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Parent Handbook
TUITION AND FEES:
All tuition fees are due no later than the 5th of each month. 
 
If a monthly fee is not received by the 5th of the month, full day and part day preschool may not be provided beginning the 5th of the following month. A late charge of $20 will be charged to your account if payment is not made by the 8.  Payments may be dropped in the payment box next to the preschool office or in the school office with the school administrative assistant.
 
Pick-Ups: A late pick-up fee ($15.00 per 15 minute increments) will be charged if children are in full day preschool or extended care after 7:00 pm.  This late charge also applies to half day AM preschoolers left after 12:00 PM.
 
There is no credit given for absences due to vacations, illnesses, or holidays. 
 
WITHDRAWAL FROM PRESCHOOL PROGRAM:
Fourteen (14) days’ notice must be given for withdrawing a child from our program.  When a child is withdrawn with less than 14 days’ notice, an additional charge of two weeks of full time or part time preschool, beyond the notified withdrawal date, will be added to your account.
 
EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSURES:
In the event of severe weather and/or snow, Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn may close.  If we are closed, the full day and half day preschool will also close.  Announcements of school closure can be found on the home Facebook page of the school.  In general, if the Woodbridge Township Public Schools are closed, we will be as well.
 
If snow begins falling during the school day with accumulation on sidewalks and streets, we will close at 4PM.  The full day preschool classes will continue to operate until 4 PM so that parents may pick up their child(ren) as soon as possible so staff may also leave before roads become too hazardous.  The safety of our families and our staff are our priorities during inclement weather.   In case of serious emergencies such as earthquakes, fire, storms, loss of power/water, parents will be notified, if possible, and children will be cared for until parents or emergency contacts arrive.
 
ILLNESSES:
The problem of communicable disease is prevalent in every group and Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn is no exception. Parents must make other arrangements for the care of their children when they show symptoms of any deviation from normal health. If a child becomes ill at Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn the director or teacher will immediately notify the parents.  The child will be kept separated from the group until taken home.
 
Children will not be permitted at our school with any of the following conditions:
 
1.   Fever of 100 degrees under arm (auxiliary) or higher, and if they also have one or more of the following:  diarrhea, earache, shows signs of irritability or confusion, sore throat, rash.
2.   Vomiting on two or more occasions within the past 24 hours.
3.   Diarrhea – three or more watery stools in a 24-hour period.
4.   Draining rash or undiagnosed rash lasting over a 24-hour period.
5.   Eye discharge or pink eye.  Children can be readmitted after medical diagnosis to rule out bacterial or viral infection, or 24 hours on antibiotic treatment.
6.   Fatigue that prevents participation in regular activities.
7.   Open oozing sores and scabs, unless properly covered and 24 hours on antibiotic treatment.
8.   Head lice – until treatment is effective and a follow-up check has been made by school personnel.
 
Parents shall be advised to make alternate plans for care in the event that the child becomes ill and is not able to attend PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN.
 
In case of minor injury or accident, the staff will administer basic first aid.  All injuries or illnesses not requiring immediate parental notification will be documented and reported to parents when the child is picked up at the end of the day.
 
In case of medical injury or illness requiring immediate professional care (emergency), the staff will call 911, giving location and nature of emergency.  As appropriate, the staff will administer CPR or first aid measures.  Parents will be notified immediately.  If parents are unavailable, those individuals designated as emergency phone contacts will be notified. All children must have an emergency medical release form on file in case of such an emergency.
 
In case of injury or accident, in which 911 is not needed, but immediate professional care is required, the staff will contact the parents.  If parents are unavailable, those individuals designated as emergency contacts will be notified.
 
Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn staff cannot transport children to a hospital or doctor’s office.  Injured children shall be transported for medical aid by parents or by calling 911 for an ambulance.
 
If a child ingests or comes in contact with a poisonous substance the staff will contact the Poison Control Center at (800) 962-1253.
 
Children in full day care are required to have a yearly physical examination.  This must be included in our health records.  Please inform PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN when this examination takes place.
 
MEDICATIONS:
Please inform your physician that your child is in full day or part day preschool and that you prefer to give medications at home, morning and evening.  Knowing this, many doctors will order longer acting medications.  Limiting medications dispensed away from home prevents medication errors.  Please remember PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN is designed for well children.
 
Prescription medication will be accepted only if it is in the original container with a current prescription label clearly in view.
Nonprescription medication may only be administered by following the manufacturer’s recommendation on the label.  Medication must be in the original container and accompanied with a copy of the information given to you by the pharmacy.
Before any prescription or nonprescription medication can be administered, including sunscreen, we must have permission in writing by the child’s parent or guardian.  Please fill out the medication forms and enter instructions into the Daily Medication Log Book.  Please bring a copy of the information given to you by the pharmacy.
Medication needs to go home after the last date that the medication is administered.
 
Health forms are required to be completed at the time of enrollment showing any allergies, physical handicaps, a statement of general health, and a current immunization history.  These must be updated and kept current.
 
FIELD TRIPS:
Preschool classes will have field trip occasionally during the school year.  Summer camp will often have field trips weekly.  Transportation for field trips may be by school van/bus, walking, or personal cars. Parents will be notified in writing of any field trips requiring transportation by van or car.
 
TRANSPORTATION POLICY:
State law requires:
 
Ø Vehicles transporting children shall be in safe operating condition and drivers shall have a current New Jersey State Driver’s License.  PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN may use approved rented van/buses driven by licensed van/bus drivers.
Ø There shall be at least one (1) adult supervisor, other than the driver, when there are more than five (5) preschool aged children in the van/bus.
Ø Each child must use a car seat/ booster seat (provided by the parent).
Ø Children shall be loaded and unloaded at the curbside of the vehicle, or in a protected parking area.
Ø Children shall be protected by family liability and medical insurance.
Ø A child shall not be taken on field trips unless a parent or guardian has signed permission forms.
 
MEALS AND SNACKS:
A morning and an afternoon snacks will be served to children in preschool and extended care.  Lunch including a drink is to be provided by the school. 
 
CLOTHING:
Preschool children must have a complete change of clothing, clearly marked with the child’s name, left at PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN.  Caps, mittens, and warm clothing must be worn during the cooler seasons for the daily outdoor playtime.  Preschool children need to be dressed for the weather.   Accidents can happen even for the older preschoolers when they wait too long before going to the bathroom, or if they get wet on the playground.
 
OUTDOOR PLAY:
Outdoor play is a regular part of the daily routine; children should be prepared to play outside some part of every day.  Please do not request that your child stay indoors.  Children too sick to go outside should not be at school.
 
NAP TIME:
Supervised rest periods are provided for all children under five years of age who remain at PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN  for six or more hours a day, and for all other children who show a need for a rest time. Please provide a sleeping bag for nap time and take them home Fridays for washing.  Please refrain from sending in any unnecessary items (i.e., extra blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals) as they will not be given to your child.
 
LAVATORY POLICY:
The following is the procedure used by preschool staff:
 
Ø Preschool children shall be accompanied by an adult when they need to use the lavatory.
Ø The teacher/assistant will assist the child, if needed, but will encourage the child to learn to wipe him/herself, etc.
Ø When a child has had an accident wetting or soiling their clothes, the teacher/assistant shall assist the child in changing their clothes in the lavatory.  The teacher/assistant shall put on rubber gloves, help remove the clothing, clean the child, and help put on dry/clean clothes.  The soiled clothing shall be put in a plastic bag and put with the child’s other belongings.  The parents will be informed of the soiled clothing.
Ø The teacher/assistant will teach the children how to wash their hands according to the directions on the bathroom wall.
Ø Boys will use the boy’s side of the restrooms and girls will use the girl’s restroom.
 
 
POTTY TRAINING:
Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn will utilize the following program for potty training readiness….
The Readiness Method
 
Also called the "child-centered approach" and the "child-led approach," this is the strategy endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and promoted by Dr T. Berry Brazelton, perhaps the most well-known pediatrician and child development expert in the country. Similar strategies abound, including the popular "attachment parenting" methods of Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, R.N.
 
·        This is the most widely used method in the United States today.
·        The heart of the approach is the idea that your child sets the pace of training--so the actual age of your child is less important than your child's developmental readiness.
·         Parents evaluate whether their child is ready to start potty training based on signs of readiness, including, talking about going to the potty, showing an interest in others using the toilet, and an ability to understand and follow directions. 
·        When the child is ready, parents can begin a series of "successive approximations" leading up to successful potty use, such as talking about the potty, introducing a potty chair, and sitting on the potty chair while dressed.
·         Parents introduce the next step in the process only when the child is ready for it, and this process can take weeks or months, depending on the child.
·         Charts and stickers can be used to help give kids a greater sense of control and of accomplishment.
·         Rewards are allowed, but parents should avoid increasing the reward for each successful potty use.
·         Children should never be punished for missteps or setbacks, and parents should not force the steps; your child might go along with you at first, but may resist later in an effort to reclaim some of the control you took away.
·        For more on the readiness approach, see Toilet Training: The Brazelton Way, the AAP's Guide to Toilet Training, and the AAP's The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears.
 
BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT POLICY:
Understanding that each child is loved by their families and our staff, PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN views discipline as a process of developing appropriate behaviors.  We begin our behavior management by providing an interesting learning environment for our students, with plenty of opportunities for the child to choose what they would like to do. A challenging environment that allows experimenting, learning, physical activity, and quiet times prevents boredom and promotes good behavior.
 
Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn uses indirect guidance techniques such as these:
 
Ø 8We give advance warnings:  “You have five more minutes to play before it’s time to clean up.”
Ø We give choices:  “You may paint with the other children or you may read a book in a quiet corner.”
Ø We have regular routine:  “We always wash our hands before lunch.  After lunch is a story time.”
Ø We avoid nagging:  We tell the child what we expect just once, follow it by asking the child if he/she remembers what we asked, and then offer to help the child do what was asked.
Ø We’re consistent:  We do things the same way each day so the children know what to expect and learn to trust and feel safe in their environment.
 
We also use direct guidance techniques:
 
Ø We use affirmative:  “We use walking feed indoors” rather than “Don’t run!” or “Use your words to tell us you’re angry” rather than “Don’t hit!”
Ø We get the child’s attention by crouching down to his/her level, making eye contact, speaking quietly, and asking the child to repeat the directions.
Ø We try very hard to be fair.  We examine our expectations to make sure they are age appropriate, and we don’t make rules just because an activity is too noisy or messy.
Ø We avoid arguments by following through with solutions that address the problem, but also offer the child a way to exit gracefully from the problem:  “You can choose a quiet place to calm down or I can choose one for you.”
 
If a child is unable to demonstrate self-controlling behavior, a brief time-out results for the child to regain control.  Time-out occurs only when other measures fail, and is used as an opportunity for the child to re-group, not as a punishment.
 
At Peas in a Pod, the discipline goal is educating and redirecting children.  It emphasizes cooperation. In contrast, punishment has as its goal hurting, shaming, or scaring children.  Punishment is an inappropriate form of discipline and has no place in our preschool.
 
By law, and program philosophy and policy, the following forms of discipline are forbidden:  hitting, spanking, shaking, scolding, shaming, isolating, labeling (words such as:  bad, naughty, etc.), or any other negative reaction to the child’s behavior.  All forms of corporal (physical) punishment are strictly forbidden.
 
Some negative behavior is best ignored since its goal is often to get attention.  This technique is effective for some of the disruptive things children do and it minimizes mimicking activity by other children.
 
If a child is unable to gain control and requires more individual attention that can be given within child-to-staff ratios, we may need to contact a parent.  A child that consistently requires one-to-one attention may have to leave the center temporarily for safety’s sake.  Repeated uncontrollable behavior can lead to discontinuation of learning center services.
 
Peas in a Pod Play ‘n Learn is not a substitute for parents.  If parents and children are having problems at home, those problems and solutions are to be taken care of in the family.  We cannot discipline your child for you at school (for example, withholding meals).
 
This code is subject to interpretation by the director/administrator.
 
CONFLICT RESOLUTION:
When differences occur within our school family, we are expected to act and react in a manner which is respectful to all parties.  The school has adopted the directions for dealing with our differences:
 
First, one should go directly to the person with whom he/she has a difference, whether it is a teacher, the administrator, another parent or director.  The issue should be clarified in a non-accusatory manner and an attempt made to teach a resolution.  It is not proper or acceptable to discuss the issue with persons not directly involved.
 
Second, if conversation with the person directly does not bring resolution, the concern should be discussed with the director.
 
Third, if conversation with the director does not bring resolution, the concern should be discussed with the administrator, who may arrange a meeting of all persons involved to discuss the issue. 
 
Fourth, if conversation with the administrator does not bring a resolve, the administrator will arrange a meeting with the school relations’ committee, who will pursue the matter, as they deem appropriate. Many problems can be avoided by going directly to the person(s) involved when questions arise.
 
CHILD ABUSE REPORTING LAW REQUIREMENTS: 
Peas In A Pod Play ‘n Learn  staff are REQUIRED by NJ State law and licensing requirements to report immediately to the police or Child Protective Services (CPS) any instance when there is reason to suspect the occurrence of physical, sexual, or emotional child abuse, child neglect, or exploitation.
 
The staff may not notify parents when the police or CPS is called about possible child abuse, neglect, or exploitation, except on the recommendation of CPS or the police when they are called.
 
OPEN DOOR POLICY:
We welcome parents at any time, in any area of our school. We encourage parent involvement, especially on field trips and helping with class parties.
 
PARENT INVOLVEMENT:
Parental involvement is key to any child’s school success. Communication between the child’s teacher and the parent is a vital part to creating a classroom that encourages this type of involvement.
 
Encouraging Parental Involvement from the beginning is what we are all about!  Here are some ways to be involved at Peas in a Pod!  Please see Ms. Dana, Ms. Bobbie or Ms. Liz for volunteer forms which will include background checks and fingerprinting.  Unfortunately, fingerprinting is at the parents’ expense if they would like to participate in school functions.  Please keep in mind, we require these checks to ensure the safety of your children and those adults around them.  Peas in a Pod is committed to providing a safe and loving space for your child(ren) to be secure in. 
 
Some ways you can volunteer your time are: 
 
•Class parties: Please help out with set up or during the party itself.
Special events: If there will be a school carnival or parade, please consider helping (or at least attending).
 •Birthdays:  You are more than welcome to come in and celebrate during your child’s special day.
 •Reading:. The parents and child can choose a favorite book, and the parents can read to the class.
 •Special interests: Does a parent have a fun job or special interest. Then come on in and share your gift!  We would all enjoy learning about our families.
 
 BIRTHDAYS:
Most children enjoy celebrating special events with their preschool friends (birthdays, new babies, and holidays).  Parents may send a “store bought” treat to share with the class.  Please make arrangements with the teacher several days in advance. ABSOLUTELY NO PEANUT / NUT PRODUCTS PLEASE…we will need to be mindful of children’s allergies.  Ask before you bring.
 
PARENT RESPONSIBILITIES:
Children must be signed in and out by the custodial parent or adult person approved by the parent(s).  Only those persons approved by the child’s parent(s) may take a child from PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN.  If those persons are not known to current staff, identification will be required.
 
In order not to confuse school toys with a child’s personal property, we ask that children not bring playthings from home.  PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN staff cannot be responsible for lost or broken personal toys. 
 
Please do not allow your child to bring any gum, candy or PEANUT products to PEAS IN A POD PLAY ‘N LEARN.  Nutritious snacks will be served to the children.
 
There are several ways you can help us maintain the best possible teaching atmosphere for your child:
 
Ø Communicate any concerns regarding our program or your child immediately to staff.
Ø Pick up and read the notices and information left for you in your child’s folder.
Ø Pick up your child’s papers/projects daily.  Their work is very important to them and provides another means of communication between parent and child and helps the parent share in the child’s day.
Ø Periodically check on your child’s supply of extra clothing.  Please take home soiled clothing promptly.
Ø No smoking on the premises, either indoors or outdoors.
Ø Because children quickly learn to model behavior, we ask that you govern your speech and conduct with high values.
 
FINAL THOUGHTS:
 
When you enroll your child at Peas in a Pod, we as a staff assume the responsibility of giving you assistance with your child’s unique needs.  We will become the “parent for the day” in your absence.  We will love and respect your child and help him/her grow emotionally, socially, physically, and mentally.  Your child will be given our maximum consideration as an individual.  We will look after the health of your child while at school, and present a planned program to provide a beneficial and educational experience.  Our goal is to provide high quality care in an atmosphere of love and respect that fosters growth in moral values. Thank you for sharing your child with us!
 
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