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Parent Handbook

INTRODUCTION.

The PARENTAL HANDBOOK is designed to familiarize parents with the over-all program offered for children and their families at KIDS CASTLE. Our philosophy regarding bringing up children, group care and interaction within a group, together with services to families, objectives, and the educational program will be discussed. The center director is available to answer any additional questions you may have. KIDS CASTLE is an accredited Pre-school Program which means we provide a quality service and Pre-school education recognized by the State of Florida.During your child’s enrollment with us, you are encouraged to communicate with the center director regarding any problem or situation that may arise. We also welcome parental involvement in extra curriculum activities and warmly invite ideas and suggestions that may enhance your child’s stay at KIDS CASTLE.

ELIZABETH JOHNSTON - OWNER

Miss Liz has been involved in social work with various client groups for over twenty years. She completed a two year, full time course in child care before taking up a position as a group worker in a residential care home for children, where she quickly progressed and was promoted to senior group worker. Liz left the profession for a brief period to start a family, although she continued to work as a temp for a variety of social work agencies before taking up a post as assistant manager for the HOME FARM TRUST, a charity dedicated to the support of adults with learning difficulties. Liz has had over ten year experience as a child care center director, has a CDA qualification, a degree in Child Care Management, and an Advanced Administrators Credential.

RENITRA JARRELLS - DIRECTOR.

Miss Renitra has the Directors Credential qualification and eleven years child care experience together with the National C.D.A. qualification. She has worked for Little Acorns and Kids Castle for over 9 years and has been the director of Kids Castle for over five years.

PHILOSOPHY.

At KIDS CASTLE we aim to provide a quality service to the children in our care and their families, allowing them time to grow in independence and confidence whilst maintaining a safe and caring environment. The first few years of a child’s life are the most important and impressionable and the quality of care provided is very crucial to the child’s development and the parent’s peace of mind. In short we want your child to learn and have fun learning, whilst you, the parent, should feel completely confident that your child is receiving the best possible care. Our educational program is designed to meet the need of the individual so that they may develop emotionally, physically and intellectually whilst also promoting a social awareness with their peers and adults. It is of the utmost importance that all children feel secure within the center, once that objective has been reached progress in the educational program should rapidly be seen and enjoyed by the child, parent and staff alike. The kind of interaction that takes place between children and our social and physical environment affects the kind of capacities that they will have as adults. Some of these capacities are to feel deeply and to be sensitive towards others, to trust oneself and to use one’s initiative, and to solve problems in a collective and creative way. Group child care has the potential for providing an environment in which children will have opportunities to develop social sensitivity and responsibility, emotional independence and a varied range of intellectual interests.

GOAL.

Our most important purpose is to serve as a support system for families by providing an unexcelled quality child care service. Objectives included in this, are to provide children with a safe, healthy environment in which to nurture intellectually and socially.

PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT.

There is usually a short time period before children are completely comfortable in any new situation. This is true for adults, too. Please be patient with your child’s adjustment period, and be assured that our staff will do everything possible to assist. Feel free to call or visit several times daily during this phase. it may help to ease your apprehension to take note of the other children in the center as they happily come and go.

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF AGE/GROUP EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

Infants (under 2 ).

Emphasis is on nurturing with prompt and loving attention. Infant areas are designed so that all physical development - crawling, sitting, pulling, standing, walking - can be comfortably attempted. Special toys and equipment are provided for development of infants. For infants and toddlers we use the creative curriculum.

Two - year olds.

A Creative Curriculum is used in the two year old classroom. The development program involves furry puppets, songs and finger plays, stories and learning experiences that will develop the senses and stimulate learning. Monthly themes such as “ How Things Move”, “Old Macdonald’s Farm”, and “My Family and Jobs People Do”, are used. The curriculum provides the framework for a complete learning environment that children need to learn and grow in knowledge.

Preschool ( 3-5 Year Olds ).

In the pre school class we use the Creative Curriculum. Weekly and bi-weekly themes are used. Examples are, “ Community Helpers”, “Transportation”, “Animals”, “All About Me”, and many more. Extensive use of learning center education is provided. Preschoolers learn best through play and direct involvement, and plenty of play experiences are insured for optimum intellectual growth. Activities which promote language, math, science and art development are engaged in by this group. Children are prepared for entry into kindergarten.

School age ( 5 - 12 Year olds ).

During the school year, hours before and after school are a change of pace from the formal atmosphere of the public school classroom. Children are given the opportunity to play leisurely outdoors or in organized games on our special playgrounds. Indoors a variety of choices are available: creative art, games and manipulative materials and , of course, homework.

GENERAL INFORMATION.

Newsletters.

Monthly newsletters are released at the beginning of each month and may be picked up at the front desk. The letters inform the parents of the center news for the past month and give details of forthcoming events. Announcements of staff training, educational interests, field trips, special visitors, screening and evaluations will assist parents in understanding their child’s daily activities.

Playgrounds.

Our playgrounds are divided for age appropriate activities. They are spacious and well equipped, and have ample shaded areas.

Educational program.

For educational resources, we use video equipment, records and tapes, story telling, special visitors, musical instruments, field trips, foreign language, community teachers, books, local library trips, learning centers and much more.

Learning centers.

The center is organized into major learning centers to provide easy choice and movement of children from one activity to another. Our defined learning centers are: housekeeping, Blocks, Manipulative table activities, Science, Language, Art, Music,math and literacy.

Evaluation of basic skills.

All children are developmentally screened in fine and gross motor, cognitive and self help basic skills. Efforts are made to give personal attention in areas that he or she may need. Parents will be given regular reports on their child’s development. If it is deemed necessary, children will receive referrals to specialists in any area of child development (i.e. Speech, vision, disability.)

Field Trips.

Regular field trips are organized for school age children on days when the schools are out. Parents will be notified prior to each trip and a signed parental consent form is required. The field trips are varied and age appropriate. Examples of proposed field trips include: Popular Central Florida attractions, parks and playgrounds, zoos, skating rinks, movies, farms, restaurants, libraries, police and fire stations, supermarkets picnics and more.

Although on most field trips there will be no charge, as very often we are able to obtain free or reduced rates, occasionally we may ask for a small financial contribution to go towards some of the more expensive trips.

License.

We are licensed by the State of Florida. routine inspections of our center are conducted by local, state and federal authorities. In-house inspections are conducted weekly. Parents are welcome to inspect the center at anytime.

Hours:

The center will be open from 6.30a.m. until 6.00p.m. Monday through Friday.

Enrollment.

Children accepted for enrollment must be between 6 weeks and 12 years of age. Registration forms provided by the center must be completed and signed by the parent or guardian at the time of enrollment. This form should be updated periodically. Within ten ( 10 ) days of enrollment, each child is required to have on file a physical examination by a physician and a current immunization record. The physical must be renewed every two ( 2 ) years, and the immunization record must be kept current at all times. Please notify the center of additional immunizations, as our health records are reviewed several times yearly by regulatory agencies.

Registration and Insurance.

There is a registration fee at the center. Please see the director for the current registration fee charge. The children’s insurance cover whilst at the center will be explained by the director when necessary.

Clothing and personal belongings.

Children should wear comfortable and washable play clothes. We request that children do not wear backless shoes such as flip flops. Each child should have a complete change of clothing available at the center. All personal belongings and clothing such as caps, sweaters and jackets should be marked with the child’s name. Children are requested to leave toys, food, gum, pets, money and other similar items at home. Special security/comfort objects such as blankets or dolls may be brought to the center. Lack of concern over ones’ own toys being lost or broken enables a child to participate more fully in our specially designed learning environment.

Parent participation and input.

We encourage parental participation in all our policies and procedures. our intentions are to provide the best possible child care environment and your suggestions will be greatly appreciated and evaluated. Parents may indicate special interests that they may wish to share with the children. A suitable time, may be arranged with the director. if you ever feel that we fail in being a support for your family, please inform us.

Discipline.

Children learn and play best within responsible limits. there should be a wide range of possible acceptable behaviors within these limits. Discipline problems seldom occur if children are presented with an interesting and loving environment which meets their needs. we attempt to reinforce positive behavior, and redirect children before problems occur. IMPORTANT. No form of corporal punishment is ever used. Forms of punishment that are severe or humiliating or that are associated with food, toileting or rest are strictly prohibited.

Florida staff requirements.

The most comprehensive child care legislation in Florida to protect children was passed by the 1985 legislature, Ch. 85-84, Laws of Florida. Ch. 85-84 mandates screening, including finger printing of all employees, operators, volunteers and job applicants in child care programs. Screening includes employment history and reference check, local and statewide criminal records check through the department of Law Enforcement, federal criminal records check through the F.B.I., and abuse registry clearance.

Staff education and training.

In the 2004 legislation the number of introductory training hours for all child care center personnel hired increased from 40 to 45 hours. The 45 hour requirement will consist of three parts. Part one is the 30 hour introductory child care training course. Part two is a developmentally appropriate practice module, and part three a literacy class for early childhood educators. Child care center personnel are also required to attend 12 hours annual in-service training each subsequent year. Personnel exempt from the 45 hour training are those with a four year degree or higher in early childhood education, home economics, child development, child psychology, elementary education, special education, nursing with early childhood coursework, or social work, A.A. or A.S. degree and a child development associate credential.

N.B. As a requirement of the A.P.P.L.E. standard of childcare our staff are required to undertake a minimum of 20 hours in-service training.

Illness.

Mild illness in young children is common. It has been estimated in one study that infants and young children have between six and nine viral illnesses each year, each lasting from three to seven days. Such illnesses, although worrying at the time, help to build up a child’s immune system. In the event that a child is too ill to be in the center, the parent will be notified promptly. Once a parent or guardian is called, the child needs to be picked up within the hour.

Medicine.

We do not administer medication except where the medication is needed under life sustaining circumstances, such as a Nebulizer , Epipen etc.

Meals.

We take pride in our home cooked meals and emphasize such details as color, texture and nutritional value. We have a four week cycle menu which is changed quarterly so that the children and staff will experience a variety of nutritionally balanced meals. Our snacks often consist of fresh fruits and vegetables in season, such as cantaloupe, watermelon or citrus fruits.


Menus will be dated and posted in the office for parents to review. Provisions will be made for any child who has a special diet.

In the attempt to provide a homelike atmosphere, children are encouraged to eat as much as they want. we encourage children to try new foods, but do not insist that they eat foods which are disliked.

Releasing children.

We will only release to people who are listed on the designated enrollment form AND who provide photo proof of identity.

Holidays

Please see parent’s notice board in the office for a listing of the holidays that the center will be observing during the current year.

Birthdays.

We will be happy to assist in celebrating each child’s birthday. Please communicate with the director at least one week prior to the birthday. Parents are asked to bring a cake or cupcakes and candles and we will provide the rest. Please send in your camera if you would like photos to be taken. You are, of course, invited to celebrate with us.

Open door policy.

Inspection of our center is encouraged at all times, please feel free to visit. arrangements to spend time or have lunch with your child and his/her class may be planned with the director.

Kids Castle Locations

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Kids Castle Child Care
2536 South Elm Avenue
Sanford, FL 32773
Tel: (407) 322-8547