Parent Handbook

A note from our director –

Welcome to Open Minds Early School! We are delighted to welcome you into our community.

Open Minds Early School is a Spanish Immersion School inspired by Reggio Emilia and Waldorf education philosophies.We set out to create the preschool experience that we always dreamed for our children. We designed the classroom space and our curriculum supported on scientific research in child brain development. Every activity in the classroom has a purpose that is connected with a specific developmental objective.Our research and experience in Child Development has led us to focus on five core aspects:

  1. Second language training - Spanish Immersion
  2. Health and Nutrition
  3. Music, Rhythm and Creative Play
  4. Community Building and Social Skills
  5. Nature, Science and Logic

At OMES, we cook, sculpt, compose, dream, question and resolve together hence our school motto “Learning is living.” Children can be highly motivated, feel actively involved in their own learning and produce work of high quality when they have the time to engage in short and long term projects.Our primary principle is to promote participation in age-appropriate activities, such as unstructured hands-on play, group story-time, and themed activities. Kids are encouraged to learn through play, though some we can add more academic content in response to demand.

1. Second language training - Spanish Immersion There is strong evidence that suggests that learning more than one language at an early age can lead to improved cognitive abilities in the long term. Moreover, it helps create a world that is more inclusive as it allows children to comprehend other cultures better. We incorporate Spanish language throughout our day.

2. Health and Nutrition At OMES, we emphasize teaching children about nutrition and learning the connection between nature and food. We create opportunities for kids to learn though gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and the source of their food.

3. Music, Rhythm and Creative Play Children thrive on multi-sensory learning opportunities. Each of our five senses activates specific neurons in the brain. For young children, multi-sensory activities provide more learning opportunities than single-sensory activities because more of the brain becomes involved in the lesson.

4. Community Building and Social Skills When building relationships is at the center of an early childhood classroom, the quality of student-teacher interactions and academics improves. Teachers and parents notice children using kind words with each other. They see children working together as a team towards common goals. There is a decrease in aggressive behaviors and negative attitudes. There is an overall improvement in the classroom climate.

5. Nature, Science and Logic Logic and reasoning skills are an essential part of child development and early learning and a foundation for competence and success in school and other environments. Children’s ability to think, reason, and use information allows them to acquire knowledge, understand the world around them, and make appropriate decisions.

The information below has been developed to provide parents with information on policies and procedures of Open Minds Early School. Please read carefully and contact us to discuss any new ideas, concerns, or questions you may have.

Warmly,
Karen Hernandez

School Rules & Policies

Enrollment Confirmation

Please note that our program is a School Year program, but we do have an official start of a new school year each fall. The 2017 - 2018 school year will begin on September 5, 2017. Regardless of when a child enrolls, they are subject to any updates to policies as they occur.

Enrollment contracts will auto-renew before the start of the following school year unless there are any changes to policies or pricing (at the discretion of the Director), in which case parents will sign a new contract.

If there are any changes to pricing, the Open Minds Early School team will provide new rates with at least three months' notice.

Admissions Deposit

I/We agree to pay the following deposit to ensure our child’s placement in the program: A non-refundable deposit in the amount of one month’s tuition.

Please note that the deposit will be credited to your last month in the program, provided you provide at least 60 days notice before end of participation in the program. If you cancel your child’s participation in the program at any time without the required 60 days notice, your deposit will not serve as a tuition credit.

If you are a fully subsidized family, the deposit will be held and used to cover any monthly tuition fees that are above the agreed upon monthly tuition amount or if you terminate your agreement not in accordance with the cancellation policy in place. At the end of your term, if no monthly tuition needs to be covered and if the contract is terminated in the correct fashion, the deposit will be returned.

Tuition

Private Payment

I/We understand that monthly tuition (any non subsidy payment) is due on the 24th day of the previous month. Tuition is due each month with no deductions for any absences, holidays, illness, or closures due to inclement weather, power outages, or other situations beyond our control. Tuition is due regardless of a child’s absence from the program for any reason, and is required to hold a child’s space.

If tuition is not paid on the day that it is due, a late fee of $50.00 will be added to the tuition for each day that it is late past the 29th of the month until it is paid in full. When a payment is delinquent for one week or more, care may be suspended until the balance is current and your child’s space will not be reserved.

Tuition payment will take place electronically by Wonderschool, our administrative services provider, and cannot be collected via check or cash.

Currently payments can only be made with a credit card. ACH payments (directly from a bank account) will be added soon. Currently there is no fee associated with credit card payments, however when ACH is available there will be a 3% fee for paying with credit card. We will notify you when ACH payments are available and give you a 60 day grace period to switch over to ACH payments.

If your child's start date does not occur on the first of the month, your first month's tuition will be pro-rated accordingly. If your child's last day does not occur on the last day of the month, your last month's tuition will be pro-rated accordingly.

Subsidy Payments

If enrolling your child is under subsidy payments from the local resource and referral agency then tuition will be paid in accordance with the local resource and referral agency and we require you fill out required paperwork in a timely manner.

If you agree to a private payment amount on top of the subsidy payment by the local resource and referral agency then all private payments will be applied using the “Private Payments” section.

Withdrawal

If you withdraw your child from the program, you must give at least 60 days prior to withdrawal in writing via email to openminds@wonderschool.com and karen@wonderschool.com.

Meals and Snacks

Please note that if your child has a particular dietary need or allergy, please let us know. We will do our best to accommodate this, but may need you to supply your own food if it is different than our planned menu and offerings.

Please note that monthly tuition includes 2 snacks per day and Lunch.

School Schedule

Open Minds Early School offers the following enrollment options: 8:00am - 4:00pm, 8:00am - 5:30pm
Drop off occurs in the first 30 minutes of your child's scheduled start time for the day.
Pickup occurs in the last 30 minutes of your child's scheduled start time for the day.

We require that a parent, guardian, or approved caregiver must sign in and sign out for their child at drop off and pickup. Children will be released only to authorized persons whose names are on the emergency sheet. These names may be revised at anytime by the parent in writing. If the authorized person picking up the child is unknown by staff, s/he will be asked to show identification.

Arrival Time

Please do your best to arrive at the correct drop off time each day. If you will arrive later than the drop off window described above, please notify staff.

Late Pickup

I/We understand that the there is a 5 minute grace period for pickup after your child's daily scheduled pickup time. Each minute after that 5 minute grace period will be charged $1.00/minute.

Late pickup fees will be added to your tuition payment for the following month.

Regularity in Schedule

It is important for children to arrive and leave the school at the regularly scheduled time. Young children need the security of knowing that they will be picked up at the usual time. If you will be changing your hours (i.e. picking your child up earlier than usual), then please notify one of the Teaching Staff.

Parking

We are located on a private roadway off of Moraga Ave. Please park on the right side of the street. We ask that you do not park in front of the house as this blocks other cars from exiting.

++Please make sure to not block any driveways. Blocking neighbors’ driveways may result in a fine or towing++. In addition, please be respectful of our neighbors when parking, as OMES has good-standing relationships with its neighbors.

Signing In and Signing Out

A signature is required at the beginning and the end of each day with the time of arrival and departure. This may be done through an electronic application or on paper.

In case of emergency, staff will use sign in sheets to take attendance. Children will be released only to authorized persons whose names are on the emergency sheet. These names may be revised at anytime by the parent in writing. If the authorized person picking up the child is unknown by staff, s/he will be asked to show identification.

Absence

Please let your teacher know if your child is going to be absent or arrive 30 minutes or more after their normal arrival time.

If your child will be absent because they are sick with a contagious illness, please let the our staff know so that other families can be alerted to look for symptoms in their children. Please note that in light of our policies and State regulations, we maintain full confidentiality of the identity of child who has illness.

School Year

Acknowledgement of Placement in the Open Minds Early School Program

Open Minds Early School reserves the right to assess the appropriateness of the placement of your child in our program in relation to meeting the needs of your child and the other children in the program. If the Director feels that the school cannot meet the needs of a child or a child’s family, the child’s enrollment will be ended. Any deposit or fees paid are non-refundable.

Additionally, Open Minds Early School retains the right to terminate enrollment of your child/ren in the program in the event of non-compliance with school policies, rules, and regulations. Any repeated infractions of school policies and rules will result in your child being removed from the program.

Open Minds Early School reserves the right to modify any of the conditions of this agreement upon 60 days written notice to the parent(s) or guardians.

Health & Safety

Toileting

Children do not have to be potty trained to enter Open Minds Early School. Using the toilet is a learning process and we honor each child’s individual pace. Children are invited to use the potty multiple times during the day. When you feel your child is ready to use the potty, please let us know. We do not directly train your child, but can support whatever process you are going through. The whole process goes more smoothly, when it is a group effort.

Diapering

If your child is in diapers, we request that you please supply the school with the following items:

Allergy Prevention

Families are expected to notify the school regarding children’s food or environmental allergies. Parents/guardians of children with diagnosed allergies or asthma are required to provide the school with an individualized health care plan, signed by the child’s physician, detailing the child’s symptoms, reactions, treatments, care, and all necessary medication.

If your child uses a nebulizer, please let us know so we can have you fill out an additional form.

Despite our diligent efforts, it is impossible to eliminate all risk for children with food allergies. Some allergies are so severe that the presence of the allergen in proximity of the child causes a reaction. Similarly, it is impossible to prevent children from sharing food or for an allergen to be brought into the program by a family member or child, despite our best efforts to educate families and raise awareness. Ultimately, parents/guardians will need to decide whether group care is appropriate for their child with allergies in light of the risks that cannot be eliminated.

Illness

  1. Children need to be kept home when they have any of the following symptoms: fever, diarrhea, vomiting, conjunctivitis (pink eye) or discharge from eyes, severe coughing, skin rash of unknown diagnosis, difficult or rapid breathing, or nits on hair from head lice. If a symptom of an illness manifests while a child is at school, the parent or guardian will be contacted immediately and the child will be cared for away from other children while waiting to be picked up by parent/guardian.

  2. Diarrhea: A first excessively loose stool will constitute a call to the parent. New diet may be the cause. 2nd loose stool, child will be sent home until diarrhea subsides and normal stools are produced at home. When a child returns after a diarrhea about, it is a provisional return; if the child experiences another bout of diarrhea, he or she must be picked up immediately.

  3. Fever: If a child has an ear temperature of 100.6 degrees or greater, parent will be asked to pick up the child. The child may return when he/she is fever free and after being kept home for at least 24 hours. This means that your child will be out of the school for one full day after being sent home.

Vomiting

Exclusion for vomiting is decided by incident. Two or more episodes will be cause for exclusion. A first vomiting episode may cause exclusion if the teacher determines that the situation for the child is extreme or debilitating.

Eye Discharge

Eyes must be free of mucus or running substance. Children are asked to be kept home for 24 hours after beginning medication. Clogged tear gland conditions must have a written physician’s note.

Skin Rash

If a child has a rash of any kind, the child will be sent home until the rash is gone or until a physician’s note has been received stating that the rash is not contagious. A physician’s certificate of good health is required to return.

Prescription Medications

All prescription medication must be in an original childproof pharmacy container labeled with the child’s name, name of drug, strength, dosage, physician or dentist name, date of original prescription, expiration date and legible instructions for administration and storage.

Chronic Medical Conditions

If your child has a chronic medical condition, which needs “as needed” treatment (e.g. asthma, eczema, seizures due to high fever), we need physician instructions on file at the school.

Children’s Injuries

If your child sustains a minor injury while at the school (e.g., scraped knee), you will receive an Accident/Incident Report outlining the incident and course of action taken by the staff member. Minor wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, or bites, will be washed with liquid soap and cool, running water followed by rinsing. A dry bandage or dressing may be applied as appropriate. You will be contacted immediately if the injury produces any type of swelling, is on the face or head, or needs medical attention.

If a serious medical emergency occurs, the child will be taken to the hospital immediately by ambulance, and a staff member will contact you (or a designated emergency contact if you cannot be reached).

Medicine from Home

Per Open Minds Early School policy, California State Law, and as regulated by Community Care Licensing, medicine can be administered to children at Open Minds Early School only if:

  1. It is a prescription medicine
  2. It is in an original bottle with Doctor’s signature and dosage labeled, sealed in a plastic bag
  3. We require that you fill out the medicine form (LIC 627) which we can provide to you upon enrollment. We have additional copies for you in our office.

We freely use bandages (i.e. Bandaids) and may use antibacterial soap.

Emergency Routine

Emergency disaster plans are located in the entry area of Open Minds Early School. Our policy is to dial 911 in the event of an extreme emergency. Our emergency evacuation sites are in this order:

Emergency disaster plans are located in the entry area of OMES. Our policy is to dial 911 in the event of an extreme emergency.

Philosophy & Curriculum

Open Minds Early School is a new early childhood program for children located in Piedmont, CA. Our goal is to always have a stimulating and healthy environment for your child to explore and grow in. Our mission is to provide developmentally appropriate activities that also accommodate each child’s individual interests. Our staff is nurturing, compassionate, enthusiastic, loving, educated, and experienced.

Open Minds Early School is a Spanish Immersion School inspired by Reggio Emilia and Waldorf education philosophies.We set out to create the preschool experience that we always dreamed for our children. We designed the classroom space and our curriculum supported on scientific research in child brain development. Every activity in the classroom has a purpose that is connected with a specific developmental objective.

Our research and experience in Child Development has led us to focus on five core aspects:

  1. Second language training - Spanish Immersion
  2. Health and Nutrition
  3. Music, Rhythm and Creative Play
  4. Community Building and Social Skills
  5. Nature, Science and Logic

At OMES, we cook, sculpt, compose, dream, question and resolve together hence our school motto “Learning is living.” Children can be highly motivated, feel actively involved in their own learning and produce work of high quality when they have the time to engage in short and long term projects.

Our primary principle is to promote participation in age-appropriate activities, such as unstructured hands-on play, group story-time, and themed activities. Kids are encouraged to learn through play, though some we can add more academic content in response to demand.

1. Second language training - Spanish Immersion

There is strong evidence that suggests that learning more than one language at an early age can lead to improved cognitive abilities in the long term. Moreover, it helps create a world that is more inclusive as it allows children to comprehend other cultures better. We incorporate Spanish language throughout our day.

2. Health and Nutrition

At OMES, we emphasize teaching children about nutrition and learning the connection between nature and food. We create opportunities for kids to learn though gardening, engaging their natural curiosity and the source of their food.

3. Music, Rhythm and Creative Play

Children thrive on multi-sensory learning opportunities. Each of our five senses activates specific neurons in the brain. For young children, multi-sensory activities provide more learning opportunities than single-sensory activities because more of the brain becomes involved in the lesson.

4. Community Building and Social Skills

When building relationships is at the center of an early childhood classroom, the quality of student-teacher interactions and academics improves. Teachers and parents notice children using kind words with each other. They see children working together as a team towards common goals. There is a decrease in aggressive behaviors and negative attitudes. There is an overall improvement in the classroom climate.

5. Nature, Science and Logic

Logic and reasoning skills are an essential part of child development and early learning and a foundation for competence and success in school and other environments. Children’s ability to think, reason, and use information allows them to acquire knowledge, understand the world around them, and make appropriate decisions.

Conflict Resolution

Our emphasis on problem solving and conflict resolution supports our anti-bias goal, where children come and listen to and respect each other’s hopes, needs, and ideas. Children are gently guided to realize the effects of their actions upon one another. They are taught to be respectful of one another and are encouraged to seek out solutions to problems with each other.

We do not use corporal punishment of any kind nor do we use time-out procedures. Teachers use redirectional approaches, role-modeling, and problem-solving discussions. Children will be gently removed from an area if they are being dangerous with their bodies and cannot stop themselves. The immediate goal and objective of the teacher is to help the child self-regulate and regain control, moving towards conflict-resolution.

Child Abuse Report

It is mandatory for all the staff to report of any suspected child abuse If the staff person suspects that a child has been abused in or out of the in-home facility, they are required by law to report this to Child Protective Services and Community Care Licensing. The person suspecting the abuse is responsible for making that call and should report it to the Director immediately.

Parent Involvement

We ask that parents maintain and uphold the core values of OMES. Parents are not expected to stay beyond drop off or pick up unless previously arranged. _Once a month Parent activity _At OMES we require that parents get actively involved in their child’s education and progress. This is why we ask that once a month parents spend 30 minutes in the school doing an activity with the kids. E.g. story time, gardening, cooking, arts and crafts, and others. _Nutrition _Once every 3 months parents are expected to participate in lunch, by either cooking or bringing a special dish. We do this to encourage our children to learn about nutrition, expose them to new flavors and getting them involved in making their food.

Forms

Our in-home facility is licensed by the state of California. As required by the California State Law and regulated by Community Care Licensing, a file on each child child is kept on the premises of the facility. Parents have access to their child’s file upon request.

Parent-Teacher Communication

We strive to keep you up to date about your child’s activities during the day. These reports include:

Acknowledgement of Receipt

I/We hereby acknowledge that I/We have received and read Open Minds Early School’s Parent Handbook in its entirety. I/We hereby agree to follow of the the school policies and procedures. I/We understand that Open Minds Early School reserves the right to modify the School Rules & Policies and any other information contained in the above documents at the school’s discretion, with 60 days of prior written notice.

This invitation for admission to Open Minds Early School expires if this contract is not signed, dated, and received with the appropriate deposit fee (indicated above), no later than three days after invitation of admission to the program.

Your Child’s First Day

The Beginning of the Year/Helping Your Child with Transition

During your child’s first days in our program, we take special time to help your child acclimate and transition into new rhythms and schedules. Parents are encouraged to stay for 10 minutes after drop off. In addition to morning drop-offs, we support families who feel their child may need additional transitional support.

These first days may be sensitive for children. We recognize that every child is different with different needs.

Clothing and Spare Clothing

Please do not send your children to school in their “good” clothes. Clothes should be free to be stained, dirty or in rare instances even ripped.

Clothing should be wholesome. We do not support violent or inappropriate imagery. Please send your child in safe, comfortable footwear. Flip-flops are not permitted at school.

First Day Checklist

To ensure the smoothest transition for your child, we ask to please bring the following items the first day of school: