Parent Handbook

                         Welcome to Spring Garden Preschool!

We are pleased that you have chosen to share your child with us.  We would like you to take a minute and look through this handbook which was designed just for parents.  You will find an overview of our policies and procedures, information on volunteer opportunities, and our school calendar.  Please let us know if you have further questions.

Spring Garden Preschool, founded in 1985, is considered a ministry of State Street United Methodist Church.  The preschool shall report to the Spring Garden Preschool Board of Directors.  The Preschool Director will report to any other necessary Committee/Board of State Street United Methodist Church.

Daily Schedule

We are a 9 month curriculum based school beginning September through May.   Summer session is June and July with hours of operation of 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  We return mid August of each year for approximately 3 weeks of orientation time for children and convenience of parents needing additional child care.  Our preschool day begins at 9:00 am and dismisses at 1:00 pm.  Extended hours are available if needed.  When children enter the classroom in the morning, they are greeted by their teacher(s) and then given opportunities to explore various learning activities and play centers.  There should be enough activities and centers going on at any given time that your child will be motivated to interact.  Self directed play, along with adult conducted learning and activities, will fill your child’s time with us.  We believe children should be given the time and room to explore, experiment, discover, play, grow  along with time to just be a child.

Our Purpose and Goals

*To offer growth experience in a Christian environment and to provide a safe place for parents to leave their children.

*To provide activities, space, equipment, and freedom to meet the educational needs of the early childhood years.

*To expand the child’s world to include friends in the community and church.

*To help children experience God’s love through caring staff.

*To help children develop a positive feeling about themselves as a person with dignity and worth.

*To help each child develop social skills through work and play with others.

*To help each child experience a wide variety of language, art, community resources, music, people, technology, and center/outdoor play.

*To help each child develop positive feeling and respect for adults, persons in authority, peers, themselves, and “school”.

*To help each child develop all the cognitive processes appropriate to the preschool child including communication skills, small and gross motor skills, following directions, and completing tasks.

Our Philosophy

Children are a gift from God (Psalms127:3) and should grow in wisdom, stature, and knowledge of him.  We believe Spring Garden Preschool is an extension of the home.  Spring Garden Preschool will provide a safe, loving, and nurturing environment so that each child may grow and develop to their fullest potential.

Public Disclosure Statement

The Code of Virginia, Section 63.1-196.3, allows child day centers operated by religious institutions the opportunity to file for exemption requirements of the exemption law.  In compliance with the Code of Virginia, this center is exempt from licensure and is classified as an “exempt” child day center.

Facilities

Spring Garden Preschool is located in State Street United Methodist Church.  The square footage for Virginia licensing is maintained, and licensing requirements are used as guidelines for the preschool.  Seven  rooms are used on the ground level in one wing of the church.  An indoor play area is used for days when weather does not permit outside play.  Our two play areas outside are large, fenced, and age appropriately equipped.  The Preschool Office is located on the main wing of State Street United Methodist Church.

Curriculum

The HighScope curriculum guidelines are followed in each classroom.  Your child will move from one activity to another to encourage stimulation and learning.  Each classroom curriculum will be emailed to you with the monthly newsletter.  Please take time to look these over each month.  Our Pre-K classes (4 and 5 year olds) will follow the Virginia Standards of Learning for kindergarten preparedness. 

The Director will place children under the age of two in the appropriate classroom.  After age two, children will follow their school year class (with cut off being September 30th).  This policy allows more advanced (and older) children to move out of the Nursery into the Toddler Room as the child matures (14 to 16 months).  This encourages growth and stimulation when birthdays fall in the middle of the year.

Any child who is three years old and is not fully potty trained at the beginning of the school year will not be advanced to the three year old classroom.  If the child is not fully potty trained, he/she will advance to the 2 1/2 year old classroom or remain in his/her present classroom as space permits until the child is fully potty trained.

Enrollment Capacity

Because of the 2, 3, or 5 day option of attending Spring Garden Preschool, our enrollment changes.  Our class size is determined by the age of the children and the room size.  The proper child/adult ratio is maintained in accordance with the requirements under the Religious Exemption Law in Virginia.

Registration, Tuition and Billing

All of the registration, tuition, and billing information can be located under the About section on our web page.

Hours of Operation

9:00 am – 1:00 pm:  Preschool Curriculum Hours

7:30 am:  Early Drop-Off (included in monthly tuition rate)

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm:  SPELL/extended afternoon care (additional fee)

SGPS Holiday Observances

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Break*

Christmas Break*

New Years Day

Good Friday

Memorial Day

Presidental Election Day

*Preschool Director will post official start and end dates of breaks.

Snow Days

Spring Garden Preschool will use the Bristol Virginia City School System snow schedule, early dismissal, and closings as a quide during winter conditions.

There will be NO school when Bristol Virginia City Schools are closed due to weather.

If Bristol Viriginia City Schools are on a 2 hour delay, Spring Garden Preschool will begin at 9:30 am.  No early drop off will be offered.

If Bristol Virginia City Schools announce they are dismissing early due to weather conditions, please pick up your child as soon as possible.   The SPELL/Extended Care Program may be cancelled at the discretion of the Preschool Director.

Missed snow days will not be made up or reimbursed.

Attendance

If your child is absent for any reason, please let the Preschool Office know either by email or phone.  Makeup days are not allowed.  If you would like to bring your child on a day(s) he/she is not registered to attend, you may check with the Director for availability to “drop-in” .  Drop-in fees will apply.

Preschool Arrivals and Departures

Please enter Spring Garden Preschool through the gates at the back door of the church, by the playground.  Our Preschool wing is locked down. Please ring the bell in the top right hand corner of the door frame to be admitted. 

If you are dropping your child off or need admittance after 9:30 am, please enter the side door of the Church off the back parking lot.  This will take you into the Church Narthex and check in with the receptionist.  The receptionist will make arrangements for you to enter the Preschool Wing. 

Please keep the playground gate closed during preschool hours to help us protect the children.  Regular morning drop off is 9:00 am and car pick up begins at 12:50 pm.   The car pick up line is located under the covered exit, just by the Preschool entrance.

The Director and your child’s teacher should know if someone other than you will be picking up your child.  We will ask for identification when the person picks up your child, if we are not familiar with them.  No child will be released unless designated on the Children’s Information Sheet or previous notification has been received by the Preschool Office.

Children leaving before carline pickup (12:45 pm ) will need to be signed out.  A sign out sheet will be located at the Receptionist Desk located in the Church Narthex.

Children not registered for SPELL/Extended Care Program should be picked up by 1:00 pm to avoid late penalty charges.

Food Service

We do not prepare/provide food service.

Visitation and Conferences

Parents are welcome to come for a visit any time.  Please remember the teacher’s first responsibility is to the children.  Arrival and departure times are not good times for a serious conference or visit.

Please remember that crisis’ at home can result in behavioral changes at school.  Any important changes in your child’s life may need to be mentioned to your child’s teacher or the Preschool Director.  All matters will be held in confidence while helping our teacher(s) to understand your child’s behavior.

Birthdays

Birthdays are special and we like to celebrate them.  Please check with your child’s teacher(s) concerning celebrations for the classroom.

Donations

Spring Garden Preschool is always grateful to receive donations.  We will gladly provide you with a contribution receipt for tax purposes.

Volunteering

There are many ways to volunteer; please see the Preschool Director or your child’s Lead Teacher about volunteering.

Dress

Casual dress is recommended for comfort and play.  Please make an effort to always leave a change of seasonal clothing (including shoes) in your child’s cubby, in the classroom, in case a change is needed while they are at preschool.  Close toed shoes are encouraged as a safety precaution for outdoor play.

Health

It is important for students of SGPS to attend only when they are feeling well and can participte in all activities.  It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to protect their own child and the health of others by keeping a child away from the preschool when they show any signs of infectious illness.  If the staff and Director feel that your child’s health is such that he/she should not be in school, the Director will try to contact the parent(s) and your child will be cared for until he/she can be picked up.  Remember, SGPS cannot house sick children.

Symptoms to be aware of:

-Over irritability

-Over fatigue

-Vomiting

-Diarrhea

-Temperature of 100 degrees or higher

-Undiagnosed rash

-Excessive nasal, ear or eye discharge

-Persistent cough

-Complaining/pulling of ears/throat

Parents should notify the preschool when their child is absent.

Parents must notify the Preschool Office if their child comes down with a contagious disease so that other staff and parents may be confidentially notified.

All children must have a completed health form, including a record of immunizations.  A yearly updated immunization record will be required.  Any allergy should be noted by both the physician and the parent(s), otherwise it may be taken as a cold symptom.

CHILDREN SHOULD BE KEPT AT HOME UNTIL HE/SHE IS SYMPTOM FREE FOR A FULL 24 HOURS.  A PHYSICIAN’S NOTE FOR APPROVAL TO RETURN MAY BE RQUIRED IN SOME CASES.

Immunizations/Allergies

Each child’s file must contain a completed health form and a record of up to date immunizations.

Spring Garden Preschool will take preventive measures to protect children with severe food allergies by reading labels and checking with parents when serving snack or lunches not packed from home.  Extra precautions will be taken such as handwashing and thoroughly cleaning eating areas.

Spring Garden Preschool is a peanut/peanut butter free school.  Any product containing peanuts/peanut butter brought into the Preschool will be safely discarded and the child will be provided with another food.  Peanut butter substitutes such as nutella, almond and soy butter are allowed.  Please advise if these are brought to school.

Administering Medications

The only prescription medication that Spring Garden Preschool will be allowed to administer is child specific EPI pen medications.  By the State of Virginia, it is required that staff administering prescribed EPI Pen  medications be given a 2 hour training course.  

Epi-Pens will be administered after September 7, 2013.  These must be prescription specific and kept up-to-date by the parent(s).  Medical consent forms from both parent(s) and physician are required.    There will be a certified staff member available during Preschool hours (7:45 am until 4:00 pm) to administer if needed. 

The only over the counter medications that can be given/applied are diaper creams and sunscreens with parental permission.

Staff Health Requirements

All employees of Spring Garden Preschool must be free from any disability which would prevent them to care for children.   Annual documentation for employees, from physicians, is required and kept on file.  Also, a tuberculin screening is required every 2 years.  Employees must also abide by the same health practices as children attending SGPS.

Staff Qualifications

Staff must have education and/or experience qualifying them to work with young children.  Each staff member will be certified in CPR and First Aid Training.  All staff members are subject to a criminal records clearance.  Staff members must complete a minimum number of continuing education hours each year to comply with Religious Exemption Standards.

Hold Harmless Agreement

Staff members are discouraged from babysitting for families with children enrolled in our Program.

All Spring Garden Employees and Parents are required to sign a Hold Harmless Waiver  if babysitting services are utilized after Spring Garden Preschool hours.

Injuries/Emergencies

Safety rules are followed to prevent injuries.

Children will be allowed outside of the classroom only with staff supervision.

Fire and Emergency Preparedness Drills are routinely practiced.

Frequent inspections of stored items, cleaning supplies, and potentially dangerous materials are completed.  Children are not allowed in areas not designated for Preschool use.

Minor accidents will receive first aid administered by a staff member.  In the case of a serious accident, staff will call 911, if necessary, and contact the person(s) listed as the Child’s Emergency Contact.

When 911 is called, the child will be transported to the hospital if paramedics determine it necessary.  Wellmont Hospital in Bristol, TN will be used unless the parent is there to designate otherwise.  A staff person will accompany the child to the hospital, and the child’s health form will be taken along, if an emergency contact person is not present.

All accidents are to be recorded by the teacher(s) and the Preschool Director.  These reports will be kept on file by the Preschool Director.

The Preschool is covered by Public Liability Insurance.

Communication

Each child will have his/her own space (cubby) for personal items such as coats, backpacks, etc.   All information such as flyers or classroom notes will be placed in the child’s cubby.  We send out monthly communications via email regarding Preschool news and events along with classroom curriculums.  Specific information needing direct attention will be handed to the parent(s) or brought to the parent(s)’ attention preferably by the Lead Teacher.  In the case of an absent child, information may be sent through a telephone call, e-mail, or standard mail.

It is the responsibility of each classroom Lead Teacher to make the following available to parents:  monthly classroom news for the Preschool Newsletter, monthly parent note describing activities, and lesson plans according to the curriculum guidelines.  Each classroom will have their respective classroom schedules and lesson plans posted in their rooms.

The Preschool Director will be responsible for school wide news, reporting contagious diseases, schedule/policy changes, school programs, staff information, calendar events, and advertisements.  Monthly newsletters will also be posted on our website address at www.springgardenpreschool.org.

Communication between our staff and our Preschool families are of utmost importance to us.  Do not hesitate to contact us.

Discipline

Discipline or “behavior guidance” helps children learn self control and sensitivity for the feelings of others.  Spring Garden Preschool is committed to providing a positive role model of acceptable behavior.  Clear consistent limits will be set, while encouraging children to express their feelings in a way that will not be hurtful to those around them.

Children will be redirected away from situations toward constructive activity, and positive behavior will be reinforced.  If “time out” must be used, it shall be brief and the child will remain within sight and sound of a staff member.  Problem behavior will be discussed between parent(s), teacher(s), and the Director.

Misbehavior will not result in any form of physical or emotional punishment.

Parent Grievances

Parental concerns regarding the Preschool may be voiced verbally and/or written to the Preschool Director.  If concerns remain or continue, contact the Spring Garden Board Chairperson.