Thank you for enrolling your child in Apple Child Care! We are committed to partnering with parents to support their child’s growth and development. We strive to understand each individual child so that we can best respond to their individual needs. Our goal is to create a warm and nurturing environment where all children feel accepted, safe and cared about. Emotional, intellectual, physical, creative and social development is at the core of our policies, procedures and daily practices.
We recognize that that parents are the most important and influential people in their children’s lives and welcome parents to participate in our programs. We have an open-door policy for our parents. We hope to develop a trusting relationship with parents so that we can communicate openly. We value your input and feedback.
The information and policies in the Parent Handbook provide parents with important information about Apple Child Care and informs parents of their responsibilities and the responsibilities of the centre. We encourage parents to be involved in the ongoing review and development of our policies and procedures.
If you have any questions beyond the scope of this handbook, please let us know.
The Apple Childcare Team
Apple Childcare’s mission is to provide the highest quality of care for children and families.
It is the central responsibility of staff to ensure that all children are cared for in a way that meets their basic needs. We recognize that feeling safe, accepted and supported are what all children need to thrive. Our centre itself is designed to be welcoming. Large windows let in plenty of natural light and children can observe nature at any time of day. Our walls are painted in colors that promote a feeling of calmness, and we have ample space for children to explore. Caregivers take the time to get to know and develop positive relationships with each child and notice the unique qualities and interests of our children so that they can respond in a way that is meaningful to each individual child. We believe in a holistic approach to childcare; if a child feels welcomed and accepted they will be more likely to engage in new experiences, and social interactions which will inevitably aid in their overall skills development. We encourage children to express their own ideas and feelings by helping them find the vocabulary to do so. We want each child to feel as though they are heard and valued. We strive to foster independence by allowing the children choices in their day to day routines. For instance, if a child would rather participate in an art project than do an activity with the group, we encourage them to do so.
Daily learning opportunities in line with the latest childhood development research are provided to stimulate the areas of gross motor, fine motor, social, emotional, language, math, science and creative expression. In line with recent early childhood philosophies such as the Reggio Emilia approach, we have designed our centre so that it is accessible for children. They can have freedom to choose and explore what they are interested in as the shelving units are built at a height where they can reach. The washrooms are attached to the main play area so that they can have the freedom to choose when they use them. Providing children with choices aids them in developing decision making and problem-solving skills, as they are less dependent on the adults in the room. Our space includes a variety of stimulating toys, games, puzzles, books, building blocks, art supplies, science equipment to give children many opportunities for child directed play, discovery and learning. Children will also have many opportunities for outdoor play and nature exploration.
Our care does not end with the children. We recognize that each child and their families are unique and we respect all forms of diversity. We hope that parents feel as welcome at our centre as your children do. We strive to have constant open communication with parents regarding the child’s experience at our centre, and hope that in turn you will feel comfortable in sharing any questions, concerns, comments or ideas that arise with us. If families need assistance beyond the scope of the daycare, we will do our best to help them find external resources to support the family.
- Provide a stimulating environment with a variety of toys and equipment.
- Provide interesting and well-illustrated reading materials.
- Provide opportunities for exploring, learning and social interactions through a wide variety of daily activities.
- Have ample indoor and outdoor space and daily outdoor play.
- Meet each child’s physical needs completely.
- Foster a friendly and welcoming attitude in our staff.
- Model active listening skills to children so they feel heard and to support them in building healthy social relationships.
- Care for children in a warm, affectionate manner and to let each child know how special she/he is.
- Implement and adhere to strict sanitation practices.
- Establish awareness among staff that ensure a safe environment.
- Constant evaluation of our program, environment and staff practices to ensure the best quality childcare possible.
Staff introductions are posted to give you a bit of information about the people caring for your children. All staff members are required to have some level of certification issued by the Government of Alberta. Staff educational backgrounds and experience varies. All staff are required to participate in professional development opportunities annually to continue their professional growth and keep up to date with current trends and best practices in early learning.
All staff must provide a criminal record check and vulnerable sector search. Staff will not be left alone with children until the required documentation is provided.
All staff must have valid first aid and CPR certification within the first 6 months of employment. Caregivers qualified in first aid and CPR are always on site. CPR and First Aid and criminal record checks must be renewed every three years.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Apple Childcare is open year-round from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday except for statutory holidays. Parents will be informed of upcoming holidays via posted notices and our newsletter.
CHILD CARE FEES
We have fee schedule in effect for the different age groups. Fees remain in effect regardless of absences due to illness or vacation. Fees for children starting or leaving during the middle of the month will be charged on a daily rate basis.
All fees are due and payable in advance on the 1st day of the month. At this time, fees may be paid in cash or cheque. NSF cheques will incur an additional fee of $25.00.
Subsidy is available for families who meet the government mandated criteria. The The Director can help with subsidy applications if required. Parents are required to pay half of the monthly fee until approval is obtained. Payment will be credited following approval. In addition, parents are required to pay any difference in centre fees and subsidy granted amounts (known as the Parent Portion). It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure your subsidy is up to date and active. If your subsidy expires, and is not renewed in time, you will be responsible for the full amount in monthly fees. If renewed and backdated your parent portion will be credited.
LATE PAYMENT OF FEES
Late charges will apply after the 5th day and termination of your reserved space may occur at the end of the month if payment is not received in full, unless prior arrangements with the Director have been made.
LATE PICK-UP FEES
Out of respect for the staff, parents are expected to arrive no later than 5:45pm so we can close the centre by 6:00pm. Parents will be charged a $10 fee if they arrive after 6:00pm in addition to $1.00 per minute. This fee is to be paid to the staff member that stayed late to look after the child.
TERMINATION OF CHILD CARE
By parent: A TWO-WEEK notice of withdrawal of a child from the daycare is required. Payment is due for the two-week notice period, whether or not your child is attending the daycare. Any outstanding fees must be paid on or before the child’s last day.
By the centre: If it is regretfully necessary for the centre to terminate care for a child or family, a two-week notice will be provided.
The following (including but not limited to) circumstances may result in termination:
- non-payment of fees (1 month or more)
- not providing the required documents
- lack of parental cooperation (regarding policies and procedures)
- inability to meet child’s needs at the centre
- inappropriate behavior of family members towards the staff
OPEN DOOR POLICY
We believe that children’s developmental success occurs in cooperation with their home and their interactions with places like our centre. We invite and encourage parents and guardians to find time to visit, witness, and participate in the centre. For example, we encourage parents to come eat lunch with their children or participate in circle time. Likewise, we recommend that you take part in the activities of the centre to encourage your child’s growth. Our doors will remain open to all parents and families and we welcome visits throughout the day!
WHAT TO BRING TO THE CENTRE
Families are required to provide personal items for their children (blankets, sippy cups if used, bottles, etc.) All personal items must be labeled with the child’s name. Bottles and sippy cups must be taken home daily for cleaning and blankets and nap toys are sent home for washing every Friday. The centre provides cot sheets and washes them weekly on the weekend. Each child has a designated cubby in which to store his/her belongings. Please discourage your child from bringing toys to the centre. We need to meet specific standards to ensure toys are safe an appropriate. There are plenty of toys at the centre. Toy days will be planned periodically when children will have the opportunity to bring a toy from home.
Children must wear appropriate clothing for indoor & outdoor play according to weather conditions. Children’s activities are varied throughout the day, including daily outdoor play. Light long-sleeved clothing will help protect children from the sun in the summer. Please keep in mind that playing often involves getting our clothes dirty.
Parents should provide the following items.
- Two full changes of clothing including undergarments for children under 3 and a full change of clothing for 3-5 years - in plastic bag
- Outdoor running shoes – no flop-flops, sandals, shoes without backs, open toed shoes or dressy shoes because they are not safe for outdoor play
- Indoor shoes that will stay at the centre – no cloth slippers
- A weekly supply of diapers and cream if required
- A napping blanket for children who nap
- A comfort toy if it helps your child fall asleep at nap time or is comforting to your child if he/she is distressed
- A hat during the summer months
- Sunscreen in the summer
- A jacket, raincoat and rubber boots in the summer
- Snow pants, toque, mittens, a neck warmer and warm winter boots in the cold months (scarves are discouraged for safety reasons – neck warmers can be used instead)
- Bottles of formula for infants clearly labelled – bottles should be glass to avoid the harmful effects of plastic
- All food for children under the age of 1 year clearly labelled – if food will be heated, glass containers are required for microwave use
DROP-OFF, PICK-UP & ATTENDANCE RECORDS
To help us keep the centre clean, please remove all footwear every time you enter the centre. Shoes are not allowed in the baby room except by staff who wear those shoes only in the baby room.
The person dropping off the child is required to sign the child in daily on the attendance sheet. Parents can share information with the staff at this time, for example, did the child eat breakfast, have a bowl movement, last diaper change, good night’s sleep or not, teething, any injuries, etc. The staff will do a health check at this time. If any injuries are reported by parents or observed by staff, it will be recorded.
The person picking up the child is required to sign out the child on the attendance sheet. The caregivers will share some information about the child’s day at this time. Parents of children in the in the Infant and Young Toddler Rooms will be provided with a daily Infant and Toddler Report.
RELEASE OF CHILDREN
Only the authorized parent(s) or others identified by the parents can pick up a child. Parents can provide the names of authorized pick-up persons on the child’s enrollment form. Parents are asked to call the centre when an alternate person will pick up their child, even when they are listed on the enrollment form. Parents may provide written notice of alternate pick-up persons at any time. If written notice cannot be provided, we will accept a phone call from parents. Under no circumstances can a child be released to an alternate person unless the parent has informed the centre. Daycare children will not be released to anyone under the age of 18 years unless the individual is the parent of the child. Staff are required to ask for identification if they do not know the person picking up the child.
ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
If a staff member suspects the person picking up the child is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Director will be notified & he/she will decide whether to call someone else to pick up the child. If the parent/guardian is uncooperative, the police will be called.
CHILD CUSTODY & ACCESS
Children will be released to parents and emergency contacts listed on the child’s registration form. Parents are required to inform the centre of any custody and access arrangements that are relevant during the hours the child is at the centre. If parental access is restricted in any way during daycare/OSC hours, legal documentation must be provided. Without a copy of a legal document detailing parental access, we cannot deny access to children by parents. It is important that parents have regular and clear communication with the Director regarding custody and access.
If one parent or a guardian has sole custody of a child and provides a legal document that clearly defines that the non-custodial parent does not have access during our operating hours, we will not release the child to a non-custodial parent. Should the situation arise where the non-custodial parent comes to pick the child up, we will ask for supporting documentation for access and contact the sole custodial parent and the police if necessary.
Information provided to Apple Childcare for enrollment or otherwise shall be considered confidential and shall not be used or made available to anyone outside of the daycare except as required by law and Child Care Licensing. All employees are required to complete a confidentiality agreement to pledge confidentiality related to written records of employee or participant information as well as discussions related to employees, volunteers, participants, families and children.
Apple Daycare will ensure that records are created, used, disposed of and filed in an appropriate manner compliant with relevant legislation.
COMMUNICATION WITH FAMILIES
Communication between our program and families is a vital component for a child’s success. Parents are encouraged to communicate directly with the caregivers in their child’s room. Parents are free to speak with the Director at any time. Following are examples of how we communicate with parents.
- verbal communication at drop-off and pick-up times
- daily Infant and Toddler report in the Infant and Young Toddler rooms
- parent board designed specifically for parent information
- parent-staff communication books
- phone calls when necessary
- informal notes
- face to face updates on child performance upon pick up
- anecdotal observations
- developmental screening
- accident or incident reports
We recognize that parents are the first and most important and influence in a child’s life. Apple Childcare has an open door policy. Parents are always welcome at the centre. Visitation would be best during child directed play time, lunch time, during special activities or at circle time, as these times allow for interactions with the children. After lunch, most children have a nap. Some ways you could be in involved are listed below.
We recognize that parents are the most important and influential people in their children’s lives. To support parents as partners, we encourage families to be involved. We have an open-door policy, allowing parents to visit and participate in our programs, fostering a sense of openness and inclusion. Parents/guardians are welcome to drop in for a visit anytime or phone to check in on their children. Parents are invited to join us on field trips and to participate in special activities at the centre. We strive to create an atmosphere where the families and children feel at home. Families are encouraged to provide us with feedback and suggestions and communicate with us about any concerns. Listed below are some ideas for parent participation.
- Share a special interest or talent with the children and/or staff
- Provide nutritious food ideas for menus &/or share a favorite healthy recipe
- Join your child in play or finishing an activity before going home at the end of the day
- Share your cultural experiences and celebrations with staff and children in the centre
- Share your ideas for programming, community excursions or visitors to enrich the children's program
- Donate materials for the program, such as recycled materials for art (paper, yarn, foil tart tins, buttons, fabric, etc.)
- Donate toys and equipment (dress-up items, old phones, hair rollers or an old curling iron for a beauty prop box, etc.)
- Be a field trip volunteer
- Read to children
- Invite grandparents, an aunt or uncle to visit the centre
- Share knowledge of resources with us
- Participate in an annual program review by completing parent surveys and providing specific feedback
- Help with repairs and maintenance
- Act as advisors to the daycare
- Review our policies or parent handbook & provide us with feedback or suggestions
Although the centre makes every attempt to offer quality care to all children and families, there may be occasions when parents have concerns. We encourage parents to bring their concerns to us so that we can work together to determine solutions. The centre will take appropriate actions to resolve all parent concerns in a timely manner.
Please talk your child’s primary caregiver regarding any questions, comments or concerns. The caregivers are with the children throughout the day and are in the best position respond to your questions. Parents can let the Director know about any concerns discussed with caregivers if they like.
The caregiver should respond appropriately to the parent’s concern by implementing the agreed upon solution. If the concern is not resolved, a meeting can be arranged with the Director, Caregiver and Parent to discuss and resolve the issue at hand.
If the concern is serious or the situation continues to be unresolved or the parent is not satisfied, the parent has the right to report the concern to Child Care Licensing at 780-422-0444.
INICIDENT & ACCIDENT REPORTS
In case of incidents, accidents and emergencies, parents are notified immediately via telephones or through our incident report forms when parents enter the centre. If the child needs immediate medical care, parents will be contacted immediately to inform them of the situation. If no parent or contact can be reached, the Centre will take all necessary actions to ensure the safety of the child. Parents are responsible for any applicable medical fees.
Incident/ Accident reports are completed by the staff that witness the event and are presented to be signed to both the director and parent. These forms are kept for our records within the child’s file. If you have concerns regarding injuries not reported by staff, these injuries must be brought to our attention.
Emergency numbers are posted within each room and in the director’s office. Aside from the emergency cards, each room contains a directory for all children under their care.
Developmental screening in early childhood settings can be very useful in the identification possible developmental delays. Early intervention and support for developmental concerns helps children reach their potential. Parents are provided with a permission form for formal developmental screening at the time of registration.
Children’s development is monitored regularly using formal and informal methods. Observations, documentation and the outcome of formal and informal developmental screening are shared with families. Children and families are supported in addressing any developmental concerns. Ongoing communication between the centre, the family and any other agencies involved with the child will enable us to work together to promote the child’s optimum development. The Centre welcomes participation of outside agencies to support the child, the family and the staff. Information will be shared only when parents have provided written permission.
FAMLY SUPPORT & REFERRALS & RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
If developmental delays are suspected or indicated through formal and informal observations, a recommendation will be made to the child’s parent for further screening. The Director will assist the family in locating resources as required. A record of referrals will be kept in the child’s file.
Information about resources for families and community information is in the front entrance. Resource lists on many topics is located at http://edmonton.cmha.ca/211-resource-lists/.
PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEO RECORDINGS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Parents are asked to sign a photo permission form for the use of pictures and recordings of their child that will be used only in the centre. Examples of how photos may be used include, but are not limited to displays of children’s play and learning, activities with children, photo albums, birthday displays, child identification on children’s contact information form, severe allergy or medical information form, etc. Recordings of a child may be used to document children’s interests, learning and development.
If we would like to use photos outside of the centre, written parental permission is required for photographs specifically for each occurrence. Only the Director is permitted to post any information related to the Centre on behalf of Apple Child Care.
The use of any photos taken at Apple Childcare, whether online or otherwise, is prohibited outside of the centre without prior approval from the Director and written permission from parents when photos include pictures of children.
The staff may use their personal cameras or their cell phones to take pictures for documentation and displays but pictures of children must be deleted from personal devices before the staff member leaves the Centre at the end of his/her shift. The pictures can be downloaded onto the daycare computer.
Kindergarten and school age children enrolled in Apple Child Care will walk with the staff to transport children between the school and centre. Parents will be provided with a copy of the Transportation Policy which will be reviewed with them if transportation is required. Parents are required to complete & sign a transportation agreement form that includes the details of the transportation arrangements. During transportation, children will be closely supervised. Private vehicles will never be used to transport children unless the vehicle is approved by Alberta Transportation which involves semi-annual inspections of the vehicle and issuance of an Operating Authority.
DAILY PROCEDURES & CHILDREN’S PROGRAM
The daily routine is planned carefully for each age group and is posted in the child care rooms. The schedule is flexible based on the interests and needs of the children, weather conditions. Our goal is to provide varied activities and opportunities where children can make choices throughout their day.
Every child’s development is promoted through planned experiences and active exploration and learning through play in a safe stimulating environment. The children’s environment, planned experiences, routines and transitions are planned to support the children’s social, emotional, creative, intellectual and physical development. The children’s program is planned based on the interests and developmental needs of the children. Families are encouraged to share their ideas for the children’s program.
Daily outdoor play experiences are planned for the children in our outdoor play spaces. Children will also be taken to nearby parks to for physical activity and nature play.
The OSC children will use the playground by the Florence Hallock School located at approximately 84 St and 167 Ave, a short walk from the centre. The playground is well equipped with a variety of age appropriate equipment and cushioning surface for safety. The park has large open areas for various activities, trees and sports fields. A portable bin will be used to transport a variety of outdoor toys and equipment to the parks.
Winter: When the temperature is below -18 degrees Celsius, with the wind chill taken into consideration, and during inclement weather, the children are kept indoors. Parents are required to provide clothing for their children based on the weather conditions. Children MUST have snow pants, a toque, warm boots and mittens at the daycare every day. A neck warmer is also a good idea and safer than a scarf.
Summer: Children are taken outside daily in the summer when weather permits. We are conscious of limiting sun exposure on hot sunny days between the hours of 10:00am & 3:00pm. The outdoor play space provides some shade and we will look for shady areas when away from the centre. See our Sun Safety Policy for details about sunscreen and safety in the sun. During outdoor play time in the summer, the staff will bring fresh drinking water outside to keep children hydrated. Normally children stay inside when it’s raining, but occasionally the staff may plan outdoor experiences in the rain. Children need clothing for both warm and cooler weather in the summer since it may be cool in the mornings and hot later in the day. Children must have a hat to wear in the summer.
TECHNOLOGY, TELEVISION & USE OF MEDIA
Children do not have access to computers, television, internet or any personal electronic devices currently. The staff may use their cell phones or tablets occasionally to show children something related to the program or the children’s interests. For example, if we are learning about the farm, the staff might show the children a short video of how we get milk from cows. Older children might need information when exploring a topic at the daycare/OSC or for homework. Children under the age of two years will have no exposure to technology & media at the centre.
CHILD GUIDANCE POLICY
At Apple Childcare Centre, providing a safe environment is of utmost importance. Staff model appropriate behaviors so that children know and feel comfortable adapting to the procedures and expectations at our centre, in our outdoor play area, and in the neighborhood at large. Caregivers understand that the children are learning, and it is our job to help them learn socially acceptable ways to express themselves.
Child guidance strategies will always be reasonable in the circumstances. At Apple Childcare, we will never:
- inflict or cause to be inflicted any form of physical punishment (including spanking, verbal degradation or emotional deprivation,
- deny or threaten to deny food or any other basic necessity, or
- use or permit the use of physical restraint, confinement or isolation.
Parents will be kept informed of children’s behavior, both positive and negative. Significant behavior concerns will be documented using an incident report form. Parents will be asked to sign a copy of the report. If a child’s behavior is an ongoing concern, we will work together with the family to develop consistent strategies that will be used to support the child. The Director may refer the family to an outside agency for support.
Parents are informed of the Child Guidance Policy during orientation when they register their children. All staff members are required to read the Child Guidance Policy. The policy is reviewed with the staff when they are hired and is discussed from time to time at staff meetings.
The following information contains some basic methods and approaches used at the centre to guide children’s behavior, to help children develop self-regulation and to help children develop positive social skills.
- Staff set good examples for children by treating everyone with respect, including families and coworkers.
- We provide a safe, healthy, child centered environment by recognizing and removing potential hazards and by keeping consistently clean and organized.
- Re-direction and distraction is used with infants and toddlers.
- Non-judgmental explanations are given to children, so children learn how their behavior affects themselves and others.
- Children are encouraged to express their feelings and emotions.
- We use active listening skills, acknowledging a child’s feelings without judgement so children feel safe to express themselves.
- We encourage children’s sense of responsibility by actively encouraging them to clean up after themselves, and to work together with others.
- The staff protect daycare property and any personal property brought to the centre and expect the same from the children.
- We encourage children to use problem solving approaches and support children in developing self-control, sense of responsibility and a recognition of the needs of others by giving cues instead of telling them what to do.
- Children are given opportunities to learn from natural consequences when possible.
- Logical consequences are respectful, reasonable and supportive; for instance, if a child writes on a table with marker, the logical consequence would be that the child is encouraged to clean it with adult support if required (without judgement).
- Caregivers help children learn from their mistakes by explaining reasons for your concerns about the behavior.
FIELD TRIPS AND COMMUNITY EXCURSIONS POLICY
Excursions in the community are planned regularly as a part of the children’s program to use opportunities for play and learning outside of the daycare/OSC. Parents sign an authorization form for local excursions or walks in the neighborhood when children are registered. Each time the children leave the centre, the staff brings a phone and a back pack containing the children’s portable emergency information and a first aid kit.
Field trips will be planned on non-school days for the school age children and periodically for the preschool children. The children’s interests, the value of the experience and the safety of the children are taken into consideration when planning field trips and excursions. Careful planning ensures field trips and excursions are a safe and positive learning experience for the children. All excursions and field trips must be approved by the Director. Parents are encouraged to share ideas for field trips and are welcome to participate on fieldtrips and excursions.
All field trips outside our neighborhood require parental permission on each occasion. Parents will be informed in advance of the details of field trips and any special items children may be required to bring. The field trip permission form for each field trip must be signed by a parent/guardian for the child to participate. The permission form will include the field trip date, destination and address, departure and return times, method of transportation, a request for volunteers and information about any special clothing or other items required. Parents may be required to pay a fee to cover transportation and entrance fees. If a parent does not want a child to attend a field trip, the parent may be required to find alternate care for the time of day when we are away from the centre.
Each time the children go on a field trip, the staff brings a back pack containing the children’s portable emergency information, a first aid kit and a cell phone. On field trips, the staff will also bring the field trip location, bus driver’s contact information (if applicable), and a copy of the Missing Child Procedure.
In the summer, children are required to wear hats on all field trips and sunscreen will be applied prior to departure. Parents may be asked to send water bottles & hats.
When the field trip destination is within safe walking distance, we will walk using the safest route. When transportation is required, a chartered bus or taxi vans will be used for transportation. School age children may use public transportation such as City buses. Any vehicles used for transportation will comply with Transport Canada guidelines. Private vehicles will never be used to transport children.
Parent Volunteers on Field Trips
- Parents are invited to participate as volunteers on field trips. If there isn’t room on the bus for volunteers, they will be required to make their own transportation arrangements.
- When a parent volunteer is not riding on the bus, the child of the volunteer should ride on the bus. This will avoid having to sign the child in and out.
- Volunteers will never be left alone with any child unless the child is their own. Volunteers will normally be assigned to a specific group of children along with a staff member but may be assigned a different role.
- Smoking by staff and volunteers is never allowed in the presence of children.
- Staff and volunteers will not purchase food and drinks for children unless this is a part of the planned experience.
Parents are required to provide diapers and/or pull-ups and diaper cream. Disposable and cloth diapers are acceptable. Diapering and toileting will be carried out in a sanitary, safe manner to prevent the spread of germs and diseases that can occur during this process. Proper hand washing techniques will be modeled and taught to children as they learn to use the toilet. The procedure for diapering is posted at each location where diapering is to take place.
The toddler teaching team and parents work together to assist the child in successful toilet training.
HEALTH & SAFETY
NUTRITION & MANNER OF FEEDING
Nutrition is an essential factor in each child’s growth and development. The first few years in a child’s life are critical years for growth and brain development. It is also a time when children begin to form eating habits that last a lifetime.
Apple Child Care is committed to supporting the children’s nutritional needs and promoting healthy eating habits. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided for all children daily. Lunch is provided for children not yet in school. Menus are planned based on the guidelines a Food Guide recognized by Health Canada using quality products and ingredients to support children’s healthy development. Lunches and snacks are planned for the children at appropriate times and food is provided in sufficient quantities in accordance with the needs of each child. Parents of school age children are required to provide a nutritious lunch for their child when they are at the centre all day. Junk food is not allowed in the centre. This includes pop, chips, chocolate bars, etc. A small treat along with nutritious foods is acceptable. If a child brings junk food to the centre, it will be kept in the child’s back pack. Due to allergy concerns, NUTS OR FOODS CONTAINING NUTS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE CENTRE.
We try to serve foods the children enjoy, taking family and children’s preferences into consideration when planning menus. Menus are posted where to keep families informed of all foods served at the centre, allowing parents to see what the child has been served to facilitate planning meals at home. We strive to establish a pleasant social atmosphere in which children can enjoy their meals and snacks and learn social skills, self-help skills and good nutrition.
Procedures and practices ensure utmost safety at meal and snack times. The manner in which children are fed is appropriate to their age and level of development. Special dietary and feeding arrangements are to be carried out in accordance with the written instructions of a parent of the child. All food storage containers for individual children must be labelled with the child’s name (bottles, sippy cups, containers with food, lunch boxes, water bottles, etc.).
Infants: Parents are required to provide lunch and bottles of formula or milk for children under the age of 12 months. Bottles and foods that need to be heated should be in glass containers. Bottles will be sent home daily for cleaning. All bottles and foods brought to the centre by families must be labelled with the child’s name. Mothers are welcome to breast feed their baby at the centre.
OSC: Parents of children in Grades 1-6 must send a nutritional lunch for their children daily when children are in attendance full days. Families are encouraged follow the recommendations of a Food Guide recognized by Health Canada. Any foods containing nuts and “junk foods” are not allowed. A nutritious supplement will be provided for children if the food provided in accordance with an approved Food Guide. Lunch boxes and drinks brought to the centre by families must be labelled with the child’s name.
Menus and Foods
- A nutritious morning snack is offered to all children between 7:30 & 8:30am.
- A nutritious lunch is provided daily for daycare and kindergarten children. Milk and water are offered with lunch. Daycare children will be served lunch between 11:00 and 11:30am and kindergarten children will be served lunch between 11:30am and noon.
- A nutritious afternoon snack is offered to all children between 3:30 and 4:00pm.
- Menus are posted on the bulletin boards at the front entrance for the current and following week.
- An accurate record is maintained of any food substitutions made so that the food intake of children may be traced. Any substitutions will be noted on the posted menus. Menus are kept on file at least 30 days after the last day for which they are applicable.
- Menus include foods from a variety of cultures.
- 100% juice is offered with snacks or lunch no more than twice each week.
- Whole foods will be served as much as possible (i.e. real cheese instead of processed cheeses, whole grain breads, cereals, crackers will be served, white bread, sugary cereals, Ritz crackers, “fish” crackers, soda crackers, etc. are avoided)
- A cycle menu of two weeks or more is used. Repetition of food items is minimal during the cycle.
- Drinking water is always available indoors and on warm summer days, water is taken outdoor for the children.
- Meals and snacks are reviewed every regularly by the Director to ensure that they meet the most up to date nutritional guidelines according to Health Canada.
Manner of Feeding & Food Safety
- Children must remain seated at the table all times when eating and drinking
- No beverages are provided to children while they are napping. This is a Licensing regulation and we cannot make exceptions.
- Allergy and dietary restriction lists are posted in each child care room and the staff is kept informed to ensure children are not served foods they are allergic to.
- All food and beverages are stored to retain maximum nutritive value and prevent contamination. Hot foods are kept hot, and cold foods are kept cold.
- All fresh foods will be thoroughly washed using a fruit and veggie wash as appropriate.
- See the Food Handling Policy for safe food handling practices.
- Children are encouraged to try each food served but are never forced to eat.
- Staff members join children at the table for meals and snacks.
- Caregivers are encouraged to eat meals and snacks with the children to model social behaviors and healthy eating habits.
- Meals are served “family style” and children are encouraged to serve themselves with adult facilitation.
- Food is never used to reward positive behavior and is never withheld as a punishment.
Foods from Outside the Facility
- Holidays and special occasions are celebrated with healthy food and non-food treats. “Junk food” is never served in the centre.
- Food treats brought into the centre by parents, staff and volunteers are discouraged except for special occasions such as multicultural event.
- All foods brought into the centre for sharing must be prepared in a licensed food establishment.
Prohibited / Cautions Foods
Foods that contain limited nutrients will not be served regularly at the centre. We encourage families that send lunches for their children to follow the same guidelines to promote children’s healthy development. Foods we avoid at the centre include:
- Foods that are made with refined ingredients such as soda crackers, white bread, waffles made with white flour, white flour macaroni & cheese powder (i.e. Kraft Dinner)
- Foods high in sugar, fat or salt (sweetened fruit juices, artificial sweetened drinks, Goldfish crackers, chocolate chip granola bars, pancake syrup, jams with high sugar content, etc.)
- Foods that contain nitrates such as processed meats (wieners, bologna, ham, etc.)
- Foods that contain harmful ingredients (hydrogenated oils, nitrates, sodium preservatives, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, fire retardant chemicals such as in microwave popcorn)
- Foods that do not meet nutritional guidelines (chocolate bars, chips, cake, soft drinks, iced tea, high sugar cereals, deep fried foods, ice cream, etc.)
Resources Used: Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth - http://www.healthyalberta.com/; Healthy Preschoolers – A Guide to Writing Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies – Alberta Health & Wellness, 2008; Child Care Licensing Regulation, 143/2008; Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Education-2008; Model Policies for Creating a Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Environment in Child Care Settings – Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services (Not dated)
The hot summer sun can be dangerous for children. A child can sunburn easily, even on a cloudy day. On hot sunny days, we look for shady play areas. The outdoor play space provides some shade, but we are conscious of limiting sun exposure between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm. Children will always have access to drinking water to keep them hydrated.
Parents are asked to bring a minimum SPF 30 non-aerosol spray sunscreen to the centre for children over the age of 6 months. Sunscreen will never be applied to infants under the age of 6 months. The staff will be conscious of keeping babies shaded from the sun as much as possible. Products that contain sunscreen and DEET (insect repellent) should not be used.
Parent permission is required for applying sunscreen. A new permission form is required before the summer each year and when there is a change in the type or brand of sunscreen provided. The centre will provide the permission form. Sunscreen must be labeled with the child’s name.
Sunscreen will be applied to all children every day approximately 30 minutes before going outside during the summer months between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm. It will be reapplied as required, for example when swimming and during outdoor water play.
Parents are required to send a hat with their child in the summer. A wide brimmed hat along with light, long-sleeved clothing will provide protection from the sun.
If parents want insect repellent applied to their child, they are required to provide a labeled container of non-aerosol spray insect repellent along with a written permission form. Insect repellent will be applied only when mosquitos are present (with the exception in individual circumstances) and at least 30 minutes after sunscreen has been applied.
MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION POLICY
Administering of medication is a serious responsibility that requires attention to detail and accurate recordkeeping to ensure that medications are administered safely to children. Incorrect administration has potential health risks.
The medication must be given to the Director or person in charge at the centre. All medication must be in the original container with instructions for administration. The dosage administered will not exceed the dosage recommended on the label. Medication will not be administered on an “as needed” basis. Parents must complete all the parent section of the medication administration form - the child’s name, name of medication, dosage required, time to be administered, last dosage and time medication was given prior to arrival at the daycare, special instructions and the parent’s signature. If the form isn’t completed, we cannot administer medication.
All medications, except emergency medications will be stored in a locked container inaccessible to children. Medication requiring refrigeration will be stored in a refrigerator. Medications must be returned to families when the authorized administration period has ended.
To administer medication, staff members must hold a valid first aid certificate. Staff are required to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before administering medication.
The medication must be labelled with the pharmacy name, child’s name, doctor’s name, name of medication, dosage and times to be taken. Prescription medication will be administered according to the directions on the label and written instructions from the parent. Ongoing medications require a start and end date.
Over the Counter Medication
Parents must label the container with the child’s name. Over the counter medication will be administered more than three (3) consecutive days without a prescription or note from a licensed physician. Apple Child Care reserves the right to refuse to administer over the counter medications without a prescription from a licensed physician.
Parents must label the container with the child’s name. If there is no label with administration instructions on the herbal remedy, written instructions must be provided by a licensed physician or licensed alternative health practitioner. The herbal remedy will be administered per those instructions.
An anaphylaxis emergency plan is required for children that have severe or life-threatening allergies. Parents must complete all parts of the parent section of the medication administration form - the child’s name, name of medication, dosage required, details of time to be administered, last dosage and time medication was given, special instructions, and the parent’s signature.
The staff is informed of which (if any) children use emergency medications, where the medications are stored, and how to administer them if necessary (e.g. epi-pens, inhalers). Emergency medication will be stored inaccessible to children where it can be accessed quickly by the staff
If a child needs emergency medication, we ask the parent to provide the centre with a recent photo of the child. The photo will be kept with the medication and instructions, so the staff can easily identify which child the medication belongs to.
We recommend that the emergency medication is kept at the daycare/OSC in addition to medication at home and at school. If this is not possible, the medication will be returned to the parent at the end of each day when the child is picked up. If medication has been taken home, the parent will be required to sign a new medication administration each day when the child is dropped off. If a child has been prescribed emergency medication, we cannot accept the child without the required emergency medication.
When emergency medication is administered, the staff member will record the date & time medication was administered, name of medication and dose administered on the Medication Administration Form and initial or sign. Parents will be notified and informed immediately. If necessary, the child will be transported to the hospital by ambulance. A staff member will ride in the ambulance with the child or follow the ambulance to the hospital and stay with the child until a parent or guardian arrives.
Reference: Child Care Licensing Regulation, Alberta Regulation 2008
SPECIAL HEALTH CARE
If a child requires special health care, the centre will work together with families to ensure the staff is trained in the proper method of administering the type of health care required by the child. This training will be documented in the staff’s and child’s files.
ALLERGIES & DIETARY RESTRICTIONS
Parents are required to inform the centre of children’s allergies and dietary restrictions when registering children as well as symptoms of an allergic reaction. All staff are informed of any allergies and dietary restrictions and a notice is posted in each child care room and the kitchen for staff reference. As a part of their first aid training, the staff is trained in the use of epi-pens to administer emergency medication that may be required in the event of an allergic reaction.
If a child has a serious allergic reaction, first aid will be administered as required by a staff member trained in first aid. The child will be transported to the hospital by ambulance after an Epinephrine auto-injector (epi-pen) has been administered.
SMOKE FREE ENVIRONMENT
To protect the children and staff from the negative effects of exposure to smoke, Apple Child Care is a smoke free facility. There will be no smoking on daycare/OSC premises at any time by staff members, visitors and parents. Smoking is not permitted where children in our programs might observe you (e.g. near the play yard, on field trips, etc.). Staff should avoid smoking in locations where parent-clients can easily observe them doing so. Staff and volunteers must wash their hands with soap and water after smoking. It is the expectation that any areas utilized as designated smoking areas (officially or casually) will be kept free of all debris resulting from this use.
Reference: Child Care Licensing Regulation, Alberta Regulation 143/2008
POTENTIAL HEALTH RISK & EXCLUSION OF SICK CHILDREN POLICY
In keeping with the Child Care Licensing Regulations, children who are ill or have any contagious conditions cannot be at the centre. Having sick children at the centre poses an increased risk to the sick child, to other children and staff as well as extended family members. If a staff member knows or believes a child is exhibiting the signs or symptoms of illness (such as those listed below) and may pose a health risk to persons on the program premises, parents will be notified and asked to immediately remove the child from the premises. If parents cannot be contacted or if parents have not picked up the child within one hour, emergency contacts will be called to pick up the child. A notice will be posted on the parent information board/s to inform families when a child enrolled in the centre has any contagious condition.
If your school-aged child becomes ill at school, parents must directly pick them up from school. We discourage parents to send their children to the centre while they wait for their arrival, so as to prevent the spread of illness or contagious conditions.
Parents are required to keep their child at home or find alternative care if their child displays any of the symptoms listed below or the child has received one or more of the following diagnoses from a physician or other health professional. Parents should call the centre if they are unsure if a child can attend.
- The child doesn’t feel well enough to play and participate in the activities at the centre
- Vomiting with two or more episodes of vomiting in the last 24 hours
- Undiagnosed or unexplained open sores or rash
- Temperature, with a fever of 38.0 degrees C or higher
- Diarrhea or loose stool (the child should be excluded for 24 hours until symptoms are resolved or assessed by a physician)
- Wheezing/Persistent coughing; (the child should be excluded until assessed by a physician or the symptoms are resolved)
- Mouth sores with drooling (the child should be excluded until a physician has determined that the symptoms are non-infectious)
- Rash, with fever or behavioral change (the child should be excluded until a physician has determined that the symptoms are non-infectious)
- Symptoms of possible serious illness, such as lethargy, uncontrolled coughing, irritability, persistent crying, difficult breathing, wheezing (the child should be excluded until assessed by a physician or the symptoms are resolved)
- Chickenpox (the child can be permitted to return to the program when he or she feels well enough to participate in all activities, regardless of the state of the rash and as long as the child returns to the same group they were with one to two days before the onset of the rash)
- Scabies, Head Lice, or other Infestation (the child should be excluded until appropriate treatment has been completed)
- Impetigo (the child should be excluded until 24 hours after antibiotic treatment has been initiated)
- Measles (the child should be excluded until four days after the appearance of a rash)
- Mumps (the child should be excluded until nine days after onset of parotid gland swelling)
- Pertussis, or Whooping Cough¨ (the child should be excluded until five days after antibiotic treatment has been completed, until three weeks after onset of symptoms, or until the coughing has stopped)
- Purulent conjunctivitis, or Red/Pink Eye¨ (the child should be excluded until 24 hours after antibiotic treatment has been initiated)
- Rubella (the child should be excluded until at least four days after onset of the rash, or up to five to seven days at the option of local health authority)
- Strep throat or other Streptococcal Infection (the child should be excluded until 24 hours after appropriate antibiotic treatment and cessation of the fever)
- Hepatitis A (the child should be excluded until 14 days after onset of illness or seven days after onset of jaundice)
- Tuberculosis (the child should be excluded until a physician has approved his or her return)
- The child requires greater care and attention than can be provided without compromising the care of the other children in the centre
Returning to the Centre after Illness
Normally children may return to the centre when they are symptom free for 24 hours or 24 hours after antibiotics have been administered. At the discretion of the Director, a written statement from the child’s doctor may be required to ensure the child no longer poses a health risk to other persons at the centre.
Supervision of Sick Children
If symptoms of illness are present while the child is at the centre, the sick child must be isolated or kept as far away as possible from the other children. The child will be removed from the room away from the other children and taken to the office or the staff room where he/she will be directly
supervised by a primary staff member or the Director. The staff member with first aid certification will attend to the child and make the child as comfortable as possible on a cot until the parent or guardian arrives.
When a sick child uses a cot, the cot must be wiped with a bleach solution and left to air dry as soon as the child leaves. The blanket used by the sick child must be placed in a bag, sealed and sent home with the family of the sick child to be laundered. The centre will launder the cot sheet. Cot sheets used by sick children will be placed into a bag and sealed; alternatively, the used sheet may be laundered immediately.
- Health Child Care, Healthy Child – A Guide to Promoting Health & Preventing Illness in Early Learning & Child Care Settings, Government of Alberta, Sept 2011
- Child Care Licensing Regulation, Alberta Regulation 143/2008
HEALTH CARE, INJURIES, ACCIDENTS & MEDICAL EMERGENCIES POLICY
Arrival at the centre: If a child was injured at home, parents need to inform the staff when dropping their child off so we are aware. Parents also need to inform us if the child had had a fever, diarrhea or vomited in the past 24 hours. The staff will check the child upon arrival for any obvious injuries, bruises, illness, rash, etc. and make note each day of the children’s health condition upon arrival at the centre. If we suspect the child may have a fever, we will take the child’s temperature. If the child shows any symptoms listed in the Potential Health Risk and Exclusion of Sick Children Policy, the parent will be required to take the child home.
At the Centre: If a child is injured or becomes seriously ill while at the centre, it is the centre’s responsibility to ensure the child receives the appropriate medical attention. Contact information for emergency services is posted in the office and the child care rooms. The child will receive immediate medical attention and a parent or guardian will be notified immediately. If parents or guardians cannot be located, emergency contacts listed on the registration form will be phoned. A staff member will remain with the child until a parent, guardian or the emergency contact person arrives.
The staff is required to complete a child care first aid and CPR course and the Director trains the staff in the implementation of the Health Care, Injuries, Accidents and Medical Emergencies Policy and procedures. Any health care administered by the staff will be in nature of first aid.
In the event of an emergency when parents or guardians are not present, an attending physician will proceed with any medical procedures deemed necessary. Parents are required to sign a medical care permission form when their child is registered in the centre.
Parents will be responsible for associated fees incurred for medical care.
An injury/incident report will be completed, and a copy provided to parents. The report will include details of any action taken by staff. The report must be signed by the parent and the staff member attending to the child and retained in the child’s file.
Non-Emergency Medical Care
If a staff member has determined that a child’s condition requires medical attention, but it is not an emergency, parents will be called and asked to seek medical care for the child. A qualified staff member will administer health care in the nature of first aid.
Injury or Illness Requiring Emergency Medical Attention
If emergency medical attention is required, 9-1-1 will be called and an ambulance will be requested to transport the child to the hospital. A qualified staff member will administer care in the nature of first aid. The Emergency Medical Team will decide which hospital is most suitable given the location and nature of the emergency. A staff member will take the child’s emergency information (portable record) and go in the ambulance with the child or follow the ambulance to the hospital. Parents will be called immediately.
Poisonous Substance Ingested
If a child has ingested a poisonous substance, the Poison Control Centre will be called (1-800-332-1414). The staff member making the call needs to tell the Poison Control Centre what substance the child ingested. 9-1-1 will be called immediately if the child is unconscious or having seizures or if the substance ingested requires immediate medical attention. The staff will follow any instructions given to them by the Poison Control Centre. If the child is transported to the hospital by ambulance, a staff member will take the child’s emergency information (portable record) and go in the ambulance with the child or follow the ambulance to the hospital. Parents will be called immediately.
CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT
If a child comes to the centre bearing any signs of suspected abuse or neglect, we are required by law to report it to Child Services and an investigation may take place. All information regarding the persons involved will remain strictly confidential. Child Services will keep identity confidential and will investigate the situation with caution.
For further information about handling child abuse and neglect in child services please contact Family and Social Service at: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/abuse-bullying/15387.html.
Reference: Child Care Licensing Regulation, Alberta Regulation 143/2008
In the event of an emergency that necessitates evacuation of the centre, our priority is getting the children to a safe place. Children will be taken by their caregivers via the nearest exit as indicated on the Emergency Evacuation Plans posted in all child care rooms. Small infants will be transported in cribs. The following procedures will be followed.
- If there is a fire, the fire alarm will be activated. If possible, the door should be closed to contain the fire.
- One staff member from each room will take the children’s attendance records and the back pack containing the children’s portable information, first aid kit and emergency services contact numbers.
- The Director (or person in charge) will call 911 and give the reason for the call and the address of the centre. (If a portable land line phone is used, your address will be identified.)
- Director (or person in charge) will check the entire facility including the washrooms and child care rooms to ensure no one is in the building.
- The staff will escort the children out of the nearest safe exit and walk to the muster points.
- If we need to relocate, the staff will escort the children to our re-location site at Care Centre (Hospital) at Schonsee Way and 82 Street.
- Attendance will be taken by the caregivers for each group. If anyone is missing, the Director/supervisor must be informed immediately. The Director/supervisor will check with each group and if anyone is not accounted for, the Director will inform the Emergency Response Team.
- We will re-enter the centre only if the Emergency Response Team has informed us it is safe to do so.
- If it is not safe to re-enter the building, parents will be contacted as quickly as possible and asked to pick up their children.
- Parents will be informed of the circumstances and any necessary follow-up.
- A report will be filed using the prescribed form (on the Human Services website) and provided to the daycare’s licensing officer (or Regional Licensing Office if the licensing officer is unable to be contacted. (*See Incident Reporting Policy)
SEVERE WEATHER - TORNADO
Tornado drills will be practiced in the summer months. If a tornado warning or tornado watch is in effect, the procedures outlined in the Policy Manual will be followed.
Protecting the health and safety of the children in our care is one of our most important responsibilities. Effective supervision reduces the risk of harm to children by preventing injuries and accidents. It also promotes positive, responsive, and intentional learning environments for children and child care workers. With effective supervision in place, children can play safely and have the benefits of play with their peers that is crucial to their developmental needs.
Apple Child Care is committed to providing effective supervision that meets the developmental needs of the children at all times to protect their health, safety and well-being. At minimum, Child Care Licensing regulations for adult/child ratios must be maintained at all times and will never be exceeded. Where seven or more children are present at the program, whether on or off the program premises, a minimum of two adult staff members, one of whom is a primary staff member are on duty, and, children are at all times, under supervision that is adequate to ensure their safety, well-being and development.
Children will not be left unsupervised at any time of the day. The indoor and outdoor environments are set up in a way that enables the staff to see the children in all parts of the play areas. Child care staff will communicate with each other, so they will always know the whereabouts of every child.
Supervision practices will be observed and assessed on a regular basis by the Director to ensure that they continue to promote safety and to meet the needs of children enrolled in the program. When supervision or safety concerns are identified, changes will be implemented promptly to reduce the risk of harm.
The Director is responsible for ensuring the caregivers understand their roles and responsibilities when supervising children. The staff will be trained and monitored to promote consistent implementation of the Supervision Policy and Procedures.
Parents are informed of the Supervision Policy when they register their children as a part of the orientation process. The policy is included in the Parent Handbook and in the Apple Child Care Policy & Procedures Manual which is located in the office and staff room for easy access by staff and parents. Parents whose children are transported will receive a copy of the Transportation Policy.
School Age Children
A school age child may periodically leave the OSC room for a specific purpose within the centre. An example would be to read to younger children, in which case the child is still under supervision of the Apple Child Care staff.
Missing Child Procedures: Child Does Not Arrive as Expected after School
If a child does not show up after school when expected, Apple Child Care staff will attempt to locate the child. The following procedure will be followed.
- The staff picking up the child will inquire with the school as to the whereabouts of the missing child. If the child’s absence is verified, the staff leave the school. If theabsence is not verified, the staff will call the parent/guardian. If the parent cannot verify the absence, the staff will inform the Director and the staff & children will proceed to the centre.
- The Director will call the parent/guardian. The parent will be asked to go to the school. If the parent/guardian cannot be reached, emergency contacts will be contacted.
- The Director will go to the school and work together with the school and parents to attempt to locate the child.
If a child cannot be located and there is no explanation for his/her absence, the police will be notified. Licensing will be contacted immediately, and a critical incident report will be filed using the prescribed form. (See the Incident Reporting Policy)
Thank you for choosing Apple Childcare Centre as a second home for your child! Our promise to you is that we will work in partnership with you to nurture and care for your child to help your child reach his/her potential, but most of all, we want your child to enjoy his/time at the centre. Your trust and daily communication gives us the confidence to work effectively as a team to work effectively.
We look forward to getting to know you and your family!
Parent Acknowledgement to Comply with Policies
The Parent Handbook has been created to help you understand our policies and practices. The handbook is intended to guide our practices and is not intended to cover every situation that may arise at the centre. It is important that you read this entire handbook before your child attends the centre. We reserve the right to make changes at any time to our policies and procedures. Parents will be notified of any changes that affect them. The Parent Handbook is reviewed annually and updated as required. Your participation in the review & updating of our policies and procedures is appreciated as your efforts help us in efficiently running the formal aspects of the centre.
After you finish reading the Parent Handbook, please return the sign this page and give it to the Director, prior to or on your child’s first day of attendance.
By signing below, you acknowledge that you have read and understood the policies outlined in the Apple Childcare & OSC Parent Handbook and agree to comply with the policies.
Please speak with the Director to clarify any questions you may have about our policies.
Your feedback on our policies is welcomed!
Child Name _________________________ Parent Name _________________________
Parent Signature ________________________________ Date _________________