Policies & Procedures

Per the CONTRACT, all CLIENTS agree that they have read the following in its entirety and agree to abide by the Policies and Procedures as stated below. Any alternate drop-off/pick-up persons are also expected to abide by the following.

[Child care providers who may choose to use all or some of the following, please note that some content is location and school specific, so you will need to edit appropriate to your situation.] I update this at least annually, usually adding items as issues arise. A copy of my contract for your reference:  

Last revision: 7/1/2021

Little Stars Learning
Policies and Procedures Manual
1.       Welcome
2.       Admission
3.       What a Parent Should Expect
4.       What a Provider Expects
5.       Hours, Tuition, Fees
5a.     Immunizations 
6.       Payment Terms
7.       Environment
8.       Proper Dress
9.       Drop Off/Pick Up
10.     Daily Schedule
11.     Food & Toys From Home
12a.   Supervision - Inside
12b.   Supervision - Naps
12c.    Supervision - Outside
13.     Nutrition
14.     Discipline
15.     Visits and Phone Calls
16.     Potty Training
17.     Smoking and Alcohol Usage
18.     Pick-up by Someone Other Than Parent
19.     Field Trips
20.     Supplies
21.     Celebrations
22.     Gift Exchanges
23.     Holidays, Vacation and Sick Days
24.     Assistant Providers/Substitutes
25.     If I Become Ill
26.     If Your Child Becomes Ill
27.     Medical and Other Emergencies
28.     Child Abuse
29.     Administration of Medicines
30.     Termination of Care
31.     Permission to View Videos
32.     Permission to Photograph/Video
33.     Implied Contract
34.     Legal Fees
35.     Inclement Weather
36.     Emergency Procedures
37.     Weapons

1.       WELCOME
Children are tender, curious, wonderful beings who need a safe and enriching environment to grow and thrive. I will do my best to ensure the safety, comfort, health, and happiness of all children in my care at all times and will present them with the opportunity to learn at their own pace. I will attempt to gain as much continuing education and training as possible. I will also strive to keep the lines of communication open between myself and the families I serve. Please feel free to discuss your needs or concerns with me at all times.

I personally found it impossible to find my ideal childcare for my sons. Knowing what I was looking for and what I was finding lacking, I have chosen to try to fill that need for other parents. This is my profession, and I take it very seriously. I am constantly striving to better my skills and my program. I am here to be your child’s teacher, caregiver and advocate, and your partner in the growth and development of your child.

Please read this handbook thoroughly, it covers very important policies and procedures that pertain to the care of your child and to your family. Thank you for choosing Little Stars Childcare and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or if you need clarification on any of the policies in this handbook.  

2.       ADMISSION
Little Stars Learning serves up to ten (10) children ages 6 weeks through 12 years. No child will be denied admission on the basis of his/her race or religion. All information provided will be kept confidential and is for my records only.

The safety, security and emotional well-being of all the children in my care is my ultimate directive. Initial interviews with all parties must be conducted outside of care hours. No person will be allowed access to a child other than one of their legal responsibility until and unless I feel completely comfortable. Our environment is one of community and collaboration. The relationship between myself, the families, and the extended families, is very important and highly regarded. This is created through time and communication. 

When your child is cared for by a family childcare provider in her home, you should be able to expect certain things.

1.       Open communication. Providers should give you frequent and full updates on your child’s progress and problems. They should welcome your questions and ask you questions about how they can help your child.

2.       Open access to their home or center. Parents should be welcome to drop in any time. Providers should also allow parents to make a reasonable number of phone calls to check on their children’s well being, in case of illness or if there’s a special concern such as separation anxiety.

3.       Safety for your child. Providers should take all possible precautions to keep children safe.

4.       Honesty and confidence. Providers shouldn’t make commitments that they can’t or don’t intend to keep. They shouldn’t cover up problems or accidents that occur.

5.       Acceptance of parent’s wishes. Providers should abide by parent’s wishes on matters such as discipline, TV watching and toilet training. If providers feel that they can’t abide by parent’s wishes, they need to tell parents before agreeing to care for the children and parents should for other care.

6.       Advance notice of any changes. Since it is often very difficult to find adequate care, providers should tell parents well in advance if they are going to change their hours or if they are going to stop or limit the time of caring for a child. Parents need adequate time if a provider is no longer going to care for a child. Parents should be given at least two weeks notice even if the provider won’t be available for just one day, unless there is a personal emergency.

7.       No interference in the child’s family or family problems. Providers shouldn’t talk to children about their family’s problems, lifestyle or values. Likewise, the provider should be careful not to take sides in any family disputes, such as custody battles.

8.       No advice offered unless asked for and no judging of parenting practices. Providers shouldn’t criticize or advise parents on child rearing unless parents ask for their advice. If the provider sees something that is seriously wrong with how parents are raising their children, such as abuse or signs of neglect, they should discuss the problem with the parents and, if needed, contact legal authorities. (I have issues with this one. I will try not to offer personal opinions, but I will provide parents with scientific and medical information in order to influence their childrearing practices to the benefit of the children.)

9.       Assurance that everyone in contact with the child is trustworthy and supervised. Providers must be responsible for everyone who enters and visit’s the home.

10.     No surprises. This means that your family childcare provider won’t suddenly tell you that she is taking a job next week. Surprises are probably what parents fear most from their childcare providers (and vice versa).

A family childcare provider should be able to expect certain things from you.

1.       Open communication. Explain clearly and carefully your wishes and expectations about how your child will be cared for. Also provide updates on problems and progress that your child is making. Give the provider information about your child’s routine, activities and preferences. Good communication helps parents and providers work together in the best interest of the children.

2.       Agreement on terms or arrangements. You should fully understand the expectations of the provider and what you as a parent are agreeing to.

3.       Honesty and trust. This includes being honest about how you believe the arrangement is working, whether your child is happy with the provider and whether you are. Although you need to be vigilant in order to safeguard your child, you should still trust your childcare provider to do the best for your child.

4.       Advance notice of and agreement to any changes. Providers have to earn a living too, so they deserve advance notice if you are going to stop using their services or take a vacation or leave that will affect their pay.

5.       Pick up on time and follow through on all agreements. Providers have personal lives too, and they should be able to expect that you will pick up your child at the agreed upon time. If it takes you 15 minutes a day longer than you expect to get home or if you find it more convenient to stop at the grocery store before picking up your child which makes you 30 minutes late three times a week, you need to work out a new agreement with the provider or find a way to abide by the original one.

6.       Sick children. Agree with your childcare provider in advance about when you can and cannot bring a sick child. Then abide by that agreement. You must call off work, so I need you to please call me to call off your child.

7.       Payment on time. Childcare providers have to pay the rent and buy food, too, so make arrangements to see that they get their pay on time.

8.       Respect. Realize that taking care of children is a job and the childcare worker is a worker, just as you are. A childcare provider is not “just a baby sitter.” She is one of the most important people in your child’s life and in yours, too.

9.       Jealousy. Try not to be jealous of your child’s attachment to childcare providers. Children who spend hours every day with a childcare worker come to love that person. The love, though, doesn’t diminish the love your child feels for you. Don’t feel that you have to compete with your childcare provider for your child’s affection. Be happy that they love and get loved in return.

10.     No surprises. Your childcare provider shouldn’t learn on Friday that you have decided to take next week off from work. Childcare providers don’t like surprises any better than parents do.

Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

There is an automatic annual tuition increase of $5 per week per child effective each January 2nd.

Non-refundable Enrollment Fee    One week's tuition
                                                       Due with signed contract

Late Payment Fee                       $15/day

       -      After 5:30pm Friday until paid in full,
           including late fees
       -      Full payment must be received prior to care
           on Monday for your child to attend
       -   If payment, including accrued late fees, 
           is not made by Wednesday at 6pm, 
           position will be considered abandoned, 
           terminated, and available 

Early Arrival/Late Pick-up            $5/15 minutes
       - Available with a minimum 48 hour 
         advance notice and agreement

Late Pick-up UNSCHEDULED      $1/minute
       - Any child not picked up by 5:25, 
         I will begin making phone calls for ETA

Returned Check Service Charge    $35 + bank fees

In order to provide my family with a reliable income, I cannot offer a discount for days when your child is unable to attend due to his/her illness or vacation. Tuition is paid 52 weeks a year to secure your child's position, unless I should need to take additional vacation time.

Please do not place me in a position to have to ask for payment of fees. If you are late with a payment or pick-up, please include the amount due in late fees in your next payment.

Late payments and late pick-ups count as contract violations and if more than three instances in a year, can lead to termination of care.

5a.       IMMUNIZATIONS                                                                         
Due to having infants here, and sometimes immune-compromised children, for the sake of all children in my care, I do not accept medically sound children who are not fully immunized. That being said, I support choice of an extended immunization schedule. 

Immunization forms must be presented from a doctor on a letterhead form or with a doctor's stamp prior to admittance and within 3 days after each round of vaccinations.

It is preferred that children not return for 24 hours after immunization, so Friday afternoon appointments are appreciated. However, this is not a hard and fast rule for this childcare.

As stated above, tuition is paid 52 weeks a year to secure your child's position, unless I should need to take additional vacation time beyond what is stated and agreed to in this contracted policies & procedures.
Charges for the following week’s care will be due by 5:30 pm Friday. Payment is preferred by autopay through your bank, however cash, check, money orders, Paypal, Zelle, Facebook Pay, Google Pay, CashApp, PopMoney, and Venmo are accepted. If choosing a service that has a service fee, such as PayPal and Venmo, client will be responsible for covering said fee. I will gladly provide a void check for you to set up autopay through your bank, usually this is a free service.

In the unlikely event of a returned check, I will require a $35 service charge in addition to the repayment of my bank’s charges that I will incur and any fees subject to my own payments bouncing. Subsequent payments will need to be made in cash or by money order.

A written receipt is available upon request either weekly or monthly. Childcare reimbursement forms are welcome. In January of each year I will provide an annual summary of all fees paid for the previous calendar year. This summary is gratuitous and not legally required, as it is the payee’s responsibility to track expenditures for tax purposes.

I will strive to provide a safe, comfortable, stimulating, fun, educational environment in my home with a semi-structured day plan. Activities will include free playtime, structured playtime, large motor skill playtime, small motor skills activities, story time, theater activities, arts and crafts, music and dance activities, nature awareness, nutrition and cooking, cultural activities, and other educational yet fun activities.

I will also provide nutritious meals and snacks and encourage good personal hygiene skills and manners. The television will rarely be on during regular care hours, and then only to watch educational programs or activities that I have personally pre-screened to be appropriate for the youngest viewers.

A computer will be available for the older children to use under supervision. Through a mixture of guided and un-directed creative play, children in my care will have the opportunity to learn about color, shapes, textures, numbers, letters, animals, seasons, feelings, senses, nutrition, personal hygiene, manners, basic science and math concepts, and creative concepts such as “pretend” play, art, music, drama and dance. These may sound like lofty goals for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, but children can learn all of these things and more through creative play.

I do not believe in pushing any child to learn at an accelerated rate, and will not make a child feel pressured to achieve any developmental milestones. By providing the right kind of fun, safe and educational environment, I believe that children will learn at their own appropriate pace.

My home is very child proof and child friendly. We use an allergen, dye and fragrance free laundry detergent with no fabric softener.

Clothing worn to daycare should be appropriate for the day’s weather and play. Please do not send your child to care wearing anything new or special. I teach the children creativity, problem solving, and pride in their skills. Sometimes (often) these values get a little messy. Onesies or shirts that snap at the crotch (great for infants only), too tight shoes the child cannot slip on themselves, tight jeans, belts, buttons and snaps that the children can’t handle alone are not appropriate in a childcare situation. Children take pride in being able to care for themselves.

If there is an occasion that calls for special clothing after care, please send the special clothing and I will help them clean up and get dressed prior to your arrival. We often go outside in the afternoon, so expect your child to have dirty knees and not be impeccable when you arrive. Be prepared with an extra set of clothing if you want them to change.

If potty training, your child needs to be ONLY in pull up elastic waist pants for their ease and success.

Shoes with laces are a safety hazard. Please only send children in shoes with elastic or Velcro closures. Flip flops and sandals must have a heel strap. Older children will need closed-toe shoes at all times for soccer play. I subscribe to the “barefoot is best” research, and children are given the option of wearing shoes when the weather permits.

If YOU wouldn’t wear something similar to either sleep in or exercise in, then it IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILD CARE [i.e. jeans, frilly dresses], since those are the two basic activities of care – sleep and movement.

Infants to 12 months shall be dressed in heavy footed sleepers and a onsie for winter.

Our home is kept at 68 degrees during the winter and 78 degrees during the summer months. Please keep in mind any differences between my home and yours will cause your child to feel cooler or warmer while at school. Additionally, the children play on the floor, near windows which greatly influences the comfort they will experience. I ask that during the winter you send the children in layers, the ideal being a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt and a jacket or fleece shirt. Your child will let me know if they get hot, and this gives me the option to take off the appropriate amount of clothing for the situation.

In the summer, please keep in mind that we may be out in the early morning, which will require a jacket or additional layer. STATE REGULATIONS REQUIRE US TO BE OUTSIDE FOR ONE HOUR EVERY DAY. We will not go outside if the comfort index is 20 or below or 90 or above, excessively muddy, or in some other manner unsafe. Which means that your child should always arrive ready to be outdoors, with coat, hat, gloves, jacket, etc. for ONE HOUR.

Clothing that may seem appropriate to you, based upon the few minutes it takes to get into your car and into a warm building, is probably NOT APPROPRIATE FOR AN HOUR OF OUTDOOR PLAY for a young child. Children should be in a MINIMUM of one additional layer for every layer their parent deems appropriate for him/herself.

Please do not assume that we will not be going outside. Too often children do not attend with the appropriate clothing, necessitating that I provide back-ups, or keeping everyone indoors due to one child’s lack of necessary items. If a child is brought without the necessary clothing, the parents may have to return home to get it.

Children learn patterning, telling time, etc. through consistent routines. The most important routine to them is drop off and pick up times. When this routine is changed, they become anxious and upset. Even if it is dad picking up when mom usually does so, this is bothersome to upsetting to children. It is also their understanding that if a parent arrives after drop off, then it must be time for pick up. This is the routine. 

For this reason, if a parent arrives after drop off, then they must remove their child age 1- 3. For instance, if you must take them to a doctor's appointment, please schedule it for the end of the day, as the child can not return to care. If you need to drop off an item or pick something up, the exchange will take place on the front porch without your child knowing you have been here. You are welcome to stay as long as you want at pick up [until close of business], and pick up at any time, but when you leave, you need to take your child with you. They expect that. A secondary leaving is not routine, and is viewed as abandonment that takes a much higher emotional toll.

For children over 3, if they become overwrought at your secondary leaving or being brought back from an appointment or outing, then you will be requested to return for them and make other care arrangements for the rest of the day. Overwrought means inconsolable after 15 minutes with no indication of it letting up.

Transition times can be stressful for some children. In the morning they may not want to say good-bye to you and at pick up time they may not want to go because they are involved with a fun activity. This is a natural occurrence and may vary with your child’s age, developmental stage, and amount of sleep.

To ease the situation, I encourage parents to take a minute to help their child feel comfortable and to adjust by offering positive statements. A parent who shows reluctance to depart only makes the transition harder for their child. Although parents should never sneak out without saying good-bye to their child, a brief good-bye usually works best. Crying will usually stop a few minutes after you depart, and usually it is as soon as the door closes.

If your child misbehaves during transition times, please correct their behavior. My house rules apply from the time they walk in until the time they walk out. This is a time of testing when two different authority figures are present, and this situation will be tested at one time or another to see if the rules still apply. I will remind your child if inappropriate behaviors are being displayed. Please be prepared to back me up. If your rules or desires are being tested, I’m ready to back you up as well. Children of all ages adjust to transitions differently. Most do not like to be too rushed, or to wait too long once they are ready to depart. This is especially true during the colder months, when children may get uncomfortably warm once dressed.

When leaving, please DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO RUN OUT TO YOUR CAR WHILE YOU ARE STILL INSIDE! Our safety rule is “No one outside without a parent or guardian with them.” We are on too busy of a street to not keep a hand on your child at all times in the front of my house. Unfortunately, this occurs often, and twice it has led to dangerous situations. For younger children, please keep them in your grasp, either carrying or holding their hand. 

10.     SCHEDULE
Below is a basic outline of our day. The times may vary (with the exception of meal times), but the activities will remain the same. We have a summer and winter schedule, shifting our outside times around the weather.

7:30   Arrival, free play, table time
8:00   Breakfast
8:30   Outside (nice weather)/Story time/singing/table time (colder weather)
9:30   School time/activity
11:00 Free play while I fix lunch, video as needed
11:30 Lunch
12:00 Nap/quiet time/table time/free play
3:00   Snack
3:15   Story time/singing/table time (nice weather)/Outside (colder weather)
4:45   Clean up
5:00   Pick up, free play, table time

Food and drink should not be brought from home. Absolutely no candy, gum, suckers, etc. that will place me in a position of having to take it away immediately and will cause issues with the other children. 

Toys are fine as long as they are not choking hazards or could become choking hazards, such as bead necklaces. Please note that any item brought from home MAY BE CONSIDERED A DONATION and should not be anticipated to be returned, especially in the condition it arrived. Little Stars Learning, by this contract, is considered not liable for any harm or loss to occur from items brought into care. It is not uncommon for ownership to become questionable when toys are integrated into the play environment, and when that happens, they will be considered property of the school. I will also not be responsible for tracking sippy cups and toys on a daily basis to be returned home. Feel free to keep track of what your child(ren) brings and to ensure those items go home on a daily basis. If items are identified, such as a name written on or in them, then when located, I will ensure they return home. 

Children are not expected to share their personal property. However, if items are repeatedly abandoned or become contentious, then they will be placed in time out and potentially banned from school.

This does not concern lovies, upon which there are no restrictions. Nor does it concern videos and games brought in for Fun Friday, although those may not make it home in the same condition they arrive.

Childcare hours are 7:30 am – 5:30 pm. I will not provide evening, overnight or weekend care. Childcare will be conducted on the first floor level, including the art room, preschool room, and toddler/infant room. This supervision plan will be followed by myself and any substitute or emergency provider.

I will ensure that supervision is provided as necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of each child in care. I will keep close watch of all the children at all times. I shall be aware at all times of the location of each child and the activities in which the child is engaged. I shall perform the following:

  • Interact with the child and attend the child’s needs
  • Respond immediately if the child is crying or in distress in order to determine the case and to provide comfort and assistance
  • Investigate immediately any change in the activity or noise level of the child
  • Respond immediately to any emergency that could impact the health, safety and well-being of the child
  • Shall not engage in business, social or personal activities that interfere with the care and supervision of children
  • Electronic monitoring devices, such as infant monitors, will NOT be used.
For each child under 2 ½ years of age, I shall be within sight of and in proximity to the child, watching and overseeing the activities of the child. When I am attending to personal hygiene needs or engaging in other child care duties and am temporarily unable to remain within sight of the child, I shall meet all of the following conditions:

  • Ensure the safety of each child
  • Be able to respond immediately to any child in distress
  • Will remain within hearing distance of each child
For each child over 2 ½ years of age, I may permit the child to go unattended to another room within the facility to engage in activities if all of the following conditions are met:

  • I determine, based on observations of the child’s behavior and information from the parent or legal guardian, that the child can go unattended to another room within the facility: craft room or preschool room
  • The door to a room a child is in shall always be open
  • The child remains within hearing distance
  • I am able to visually check on the child and respond as necessary to meet their needs

SIDS prevention:  All infants will be placed on their back with no exception. Infants will be placed in a pack-n-play with nothing more than a plain pacifier if used. No child will be allowed to go to sleep with a bottle. Infants up to six months will sleep directly next to me. I will meet all of the requirements of KAR 28-4-116a for any child who is under 12 months of age and is sleeping.

All children will nap in the room with me and be checked upon at least once every 15 minutes. Children under three will nap within my line of sight at all times. When a child awakens and is ready to get up, I shall attend to the child’s needs and assist the child in moving to another activity.

All bedding and linens will be provided. For children under 2, by regulation, loveys and pacifiers attached to stuff animals are NOT allowed at nap. Please do not encourage your child to become dependent upon these for falling asleep. They are welcome to have them during the rest of the day. A duplicate kept here is highly recommended. Each child will have their own regular sleeping space and each child’s linens will be washed weekly or as needed.

I will offer infants a morning nap as needed, gradually moving it later until the child is taking one afternoon nap at age one. All children will be offered a nap shortly after lunch, generally between 12:30 and 3:00. All children under three will be expected to sleep or rest quietly during this time. Children older than three who do not require a nap will play quietly on a cot or in the preschool room.

Please refrain from dropping off or picking up your child during the afternoon naptime, as this usually disrupts the entire group. I also request that you knock quietly on the front door instead of ringing the doorbell during that time.

When any child is outdoors, I shall ensure that all of the following requirements are met, in addition to those set out in section 12a.

For children under 5 years of age, I will be outdoors at all times and remain within sight of and in proximity to each child, watching and directing the activities.

For children age 5 years and older, I may permit the child to go unattended to our outdoor play area on premises. The outdoor play area is enclosed with a fence and is regularly assessed for any potential hazards to health and safety. Any potential hazards are removed promptly. I will remain within hearing distance of the child and visually check on them and respond as necessary to meet the needs of the child.

I have received training on providing nutritious, balanced meals. My menus follow the USDA guidelines and far exceed their nutrition recommendations.

Children are expected to try one bite of any food served. If, after trying a bite, the child does not like that food, s/he will not be manipulated to eat any more of it at that meal. I have found that children often like foods they did not initially want to try, or after trying it several times. Children may have second helpings of any or all foods upon request. Children will eat when they are hungry, and will get all of the nutrients they need when consistently presented with a variety of healthy choices.

Please alert me to any suspected food sensitivities or allergies so that I may attempt to accommodate your child’s dietary needs. Also, if you avoid any foods or combinations of foods for religious, cultural, or health concerns, please let me know your needs and I will attempt to accommodate your requests for your child. An additional fee may apply if your child’s dietary needs require me to purchase special food or beverage items.

I will provide all meals and snacks, with the exception of infant formula/breast milk. Children who are here during meals and snacks will be served. Toddlers/preschoolers who choose not to eat during these times will not be served again until the next scheduled mealtime. Infants are fed on demand. Please refrain from sending food with your child. If your child will be arriving after a scheduled mealtime, please arrange to feed him/her prior to arrival.

Meal Schedule:               Breakfast      8:00-8:30
(over 12 months)           Lunch           11:30-12:00
                                    Snack           3:00-3:15
All foods will be cut into safe-size pieces and served in child-sized portions.

Per the American Pediatric guidelines, I do not serve juice. The high concentration of acid and sugar is difficult on a young child’s digestive system, and they are unable to process it effectively until the age of 4. Instead, children will be offered milk at meals and water in-between meals in order to build life-long healthy drinking habits.

I have a 4-week revolving menu. It is rich in “super-foods”-tomato based products, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, which pack a great deal of nutrients in a single dish. Sweets are served rarely. Oil in baked goods recipes will always have half of it replaced with applesauce. Olive oil or canola, healthy fats, will be used. Whole wheat or multi-grain products will be chosen whenever possible.

“Punishment that is humiliating or frightening to a child such as hitting, spanking, shaking, verbal or sexual abuse, withholding or forcing food or punishment for lapses in toilet training and other forms of physical punishment are prohibited.” These forms of punishment will never be used, even at the request of the parent.

Your child will receive respect in my care. Your child will not experience any form of physical, emotional, or mental harm. My home is extremely childproof. My philosophy is that if a child must be removed from a situation more than twice, then the environment needs to be changed - not the child. You will find many locks in my home. I believe that a locked door is a guide away from danger or problems, and an un-locked door should lead to open exploration. Toys are often placed in “time-out” for causing disruption.

Guidance will be given immediately, and consistently. I make a point of praising children often for good behaviors (playing nice, sharing, taking turns, using good manners, being a helper friend, etc.)

Inappropriate behavior includes hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, hair pulling, throwing objects, climbing on an inappropriate structure, willful destruction of property, tantrum throwing and not following reasonable requests.

Infants and toddler (under 18 months):
ŸToddlers and infants will be distracted or redirected away from an activity that is not desired.

For preschoolers and older children I try to follow the teachings of Dr. Becky Bailey and her discipline philosophy of Conscious Discipline.

  • In-appropriate behavior will be identified and explained to the child. 
  • The children will be allowed to make acceptable choices and experience the natural consequences (not dangerous) of those choices. 
  • I will make suggestions and allow the child(ren) to decide their course of action in order to learn problem solving. 
  • Children will be allowed to solve their own disagreements if no one is in danger. 
  • Time-out will be utilized if the child will not stop inappropriate behavior, usually after three opportunities to correct their behavior, unless the offense was harmful to another child, which is an instant time-out. The reason for time-out will be explained. The child will be placed in a corner for a period not to exceed 1 minute per year of age. At the end of time-out, the child will be asked if s/he understands why they shouldn’t do that behavior, then asked if s/he is ready to play nicely again. Time-out is often for only a few seconds, simply to remove the child from the situation and establish the knowledge that the behavior is inappropriate and will result in a consequence if the child continues to pursue that course of action. 
  • I will encourage children to apologize to the other child(ren) involved, when developmentally appropriate, in order to stop offending behavior and teach consequence, responsibility and empathy in a positive manner. Forcing older children, who truly understand the concept of apologizing, to do so, if they truly do not feel apologetic, forces them into a position of lying. Older children will be encouraged to apologize and a discussion will be held as to why an apology is appropriate, but they will not be coerced into doing so.
School Age Children: Any of the above methods of guidance PLUS:
The child will be involved in setting their own guidance and making suggestions for consequences for breaking the rules.

There are few rules here, but the simple ones we have are for very specific reasons and I request that you follow these at home. Consistency is important so that children can trust their environment and feel confident in their choices. It is always important to teach a child what behavior they SHOULD be choosing, rather than focusing on what they should not.

  • Nice touch [no hitting, kicking, biting, pushing]
  • Bodies to ourselves [ditto, but usually less aggressive touch, more irritating each other]
  • Walk inside [tripping over toys, each other, etc.]
  • Cars on carpet [for preschoolers -the wheels tend to come off and scratch up everything]
  • Down [no climbing inside on furniture, tables or counters]
  • Sit in seats [for larger furniture or unstable child chairs]
  • Only food goes in mouths [no toys, bugs, dirt, etc.]
  • Babies ONLY [baby items are to remain sanitary and the older children are not supposed to play with baby toys, seats, carriers, etc.]
  • No throwing, roll [Toddlers are not allowed to throw or hit. They lack the comprehension to determine the difference between a rock and a ball, or a stick and a bat, and usually, if encouraged to do either, will end up causing another child harm. Sticks are simply removed.]
To a point, kids will be kids. It is my responsibility to ensure that the emotional and physical safety of all of the children in my care is protected. In the rare instance that I feel any child in my care has a serious discipline problem, I will request a conference with the parent(s). If an understanding cannot be reached, I reserve the right to terminate our contract with as much notice as possible in order to guarantee the comfort and safety of the other children in my care.

You are welcome to drop by unannounced at anytime during the hours your child(ren) are in care. Please be aware, however, that children often do not really benefit from these visits. Many children will cry or act clingy during pick-up and drop-off times, but will quickly adjust and start playing happily once you are out of sight. Having irregular additional visits often serves only to interrupt the child’s comfortable routine, and can lead to increased distress during regular transition times.

Since I am frequently very busy attending to the children’s needs, it may be difficult for me to answer the phone during regular care hours. Please limit phone calls to your children while they are in my care since, like unannounced visits, these calls can disrupt your child’s routine and lead to increased stress for everyone involved, especially your child. The quickest and easiest way to communicate with me is via text, Facebook messenger which will ping my phone, or email at littlestarslearning@gmail.com which I have up all day.  

I will attempt to check my email every morning, during nap time, and every evening. Written communication is best, because as soon as I get on the phone or have another adult to speak to, the children go into berserk mode trying to force my attention.

The decision of when to assist your child with potty training is a personal one, and should be made based on your child’s signs of emotional and physical readiness. Research indicates that the ideal time is generally 29 months of age, though prep usually begins around the age of two. I have information on this subject and my personal philosophy regarding potty training at http://littlestarslearning.blogspot.com/search/label/Potty%20Training. I will be happy to offer you verbal assistance and can recommend several good sources on the subject. However, please do not request that I begin training your child until s/he has experience prolonged toileting success in your own home. Your child will need to remain in diapers or Pull-Ups during daycare hours until s/he has shown the ability to remain accident-free in your home for a period of at least two weeks. This is for several reasons: children often appear to be trained in a calmer, quieter, home situation, but are not yet able to “listen” to their body’s signals when presented with the distractions of a group care environment. Asking me to allow your child to go without diapers before he or she is truly ready would cause unnecessary stress on your child, myself, and the school environment.

Smoking is not allowed in my home at any time. Please do not leave cigarette butts in the driveway, yard or walkways. Alcoholic beverages will not be served or consumed by myself or anyone else in my household during care hours.

If at any time a parent or guardian attempts to pick up a child from my home while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, I will attempt to arrange alternate transportation for your child to your home. If this is not possible, I am legally bound to release the child into your custody and alert the police of the situation.

I will not under any circumstances release your child into the custody of anyone other than his or her parent or legal guardian, as indicated by the signatures on the contract. If you wish to have anyone else pick up your child, you will need to provide a signed consent form in advance, listing that this person may pick up your child. I will require a valid photo ID card from an authorized government agency as proof of identification before I will release the child into their custody. Please advise anyone who may pick up your child not to take offense at this policy. It is to assure the protection of you, your child, and all other parties involved. Anyone picking up a child must have an appropriate car seat in their vehicle or I will refuse to release the child into their care. I simply cannot in good conscience allow a child to travel without a proper safety restraint.

If your family is experiencing a divorce or other legal situation which would effect who is allowed to pick up your child, please let me know immediately. You will need to provide court orders or other proper legal documents indicating who no longer has custody of your child. Unless these papers are provided, I will have no choice but to release your child into the custody of anyone currently on your list.

In the event of an emergency, I will attempt to contact the parent(s), legal guardian(s), and emergency alternate(s) in the order listed on the enrollment forms.

The number and types of field trips will depend upon the mix of children I have at a given time.   Parents will always be given advance notice of field trips with the option to accompany or meet us.

I will have a written and signed permission slip from parents before transporting or escorting children away from my home for routine trips and field trips. The permission slip shall have the child’s name, destination(s), parent’s signature and the date when permission was signed. The written permission for all routine trips shall be valid until withdrawn by the parents. During each field trip, a new permission slip must be signed by parents and dated, but the same info above will be included.

Each child will have attached to them a phone number and name to contact in the event they are lost. Health records, emergency transportation authorization forms and first aid kit are always a part of any trip. The cost of field trips is included in your regular fees. There may be a small fee for special outings, but this will be discussed and approved with parents prior to the decision being made for the field trip. Children will never be left unsupervised in a vehicle. Drivers will have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance coverage. All children under 1 year and 20 lbs. will ride in a rear facing infant seat. All children under 4 years and 40 lbs. will ride in a car seat. All other children will be buckled in a booster seat if necessary or a lap and/or shoulder belt. The driver and all passengers will be properly restrained in seat belts before the vehicle is started and remain buckled until the motor is shut off.

21.     SUPPLIES
You will be responsible for providing your child's:
  • Diapers
  • Sterilized bottles and nipples including bottle liners if applicable
  • All prescription medications
  • Three (3) spare sets of clothes appropriate for the season, including socks
  • Lovey if needed (blanket, stuffed animal, etc.)
  • Sterilized pacifier(s)
  • House shoes 
  • Muck boots 
  • Croc type sandals 
  • Swimsuit, swim diapers, hat (in summer)
Please feel free to bring a special treat to share with all of the children in my care on your child’s birthday, but this is certainly not necessary. 

As for other festivities, including religious holidays, I will always give you plenty of notice prior to the celebration of any cultural or religious occasions. I welcome the opportunity to include your family’s favorite holiday traditions in my lesson plans. This is a Christian home, however all religions represented within the homes of the children I serve will gladly be embraced and represented.

I ask that there be no expected gift exchanges between the children. I do not want to impose this upon the parents, nor do I want it to be an option that would create a perceived imbalance between the children or families. I enjoy giving each child a small present at Christmas and will make every attempt to attend birthday celebrations that I am invited to attend.  

Update 2/17/19: Small gift exchanges may be considered. While there will never be an expectation, depending on the group of families involved in care at any given time, families will be welcome to provide small gifts or goodie bags for all children in care on holiday occasions without expectation of reciprocity. 

Although I will do my very best to be available every business day, it is conceivable that I may be forced to close occasionally due to vacation, illness, or other emergency. If you cannot ever tolerate rare, but possible lapses in care, you should consider placing your child in a daycare center, or make other arrangements for backup coverage. I realize your need for reliable daycare and will attempt to give as much notice as possible if I must close my home to care for any reason.

A reminder that payment is 52 weeks a year for your spot.

In order to spend quality time with my own family, I will be closed on the following major holidays with pay:
  • Memorial Day
  • July 4th
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday after Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year's Day
* If a holiday falls on a Saturday, I will take off the Friday before. If it falls on a Sunday, I will take off the Monday after.

I will also be taking

  • 10 paid vacation days 
  • 6 reserved paid personal days off if needed for illness, training, jury duty or appointments
  • 5 days reserved bereavement for immediate family members
I work an average of 60 hours per week, minimum. With all the behavioral, teething, sleeping, developmental and home issues the children bring in, it is rare that everyone is happy and well behaved. Handling these issues brought in by the children and families can be very stressful. I need time away to re-charge and come back with a fresh perspective and renewed love for my job. Like everyone else. There are also times when the facility needs to be closed for extensive repairs that can not be done while the children are present. For those reasons, I will be taking ten (10) days vacation paid, with not less than three (3) weeks notice. If for some reason I am unable to take my ten vacations days within the year, I reserve the right to roll over up to five (5) vacation days into the following year, to be taken within the first quarter.

Working with exposure to many families and especially children, it is expected that I will become ill occasionally. Additionally, there may be family or daycare business that I must personally attend to during the week. Therefore, I reserve the option to take up to six (6) paid personal days per calendar year. I will always attempt to give as much notice as possible when I am forced to close my home. 

Additional vacation time over 10 days will not be paid. 

After covid, and given that my mother is getting elderly, as of 2021 I will no longer be providing a substitute provider in order for us to stay open. I will be closing the facility whenever I need to take time off. As previously stated, it is important that you have back up care available.

I will do my best to prevent the spread of illnesses through good hygiene and housekeeping, but total avoidance of illness is impossible. I will not close the daycare if I am mildly ill due to a cold or allergies. I will, however, notify you as soon as symptoms appear in me or any of the children so that you can decide whether or not to have your child in care. I cannot offer any discount for days that you choose not to bring your child. If I should become ill with more than a standard cold, such as flu or other fever, I will close the daycare until I have been fever-free for 24 hours. Per our contract, I will be paid for up to six (6) personal days per calendar year.

I will attempt to alert you at the first sign of any illness. In order to protect the health of all children in my care, I will call you and request that you pick up your child within one hour if s/he exhibits any of the following symptoms:
  • Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 1 hour
  • Excessive diarrhea for 2 consecutive diapers or toiletings
  • Vomiting in excess of typical infant spit-ups
  • Conjunctivitis - "pink eye"
  • Persistent complaints of ear or stomach pain
  • Bleeding other than minor cuts and scrapes
  • Excessive greenish nasal discharge, indicating possible infection
  • Head lice
In the event your child is sent home due to one of the above conditions, s/he will not be allowed to return until they have been symptom free, WITHOUT the assistance of medication, such as Tylenol or Pepto, for a full 24 hours, or until accompanied by a signed note from your child’s doctor.

This policy is intended to help prevent the unnecessary infection of the other children in my care. Although it may seem inconvenient when your child is sent home, you will appreciate knowing your child’s exposure is minimized when other children become ill, along with it not spreading to me, necessitating me closing down the daycare for my own illness. I will not send a child home with a common cold, unless accompanied by a fever or other sever symptoms. However, many times when young children are ill, they may not exhibit classic signs of illness (fever, vomiting, etc.), but will be excessively fussy and/or require constant cuddling and attention. While I believe in providing as much cuddling as desired, if a child is ill and requires my undivided attention, this detracts from my ability to provide quality care to all the children in the group. Therefore, if your child reaches a point where s/he requires constant attention, will not play, cries continuously, whines and wants to be held constantly, etc., then the child will need to be picked up or stay home.

You should expect that any time a new child is introduced to the group, colds and other minor illnesses are likely to occur until everyone’s immune systems have adjusted to the new exposures. Also, please advise me whenever a member of your family has an illness so that I can be alert to the possibility of symptoms developing in the overall childcare family group.

The number one source of illness being spread here is through the doorbell. Please do not allow your child to press the doorbell or touch the front door handle. I keep the interior daycare space disinfected. The doorbell and outside door handles are for adults to touch only. This keeps office, grocery store, and other accumulated germs that adults may collect from reaching beyond the front entry.

I am certified for infant/child/adult CPR and first aid. Minor cuts and abrasions suffered while at daycare will receive proper care, specifically: they will be washed and properly bandaged. I will tell you how and when the injury occurred.

If a medical emergency arises, I will try to make contact according to the contact list you have provided, unless doing so endangers the child’s life. I will take necessary steps, putting the child first (calling 911, doctor, poison control, etc.) If necessary, an ambulance will be called and I will accompany your child to the hospital. Contact will continue to be attempted until reached and you will be directed to go immediately to the hospital. Parents are responsible for all costs involved in emergency medical treatment.

In the event of a fire, we would evacuate the house immediately and gather at the back yard. This is practiced monthly so the children are familiar with the procedure. A written fire evacuation plan, which consists of a floor plan marked with a primary escape route and an alternate escape route to a designated meeting place outside the home, is posted in the hall. The date and time of all monthly fire drills are kept in a written log by the front door.

If severe weather arises and a tornado warning is issued, we will proceed to the basement where the children will crouch and cover their heads. This will also be practiced monthly.

Unfortunately, this is a topic that must be addressed in today’s society. It should go without saying that I will not knowingly allow any form of abuse of any child in my care at any time. This includes the time that the child is in their own home. On the surface, this may sound like an invasion of privacy, but I cannot ethically or legally turn a blind eye toward abuse. I have been trained in the recognition of all forms of child abuse, and will do everything in my power to prevent any instances from occurring. As a childcare provider, I am a mandatory reporter. If I notice any signs of abuse at any time, I will alert that child’s parent(s) immediately both verbally and in writing, along with a full description of symptoms (bruising, sores, sudden extreme behavioral changes, etc.) I will document this same information for myself, and if necessary, alert the proper authorities. You may get notes about your child having bruises or scrapes without needing to fear that I suspect you of abusing your child. Be assured, if I think your child has been abused, I will let you know! Notes I send home are just to alert you in general of any instances that may come up and also to protect myself from mistaken accusations of abuse.

I will not administer any type of medication, including prescription unless it is for a life sustaining/life saving medical issue, such as epi-pens, insulin, asthma treatments. All must be in a clearly labeled prescription container with the pharmacy information.  All medication must be clearly labeled with both first and last name. Please provide any necessary dosing aids with the medication in a plastic bag marked with your child’s full name. Epi-pens and inhalers should be in their original outer package (carton), labeled with your child’s name.

A written log of all medication administered will be kept. All medication must have a current long-term medication form on file. This form must be renewed annually.

Our contract may be terminated at any time for any reason by either party with proper notice. Proper notice will consist of written notice (form available from provider) to the provider, a minimum of two weeks notice per child to be removed. (1 child=2 weeks notice, 2 children=4 weeks notice, 3 children=6 weeks notice)

If you choose to terminate with less than proper notice, you agree to pay the amount of tuition equal to the proper notice time period.  

If at any time, after consultation with the parent or guardian, I feel that you or your child is a safety risk to myself or any of the children in my care, including the child his/herself, I will give you as much written notice as possible that care is terminated. This action will be reserved for extreme cases only, and I will first attempt to resolve any issues with you before resorting to termination of care.  

Regular/consistent violation of policy: late payment, unscheduled early arrival/late pick-up, or any policy contained herein or as amended, will be grounds for termination.

Immediate termination will be reserved for safety and behavior issues that are blatant violations that could cause dramatic impact to myself, my family, or the other parents and children in my care. For instance, client making physical threats, child causing malicious physical harm, knowingly bringing a sick child, client lying to provider, client being found mentally or physically dangerous, etc.

My policy is to limit video to the greatest extent possible. However, the reality is that I have to fix lunch, we have snow days, video can be a good educational tool, and sometimes the children simply need to chill out.

Video will be age appropriate and 90% educational. By signing a contract with Little Stars Daycare/Child Care/Learning, you grant permission for your child to view video. This includes children’s television shows, children’s video loaned from the library or brought from home, and children’s video obtained by the provider. I do attempt zero exposure for children under age 2 and find that they don’t have much interest anyway if given a choice of other activities.

By signing a contract with Little Stars Daycare/Child Care/Learning, you grant permission for your child to be photographed and/or video taped. Photographs will be available for sharing with the parents, may be posted on the website, may be included in newsletters, included in the scrapbook and included in provider training videos and presentations. Children will not be identified by name in any external media. Video may include parent created video and instructional video uploads to my website.

In lieu of a signed contract for incoming siblings, by signing an initial contract for your first enrolled child, you agree that any future enrollments will automatically be bound under the terms of the initial contract and the Policies and Procedures as set forth herein and updated, current rates of tuition to apply.   

 34.    LEGAL FEES
You agree to be responsible for all legal fees pertaining to unfilled obligations regarding section 30, Termination of Care. If full proper notice nor termination fee is not received in accordance with this contract, requiring legal recourse, you agree to be pay all legal and collection fees necessary to secure the funds contractually due.

I am a neutral 3rd party in any familial disputes, and will only act as a representative of the child, not a parent, other caregiver or guardian. If subpoenaed, the party responsible for the subpoena, and me having to shut down for the day to go to court, agrees to pay $300 to cover my cost for testimony and $150 to cover the cost of a substitute provider for the day. If a substitute provider cannot be arranged, then $50 per child recompense to clients for alternate care will be provided by the subpoenaing party.

I am required to be inside with the children at all times. Thus, I can not ensure that the sidewalk and driveway will remain clear of ice and snow during the hours of care. Please use caution accordingly. Please wear appropriate footwear to safely transfer your child[ren] to and from the car in possibly less than ideal footing. High heels are NOT good footwear to be carrying an infant or toddler over potentially icy steps and walkways.

Ice melt and grit covering will be availble next to the basketball goal. Parents are encouraged to make use of these and help to keep the walk and drive as safe as possible when I am incapable of doing so during care. 

Since I cannot ensure the safety of the walkways and driveways during the worst of weather, for safety reasons, I will be closed during inclement weather regarding ice and snow over 2 inches according the SM School District closings. Since they are notorious for not closing even when neighboring districts are, when they do, it is dangerous for the children to be transported at all, especially since many of my clients have lived over half an hour away. This will allow me the time necessary to stay on top of clearing the drive and paths during heavy snows and ice to be prepared for your return. I will not close due to temperature only.

I will do my absolute best to keep the driveway and walkways as free of ice and snow as possible. Since only so much can be done, including nothing during care hours, by contracting for care your release me of any liability for weather related accidents that are outside of my control. 

In the case of any emergency situation, the children and their paperwork will remain with the provider when at all possible. Parents will always be notified and kept informed when at all possible and have the option of removing their children to another location.

BOMB THREAT – EVACUATE – Bomb threats must be treated as viable until proven otherwise. Children will walk holding hands and non-mobile children and toddlers will ride in the wagon or stroller to the Price Chopper food court until the threat has been eliminated.  

FIRE – EVACUATE - In the event of a fire, we would evacuate the house immediately and gather at the back yard on the large glider next to the play ground. This is practiced monthly so the children are familiar with the procedure. A floor plan marked with a primary escape route and an alternate escape route to the designated meeting place, is posted in the hall. The date and time of all monthly fire drills are kept in a written log by the front door.

FLOOD - We are not located in or near a flood plain.

MISSING CHILD - If a child should appear to be missing, a thorough search of the house and grounds would be made. If the child were not located, police and parents will be notified immediately. A neighborhood search would begin, procedures to be directed by local law enforcement.

Should a child not arrive on a scheduled day, provider will call parents if child is more than one hour late and parents have not notified provider, to ensure that a child is not possibly left in a car unattended.

SEVERE WEATHER – SHELTER IN - If severe weather arises and a tornado warning is issued, we will proceed to the basement where the children will crouch and cover their heads. Parents will be notified and the front door left unlocked for parental access. This will be practiced monthly and logged accordingly.

If a tornado were to strike and make the structure unstable, children will be evacuated to Price Chopper food court if possible. If that location is also unsafe, then they will be removed by emergency personnel to the nearest shelter. Parents will be notified as possible.

UTILITIES AND MAINTENANCE ISSUES – SHELTER IN/EVACUATE – If the issue does not pose a health risk, then we will continue our day. If maintenance workers are working on the property then we will shelter inside. If the issue poses a health hazard, parents will be contacted to remove their children. Lack of water or heat for an extended period of time will be grounds for evacuation.  

If there is a gas leak, chemical spill, neighboring fire, or other emergency that demands immediate evacuation, older children will walk holding hands and the non-mobile will ride in the wagon or stroller to the Price Chopper food court for parent pick-up.

VIOLENT SITUATION – LOCK DOWN/EVACUATE – Terrorist threats, local man hunts, trespassers, arrival of a non-custodial parent, or inappropriate parent behavior will cause immediate lock-down of all exterior doors and windows, shutting all interior doors, turning off lights and removal of children to the hallway away from windows. The children will be provided with their busy bag bin and stories to keep them quiet, entertained and calm while sheltering.  

If the violent situation arises inside, the children will be directed to do a fire drill to evacuate the premise and stay outside until called back.

37.     WEAPONS
It is against state regulations for any weapon to be on the premises unless it is securely locked away in an appropriate gun safe, away from ammunition, and away from the children. Since our state has implemented Constitutional Carry, and many people had conceal carry permits before that, it is important that ALL visitors are aware of and abide by this policy:

Absolutely no weapons are allowed on the premises unsecured. All weapons must be in a locked containment. This means that if you bring a weapon onto the property, it needs to be locked in your glove compartment or a gun safe in your vehicle at all times. Please secure any weapon PRIOR to entering the property and do not un-secure it until you have VACATED the property.

Violation of this policy demands immediate police involvement and your removal from the property. 

It is your responsibility to inform your alternate pick up personnel of this policy. 

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  1. Hi Connie!!

    I just found your daycare handbook via Pinterest! I LOVE some of the content you've used. I am currently in the process of opening my own in-home play-based day care. Would you mind if I borrowed some of your ideas to use in my own parent handbook? Thanks so much, again, for sharing!!

    1. SORRY! My notifications have been off. Hopefully you just went ahead and used it, because yes, I put it out there for everyone to use. My state agency LOVES mine and I hope it can be useful to others. Best of luck!

    2. Hello Connie, thank you so much for sharing this. I had hard time putting mine into words and copied some of your ideas. I LOVE how in depth you are. THANK YOU THANK YOU! YOU ARE HEAVEN SENT!

  2. Hello Connie,

    You are amazing to share this handbook with us. I take it as a blessing!

    I wish you all the very Best.


  3. Thank you so much, Denise!! I'm glad you find it useful. Same to you!

  4. thank you dear for sharing this handbook it is very useful

  5. Hi Connie! This is the most AMAZING and COMPREHENSIVE document created and crucial for any one opening a Preschool or DayCare. I am so excited to get resources and ideas from your wonderful website. As I am in the process of opening a Preschool as well. Thank you so much. What is the procedure if we would like to use this valuable information and edit to our County and State and standards? I am also wondering if I can use your Pandemic and Policies document as well.

  6. Replies
    1. You will need to copy and paste into your own word processing software to edit and personalize for your own use.

  7. OMG!!! This is amazing. I'am starting my daycare and was struggle with my policies and procedures. I came across your manual and it's amazing. I am allowed to use your ideas? if not, I understand.

    1. Yes, Kim, you may use any/all you find useful and relevant to your situation. Make sure to check out my Pandemic Policies on upper right side of this blog, too! Feel free to use any of it, too.

  8. Wow!! Extremely helpful, thank you so much. I was looking for a good Policy and Procedure template and you nailed it!! Greatly Appreciated.