State Preschool Parent Handbook
151 Moore St.
Ukiah, CA 95482
Welcome to the Mendocino County State Preschool Consortium. We look forward to working together with you and your child.
Our State Preschools are funded through the California State Department of Education, Early Education and Support Division (CDE/EESD) and are administered by the Mendocino County Office of Education.
ADMISSION AND ENROLLMENT
Our preschool programs provide services to children who are three and four years old and whose families meet the income guidelines established by the CDE/EESD. Families eligible under state guidelines are enrolled based on rating criteria provided by CDE/EESD.
Admission is not given on a first come, first served basis.
A three-year-old child is defined as a child who turns 3 on or before September 1st of the current program year. A four-year-old child is defined as a child who turns 4 on or before September 1st of the current program year. Enrollment is determined by admission priorities set by CDE/EESD in the following order:
This program does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color or mental or physical disability.
Prior to your child’s first day at preschool, the parent must:
Within 30 days of enrollment you must provide a copy of the Physician’s Report (a health screening) for your child.
Staff respects the privacy of the children and parents and will refrain from discussing any confidential information about enrolled families, children and/or other staff members and volunteers. This code of confidentiality will continue when a staff member is no longer affiliated with the program.
From time to time, you may overhear a parent discuss a problem with a teacher. Please, out of mutual respect, leave whatever you hear or see at the center. Teachers respect your personal issues and maintain confidentiality, please do the same for others. Confidentiality is vital in creating a safe and trusting environment for everyone. When you are volunteering in the classroom, please direct any visitors to the Teacher or Site Supervisor.
The use or disclosure of all information pertaining to your child is restricted to purposes directly connected with the administration of the program. A review of the family data file by the child’s parents or parent’s authorized representative will be permitted upon request and at reasonable times and places. Access to this information is limited to the Site Supervisors, Program Directors, Department of Social Services, the Health Department or local police authorities in the event of suspected child abuse or neglect.
Program Evaluation System
The State Preschool program is funded by the California Department of Education, Early Education and Support Division, which requires an annual evaluation of child care and development services with the Desired Results. The Desired Results system documents the progress made by children and families and serves to increase program quality standards.
The Desired Results system uses the following four tools to evaluate the program annually:
To provide a quality program that meets the needs of children, their parents and the community, each program is reviewed using the following interrelated seven dimensions:
Your Preschool Staff bring a unique set of experiences, education and skills to the classroom. The minimum standard a Site Supervisor must qualify for or hold is a Child Development Permit issued from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. All staff have completed Fingerprint Criminal Record Clearance, Child Abuse Index Clearance and are in good health. Staff are encouraged to continue pursuing training and college coursework to keep current with the latest in research and practices.
Kristin Billups—Teacher/Site Supervisor
Kristin has been working in Child Development since 2001 and earned an AA degree in Child Development at Mendocino College. She enjoys photography, gardening and spending time with her children.
Nancy Miner – Preschool Special Education Teacher
Nancy has worked in Special Education for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Special Education Preschool Credential. Nancy also has a wealth of experience with preschool programs. She is the mother of 3 children and grandmother of 4 children. Nancy’s hobbies include arts & crafts, gardening, cooking and sewing. Her pets include horses and 3 dogs. She is excited and looking forward to meeting the children and their families: “It will be a wonderful and exciting school year!
Miranda Moyle – Child Care Assistant
Miranda loves working with young children. She has worked with children since 1995, and has ten years of experience running her own daycare. Miranda enjoys spending time with her kids, scrapbooking, and being outside in her garden.
Holly Gonzales – Child Care Assistant
Holly has been working at Calpella State Preschool since 2009. She is taking classes in early childhood education to expand her knowledge of child development. Holly loves working with children and has experience as a teacher of young children. In her spare time, she loves hiking, swimming, and running.
Nancy Kornegay – Child Care Assistant
Nancy has lived in the Ukiah area since 1980. She has two grown children and three grandchildren. She has always worked with children and has been working in early childhood education since 2006.
Sandra Pardo – Bilingual Child Care Assistant
Sandra spent 10 years working as a technician in the hospital emergency room. She has two children and she loves spending time with them.
Arrival and Departure
Program hours are from 8:20am to 11:20am and 11:50pm to 2:50pm.
Every child must be signed in and out on each day of attendance. It is a state regulation that you sign your full name on this sheet. Please note that your child may only be signed in and out by someone over the age of 18 years.
Remember that a child will only be released to a parent or other adult listed on the emergency contact form completed at registration. If you wish an unlisted adult to pick up your child, we must have written permission, or you must tell us yourself directly before we can release your child. The adult picking up your child will be required to show photo identification.
Please bring your child on time and pick up your child on time. A late fee will be assessed if you are late in picking up your child.
Late Pick-up Policy
Late pick-up refers to any time a child is picked up after the program has ended for the day. Your child’s preschool program ends at 11:20am or 2:50pm. You are considered late if you have not picked up your child by 11:30am or 3:00pm. On Fridays the program ends at 11:20am.
When you are late in picking up your child, you will be charged a late fee of $15.00 for every ten minutes you are late. Pick up between 11:30am and 11:40am will be charged $15.00. Pickup between 11:40am and 11:50pm will be charged $30.00. Pickup between 3:00pm and 3:10pm will be charged $15.00. Pickup between 3:10pm and 3:20pm will be charged $30.00. This fee must be paid before your child can return to school. If your child does not return to school within 3 days, he/she will be dropped from our program. Your child may be dropped from the program after 5 late pick-ups.
If an emergency arises and you are unable to pick up your child, you should:
Arrange for another adult to pick up your child. Let the teacher know that person’s name and when the child will be picked up.
If your child is left more than 30 minutes after contracted pickup time and we are unable to reach you or those listed on your emergency list, then appropriate authorities will be notified. Child Protective Services or Mendocino County Sheriff may be called to care for your child.
To Bring or Not to Bring
We ask that children do not bring toys or other items from home. We have toys for everyone at school. Toys are difficult to keep track of at school and often cause conflict or become lost or broken. School toys stay at school: if they find their way to your home, please return them.
Your child will be participating in a variety of potentially messy activities. They will be digging in the dirt and sand, painting and engaging in water play. Smocks are worn but do not always protect clothing from damage. Please dress your child in comfortable play clothes that you will not be concerned about if they become soiled or stained.
Bring a complete change of clothing for your child.
We cannot limit a child’s activities because of clothing.
Trike riding, sliding, climbing and running are popular activities. Shoes that fasten (buckle, tie or Velcro) and rubber soled shoes are preferred as they provide more stable footing for your child. Flip flops and cowboy boots tend to be slippery and are not recommended for active play. Sandals or flip flops are uncomfortable and inconvenient when playing in the pea gravel, wood chips or sand.
We will go outside daily. Keep in mind that the weather changes rapidly, so please send a coat or sweater with your child every day.
We are not responsible for lost, damaged or stolen items.
Food and Nutrition Program
The food and nutrition program is an important part of the preschool program. The menus are posted in the classroom. Meals are served family style and children are encouraged to serve themselves. Mealtime can be a valuable learning experience. Besides serving and feeding themselves, children also learn about nutrition during mealtimes. Nutritional cooking projects are a part of the preschool program. We ask that you do not bring your child to school with food or candy.
During meals, children are encouraged, but never forced, to try different kinds of food. Meals are intended to be a pleasant sharing time where conversation is encouraged. Mealtime is a time to:
Build language patterns
Discuss where food comes from
Encourage children to try new foods
Promote mathematical concepts
Promote social interactions
Model acceptable eating behavior
If your child has a special food need or food allergy or diet restriction, please let the staff know. A medical statement documenting the allergy with a list of alternative foods will need to be completed by your doctor, physician’s assistant or family nurse practitioner in order for substitutions to be made to the menu.
Field trips are considered enrichment activities that cannot be provided within the parameters of the regular daily program. Field trips to locations off campus will require permission slips to be completed and turned in to the Site Supervisor. There will be an adult to child ratio of 1 adult to 8 children. When necessary, lower ratios will be determined by the site supervisor based on the nature of the planned activity. Children determined to need individual attention, may be required to be accompanied by a parent/guardian on field trips. At least one week of advance notice will be given.
We believe that a high quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative development of young children while responding to the needs of families and our community. We maintain an open-door policy where parents have the right to enter the preschool at any time during operating hours.
We believe that every child has a right to:
Have a feeling of success, well-being, self-confidence and self-esteem
Develop emotional health and social responsibility
Preserve their natural curiosity about the world
Develop problem-solving skills
Learn to be creative
Have every opportunity for physical growth and healthful living
Develop knowledge of and respect for the variety of cultures in our community
Have a background of experience which will form a readiness for and love of learning in all curriculum areas: Social-Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, English Language Development, Mathematics/Science, Physical Development/Health, History/Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts.
We believe that families have the right to:
Increase their knowledge of how children grow and develop
Learn how to help their families attain and maintain good health
Learn how to assist in their children’s learning
Learn about their own capabilities in the family and in society
To ensure a high quality program, we offer a well-planned, developmentally appropriate curriculum. We recognize and affirm each child’s need to grow and develop at his/her own pace. One of the most important aspects of a positive early education experience is the recognition of each child in the program as a unique individual. Appropriately supporting young children in the preschool environment includes accepting and being responsive to differing abilities and interests.
Several preschool sites are full inclusion sites. These sites provide appropriate services where children with disabilities are in programs with their typically developing peers. Typically developing children have an opportunity to experience a diversity of abilities, and children with disabilities have the opportunity to learn from the social and language skills of their typically developing peers.
Play is an essential part of the healthy development for children. Teachers support children’s play by helping them create imaginary situations, providing props and expanding possible play roles. When children use objects to represent other objects in play (using a block as a telephone), they set the stage for abstract thought. Once representational abilities have been developed through play, a child is able to use these abilities to develop reading and writing.
Play is critical for children’s development. Research offers clear evidence that play contributes to development, including problem solving skills, increased vocabulary, social-emotional development, literacy, math and cognitive development. Emotional self-regulation can be developed through play when children take turns, regulate one another’s behavior, and learn to cooperate. Positive effects of play can be found in children’s physical development, including muscle development, coordination, and obesity prevention.
“The program encourages respect for the feelings and rights of others, supporting and respecting the gender, ethnicity, home language, culture, and family composition of each child in ways that support the child’s health and well-being.” (Program Quality Standards, California Department of Education)
Preschool teachers consciously practice and model recognition, acceptance and respect for differences and similarities in oneself and others; continually self-educate about diversity issues; engage parents in dialogue about bias and culture; and develop a curriculum that is integrated, inclusive and reflective of the daily lives of children incorporating the child’s first language and culture. We believe that every child has a right to an education that is culturally relevant.
Parents are encouraged to share their culture and family practices in the on-going development of the program.
Holidays and Celebrations
We keep celebrations “low key” to avoid overly exciting the children. When celebrating holidays, we strive to acknowledge all cultures and ethnic groups. We plan curriculum which does not reflect a bias toward any one group or orientation. Please let us know if you have any activities or celebrations that you do not wish your child to participate in.
We recognize birthdays as a special day for each child. If you wish to bring a treat, please speak with your child’s teacher to make arrangements. We encourage you to provide a nutritious, low sugar snack which will be a healthy treat for all the children. Staff can provide you with recipes or ideas.
Our preschools refrain from religious instruction or worship.
Guidance and Discipline Techniques
Our program provides a supportive environment in which children begin to learn and practice appropriate and acceptable behaviors as individuals and as a part of a group. We believe in a positive approach to discipline. The classroom will have a consistent daily routine in which the children will be able to predict what they will be doing next. Clear and reasonable limits regarding acceptable behavior for indoor and outdoor play will be established. The preschool Site Supervisor is available to discuss guidance techniques with parents.
The goal of discipline is not to punish: it is to help children learn to accept responsibility for their actions. In guiding children to develop self-control, the staff gives special consideration to reinforcing each child’s self-esteem through positive affirmation of his/her unique qualities.
In an environment that supports playing and interacting with others, the children will be encouraged to share, cooperate, problem solve and respect the property of others. Trust and positive self concept will develop when children are respected and their ideas are taken seriously.
Among the methods we may use with a child are:
Positive redirection of unacceptable behavior toward acceptable behavior
Problem solving and conflict resolution support
Positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior
Identify and communicate feeling and actions through use of “I” statements
(Examples: I don’t like it when…, I’m upset because...)
Immediate intervention where a child may be hurt by another or by themselves
We recognize that children act out for different reasons. Our methods of discipline will vary from child to child. A child’s developmental level will be a significant factor in determining the appropriate method of discipline. A child with an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) may have a specific discipline plan designed by a team of professionals. If a child’s behavior has become harmful to him/herself or others, appropriate disciplinary steps will be used. This may be a verbal warning or removal of the child from the group until he/she is calm enough to return to group activities.
We will reserve the right to exclude individual children from school if they repeatedly inflict bodily harm on themselves or other people. In such cases parents will be asked to meet with staff to work out appropriate solutions. Parent/Teacher conferences and referrals are always available. We want to provide a safe and healthy environment for all children. We ask your help in working with your child to provide a safe preschool experience for everyone.
All staff are forbidden from using any form of corporal punishment. All parents shall refrain from using corporal punishment while on the preschool grounds.
Developmental Assessments and Screenings
Your child will be participating in assessments and screenings during the program year. This information will be shared with you at your Parent/Teacher conferences. Assessments and screenings are used to help us plan curriculum to meet individual children’s needs and to meet the needs of the group. It is an effective tool to determine your child’s progress in gaining the skills needed to ensure future school success.
Within 60 days of enrollment your child will be assessed by preschool staff using the Desired Results Developmental Profile. A child attending for a full program year will receive a second assessment in the spring. Your input is essential in developing a comprehensive program for your child. Input may be on an informal basis or through your completion of an Ages and Stages assessment for your child. Staff may use various methods of gathering information to demonstrate your child’s progress. Some examples are: examples of your child’s artwork and writing, photographs or videos, observations and anecdotal notes.
Please let your preschool staff know if you have any special concerns regarding your child’s needs. We are an inclusive program that will provide accommodations and individualization when appropriate. Preschool staff can assist parents in determining if a referral should be made to another agency.
Daily Schedule and Calendar
The program supports a child’s development by incorporating routines and transitions in a daily schedule that occurs
in a timely, predictable and unhurried manner. This routine provides a balanced daily program of child-initiated and adult-directed activities including small-group, large-group and individual activities.
This schedule is flexible and is used as a guideline for the day’s activities. Our primary goals are
to meet the individual needs of the children. Please look for the daily schedule posted in the classroom.
Our preschools follow the school year calendar of your local school district. Occasionally, the preschool will close for Staff Development Days. This is a time when your teachers are learning new thing to bring to the classroom. You will receive advance notification if the classroom will be closed.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT AND RESPONSIBILITIES
We recognize that parents are the first and most important teachers of their child. We strive to create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect between parents and staff. Through ongoing, open two-way communication we hope to develop a partnership with parents in order to provide the best experience possible for your child. We welcome your insights and suggestions.
Parent Advisory Committee
Parent input into our program is vital. Ongoing, open communication enables us to work together to improve the program, adjust to changes and solve problems. Parents are invited to participate on the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC). This committee may address special events, fundraising, policies and procedures and parent education plans. The PAC provides an important link between school operations and families. The committee will meet at least twice each year and the meetings will be coordinated by the Site Supervisor. This committee functions in an advisory capacity to the Site Supervisor. All recommendations made are subject to final approval by the Site Supervisor and/or the Program Director.
Parent Education meetings may be held several times during the year on topics of interest to the parents. Parent meetings are an opportunity to learn about your child’s development and a chance to discuss parenting strategies and their effectiveness. Guest speakers or family educational activities may be planned.
Please check the parent board for special notices or other information. A parent library and information on community resources are also available.
Parent conferences are scheduled with staff at least twice per year. Teachers are also available by appointment throughout the year for additional conferences and discussions. Conferences are an opportunity for teachers to share information about the child’s development as reflected in the Desired Results Developmental Profile, the teacher’s anecdotal records and the child’s portfolio. The parent and teachers will work together to jointly develop a plan to support your child’s development.
Parents are encouraged to talk with teachers on a daily basis and to share special information that may affect the child. (for example: moving, divorce, new pet, late night, missed breakfast, etc.) This information will help the staff in meeting your child’s needs.
Please be aware that a teacher will not be able to engage in a lengthy conversation while they are working with children during class time. Please ask the teacher when they’ll be available to talk or schedule a parent teacher conference if you need more time.
Studies of preschool programs have shown that children whose parents become involved in their education make greater measurable gains. Children who see their parents helping in school learn that school is important. By helping at school, parents learn more about their children. By having parents in the classroom, our preschool is able to provide more individual attention to your child.
Parents are highly encouraged to participate regularly in the classroom or other activities. There are many ways a parent may be involved in the preschool program. You may be asked to read a story, assist with a project, work with a group of children or assist with preparation of materials or activities. You are welcome to share your talents or special skills such as music, cooking, gardening, or dancing.
Each preschool develops a plan for parent involvement that provides opportunities for parent participation. Parents and teachers work together in an effort to build trust, mutual understanding and an enriching preschool experience.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Our State guidelines require 98% attendance for each month in order for us to receive full funding for our program. We need to serve families who come to school regularly in order to maintain our program.
When your child is absent, please record the reason for the absence on the sign in sheet or absence form provided. According to State regulations, we must have a specific reason for your child’s absence. If your child has been ill, please write fever, sore throat, cough, or other specific reason; writing “sick” or “ill” is not acceptable. A phone call to the classroom to let your child’s teacher know she/he will not be there is always appreciated.
A child will receive an excused absence based on one of the following:
A family emergency is a sudden situation that makes it difficult for the child to attend. Examples are: serious illness of a grandparent or family member, death in the family, impassableweather conditions, or unexpected transportation problems (up to two days).
Best Interest Days are days when the child does not attend, is not sick, but is doing something that is clearly in their best interest. Examples are: visits from a parent or grandparent, family vacation, religious holidays, etc. The state allows 10 Best Interest Days per child, per school year.
Any reason a child is absent that is not listed above is unexcused. Best Interest Days become unexcused after the maximum allowable 10 days have been used.
We reserve the right to terminate services for unexcused absences
exceeding 5 days per school year.
Each day, staff will do a quick, visual health check of your child for signs of illness. We all know that childhood illnesses are easily spread. This is one way we can all help to try to control the spread of disease. Staff will inform you of the process at your site.
If your child becomes ill at school, he/she will be isolated and you will be called to pick up your child. When you sign in, please be sure to write the phone number where you will be able to be reached. If we cannot reach you, we will call others listed on your child’s emergency contact form.
Please keep your child at home if your child has:
It is in the best interest of the children and the staff that everyone helps to control and reduce the spread of illness in the center. Please call your preschool if your child comes down with a suspected or diagnosed contagious condition including but not limited to:
Head lice Impetigo Ringworm
Measles Chicken pox Strep throat
Scabies Pink eye Hepatitis
Parents will be notified when a contagious condition occurs.
Accidents and injuries occur regularly in a child’s life. Simple cuts, scrapes and other “owies” are treated by a wash in water, application of a Band-Aid (if appropriate), and lots of love. You will receive an “ouch report” at the end of the day to inform you of any minor injuries.
You will be notified immediately of injuries that require professional medical attention. If we are unable to reach you, we may transport your child to a medical care facility, while continuing attempts to contact you.
At least one staff member on site is CPR and First-Aid certified.
Prescription medication can only be administered when the parent has filled out a medication authorization form indicating the time and the dosage of the medication to be given. The medication will not be administered unless it is in the original container (duplicate containers can be requested from the pharmacy for school use). Medication will be kept in a locked container.
Advise the preschool staff upon enrollment of any allergies your child may have, especially bee sting and food allergies. Our programs accept children who require the following incidental medical services (IMS): administering inhaled medications and Epi-pen/Epi-pen Jr. We follow guidelines as outlined by your child’s physician. Procedures and protocol for children requiring an IMS can be obtained from your site supervisor.
Child Abuse Reporting
California has developed strong laws for the protection of children. State Preschool staff are committed to developing supportive relationships with all parents, and value trust and open communication. Regulations governing professional staff responsibilities sometimes create situations in which staff may not be allowed to share information with parents. Because these regulations govern other professionals, we want parents to be fully informed about the law.
The California Penal Code (2:1.2.5, Article 11165) includes a Child Abuse Reporting Law that is important for all teachers, staff members, volunteers and parents to understand. All teachers, staff, volunteers, parents and program administrators fall into the category of Child Care Custodian.
The Law requires that any Child Care Custodian who suspects an incidence of child abuse must report the incident. The primary purpose of the reporting law is to protect the child. A report may lead to needed intervention that will ultimately help the family.
It is required that the report be made immediately or as soon as possible after discovery. The law also provides that: “Any person who fails to report an instance of child abuse which they know to exist or have reasonable suspicion to exist..., is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by confinement in the County jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or by a fine of not more that $500.00, or both.”
The following types of abuse are required to be reported:
If there is reasonable suspicion that abuse or neglect has occurred, a phone report to the appropriate agency will be made as soon as possible. The parent may or may not be informed that a report has been made based on: the nature of the suspected abuse, the advice of Child Protective Services or the police, staff input and/or the Program Supervisor’s recommendation.
If a child protection agency worker or law enforcement officer is to come to the preschool to interview the child, the Site Supervisor or other administrator will remain on site until the interview and follow-up actions have been completed.
How to Continue in the Program
Abide by all agency policies, procedures and program requirements. Provide notification of change of residence and/or phone numbers.
Your child is enrolled for the current school year. Your child must be both age and income eligible to attend for the following school year. Make an appointment with your Site Supervisor prior to the end of this year to recertify for next year. Failure to complete the recertification process may result in the loss of your preschool space. You must provide new income verification, employment information and complete/update all enrollment forms.
Withdrawal or Suspension of Services
Parents needing to withdraw from the program should give the program 2 weeks notice or notify us as soon as possible.
Preschool services may be terminated by the Site Supervisor or Program Administrator for any of the following reasons:
Parents will receive 2 weeks notice prior to termination of services. However, the administrative staff has the right to impose immediate termination if it is clearly in the best interests of the program and/or children.
Complaint and Grievance Procedures
We encourage parents to share their suggestions and concerns with the preschool staff as this provides a way for the program to better serve the children and families. Suggestions can be given to preschool staff verbally or can be submitted in writing. During the year we will send out a Parent Survey that will give you an opportunity for anonymous feedback.
When a parent has a complaint or disagrees with an action, they should first go to the individual(s) involved to resolve the matter. If the matter is not resolved, the parent should talk with the Site Supervisor. If the matter still remains unresolved, contact the Program Administrator at the site.
Should a parent not resolve the issue with any of the above steps, a request to appeal the intended action may be filed with Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) Program Manager Kristin Hills at (707) 467-5168. Her mailing address is Mendocino County Office of Education, 2240 Old River Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Should a parent wish to appeal the decision made by the MCOE Program Manager, an appeal must be filed with the California Department of Education within 14 days of receipt of the written decision, in accordance with the guidelines on the back of the Notice of Action.
All preschool sites are licensed by California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing. As noted in both the Personal Rights (LIC 613A) and Parents Rights (LIC 995) forms given during the enrollment process, if fault is found in the operation of the facility/treatment of a child and that fault cannot be resolved with preschool staff, a complaint may be directed to: Community Care Licensing, 101 Golf Course Drive, Suite A-230, Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Phone: (707) 588-5026.
Uniform Complaint Policy
In accordance with Title 5 of the California Administrative Code Sections 4600 and following, this is notification that you have a right to file a written complaint in the event that you believe that the County Office is in violation of any state or federal laws. You also have the right to file a written complaint pursuant to these procedures if you believe there have been unlawful discrimination by the County Office regarding actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, mental or physical disability, or age or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics. For full policy, please visit the MCOE website: http://www.mcoe.us/District/1355-Unititled.html