRS. If you have reason to suspect child abuse, call the hotline. They can advise you of next steps. Child abuse hotline: 1-800-252-5400.
Typical Activities
Group Play: Singing, dancing, play acting, games, reading, listening to CDs (story and music), circle time
Free Play: Children have a choice of – blocks, kitchen toys, dolls and accessories, Legos, play sets, Household toys, pull/push toys, art materials, and may watch limited pre-approved television and DVDs
Language: Nursery rhymes, finger plays, stimulus pictures or objects to encourage verbalization, reading to the children, flannel boards
Dramatic play: Dress up, role playing, puppetry, etc.
Outdoor play: (weather Permitting) Swinging, climbing, riding toys, running, ball playing, gardening toys, trucks, strolling dolls, (please remember to dress your child appropriately for the weather, if in doubt, dress in layers or bring extra clothes)
Special Days: Include Birthdays/holiday parties, getting ready for holidays, and holiday

*Birthday Celebrations
Parents are welcome to send cookies, cupcakes or cakes to share with their child’s classmates on birthdays or special occasions. Some classrooms have strict allergy guidelines. Inform your child’s teacher in advance about what kind of treat you plan on bringing. This is for the safety of all of the children. Please do not bring in any treats that contain peanuts or peanut products. Ask your child’s teacher for suggestions. Parents are always welcome at their child’s birthday celebration. If a birthday is to be celebrated away from school and the entire class is not invited, please mail the invitations. If the entire class is invited, you may distribute the invitations into the cubbies. Our center will not distribute mailing lists or phone numbers.

Typical Daily Routines
• Arrival and Greeting
• Breakfast and clean up
• Bathroom and/or diaper change and hand washing
• Infants usually nap in the morning as well as the afternoon
• Circle time (including calendar, songs, finger plays, story time etc.)
• Arts and crafts or other learning activity
• Bathroom and/or diaper change and hand washing
• Outdoor play (weather permitting) or other large muscle activity
• Hand washing
• Lunch and clean up
• Nap time
• Bathroom and/or diaper change and hand washing
• Snack and clean up
• Free play
• Calm down time and TV/DVD – Children’s programs (approximately a half an hour before pick up time)
• Parents arrive to pick up children
(Your child is released to my care after you leave the premises in the morning, and he/she is released to your care as soon as you walk in the door at pick up time)
Note Bathroom and /or diaper change times vary to meet the child’s needs. This is a general schedule and is dictated mostly by the children’s needs and feelings each day

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