for our parents

Family Handbook – Revised 032016

Everything for parents of current students, including important dates for your calendar and information from the Parent Handbook. We hope the policies and procedures described here will help you to know and understand our preschool program and its philosophy better. Please do not hesitate to talk to the Director, Suzanne Schneider, or one of the staff members if you have a question or concern that is unclear to you or is not addressed on this site.

 

Check the Latest News section frequently for reports on recent and upcoming events, photos, videos, and the latest information from the school.

 

Parent Involvement/Parents as Partners

At WPS, we value partnerships with parents. You are your child’s first and most influential teacher, and it is our goal to establish a strong partnership with you to help your child make the most of his or her days at school and develop to his or her fullest potential. We are committed to open communication, through regular teacher-parent and school-parent communication, and by way of parent-teacher conferences. We welcome parents’ involvement as a way to enrich our curriculum and school happenings, and are always available to provide community resources and services to support families who may be in need.

Parent Advisory Committee

Members of WPS Parent Advisory Committee organize and/or host various initiatives and events including, open house, graduation, staff appreciation luncheon, fundraising, and curriculum input, among others.  If you are interested in participating on this committee, please indicate on the Volunteer Form.

Parent Volunteers

We believe that children, teachers, and parents all benefit from hands-on parent involvement at the school. We encourage all of our parents to share their gifts, interests, talents, cultures, and hobbies with the children. We encourage parents to visit and spend time in our classrooms and in our yard, and to participate in their child’s day at school. This program is about building connections and community, and letting children know that the adults in their life (teachers and parents) are partners who value our school, the children, and the work that takes place at WPS. Volunteers do not need to be parents; grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other caregivers are also welcome. Parent volunteer forms are included in the enrollment packet.

Please: Out of respect for the children’s need to adjust to the school setting and work on separation, there is a one-month moratorium on parent volunteers. This time can be extended at the teacher’s and/or Director’s discretion based on the needs of the children. It does happen that some children simply don’t do well having their parents at school with them. This is very common and not a reason for concern — there are many other ways for you to participate in the life of our school.

Our center has an open door policy, which allows parents access to their child’s classroom at any time during our business hours which are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Westminster benefits from parents actively recommending the preschool to new families — word of mouth is our best PR! And of course, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook!

General Suggestions

To insure that your child’s preschool experience is enjoyable and that our program will run smoothly, please note the following general suggestions:

  • Visitors are always welcome. Feel free to stop in and visit us at any time.
  • Check our parent information bulletin board in your child’s classroom for special notices about field trips, holidays and sign-up sheets for snack, conferences and other activities.
  • If you have any questions or concerns at any time during the school year, we hope you will feel free to talk with your child’s teachers. You may also contact Suzanne Schneider, Preschool Director, regarding any questions you have at 402-475-6702 ext. 103. If no one is available in the office when you call, please leave a voice mail message and she will return your call as soon as possible.
  • Please be prompt in picking up your child as waiting can be frustrating or even frightening to a child. (If unusual circumstances cause you to be late, please call 402-475-6702 and ask to be connected to your child’s classroom – tell the receptionist whether it is the upstairs or downstairs classroom – so you can tell the teachers and we can explain the situation to your child.) If you are not there to pick up your child when preschool is over, they will be placed in the extended care program and you can pick them up in the downstairs classroom.
  • You may want to arrange a car pool or play dates with other children in your child’s class. We will provide a class roster. Please make the teacher aware of any car pool arrangements.
  • Send your child in old, play clothes. Our classroom projects will be fun, but may be MESSY!!
  • Please wait in the hallway outside your child’s classroom until a teacher opens the door. Before preschool, the teachers are busy preparing the room. At the end of the class, the children are involved in activities, and parents coming into the room is distracting. We will open the door when we are ready for parents to pick up the children. Thanks!!

 

Clock-In And Clock-Out

It is important that you clock your child in and out every day. If someone other than the people you have designated on your registration form will be picking up your child, you must notify a preschool teacher. We need this information in writing!! Only in the case of an emergency, will a telephone call be accepted. Any person who is picking up your child should be prepared to show their picture ID if the staff have not seen or met them previously.

If we receive no message and cannot reach you by telephone to confirm a change in pickup plans, we will refuse to let your child go, no matter what the circumstances. We are obligated to care for and protect your child. You must be sure to communicate any changes to the staff. We will be ensuring the safety of your child by enforcing this policy.

Westminster Preschool will not release a child to anyone who cannot safely care for the child. This includes abusive parents/guardians or any adult who cannot take the child safely from preschool. NOTE: We cannot refuse to allow a child to leave with a parent/guardian. However, if a parent or guardian under the influence of drugs/alcohol decides to take their child against our wishes, the preschool will contact the police.

Extended Care

Extended Care is available from 7:30 AM until 9:00 AM, and from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Fees for extended care are charged on a semester basis.  Occasional Drop-in care is charege at a rate of $5.00 per hour.

Both the before- and the after-preschool extended care is located in the downstairs classroom. Regardless of which class your child attends, all extended care is located in the lower classroom.

No breakfast is served in the before care, and we prefer that your child has already eaten prior to their arrival at Westminster Preschool. But your child may bring a light breakfast (granola bar, cereal in a ziploc bag, dry waffle or pancake, etc. and drink) and sit at a table and eat it as soon as they arrive at preschool. They will be asked to throw it away when they are finished eating and ready to play.

Part-time drop-in extended care is available to all children on the days they attend preschool. If you are late in picking up your child, they will be taken to extended care until you arrive.

Children who are in extended care during the lunch hour (11:30 AM to 12:30 PM) need to bring their own lunch. Due to limited refrigerator space, their lunch will need to be cooled with an ice pack or in an insulat`ed lunch bag. Staff will help the children open containers, etc., but we do not heat up items in the microwave, so please send items ready to eat. Westminster Preschool will provide an afternoon snack with milk or juice to drink.

Adventure Camp

When Lincoln Public Schools are closed, Westminster Preschool will also be closed. We do offer “Adventure Camp” during winter break (January) and spring break (March). A flier with detailed information will be placed in your child’s cubbie prior to each time that Adventure Camp days are offered.

You can sign your child up to attend some or all of these days at a fee of $25 per day. Registration for Adventure Camp days is separate from the regular preschool classes.

The schedule for Adventure Camp days will be 8:00 am-5:00 pm.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition payments for preschool and extended care are due by the first day of each semester. No bill will be sent, but a reminder notice will be posted by the sign-in/sign-out book in each classroom. Please make checks payable to Westminster Preschool, and note your child’s name if it is different than the name on the check.

There is an option to pay half the semester tuition by the first day of the semester and the balance 30 days prior to the end of the semester. Please see the Director if other payment arrangements need to be made. Past due accounts may lead to disenrollment.

Rate form 2016-17.

Late Pick-up Fee

We understand that there can be emergency situations which might delay a parent in picking up their child from extended care by 5:30 pm. If this happens, parents should call the extended care classroom at 402-475-6705 ext. 120 to notify staff that they are going to be late.

If a parent is often late picking up their child by 5:30 pm (not due to a one-time emergency), a late fee will be added to their bill. The late fee is $1.00 for the first 5 minutes; $5.00 for 5 – 10 minutes; $10.00 for up to 15 minutes and $1.00 per minute after 15 minutes.

The preschool staff have obligations, appointments or meetings which they need to be able to make and they plan on being able to leave extended care at 5:30 pm. Please be considerate of the staff and plan your day accordingly so that you can be here and pick up your child prior to 5:30 pm. Thank you.

Personal Belongings

To avoid confusion, please label all personal belongings. We are not responsible for loss or damage to your child’s items. Please have your child leave their own toys at home. We have lots of toys, and it avoids confusion and problems with sharing and breakage of their own toys.

It is helpful if your child brings a backpack or bag to transport art activities and papers home from preschool. Please write their name on their bag or backpack because we often have identical ones.

We will have Show ‘N Tell once a month. The specific date will be noted on the monthly calendar. If your child has something they would like to share, we ask that they do it on these special days.

Pets, however, are welcome to visit preschool any day! Simply check with the teachers to find out the best day and time.

Cubbies and Backpacks

Each child will have an assigned cubbie, located near the front door of their classroom. Parents should check their child’s cubbie each preschool day. Written communication, art papers, etc. will be placed there before the end of class. A backpack, bag or sack is helpful when getting ready to go home. It is especially important for children who remain for extended care, or who are being transported in a car pool, or by someone other than their parent. It helps make sure that important papers do not get lost or misplaced before arriving home.

Snacks

Parents may volunteer and sign up to bring snacks. There is a snack menu and sign-up sheet outside of each classroom.  We ask that snacks be nutritional and do not contain peanut butter.

Note.  In an effort to promote healthy teeth, children may have one serving, (4 oz) of juice and then they may have water.

(NOTE: We are a PEANUT SENSITIVE program, so please make sure snacks do not contain any peanuts or peanut by-products.)

 

Birthdays & Special Days

Our holiday policy encourages an enhanced understanding of and respect for different cultures and beliefs of children, families, staff and community.

When it is your child’s birthday, we will help them celebrate with a special day celebration. We

will have a birthday crown for your child and sing to them at group time. They will have their picture taken and can pick a toy out of the “birthday box” to take home with them.

 

From birthday parties to holiday parties, there are many celebrations in preschool. Along with the fun, usually comes food.  Offering so many treats so often can contribute to unhealthy eating habits.

Holidays will be celebrated with mostly healthy foods or with non-food treats like stickers. If parents want to bring something to celebrate either their child’s birthday or a holiday please bring healthier foods or non-food treats.  Below are some examples:

  • Applesauce or fruit cups
  • Pudding, yogurt, or yogurt parfaits (could bring sprinkles to put on top)
  • Raisins or dried fruit
  • Whole grain crackers with cheese or whole grain tortilla chips and salsa
  • Trail mix
  • Apple slices, bananas, or strawberries with yogurt dip, chocolate syrup, or caramel
  • Angel food cake (could bring fruit for a topping)
  • Raw veggies with dip
  • Graham crackers with jam
  • Popcorn
  • Stickers, Bubbles, Pencils, etc.
  • Please note – If you do still wish to bring cupcakes, cookies, donuts, etc. they need to the bite-size or mini size. (This helps encourage more appropriate portion sizes for these foods.)

Our school will also be making classroom celebrations healthier by providing more physical activity opportunities, such as scavenger hunts, dance parties, and “free choice” activity time that will be healthy fun for them.

 

Illnesses & Absences

As a precaution to help keep our preschool as healthy as possible, all children and staff will be required to wash their hands with soap and water each day as they enter the classroom. This has significantly reduced our spread of illness among children and staff.

Nebraska State Licensing requires the exclusion of any child who has any illness associated with a fever, diarrhea or any communicable condition. This includes ringworm, pink-eye, scabies, and impetigo. Parent must provide a written statement from a physician indicating that a child’s illness/condition is not highly communicable in order to have the child not be excluded for any of the above conditions. Children will be excluded who have had a fever, vomiting, or two watery stools in the past 24 hours. A child must be free of a fever or diarrhea for 24 hours prior to their return to preschool.

If your child becomes ill or develops a fever, etc. while attending preschool, you will be notified and asked to come and pick up your child right away. (See the Child Exclusion Policy for more details.)

Holidays & Severe Weather

Westminster Preschool follows the Lincoln Public Schools calendar for elementary school. If Lincoln Public Schools are closed due to bad weather, Westminster Preschool will also be closed. The outgoing message on our voice mail will be changed to state if we are closed due to the weather.

October and February are the all school field trips–there will be no preschool or extended care on these days.

Refer to the calendar above for the complete list of days that preschool will be closed and whether adventure camp is available.

Field Trips

We will have 2 special days this year that we will host an all-school field trip. These activities are for all sessions of preschool.

In October we will all meet at Roca Berry Farm at 10 AM, for fun activities, a ride out to the pumpkin patch to choose a pumpkin, and end with a picnic lunch. In February we will meet at The Lincoln Children’s Museum at 10 AM.

Parents will be responsible to transport their own children or have a designated person bring their child to and from the field trips. The preschool staff will be present during the activities, but you are responsible for your own child. Please do not drop your child off — these events are meant to be a family outing. Siblings are welcome to attend. Preschool and Extended Care will not be open on these days.

Newsletter

During the last week of each month, a newsletter and a calendar for the following month will either be emailed to you, or a paper copy placed in your child’s cubby.  The newsletter and website will contain important information including the weekly themes, the daily art activities, special activities, field trips, events and or speakers.

There will be a Scholastic Book Order form with each month’s newsletter. Book orders are due by the 10th of each month if you decide you want to order anything.

Discipline Policy

The goal of Westminster Preschool is to provide positive guidance for the children in our program. We want to use inappropriate behaviors and turn them into teachable moments. We want children to develop positive self images, be self-directed and exhibit self-control. We strive to teach children how to behave in acceptable ways and relate to others in a caring and respectful manner.

  1. If a child’s behavior needs to be corrected, a gentle, positive approach will be used.
    • We will talk to the child about the behavior, and remind of the appropriate safe behaviors.
    • If a child is having difficulty behaving appropriately in a certain area, or with a certain activity
      or toy, the child will be ‘redirected’ to another area or activity.
    • We will reinforce positive behaviors. We will praise, reward and encourage children.
    • We will reason with and set limits for children.
    • We will model appropriate behaviors for children.
    • We will listen to the children.
    • We will modify the classroom environment to attempt to prevent problems before they occur.
    • We will provide alternatives for inappropriate behavior to the children.
    • We will provide children with the natural and logical consequences of their behaviors.
    • We will treat children as people, respecting their needs, desires and feelings.
    • We will ignore minor misbehaviors.
    • We will explain things to children at their level.
    • We may use short supervised periods of time out as a last resort.
  2. “Time-out” is a brief, supervised separation from the group for any disruptive, or inappropriate behavior. If a child has numerous “time-outs”, you will be notified so we can work with you to help alleviate any problems.
  3. If a child is continuously disruptive and using inappropriate behavior in the program, or endangering the safety and well-being of the other children, he/she may be dismissed from the program at the Preschool Director’s discretion. This dismissal can be effective immediately, with no advance warning, in order to protect the other children and staff from danger or harm.
  4. Westminster Preschool staff shall not discipline children by denial of food, derogatory remarks about them or their family, abusive or profane language, yelling, screaming or threats of physical punishment.
  5. The Preschool Director shall ensure that no child is spanked, slapped, pinched, punched, shaken, struck with any inanimate object, handled roughly or bitten as a form of discipline. This includes psychological abuse or coercion.
  6. We do not shame or punish children when bathroom accidents occur.
  7. If the staff of Westminster Preschool observe a child whom we believe is being abused or neglected, we will report it to the authorities. (See separate Child Abuse Policy.) ALL CHILD CARE PROVIDERS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO REPORT ANY SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE TO THE PROPER AUTHORITIES. (Per Nebraska Child Abuse Law section 28-711 Reporting Child Abuse)

 

Parent Grievance Procedure

Westminster Preschool staff seek to provide a quality learning environment for all children. If a parent has a concern, misunderstanding or problem, these can be most easily resolved by the parent talking with the staff member on an informal, person-to-person basis. If such matters cannot be resolved and the parent seeks further review of the matter, the following procedure should be followed:

    1. Conference with the involved staff member. Parents of the preschool program are encouraged to address issues or concerns with the staff member. If the matter is not resolved by the parent and the staff member, and the parent seeks further review, the parent may request a conference with the Director.
    2. Conference with the Director. The request for such a conference may be made orally or in writing. The parent may indicate whether they desire the staff member involved to be in attendance at this conference with the Director. The parent and the staff member, if present, will explain the issue or concern to the Director. The Director may contact any other appropriate parties and conduct further investigation prior to taking any action in this matter. After the Director has had an opportunity to gather all necessary information, the Director shall determine what, if any, action should be taken. The Director will inform both the parent and the staff member of the decision. If the parent is not satisfied with the Director’s decision, the parent may request further review of the matter by the Preschool Parent Advisory Board, and/or the Associate Pastor for Children, Youth and Families.
    3. Conference with the Associate Pastor.  Any further action after this conference will be at the discretion of the Associate Pastor.

About The School | Programs and Admission