Families

SCHOOL HOURS

Doors open at 9:05.

The Twinklers, the Starshine Friends, the Moonbeams, and the Sunshine Gang: 9:15-12:15, MWF or TTH

The Rainbow Kids: 9:15-12:30, Monday through Friday.

ARRIVAL PROCEDURES

Please walk your child into the building each morning. All friends enter via the front door of the building. Please park in the lot on the side of the building closest to your child’s classroom. Sign in your child upon arrival using the clipboard provided at your child’s classroom using your full name. We ask that you be prompt and arrive between 9:05 and 9:20. The doors will be locked at 9:30. If your child is tardy, she/he will miss out on the activities that set the tone for the day, which in turn makes it more difficult for your child to separate from you and find a place in the group.

 

We make these requests when arriving:        

1) DO NOT leave siblings in the car in the parking lot. (You may ask a friend to stay with your car and child until you return.)

2) You are invited into our classrooms to help your child transition from home to school.

3) Everyone washes hands upon arrival and you are encouraged to help your child complete this task.

4) When it is time for you to leave please give your child a quick, cheerful good-bye. We have lots of experience handling   separation tears. Please trust us to get the day started well.

5) NEVER leave your valuables in your car or your car unlocked.

DEPARTURE PROCEDURES

You will park and come into the building to pick up children. Twinklers, Starshine Friends, Moonbeams, and Sunshine Gang classes dismiss at 12:15. Rainbow Kids dismiss at 12:30. Take advantage of this opportunity to see the children "in action" and keep in contact with your child's teacher. All changes in the usual pick-up person must be relayed to us in WRITTEN form if possible. Last minute changes may be made by phone. All children must be signed out using your full name at departure. Always hold hands with your child in the parking lot for safety’s sake.

CAR SEAT

A car seat is available for emergency use. If you have forgotten to trade out the car seat with your pick-up person or need to send someone on the spur of the moment to pick up your child, who does not have a car seat, please ask to borrow ours. State law requires that children under the age of 4 who weigh less than 40 pounds must use an approved car seat. Children between the ages of 4 and 8, who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds or are less than 4’9” in height, must use an approved booster seat. Children between the ages of 4 and 8, who weigh more than 80 pounds or are more than 4’9” in height, must use an approved seat belt, as well as any child between the ages of 8 and 15.

AUTHORIZED TRANSPORT PERSONS

We require written notice from you in the event of any changes from the usual pick-up person for your child. If your plans change during the morning, you may verbally inform us of the change by phone. Our telephone answering machine is on at all times. If the office is unattended when you call, please know that the answering machine is monitored very frequently. We also have caller ID to help ensure the identity of persons calling the school.

 

An online directory of students is available on the parent log in side of our website, which may be used for arranging car pools and social visits. This list is not to be used for solicitation purposes. When working out car pools, please keep in mind Tennessee's child safety laws with regard to seat belts and car safety seats. Pick-up persons who are unfamiliar to us will be asked to show a driver's license for identification. We card everyone with whom we are not acquainted. We are required by state law to not release your child to ANYONE we feel might endanger the child.

TOTE BAGS

Tote bags are provided for each preschool child attending our program. Returning children will re-use their bag from the previous year and will receive a school t-shirt in lieu of a new tote bag. Tote bags are our link to home, and we put all artwork, notes, newsletters, etc. in them to get them to you.  Please send these to school each day with your child. Also check them each night for current information. It is best to clean them out each evening so you know what is new. We appreciate them being free of toys and personal belongings other than an emergency change of clothing so we can use them for their intended purpose. If you must pack for an overnight stay with your pick up person, please do so in a separate bag. 

CLOTHING, PERSONAL BELONGINGS, “LOVEYs”

Please mark all outer clothing, extra clothing and personal belongings with your child's name. Dress your child comfortably for school activities. Remember that we go outside daily and work with paint and glue and other messy substances on a regular basis. Ask yourself if what you are dressing your child in can get dirty or stained.  If not, don’t send them to school in it.

 

  • Please dress children in clothes that are easy to remove. This assists teachers when changing diapers and makes it easier for children to manage their own needs at bathroom time. Suspenders, belts and loops severely complicate this process.
  • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are best. NO high heeled shoes. 
  • Outerwear is kept on hooks outside the classrooms labeled with your child's name.
  • Some hair accessories and jewelry are choke hazards. Please leave these items at home.
  • No necklaces without break-away clasps are permitted.

 

Some children have attachments to a special blanket or stuffed animal, which might be called a 'lovey.' We know some children derive comfort from having a special item at school. Our hope is that once your child gets acquainted with our school, their desire for the lovey will decrease. We have experienced that dependence on special items may become a barrier to social development and interaction with others. We recommend that you start encouraging your child to leave the lovey in their school tote bag upon arrival to school or in their classroom cubby where the lovey can wait. Should a child want to spend time with this special item, your child's teacher will help find a place for the child to be with the lovey. Feel free to discuss this issue with your child's teacher. 

Changing Table Policy

We ask that parents with non-enrolled children who need a diaper change while at preschool to please use one of our changing tables. These are located in the Twinklers classroom restroom and the Starshine Friends classroom. Instructions for the use of the changing table are posted on the walls in both areas. Please inform a staff member that you have used the changing table so that they may appropriately sanitize the surface. The teachers in both classrooms will welcome you into the classrooms to use the changing tables. Please don’t hesitate to ask. 

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES

A period of outdoor play occurs each day, weather permitting. Children who are not well enough to fully participate in our activities should not be sent to school. Special accommodations cannot be provided.

 

Our beautiful playscape is nationally recognized as a certified Nature Explore Classroom®, a National Wildlife Habitat, and the overall award winner of the Southern Early Childhood Association’s 2013 Exemplary Outdoor Classroom contest. This natural environment affords your child the opportunity to interact with nature on a daily basis. There is grass, mulch, dirt, sand, water, wood, mud and stones all around. These exciting elements draw children to touch, mix and investigate. Your child will likely get messy in the process. Please expect this and dress your child accordingly. Sturdy shoes are a necessity (think hiking!).

 

Research proves that “providing children with open-ended natural materials fosters imagination, creativity and symbolic (abstract) thinking. When they are working with open-ended materials, children get to decide what those materials will become and explore interesting ways to manipulate the materials.” (Miller, Tiahota, White)

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

It is your responsibility to notify us in writing of any medical conditions or allergies your child has or of any medications taken regularly. A plan for children with allergies or chronic medical conditions requiring special accommodations must be agreed upon with your child’s teacher and the director. We will ask you to complete a form detailing the steps to take in case of emergency and planning for any needed accommodations in the classroom.

 

An up-to-date immunization record must be signed by your health care provider and submitted to us upon enrollment. If your child receives further immunizations during the year, please provide us with that information so our records remain current. We require all children enrolled in our program to be fully immunized according to the State of Tennessee's schedule of immunizations. No exemptions will be accepted except medical exemptions. Medical exemptions must be verified in writing by a medical doctor.

 

For the protection of all our children, and our staff, no child may be brought to school when showing symptoms of illness (including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.). Your child should be fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medicines), vomit or diarrhea-free for 24 hours before returning to school after an illness. You will be asked to pick up your child if signs of illness occur at school. It is important that we, or the emergency contact person listed on the Application, know where to reach you during school hours, in case of emergency. If you have a cell phone or pager, please be sure we have the numbers and leave it turned on while your child is in our care.

 

Please notify us if your child has a communicable illness such as chicken pox, mumps, strep, etc. so that we may in turn make other parents aware that their child has been exposed.

CURRICULUM SUPPORT FROM HOME

Frequent communication from your child’s teacher will inform you of topics and ideas under study. If your child would like to share appropriate books or materials from home, they will provide guidance for your selections.

 

Teachers will often request your support and input as questions to investigate emerge. You may have just the right materials at home or resources available. Also, you can let us know what your child is talking about at home and what he/she is currently finding interesting and engaging.

 

Science and nature discoveries such as shells, leaves, seeds, etc. are always welcome for sharing. Toys should be left at home unless specifically requested by the teacher. Some pets may be allowed to visit, but only with prior approval from the teacher. Some classes have “Show and Tell.” Your child’s teacher will let you know if this applies to your child.

INCLEMENT WEATHER

We close for inclement weather as follows: If Hamilton County Schools are closed, so are we. If Hamilton County Schools are delayed 1 hour or less, our schedule remains the same. If Hamilton County Schools are delayed more than 1 hour, then we are closed. Make-up of inclement weather days will be at the discretion of the Director.

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

Fire drills are practiced twice a month and severe weather drills are practiced once or twice a school year. Emergency name tags are placed on all children at each drill. These contain their name, date of birth, your contact information, and any allergy or medical condition notes. The name tags would hopefully provide emergency personnel with the most urgent facts they would need to appropriately care for your child.

 

Should evacuation of the building become necessary, we will go to 1412 Highland Way (the home of a church member). We will, of course, make contact with you at the earliest opportunity. 

PAYMENTS

Tuition payments are made on May 15, on August 15th, and the 15th of each month September through April (total of 10 payments). You may assume that all checks written to school (for tuition, stay day, book club orders, etc.) may be made out to Highland Plaza United Methodist Preschool (HPUMP) unless otherwise noted at the time (for example, school portrait payments are made to the photographer). There is a fee of $16.00 for checks returned non-sufficient funds. 

MESSAGES

We can only accept messages from a child’s custodial parent, and prefer that they be in writing. Verbal messages from your child cannot be accepted.

TELEPHONE ANSWERING MACHINE 

We keep our answering machine on during the day. If you leave a message, please be assured that it is checked every hour.

BIRTHDAYS AND HOLIDAY PARTIES

We celebrate birthdays and special days (those with summer birthdays) by forming “birthday committees”; these small groups of children work together to make a gift to bestow on the honoree during a special ceremony. Each class has a unique gift to make and give. As your child moves through all of our classes, these gifts will be a lasting and meaningful treasure.

 

We prefer to put the emphasis on each individual child and not on food especially in this time of sky-rocketing obesity rates. Therefore we are requesting that you not send special treats or trinkets. You are welcome to attend the gift-giving ceremony.

 

NUTRITION

We serve fruit juice and a snack such as Nilla wafers, Cheezits, or similar cracker. Parents are welcome to send snacks to be shared by the class, but please check with the teacher in advance about what you plan to send and when. Please remember classroom allergies. Your child will often have an opportunity to cook or otherwise prepare a special food for snack time. 

DISCIPLINE

Physical punishment is not used at school. If there is a problem in the classroom, we use it as an opportunity to reinforce relationship skills, verbal skills, problem solving skills, and compassion for one’s neighbor. If there is a persistent problem, we will work with you on further courses of action to help your child regain control of his/her behavior. Our focus is on positive behavior and strengths, praise and encouragement of appropriate behavior, and redirecting the child’s attention to alternative activities.

 

We use a “Conflict Resolution Code” as often as possible to teach children to think through their problems and verbally solve them. The steps are as follows:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. What are the possible solutions? (accept all answers)
  3. Are they good or bad choices?
  4. What’s the best one to try?
  5. Let’s do it!

 

PERSONAL SAFETY AND CHILD ABUSE

Licensing requirements mandate us to provide lessons in personal safety as part of our curriculum for 3-5 year olds. Required components of this curriculum must include lessons on self-esteem, feelings, body parts, and safe and unsafe touches. We have written our own curriculum incorporating the components, which is taught in a Bible-based approach during our weekly Bible story time. This curriculum will be our study for most of the first semester. You are welcome to look it over, if interested. We also have some resources you are welcome to borrow on teaching your child about stranger awareness and sexual molestation. State law mandates anyone - whether parents, child care personnel, or others - to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services.

STAY DAY

Stay Day is provided on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week. The cost is $13.00 for one child and an additional $7.00 for each sibling. Month to month reservation forms are sent home each month. You may apply unused, paid Stay Days to the next month. However, refunds cannot be issued. Unused credits do not carry forward into a new school year. 

 

Children must be potty trained and 30 months old before being allowed participation in Stay Day.

 

Each participating child needs to bring a nutritious lunch and drink on his/her Stay Day. Please do not send carbonated drinks (they explode even when placed in a different container) or food or beverages in glass containers. A list of USDA-suggested lunch ideas will be sent home with your first Stay Day reservation form.

 

We can accept up to 24 children for Stay Day. Drop-ins may be accepted if you call that morning and check with the Director regarding space. Generally, drop-ins are not a problem, but you must have approval. Please don't send your child with a lunch and no reservation. We need to plan appropriately for staff and space to ensure each child's safety.

 

Stay Day closes at 2:00 PM. We will bring your child to your car. Cars should line up outside the aluminum awning-covered door in the Ely Road parking lot. If the line backs up to the street, please pull into the lot and make a double line. You will be assigned a car number to help teachers identify whom you are picking up. You need to display your number on the visor on the passenger side of your car or in the passenger side window. Please arrive on time. If you will be late picking up your child, please call and alert us, if possible. If a child is picked up late twice, you will be put on notice. Three late pick-ups will result in the loss of Stay Day privileges.

 

We prefer that you drive through to pick up your child from Stay Day. Parking and walking to the door makes it confusing for the teachers releasing children. It also makes the parking lot hazardous with folks both driving through and walking across the drive-through line.

CAR NUMBERS 

Any child who stays for Stay Day or AfterLabs or artWOKS Classes will need a car number. The number cards that you will receive should be kept in your car (or the car of the person who will be picking up your child routinely or on a particular day). At pick-up time you will need to display the number card so that teachers can read it from the door (mounting it on the passenger side visor so that it shows when the visor is lowered is a good method). We will have a master list of numbers in the building for referral. This method will help us load children more efficiently when it is rainy or difficult to see into your car. Possession of a car number card is not sufficient identification to pick up a child. The person picking up must be on your transportation list. If we do not know them, we need to have your prior permission for them to come and they will be required to show identification.

Car numbers will be assigned as requested in the office.

AFTER-LABs

AFTER-LABs are a dedicated time of intense focus on a particular interest. The same interest is explored over a series of three sessions. Each session meets once a week, on the same day each week, for three consecutive weeks. Each AFTER-LABs session will begin after school dismisses for the day. All attendees are required to bring a lunch. Dismissal time is 2:15PM and follows the established Stay Day pick-up procedure. Each series is $45/child. Children must be at least 36 months old and independently potty trained. Enrollment is made on a first paid basis because SPACE IS LIMITED. All proceeds raised will support teacher professional development. Follow this link for more details about this year’s After-Labs. 

artWORKS

artWORKS classes will offer mediated experiences designed to promote investigation, discovery, and creativity with the featured medium. Children will learn about and use the unique tools associated with specific materials. These classes will emphasize experimentation and process over product. This creative series is for HPUMP children in the Moonbeams, Sunshine Gang and Rainbow Kids classes. All attendees are required to bring a lunch. Dismissal time is 2:15PM and follows the established Stay Day pick-up procedure. Each series is $80/child. Enrollment is made on a first paid basis because SPACE IS LIMITED. Follow this link to learn more about this school year’s areas of focus and the dates for each series. 

ART, MUSIC, BIBLE STORIES, AND SERVICE PROJECTS

Our Atelieristas (studio teachers) are on site every day. They move among the classrooms introducing new materials such as clay or watercolors. Small groups of children, work with an Atelierista in the Atelier or at Twigs, our outdoor Atelier, making their ideas and research take shape through a variety of artistic media and “languages”.

 

Music Together is taught by Ruth Holladay. This multi-cultural curriculum is an outstanding one, supported and recommended by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children.) It also aligns with Reggio-Inspired philosophy. 

 

Our classroom teachers teach Bible stories once a week. These stories simply and beautifully relate favorite stories and parables from the Old and New Testaments or are values-related. During the first semester Bible story time is used to teach personal safety from a Christian viewpoint. You are welcome to join us anytime. All children in our program participate in Bible story time.

 

Your child will be blessed by several opportunities during the school year to participate in service projects. Small as they are children benefit by learning to help others. We collect books for needy children, pet food for the animal shelter; raise funds for a selected mission, and host a Trike-A-Thon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Look for ways you can be involved.

EVALUATION AND SPECIAL SERVICES

Our intention is to be in close communication with you for the healthy development of your child. If we have concerns about your child’s development we will discuss our observations with you. We are not experts in diagnosing problems, but we are sensitive to and experienced with emerging concerns. We can help you search for answers and guide you to appropriate specialists should either of us see a need. Our goal is to partner with you for the good of your child.

 

Links to many family-related community resources may be found at 2-1-1 TN and kidcentral tn.

NEW STAFF

Our best intention is to not have changes in staff during a school year.  However, if a change becomes necessary we will make the transition as smooth as possible by allowing the children to say good-bye and by bringing in the new teacher before the one leaving goes (if possible). You will also be informed in writing as soon as possible.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

If you are dissatisfied with any part of the Highland Plaza United Methodist Preschool operations, you should take the following steps to make your grievance(s) known:

  1. Discuss your concern with your child’s teacher.
  2. File a written statement of concern with your child’s teacher.
  3. Schedule a conference to discuss the concern with the teacher, and try to solve or correct the problem.
  4. If the decision reached is not satisfactory to you, submit the written concern and a summary of the conference held to the director of the Preschool.

Upon receipt of the written concern, the Director, HiPUMPS executive committee, and Preschool Board will make a prompt investigation of the issues and will set a date for a conference with the parties involved no later than five (5) days after receiving the formal notice.

 

The conference may include the Director, HiPUMPS executive committee members, Preschool Board members, the teaching staff involved and you. The Director, along with the church Preschool Board, will make the final decision and it will be mailed to you. It is in the best interest of all the parties for problems to be solved at the lowest level possible. 

HOW FAMILY MEMBERS MAY CHOOSE TO BE INVOLVED

Programs      We have several programs during the year to which you will be invited. Among them are ‘Partnering with Parents’ meetings, special holiday festivities, StudioPendous, and the Family Picnic in May.

Volunteer Forms     At the beginning of the school year we will invite you to fill out a questionnaire revealing your special talents and abilities. We will look forward to using your expertise to complement our program. If other family members would like to volunteer, we will also welcome them.

HOW WE KEEP PARENTS INFORMED

Office Kiosk   You will find this information hub just inside the entry door of our school. Typically staffed throughout arrival time in the morning, here you can find announcements, pay fees, reserve special classes, ask questions, etc.

Website and Email   In an effort to reduce paper and to keep you connected to our preschool 24/7, we hold an expectation that you will have an email address and that you will check the website frequently. A private, parent log in side of the website is provided that gives you access to information specific to this year’s students.

Newsletters     Each month a general school newsletter will be emailed to you and posted on the parent log in side of our website telling of the special activities going on at school that month. You may also look forward to class-specific newsletters each month.

Classroom Bulletin Board    Emerging curricular investigation topics and other items of special interest will be posted on a bulletin board outside each classroom. Hallway documentation panels and dialog will allow you to “see” what is going on in our classrooms.

Parent Bulletin Board     Parents have a special bulletin board at the main entrance. Here you will find current volunteer needs and information on upcoming events. 

Parent-Teacher Conversations    We offer optional fall conversations and set spring conversations where the teachers will talk with you personally to keep you abreast of your child's development. You will be notified in advance of the date and time of the conversation (usually October and the first of February). Please do not feel you have to wait until conversation time to discuss something with the teacher. We will be glad to schedule a meeting with you any time you feel one is needed. Our teachers, too, will ask to have a special meeting with you, if one is indicated.

Lending Library     Our school has a Lending Library for parents. You are welcome and encouraged to check out these books. You may borrow them for a two-week period. The parent lending library is on the stage in our Living Room.

On-Line Parent Board   On our parent log in side of the website we offer a Parent Board, which allows you to post business cards, fliers, invitations, announcements, etc. We charge a small fee to deliver this service to you. See our Office Manager for more details.

Good Faith Statement

Highland Plaza United Methodist Preschool is committed to providing quality care to every enrolled child and will continue to do so as long as the child’s, and other children’s needs, can be met. Modifications in teaching strategies and the learning environment will be attempted, and we will consult with the family and seek recommendations from appropriate specialists to maximize the potential of the child to benefit from the program. If, after implementing these strategies, the child’s current needs cannot be met, or the child is seriously jeopardizing the ability of other children to benefit from the program, the preschool staff will attempt to identify a more appropriate setting and services, and assist the family in placing their child elsewhere.

Let’s work together to create the best preschool experience and memories for your child!