Parent Handbook

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark 10:14)

About Our Program

We offer a play-based program that is developmentally appropriate, licensed by the State of California, and is in alignment with the California Early Learning Foundation. Children learn through play. Through engaging themes, we design activities and experiences to encourage growth in areas such as: fine and gross motor, cognitive skills, math, science, language and literacy, visual and performing arts, health and safety and social and emotional development. Our goal is to foster a positive sense of self, develop positive social relationships, build a strong foundation for their kindergarten experience, and help children to become critical thinkers. Our church’s core values, love of God and neighbor, acceptance, respect, trust, forgiveness and grace are learned through bible stories, songs, morning prayer, grace at meals, games and activities.

Mission & Philosophy 

Little Lights Preschool is an extension of First United Methodist Church’s educational and outreach ministries with age-appropriate Christian values that are shared through our curriculum.  We believe that the love and example of Christ is experienced through others, and we strive to show this love and acceptance to children and their parents. Our preschool is a caring, kind and loving preschool that provides a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn and grow in every area of their development.

We are located in an east Turlock neighborhood with smaller class sizes and welcoming environment. We are committed to serving the families of the entire Turlock community.

Our Commitment to Families

Parents and families are our partners in the educational process at Little Lights Preschool. We strive to create an inclusive school community by encouraging parent/grandparent/sibling involvement in field trips, class activities, and school events.

School Policies

Registration Process

Registration for August classes will be held in March of the prior year. Registration is on a first come/first serve basis and a nonrefundable $100 application fee is required to hold your child’s spot. Every child entering Little Lights Preschool must have an updated physical form, current flu vaccination and current immunization documentation signed and dated by his/her pediatrician. Children must have their physicals updated yearly. California no longer accepts religious exemption.

Tuition Policy

Tuition payments are due by the 10th of every month. Payments that are not received within two weeks of the scheduled invoice dates will be charged an additional $15.00 per week. A non-sufficient funds fee of $30.00 will be added to your account for any returned checks. If payment is not received within two months, the child will be asked to stay home until payment is made. If you have extenuating circumstances that make payment of tuition difficult at any time, please contact the director immediately to discuss a payment plan. We accept cash or checks for payment. A 30-day notice will be given of any fee changes.

Refund Policy

Refund Policy If your child needs services that our preschool cannot provide, and the services are provided by another center, then a refund will be granted. The amount to be refunded will be determined by how long the child was enrolled and when the child will be leaving the program. For example, if the child attended school for six months, and on the fifth month it is determined that the child should attend another program to receive services, then only the last month will be refunded.

Program Withdrawal

You may withdraw your child from the program at any time, but you must give written notice 30 days before withdrawal. You will be responsible for paying the 30 days of tuition if you withdraw your child from the program without 30 day written notice. Readmittance to the program will depend on space availability and whether the account is current. 

Days of Operation

Little Lights Preschool is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For school holidays, we follow the Turlock Unified School District calendar.

Snack/Lunch

Children must bring a nutritious snack and lunch including a drink to preschool every day.  We recommend that lunch bags contain an ice pack to keep foods from spoiling. Healthy food choices will be modeled and encouraged at school. 

The health and safety of our children is of utmost importance.Please cut foods, particularly grapes, into small pieces to prevent choking.

Many children have food allergies.  We will talk with parents about all their child’s known allergies and other special needs.    We will make every effort to accommodate the parents’ request regarding allergies or any other medical condition

Birthdays

We enjoy celebrating birthdays at Little Lights Preschool! Please notify teachers if you plan to bring a special snack for your child’s class that day (please stick to fruits and vegetables). This is also a great time to consider donating a book in your child’s name to the class for the occasion. Parents are welcome to join us at a convenient time for this special celebration. You are welcome to distribute party invitations at school as long as the entire class is invited.

Toilet Training

Our program encourages overall good hygiene practices, including toileting and hand washing. All students in the 3 year-old and 4-5 year-old classes are expected to be bathroom trained unless there are extenuating circumstances. If your child is not toilet trained, please discuss this with the director.

Clothing

Please dress your child in comfortable, washable clothing. They will be using messy materials such as paint, glue, and play dough. Please bring a labeled zip lock bag with a seasonally appropriate change of clothing on the first day of school, including extra socks and underwear. Please replace clothing as it gets used. Clothes will be returned at the end of the year.

Field Trips

We enhance curriculum by taking field trips throughout the year. A permission slip will be provided one week before each trip. Parents or caregivers will be asked to accompany their children when possible. Teachers will need signed, dated, permission slips before the trip. Some trips may require an additional fee. Little Lights Preschool does not provide transportation of any kind. Transportation to and from field trips is to be conducted by the parents and guardians.

Absence/Illness/Medical Exams

If your child has a sore throat or fever, please keep him/her home at least 24 hours after symptoms and fever are gone. If your child becomes ill at school, you will be called to pick up him/her. Please notify us if your child contracts a contagious illness so that we may notify the other families in the school (chicken pox, pink eye, etc.). A physical exam is required by California State law in order for your child to be admitted to our school. It must be current within one year and show that all inoculations are up to date. No child will be admitted without a current completed form. It must accompany your child on or before the first day of school. 

Incidental Medical Service Plan

The Little Lights Preschool staff prefers not to administer any medications while a child is in our care. However, we realize sometimes it is necessary to do so for the health and welfare of the child. 

Prescription Medications – These will be administered only if the medication is in its original container with a prescription label attached. The doctor recommended dosage must be on the label as well as the child’s name. A consent form, which will be placed in the child’s file, must be filled out. If a change occurs in dosage, a new label must be obtained. 

Over The Counter Medications – OTC medications will be administered only if the medication is in its original container. A consent form must be filled out and will be placed in your child’s file. Additionally, a note from the prescribing doctor on his/her letterhead with a phone number, doctor signature, office stamp, and the following information is required: duration to be taken, start date, stop date, amount to be taken, and time schedule for taking the medication. 

Other Medications (Including Epi Pens) – Epi Pens, Inhalers, and Nebulizers will be given with a prescription and according to doctor instructions, require written parental consent and an individual plan. In addition, Epi Pens require an allergy list that is to be kept in the child’s file along with a list of reactions to look for. If an Epi Pen is administered, parents will be called. 

Keeping Record – The Consent for Emergency Medical Treatment form, and written instructions from the child’s physician must be provided and maintained. Staff training is to be provided by the child’s doctor, and must be written instructions or a written referral to a website. The parent is responsible for obtaining training materials for the childcare staff. A record of medication service log with the times that medications were administered will be kept in the child’s file. 

Storage – Storage of mediation will be kept in a lock box and stored in the office. Medication that requires refrigeration will be kept in a lock box in the refrigerator. The parent is responsible for collecting medications at the end of the day. 

Administration – Little Lights Preschool staff will administer all medications. Medications will be brought to field trips or to an evacuation due to an emergency situation in a lock box if deemed necessary. 

Precautions – Gloves will be worn while administering medication to insure no potential exposure to blood or body fluids. Hands will be washed immediately after removal and disposal of gloves, and disposal of used instruments in approved containers. A note will be attached to your child’s daily sign in sheet if an incidental medical service was provided for your child

Transportation – Little Lights Preschool does not provide transportation of any kind.

Fostering a strong and vibrant school community is an important priority at Little Lights Preschool. We value parent involvement and encourage parent/family connections through fun school events. Reading a story to your child’s class or volunteering in your child’s class are ways to participate in your child’s education.

We value communication. Each family will receive a weekly newsletter from their children’s teachers, as well as school wide communication via email from the director. Please be sure to check your email on a regular basis to be informed. There is a parent and community bulletin board located near the entrance of the school.

All families are encouraged to join us in October for our “Parents Night” open house. Teachers, Director, and Pastor, will share important information about what to expect in the coming school year and are available to answer questions. It is a time to meet the teachers, see the school and connect with other families. 

Parents and teachers will meet twice a year to share your child’s school accomplishments. Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held in November and April. You will be notified of the time schedule in advance to set up an appointment with your child’s teacher. Parents are always welcome to contact any staff member at any time to discuss questions, concerns or ideas, by phone or email. Please check your child’s bin daily for their artwork and any communication from the school to you.

Sign In & Sign Out Procedure

Volunteers, staff, and children must be signed in and out daily with full signatures. 

No one under 18 will be allowed to sign for a child. 

A table will be set up by each classroom for sign in and sign out procedures. Parents are to sign their children in and out daily with full signatures and date and time of arrival and dismissal. 

Guns and weapons, including legal or licensed, are not permitted on the property.

Drop-Off & Dismissal 

Please help us to ensure that your children are safe by following these policies: 

  • Children are to be escorted to and from their class by an adult. 
  • Children are dismissed to adults who are authorized to pick them up. 
  • No child will be released to a person not authorized in writing. 
  • Carpools are formed on a voluntary basis. Written notification of children and parents involved must be given to the teacher and director. Any changes in these driving arrangements must be made in writing. 
  • Children must be supervised by parents or a caregiver at all times after dismissal. 
  • Children are not allowed to be in the building unsupervised after school hours. 
  • Extra care should be taken in the parking lot to ensure that everyone is safe. 

We understand that unfortunate things happen that occasionally will make you late for pick up. Please call the school, teacher or director, as children don’t like to be the last one left waiting. 

However, if you are consistently late picking up your child, you will be charged one ($1.00), for every minute you are late.

Discipline Policy

The goal of discipline is to help the child develop inner controls so that he/she may move toward appropriate social behavior. This is the opportunity for the children to develop the skills of self-discipline, self-control and how to resolve conflicts. These skills need to be taught in a safe, caring and positive environment where children can practice their emerging social skills and be successful. The school advocates our Christian values and the golden rule “treat others as we would like to be treated.” Teachers use positive guidance to redirect, plan ahead to prevent problems, encourage and model appropriate behavior, maintain consistent and clear rules, and involve children in problem solving to foster self-regulation. We encourage children to respect and care for other people, the environment, and personal property. 

Children learn what is safe, acceptable behavior (i.e., hands on your own body, no running in school, kind words, etc.). When disputes arise, the teacher will encourage a taking out process among those involved. The goal of this talking out process will be to acknowledge feelings and find solutions using children’s ideas whenever possible. 

A child who may be overly aggressive or is repeatedly destructive of other children’s work may be asked to make an activity choice in another area if talking through has not resulted in better self-control. 

If a conflict continues repeatedly, parents will be asked to meet with teachers to discuss techniques to remedy the situation. If the child’s behavior does not improve after everything possible had been done, for the safety and welfare of all children, Little Lights Preschool reserves the right to suspend and /or withdraw the child from the school. 

Biting

Biting is a normal state of development during early childhood. Biting occurs for many reasons whether it is teething, a lack of language, frustration, attention getting, being overly tired or simply just to get a reaction from someone. Our policy on biting: 

  1. If your child bites one time and the skin is not broken, the parents will be notified. 
  2. If your child bites two times (as long as the skin on the other person is not broken) on any one day then your child will be sent home for the remainder of that day. 
  3. If at any time the skin is broken due to a bite, then the child will be asked to go home immediately.

Termination Policy

If your child is not profiting from the preschool experience for physical, social, or emotional reasons; the child’s file (medical history, emergency form, etc.) is not kept current; or tuition payments are 30 days delinquent and no arrangements have been made he/she will be terminated from the program.

Compliant Procedure

In order to maintain the highest standards in our program, most concerns with childcare programs can be held by: 

  1. Discussing the problem with the classroom teacher 
  2. Discussing the problem with Little Lights Director 
  3. Discussing the problem with a member of the Board of Directors 

If you have talked to the staff and program director and the Board of Directors and still have a concern about the child care program, you may call the Complaints Line at (844) 538-8766 in Fresno.

Inspection Authority

According to Title 22, Division 12, Chapter 1 of the Manual of Policies and Procedures for Community Care Licensing, The Licensing Agency has the authority to: 

  • Inspect facilities that provide child care and supervision 
  • Interview Children 
  • Interview Staff 
  • Review Records 

Child Protective Services

As mandated by state law, Little Lights Preschool Staff must and will report suspected instances of child abuse to Child Protective Services. All Little Lights Preschool staff are mandated reporters.  

Policy for Reporting Abuse & Neglect

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act 1980 (CARNA) defines child abuse as; physical abuse, sexual abuse (including sexual assault, and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect (including both acts and omissions). 

  • Physical abuse is defined (PC11165.6) as physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child or intentionally injuring a child. 
  • Child sexual abuse (PC11165.1) includes sexual assault or sexual exploitation of anyone under the age of 18. Sexual assault includes sex acts with children, intentional masturbation in the presence of children, and child molestation. Sexual exploitation includes preparing, selling, or distributing pornographic materials involving children. 
  • Willful cruelty or unjustified punishment (PC11165.3) includes inflicting or permitting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or the endangerment of the child's person or health. 
  • Unlawful corporal punishment or injury (PC11165.4) willfully inflicted, resulting in a traumatic condition. 
  • Neglect (PC11165.2) of a child, whether "severe" or "general" must also be reported if the perpetrator is a person for the child's welfare. It includes both acts omissions that harm or threaten to harm the child's health or welfare. 
  • General neglect means the failure of a caregiver of a child to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical, or supervision, where no physical injury to the child has occurred. Severe neglect means the intentional failure of a caregiver to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care where injury has occurred or is likely to occur. 
  • Severe neglect also includes those situations of neglect where any person having the care or custody of a child willfully causes or permits the person or health of the child to be place in a situation such that his or her person or health is endangered.

Penal Code (PC)11166[a] A mandated reporter has knowledge of or observes a child in his/her professional capacity or within the scope of his/her employment whom he/she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect must file a report. Reports must be immediately or as soon as practically possible by phone. A written report must be forwarded within 36 hours after the phone call. The report must be submitted on a Department of Justice form (SS 8572).

The report must be made to a County Welfare Department/Child Protective Services, probation department, or to a sheriff's department. 

California County Emergency Response Child Abuse Reporting Telephone Number: (209) 385-3104 (Merced) 

Mandated reporters are required to give their names when making a report. The reporter's identity is kept confidential. Reports of suspected child abuse are also confidential. Mandated reporters have immunity from state criminal or civil liability for reporting as required. This is true even if the mandated reporter acquired the knowledge, or suspicion of the abuse or neglect, outside his/her professional capacity or scope of employment.

Emergency Protocol 

Medical Emergencies

All staff at Little Lights Preschool is CPR, First Aid Certified and Epi Pen trained. In the event of a minor medical emergency (minor laceration, abrasion, contusion, sprain, or insect sting), the teacher will administer first aid to the child as required. If further assistance is needed, we will contact you, the physician, and/or dentist. All incidents will be reported to parents or guardians. An incident report will be signed and sent home and one will be placed in the child’s file. 

Non-Medical Emergencies

In the event of a national, state or local crisis, Little Lights Preschool, in conjunction with the Turlock Fire and Police Departments, will follow these procedures: 

Fire Drills Evacuation will be through the closest exit. Staff will be responsible for supervising the children under their care and following an attendance check. Teachers will take with them the attendance sheet and first aid bag with emergency card information. We will meet on the front lawn of the church in the corner by the church sign. Children are to stay with their teachers. 

Shelter in Place Emergencies Some emergencies may require staff and children to shelter in place and use an interior room or space for temporary shelter from a hazard. Teachers will carry the first aid bag with the attendance sheets, and emergency card information. 

Evacuation In the event the facility must be evacuated for a civil emergency we would be directed to the parsonage, which is located at: 1772 Arbor Way, Turlock, CA 95380 

Earthquake The teachers and children will get under the table away from the windows. In the event we have to evacuate the building, teachers will lead the children out to the front lawn of the church in the corner by the church sign. Teachers will carry the attendance sheet, the first aid bag and emergency card information and children are to remain with their class.

Parent Checklist

This checklist has been provided to assist you with keeping track of the required admission forms for your child.

Child’s name: ____________________________  Age: _______

_______Identification and Emergency Information

_______ Child’s Pre-admission Health History –Parent’s Report

_______ Immunization Record (Blue) 

_______ Consent for Medical Treatment 

_______ Acknowledgement of Parent’s Rights Notification 

_______ Personal Rights 

_______ Parent Handbook Signature 

_______ Photo Permission Slip 

_______ School Directory Permission Slip 

_______ Field Trip Permission Slip 

_______ Physician’s Report (with TB screening)

Policy Agreement

Please initial:

_____I have read the tuition policy, understand that I will be given a 30-day notice of any fee changes and I agree to it. 

_____I have read the refund policy, understand and agree to it. 

_____I have read the termination policy, understand and agree to it. 

_____I have read the discipline policy, understand and agree to it. 

_____I have read the biting policy, understand and agree to it. 

_____I have read the inspection authority policy, (title 22, page 13, the Community Care Licensing Agency has the authority), and I agree to it. 

 

Parent/Guardian Signature:________________________   Date:_________

 

 

 

Little Lights Preschool Director:______________________ Date:_________

Liability, Insurance, & Photo Release

*Please complete and return to the director

Child’s Name:_______________________

Parent’s Name:______________________

Date:________

I consent to have my child participate in walks or rides away from Little Lights Preschool for field trips. I also authorized the staff to call an emergency ambulance in case of accident or acute illness, and to allow for possible emergency and surgical care in case his/her doctor, or I am not immediately available.

Parent/Guardian Signature_____________________

I consent to having my child’s photograph used on the Little Lights Preschool website, newspaper, Facebook page, and in the preschool.

Parent/Guardian Signature_____________________

I also consent to have my home address and contact information, phone and email put in our Preschool directory.

Parent/Guardian Signature_____________________

Licensing No. 503808972