Handbook


WELCOME
Thank you for choosing to use the Before and After School programs conveniently provided to you at Sandy Knoll Elementary School by Child Central Station, LLC.  Please take time to review the following policies and procedures in regard to the program. If you have any questions, please contact the program director, Amy Ahola. She can be reached via email: childcentralstationllc@gmail.com or via phone/text: 906 361 2275. Enrollment will take place during your child’s open house or by arrangement. In order to make enrollment easier, please make sure to complete and return any piece of colored paper from this packet.

PROGRAM CURRICULUM AND ACTIVITIES
We PLAY! Research shows that children learn through play!  Children will have an opportunity to be active contributors to the program. There will be a wide range of opportunities to include individual, small group, and large group activities. Our staff will work hard to meet the varying needs of participants by providing an environment that supports child driven interests including, but not limited to: quiet areas for reading and homework help, arts and crafts, science and sensory experiences, and activities that support both fine and gross motor development. We understand the need to support the whole child; physically, mentally (cognitively), emotionally, socially, and creatively with developmentally appropriate practices.  

If weather conditions are adequate, the children will play outside daily. Program Directors will make the decision if the children will stay indoors or go out on any given day of the program. It is the parent’s and child’s responsibility to make sure that a child is prepared with appropriate clothing for indoor and outdoor activities on a daily basis. (i.e. tennis shoes, jacket, hat, mittens, snow pants, boots, etc)

Our program does not provide transportation, however on occasion we may participate in walking field trips in the nearby area. Parents will be notified if/when a field trip is planned.

CULTURAL COMPETENCE
Our program strives to be child driven and play based. We realize that children come from a wide range of backgrounds with varying family beliefs, traditions, and cultures. When we all come together, we find that not only do we have a number of differences, but also a wide array of similarities. 

  • Families: The best way for us to meet the needs of each child and family is through clear communication. We welcome information about each family and the traditions that they share. Children are encouraged to bring photos from home and any security item they may need to assist in the transition or use a touchstone when needed. (We discourage items with small parts that can easily be lost or the use of cell phones, electronics, or valuables.) We welcome photos of pets, houses, family activities/vacations, and photos of parents at work……  It is a simple way for the children to share a bit about themselves and their family with others. If something is important to the child or family, we encourage open communication and opportunities for the children to continue that exploration in our care. 
  • Holidays: As a child-centered, play based program we do not plan any activities around the holidays. This does not mean that we do not share traditions or have discussions about holiday activities, but instead that all of our activities are initiated by the children. We understand that each family has a different belief system and set of traditions. We welcome the discussion and sharing of these traditions in our program, but we do not impose our traditions or belief systems upon the children. 
  • Materials for Learning and Development: Research tells us that for children to learn, activities must be real, relevant, and hooked to emotion. Individual family traditions are a perfect example of an activity that often meets all of these requirements, thus are very important to individual children and families. We will attempt to provide adequate resources for children to continue to explore traditions and rituals that are important to them. We attempt to incorporate materials that are open ended and materials that reflect our community and world.
  • Language: At any point in time, we may have children enrolled from multilingual families. (Your program director lives in a multilingual family.) In order to best support multilingual children, we attempt to learn basic phrases in their home language and may use visual aids to help with communication. We also have a number of multilingual books and dictionaries available. If your child is multilingual please let us know so that we can help support their dual language development! 

INCLUSION POLICY
Our program works to meet the individual needs of each child. This means that we are careful observers and gather information to best support each child as they grow and develop. It also means that we encourage open, honest, and frequent communication with parents/guardians. Part of supporting each child is recognizing when a child may need additional services outside the scope of our expertise. We know that this can be a difficult subject and work to effectively communicate our concerns and welcome dialogue with families. We do our very best to support children of varying abilities. Reasonable accommodations will be made to include all eligible students. Our program is staffed to provide a safe and caring learning environment for all children. 
Our program is a licensed childcare center, thus we do not fall under the school’s required Individual Education Plans. If it is determined that a child requires additional attention beyond state regulations, we may not be able to accommodate their needs, and it will be the parent’s responsibility to provide the extra adult support at their own expense or find alternative care.

STAFF AND CAREGIVING RATIOS
The program director of the Before and After School Program is Amy Ahola. She is a graduate of Northern Michigan University with a B.S. in Psychology and a M.S. in Training, Development and Human Performance Improvement. Amy has been a licensed child care provider since 2005. Prior to that time she also worked at a child care center and a K-12 school. Amy is very passionate about providing child centered, authentic play experiences for young children. She was recognized as one of Microsoft’s 365 Heroes in Education in 2013, and by the Terri Lynne Lokoff National Child Care Teacher’s Awards in 2017. She has also spent a great deal of time speaking at conferences and training other educators about the power of play.  When she isn’t working at one of the child care programs or training adults, you may find her volunteering with the Danish Sisterhood of America or the Boy Scouts of America. 

The staff of the program will be introduced soon. The release of information is pending all of the necessary clearances and training required. All staff members will be required to undergo a physical examination by a doctor and obtain a test for Tuberculosis. Additionally, staff members will be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check prior to working with children. Caregivers will be required to obtain a minimum of 16 hours of professional development annually, including certifications in First Aid, CPR, and Blood Borne Pathogens. Many of the pending staff members are students aspiring to work with young people when they graduate. Our goal is to provide high quality, consistent care and learning experiences for your child. 

Staff to Child Ratio Policy- The current staff to child ratio policy according to state licensing is 1:18. In most situations, you will find that we strive for a smaller ratio.

PARENT PARTICIPATION, VISITORS, AND VOLUNTEERS

  • With our location being inside Sandy Knoll Elementary School, we follow the rules and guidelines that they have set forth in regard to visitors and parents volunteering in the program. All visitors/volunteers must first check in at the Principal’s office and then check in with the program director. 
  • Visitors will not be given unsupervised contact with children and must stay in their assigned visiting area under the supervision of an assigned staff member.
  • Regular visitors must complete the Volunteer Application and follow the rules and guidelines for volunteers. (If you visit for more than 4 hours a week, you will be considered a regular visitor)
  • Volunteers must submit a physical and proof that they are free from communicable tuberculosis. 
  • Volunteers must also consent to a criminal history check which includes both a central registry clearance and criminal history check.
  • Volunteers are only eligible to participate in our program if they are deemed eligible.  
  • Any person who has been found guilty of any of the following will not be allowed to volunteer in our program:
“(a) A listed offense, as defined in section 2 of the sex offenders registration act, 1994 PA 295, MCL 28.722
(b) Child abuse or neglect
(c) A felony involving harm or threatened harm to an individual”

MANDATORY REPORTING
All staff members and volunteers in our program are mandatory reporters. This means that we are required by law to report concerns of child abuse and/or neglect to children’s protective services.

HOURS, DAYS, AND MONTHS OF OPERATION:

  • The before and after school program begins on the first day of school. 9/3/2019
  • The before and after school program will end on the last day of school. (tentatively 6/10/2020)

Before School Program
After School Program
6:45 am - start of the school day
End of the school day - 5:30 p.m.
*Children are welcome to be picked up and dropped off anytime during operating hours. 


SNOW DAYS, HALF DAYS, AND VACATION
These programs follow the school calendar providing before and after school care every day that school starts at its normal time, and after school care every day that school dismisses at its normal time. We are not open on snow days or vacation days. There may be occasional half days. We will hold an afternoon program for a half day IF there is enough interest to make it cost effective. Children would need to bring their own lunch on these half days. 

MEALS AND SNACKS

  •  A nutritious snack meeting the Federal Food Program guidelines is served daily at the After School Program, there is no extra charge for this snack.
  • Breakfast is offered by the school, you will be charged by the school for this meal.
  • If a half day program is offered, parents will be responsible for providing their child with a lunch. 
  • “Sandy Knoll Elementary is a Peanut/Tree Nut Aware School. Recognizing the potential danger of anaphylaxis associated with peanut/nut allergies, we ask your help in trying to minimize these items. Cross contamination also presents a danger and we therefore ask that all snacks in classrooms identified as peanut/tree-nut free be pre-packaged and clearly labelled as being made/processed in a peanut/tree nut free manner. We do not allow bakery items or home-made classroom snacks.”

TUITION RATES AND FEES
A non-refundable enrollment fee of $10/family will be charged annually and is due upon receipt of the enrollment package. 

Daily Rate 
Full-Time (Weekly Rate)
Before School
$10/session
$45/week
After School
$10/session
$45/week
Both Before and After School
$18/day
$80/week
Drop in Care will be added if space is available at a rate of $12/session. 
(Drop In care is defined as any care that is scheduled after the bi-weekly deadline)
Half Day sessions (when available) will be billed at $20/session.
If you need less than an hour of care, care may be scheduled at the rate of $5/session.  In order to qualify for this rate, care must be prescheduled, and will only be offered for care that is less than an hour per session.

PAYMENTS AND CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE
  • Because we are tuition based, timely payments are necessary to support our program. 
  • Payment is expected biweekly at the time of scheduling. (No later than Wed at 5:30 pm).
  • Failure to make timely payments as arranged will result in your child not being scheduled to attend the program. Late payments/schedules may be accepted at the drop in rate if space is available. 
  • Payments can be made via cash, check, and debit/credit card. We can also accept payments via a wide range of online money transfer apps/ACH. Please ask for more information if you are interested in making your payments this way.

We accept MDHHS Child Care assistance payments. Those meeting the requirements for this assistance need to contact your caseworker to file the necessary paperwork. You are responsible for full payment until we receive payments from MDHHS. When payments are received, your account will be credited. You are responsible for any balance that is not covered by this assistance. Please note that even if you have 100% coverage of a $0 Family Contribution (FC), you will still have a co-pay because MDHHS pays hourly and we charge a flat rate. MDHHS pays a portion for every hour that your child is in care. Your co-pay will be the remainder of your daily rate minus the amount that MDHHS pays. Please ask staff if you have any further questions.

  • If you qualify for military or tribal assistance, we are happy to complete the necessary paperwork to become a certified site to receive payments. Please let us know. (Our other location is already certified). 
  • We are also happy to work with you if you qualify for any other form of child care assistance payments that we can become certified to accept. 
  • Any check that is returned NSF, will be charged an additional $25 fee and care will not be provided until another form of payment has been received. 

ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURE
  • Any child, eligible for kindergarten (including junior K) up to 12 years old, may enroll in our Before and After School Program. 
  • Please sign and complete the Child Information Card. We need 1 form per child. It is VERY important that you provide ALL requested information on this form to ensure the well-being of your child and also to comply with licensing rules. (We do not have access to the school’s records such as immunizations or insurance information)
  • Please complete the Child in Care Form (on the back of the Child Information Card)
  • Please complete the All About Me Form.
  • All enrollment forms will apply to both the before and after school programs in addition to any half days that may be offered.
  • All care is prepaid when it is scheduled. Care will not be provided for a schedule if it is not accompanied by the proper payment.
  • Enrollment will be available during the school’s open house. If you are unable to attend, please contact the program director to schedule a time to complete the enrollment. 

SCHEDULING

  • Parents are not required to have a set schedule or a set number of days to use the program. 
  • You are only charged for the days/times that you schedule to use the program.
  • Schedules along with payment are due biweekly on Wednesdays by 5:30 pm
  • If your schedule is consistent, you only need to fill out the schedule form once. To keep your schedule, you must make timely biweekly payments no later than 5:30 pm on Wednesdays.  (You may change your schedule at anytime before you pay for it by submitting a new schedule form.)
  • It is essential that your child’s teacher is also given a copy of the schedule.
  • If schedules vary, written reminders for children and teachers on attending days will minimize confusion and potential problems regarding a child’s whereabouts.
  • Schedules for less than an hour of care receive a special discounted rate. If you schedule for less than an hour of care, your child can only attend for less than an hour of care. This means that for the Before School Program, children may only be dropped off after 8 am. For the After School Program, they must be picked up prior to 4:45 pm. 
  • Schedules are filled on a first come, first served basis. If your schedule varies, we will do our very best to accommodate your needs, but we are limited to 50 children at a time. 
  • If you find that you need to change your schedule after you have submitted and paid for it, please let us know. If space is available, you may be able to add sessions at the $12/session drop in rate. You may also be able to upgrade your less than an hour sessions to a full session at the drop in rate if space is available. 

TRANSPORTATION
We do not provide transportation. Program staff cannot give your child a ride home. Please do not ask them to do so.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS

  • Please label your child’s personal belongings. Any belongings not labelled and left at the Before and After School Programs will be added to the school’s lost and found box.
  • Personal Cell Phones, Electronics, and Valuable items are not permitted to be used during the Before and After School Program. It is recommended that these items are not brought to school, and if they are, they must remain in a child’s backpack.  
  • Please make sure that your child enters our program ready for the day with the proper clothing for both indoor and outdoor activities. 

PICK UP AND DROP OFF PROCEDURES

  • The before school program opens at 6:45 am. Please do not attempt to drop your child off prior to this time. The door will be locked and you will not be granted access to the building prior to this time.
  • Please park in one of the parking lots on the 6th street side of the school. Remember that you may not leave a car unattended in the drop off loop. 
  • A member of our staff will greet you at the front door of the school to let you in. IF you do not see a staff member at the door, please wait a moment or call/text the program cell phone at (906) 361-2275. (If it is prior to 6:45 am, a staff member will not come to the door)
  • A parent/authorized caregiver must walk his/her child(ren) into the school and sign the child/children IN for the Before School Program EVERY DAY! Children cannot be dropped off in the parking lot.
  • Per State of Michigan Child Care Licensing Regulations and Our Insurance Policy, we are unable to be responsible for children outside of our operating times. Your children must be dropped off and/or picked up during our operating times. (6:45-9 am and 3:45 - 5:30 pm)
  • Late Pick Up Fees: There will be a charge of $10 for the first 5 minutes that you are late to pick up/drop off your child and an additional $1 for each minute thereafter. (According to our time card clock). For those of you receiving child care assistance, this late pick up fee and extra time is not covered by MDHHS. Repeated violations of our pick up policy may result in termination from the program. 
  • Early/Late Fees for the discounted short-term care rate: If you schedule your child for less than an hour of care, your child may only attend for less than an hour. If you are early to the before school program, you may not be able to drop your child off until their scheduled time. If space is available to accept your child early, you will be charged a $10 early drop off fee plus the $12 drop in rate for the session. If you are late to pick up your child from the After School Program, you will be charged a late fee of $10 plus the $12 drop in rate for the session. These fees are due immediately at drop off/pick up. Staffing schedules are based on the schedule you provide.  
  • Violations of the drop off/pick up times for the short term care rate may result in your ability to participate in the discounted rate option to be revoked and/or termination from the before and after school program. 
  • A parent/authorized caregiver must walk into the school when they pick up his/her child and sign the child OUT of the program EVERY DAY! A child cannot walk home alone after the program. 
  • Parents or legal guardians of enrolled children may designate additional adults to pick up their child(ren) by adding them to the Child Information Card. Any person picking a child up MUST be listed on the Child Information Card.  
  • All persons picking up children, including parents and/or guardians must provide the staff with a valid form of picture identification.
  • Program staff must receive written notes or phone messages from the parent when someone other than a parent will be picking up their child. Other authorized adults may be added to the child’s enrollment form throughout the year if needed.

ILLNESS

  • We adhere to the same illness policy as the school:  “If a child becomes ill, parents will be notified. No student will be permitted to attend or remain in school if they are acutely ill, they have a fever of 100 degrees, they are vomiting, they have diarrhea, they have a severe cough, or an infectious rash. Communicable diseases must be reported to the school including measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever, conjunctivitis (pink eye), mononucleosis, head lice, scabies, MRSA, and influenza.” 
  • We are unable to care for children who become ill, and require prompt pick up. If you are unable to pick your child up in a timely fashion, we require that you have a back-up emergency person who is authorized on your child’s information card to pick up your child. 
  • In order to return to care after being ill, a child must be able to participate in all daily activities. (This includes time outdoors). 
  • When a child has been ill, they must remain out of the program for a full 24 hours after the last symptom of illness.
MEDICATIONS

  • Our program prefers not to administer medication. We ask that parents provide medications on a schedule outside of our program operating times. 
  • In the rare event that medication is necessary during our program operating times, or the need for medication (lifesaving inhalers, epi-pen,....) You must provide a medication authorization form, available from the program director.   
  • All lotions, ointments, and creams are considered medication by licensing. Our program will use and apply sunscreen and/or insect repellent if it is provided by the parent and authorized with the proper medication form. 

ABSENCES

  • If your child is scheduled for care, but will not be in attendance, it is the parent’s responsibility to notify the program director in addition to the school.
  • To report an absence to the program director, you may email (childcentralstationllc@gmail.com) OR call/text 906 361 2275
  • All scheduled care is non-refundable. If care is cancelled due to school closure your account will be credited towards the following 2 week period. 

CHILD DISCIPLINE
The term discipline often has a negative connotation, and we prefer to refer to how we work with children as child guidance. We know that children need consistency in expectations, and that all behavior is a form of communication. 

To keep things consistent, we utilize the Sandy Knoll Elementary School Policy on School Wide Expectations and Student Conduct:
“We share three important school-wide expectations at Sandy Knoll-- Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible. As a part of the school learning community, students are expected to act in a safe, respectful, and responsible manner toward others, themselves, and property. Students can demonstrate these positive behavior traits in several ways:

  1. Students will think first before acting
  2. Students will keep hands, feet, and all other objects to themselves
  3. Students will act in a courteous manner toward adults and other students
  4. Students will always follow directions
  5. Students will use appropriate voice levels (0-no talking, 1-whisper voice, 2-indoor conversation voice, 3-presentation voice, 4-outdoor voice)
  6. Students will respect all property”

As a licensed childcare program, we are also mandated to have a discipline policy and we must follow the state rule:
“R400.8140 Discipline
Rule 140. (1) Positive methods of discipline that encourage self-control, self-direction, self-esteem, and cooperation shall be used.
(2) All of the following means of punishment shall be prohibited:
  1. Hitting, spanking, shaking, biting, pinching, or inflicting other forms of corporal punishment.
  2. Restricting a child’s movement by binding or tying him or her
  3. Inflicting mental or emotional punishment such as humiliating, shaming or threatening a child.
  4. Depriving a child of meals, snacks, rest, or necessary toilet use.
  5. Excluding a child from outdoor play or gross motor activities
  6. Excluding a child from daily learning learning experiences
  7. Confining a child in an enclosed area, such as a closet, locked room, box, or similar cubicle.
(3) Non-severe and developmentally appropriate discipline or restraint may be used when reasonably necessary, based on a child’s development, to prevent a child from harming himself or herself or to prevent a child from harming other persons or property, excluding those forms of punishment prohibited by subrule (2) of this rule.”

This list of prohibited forms of punishment also apply to parents when they are present at our program. 

We strive to form solid relationships with children and to guide them to make better choices that lead to positive outcomes. The child has an opportunity to learn what is expected, and they gain a strong sense of self and pride in managing their own behaviors. They ultimately learn that although they may not always have control of their emotions, they always have a choice of how to act upon how they are feeling. Children are encouraged to “use their words” and to communicate in order to problem solve situations. We understand that this will look very different based upon the developmental stage and the amount of opportunity that children have been given to be active problem solvers. We respect all children, right where they are at developmentally and work to model and scaffold skills in this area.

Our staff does not believe in Time-Out, instead we focus on “Time-In.” When a child is struggling, it is our job to support them. We know that children will test boundaries, and sometimes will have a hard time remembering what is and is not appropriate. Time-In allows the child and the caregiving member of our staff to work together to find a solution to the situation. It can involve a discussion, calming techniques (such as deep breathing or sensory play), redirection of activity to something more productive that meets the same need, and a sense of teamwork and cooperation to find the best solution moving forward. 

When a child is struggling, or we observe behaviors that are concerning we may:

  1. Discuss the situation with the child, asking for more information to get to the root cause of the behavior.
  2. Distract the child’s attention from the activity that is concerning to a more constructive option.
  3. Brainstorm, either individually with the child or as a group to determine what solutions or options may exist.
  4. Remove the child from the source of conflict (or the source of conflict from the child) until a mutually agreed upon solution can be found. 
  5. Children are given the opportunity to choose. Specifically, a child will be given the option to do something necessary on their own or if they would like assistance with the task.
  6. Assist the child in finding a “safe space” to cool down, refocus and start again. 

If we continue to see behavioral issues or have concerns, parents/guardians will be contacted.  Additionally, if behavior is of a serious concern (above a level one infraction) we default to the Marquette Area Public Schools Discipline Plan and Code of Conduct for Elementary Schools and the principal will be involved in our discussion. 

ACCIDENTS, INJURIES, INCIDENTS

  • Minor injuries are treated with the proper first aid. All of our caregivers are certified in basic first aid and will provide the recommended washing/cleaning, and bandaging of minor cuts, scrapes, and scratches. Minor bumps and bruises may be treated with an ice pack. Whenever first aid is applied, parents will receive a text or email with information pertaining to injury and first aid given. 
  • In the event of a moderate injury, parents will be notified and consulted in regard to the situation and a plan of action will be determined together.
  • In the event of a serious accident or major injury, staff will call 9-1-1. Parents will be notified as soon as possible. (It is very important to keep your child’s information card up to date with your contact information in the unlikely case of an emergency). Parents will be responsible for any cost of ambulance service or emergency medical treatment. 

EMERGENCIES

  • The evacuation route and plan to deal with emergencies can be found posted in each licensed classroom. 
  • In the event of an emergency, parents will be contacted through the school’s communication system, via text, phone and/or email. 
  • In the event of a lock down, students will remain in care until the lock down is cleared. 
  • All students and staff are required  to participate in emergency evacuation drills. 


LICENSING RULES AND REGULATIONS
We are a licensed child care facility and are bound by all of the rules and regulations set forth by our state licensing agency and public acts pertaining to child care programs. You can access these rules and regulations by visiting: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_63294_5529_49572_50051---,00.html

LICENSING NOTEBOOK

  • The licensing notebook contains all of the licensing inspection and special investigation reports and related corrective action plans since May 28, 2010. 
  • The licensing notebook is available to parents during regular business hours
  • Licensing inspection and special investigation reports from at least the past 2 years are available on the child care licensing website at www.michigan.gov/michildcare. 

COMMUNICATION

  • Open communication is key to a quality program and partnership for your child’s care. If there are ever any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can reach the program director, Amy Ahola at 906 361-2275 or you can email her at childcentralstationllc@gmail.com
  • If you would prefer to speak in person, please call or email to set up a time.
  • A list serve has been set up for announcements and reminders from the program staff
  • A Shutterfly Share Site has been set up to share photos and additional program information. This site is password protected and you will receive an invitation to the site after enrollment. We will post program photos and you will have an opportunity to order photos and products from Shutterfly at any time. (We do not receive any benefit from you ordering, nor are you required to do so. This site is a very easy way for us to share some of the activities of our days with you.) 

PROGRAM WITHDRAWAL

If you are withdrawing from the program, please inform us as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns with our program, please let us know so that we can address it. 

FAILURE TO ABIDE BY PROGRAM POLICIES AND REGULATIONS

Repeated failure to abide by the Before and After School Policies and Regulations will result in your child’s removal from the program.  



As a quality before and after school program provider, we strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment. This can only occur when families and staff work as a team. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of caring for your child. We look forward to a GREAT school year!

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