Parent Handbook

 

About the Center

 

A. Philosophy

Sugar Plums Child Development Center is designed to meet the emotional, social, physical, and intellectual needs of children in a safe, home-like, and loving environment. The unique characteristics of each child are valued in our center. Our well-trained and talented staff nurtures each child’s interests and developmental advances. At Sugar Plums, we appreciate children: their diversity, their challenges, and their successes. Our child-caring philosophy is based on flexibility and primary care for the children. The Center respects and accommodates the developmental stages of each child.

Our infant rooms are designed to reflect a home-like feeling with an eating area, a sleeping area, and a play area. Infants are on individual schedules, as determined by their parents. Plenty of stimulating toys are available for infants and their caregivers to explore. Our staff understands the importance of talking and singing to babies throughout the day.

The staff has great respect for the success of our toddlers and two-year-olds. We applaud and cheer for each new step. These children are marching (or rather, toddling!) toward more independence each day, and need to have many choices of activities. For this, flexibility is tied into our lesson plans to accommodate the changing interests of toddlers. Toys and equipment are selected that help develop gross and fine motor skills. These children may also choose art activities, music, and dance, or exploring books. Toddlers and twos play hard and get tired, and they need to be held and cuddled. The staff is always ready to provide a loving lap to sit in.

The preschoolers’ area provides them with the opportunity to explore and choose activities as they see fit. Art, music, gross and fine motor activities, dramatic play, blocks, science, and books are some of the interest areas around the room. Our staff plan activities for the group as well as for individual children, in order to foster their development in all areas.

Our great respect for the individual derives from the findings of Jean Piaget, who discovered the developmental thought process of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. From Piaget’s work, early childhood educators know that children learn best through play. Children are given a variety of rich experiences to help introduce new concepts about the world around them as well as reinforce skills they are mastering.

Our center is a home-away-from-home for both the children and parents. Excellent communication with parents is a top priority. With daily communication through conversation, email, and written notes, the staff and parents form a team to help each child’s day run smoothly. Parent involvement activities are held frequently for parents to interact with each other and the staff in a relaxed setting. Parents are always welcome to drop in at the Center at any time during the day.

 

B. Goals

Sugar Plums gives love and respect to all children. It is a busy and happy place. We are delighted that you have chosen to make our center your and your child’s “home away from home.” We have established the highest standards to follow, as laid out by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Along with these standards we promise to always:

1. PROVIDE A SAFE, LOVING, AND STIMULATING ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN TO GROW AND DEVELOP

Children need to feel secure and cared for at all times. Sugar Plums provides a nurturing environment, which enables children to feel safe. Therefore, they are free to explore their world as individuals.

2.  HELP EACH FAMILY MAINTAIN GOOD HEALTH AND PROMOTE PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

Nutritious snacks are provided. Parents of infants provide all of their child’s food and formula or breast milk. When a child is old enough to eat table food, Sugar Plums will provide a morning and an afternoon snack using recommendations from the “Let’s Move” initiative. We also provide milk at lunchtime. If you would like your child to receive milk at snack time please send milk in a bottle or cup with your child’s name clearly marked. Our staff maintains strict hygiene practices, and activities designed to help develop large and small muscles are provided daily.

3.  HELP EACH CHILD FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY WITH PEERS AND WITH ADULTS

Children are placed in groups according to their ages. There are six groups:

Gumdrops, Lemondrops, Tootsie Pops, Sweet Hearts, Lollipops, and Sugar Plums. The children move developmentally through the Center, therefore creating mixed age groups. This grouping style helps children learn from each other and respect individual differences and rates of development. The teachers help your child develop language skills to resolve conflicts with peers, and are alert to opportunities that arise for teaching social skills. In the early years, children must learn to trust their caregivers and thus develop a strong positive self-concept. Our staff works hard on helping your child develop trust and positive self-esteem.

3.  HELP EACH CHILD DEVELOP HIS OR HER COGNITIVE ABILITIES TO THE FULLEST.

An enormous amount of learning takes place from birth to age five. Our program fosters as much learning as possible; educational games and activities are planned to meet the child’s individual level of development. Many of the activities are derived from the discoveries of Jean Piaget, Eric Erikson, and Maria Montessori. A major goal of our teachers is to be alert for the “teachable moment.” That moment comes during the course of your child’s play when it is most appropriate for your child to hear his or her teacher introduce a new concept or ask a leading question.

C. Emergent Curriculum

An emergent curriculum is based on flexibility and choices for the children. We respect and accommodate the developmental stages of each child and our curriculum reflects individual needs. Activities are planned to both challenge and encourage learning by incorporating the various learning styles and by creating meaningful connections.

 

Our staff becomes familiar with the children’s interests and development through extensive observation. Through observation, they are able to develop profiles for each individual child and create individual activity plans to incorporate into their lessons. The staff creates lesson plans that stress personal experience and therefore encourage many open-ended learning situations where the children can learn and create at their own developmental rate. Weekly lesson plans consist of clearly marked goals and objectives, as well as activities, but do not limit learning to timelines.

Since children learn through play, we plan our indoor and outdoor time to encourage this learning. Through play, children reenact experiences, try out different roles, express ideas, develop vocabulary, process information, widen their world view, and relate to each other. Children learn by doing, so we provide the first-hand experience as a basis for expanding knowledge about our physical world. We believe adults need to facilitate learning by discussing with the children what they see, hear, smell, touch, feel, helping them to increase their understanding. Therefore, at times during the day, teachers direct group discussions, introduce concepts, and offer learning experiences. Knowing that children learn from what adults do, we model the behavior we want to encourage. We strive to show understanding and respect for each person and use words to express needs and feelings. We try to learn from our mistakes instead of labeling them as failures. We believe that growth and development happen best in a supportive, safe, orderly environment where rules, limits, expectations, and plans are known. We strive to be clear, consistent, and firm in these areas.

D. Discipline

We provide many opportunities for children to develop self-discipline. A trusting relationship must be established between staff and child. Discipline is built on mutual respect and trust.

We believe in a positive approach to discipline. We offer guidance and direction, not punishment. Children are praised for displaying positive behavior; while negative behavior is immediately discouraged and given little attention. We expect our staff to:

*Praise and encourage good behavior

*Set realistic limits or behavior expectations that are clear and developmentally appropriate

*Be consistent once limits are established

*Help each child to verbalize feelings and not to act them out inappropriately

In the case of special problems, the director will contact the parents so that a joint effort at solving the issue can be made. 

We do not permit any discipline related to food, toileting, or naps. Any use of corporal punishment is strictly prohibited. An employee who uses corporal punishment will be terminated immediately.

We try to change behavior by using space, time, and materials creatively, and by stressing positive social reinforcers. In terms of space, we should be aware that too little space or congested traffic patterns may cause conflict as children to interfere with each other’s activities. Too little time to complete activities in a relaxed way, or too much time devoted to an activity so that the children are bored or have to wait can also cause behavior difficulties. There also needs to be enough experience with anyone activity to develop it fully. Activities and expectations must be age-appropriate. Discipline means helping children learn to control their own behavior and solve their own problems. It does not mean punishment. Sugar Plums firmly believes discipline includes providing choices, guidance, modeling, and redirection.

E. Non-Discriminatory Policy

Sugar Plums admits children and employs personnel without regard to race, color, creed, gender, religion, or national origin. The center does not discriminate against children with disabilities where reasonable accommodations can be made without undue hardship on the corporation.

Laws and regulations which protect people with special needs against discrimination cover any center employees with a life-threatening illness or communicable disease. Employees can work at our center as long as they meet acceptable performance and attendance standards, and all medical evidence indicates that their condition is not a threat to themselves or others in the workplace. The health conditions of all employees are personal and confidential.

The center will make every effort possible to mainstream children with differing abilities into our program, in accordance with the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act. Our staff will assess each child on an individual basis, working closely with his/her family and other professionals. We are prepared to make reasonable accommodations and carry out necessary adaptations that are readily achievable. Therapists and specialized care providers are welcome to visit children in our center with parent permission. We also request that parents supply a copy of the child’s current IEP or IFSP to aid us in adapting and planning activities that meet the child’s needs.

The decision to accept a child with a life-threatening illness or disability will be made on a case-by-case basis by a panel consisting of the child’s physician/therapist, public health personnel, the Director, and the parent. This panel will determine whether the child may pose an undue risk to others, whether the child development center setting may pose an undue risk to the child, whether the child development center has sufficient personnel to meet the needs of the child, and a timetable for periodic review of the decision. The child’s right to privacy will be respected and personnel will be advised of the child’s condition on a need-to-know basis.

The center, however, may terminate a child’s enrollment after attempting to accommodate his/her needs. In some instances, a decision to terminate enrollment may be made in order to meet the best interest of a child who requires another type of program. If the child becomes an “undue burden” or poses a significant risk to the health and safety standards of others or him/herself, the child may be excluded. Any expenses for observation and testing incurred will be the responsibility of the parents/guardians.

 

1.  Staff

Our well trained staff is caring, loving and respectful of children as individuals. Staff members have been selected on the basis of their intelligence, resourcefulness, and their ability to stimulate creativity and to foster development in four areas: social, emotional, physical, and intellectual.

All senior staff members have experience and credentials in early childhood education or a related field. All assistant staff members have experience and training. Continuing education is a key ingredient to providing a quality program. Sugar Plums will close at 5:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month, September through May, for staff training. Parents will be notified two weeks in advance if there are any changes. We pride ourselves on the fact that we provide over 20 hours a year of ongoing in-service training, including CPR and first aid, for all our staff members. Their understanding of the needs of working parents and their ability to work with you for the benefit of your child is an essential part of their unique qualifications. All staff members must have a criminal background check and a complete physical, as required by Maryland State Department of Education Office of Child Care’s Licensing Division.

2.  Legal Structure and Organization

Sugar Plums is a privately owned organization under the laws of the State of Maryland. The Director reports directly to the owner.

3.  Licensing and Accreditation

Our center is a licensed child development center in the state of Maryland and must comply with extensive regulations in order to maintain its license. Many of the procedures in this handbook are required by licensing regulations. A copy of the licensing regulations are filed in the Center’s office or can be accessed at the Maryland State Department of Education website.

Sugar Plums is accredited through Maryland State Department of Education. We follow the state-of-the-art curriculum, which is known as The Creative Curriculum. The CC works on the student’s developmental domains throughout the course of the day. Lesson plans and activities are intricately woven into the curriculum each week.

Enrollment Policies and Procedures

1.  Eligibility

Children are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The Center does give siblings of enrolled children preference over new applicants. Both full time and part-time spaces are available. Acceptance for a part-time space depends on our center’s ability to pair the desired attendance schedule to another family to create one full-time slot. Part time days available are 3 days: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or 2 days: Tuesday and Thursday.

2.  Enrollment

Wait list applications are available on our website (www.sugarplumscenter.com). These must be returned with the $150 wait list fee. The wait list fee is non-refundable, regardless of whether your child is accepted into the program. Upon acceptance into the program, an annual registration fee is due as well as a security deposit equal to half of one month’s tuition payment and a signed and completed applications (also available on our website). The security deposit will be applied to the child’s last month’s tuition, PROVIDED that Sugar Plums has received written notification of withdrawal no later than the first day of the month PRECEDING the child’s withdrawal date. All financial obligations must be paid in full, including the first month’s tuition, before your child’s first day of attendance at the center.

 

Maryland licensing requirements mandate pre-enrollment of your child prior to the first time your child attends the center. No child can be admitted to the Center without being pre-enrolled. Therefore, parents will need to complete a pre-enrollment package which consists of medical and emergency forms provided by the state. These forms are available on our website.

3.  Withdrawal

A one-month written notice is required prior to withdrawal from the Center or the security deposit is automatically forfeited. The security deposit will be applied to the last month’s tuition, provided that Sugar Plums has received written notification of withdrawal no later than the first day of the month preceding your child’s withdrawal date. The balance of the month’s tuition is required to cover the remainder of the full month’s tuition.

3.  Dismissal from the Center

The Center reserves the right to terminate your child’s enrollment in the center if any of the following conditions arise:

*The center judges that your child’s behavior threatens the physical or mental health of other children in the center.
*Tuition is ten days late.

*A child picked up after the center closes three times in one month.

*A child is brought to the center ill more than three times in one month.

*The program is unable to meet the developmental or special needs of the child due to extreme hardship.

*The terms of the enrollment agreement and parent handbook are violated.

4.  Physical & Immunizations

In compliance with Maryland licensing regulations, each child must have a physical examination (including a statement of known allergies) and obtain all age-appropriate immunizations as required, before the child’s first day of attendance at the center. After admission to the Center, parents are responsible for regularly updating their children’s health files to reflect new immunizations to keep the records current.

Tuition and Fees

1.   Tuition

Tuition is deducted by our automatic withdrawal system through a third party banking platform, on the first of each month. A completed Debit Authorization Form (available on our website) must be turned in with other enrollment paperwork. No checks or money orders will be accepted for tuition.

Tuition is due year-round irrespective of absences for vacations or illness, or closings of the Center due to federal holidays, inclement weather, or the like. Families receive a ten percent discount on the older child’s tuition when more than one child attends.

2.   Annual Registration

There is an annual registration fee. The fee is collected from all families at the start of the New Year. If a child starts between February and November, the fee will be collected at both the child’s start date (for the current year) and at the following New Year.

3.  Drop-In

Full day drop-in care may be available for enrolled part time children. Drop in care is conditional to space availability. Drop-in care is also available for outside families, who must follow the full-time application process. A registration fee will be required at registration. The fee for daily drop in is $150.00 a day.

 

4.  Overtime Charges

Parents should arrive in enough time to exit the Center by 6:00 p.m. A fee of $2.00 per minute goes into effect at 6:01 p.m. At the actual time of pick-up, parents will be required to fill out an overtime form and pay the late fee directly to the staff member caring for the child. Sugar Plums does not receive this fee. If a child is picked up late three times in one month, enrollment may be terminated. In case of an emergency that will cause a parent to be late, notification to the Center should be given as early as possible. However, even in case of an emergency, parents are required to pay late fees.

Center Policies & Procedures

A.   Hours of Operation

The Center operates from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, year-round. The center is closed for the following Federal Holidays:

New Year’s Day

Labor Day

MLK’s Birthday

Columbus Day

President’s Day

Veterans Day

Memorial Day

Thanksgiving Day ( 2 days)

Independence Day

Christmas Day ( 1-2 days)

 

In addition, Sugar Plums closes at 4:00 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve. The center is off on Veterans Day and the second Monday in April in order to provide in-service training for the staff.

B.  Inclement Weather Policy

If Federal Government is closed, Sugar Plums will also be closed.
If Montgomery County schools are closed, Sugar Plums will be on a two-hour delay. When

Montgomery County schools are on a one- or two-hour delay, the center will follow. Sugar Plums may close for the day if the conditions are unsafe for travel. In the event of a closing or delay, a detailed message will be left on the answering machine and an email will be sent no later than 6:30 am.

Once the center is open, and inclement weather is in the forecast, the director/owner will decide if Sugar Plums will close. Decisions to close early will be based on the safety of Sugar Plums’ children, family, and staff. Reimbursement will not be given for center closing. If you are unsure of the center’s status, please call (301)468-6003.

 

C.  Sign In/Out

Parents are asked to sign their children in at the time of arrival and sign out at departure. The sign in sheet is located in each classroom. As a “home away from home” for you and your child, we encourage you to visit the center at any time. No advance notice is required. Parents may wish to join their child for lunch or take them out for a walk. When removing children from the center during the day, parents will need to let the teacher know and sign the child out and sign the child in again.

D.  Parking

There is designated pick up and drop off parking to the rear of our building. This area is accessible from Hoya Street. Parking is also available for short term drop off at the circle in front of the building. There are 2 designated Sugar Plums spots next to the playground in the small parking lot.

E.  Group Size and Staff-Child Ratios

The center has four major programs: the Infant program (Gumdrops/Lemondrops), the Toddler program (Tootsie Pop/Sweet Heart, Jelly Beans), the Two’s program (Lollipops) and the Preschool program (Sugar Plums). Children are moved to the next-older program when they are developmentally ready and space permits. Tuition varies and is based on the age of the child. The following are the various programs we offer and ratios we observe:

 

Gumdrops                                           Group of 6 with a 3:1 ratio, ages 2-18 months

Lemondrops                         Group of 6 with a 3:1 ratio, ages 2-18 months

Tootsie Pops              Group of 6 with a 3:1 ratio, ages 2-18 months

Sweet Hearts              Group of 6 with a 3:1 ratio, ages 2-18 months

Jelly Beans                 Group of 9 with 3:1 ratio, ages 18-24 months

Lollipops                                    Group of 12 with 6:1 ratio, ages 2-3 years

Sugar Plums                                      Group of 20 with 10:1 ratio, ages 3-5 years

 

F.  Classroom Transitions

Sugar Plums schedules classroom transitions in January and September. There are smaller transitions throughout the year as individual children may meet developmental milestones and be ready to move into another classroom before the biannual transition schedules. Parents will receive a letter and transition schedule before their child moves into a new classroom. There is a one-week transition period, the week leading up to the first day of entering the new class. This ensures that the children have an opportunity to adjust to the new room and teachers. 

G.  Legal Custody

If you have sole custody of your child and the other parent is not authorized to pick up your child, you must instruct the center of this fact and must provide the center’s Director with a certified copy of the court order confirming the custody. The center cannot refuse to release a child to a parent or legal guardian who has or shares legal custody of the child and who presents photographic identification and is on file at the center. In most cases, both parents have equal custody rights unless a court or valid written separation-agreement provides otherwise. Therefore, if you do not authorize your child’s other parent or guardian to pick up your child, you must provide the center with a certified copy of the court order or separation agreement awarding custody solely to you or denying custody to the other parent or guardian.

In the rare circumstance where the senior staff member who is present determines, in his or her sole judgment, that the safety of the staff and/or other children is threatened by an unauthorized person determined to remove a child from the center, the center cannot guarantee that the child will not be released to that person. If you are experiencing custody difficulties, we strongly urge you to keep the center staff fully advised of circumstances that might affect the center.

H.  Main Authorization

Children will only be released to authorized individuals. Initial authorization will be made on the enrollment agreement and pictures of authorized people should be submitted. No child will be released to someone whose picture is not on file. In order to authorize any additional persons, parents must give authorization in writing and include a photo of that person. Authorization by telephone is not sufficient. Anyone newly authorized will be subject to a photo-ID check. If an unauthorized person should arrive at the center to pick up a child, the staff will notify the parent immediately. All persons authorized to pick up a child must be at least sixteen years old.

Release of a Child to an Intoxicated or Drugged Individual

If, in the opinion of the senior staff member present at the center, a parent or authorized person who arrives to transport the child home from the center is in an intoxicated or drugged condition, the staff member will:

Notify the Director or Owner of the situation

Notify the other parent or guardian of the situation

Offer to call a relative, friend, or taxi (at the parent’s expense) to drive the
person and child home.

If the parent or authorized person insists on driving the child home, the center’s senior staff member present will notify the local police department.

 

 

I.  Child Abuse

All staff members have been oriented in observing and detecting the four forms of child abuse: neglect, physical, sexual, and emotional. State licensing and federal laws mandate that child care staff report any evidence or suspicion of child abuse or neglect to child protective services. Persons found guilty of failure to report abuse may be subject to fine or prosecution by the authorities.

J.  Absence

Parents should notify the center of any absences by 9:30 a.m. Sugar Plums has a voice mail system set during non-working hours for notification of unanticipated absences. Refunds will not be given for any absences. In the event of a planned absence (vacation, doctor’s appointment, etc.), please notify your child’s teacher in advance. In addition, please notify the center of late arrivals or early departures.

K.  Illness (Sick Policy)

We understand that children occasionally get sick and that this situation can be upsetting and disruptive to the normal routine. The center is not equipped to handle sick children, and the Maryland Health Department does not permit children to remain in the center if they have signs or symptoms of communicable disease. Before your child enters the center, it is strongly recommended that you make a plan to provide care in case of illness. Signs or symptoms of communicable disease are fever over 100 degrees, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, frequent cough, heavy running nose, frequent sneezing, skin irritation/rash, discharge from the eyes, etc. observed during a 24-hour period. Parents should keep the child at home until these symptoms have disappeared or a note from the physician accompanies the child stating that the child does not have a contagious condition.

Should a child develop obvious symptoms of illness or display what would be considered abnormal behavior (such as refusal to eat, unusual fatigue, excessive irritability) while at the center, a decision will be made by the Director that the child may not be permitted to remain at the center for the duration of the day. In such an instance, “early pick-up” is required to take place as soon as possible, and no later than one hour from the time the staff person calls a parent to advise them of the need for early pick up. Failure to pick up a sick child within one hour of notification will result in a late fee. Staff will make repeated efforts to contact parents, or a child’s designated alternative emergency contact, in order to assure that notice of the need for pick-up is received. Parents can facilitate this effort by taking steps to assure that they can be reached in case of an emergency such as providing a cell number or pager. If a child is sent home with an illness, he/she may not return to the center for a minimum of one full school day or until all symptoms have disappeared (i.e. If a child is sent home on Monday, he/she may not return until Wednesday). If a child is out for three or more days, a doctor’s note will be required.

It should be noted that any child with an undiagnosed or contagious skin-condition cannot attend the center until diagnosed by a physician/nurse practitioner. The child cannot return to school without a doctor’s note. Parents must notify the center in the event that their child is diagnosed as having any communicable disease/infection (e.g. strep throat, scarlet fever, head lice, chicken pox, or measles). Exposure notices will also be sent home informing parents of any communicable disease, the infection period, and when an infected child will be allowed to return to the Center.

In order to attend the center, a child must be well enough to eat meals and snacks provided by the center and to go outdoors. Our staff will call parents when it seems that a child is developing a health problem. We hope that such early communication can facilitate the resolution of health problems as they occur, thereby preventing the spread of illness.

Please be prepared to follow the Director’s decision regarding early pick up. The Director and staff realize that keeping your child at home may be inconvenient; however, when every parent cooperates, the spread of illness is kept to a minimum.

L.   Medication

1.  Non-Prescription Medication

We encourage parents to visit the center to administer over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrup or Tylenol. The staff can administer over-the-counter medication only when written authorization by a physician has been received. Parents must give the first dose at home. Non-prescription medication must be given to the staff in the original bottle and is kept in either a locked box in the refrigerator or in the office. Parents are also responsible for providing a measuring cup, spoon, or dropper for administering medication. Parents must complete a medication form specifying the child’s name, name of medicine, dosages, and times to be administered, and the name and phone number of the child’s physician. Once the form is completed, a staff member will administer the medication and mark the times and dosages of the administration on the form. Afterward, the Director or Senior Staff will sign the form to confirm the administration of the medication. A physician may write standing orders for allergy medicine; however, parents will need to update these orders every 3 months.

 

2.  Prescription Medication

In order for our staff to administer prescription medications, parents must fill out a medication form with the child’s name, name of medicine, dosages, and times to be administered. The staff can only administer medication when written authorization by a physician has been received. Parents are also responsible for providing a measuring cup, spoon, or dropper for administering medication. Prescription medication is kept in either the locked box in the refrigerator or the office. Prescription medication must be given to the office staff in the original prescription bottle with the pharmacist's label. Only medicine prescribed for the child in question can be given. Parents' or siblings' prescriptions will not be administered. Once the completed form is submitted, a staff member will administer the medication and mark the times of administration on the form. Afterward, the Director will sign the form to confirm the administration of the medication. As with non-prescription medication, parents are welcome to come to the center to administer the medicine.

 

3.  Aspirin

Aspirin will not be given at any time, because of the danger of Reye’s syndrome. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen will only be given for symptoms resulting from inoculations and only with a doctor’s note and parent-signed form.

M.  Emergency Procedures

If it is in the opinion of the staff on-site at the time that a child’s injury/serious illness may warrant emergency treatment, 911 will be called and the child will be taken to the nearest hospital. Parents will be notified after 911 has been called. The emergency medical treatment form signed by the parent at the time of enrollment allows the center to have the child transported to the hospital emergency room and treated. If an ambulance is called, parents will be responsible for the cost of the ambulance.

For less-serious injuries, parents will, at the discretion of the Director, be notified by telephone call or by a note a the end of the day, depending on the degree of injury. Although we make every effort to keep your child safe, children are most likely to experience some bumps, bruises, and scratches during the early years. Accident/Incident reports will be completed by the staff to notify the parents of any injury during their child’s day.

Biting Information

Biting is a normal phase in the development of many children 12 months to three years old. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most upsetting experiences for children, parents, and staff involved. Children bite for many reasons, including:

 

Anxiety, stress, or frustration     

Exploration of cause and effect relationships

A way of showing affection

A need for autonomy or control

Inexperience in social interactions

Exploration of cause and effect relationships

Imitation of another child                                        

Teething

Oral exploration

Hunger or fatigue

Lack of awareness that biting hurts      

 

If a biting incident occurs, staff must complete two reports. One is an accident report notifying the parents of the child who was bitten, and the other is an incident report notifying the parents of the child who did the biting. Each report is signed by the teacher, the parent, and the Director.

The teacher will discuss the incident with other staff who were present in an attempt to determine the reason for the biting and ways to prevent another incident. Through positive interactions, positive discipline, a developmentally appropriate curriculum, and skillful time and space management, the staff is constantly working to eliminate many of the factors involved in biting incidents. The staff may need to re-evaluate one or more of these aspects in regard to a specific child to better meet their needs. The staff will then observe the child and watch for further biting attempts. If a child attempts to bite, the teacher will say firmly, “Biting hurts! It’s not okay to bite.” If she can immediately determine the cause of the bite, she will also address it. For example, if two children start to get mad at each other, and one child attempts to bite the other, the teacher would say, “You’re really mad. You want that toy. Let’s use our words instead of biting.”

If biting continues to be a problem, the teacher will meet with the parents to discuss patterns of biting and possible motivators for the biting incidents. Articles and ideas will be shared and the teacher and parent will agree upon strategies to use at home and at the center. A follow-up meeting will be arranged to discuss how the strategies are working.

If all attempts at working through the problem with the child fail, the teacher and the Director will meet with the parents to determine what other options may be more appropriate for the child during the time. They may include changing the child’s hours, days, classroom, or making other child care arrangements such as one-on-one care in the child’s home, center care in a smaller group setting, family child care, or a vacation from the center.

It is important for all parents to know that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, there are no known cases of HIV transmission through biting between children. In 1985, the CDC conducted a study of HIV-infected children who had bitten their non-infected playmates and concluded that there was no transfer of the disease. Further, non-infected children bit children who were HIV-positive, and again, the disease was not transmitted.

As upsetting as biting may be, it is a normal part of many children’s development. It is important for the adults involved to keep this developmental phase in perspective. Fortunately, like other developmental phases, biting soon ends!

N.  Insurance

An accident policy is carried by the center for all children. This is an “excess” policy, covering over-and-above personal insurance, meaning that the center’s policy picks up what medical expenses a family’s insurance does not cover. If a child requires medical care due to an accident at the center, please ask the Director for an insurance form.

O.  Playground and Outdoor Walks

Play is the essence of being a young child: not only is it lots of fun, but it is also the way in which children learn and develop. We are fortunate to have a large playground for running, climbing, triking, and jumping. Weather permitting; children are taken outside at least twice a day. Children should have appropriate outdoor clothing (i.e. shorts, hats, jackets, and mittens) as dictated by the day’s weather. Along with outdoor play, the children will also

have the opportunity to take walks in the neighborhood, in strollers and specially designed wagons. Children are taken outside unless the weather is below 30 degrees or above 90 degrees.

 

P.  Nutrition

The center is committed to good nutrition. Breakfast should be provided at home before coming to Sugar Plums each morning. Sugar Plums will provide a healthy morning snack. Each classroom has its own refrigerator for the convenience of storing lunches. Mealtime is an educational and social opportunity. Learning about different foods and enjoying the company of peers are daily goals. Children are served a light morning snack and a nutritious afternoon snack each day. This should not compete with their dinner which should be fed at home after pick up time.

Monthly menus for snacks are posted and copies are emailed to parents before the first of each month. Snacks are made with natural, healthy ingredients, following the guidelines set forth in the “Let’s Move” initiative. However, parents are responsible for substituting foods for their child in case of dietary/religious restrictions or personal preference. It is also the parents’ responsibility to notify the staff of any intolerance or allergies their child has to certain foods. Snacks are served with water. Parents are welcome to send prepared containers of milk or juice to supplement the school-served snack.

Each toddler and preschooler should bring lunch. **Families are required to pack their child’s lunch each day. All foods must be in plastic containers. Once your child receives snacks from Sugar Plums, the center will also provide milk to accompany the child’s lunch. Please bring one empty cup for milk at lunchtime as well as full bottles of milk or juice for consumption during the day. Parents should also be mindful of choking hazards: please do not send raisins or popcorn. In addition, hot dogs, grapes, cherries, and other foods should be cut into bite-sized chunks. Parents are encouraged to bring healthy foods. The center will not regularly substitute items that have little or no nutritional value but will do so if the child has only that in their lunch on a particular day. Parents will be notified and advised.  We have handouts with nutrition facts and healthy lunchbox ideas.

Infants are fed on demand. Parents should provide adequate supplies of formula or breast milk in ready prepared bottles and food for their infant’s daily consumption. Mothers are welcome to breastfeed at the center. However, we ask that mothers inform staff of their arrival times for feeding. Mothers should notify their baby’s primary caregiver if they will be late. The staff will wait only 15 minutes before feeding a hungry baby.

 

**NOTE: Sugar Plums is a NUT-FREE center. Please do not bring any peanut or tree nut products, including peanut butter and almond milk.

Q  Birthdays

Children may enjoy celebrating their birthdays at the center. We encourage parents to discuss contributions to the celebration with their child’s teacher. A special treat such as a cake, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, or fresh fruit is permissible. Chocolate and peanut butter are not allowed because so many children are allergic to them. We also respectfully request that no latex balloons be used. This is a serious choking hazard for young children.

R.  Personal Articles

Parents are responsible for supplying all diapers and diapering supplies (wipes, ointments,
etc...). Children in diapers are required to keep at least two changes of clothing at the center.

 

Older children should have at least one change of clothing.

 

Infants need two portable-crib sized sheets and two blankets. Children enrolled in the Lemondrops, Lollipops, or Sugar Plums classrooms should have a small blanket and two portable- crib sheets for use at naptime. All blankets and clothing should be plainly marked with the child’s name.

 

Children may NOT bring toys, money, food, candy, gum, glass, or toy weapons from home. A special toy, such as a soft cuddle toy or blanket, needed by the child to feel secure is fine.

Children love to interact with their environments, whether it is the water in the water table or the pudding they are eating. Therefore, children’s clothing should be easily washable. Children should be dressed appropriately to go outside and have shoes that adequately protect the feet. Flip-flops or slip-on sandals are not allowed. When appropriate, parents should supply an extra sweater, hat, and mittens to be kept in the child’s cubby.

S.  What to Bring Gumdrops/

Lemondrops:

Prepared bottles and nipples

Portable-crib sized sheets (2)

Food

Blankets, small, or sleep sacks (2)

Changes in clothing (3)

Teething gel/sunscreen

Disposable diapers

Pacifiers, if desired

Wipes/ointment

 

 

Sweet Hearts/Tootsie Pops/Jelly Beans

Disposable diapers

Blanket (1)

Wipes and diapering supplies

Child’s toy for nap

Changes in clothing

sunscreen

Cot sheet (2) (standard size crib sheet)

 

Lollipops & Sugar Plums:

Cot sheet (2) (standard size crib sheet)

Pillow (optional)

Change of clothing (2)

Child’s toy

Blanket, small

T.   Communication Between Parents and Staff

Please let the staff know of any physical or emotional problems that your child may have. Any change in routine may display itself in behavioral changes. In order for the staff to help each child work out any problems, we need to know if they are worried about something (move, baby, death, illness in the family, etc...).

My Kidz Day App

Upon enrollment, you will be asked to download the My Kidz Day Parent app. This tool will give you information about your child’s day. You may message your teachers through this app, receive photos, and update daily information.

 

U. Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences are held on an as-needed basis. We encourage parents to talk with teachers on a regular basis. Parents can feel free to call the teachers and the office staff at any time during the day. If a teacher is unavailable, a message will be taken and a phone call will be returned at the earliest opportunity.

 

V.  Parent Participation

Parent participation is an important part of what makes Sugar Plums a special place for both parents and children. Volunteering can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as reading a story, attending a field trip, assisting in fundraising, construction, painting, toy fixing, grocery shopping, etc.

W. Open Door Policy

Our center is open for parents to visit at any time. Please feel free to drop in and visit at any time. Parents are a valuable resource. If a parent has a project they would like to share with a class, please let the teacher know so she can schedule a time for sharing with the children.

Specialists who wish to observe a child must make an appointment and have written permission from the parents on file before they can visit the classroom or discuss a child with a teacher.

X. Publicity

If the center is approached by news media to photograph or interview a child, permission will be obtained prior to any contact with the media.

Y. Babysitting Policy

It is a violation of the Sugar Plums Policy for a Sugar Plums employee to babysit, host sleepovers, or spend time one-on-one with your child outside of the Sugar Plums program.

In the event you enter into an arrangement with a Sugar Plums employee to babysit for your child outside of the employee’s work hours and outside center hours, it must be done away from the center with the full knowledge and understanding that the sitter enters such an agreement as a private citizen and NOT as a Sugar Plums’ employee. Sugar Plums cannot be responsible for its employees away from the center, outside of their working hours, and will not be liable for their acts or omission when not on Sugar Plums property. If you enter into an independent agreement with a Sugar Plums employee to care for your child, and this arrangement results in the person leaving Sugar Plums’ employment, Sugar Plums will charge you a finder’s fee of $2,000

*COVID-19 UPDATES*

Sugar Plums hours are 7:30 am-5:30 pm

Pickup and drop off is outside of Sugar Plums. Families are encouraged to not use the main building entrance.

  • Gumdrops/Lemondrops/Jelly Beans have an entry door near the playground.

  • Tootsie Pop and Sweetheart have an entry door to their classroom.

  • Lollipops and Sugar Plums are dropped off and picked up on the playground.

There are no early closings for staff meetings

Parents are asked to take their child’s temperature upon arrival for an accurate reading. Please let your teacher know your child’s temperature to put the record in the MyKidzDay app.

All snacks and food need to come from home. No NUTS of any kind is permitted inside Sugar Plums.

Birthdays can be celebrated with party hats and favors.  NO special snacks, please.

If your child or a family member is exposed to Covid-19, please let the family know immediately.  You will be asked to quarantine for 14 days from the time of exposure to the virus.  If anyone in your family has Covid-19 Sugar Plums will need to close your child's classroom for 14 days.  

 

 

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Receipt of understanding

I have received the Sugar Plums  Child Development Center Parent Handbook.  I have read the material and fully understand all the policies and procedures for the center.  I  understand that if the terms of the parent handbook are not abided by, my child may be dismissed from the center. 

Parent Signature ___________________________________________________________________ Date.