Parent Handbook

The purpose of Westwood Preschool is to provide opportunities for children to learn and grow socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually in God’s grace, poured out to them through people and programs that foster and nurture God’s love for them.

 

About Westwood Preschool

Philosophy
We seek to provide opportunities for children to grow…

  • Socially by offering opportunities to develop a positive self-image, to look for the good things in others and to respect and care for our surroundings.
  • Emotionally by helping develop appropriate emotional outlets as they work and play together in a loving environment.
  • Physically by providing a variety of activities indoors and out, helping develop large and small-muscle skills along with awareness of self and others.
  • Intellectually by expanding areas of knowledge through providing developmentally appropriate activities, encouraging language, problem solving skills, math and number sense, exploring and discovering scientific phenomena, facilitating enjoyable creative expression through music and movement, art activities, dramatic play enrichments, and sensory experiences.
  • Spiritually by sharing God’s love for them through the introduction of Biblical truths, conversational prayer, worship and praise; reinforced in chapel and classroom experiences.

We Believe
We believe every child is a gift from God, and He has blessed each and of them with unique and special qualities that deserve affirmation and celebration. We consider it a privilege to be a part of the forming and shaping of the delicate lives of children and recognize our role in serving both our children and their families in ways that will honor God.

We believe that the motivation to learn is intrinsic in every child. We view learning as an interactive process and that children acquire knowledge about themselves, each other and the world in which they live through active exploration with other children and through the guidance of skilled, devoted teachers.

We believe that play is the primary vehicle for learning during preschool years and recognize the value in providing experiences where children can enjoy activities relevant to their specific interests and developmental needs.

We believe in encouraging a spirit of cooperation, not competition in and among children. All social interactions are viewed as opportunities for learning to care about one another and ourselves.

Our Goal
Westwood Preschool strives to maintain the highest standards of quality through continual professional development in the areas of curriculum design and implementation, assessment to support social, emotional and behavioral development. Several tools are used: NAEYC standards, Minnesota’s Early Learning Standards, Creative Curriculum Goals and Objectives, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale and Handwriting Without Tears. These resources are referenced for program planning and evaluation on an ongoing basis. We invite families to be involved and informed about curriculum, assessments and goals for their child. We welcome open communication through email, phone or by appointment.


Westwood Preschool is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to meet the needs of children ages 3 to 5 with a maximum capacity of 108 at any time. Children must be at least 33 months and toilet trained to enroll. We are dedicated to serve all children, regardless of their race, creed or religious affiliation. We will enroll children with special needs if we can safely and proficiently meet the child’s needs through an individual child care plan (ICCCP) as stated in Minnesota Rule 3. Questions regarding licensing can be directed to the licensing division of the Department of Human Services at 651-431-6500.

As a child care provider, we continually monitor the development of all children in our care through ongoing observation and recording. We want the best outcomes for all children. Child care providers are considered a primary referral source for early intervention under federal IDEA special education law. We are required to refer a child in our program who has been identified as having developmental concerns or a risk factor that warrants a referral as soon as possible, but in no case more than seven days after identification. While this is a mandate, we want to keep open communication with parents and caregivers about their child and any concerns we have before a referral is made. We can assist the parent with the referral or partner with them in the referral process.

Westwood Preschool is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a voluntarily comprehensive process of internal self-study and improvement. NAEYC Accreditation is a mark of quality.

 

Program Details

Preschool

A Day at Preschool…
Each day offers purposeful and productive time carefully planned and implemented by qualified staff.

A good preschool day begins at home.

  • Children will be most ready to learn and have fun if rested, nourished and comfortably dressed. Washable play clothes (we do get messy here!) and tennis shoes are best for our active program.
  • Please label clothing, coats, boots, hats, mittens, etc. to assist in managing the many items handled throughout the day.
  • Boots and snow pants will only be needed on specific days as requested in advance by the teacher, with the exception of the full day preschool program which goes outside every day.
  • Bug repellant or skin protection with a recommended UVB and UVA protection of SPF 15 or higher can be applied at home prior to arrival at school.

Each day’s events occur in a predictable order in the classroom and include the following elements:

  • Circle Time: Music, calendar, weather, literature, theme introduction, and sharing time are some components of this time used to develop language, listening, turn-taking, problem-solving and social skills. Prayers, Bible stories and devotionals are also part of circle time experiences.
  • Learning Environment: There are many resources utilized to support the developing child. Some of the enrichments used are: music & movement, dramatic play, creative art, math & science discovery, language & literacy, dramatic play, manipulatives, blocks & construction, and sensory play. There are teacher led learning activities and self-directed options during free choice time.
  • Large Muscle Activities: While weather is favorable children enjoy our state of the art outdoor playground. Once boots, coats and mittens are needed, we utilize our “large muscle room” and bring out the parachutes, tumbling mats, balls, scooters, and even bikes for free-play and teacher facilitated activities. Music and movement are also experienced in the classrooms for added exercise.
  • Snack Time: A simple snack and juice or milk are provided by the preschool. Peanut butter or foods containing nuts are avoided due to allergies. Specific adjustments will be made to ensure safety for children with severe allergies and food sensitivities. Photo documentation of children with severe allergies will be posted for teachers in each classroom and food preparation area. Treats may not be brought in to the classroom in accordance with our safety first philosophy.
  • Chapel: Held weekly on Wednesdays at the beginning of each session, the entire group gathers for lively worship through music and movement followed by a brief age-appropriate message related to the Fruit of the Spirit. Puppets are a big part of learning stories throughout the Bible. A monthly newsletter with a “fruit” attached will be sent home to expand on each attribute presented. We encourage parents to talk about the material sent home to help enhance learning.

Program Information

Class times:
Morning classes from 9:00–11:30am
Afternoon classes from 12:30–3:00pm
Full day class from 9:00am–3:00pm

Options:
2 Day:  M/W   3–4 years
3 Day:  M/W/F    3, 4, 5 years
4 Day: M/T/W/F     4.5–5+ prekindergarten only
3 Full Day:  M/W/F  4.5–5+ prekindergarten only

The first month’s tuition must be prepaid in July to ensure fall enrollment.  The remaining eight payments are due the first preschool week of each month September through April. Payments may be mailed, dropped off, or placed in an envelope in the child’s designated preschool bag.  Online payments set up through personal accounts are also an option.  Please make all payments to Westwood Preschool.

All fees are NON-REFUNDABLE. Enrollment is for the full nine month school term. A 30 day notice is required prior to withdrawing a child. Tuition is not deducted for holidays, illness, vacations, extended absences, weather related closings, or unanticipated church events such as a very large funeral.

There is an annual fee of $50 for registration and $30 activity and material fee per child. Registration is done through the website. Contact the preschool office at 952-224-7449 to schedule tours and for information regarding availability prior to registering. Forms are available on the website or paper copies at the preschool.

Currently enrolled children and siblings are provided an opportunity for early enrollment beginning the first week in January. Open enrollment begins the last week in January. If demand exceeds openings, a random selection process will be used in accordance with our spirit of non-competition. Parents will be asked to chose a first and second preference for programs so every effort can be made to accommodate enrollment.  Waiting lists will be used.  All paperwork must be completed and returned along with full payment of fees for enrollment to be complete and placement secured in the program.


Calendar Information

Westwood Preschool most closely follows District #112 Eastern Carver County school district’s calendar.  Please note there are variations in order to complete the appropriated number of days for the year.  The entire calendar is available on the website. Newsletters, emails and website at www.westwoodpreschool.org provide added reminders.

Parents may also sign up for REMIND 101 to have information sent as text messages. Details are included in orientation materials.

 

Car Line

Car Line

Carline Procedures

Drop-off

  1. Drop off begins at 8:55 am for morning preschool/ 12:25pm for afternoon. Preschool staff will be stationed at the upper level entry to receive the children curbside from their car.
  2. Parents are to enter the campus on West 78th Street and proceed carefully along the sidewalk toward the front entrance.   Pull up closely to the curb.
  3. Make sure the colored car sign is visible on the front window on the passenger side.
  4. The first 4-6 vehicles will be assisted by staff. Vehicles must be occupied at all times during this process. If coming in to the preschool, please DO NOT walk through the carline for safety purposes.
  5. Warm greetings will be extended in this brief transition time. For more extensive communications, please send in a note, email, or call so we can assist in any way needed.
  6. Children will be assisted from the passenger side of the vehicle only. Self-help skills are encouraged to minimize the need for lifting children. For those needing extra assistance, parents and staff will develop an alternate plan.carline
  7. Children will be taken by hand to a classroom specific doorway where a teacher will record attendance and monitor for safety. Once carline is completed, children will walk down the stairs as a group with a teacher at the beginning and ending of each group for close supervision.

Tanadoona Drive must be used to exit the campus at all times to prevent collisions. Please be diligent in this practice and advise others that may be providing transportation for your child.

Pick-up

  1. Children will be brought upstairs with their classroom group and settled in the entryway while waiting.
  2. Staff members will use two-way radios to announce the first 4-6 children in line; identified by preschool signage in the window of the vehicle.
  3. Children will only be released to parents or those with written permission given in advance. Car signs must be present or identification will be required.
  4. A staff member will take the child(ren) by hand to the car, open the door and see them safely inside.   Brief conversations may indicate a need for further dialog. Lead teachers will facilitate follow up.
  5. For efficient transitions, once children are settled in car seats for pick up, please pull forward about 6 car lengths, stop and finish fastening safety belts. This allows for the next group of children to be delivered to their cars during that time.
  6. In the event of a delay in picking up, children will be brought to the director’s office at 11:45am for morning session / 3:10pm for afternoon. If unable to reach a parent, emergency contacts will be phoned for assistance.

In the event of a funeral or church special event, the lower level entrance may be used for carline. Website and email notification will be provided with specific information pertinent to that particular event.

Lunch Bunch

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Lunch Bunch
Children can enjoy Lunch Bunch from 11:20am-12:45pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sign-up forms will be sent home in the preschool folder. Sessions will be as follows: September/October, November/December, January/February, March/April/May. To sign up, complete the form with requested dates and return to preschool along with payment. A confirmation of reserved dates will be sent home for reference. Space is limited, so please verify with your confirmed sheet before sending a lunch with your child. Send a bag lunch and drink, clearly labeled with child’s name (non-refrigerated and nut free please). Cost is $8 per session. Drop-ins are welcome for $10 per session but must be approved for space availability by calling 952-224-7449. Lunch Bunch fees are non-refundable. If your child is unable to attend a specific day we will offer you an
opportunity to make up one missed date limited to one time per session (i.e. September-October session).  Please confirm availability in advance.

Lunch Bunch Drop-off and Pick-up
Afternoon students coming early for Lunch Bunch should be in the carline to drop-off their child between 11:20am and 11:25am . If there are cars already in line for morning pickup, please go around them (use caution) and pull up to front doors. Two staff members will receive children and bring them downstairs when they have all arrived. Morning students remaining for Lunch Bunch will be brought upstairs for carline pickup at 12:45pm. Please note that there may still be cars in the line for afternoon drop-off.

 

School Cancellation

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School Cancellation
Westwood Preschool follows the weather related cancellation policy as implemented by District #112 Eastern Carver County Schools.  

In case of inclement weather, please listen to KTIS (98.5 FM) or watch WCCO for details. The websites for Westwood Community Church and Westwood Preschool will have updates also.  Even if school is in session, we encourage parents’ discernment on driving conditions.

If there is a late start due to weather, there will be no morning preschool for the morning program.

Full day (Red class) will follow the same weather delay schedule as District #112, i.e. a 2 hour late start will result in an 11:00am drop off.

If there is an early dismissal announced prior to start time, there will be no afternoon preschool.

Early dismissals announced while at preschool will be informed by email, and phone contact done as able. A 2:00pm school dismissal will likely not result in early preschool closing.

While it is Westwood’s intention to maintain the integrity of the preschool schedule, there may be the rare occasion of a large scale event such as a funeral that would cause the preschool to cancel. Advance notification would be done via email, phone and on the website.

 

Policies & Procedures

Creative Time

Parent Involvement
Westwood Preschool encourages an open-door atmosphere for parents. It is our goal to establish relationships with each family, walk alongside them, and support them in nurturing their children during these important preschool years.

Frequent communication will be encouraged through the website, email, phone conversations, and newsletters. We welcome the opportunity to have face to face conversations with parents as much as possible. You are welcome to observe and learn about all the wonderful things happening here at school. The door to the director’s office is always open throughout the day and evenings by appointment.

Volunteer opportunities will be coordinated through the classroom teachers. Let them know what areas of expertise/enthusiasm you would care to share!

In compliance with church policies, pets are not allowed in the building without prior approval. Special events may include animals outside as appropriate.

A Resource Binder is available in the director’s office and is available to all parents and staff to be used as a resource for area support, events and activities. The binder is updated on an as-needed basis.


Behavior Guidance
We believe in incorporating a spirit of cooperation, not competition. All social interactions are viewed as opportunities for learning to care about one another and ourselves. When an occasion arises that requires behavior guidance, the staff at Westwood Preschool uses the following methods in this order:

  1. Talking to the child using a positive approach
  2. Redirecting the child to a different activity
  3. Modeling appropriate behavior
  4. Rewarding desirable behavior
  5. Removing the child briefly from the group but within sight of the teacher. Corporal punishment or emotional abuse will never be used with any child. If a child needs separation from the group, the following protocol will be followed:
    • The director will be contacted
    • The separation will be noted in a log book
    • If a child is separated from the group three or more times in one day, the child’s parents will be notified, and it will be noted in the log book.
    • Should challenging behaviors persist to the extent that multiple separations occur within the preschool week, a team meeting will be held including parent(s), teacher, director/assistant director to establish a plan of support to enhance classroom success. Conferencing will be held to coordinate supporting and guiding the child.
    • Support services may be requested as required by licensing regulations, IDEA

Health and Safety

Child Abuse Reporting
Staff are mandated by state law to report any instance of observed or suspected child abuse or neglect.

Forms
The state requires the following to be on file for each child PRIOR to participating in preschool:

*Child Information Sheet- filled out annually with signed consent for emergency medical care.

*Health Care Summary-completed the first year with any changes updated. This must be filled out and signed by the child’s physician.

*Immunization Record- filled out the first year with any changes updated.

“Inadequately Immunized” children must have forms notarized per the Minnesota Department of Health.

*Emergency Care Plan- for children with Epi-pens or medicines kept on-site. These medicines must be in original containers with pharmacy labels clearly identifying the child’s information.

 

Parents are required to keep sick children at home for their own protection as well as for the health of others. Please refer to “Health Exclusion Policy” handout to determine how long to keep your child at home.

If a child becomes ill during the day, he/she will be in the director’s office.  A resting mat and blanket will be provided for comfort as needed. Parents will be notified and asked to pick up the child. The child’s file must include the parents’ numbers and two other emergency numbers in case the parents cannot be reached.

Parents are asked to notify the school within 24 hours if their child contracts a communicable illness. Communicable illnesses will then be reported to all parents of children in the ill child’s classroom the same day the information is received. The staff will share information regarding the illness, incubation period, early signs to watch for, and exclusion recommendations.

The school will notify the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414 within 24 hours should a reportable disease occur. MDH has a comprehensive list called “Diseases Reportable to the Minnesota Department of Health.”

Reasonable precaution is taken to prevent accidents or injuries of any kind. In the case of a minor cut, bruise or fall, staff will administer first aid. The incident will be recorded in an accident log and reported to the parents.

Parents are asked to notify the preschool of any allergies, especially food allergies. Allergies will be posted in the classroom and food prep area.

In the event that an epi pen is prescribed for a child and kept on site at the preschool, an Emergency Care Plan will be developed. This form must be filled out and signed by the child’s physician. Emergency medications will be maintained in the preschool office located in a classroom color coordinated bag hanging on the back of the door.

In case of a medical emergency during a session, an ambulance, if necessary, will transport the child to hospital. Parents and/or the child’s doctor will be notified immediately.

Parents are financially responsible for the emergency transportation of the child and any medical care needed. The preschool staff is trained in first aid and CPR as required by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. If accidental ingestion of poisonous substance occur, the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 will be called and procedures will be followed.

In the event of other emergencies, teachers and assistants are responsible for the care and handling of the students in their individual classes. Once the students have been evacuated to their designated place of safety, the teacher will communicate to the director that all children are all accounted.

Procedures specific to emergencies are as follows:

Fire Evacuation: Remove the children from the building by the primary or secondary exits depending on fire location (see emergency evacuation map posted in each classroom). The first aid kit and emergency contact information will be taken outside in case of injury. The Chanhassen Fire Department will respond to any fire emergency. They have established procedures and provisions for shelter if necessary. Children and staff will practice fire emergency evacuation and tornado procedures. Logs are maintained in the director’s office of these drills.

Tornado or Blizzard: Storm shelters are noted on the emergency evacuation map in each classroom. Students will be instructed to cover their heads as appropriate. A battery operated radio and flashlight will be available for use. Tornado drills will be recorded also.

Utility Failure: Each classroom has a flashlight and the church has emergency lighting in the hallways. The Chanhassen Fire Department will respond to any prolonged utility emergency. They have established procedures and provisions for shelter if necessary.

Missing Children: The director or her designee will be notified. A thorough search of the building and grounds will be conducted simultaneously with the notification of police and parents.

Missing Parent: If unable to reach parents or emergency contact within one hour, police will be notified.

If You Have a Specific Concern
If a situation or condition in the classroom cause you or your child concern, it is important to deal with it quickly and openly. Upon hearing of a grievance, the director and/or teacher will respond within five working days. The following steps by the parent will be taken:

  1. Discuss the problem privately with the teacher clearly and sincerely. Describe the specific behavior and how it makes you feel or why it is a problem.
  2. If the problem is still unresolved after the first step, speak to the director. She will investigate the issues involved and/or facilitate further discussion.
  3. If the problem is still unresolved after the second step, speak to the Executive Pastor, Jim Anderson. He will investigate the issues involved and facilitate further discussion.

Identifying and communicating a grievance will help achieve change.  If you have concerns about suspected abuse or neglect of your child at preschool, you may file a report with the Department of Human Services, Licensing Division, at 651-431-6500.


Liability Insurance
Westwood Preschool has $1,000,000 of liability insurance and $100,000 of vehicle insurance under the policy of Westwood Community Church.

 

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