Child Development Center Parent Handbook
Child Development Center
Shining Star CDC works to provide affordable and quality child care to families in Southern Maine. We strive to promote skills useful in building character, esteem and a strong foundation for which knowledge will be received. Our program builds on observations conducted to create individualized lessons and activities specific to each child's needs. Shining Star maintains a comfortable family atmosphere as part of our Home Away from Home Curriculum.
Good communication is of the utmost importance. When a new family is accepted into our center, we like to be sure that we can share openly about any concerns or questions that may arise. It is important that there is a similar child care philosophy between the center and the parents. We welcome questions, feedback, or discussions of any kind that are oriented towards a positive outcome for the child(ren). Sensitive issues will be discussed in private at a mutually beneficial time.
Each classroom has a parent communication board where teachers can post the daily schedule, parent newsletters, pictures, activity info and anything else parents may need to know. Your child will receive a daily sheet each day informing you of the day’s events. Parents are welcome to call any time throughout the day to check in on their child and we encourage open communication at drop off and pick up times. We want our parents to feel as informed about their child’s time here as possible so they feel comfortable and secure in knowing what kind of day he/she has each day.
Americans with Disabilities Act:
Privately-run child care centers - like other public accommodations such as private schools, recreation centers, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and banks must comply with title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Child care services provided by State and local government agencies, such as Head Start, summer programs, and extended school day programs, must comply with title II of the ADA. Both titles apply to a child care center's interactions with the children, parents, guardians, and potential customers that it serves. Shining Star CDC does comply with the title lll of the ADA.
There are several forms that make up the Shining Star CDC enrollment packet. This enrollment packet must be completed and in our possession before we can assume the responsibility of caring for your child. This is to ensure that your child will get the very best care possible and satisfies the record keeping requirement of state licensing guidelines. All forms will be reviewed annually. If there are changes to any of the forms in the enrollment packet, please notify the director to update your records.
If you have any questions regarding the completion of these forms, please feel free to ask the director.
Shining Star does not charge parents to be a part of a waiting list. We frequently hear tales of parents paying fees upward of $50.00 or more to be a part of a waiting list to attend a center. They also have reported receiving a letter shortly after paying the wait list fee informing them that a spot will “most likely” not be available any time soon. We want to save parents the time and money that gets wasted on expensive fees for lists that may or may not exist at all. We typically have an idea of when a spot will be available and as a courtesy to you, will let you know that at the time you tour the center and will be happy to make a call to you should we not have a spot at the time needed when one does open. We also feel strong about being up front about the possibility of a potential spot and will not ask you to pay for a “chance” to have one. When parents sign up with Shining Star, we want them to be with us for a long time and we plan accordingly. Our philosophy is “Home Away from Home” and for us being fair, sympathetic and responsible with our client’s time and money is all part of what we want to offer here at Shining Star.
Documentation Required Prior to Start Date
Prior to your child's first day at the center, we ask that all paperwork be returned to the center for us to prepare for your child's attendance. Below is a list of the documentation required:
Completed Admission Forms
Child’s most recent immunization record or the required documentation for abstaining.
Any court records regarding custody or guardianship
Payments Required Prior to First Day
Annual Registration Fee
Weekly Tuition Fee (tuition fees are paid the Friday before the week of)
The first 30 days of your child's enrollment is a trial period in which the center, you and your child see if Shining Star CDC is a good fit for your family. We reserve the right to terminate any enrollment at any time during the time your child is with the center, however, the first 30 days is a good time frame to assess the fit.
Tuition / Payment Procedures
Your specific rates will be outlined in your Contract and Rate Agreement. Tuition is payable in advance and is due by 12 noon Friday each week for the following week’s daycare, unless another arrangement has been agreed upon. Payment may be made by check, debit or credit card, money order or cash. There will be a late fee of $5 for failure to pay on Friday and $5.00 each day that the payment is not made. After 10 days of nonpayment the child will not be allowed to return to the center until the account is paid and current.
There is an annual registration fee of $95.00 that is due at the time of sign up and again each January. Enrollment after June will be prorated to accommodate the time frame until the next registration is due.
A non-refundable sign on fee of $299 is required when you have made Shining Star CDC your choice of childcare provider. This will secure a spot for your child and is the first step in the enrollment process. After the sign on fee is paid we offer a half day visit prior to your child’s first day. Parents may stay here with their child and get to know his/her teachers or they may drop him/her off or do both by splitting the time for the 4 hours. Please keep in mind that accepting a child into a classroom potentially forfeits another child's ability to be enrolled if the class is at capacity. Teachers also do a lot of preparation for the child once they are enrolled to make their first day and every other day as happy and comfortable as possible. Because of that we ask for prompt notification should something change in your child’s schedule, start date or enrollment status with the center.
The success of our center depends upon the prompt payment of tuition/fees to take care of day-to-day expenses that are encountered.
One of the ways that Shining Star CDC differs from a lot of other centers is in our effort to ensure that tuition expenses continually go down for parents while they are enrolled at the center. Most centers have more than one rate increase each year. The way rates are typically increased is through an apologetic letter found in your child’s cubby explaining that your next payment will be $5, $10 or even $15 more beginning that week. Without forewarning parents are forced to either pay the increase or be without childcare. Shining Star disagrees with this process in every way. We don’t believe in luring parents into an agreement with a specific rate knowing that in a short while, that rate is going to be increased and possibly increased several times over the course of a year. For center owners, an extra $15, $40 or $60 extra a month may not seem like a big amount, but we understand the challenges parents face today and know they DO view it as BIG. It’s not easy to budget a family’s monthly expenses, knowing you are secure in knowing that what you are told you will pay, will be exactly what you pay can ease the worry for a lot of parents. It also helps in preparing for future expenses that come along with raising your family.
When you sign on with Shining Star CDC, we make every effort to ensure your tuition expense will only go down. Parents with the center will be grandfathered in to the tuition costs they were quoted upon sign up and currently pay. If our rates are ever increased due to the cost of living, inflation or any reason, current parents cost will not change and will continue to drop at each specific age as planned when they enrolled. This is only one of the ways that Shining Star makes our families a priority and tends to the needs of the whole family. We know that parents who have less to worry about have happier children and we are in the business of making your children happy.
If a check is returned for non-sufficient funds, there will be a $35 fee incurred because of the returned check. Childcare services may be halted until full payment of tuition and NSF charges has been made, in CASH. In addition, upon the second returned check within 6 months, only cash will be accepted for 3 months.
Late Pick Ups
A $1.50 per minute late pickup fee will be assessed for all children picked up after the scheduled pick up time for the first 15 min. After 15 min, there will be a $3.50 per min fee charged until the child is picked up. This must be paid in cash at the time of pickup, or before the child’s next regularly scheduled day. This will be strictly enforced, and habitual tardiness may result in termination of services.
Fees for Unscheduled Child Care:
Child care fees for any unscheduled hours such as drop in days are $100.00 per day, or if less than 1 day are $15.00 per hour. Parents must call ahead of time to check classroom available to set up an unscheduled drop in day.
If any payment obligation is not paid when due, the parent is responsible for paying all costs of collection, including reasonable attorney fees, whether a lawsuit is started as part of the collection process.
State Assisted Childcare Payments:
Shining Star CDC does participate in the state’s programs in which they offer eligible parents assistance with their childcare costs. When a parent is given assistance for childcare costs, they are responsible to pay the remaining balance left over after the state assistance is applied. If a child’s state assistance ends, we will still require a written notice from the parent of termination of enrollment at least two weeks in advance of the ending date. Parents are solely responsible for any tuition costs that the state does not cover such as registration and sign up fees and leftover balances. All tuition policies apply to parents who receive state assistance programs including but not limited to policies such as late fees, unscheduled childcare fees, bounced check fees and enrollment termination policies etc…
Hours of Operation
Shining Star CDC is open Monday thru Friday from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm. We offer these extended hours because we understand that today’s working parents need time to drive to and from work before and after dropping their child or children off at daycare. We offer both full and part time care as another example of our desire to be flexible with parents who may not need a full day because their work hours vary or are outside of the 9-5 range. Full time is considered from 30-50 hours per week. Part time is considered less than 29 hours per week. Add-ons or schedule changes may be accepted to our daily schedule only if there is a position open for that day, and they will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Please remember that schedule changes of this nature may create some disruption to our normal daily schedule but we feel are a benefit we want our parents to be able to expect. Because of that, we do appreciate as much notice as possible, so that we can plan for staffing schedules. snacks, sleeping arrangements, and any changes in activities that may occur. There will be additional charges to your regular tuition rate for any unscheduled drop in days and you can speak with one of the Directors or owner to discuss in detail or see above for fee details.
We maintain an open-door policy for parents during daycare hours. This means that parents are always welcome to call or drop in to see their children. We would appreciate your taking into consideration our schedule when dropping in or calling, and remember that visitors usually cause children to react in an excited manner so please keep that in mind around nap time or other activity times that ask for their undivided attention. Sometimes making an effort to peek on them without being seen b them is the way to go to give you a chance to check in without changing their normal routine. If you call during the day, please be aware that we may be busy with the children and may not be able to answer the phone always but are happy to promptly return your call ASAP and answer any questions, address any concerns or requests.
Arrival and Departures
Children are to arrive clean and fed (unless arriving just before a meal time). We will try our best to send your child home with a clean diaper, and would appreciate the same consideration when you drop off.
It is normal for some children to have difficulty separating from parents, or cry when dropping off. Please make drop off brief, the longer you prolong the departure, the harder it gets. A smile, cheerful good-bye kiss, and a reassuring word that you will be back is all that is needed. Children are quick to get involved in play or activities as soon as parents are gone.
Please be brief at pick-up times, as well. This is a time of testing, when two different authority figures are present (the parent and the provider). A lot of children will test to see if the rules still apply. During arrival and departure, we expect parents to respect our rules. Please be in control of your child during pick up times. Staff will be available to assist you if there is a need for it, however, once parents arrive to pick up their child, he/she is their responsibility and staff will not step in to assist unless they are asked or if the child is creating a disruption within the center.
We insist that parents be thoughtful of the schedule in your child’s classroom and avoid dropping off or picking up during the hours of 12:30 and 2:00 unless is unavoidable. A lot of children require a nap and when naps get interrupted it can be a disruption for the entire classroom for the rest of the day.
Please leave your cell phones off or in your car so that the staff and your child will have your undivided attention at pick up or drop off time if needed. Children look forward to seeing their parents each day and walking in with a cell in a conversation can be disappointing for the
Authorized Pick Up Policy
Our normal procedure is to release the child only to his/her parents, or someone else the parents designate on the Authorized Pick up and Emergency Contact Form. If someone other than the parent is to pick up the child, please notify us ahead of time. A verbal notice is acceptable, if this person is on the list of people who are authorized to pick up your child. If the person is NOT on that list, we MUST have written permission to release your child to them. If permission is to be given via telephone, parents can give the passcode they chose in the enrollment paperwork. Please inform emergency contacts, or people designated to pick up your child, that if we do not know them then we will need to ask for identification. This is not meant to offend them. This is simply a measure taken for the child's protection. Drop off and pick up are not good times to discuss serious problems. Little ears and minds hear and understand everything. The director can set up a time where the issues can be discussed in private.
Sign In / Out
It is required by state law that all parents sign their child in and out each day. For your convenience, a sign in/out sheet, pen, and a clock are located by the door of each classroom, this gives us a written record of the child's attendance, hours, and the person who brought/picked up the child each day.
Childcare fees are based on enrollment (a reserved space), not on attendance. To maintain a reserved space, fees must be paid during the absence of a child due to illness (unless using the Sick Day Discount), holidays, vacation, or for any other reason. Please respect this policy and refrain from approaching classroom teachers or other center staff to negotiate fees or days to make up if your child is out. We do not allow days missed to be made up later and payment for the agreed upon enrollment price is expected on Friday the week prior to the week being paid.
If a parent would like to end their child’s enrollment with the center, we required a written letter of termination of services at least two weeks prior to the child’s last day. Parents are responsible to pay the tuition for their child’s last two weeks of enrollment.
If a parent needs to end their child’s enrollment right away and does not give the written 2 weeks’ notice, they will still be billed for the two weeks remaining of their child’s enrollment. Failure to notify the center of a child’s last day could result in an accruing balance for tuition fees. After a child has not been at the center for one month, and we have not planned with the parents or heard from them, the child’s enrollment will be terminated and there will be an additional two weeks tuition fees added to the balance and the parent will be billed accordingly.
The late fee policy will remain in effect throughout any collection processes and/or attempts to cure the debt.
Failure to pay any remaining balance could result in legal action being taken to acquire payment. Parents will be responsible for any attorney fees, processing fees and court fees that are accumulated in the collection process.
Shining Star Child Development Center retains the right to terminate a child's enrollment without notice for, but not limited to, the following reasons:
- A child's behavior is destructive, uncontrollable, violent, or threatening to the other children or providers at the care facility. This determination is made in the sole discretion of the Provider.
- A parent's behavior is threatening or abusive to the other children or providers at the care facility.
- Child care fees are 10 days or more delinquent.
- A child is absent for 10 days or more without reasonable explanation or payment from the parent.
-Any reason the provider feels causes the relationship to not be a good fit.
All terminations of this type can be made effective immediately or have a final set date depending on the circumstances.
When a child’s enrollment is terminated by us, parents will still be responsible for the tuition fees scheduled to be paid for two weeks following the termination date.
Holidays / Vacations
The following is a list of the holidays that Shining Star CDC will be closed. You are still responsible to make your weekly tuition payments for Holidays and any center closings.
New Year's Day
Presidents Day (Staff in-service training day)
Martin Luther King Day (Staff in-service training day)
Independence Day (Summer vacation, the week of the 4th)
Thanksgiving Day and the day after
Christmas Eve (all centers close at 3:00pm)
Christmas Day (Christmas vacation the week of Christmas)
If one of these holidays falls on a weekend, then we will be closed either Friday or Monday.
Shining Star Child Development Center's facility will be closed for the provider's vacation on the following days: Week of the 4th of July, Christmas Week. The child care fees will not be adjusted for the days during which the provider is on vacation. The parent is responsible for arranging alternate child care during the center's scheduled vacation breaks.
The parent is responsible for arranging alternate child care for closings when the provider is attending training classes and for emergency closings due to severe weather or any other unplanned catastrophes. The child care fees will not be adjusted for such closings.
The parent must provide Shining Star Child Development Center with 2 weeks advance written notice of expected family vacations for the provider to adjust any staff scheduling or can offer the spot to another child if needed. The child care fees will not be adjusted for the time that a child does not attend because of a family vacation.
Shining Star Child Development Center will provide daily activities, toys, and materials appropriate for each child's age level to entertain the child as well as facilitate the child's physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development.
Teachers will post weekly curriculum schedules, which will detail the activities for the week. Teachers will also send home daily reports and post on their classroom whiteboards. Seasonal newsletters will be sent out by the center Director and classroom teachers will include a monthly newsletter for parents when there are any updates they need to know.
Clothing / Attire
Children should arrive dressed for play. We like to have fun! Having fun involves outdoor play and lots of messy activities, so make sure that your child is dressed appropriately. You will be expected to supply an art smock to protect clothes from paint or other art materials, and bibs to keep food stains to a minimum. Please don't dress your child in nice clothing that you care about getting worn. Clothing should be comfortable and seasonally appropriate for outdoor play. Make sure to include hats, mittens, boots and coats for cold weather.
Except for a naptime stuffy, we prefer that children do not bring toys from home unless it is something that can be shared with the entire group (i.e. books, games, CD's, etc.). Little ones have a difficult time sharing with others, and it is even harder with their own special toys. If toys are brought, please note that they may be put away, if they are the cause of disagreements among the children. We are not responsible for any loss or breakage of personal items. All personal items must be clearly marked with the child's name. We ask that you avoid sending your child in expensive jewelry or any type of jewelry that could be a hazard to the child such as long chains or hoop earrings. Staff are not responsible to monitor children's jewelry and should not be expected to "watch out" that it is does not get lost, taken by another child or broken.
Parents must supply the following items to be kept in their child's classroom:
Diapers, wipes, pull-ups, powders/ointments, binkie (preferably on a binkie string), bottles, bibs, saline drops/gel and nasal syringe, blanket for rest time, and a complete change of clothes (replace when soiled), sunscreen & bug spray.
All personal belongings should be marked with your child's name. Eating utensils, cups and dishes will be supplied. If any of these items are brought, they must be marked with your child's name, to avoid mix-ups with other children.
Infants and Toddlers
Infants and toddlers will not necessarily follow the same schedule as the preschoolers. They are not capable of sitting still for circle time for any duration of time, may need a morning nap and have different needs. Infants are typically fed on demand unless we are directed otherwise. Breast feeding infants need to have an adequate supply stocked and properly labeled. Toddlers usually eat meals and snacks on a set meal schedule. We will adjust their schedules to meet their needs each day. Diapers are checked every two hours or sooner, and changed as needed.
A report will be prepared for each infant/toddler each day. It will include things such as, time of feedings, what was eaten, amount eaten, time of diaper checks and results, times of naps, any medication given, and various comments about the child's day.
Pre- K/Preschool Schedule
Preschoolers enjoy a structured schedule that allows for flexibility. A schedule helps the day to flow more smoothly and allows the children to anticipate upcoming events. We will adhere to our written schedule to the best of our ability. There will be times when we must adjust the schedule. We appreciate families considering our schedule when picking up or dropping off children. Children who are dropped off by 9:00am will have the opportunity to participate in all the day’s activities and lessons. It is better if arrivals and departures do not occur during quiet time, but when they do, please take note of the fact that children may be sleeping. Come and go as quietly and quickly as possible. Children who arrive during quiet time will be expected to rest or play quietly until the rest period is over.
We thank you for the information you filled out for us regarding your preschooler's individual needs and schedule. It will help us get to know your child better.
Our daily schedule, while very flexible, is as follows:
6:30 a.m. - Center opens - free play
8:45 a.m. - Breakfast Snack
9:15 a.m. - Circle time
9:30 a.m. - Structured activities (preschool program)
10:30 a.m. - Gross motor play (outside weather permitting)
11:00 a.m. - Story time/wash-up for lunch
11:30 p.m. - Lunchtime
12:45 p.m. - Naptime
3:00 p.m. - Afternoon snack
3:30 p.m. - Gross motor play (outside weather permitting)
5:00 p.m. - Free Play
6:00 p.m. - Center Closes
Our staff has had a thorough criminal and child protective services background screening. We choose our staff based on experience, education and in having a desire to work with pre-school aged children and infants. All the staff receive 30 or more hours of professional development training each year as meeting state requirements for CPR/First Aid certifications.
Our classrooms are run by a team of co-teachers who share in the responsibilities of the class. We also like to tap into the staff’s creative talents, interests and hobbies and will incorporate lessons on foreign language, art, dance or anything fun and exciting that a staff member would like to share with the children.
We insist our staff treat both children and parents with the utmost respect and thoughtfulness. We ask that is a parent ever feels they or their child are ever treated in anyway other that they report their experience to someone in the office ASAP so that we may handle the situation immediately We also ask that parents treat our staff in the same fashion. We know they work very hard throughout the day to give children the care we insist they get, and to keep our center up to our standards, and value and respect each of them because of that and expect parents to do the same.
Employees of Shining Star CDC do not have access to or knowledge of any parent payments, billing information or amounts owed on tuition fees. If you have a question regarding this please direct it to the owner or one of the center Directors.
Shining Star Staff have a “no babysitting policy” that is contingent on the approval of the owner or Directors prior to doing any babysitting. We do want to be able to offer parents someone they know and trust to babysit during off hours whenever possible. We ask that you first come to us to inquire about having a staff member babysit for them. If we feel comfortable with the arrangement, based on the staff’s length of time employed with us, and our feelings on their work performance here, we can ask if they would like to contact you about babysitting.
This policy is in place to avoid having staff or parents feel obligated or uncomfortable about any aspect of a babysitting arrangement.
Phone Call and Texting Policy
We provide text updates throughout the day to the parents of our infant center. These are just an occasional picture or story about something cute your child did. They are not intended to be a play by play of the day’s activities. We’ll send home a daily sheet for all that info. We basically just want parents to feel connected and not miss anything special about their child’s day. It’s also helpful when a baby is teething or ill to be able to reach out through a text and touch base. Once a child has graduated over to the main center, if a parent would like an update, we ask that they call the center line and we will connect you with your child’s teacher or pass any messages along to them for you.
Social Media Policy
We ask that parents do not send friend requests or contact our staff through social media such as but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… Our staff follow a strict social media policy and accepting or sending a friend request or communicating with a parent via social media could potentially cause them to be terminated from their employment with the center. We ask that parents respect our policy and not put our staff in the uncomfortable position of having to refuse a request or break their employment policies. This policy is in place to protect the privacy of both our staff and the parents of the center. The policy is in affect while an employee is employed with us and for one year thereafter.
Meals and Snacks
Shining Star will provide a late start snack breakfast and an afternoon snack each day along with milk or water. Our snack breakfast menu will consist of a grain, fruit, protein and a dairy option each day. Menu items include a variety such as our Healthy Breakfast Parfait which consists of a layering of whole grain cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt and Cool Whip. We also offer items like bagels, English muffins, cereal bars and oatmeal in the winter time.
We ask parents to provide a well-balanced nutritious lunch that includes whole grains, fruit. vegetables and proteins. We do have refrigerators to keep foods cold and a microwave to heat lunches. Children do tend to grow bored of the same lunch every day so we suggest that parents provide them with a variety of foods throughout the week. Leftover stews, soups and casseroles are a good choice on cold winter days. Lunches should provide the right amount of nourishment and not give them a sugary rush. All lunchboxes and containers should be labeled with your child's name.
If your child has allergies, and requires a modified diet, we must be notified of this in writing. An appropriate substitution will be made, if possible. If a child has so many allergies that he/she cannot eat from our menu, we may require the parents to provide his/her snacks.
We never force a child to finish what is on his/her plate, but we do encourage each child to try one or two bites of everything. Sometimes they are surprised by what they like! All eating patterns will be communicated to the parents on daily sheets.
See some creative healthy lunch ideas and tips on getting your child to eat the foods you offer HERE.
Cleanliness / Hygiene
We do our best to maintain strict cleanliness and hygiene standards. Children's hands are washed before and after meals and after toileting. We use paper towels for drying hands, so children do not have to use the same towel. If parents provide a toothbrush and toothpaste, teeth will be brushed as well. All employees are required to wash their hands frequently and use antibacterial gel.
Infants sleep in separate cribs or pack and plays, with clean sheets used only by them. Beginning at toddler age, washable nap mats are used. Each child has a separate nap mat; with their own sheet and/or blanket that are sent home to be washed weekly (unless soiled, then they are washed as often as necessary) and mats are cleaned and sanitized weekly.
Children use separate cups, plates, bowls and eating utensils that have been thoroughly washed. High chair trays, etc. are cleaned and sanitized after each use. We clean and sanitize toilet seats and clean potty chairs between each use.
Fire Drills and Emergency Preparedness
Fire drills are conducted monthly and we do have the fire department do a presentation for the pre-school and pre-k children in the fall that includes information on why we do fire drills as well as other fire safety lessons.
We conduct yearly in service training for our staff on emergency preparedness in a child care facility. In the event of an emergency in which we must be evacuated from the building, our meeting place is by the shed to the back-right hand corner of our parking lot. In the event, we must be evacuated from the premises, we will meet in the parking lot at the end of the street on the right-hand side heading east. You will be notified if there is ever a need for any kind of emergency actions to be taken by us to ensure the safety of the children.
At Shining Star, we like to be consistent with all aspects of care and know the importance of that when potty training. When possible we like to implement your strategy for potty training your child so expectations are consistent in the center and the home. When you feel, your child is ready for toilet teaching, we ask that you begin this teaching at home during a weekend or vacation. We will follow through and encourage your child while in our care. The child must be showing signs of readiness. When a child is ready, the process should go quickly. The child must be kept in pull-ups or 5-ply training pants always. Putting a child in diapers part time, and training pants part time, can be confusing and delay the training process. Please keep in mind that the activity level here can distract your child from responding to an urge to use the potty, more so than at your home. Therefore, we may continue to use diapers or pull-ups until your child can and will announce that he/she must use the bathroom (not just at home, but here, as well) and can control his/her bladder and bowels for a few minutes beyond that announcement.
Parents can supply training pants with plastic pants or pull-ups, plus a couple of extra changes of clothing for expected accidents.
During toilet training, we ask that the child be dressed in "user friendly" clothing, as much as possible. The best items are shorts and pants with elastic waists, or dresses. Try to avoid tight clothing, pants with snaps and zippers, and overalls. These are difficult for children to remove "in a hurry". We do require children to be fully potty trained before they transition into the Pre-School/Pre-K wing of the center.
Nap / Quiet Time
There will be a designated nap/rest time each day. All children must nap, rest, read or play quietly during this period. Rest time gives children a much-needed break during the day. Without rest time, some children are argumentative in the afternoon, short-tempered with others, and not happy when they go home in the evening.
Infants nap at varying times and their schedules will be accommodated. Somewhere between 11 and 18 months, children usually drop down to one nap per day. We will attempt to put them on the scheduled nap/rest period.
Shining Star CDC will make all reasonable modifications to our policies and practices to accommodate children with special needs, unless to do so would be a fundamental alteration of our existing program. Each child will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine eligibility.
There will be times and ways you can get involved in your child's daycare experience. You are welcomed and encouraged to participate in any or these. Some examples of ways to be involved include:
Lending objects for units of study
Coming and talking about your job, when asked
Helping your child at home with the concepts we are studying here (see monthly newsletter)
Helping your child prepare for "Show and Tell"
Helping to provide treats or other items for our parties
Activities / Curriculum
Our main objective is to provide an enjoyable experience for your child. we want them to have fun, improve social skills, adaptive skills, increase their self-esteem, and encourage their creative expression. We will utilize a variety of activities to accomplish this goal. Free play, computer programs, reading, arts and crafts, music/singing, dancing, dramatic play/pretend, puzzles, games, outdoor exploration, Yoga, Sign Language, Spanish, and through special guests like Miss Teegan who is with the 5210 program and runs our monthly nutrition classes and are just some of the activities we will be doing.
Music and art helps to develop young brains and will play a strong role in day-to-day activities. We may have special music activities and may also play music during other activities, for example, during arts and crafts or meal times. Some of the music we will be using may include, classical, children's songs (by a variety of artists), foreign language tapes and others. All the children are encouraged to participate in artistic and sensory activities that are both child and teacher led.
Classroom teachers have specific goals they strive to meet prior to each child moving on to the next classroom. The way they meet those goals will be different each year as we create our activities based on the children in each group. Teachers conduct observations and then plan their activities, lessons and schedules per what their observations teach them about each child. They can individualize their curriculum this way. Classrooms typically have a monthly theme and teachers revolve their lessons and activities around that them. As the child moves into each room their schedules will get more structured and academic. We focus on the experience the child is having rather than what project the child is doing. By doing this, we may not be sending home perfect little construction paper crafts each day, but teachers are encouraged to take pictures of the messy finger paint crafts or shaving cream all over the table for you to see and enjoy for yourself.
There are certain center rules that all children will be taught and expected to follow. This is for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. In addition, we realize that we must expect a certain amount of wear and tear where children are concerned, however, we do not expect any kind of deliberate destruction of equipment, toys or materials.
Children may not walk around the center with food, cups or bottles. Respectful treatment of other people and all property, toys, and furniture is expected. Willful destruction of property will be charged to the parent at the cost to replace the item. Please support us in the enforcement of these rules, to create a better environment for all (see Departure and Arrival)
No smoking is permitted on the premises as per state law; this included parents and staff.
As a child care center, we are mandated reporters to the Department of Human Services if we suspect a child is being abused or neglected. Always be sure to let your director know when you drop your child off if he/she has any unexplained cuts or bruises. All children that come to daycare with injuries have them documented in an accident report form to be signed by you.
Our staff takes a state provided Mandated Reporter Training and follows the required procedures required by the state of Maine regarding any suspected abuse or neglect and reporting it.
If you ever feel that Shining Star CDC is not operating in a safe manner, please bring the matter to our attention. If you desire a copy of the state licensing guidelines, we will be happy to supply you one. We are proud to say we do our best to follow state licensing guidelines. Our staff is trained in knowing and complying with all applicable state and local laws.
Indoor play: We provide a variety of age-appropriate toys for indoor play. Toys may be rotated or placed temporarily out of use so that the children do not become bored. Younger children have less-developed organizational skills and can get easily frustrated or upset when there are too many toys to choose from. It is also more difficult for them to help with clean up when there are toys everywhere, because it is so overwhelming to them. For this reason, during free play times, each child is instructed to play in a specific center that will be rotated over the time frame that free play is happening. They will be shown how to put those things in that center away before selecting something else.
Outdoor play: We will be playing outdoors every day twice a day for 30 minutes when weather permits. Please make sure that your child is appropriately dressed for the weather. Our playground does have wood chips and sandboxes, so please prepare for children to come home looking as if they have played in wood chips and sand. Our activities outside will include, free play, instructed games, gardening, sensory tables, sprinklers, making snowmen, painting, stories, bubbles etc.…
We maintain a positive discipline policy, which primarily focuses on teaching something. We also use prevention, redirection, consistency and firmness. The children are explained the rules of the center and shown reasons why we have them by allowing them to experience natural consequences. An example of this may be a child who refuses to put away a toy may not be allowed to get another toy out until doing so. Please keep in mind that there WILL be experiences between children that are not always positive. Young children express their feelings in ways that don’t always communicate their needs. Sometimes they hit, throw toys, bite, etc. We will try to prevent problems, redirect when appropriate, and sometimes withdraw privileges based on the principle of "natural consequences". We may sometimes remove the audience from a child who is having a tantrum rather than placing the child in a "time out" an approach we typically find ineffective. Removing the audience approach has proven to be more effective and helped dramatically in resolving tantruming patterns. Teachers are expected to use wit, common sense and creativity when handling any "inappropriate" behaviors. Discipline is used to teach something and not to control someone. The staff are encouraged to use phrasing that is positive and asks for what they want children to be doing rather than what they don't want them to do. Such as saying, "Please walk" rather than "Don't run". Attention is given to children who ARE doing positive things and we may use planned ignoring as a means of addressing those who are not. An example may be in the case of a child who uses a "bad" word. Planned ignoring has been shown to be much more effective at halting the behavior over putting any harsh, loud or hysterical attention into efforts to stop or prevent it from happening again.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will there be any spanking, physical abuse, verbal abuse, name calling, humiliation or isolation used. Neither food nor sleep will ever be withheld from children as a means of punishment.
Does your child have challenging behaviors? Click here for some helpful tips.
Incident /Accident Reports
An incident in which a child hurts another child and causes an injury, mark or any other kind of lasting impression will require an incident report to be filled out and signed by you. If there is a pattern of a discipline problem (3 or more incident reports) that does not respond to the above-mentioned techniques, we will hold a conference with the parents. Together we will create a behavior management plan and will try to find a solution. You may be called to remove your child if his/her behavior prevents us from being able to properly care for the other children. If the problem continues, other arrangements for the care of the child must be made, for the safety and well-being of all. Shining Star CDC does reserve the right to terminate any child's enrollment at the center for any reason whatsoever with or without notice, however, we do typically make every effort to work with families to resolve any type of conflicts or issues.
Shining Star CDC is a "well-child care facility". At no time, do we provide sick childcare. Children who attend childcare are exposed to various common childhood illnesses. As a center we are vigilant about cleaning and sanitizing and take extra precautions during an outbreak of an illness. We insist that parents follow our sick child policy and keep their child home when they have symptoms indicating that they are ill. The following illness policies will be strictly enforced, for the health, well-being and safety of all concerned. When a child is absent from the center, parents are still responsible for the full cost of tuition that week. Tuition fees are based on the spot that a child takes when they are enrolled, not on the child’s attendance at the center.
Sick Child Policy
Shining Star CDC is a “well child”’ facility. At no time, do we provide sick childcare. Our illness policy is strictly enforced to protect the health and wellbeing of all the children as well as the staff at the center. Under no circumstances may a parent bring a sick child to daycare. If a child shows any signs of illness or is unable to participate in the daily routine, they will be excluded from the center until they are feeling well again, and symptoms have subsided.
Sick Day Discount
Shining Star CDC offers parent 3 days per year that they may use as sick days for their child. The discount will lower the weekly rate from the number of days a parent normally pays by one day (the day the child is out sick) or up to and not exceeding$25.00 per week. Parents will just need to stop into the office the week they need to use the sick day discount and inform the owner, Michelle, that they would like to use the discount so she may apply it to their account.
Every effort is taken to reduce the spread of illness by encouraging hand washing and other sanitary practices.
If your child is unable to participate in the normal activities of the daycare (including being able to play outside), requires one on one care or is just extremely tired, in pain or visibly ill then your child MUST stay home. Being "contagious" is not always the concern when a child is sent home or not expected to attend the center. Their experience here is expected to be pleasant and enjoyable and they must be well for that to happen.
Children will be visually screened when they arrive in the morning. In the event a child becomes ill and needs to be picked up, the parent(s) will be called and are expected to come pick the child up within one hour (60 minutes). If the parent(s) cannot be reached, or have not arrived within an hour, the emergency contact person will be called and asked to come pick the child up.
For the benefit of our staff and other children in our care, a sick child will not be permitted to return to care for 24 hours after their condition has returned to normal. If you aren't sure about whether to bring your child to care, please call your onsite director to discuss it. Allergy related symptoms, and non-communicable illnesses do not require exclusion if you have a note from your doctor. We do ask that if your child is starting a new medication such as an antibiotic that whenever possible you start it at home and wait 24 hours before bringing them to the center in case of an allergic reaction.
Symptoms requiring removal of child from day care:
Any time a child is feeling unwell to the point of being unable to participate in the center routine for the day, regardless of any other symptoms, they will be excluded from attending until they are feeling better.
Fever of 101* or higher; (a child needs to be fever free for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to daycare, that means the child is fever free without the aid of Tylenol®, or any other fever reducing substance.)
Fever AND sore throat, unexplained rash, vomiting, diarrhea, earache, irritability, or confusion.
Diarrhea: runny, watery, bloody stools, or 3 or more loose stools within 4 hours. Children who have a condition that causes them to have frequent loose stool, or diarrhea will need to bring in a doctor’s note to excuse them from being excluded from attending the center due to their symptoms.
Vomiting: 2 or more times in a 24-hour period. Note: please do not bring your child if they have vomited in the night.
Breathing trouble, sore throat, swollen glands, loss of voice, hacking or continuous coughing.
Runny nose (other than clear), draining eyes or ears. (unless we have a note from the doctor explaining the drainage such as in the case of a blocked tear duct or allergies)
Frequent scratching of body or scalp, lice, unexplained rash, or any other spots that resemble childhood diseases, including ringworm.
Oozing of pus, blood or other bodily fluid from any area on the body that is not explained by a doctor’s note such as a blocked tear duct. Any oozing or bleeding from the diaper area due to a severe diaper rash.
Child is irritable, continuously crying, or requires more attention than we can provide without hurting the health, safety or well-being of the other children in our care.
Child has been diagnosed with any kind of communicable illness.
Doctor’s Notes-We create our health policies based on the needs of the center, suggestions from our center health care provider and on our experiences in the past with child illnesses and outbreaks. We stand by our policies and a doctor note stating that your child is not contagious or is able to attend may not always be a determining factor in us allowing a child with the symptoms requiring exclusion to still attend the center. This means if we send your child home because they have one of the symptoms on the list, such as a temp, and then you take him/her to the doctor and your doctor writes a note stating that they feel he/she is fine to attend daycare, that we may still enforce our 24 hours out and until the temp is normal without the aid of medication policy. We of course will consider any chronic illness that a child may have that could cause one or more of the exclusion symptoms and make exceptions for children who are not contagious. However, we stand by and make our own policies, and will follow them when we feel that is needed and ask that parents respect our decisions and not expect us to change our policies because their own personal doctor feels one of the exclusions symptoms is “ok” for their child to have and still attend the center. Our goal is always to make the center as safe as we possibly can, and we do that with an understanding of what is occurring at the center at that time, and will have more information on a possible outbreak of illness because we are here and have knowledge of all the children in every classroom and will most definitely err on the side of caution.
Just a note: If you are not sure whether it is okay to bring your child, please call ahead to ask us. We may require a doctor's decision as to whether the child is contagious. Please remember that an illness that is NOT contagious but still causes your child to need one on one care or act visibly ill requires them to stay or be sent home. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter and a signed note from your doctor stating they are not contagious while appreciated may not always (unless they are symptom free) mean they may return to the center. Tuition fees will not be adjusted when a child does not attend the center due to illness or is sent home for the day.
We ask parents only to request that the center administer medication to a child if it is necessary and to make every effort to give medications to children while at home. If a child must have a medication during center hours, we will administer them and will require you to provide some information to us in order that we may administer the medication safely and accurately.
Parents will provide any medications needed by the child, including over-the-counter and prescription medicine. Written authorization is needed for us to administer ANY medication, prescription or over-the-counter. Please see your child's teacher or available staff member when dropping off any medication to get an authorization to administer medication form to fill out.
Tylenol or Ibuprofen will not be administered every 4 to 6 hours unless a doctor’s note stating the reason why we are to administer it is provided.
NOTE: All medicines must be in their original container with pharmacist's or manufacturer's label, child's name, dosage instructions, current date, name of medication, and times to be administered clearly written. Any medication except for Tylenol or ibuprofen that states "under two ask a doctor" will need a doctor’s note. We also follow the dosing instructions given to us by our center health practitioner for Tylenol/ibuprofen for children under two and may not increase the recommended dosage.
Please DO NOT give your child a medication that will cause adverse side effects such as irritability, drowsiness or nausea prior to coming in to the center. We also ask that you do not give your child a medication that is not recommended for them because of their age, weight or medical condition prior to bringing them in as well. If a child is given a medication before drop of, please notify the staff you drop off with and fill out a medication report.
Minor bumps and scratches are inevitable, but we make every effort to keep the children safe through supervision and childproofing. Minor injuries receive appropriate first aid, and if an emergency injury or illness occurs, you will be contacted as soon as possible. If necessary, your child will be taken to the nearest hospital where you will be asked to meet us. If you are not going to be at your usual place of employment, or at home, please make sure that we have a number where you can be reached.
Parents are responsible for all costs involved in emergency medical treatment, including emergency transportation, if required. The owners of Shining Star CDC, will not be held liable for any sickness/injury of either parent/guardian or child while on these premises.
Payment of the sign-up fee will hold a child care spot open. Shining Star Child Development Center will not hold a child care spot open unless the sign on fee has been paid in full. The registration fee is to be paid prior to the child’s first day and then every January for the duration of the child’s enrolment with the center. Parents who are enrolled at the center will be priority on any waiting lists, however, are required to pay the signup fee for any children they would like to attend the center in the future. If current parent is expecting a baby and wishes for their baby to attend the center too, we ask that they give as much advanced notice as possible and will incorporate the signup fee as low weekly payments if needed to avoid them needing to pay the whole sum at once for a new baby. We will also make every effort to ensure expecting parents have a spot for their baby. (advanced notice makes this much easier)
Child Development Services
If you have a concern about your child’s development, we can set up an assessment with Child Development Services for you after you complete some initial paperwork giving us permission to do so. If a teacher has a concern or feels that your child would benefit from an assessment, she will set up a time to meet with you to discuss her concerns. CDS maintains a central data management system, system wide policies and procedures, and provides centralized fiscal services for local sites.
They provide case management and direct instruction for families with children ages birth to five years.
Child Find is the process of identifying children with disabilities. CDS provides screenings and evaluations to identify children who are eligible for services.
Day Care Contract
Parents must review and sign the Day Care Contract and initial each section prior to the child's first day of care.
No child will be denied care based on race, color, sex, disability, age, national origin, or religion of either the parent or the child.
Shining Star Child Development Center will keep files on each child confidential. We will keep child files for 6 months after their enrollment has ended and then they will be discarded. All private information exchanged between the parent and the provider will remain confidential unless it is being requested by a state agency such as Child Protective Services or law officer.
Child Care Regulations
Shining Star Child Development Center operates in full compliance with all state and local child care regulations. A copy of the Maine State Rules and Regulations handbook is available for any parent who would like to view it.
Revisions to Handbook and Contract
There will be a yearly reviews and possible revisions to this handbook and the accompanying contract. All families may be required to sign a new contract each year. We reserve the right to make changes in any policies, procedures or expectations as we deem necessary for the successful operation of the business. When necessary and possible, you will be notified, in writing, of any changes that may occur. Every attempt will be made to give at least two weeks’ notice of changes but will not be guaranteed. This handbook is a description of the centers current policies, procedures and expectations and of what can be expected at the time it is received by parents/guardians with reservation to the right that any may change depending on specific state regulations and or new policies created by the state of Maine or the center itself, parental concerns or needs, business expenses, needs or ability to operate successfully, and all or any of the examples above or within the handbooks entirety, or of those that may be created or decided upon in the future both by us and/ or the state of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services Policies and Procedures regarding childcare centers.
No Refunds Will be Given