Parent Guide

HILLTOP CHILD CARE CENTER

PARENT GUIDE

I.   PROGRAM

PHILOSOPHY

At Hilltop Child Care Center, we welcome children of all abilities and believe that every child should have a well-balanced early childhood experience in all areas of growth, and we seek to help each child develop socially, intellectually, academically, emotionally, and spiritually by helping him/her reach the following goals:

  • Develop awareness of the love of God
  • Become curious and creative
  • Develop love and respect for others
  • Develop a positive self image
  • Learn good health habits
  • Develop a feeling of security and well-being
  • Engage in self-expression and positive play
  • Develop small and large motor skills
  • Engage in developmentally appropriate readiness experiences, preparing for more formal education

We meet these goals through an integrated program of loving, sharing, and education. The children are introduced to learning and living in a world that is larger than the family circle.

We focus on each child’s overall educational experience.  It is our strong desire that each child moves from the preschool years at Hilltop to elementary school equipped with the foundation for a smooth transition.

In our support of excellence, Hilltop will conduct an annual evaluation in the form of a self-appraisal, parent survey, and program improvement plan.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

Hilltop admits children of all abilities, any race, color, national or ethnic origin who meet the age requirement of our licensing and our program.  Each child is guaranteed all rights and privileges of the Center’s programs and activities.

HILLTOP BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Hilltop Child Care Center was founded by members of Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church with a mission to provide quality early education, care and a spiritual foundation for the community’s children.  In the interest of ensuring that this mission stays true, Hilltop is operated by a Board of Directors comprised of volunteers from the LLUMC congregation, the Director, local community professionals and parents.  The Board of Directors meets several times annually to review Hilltop’s overall business plan, educational program and to vote on any changes necessary.  There are opportunities for parents to volunteer; please speak with the Director if you are interested.

LICENSING

We operate under the regulations of the Maryland State Department of Education, Child Care Administration.  We are licensed for the care and training of 30 children. We will follow all guidelines of the State and prepare for accreditation with MSDE.

CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENT

Hilltop Child Care Center is a non-sectarian center where children from all religious backgrounds are welcome and each belief is respected.  The Center operates as a part of the outreach program of the Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church.  We believe children should grow, work, and play in an atmosphere in which Christian convictions of the importance of love for God and love for humanity are part of the entire life experience.  We relate two of our themes of study to the observance of the Christmas and Easter holidays and introduce children to other religious and cultural observances such as Hanukkah, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa.  A “blessing” is said before snacks, lunch, and during some other activities, leading to the establishment of basic Christian values of thankfulness and love for one another.  We include weekly visits to the LLUMC Chapel for time with the Pastor, the Religious Education Director and/or Hilltop staff to hear bible stories and participate in songs or games.

CURRICULUM

It is the objective of our total program to help children grow through activities that help them begin the transition from dependence on the family circle to a wider world that requires independence and self-reliance.

Hilltop implements “The Creative Curriculum” by Dianne Trister Dodge,  a leading expert in Early Childhood Education.   We implement a theme-based curriculum and build opportunities for teacher-directed activities and child-directed activities.  Exploration, curiosity and discovery are the foundations of successful learning.  Teachers will refer to and utilize and the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards (previously known as Common Core Standards) to ensure that activities and learning occur in alignment with developmentally appropriate indicators.

Our curriculum for the 3-year-old’s emphasizes socialization and overall enrichment.  The curriculum for the 4-year-old’s prepares the child for the Kindergarten experience in  academic skill sets as well as the social foundations to be successful.  We introduce the children and families to the home-school partnership.

 STAFF DEVELOPMENT 

Hilltop Child Care Center will strive to meet and exceed state regulation.  We require that the specified staff have First Aid and CPR training, as well as attend continuing education workshops, conferences, and lectures, etc.  Professional development is encouraged in the form of participating in community events, such as the LLUMC Easter Festival, the River Hill Independence Day Parade, Children on Board, Children’s Discovery Fair, and more.

II. ENROLLMENT POLICIES

            ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS

Enrollment is open to all children who are toilet trained and 3 years old.  Parents with children under the age of 3 may schedule a visitation day to determine if the child would be eligible for early acceptance.  Under these circumstances the child will remain in the 3’s class until such time as they are 4 years old before September 1st in order to stay aligned with the Howard County Public School System policy.

WAITING LIST

A waiting list will be offered to those that have children who do not meet one or all of the eligibility requirements or if all spots in the classrooms are filled.  Parents can opt to be on the waiting list by paying an enrollment fee of $50 for each year in which the child is not eligible for admission.  This fee is non-refundable; however, it is applicable to the child’s tuition the first year he/she enrolls.  Thereafter, a registration fee of $125 is required of each child each year.

REGISTRATION FEES

For students enrolling for the first time, a non-refundable processing fee of $175 is required, payable on the date the Enrollment Agreement is signed.  For students who are enrolled from the Priority Waiting List, the fee is reduced based on the amount prepaid, and the balance is applied evenly to the first four week’s tuition.

TUITION

Tuition will be processed using Tuition Express and will be collected weekly through automatic withdraw from a designated checking or credit card account.  Payments will be processed each Thursday. There will be a $5 fee assessed for payment with check or money order.

Short-term problems of making prompt payments (no more than two weeks) will be discussed with the Director.  If there is no way to solve problems of non-payment, the Enrollment Agreement may be voided by the Center and the child refused further enrollment.

In the event that it becomes necessary to change the tuition rate, parents will be given 2 weeks written notice of such change.

            INSUFICIENT FUNDS

A $25 fee is charged for insufficient funds.

LATE PICK UP

There is a $25 charge for each additional 15 minutes, or part thereof, per child after 6:00 P.M.  This late fee is added to the following week’s tuition charge.  Parents who disregard the importance of this policy, and who in the opinion of the Director, supported by the Board, abuse the pick-up deadline, will have their Enrollment Contract voided.

WITHDRAWAL

If your child is to be withdrawn voluntarily, the Center requires a minimum of two weeks’ written advance notice.  Any unpaid charges due the Center must be paid by the last day of his/her attendance in order to have records released.

TERMINATION OF ENROLLMENT

Hilltop may terminate your child’s enrollment, effective immediately, if any of the following occur:

  1. In the judgment of the Director, the child’s behavior threatens the physical or mental health of other children and/or Staff in the Center
  2. Weekly tuition and other outstanding fees are not paid within 10 days after payment is due, with no consultation with the  Director.
  3. The child has the inability to function within the Center.
  4. Failure of the child or parent to comply with Center policies.

III.    OPERATION

YEARLY CALENDAR

The Center is open from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.

Children will not be accepted before the opening hours of 7:00 A.M. There is a $25 late fee for each additional 15 minutes, or any part thereof, per child after 6:00 P.M.  This fee is added to the next week’s tuition bill.

If you know that you cannot make it to the Center before 6:00 P.M., please make arrangements for someone to pick up your child on time.  If you know you are going to be late, please call and let the closing staff member know so that your child will understand.  A picture identification of the person designated to pick up your child is required, along with your permission in writing.  You might find it convenient to identify such persons at the time of enrollment on your Emergency Information form.

HOLIDAYS & VACATIONS

The Center is open year round except for the following:

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

Day after Thanksgiving

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Good Friday

Easter Monday

Memorial Day

July 4th

1 Week in August (TBD) Before the school year begins

School Year: Full tuition is required for each week whether or not your child attends.*  However, parents may elect to take two weeks off during the school year and pay ½ the tuition for those weeks. A “year” is September-June and a “week” is Monday-Friday.  There will be no reduction in the weekly fee because of illness or absence.

*The Summer Program (beginning in mid-June)  Your desired summer schedule must be provided in advance to reserve spots for the desired program weeks.  You will not be charged tuition for weeks that your child does not attend the summer program IF you submit the schedule in advance of the summer program start date.

INCLEMENT WEATHER

 Hilltop will follow Howard County Public School System in regards to delays and closures due to inclement weather unless there are circumstances that do not apply to us such as a wind chill delay.  If HCPSS announces a 2-hour delay Hilltop will delay at least until 9am OR the earliest that a staff person can safely get to Hilltop.  If HCPSS closes, Hilltop will be closed.  The Director maintains the authority to make autonomous decisions about delays/closures/early dismissals based on the safety of staff, children and families.

The school will communicate any changes to operational hours through the school Shutterfly site, www.SchoolsOut.com, and the voicemail on the school phone number.

DISCIPLINE

Hilltop prides itself on creating a warm and understanding atmosphere in which your child can develop and grow.  Loving discipline is part of that growth, and its purpose is to help the child learn self-discipline as well as to give him/her time to think about what has happened.  We encourage the child to think about how the negative behavior affects the group.  We use positive reinforcement and redirection to assist children in learning appropriate group behaviors. Our teachers actively instruct children on understanding emotions, communicating with others and self-control.  Tools from the Center for Emotional and Social Development are introduced at the beginning of the school year and are implemented throughout.  Examples are: The Solutions Wall and Tucker the Turtle.  A “time out” is used only when it can reinforce positive behavior.  By observing from outside the group, a child can relax and better understand why he/she was temporarily separated from the group.

Positive reinforcement methods include using another activity to redirect the child’s attention, one-on-one with the teacher or the assistant teacher for a short talk about more positive ways of group participation (“walk and talk”), or a short period of rest in the company of an adult.

In the event that time-out is the only alternative, the length of time varies with the child’s age.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES is physical or mental punishment allowed at Hilltop Child Care Center.

OPEN DOOR POLICY

Parents of children enrolled in the Center are welcome to visit Hilltop Child Care Center and their child’s class unannounced at any time after notifying the office.  We want you to feel free to visit the Center and be comfortable with our staff and our facility.

Only children enrolled in the Center may attend the Center’s program.  WE CANNOT ALLOW OTHER CHILDREN TO VISIT without parents.

 

PARTIES & CELEBRATIONS

            We hold holiday parties at various times during the year.  These will be mentioned in our monthly newsletter and/or on our Parent Board in advance of the party day.  We occasionally ask for contributions of goodies for our parties and sign-up sheets are posted on the Shutterfly site, or placed on the Parents’ Table.

If you would like to celebrate your child’s birthday at Hilltop, we will be happy to help you.  Please let us know several days in advance what day you would like to celebrate and what food you will be bringing.  Single servings such as cupcakes, muffins, or cookies are preferred.  Simply bring these items in the morning and we will serve them during morning or afternoon snack.  Please check with the Director to see if there are any allergies among the other children in your child’s group.  NO PEANUT PRODUCTS OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED.

            Please send birthday invitations through the mail. Children love to receive mail.  In consideration of children’s feelings, members of our staff cannot distribute party invitations.  This will keep the feelings of children who may not have been invited from being hurt.

In the Fall a Student Roster will be given to parents in paper format as well as online via a school Shutterfly website of enrolled students, containing parent’s names and addresses.  Should changes occur during the year, an addendum will be supplied periodically. The Center will require that parents give written permission to release their phone numbers and addresses.

FAMILY INVOLVEMENT

            Please feel free to visit the center anytime.  Special Events will be held such as PotLuck Suppers, Family Night, Parent’s Night Out, Mother’s Day Tea Party, Donuts for Dads, and more!  These events help families get to know one another and form stronger social bonds for the children as well.

Please check our website regularly as we will post resources and information specifically for parents of preschool aged children.  The school Shutterfly website will only be accessible by current families at Hilltop and there is a calendar of events that will automatically send updates to your email.  The Hilltop Newsletter will be a great resource for program information and upcoming events.

PERSONAL ITEMS

A personal “cubby” is provided for each child in which he/she may place personal items.  These items may include:  extra clothes, jackets, lunch boxes, tote bag and bedding.  All items to be left at the Center must be clearly marked with your child’s name.

STUDENT MAILBOXES

Each child will have a designated mailbox for papers to go home. Please check this mailbox daily.

TOTE BAG/BACKPACK

Each child is to have and use a hand-held tote bag or backpack daily.  This bag serves as an organizer and promotes a sense of orderliness and responsibility for personal belongings.  The bag should be of a size suitable to the child’s age and stature.

            CLOTHING

Washable and comfortable play clothes and shoes are recommended.  Please have your child wear items that are appropriate for the weather and for both inside and outside activities. We plan to go outside daily, weather and conditions permitting.  In cold weather, be sure to provide adequate outdoor clothing, (hats, scarves, mittens or gloves, boots, etc). Flip-flops, jellies, open-toe sandals, etc, are not safe for the large-motor skills, so if this is the shoe of choice for that day, please bring additional shoes for outdoor play.

Please provide a change of clothing in case of an “accident.”  Place these items in a bag clearly marked with your child’s name.  You will need to update the items as the weather changes throughout the year (shorts and short- sleeved shirts in warm weather and long pants and sweatshirts during cold weather).    These clothes will be returned at the end of each season.

BEDDING

Each child needs to bring a sheet and a light blanket for rest- time.  In addition to these items, your child may feel more secure and comfortable with a small pillow and/or a favorite stuffed animal.  The bedding will be sent home on your child’s last day of the school week.  Please launder and return to the Center the following week.

Children will be encouraged to handle their own bedding and its size is an important factor in the  success of their efforts.   If your child has difficulty in handling this important responsibility because of size or weight, you will receive a note recommending something smaller.

If your child usually needs a particular stuffed toy, an old blanket, or any other security object to help feel comfortable, please send it with him or her. If necessary, we can return it with your child each day.  This may become unnecessary after a few weeks when your child has adjusted to the Center environment.  Again, please label all your child’s items.

 SNACKS AND LUNCHES

We will have a designated breakfast time from 7am- 7:30am when parents may provide a small breakfast snack.  There will also be a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack provided (Please see our Nutrition and Health Policy for an overview).  Our snack menu will be provided with the September Newsletter and is followed on a rotating basis.  Any substitutions will be noted on your child’s My Day paper.

You will be required to pack a lunch every day for your child. Please pack an ice pad or label and place perishable items in the designated Hilltop refrigerator. It is important that perishable lunches be kept at least at 45 degrees.  The Center will also provide reduced fat milk (1%) at lunch time.  There will be a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack time. Your child will be given healthy snacks as part of our effort to encourage good eating habits and our emphasis on a healthy body.

 IV. HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

 FORMS AND RECORDS

 All children attending the Center must be free from any communicable diseases.  Each child enrolled must have an Immunization Record, Emergency Card, Health Inventory and Addendum to Health Inventory for lead screening on file.  These required forms must be completed and preferably submitted 1 week prior to the child’s first day.  Exceptions to this time line may be made by the Director at parent’s request. They will be placed on file at the Center.  Please insure that medical records and emergency cards are updated as soon as changes occur.

MEDICATION

Should your child need to be given medicine (prescription or over-the-counter) at the Center, you must complete a medication form (a physician’s signature is required) that can be obtained from the Director’s office or the school website.  All medical forms including medication authorization forms, health inventory and exclusion notices must be signed by a physician that is not a family member.  Under no circumstances will medication be dispensed without a medication authorization form signed by a physician; and children are not allowed to bring any kind of medicine.  You must deliver the medicine to the Director. It should be in the original container with the prescription label clearly visible.  All medicine will be kept in a secure location, inaccessible to children.

ILLNESS

IF AN ILLNESS OCCURS:

  • At Home:

If your child has a cold, fever, a communicable disease or seems as though they may not be able to fully participate in center activities please keep him/her home.  We want to provide conditions at the Center that protect your child, as well as others.  (See Communicable Diseases)

  • At The Center:

 If your child becomes ill while at the Center, the child will be removed from the other children, and a telephone call will be made to one or both parents to arrange for the child to be picked up at the Center as soon as possible.   If, in the opinion of the Director, there exists a medical emergency, your child’s doctor will be called immediately and then contact will be made with both parents.

  • After Being Sent Home with fever or other persistent symptoms:

Before returning to the Center, your child must be free of fever or other persistent symptoms for at least 24 hours (without use of medication).

ABSENCES

 If your child is home because of an illness, please call the Center each morning.

Absences from the Center for more than three days due to illness will require a parent’s written statement or a doctor’s written verification explaining the nature of the illness and attesting to current good health on the day the child returns to the Center.

COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

Any communicable disease, for example, impetigo, strep throat, meningitis, chicken pox, pink eye, head lice, etc. must be reported to the Center, and we, in turn, must report it to the Health Department.  Please call the Center for more information as to when your child may return to the Center.

The Center considers the following conditions to be evidence of an illness indicating that the child may be in need of a physician’s care:

  1. Frequent fever
  2. Recurring instances of below normal temperatures
  3. Frequent episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea
  4. Indication of communicable or contagious diseases
  5. Cold with fever
  6. Parasitic conditions
  7. Unidentified rash

    IV. COMMUNICATION

YOUR CHILD’S ADJUSTMENT

It is normal for your child to have some misgivings about being away from you.  Children, like adults, need time to get used to new situations.  Try to prepare your child for the changes as far in advance as possible.  Discuss any concerns.  Talk enthusiastically about some of the new people your child will meet and the new things your child will do.  Contact the Director to arrange for short visits (parents must accompany the child prior to their official start date).

If this is the first time your child has been separated from you, some hesitancy is natural.  A cheerful good-bye kiss from you, a smile and a reassuring word that you will be back after work is all that you need to give.  Our caring staff will take it from there.  Please do not leave when your child is not looking.  Most children settle down shortly after parents leave.  Feel free to call our Director when you arrive at work to see how your child is doing.  Chances are that your child will be busy playing, and you can relax.  Depending on their ages, some children will “act out” their feelings by:

  • Clinging to you and refusing to let go,
  • Having difficulty adjusting to a group environment, or
  • Expressing a desire to stay home.

More often than not, these problems are temporary.  If both you and the staff treat your child lovingly but firmly, the behavior should go away.  If you are enthusiastic about your child attending the Center, chances are your child will be too.

            PARENT BULLETIN BOARD

Each classroom maintains a Parent Bulletin Board, where information about each of the classes is placed. Please stop by the board at least once a week to check for notices. A Family Resource bulletin board will share Center information and community resources. A monthly newsletter, website and school Shutterfly site are also used to communicate information about the Center and classes, special dates, songs and/or stories.

PARENT REPRESENTATIVES

A parent representative will be elected in the fall.  Parent representatives are invited to attend the Board of Directors meetings during the year.

The major responsibility of the parent representative is to make suggestions for improvement and to bring concerns to the Board and/or Director. Concerns for which the Director needs Board approval or that are not considered to be addressed satisfactorily by the Director may be brought to attention during Board meetings. In an urgent case, it may be necessary to contact the President of the Board to have immediate action taken. The parent representative may also organize functions when necessary (i.e. staff appreciation, birthdays, Christmas card exchanges, volunteer opportunities for other parents etc.).

            PARENT COMMUNICATION

Parent communication is very important in order for the Center to provide your child with the best possible experience.  Each day a sheet (“My Day” paper) will be available for you to report to us any information, noting that your child is experiencing any of the following:

  • Not feeling well that morning
  • Change in routine
  • Taking medication
  • Family stresses, separation or death
  • Poor night’s sleep

With this knowledge, we can help your child with special books and special one-to-one contact.  Upon the child’s departure from the Center, the teacher also checks the sheet, explaining any unusual activity of the child during the day concerning:

  • Snacks and food eaten
  • Special activities
  • Rest time

This information may be helpful to the parent in understanding what your child is describing from the day’s events.

PARENT CONFERENCES

Scheduled Parent Conferences will be held in the winter and the spring. You will be asked to sign up for a time to discuss your child’s progress.  They are also available upon request to discuss any problems or concerns.  There may be times when a meeting of all parents is necessary.

**NOTE:  Parents are invited to take a special interest in this Center.  Although we may find it challenging or not possible to undertake some projects that you may want for the children, we welcome your suggestions and your interest.  Please feel free to speak to the Director or your parent representative to the Board of Directors.

STUDENT FILES

Parents or legal guardians may request information from their child’s file at any time during their enrollment unless the Director has received legal documentation to the contrary.  Once the child is no longer enrolled with Hilltop a parent must fill out a Request for Information form and will receive copies of requested information.  After 2 years all student files will be properly disposed of.

TUITION and FEES,  effective August 2016

Parents will be given a minimum 2 weeks written notice of any changes to fees.

Tuition:                     

$260/week (4 or 5 days)        $213/week (5 – ½ days, 9 a.m.-12:45p.m.)

 $213/week ( 3 days)             $161/week (2 days)                             

Registration fees        NON-REFUNDABLE

First year: $ 175

Subsequent years: $125

Summer Program: $175

Payments:                  Preferred method is automatic ACH Deposit or Credit Card payment. If payment is made by check there is a $5 processing fee.  NO CASH PAYMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Tuition is due beginning the first week of enrollment.

Registration Fees:     Registration fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.  If you register and choose to cancel your child’s registration, we require a minimum of two weeks’ advance written notice; otherwise tuition fees will apply.

Discounts:                  Family: First tuition is full price. Sibling discount is 10%.  Family registration fee is $300.  LLUMC Members in good standing receive a 15% discount. (Membership validation letter from the church office will need to be submitted.)

Deposit:                      Two week’s tuition is paid as deposit.  The deposit is credited back to the account at the end of enrollment.

Tuition Payments:     Tuition is processed using Tuition Express and will be automatically withdrawn from a bank account or a credit card on Thursday of each week. Credit cards accepted are VISA, MasterCard, and Discover.

Insufficient Funds:    A $35 fee is charged for insufficient funds or returned check.

Late Payment Fee:    If submitting a check please submit no later than noon on Thursday before an additional fee of $25 is required.

Late Pick Up Fee:     There is a $25 late charge for each additional 15 minutes or part thereof, per child, after 6:00 p.m.

Withdrawal:              In the event that you voluntarily withdraw your child from the Center, a minimum of two weeks’ written notice is required and tuition is to be paid through those two weeks.  Any unpaid charges due the Center much be paid by the last day of attendance in order to have records released.

Vacation:                   Parents may elect to have their child take two weeks* off during the school year** and pay half tuition.

 *A week is Monday thru Friday. **The school year is September – June.

Illness, Absence, Inclement Weather:  There is no reduction of tuition due to illness, absence or inclement weather.

 


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