Handbook

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SILVERTON FAMILY LEARNING CENTER, INC.

Address: 195 E. 16th Street (physical address) Silverton, CO 81433 P.O. Box 558, Silverton, CO 81433 (mailing address) Phone: 970.387.5152 Website: www.sflc.co Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm, Year-Round Calendar: An annual calendar of days of operation and observed holidays is available upon request. ~ Licensed by the State of Colorado Division of Childcare ~ Caring for infants, toddlers and preschool children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. ~ A Program of the United Way of Southwest Colorado ~ A Program of the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP)

We accept enrollment without discrimination in regard to race, color, national origin, language ability, gender, or religion. Every effort will be made to accommodate children regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Our SFLC Facility is 100% handicapped-accessible according to the ADA standards. SFLC is an equal opportunity employer.

FUN FRIDAYS AND OTHER PROGRAMS

SFLC’s regular curriculum is offered on Mondays through Thursdays. Childcare is also offered on Fridays on an asneeded basis for parents who sign up in advance for the service. Sign-up takes place by Tuesday of each week. The cost is $5/hour/child. A minimum of 4 children must be signed up for the service to be provided. Last minute cancellations (after Tuesday pm) will require payment.

Our lovely building is also available to the community for evening classroom and meeting space, often with childcare. We also encourage entrepreneurial uses such as child-centered celebrations, learning programs for children, art classes, parent and teacher education, children’s fitness programs, etc. Just ask or visit our website at silvertonfamilies.org!

HELPING YOUR CHILD ADJUST

Starting your child in a childcare or early learning program can be emotional for both parent and child. Here are a few tips for getting a great start:

-Visit the program together in advance. -Begin preparing yourself and your child in advance with activities ranging bottle feeding to discussions about what’s to come. Share some excitement with your child. -Develop a predictable farewell ritual with your child. Don’t sneak out when they are distracted, since this causes feelings of abandonment and harder farewells later. -Have a teacher help your child cheerfully transition into activities. Encourage and reinforce these new bonds. -Bring your own joyfulness about our programs into our school, and your child will sense and share it too!

OPEN DOOR POLICY

Our school has an open door policy. We encourage parents, community members and other interested parties to come on in and visit our school. For safety reasons, all visitors will be required to sign in, and visitors unknown to staff will be required to provide identification. Our building is designed to offer unobtrusive observation points for visitors, and quiet retreats for parents and children. Nursing mothers are welcome to come in and feed their babies during their child’s day. All the same, our staff also works hard to create uninterrupted times for children to learn, create, explore and rest. We ask that parents and visitors limit their visits, drop off and pick up times to pre-arranged schedules. This allows teachers to be available to parents when they arrive and to focus on children the rest of the time.

A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN

The SFLC Board and staff are committed to creating an environment that is healthy for children. Our Whole Foods Program offers snacks that include all-natural and organic ingredients. We avoid manufactured foods, excess sweeteners & salt, artificial colors, partially hydrogenated oils, antibiotics, and growth hormones. We have also paid attention to the health of our building environment by avoiding volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in our carpets, wall paints, and furniture. We have designed our building to be energy efficient, warm, and natural light-filled, without compromising air quality. Your children (and our staff!) deserve a safe, healthy and delightful environment in which to explore and grow.

INTRODUCTION AND MISSION

The Silverton Family Learning Center (SFLC) is an early childhood and community learning school licensed by the Colorado Department of Health Services and funded by a number of state and local sources including the Colorado Preschool Program, Colorado Child Care Assistance Program and the United Way. The Silverton Family Learning Center (SFLC) is a non-profit organization serving children ages 0-5.

At SFLC, we cultivate our students’ comfort within their peer group, their solid foundation for learning and educational curiosity, and a sense that school is a joyful place where learning is celebrated. Our ultimate goal is to inspire children to be life long learners with the courage and confidence to make a positive contribution to the world.

Our guiding philosophy is inspired by the early childhood programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy, which have been recognized across the world as the very best. For more info, please refer to the Philosophy page of this handbook.

We invite your feedback on these policies and hope you will keep in touch directly with our staff!

Our director may be reached in person at the school, by telephone at 387-5152 or by email at director@silvertonfamilies.org.

If for any reason an enrolled family has concerns about the program or suspects a licensing violation, especially one that is not addressed immediately by staff, please contact the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Childcare, 1575 Sherman St., Denver, CO 80203, or call 303-866-5948 or 970-564-4275.

ELIGIBILITY

Space is allocated according to the following criteria in the following order:

1) Siblings of currently enrolled children. 2) Year-round residents of San Juan County, CO who meet age criteria. 3) Children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years

Once a child is enrolled, (s)he will remain enrolled until the family chooses to withdraw, provided that their account is in good standing. Confidential financial assistance will be made available to families who meet eligibility criteria for The Colorado Preschool Program (CPP), Low-Income Child Care Assistance (CCAP), The SFLC Scholarship Fund, or other financial assistance as available. We encourage all enrolling families to investigate funding options and to inform staff of changes in financial and family status which may affect eligibility or the ability to pay.

HOLIDAYS

The following holidays or breaks will be observed: Labor Day Christmas Week Memorial Day Independence Day Thanksgiving Day New Year’s Day The Friday following Thanksgiving

(also, 1 week preschool Intersessions will be held twice a year between the school year and summer programs when program is open for care but will not provide regular curriculum.) An annual calendar is available.

*The center reserves the right to close or reduce staffing during Spring Break and at other times if enrollment does not meet minimum required for break-even operation of the facility.

THE REGGIO EMILIA PHILOSOPHY

Reggio Emilia is not a curriculum; it is a philosophical approach to working with children. The philosophy comes from schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, which are credited with transforming conventional wisdom on infant, toddler and preschool learning.

Children are thought to have a least 100 languages. Art, music, dance, building, writing, talking, signing, etc. are all considered part of the 100 languages of children. The multiple languages are used to help children build knowledge and understand the world around them. The natural environment and the whole community of Silverton are incorporated as much as possible.

Environment is very important. The environment itself is very neutral in the use of colors so the work of the children becomes the focus of the space. Learning spaces are beautiful spaces that are reflections of the children and families who are there. Environment is considered a “third teacher” when it facilitates learning in this way. The role of the teacher is to be a researcher in cooperation with the children, a documentor, and a supporter rather than giver of learning.

Documentation is central to the Reggio approach, and departs from traditional concepts of early childhood education. Documentation reflect the direction and nature of children’s own inquiries and communicates the life of the center to others visiting. It also provides opportunities for children to revisit their experiences. Documentation is a process that involves observation, reflection, collaboration, and interpretation of the process rather then the outcome.

The curriculum is emergent, which means it evolves from the curiosity and interest of the children. Learning explorations may last a day or a year, depending on the children’s motivation. All explorations include the vital foundations for literacy, math, science, society, historical context, and community.

DISCIPLINE

Our discipline philosophy is called Supportive Social Learning. Our staff will strive to develop a positive relationship and rapport with each and every child, and if problems do occur, discipline is based on positive praise and reinforcement to build social skills and self-esteem.

Each child will be recognized and treated as an individual. Positive guidance, support and re-direction will be blended with consistent reinforcement and celebration of positive behavior and accomplishment. No form of corporal or harsh punishment will be allowed, and discipline will not be associated with rest, toileting or refusal to eat. Separation, if ever used as discipline, shall be brief and appropriate for the child’s age. Time-out periods may be used when necessary, but the child will always be in an open area within eye and ear contact of staff.

CHILD ABUSE & LICENSING VIOLATIONS

Our staff is required by law to report any person who is suspected of child abuse or neglect as defined in Section 7.702.41 of the General Rules for Child Care Facilities and shall immediately contact the county welfare agency, sheriff or city police in compliance with the law.

Our staff is hired because of their commitment to the safety of children. However, if ever a parent ever suspected abuse or corporal punishment by our staff or any other violation of DHS licensing, we encourage the family to contact our Board President Karen Hoskin at 799-3206, The Department of Human Services (303-866-5948) and/or the San Juan County Sheriff (911) immediately.

THE ROLE OF FAMILIES

The parent is always the child’s ‘primary teacher’. Parents and adult extended family members are encouraged to visit and participate in the activities of the center. In the spirit of cooperative involvement, the families of all enrolled children are encouraged to volunteer at the school about 2 hours per month. The following is a sample list of the types of activities: - Reading/story circle: parents may choose and read stories to children in small groups. - Art/craft projects: Parents may help children with art/craft projects and assist staff in setting up and cleaning up from these activities. - Music activities: Parents may work with groups of children on music appreciation, and help children sing songs/play instruments. - Learning Activities: Parent may work with individual children or small groups on activities which reinforce learning of the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, opposites, etc. - Free exploration: Parents may supervise small groups of children during free play/free exploration time. - Recreational outings: Parent may assist staff in chaperoning groups of students to the Silverton Memorial Park, train depot, library, hot springs, and other destinations. - Playground chaperone: Parent may accompany staff and groups of children to the playground for outdoor recreation. - Work projects: Parents who are handy or have special skills may assist with small projects and minor repairs of the facility, school equipment or other projects as approved by staff. - Project development: Parents may help develop projects and activities and gather supplies for school projects and to support learning explorations as guided by the faculty. - Fundraisers/Special Events: Parents may volunteer to help organize and carry out school fundraisers and special events as requested.

(Please feel free to present your own ideas too! Parent input and feedback is part of what will make our center wonderful!)

STUDENT HEALTH POLICY

Colorado law requires every child to have a physical examination form signed by an approved health official. The examination must have taken place 6 months (or less) prior to, or within 30 days after the child’s first day of attendance. Subsequent physicals will be required every year for children under the age of seven. An immunization form documenting the dates of all shots is also required. Our center’s nurse consultant will review all health records on a quarterly basis at the school and inform parents of any missing information and immunization requirements.

Children showing symptoms of sore throat, inflammation of the eyes, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lice, or other contagious illness may not attend until the condition has cleared or the child has been on antibiotics for 24 hours. If a child becomes ill at the school, parents will be informed immediately and the child must be removed from the center as soon as possible, preferably within 30 minutes. Please notify the school if your child is diagnosed with or exposed to an infectious illness, and a notice will be posted if an infections illness or exposure occurs at the center. Our goal is to provide a healthy environment for all children and staff.

INJURY POLICY

If a child is injured while at school, first aid and assessment will be carried out. If the injury is severe, parents will be notified immediately and the child will be transported to the emergency room. An emergency release shall be signed by parents in advance, in order to authorize staff to take appropriate steps on behalf of the child. If a minor injury occurs and is treated at school, an ‘owie” report will be sent home that day.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How will I know if my family is eligible for financial assistance? Our staff is trained to carry out the eligibility review with your family as part of your “Welcome Session”. We will automatically carry out a review with all enrolling families. Your confidentiality is our priority. What if I know the staff and don’t want to share my private family and financial information? We would be happy to have your eligibility review conducted by a staff person from the Department of Social Services or County Nursing Service. Please be assured that your privacy is of utmost importance to our staff and all faculty have agreed to protect your privacy as a condition of their employment. How do I know that the curriculum is of high quality? As a recipient of funds from the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP), our preschool is required to meet or exceed state standards for curriculum quality. In meeting those standards, we will strive for an exceptional learning environment that is responsive to your child’s needs. How will I know how my child is doing at school? In addition to faculty interactions with families on a daily basis at the school, Faculty will develop Daily Journals, Portfolios, and carry out conferences on a regular schedule. A parent may also inquire any time, or request a meeting. Open and regular communication is one of our highest priorities! What should my child bring to school each day? Preschool: A labeled nutritious lunch (including a beverage), a set of extra clothes, sunscreen applied to exposed skin, inside shoes, labeled outerwear appropriate for Silverton weather including outside shoes/boots, nap blanket. Infants & Toddlers: Diapers and personal diaper care items, labeled breast milk/formula/milk and prepared foods, labeled outerwear appropriate for weather, nap blanket. (Toddlers and Preschoolers will receive a snack and beverage at school)

More FAQ responses available!

NUTRITION, SNACKS AND MEALS

A nutritious lunch including beverage must be sent with all who are staying past 11:30am. A refrigerator will be provided for lunch storage, but meals cannot be heated at the facility. Please do not send soda pop or other carbonated beverages. Please label your child’s lunch container.

Storage for breast milk and formula will also be provided. A morning snack will be provided. This snack will consist of food from two of the four food groups and a beverage of whole milk, 100% juice or water. The snack menu will be developed monthly and is available for review.

Please be sure that your child arrives at school having had breakfast, and that you notify staff of any allergies. If your family has any difficulty providing a nutritious breakfast, staff will try to supplement as necessary.

SAFETY AND LATE PICK UP POLICY

Your child’s safety is the primary concern of school staff. One staff member will remain at all times with each group of 8 preschool children, 5 toddler children or 3 infants. Every member of the staff has the personal responsibility to report unsafe situations or equipment immediately and take action to eliminate the hazard. The facility is regularly inspected for health, fire and physical safety by staff and legal authorities.

The center will not be closed until all children have been picked up. Children whose parents have not arrived, called, or made alternative arrangements for pick up will be supervised until 4:30 pm at the center at an additional cost to the family of $10 for every 30 minutes late. At 4:30, the Department of Social Services will be contacted if the parents or emergency contact cannot be reached.

FEE AND PAYMENT POLICIES

It is our goal to offer a high quality preschool & childcare program to the community of Silverton. To do so, the following are our payment policies:

- At the time of enrollment, all parents will be given a fee schedule which clearly outlines the financial responsibilities of the family. Payments may be made weekly or monthly, in advance. - Weekly payments are due on the first day of scheduled attendance for the week (ie: Monday). If payment is not received on the first day of attendance for the week, a $10 charge may be added to the bill unless prior arrangements are made in emergency situations. - A fee may also be charged for children not picked up at school on time at the conclusion of the school day. - Upon enrollment, families will determine a regular schedule of attendance for their child and will be responsible for full payment based upon that schedule. - When a child is ill or absent for up to 2 days, regular payment is required. Exceptions may be made for illnesses that last 3 days or more. - A two week notice is required for scheduled absences of three days or more. Without required notice, the full weekly fee will be charged. Each enrolled child is allowed two weeks of non-paid absences in addition to regularly scheduled breaks. Further absences will require payment of 50% of the regular attendance fee, or withdrawl from the program.

If a family anticipates difficulty paying their child’s fees for a given week or month, prior arrangements must be made for temporary adjustment of payments. Please contact the School Director to discuss payment arrangements. Families who do not pay their balance and do not make payment arrangements with the Director are at risk of being disenrolled from the program.

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE ROUTINES

Arriving children must be brought into the school by a responsible adult, signed in and escorted to their classroom. All messages should be given directly to a staff person. Please allow time in the drop-off schedule for necessary communication with the staff. If a child will not be attending his or her scheduled day, please telephone as early as possible to inform staff (or the answering machine) of the absence.

In the event that someone other than the parent will be picking up the child, advanced notification must be given by the parent in writing. You child will not be released to anyone but an authorized parent without written permission. Upon departure, parents shall make staff aware of your leaving, check the child’s cubby or file (for projects, notices, outerwear) and sign the child out for the day.

DROP IN & TEMPORARY CARE

When there is availability at the school, families may bring a child for a single day, part of a day, week, or other short schedule as needed. These children must meet age and health criteria, and parents must complete the enrollment forms and bring proof of immunization.

Families who need only occasional care are encouraged to complete enrollment paperwork in advance. Space is limited and drop-in availability is not guaranteed.

Rates for drop-in care are available upon request.

TRANSPORATION & FIELD TRIPS

Field trips can be an exciting and enriching experience for children. These outings are designed to stimulate the child’s interest in the world outside the doors of the school. A field trip release form is included in the enrollment packet. Destinations and dates will be announced 3 days prior to the outing. Parents are encouraged to participate as a chaperone on any planned outings. Transportation will be provided on an as-needed basis for field trips and other special events, according to the strict rules and regulations of our licensing. Staff:child ratios will be maintained or exceeded at all times on outings. Most field trips will be within walking distance of the school, and staff will always carry a first aid kit, cell phone, and parent contact information with them.

PROGRAM AND CURRICULUM

A positive learning experience is the direct result of careful attention paid to the child’s environment, learning activities and materials, and their social interactions. The physical environment of the center is structured to encourage exploration, experimentation, and expression. The emergent curriculum of Reggio Emilia encourages children to learn at his or her own rate, and to access a variety of materials for their projects. Daily activities at the school will encourage self-esteem, positive self image, social interaction, self expression, dexterity, and intellectual growth. Each classroom will prepare a Daily Journal of the children’s learning activities, and documentation of ongoing explorations will be on display. Each child’s portfolio will be updates at least quarterly, if not more often. Parents are invited to attend parent-teacher conferences and Discovery Nights as well.

The facility will not have a television, nor will television or video be part of the schools’ activities.)