Safe Arrival & Departure

Parents are required to bring their child inside and accompany them to their classroom each day. You must assist your child in washing his/her hands upon arrival and departure. You must notify the teacher in charge when your child has arrived and when they are departing with you. Parents are required to keep their child close and within arm’s reach while exiting the building. Children may not be released to any persons under the age of 18. Children will only be released to other adults who are authorized in writing by the parent. Adults will be required to show valid photo identification. If they are not known or recognized. Children cannot be picked up over the fence or off the playground without signing out on the designated sign-out sheet. Each parent must sign their child in and our daily on the designated sign in and out forms. If your child is not picked up by the centers closing time we will attempt to contact you and your designated emergency contacts. If these attempts are unsuccessful, and after one hour from close of business, we will notify the local authorities and release your child to their custody. Late pick up fees will also be assessed. Certain situations that will not cause us to charge you a late fee:

  1. Sudden Illness
  2. Automobile Accident
  3. Death (immediate family - A phone call is due in the event of this happening)

Examples of when we will charge a late fee:

  1. If you are late due to personal business going to the bank, store, doctor etc.
  2. Working overtime
  3. Waiting on a ride
  4. Relying on someone else to pick up child and they do not arrive on time

Clothing

Children will spend time indoors and outdoors daily. Please dress your child in washable play clothes, suitable for all types of activities including painting and eating. Closed-toed shoes with at least a strap on the heel must be worn at all times. Every child must have a full change of clothes in their assigned cubby. Steps to Hope Academy is not responsible for lost or damaged clothing. Infants and toddlers are not permitted to wear jewelry as it may become a choking hazard.

What to Send with your Child

Parents must provide these items:

  • Large pack of diapers - Diapers is the responsibility of the parent or guardian. We will not use diapers from any other child’s supply. Always make sure you provide your child with the supplies he or she need. We require that a minimal of 10 diapers be available daily for use. You may be asked to take your child home and return with the needed items. (Please check your child’s diaper container regularly it is parents responsibility)
  • Diaper rash cream - We must have written permission from you the parent in order to use any kind of diaper cream. The permission slip will be active for one year. We must have written permission to apply any type of sun blocker or sunscreen during the summer.
  • Bottles - You will need to provide (clean) bottles if you choose not to bring bottles already made up. We will put your child’s name on them as they are used. They will always be labeled (State Requirement). The 4 oz. bottles will be fine for newborn babies.
  • Baby Formula -You will need to provide the type of formula your baby takes in its original container. Unless its breast milk.
  • Pull-Ups - For children who are training to use the potty. No cloth underwear until the child is comfortable with using the potty. We rather start out with pull-ups so we can give the child time to change over to cloth underwear. It will be more sanitary for the beginner as well as for us. Potty training will begin when the parent thinks it is time to start at home and the child is age ready and have the desire to do so. Potty training will have to be a joint effort, at home and at day care. We are willing to help with supporting your child through this process as much as possible. We will set up a toileting schedule to help your child reach his or her goal.
  • Change of clothing - Accidents can happen at any age. You will need to provide an extra set of clothing at all times with your child’s name written on the inside tag. Extra clothing will be put in child’s cubbies until they are needed. Make sure the change of clothes are appropriate for the season. (Please check your child’s cubbies regularly it is the parent’s responsibility)

Items Steps to Hope Provide:

  • Cribs and crib sheets
  • Nap mats and nap sheets
  • Cups, plates, bowls, spoons, forks
  • Age appropriate toys
  • High chairs
  • Breakfast, lunch and snack (See Food and Meal section for details)

Attendance

For the benefit of your child, we ask that you maintain a regular pattern of attendance. If you are receiving subsidy from social services or any other program and your child does not meet the agency’s attendance requirements, you will be responsible for the tuition if not paid by the agency. In addition you could risk losing your childcare subsidy. In order to maintain a quality program with proper staffing, we ask that you notify the director if your child will be absent or late (arriving after their regularly scheduled arrival time or arriving earlier than their normal arrival time.) Steps to Hope Academy does have a cut off time of when children can arrive in the morning. This time is 9:00am. No children will be accepted after this time unless you make prior arrangements with the director. Times we will allow for late arrival is for scheduled appointments. We ask that you supply a doctors/dentist note. Other reasons for admission after 9:00am will be left up to the director’s discretion.

Meals and Food

Steps to Hope Community Academy will provide two meals and one snack per day. All meals and snacks will be age appropriate. You are welcome to come and join us anytime or review the weekly food menu. We follow the guidelines according to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

 

Approximate Meal Times

Breakfast 8:30am

Lunch 11:30am

PM Snack 3:15pm

We will feed infants according to their feeding schedule provided by their parents. Our goal is to make meals enjoyable for all children. We do not force any child to eat but we will try to encourage the child to try new foods. We will only serve 100% fruit juice. We will encourage fruits and vegetables.

  • We do not charge additional for meals.
  • Weekly menus will be posted for your review.
  • We do not allow children to bring food to the center.
  • Menu exceptions will be made for documented religious or medical reasons. If the child is on a special diet parents must supply the necessary food.
  • Children under 15 months must have an infant feeding schedule completed during the enrollment process. Change in schedule must be recorded as eating habits change.
  • If your child has food allergies you will need to share this information with us so it can be posted. A doctor’s statement is required and is to be placed in your child’s file, in the kitchen and in the child classroom if there are certain foods such as milk products, nuts etc. that your child is allergic too.
  • Please do not send junk food with your child (candy, gum, potato chips, and sodas). We try to serve nutritious meals and snacks at all times. Food and beverages of little or no nutritional value served as snack, such as sweets, fruit drinks, soft drinks etc., will be available only for special occasions.(See section on occasions)
  • Drinking water will be freely available to children of all ages and offered at frequent intervals during the day.
  • If you send a Sippy cup, please make it a spill proof cup with your child’s name on it. We require it be age appropriate.

Example of a Daily Meal

Each meal provided daily would include these food groups- meat, bread, fruits, dairy and vegetables.

  • Breakfast served daily will consist of at least 3 components: Milk, juice or fruit, bread or cereal.
  • Lunch served daily will consist of at least 4 components: Milk 2 or more fruits or vegetables, meat, or meat alternative, bread or bread alternative.
  • Snack served daily will consist of at least 2 components: Milk or juice, bread or cereal, meat or meat alternative.

It is essential for children to learn how to develop good eating habits and positive attitudes toward food at an early age. For young children, eating a nutritionally balanced diet is essential if they are to grow and develop normally. Eating vegetables are very important, it is good practice to teach children how they help make our bodies become healthy and strong. Please help your child in this learning process.

Rest Time

Infants through pre-school age children will be provided with a nap/rest time daily. We encourage your child to rest during that period. Blankets may be brought from home, but must be labeled and laundered weekly. We require the blanket to be taken home every Friday evening and returned clean on Monday morning.

No infants sleeping in cribs will be allowed to use a blanket due to the new SIDS sleep policy. (See the sleep policy for more details)

Outdoor Activities

Children need fresh air and exercise daily, Children will be allowed to play outdoors on the playground each day (weather permitting) Children will only be kept in during rain or extreme heat or cold. Please dress your child appropriately for the weather and provide appropriate outdoor apparel (i.e. coats, jacket, hat, etc.)

Celebrations

We do observe birthdays and holidays and you are welcome to have parties, we ask that you discuss the date and time with the director ahead of time. We are happy to suggest healthy snacks such as crackers, fruit, party mix, etc. We will allow for cake or cupcakes but they must be store brought. No homemade foods are allowed. Unfortunately, we are prohibited from allowing balloons during these celebrations. Mylar balloons are acceptable.

Transition Time

Many transitions occur in a child’s young life. At Steps to Hope Academy, our goal is to help your child progress in a secure and developmentally appropriate way. When your child transitions to new classroom, we encourage you to be involved by talking to your child about the process and by sharing special ideas, interests or concerns with your child’s new teachers. Together we can create a sense of security and excitement for your child.

Payment Policy

Our payment terms are described in the tuition and fee agreement included in your enrollment packet. Each time you make a payment, we will provide you with a receipt within 24 hours of your payment.

Smoke Free Campus

Steps to Hope Academy is a smoke free facility. Smoking is not permitted on our campus including outdoors.

Discipline/Conduct Statement

Discipline is the helpful guidance, encouragement, and support that audits use and to influence children. It is more than punishment, rules and restrictions. Appropriate discipline helps children learn how to interact and develop self-control. Teachers at Steps to Hope Academy understand these concepts and utilize the following disciple strategies:

  • First and foremost, teachers create a positive and safe environment in which social, intellectual and physical competencies can be developed and where there is a minimal opportunity for unacceptable behavior.
  • Teachers model appropriate behavior, including both verbal and non-verbal body language.
  • Teachers set limits, which reflect realistic expectations for the age and development if each child.

If your child is experiencing some difficulty, we will notify you. We will make every effort to work with you to correct the behavioral issues. If the problems continue, a short suspension period may be necessary. If a child is not adjusting to or benefitting from our program we do reserve the right to disenroll the child at the discretion of the director. (See the discipline and Behavior Management Policy for more details on this topic.)

Biting

Although common in young children, biting can be a very frustrating problem. The following is an outline of the preventative strategies our teachers commonly utilize:

  • For infants and toddlers, positive teething activities will be provided to comfort and soothe their gums.
  • When children bite out of frustration or during confrontation, the behavior will be redirected to some other activity or they will be shown an alternate way to handle the situation. We will encourage the use of language in expressing wants and needs.
  • If a child bites frequently, staff will utilize a more intensive approach which involves carefully observing the child to determine precipitating events and maintaining a log to track the behavior. A conference will be scheduled with the parents to discuss the child’s actions at home, and search for outside resources, etc.
  • Parents will be notified if their child is bitten at school. However, in order to protect the privacy of all our families, parents will not be informed of the identity of the biter.

Biting incidents will also be communicated to the parents of the biter the day the incident occurs to ensure that staff and parents are working together to understand and prevent this behavior. In order to ensure the safety of all the children, if all attempts to correct the behavior fail, we reserve the right to remove the biter from our program.

School Accidents

If an accident occurs at our school and your child is injured, the guidelines below will be administered depending on the type of accident. Our teachers are trained to apply first aid to minor injuries (cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc.) The director or you child’s teacher will report the occurrence to you at the end of the day or during the day as necessary, based on the nature of the injury. If your child sustains a serious injury that requires medical attention. Steps to Hope Academy will notify you immediately and the appropriate emergency personnel. All incidents of injury will be documented and a copy will be given to the parent and one kept in the child’s file.

When You Should Keep Your Child At Home

Illness impacts how children learn, develop, and participate in their environment. We want all children to come to school every day knowing that they are able to participate. Often parents have a hard time determining whether or not your child is well enough to come to attend for the day. The information below will help you decide when to keep your child home. Do not send your child to Steps to Hope Academy if they have the following conditions:

  • Diarrhea- Your child may return to school after symptoms are gone for one complete school day (24 hours)
  • Vomiting- Your child may return to school after symptoms are gone for one complete school day (24 hours)
  • Fever-100 degrees or higher. A child should be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of a fever reducer. Ex. (Tylenol, Ibuprofen) before returning to school.
  • Pain- Headache, stomach ache, ear ache, etc.
  • Skin sores or rash- A doctor should evaluate and declare that it is non-contagious.
  • Lice or scabies- A child should not return until 24 hours after the child and home have been treated and are found to be free of lice.
  • Conjuctivitis or pink eye- Children with red, itchy, draining or crusty eyes may have conjuctivitis. Children may return to school 24 hours after successful antibiotic treatment.
  • Colds- Constant green or yellow nasal drainage could indicate infection.

It is important that sick children do not come to school to limit the spread of illness, if your child comes to school with any of the above conditions or develops these symptoms while at school, you will be called and asked to pick up your child within 1 hour. We appreciate your help in assuring that we have a healthy environment for learning.

Communicable Diseases

If your child has a communicable disease or a serious illness, the parents must have a doctor’s statement that the child is able to participate in the normal routine before they can return to Steps to Hope Academy. Parents must call the school with the diagnosis as soon as possible so that other families can be notified if their child has been exposed. Steps to Hope Academy will notify the health department and follow any precautions that they deem necessary. The director has to right to deny admission to a child until they are determined to be healthy by a physician.

Medications

Steps to Hope Academy will only administer medications upon receipt of a satisfactory written instruction from the child’s doctor. A current doctor’s prescription will be necessary for any prescription medications. We DO NOT administer over the counter medications. Unless you provide a doctor's order.

All medications must be in their original containers. All prescription medications must indicate the child’s name, name of medication, and date of the prescription, amount and frequency of dosage and the prescribing physicians or health professional’s name. Medications cannot be shared between siblings. When a medication is brought into the school it must be given to the director. A medication authorization form must be filled out completely by the parent. Parents must pick up all medications once course is complete or daily if home use is necessary. All medications will be locked. Emergency medications will not be stored in a lock box but will be stored out of reach of children. Example of such medications are Epinephrine, glucagon, or asthma inhalers.

Child Abuse/Neglect

Our goal is to protect the children while in our care. Steps to Hope Academy is required by law to report any cases where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused, neglected or exploited, either sexually, physically, or emotionally. We will cooperate with the authorities in the investigation of any reported cases. Steps to Hope Academy teachers receive training in preventing abuse and neglect as part of their regular orientation.

Holidays

Steps to Hope Academy operates year around Monday through Friday with the exception of the following holidays: We will be closed One week for Christmas (Christmas Eve through the day after New Year’s.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (4th of July)
  • Labor Day • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Thanksgiving Day and the day after Thanksgiving (Friday)
  • Christmas break (See above for details)
  • Floating Day **

**To be designated annually for the Western Regional Early Childhood Conference. An advanced notice will be given to all parents.

Childcare payments are still due on Fridays when we are out for holidays. If not paid on or before Friday we will charge you a late fee. You can make payments before the holiday this is only if we are closed that Friday.

Snow Days/Inclement Weather Plans

During serve weather, the director will contact local emergency personnel for information. Should an emergency requiring evacuation occur, you will be notified immediately. If it becomes necessary to close due to inclement weather or other circumstances, calls will be made to parents or announcements will be posted on local news channels. Please check for these updates.

Note: We will operate according to Henderson County public schools inclement weather schedule for closings or early dismissals.