Parent Handbook

Philosophy:

Each child’s individuality and uniqueness is respected. We believe that growth takes place in orderly sequences, one stage following another. We believe that development of the whole child depends on appropriate physical, mental and social nourishment supplied by the home, school and community, and that play, both informal and organized is significant to intellectual growth. High Sierra Academy offers all this in a pleasant, safe rural setting.

High Sierra Academy (“HSA” or “the school”) operates on a non-discriminatory basis giving equal treatment and access to services without regard to race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin or ancestry.

Goals:

For the Child:  To provide a stimulating environment with varied planned experiences to aid:

·         In the growth and development of his/her mental, social, physical, and emotional capacities;

·         In learning through play experiences;

·         In the development of self-expression, self-control, responsibility, independence, respect for self and others and creativity;

·         In a multi-cultural and non-sexist atmosphere.

 

For the Parent:  To provide:

·         A safe and loving environment while the parent pursues his/her studies and/or is at work and/or desires the group experience for the child;

·         Opportunities to meet and work with other parents and teachers who have as their common concern the interests and needs of their children.

 

Arrival and Dismissal of Children:

Each child must be officially signed in each day by their parent or guardian. Full signatures are required as well as notation of the time of arrival. Each child must also be signed out at the end of the day and their departure time noted.  Once you enter the school to pick up your child, they are your responsibility.  Please make sure your child does not wander off if speaking to another parent or a teacher. Likewise, your child should be closely monitored in the parking lot area of our facility as the cars could pose a danger to them if they have wandered away from you. 

Children should be picked up on time.  If you are going to be late picking up your child, please call HSA to advise us.  You will be assessed one dollar ($1.00) for each minute that you are late picking up your child.  Special circumstances will be considered. 

It is every parent’s responsibility to keep all information on the student’s information sheet current, including information regarding who is authorized to pick up your child from the school.  Temporary or one time only changes must be noted, in writing, and given to your child’s teacher.  HSA must be notified immediately if an individual on your child information sheet is no longer authorized to pick up your child.

If the parent/guardian is unable to pick up the child, they must notify their child’s teacher and/or the Director and provide them with the name of the person authorized to pick up the child on their behalf. This authorization can be provided in writing or by telephone.  A child can only leave with an authorized person.  The HSA staff will require a photo ID to be presented by any individual picking up a child for the first time.

Should a person other than the child’s parents or those indicated on the emergency pick up form arrive to pick up the child, a parent and/or the first available person on the emergency contact form will be notified and the child will not be released.  Should the person become confrontational, the Director or person in charge will immediately notify the police.

HSA will not release a child to any parent, relative or other authorized adult who appears to be impaired by the use of drugs or alcohol.  In the event this situation occurs, a telephone call will be made to the parent, emergency contact person and/or police.

Custody Situations:

If one parent requests that a non-custodial parent be denied access to the child at the center, a copy of the Court Order granting the custodial parent custody of the child and a statement in writing that the order is current must be submitted to the Director.  The statement must also express the custodial parent’s wish to deny access to the non-custodial parent.  In the absence of a Court Order on file with HSA, both parents shall be afforded equal access to their child as stipulated by law.  HSA cannot, without a Court Order, limit the access of one parent due to a request by the other parent.

HSA should never be designated as the location for a child’s custody exchange or visitation time.  All exchanges and visitation should take place off the school’s campus. 

For the welfare of the students, all school staff must adhere to a neutral policy in conjunction with all custody suits, whether settled or in progress.  At no time will HSA or its staff provide supporting information unless subpoenaed by a court.  We will not act as a liaison between parents.  Our responsibility is to maintain a safe, loving, learning environment for all children in all circumstances.

Absences and Holidays:

Parents are responsible for notifying HSA if the child will not be in attendance on a given day.   There will be no reductions in tuition fees for days missed.  Parents are responsible for paying for days missed and paid holidays.

HSA will provide a make-up day for part time students that are absent due to illness.  Make up days can only be used for days that the child does not normally attend and are based on space availability in the classroom.  Make up days are not available for vacation.  A child can make up a maximum of 7 days during a calendar year.  Parents should keep track of their child’s make up days.  Please note that it is not common for preschools to give make up days.  Most schools have a “use it or lose it” policy.  HSA gives make up days as a special service to our families.  As such, we appreciate your patience if a make up day you need is not available. 

HSA is closed on several major holidays.  A calendar of our closure dates will be provided to parents each year.  Parents are still required to pay their child’s tuition for those days designated as “paid holidays.”

Parents of full time students may request vacation time from the Center.  One vacation week is given per calendar year.  Two weeks written notice is required to receive the tuition adjustment.  Vacation time is only given to fulltime, yearly students. 

Illness or Injury:

Each child will be greeted daily by a staff member who will inspect for signs of illness.  If a child arrives in the morning showing signs of ill health, the school will be unable to accept him or her.  An exception will be made if the child has visited a licensed physician that has written a note indicating the child’s symptoms pose no health risk to the child, or to the other children or staff.

In the event that child abuse or neglect is suspected, HSA has an obligation to report any suspicions to Child Protective Services.

If an illness or accident occurs during the time that the child is at school, the parents will be notified immediately about the child’s condition and they must make arrangements to pick up the child within one hour after notification.  If a parent is unavailable, the persons listed on the Emergency Information Record will be contacted.

Should the child sustain a minor injury at school (i.e., scrape, bruise) the parent will be notified via an Incident Report.  If the injury is more serious, the school will call the parent to inform them and agree upon a course of action.

In the event of an emergency, the child will be transported via ambulance to the nearest emergency room and a parent will be contacted to meet the accompanying staff member at the emergency facility.

If your child has been exposed to a contagious disease please notify the school immediately.  Examples of contagious diseases are whooping cough, measles, mumps and tuberculosis.  We are required to notify the other parents of the symptoms in order for them to monitor their children.

It is always helpful to the school in planning their daily activities to be notified if your child will be absent from the school.

IF YOUR CHILD IS ILL THEY CAN ONLY RETURN TO SCHOOL AFTER BEING FREE OF SYMPTOMS FOR 24 HOURS!   Please, DO NOT bring your child to school if any of the following have occurred within 24 hours:

a.    Fever of 100 degrees or more;

b.    Vomiting/ upset stomach;

c.    Diarrhea;

d.    Green discharge from nose;

e.    Colored discharge from eyes;

f.     Unusual spots, lesions or rashes (excluding diaper rash);

g.    Sore throat;

h.    Persistent cough or difficulty breathing;

i.      Severe pain in the joints, abdomen or ears;

j.      Symptoms of lice.

 

Example:  If your child is sent home at noon with a fever they cannot return the next day and they have to be free of the fever for 24 hours before they can return.

All working parents should make sure they have a back-up sitter for when their child is sick.  In addition, children at the school must be covered by their own health insurance.

Medication Procedures:

            Parents must fill out an Authorization to Administer Medication form for each medicine that is to be dispensed to their child.  The Director or staff member administering the medicine will complete a log with their signature and the date that medicine is dispensed.           

Prescription medications must be provided in the original, pharmacy labeled child proof bottle.  The label must indicate the child’s name and the dosage information.  A doctor’s note must be provided with instructions for use, including when the treatment expires. 

            All over the counter medication must be accompanied by a doctor’s note that includes the approved dosage and time. 

            Parents are responsible for ensuring that all medication dates are current.  The school will not be able to administer expired medication.

Immunizations and Physician Forms:

            Each child must have updated immunization and registration forms.  If your child is not immunized, please see the Director to complete a personal beliefs waiver.

            Each child must also have a Physician’s form on file indicating that they are in good health.  Your child’s enrollment will be discontinued if you fail to timely return this form to the school.

Your child’s file is confidential and will be shared with the staff only as required to meet the needs of your child.

Tuition Details:

Tuition is due each week on the first day your child attends.  Monthly payments are due by mid month.  A late charge of $35.00 will be assessed for any account that is not paid in full by the end of each month. 

A charge of $25.00 will be assessed for any returned checks. If 2 checks are returned in a six (6) month period, you will be required to pay by cash or money order for the next six months.

In the event that tuition becomes over 45 days past due, HSA will notify you that your child is no longer allowed to attend the preschool.  Re-admittance to the program is on a space available basis only and will require payment of the account balance in full plus an additional $75.00 re-registration fee.  

Two weeks written notice is required to withdraw your child for any reason.  If the required notice is not given, parents will be charged for that period.

Schedule:

Our facility opens at 7:00 am and closes promptly at 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  Our school is open year round except for select holidays. Please see our monthly newsletters for upcoming holidays.

Preparing for the first day of school:

HSA recommends that the parent bring their child for a visit day prior to their first day of school.  This visit allows the child to meet their teachers and become comfortable with their surroundings. The separation for both parent and child is likely to be smoother and more reassuring as the child becomes familiar with the teachers and other students.  HSA does not charge for the visit day. 

HSA encourages parents to establish a comfortable good-bye routine with their child and discourages parents from leaving without notifying their child and providing them with an opportunity to say goodbye.

Please see the cover letter accompanying the admissions paperwork for a list of items that the child should bring on their first day of school.

Nutritional Needs:

            Please make sure your child has a good nutritional breakfast each morning.

            Children are required to bring a packed lunch each day.  Please DO NOT send your child to school with gum, candy or sweet desserts.  Sugar free pudding is allowed. 

            Please discuss any special dietary problems or allergies with the Director prior to your child’s first day of school.

Miscellaneous Information:   

Clothing

            School is a place for investigating and learning about many things.  Some of your child’s play experiences may be messy or wet.  We use aprons when painting, however, the staff and your child will be more relaxed if he/she wears the same type of play clothing that they wear at home.  We also appreciate if the clothing is easily removed for toileting.  Children are learning to do things for themselves and they will only receive assistance when clothing is created in such a way that it is impossible for them to manage for themselves. 

            Children are not permitted to wear flip flops without a strap in back, or open toed shoes.  These types of shoes pose a danger to the children on the playground.

            Please send a spare set of clothing (including under ware, socks and shoes if possible).  These items can either be left in your child’s cubby or taken home with them in their backpack each night.  Please label all of your child’s jackets and clothing. 

If your child is sent home wearing clothing borrowed from the school, please launder and return the clothing immediately.

Bedding

            Please bring a crib or twin sheet, a blanket and a pillow if your child will be taking a nap at the school.  Your child can also bring a special stuffed animal or blanket to sleep with them. Please do not bring large items as we have limited storage space. Your child’s bedding should be taken home once a week to be washed. 

Toys from Home

Children often want to bring toys from home.  We request your assistance in discouraging this habit.  Your child can bring a toy on Thursday or Friday for share day, or if they have an object that ties in with the theme we are studying.  Please do not send any scary, violent or potentially dangerous toys (for example, toys with sharp points). 

 Birthdays

If you would like to celebrate your child’s birthday at school, please notify the teachers in advance to allow them to prepare for the special occasion.  We encourage parents whenever possible to bring muffins or nutritious food rather than sweets treats.

Field Trips

            Please consult the monthly newsletter for upcoming field trips.  You will receive a permission slip in advance.  We require one adult to accompany each child on the field trip.  Your child may not attend the field trip unless you have returned the signed permission slip.

Pictures

            Children enrolled at HSA may have their picture taken during the school year for school projects, newsletters, the website or local newspaper articles. If you do not want your child photographed for any reason, please let us know immediately.

Concerns

            If you have any questions and/or concerns you would like to discuss with a teacher or the Director, please feel free to arrange a convenient time to talk.  Remember, it is usually inappropriate to discuss a specific concern about your child in your child’s presence.

            As the parents of a child at the school, you are partners in the teaching process.  Children learn the most important life lessons at home.  As partners, we create opportunities for your child to solve problems him/her self through active experiences.  In this group setting we will try to help your child learn that:

·         School is an interesting please to be with friends-both peers and older friends;

·         Everyone is an individual but is equally important.

We also try to have many one-on-one experiences with each child to help him or her:

·         Gain confidence and the ability to handle a variety of situations;

·         Learn basic skills in all areas of growth so that the transition to a more formal curriculum in Kindergarten is an easy one.

School Age Children

 

High Sierra Academy has an After School Program.  The After School Program accepts no more than 12 children, grades Kindergarten through Third grade. These children are former students of our school and/or the siblings of our current students. The school age children will have an opposite indoor/outdoor play schedule from the preschool children. In the case of rain, we will have the school age children watch movies, eat a snack and play board games in our school office area. 

 

A separate bathroom has been provided for the after schoolers and a door has been installed for their privacy. Preschoolers will be given separate bathroom facilities on the opposite end of the building, and preschoolers and school age children will not be allowed to use bathroom facilities at the same time and place.

 

Discipline

 

            Our philosophy of discipline is designed to help each child develop self-control and responsibility for his/her own actions.  The staff interacts with the children in a consistent, respectful, positive manner, guiding them in achieving those inner controls. 

            Simple, understandable classroom rules are established.  These rules set the limits of behavior required for the safety and protection of the children.  They are made aware of expectations, inappropriate behavior and the resulting consequences.  Likewise, disciplinary measures shall be developmentally appropriate, related to the child’s action and in proportion with the behavior. Positive functional statements will be used if redirecting the child.  Children will not be humiliated in front of their peers, and teachers will work directly with the child to help them through a particular problem. 

            “Time away” may be used for children who are at risk of harming themselves or others.  This quiet time away will be just long enough for the child to regain control of him/herself.  During time away the child will be placed in an area where he or she can be visually observed by the Director or another staff member.  Attempts to redirect the child will be made prior to the use of time away.

            No child shall be subjected, under any circumstance, to corporal punishment or verbal abuse.  No child shall be denied food or water as a method of punishment.  

Should your child display violent, unsafe or continually inappropriate behavior, you will be contacted. You are required to promptly pick up your child in the event of such behavior.

HSA reserves the right to discontinue enrollment of the child at any time, for any reason, including, but not limited to unsafe or violent behavior.

Final Comments:

HSA reserves the right to modify the information contained in this Parent Handbook at any time.

Thank you for choosing High Sierra Academy!