Preschool Policy Handbook
Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the Conway Public Schools ABC Preschool Program. We understand the tremendous trust you are placing in us to educate your children. Our well trained staff is committed to ensuring that your children receive the best early learning experiences in the safest, most caring environment possible.
The Conway Public School District (CPSD) ABC Preschool Program offers the highest quality preschool education available. It is the goal of the preschool program to help each child achieve his/her maximum potential through a variety of experiences. A qualified and experienced staff provides a warm and supportive atmosphere which assures each child that he or she is secure and accepted. Classrooms are designed to provide a cheerful, healthy learning environment for growing, active children.
The CPSD ABC Preschool Program is funded by the Conway Public School District and the Arkansas Better Chance for School Success (ABCSS).
Our site is licensed as a quality childcare facility, is approved by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, and has achieved three star Better Beginnings certification. The program adheres to the CPSD policy, ABC Rules and Regulations, and DHS Licensing Requirements.
ABC funds must be used exclusively to support allowable program costs to provide allowable costs incurred to provide non-religious instruction, therefore, no religious activities shall occur during the preschool day.
Visitors are welcome at the center but must register at the front office and receive a visitors pass before building entry is allowed. This is for security reasons. Visitors may include our families, volunteers, other school or agency members and community helpers.
The Conway Public School District ABC Preschool Program is designed to increase the readiness of the children for kindergarten with the ultimate goal of ensuring children’s success in school. The goal will be accomplished by meeting the following objectives:
¨ Provide preschool students with high quality, developmentally appropriate learning experiences designed to
enhance kindergarten readiness and peer interactions;
Conduct health and developmental screenings through health care providers or school based services, making
referrals if necessary;
¨ Offer nutritious meals;
¨ Support parents in their role as a child’s first and most important teacher by providing access to educational
resources and information and offering parent involvement opportunities;
¨ Ensure Continuity and smooth transitions from home to early education and primary school.
The CPSD ABC Preschool Program is designed to provide students with a challenging, yet developmentally appropriate curriculum. The program components are aligned with the state standards as outlined in the
Arkansas Early Childhood Education Framework. Through an active learning process, children will construct their own knowledge; learn how to make decisions and plans; and seek and organize information. The role of the teacher is to guide in their construction of knowledge, challenging them to make predictions, try new approaches and solve their own problems.
Applications for enrollment of pre-kindergarten students are accepted without regard to race, religion, color, sex, or national origin. To qualify for the ABC program, students must have turned 4 years of age by August first of the applicable school year and household income must not exceed the maximum earned income as set by the state.
To pre-register, parents will need to complete, sign and date an ABC and/or a CCDF application and submit it with a copy of the child’s birth certificate and proof of household income. Once the child has been placed in the program, additional paperwork will be required before the child attends class, including:
1. Copy of Social Security Card
2. Well Child Check Up
3. Up to Date Shot Record
4. Child Survey
5. Emergency Contact Information (to be kept up to date)
6. Names of designated persons authorized to pick child up
7. Notarized custody declaration if applicable
8. Signed acceptance of our policies and procedures (this book)
9. Signed permission slips and acknowledgements
10. Completed free/reduced school lunch application
Children of parents and/or guardians refusing to furnish the required information will be deemed ineligible for participation. (ABC Reg 4.05)
The CPSD ABC Preschool Program does not provide transportation for preschool students. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to transport the child to and from school at the designated times.
Authorized Persons/Sign In and Sign Out
It is district and state policy that, upon arrival to school, the parent/guardian must bring the child inside the building to sign them in and make their presence known to the appropriate staff members. Parents must also come inside to sign their children out at the end of the day. Parents must accompany their children out of the building. Children will not be allowed to leave the building unattended. Children riding day care vans in the morning or afternoon must also be signed in and out in an appropriate manner by the day care representative.
It is important that the registering parent/guardian notify the school office in writing of all persons authorized to pick up their child. Anyone picking up a child should be prepared to show proper picture identification before the child will be released. In the case of divorced parents, it is important that the registering parent indicate on the enrollment application who has legal custody and who may pick up child from school. Legal documentation will be required as proof of custody.
Failure to Pick up Children After School
Children must be picked up on time after school. If a parent cannot pick up the child at the appropriate time, arrangements must be made with day care or other authorized person to pick up child. If a child is not picked up on time, staff will begin calling parent/guardian and emergency contacts until someone is reached and the child is picked up. The second occurrence will result in a conference with the program coordinator.
Children waiting more than 15 minutes may only be signed out through the front office. If a parent/guardian consistently picks up a child late, the child is subject to dismissal from the program.
Physical Examinations and Immunizations
It is mandatory that all preschool students have a well child check up with his or her primary care physician. Written documentation of this check up, including height and weight (and if possible, vision and hearing), is to be submitted to the preschool office.
Written documentation of required immunizations must be presented before the child is admitted to class and each time the child receives additional immunizations. Age appropriate immunizations for a 4 year old child would include 5 DTP/aP, 3 Polio, 3 Hep B, 2 Hep A, 3 Hib, 1 MMR, 1 Varicella and 3 Pneumococcal. Students who claim exemption from vaccinations must have a written exemption from the state to place in their file.
Preschool Instructional Program
Staffing— Every class is staffed with a licensed early childhood education teacher and an instructional assistant with a minimum of a CDA (Child Development Associate) credential.
Class Size— Every class is limited to 20 students with a ratio of one adult for every ten students. The only time this ratio changes is during naptime when it can be one adult for every 20 students.
Instruction—The CPSD ABC Preschool Center uses a learning center approach to help children become independent thinkers, self confident learners and highly skilled individuals. This approach provides opportunity for children to engage in respectful interactions in a language-rich environment with professionals available to help them develop socially, emotionally, academically and physically.
Classroom Learning Centers
Block Center—provides basic muscle development skills and creativity necessary to solve problems. This center will give children the opportunity to explore, sort, make comparisons, and build structures.
Dramatic Play Center—is used to help children develop social interactions as they explore new and different ways to play. A variety of props will be available for children to role play.
Art/Music Center—develop small muscle skills and hand to eye coordination. Creativity is encouraged.
Language Development Center-is where children begin to understand that books are exciting friends that can be enjoyed. They begin to notice that letters are symbols for the words they say. They learn to tell stories and events in sequence. They learn to “read” pictures. The children are developing their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
Manipulative Center-is one in which the children work with activities that develop small muscles and eye-hand coordination. Putting a puzzle together involves problem solving and configuration (seeing the shape of things and how they fit together). In this center, children learn how to work independently, classify objects, put materials together and to take them apart.
Nature/Science/Math Center—is a DOING center rather than a “look but don’t touch” center. The children develop the thinking process and sensory experiences. They develop concepts of shape, color, size, number, classifying and sequencing.
Sand/Water Play Center—allows children to explore the properties of sand and water.
DHS—Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, the monitoring agency for preschool, is in agreement with the CPSD on the value of daily attendance. DHS supports the district’s stance that children who will be on time and in attendance every day to take advantage of the learning provided in the preschool environment should take precedence over those who perceive preschool as just daycare.
Parents are advised that excessive absences, tardiness or failure to pick up a child on time may result in dismissal from the program.
CPSD believes that the instructional program is the essential part of formal education and that the students realize greater benefits when they attend regularly. When students are absent, they miss an integral part of instruction; therefore, regular attendance is necessary.
The following procedures will be used to report and monitor absences:
1. Parent or guardian must notify the office by noon if the student will be absent. Failure to do so will result in the absence being listed as unexcused.
2. Full or part day absences will be excused for illness, emergency or any cause found acceptable by the preschool supervisor.
3. After 3 or more unexcused absences in one semester, the parent/guardian will be notified by telephone or mail.
4. After 6 unexcused absences in a semester, a conference will be scheduled with the parent/guardian to discuss the absence pattern, its effects, and appropriate interventions.
5. After 10 unexcused absences in a 9 week period a conference will be held to determine if there is enough parental interest in the program to continue enrollment. Any student who is absent 10 consecutive days with no contact will be dropped completely.
When students are tardy, they miss a portion of the instruction and disrupt the classroom dynamic. Your teacher will open the classroom doors for 15 minutes every morning. After that 15 minutes, students must check in at the front office. If your child will be tardy, you must call our office by 9:15 AM to order a lunch for your child.
There are generally no excused tardies. Exceptions will be made if the student is late due to illness, medical appointment, official school business, or a cause acceptable to the supervisor of the preschool program. Students will be considered tardy 30minutes after class begins. 7:30 classes will start counting students as tardy at 8:01 and 7:45 classes at 8:16, and 8:00 classes at 8:31. Students checking out more than 1.5 hours prior to their normal departure time will also be counted tardy.
The following procedures will be used to report and monitor tardiness per semester:
1. Tardies will be recorded by the classroom teacher.
2. After the 3rd tardy, the teacher will report tardies to the parent and the coordinator, who may decide to schedule a conference with the parent to discuss the tardies, their effects, and appropriate interventions.
3. After 5 tardies, a parent conference with the coordinator will be mandatory to discuss the tardies, their effects,
district policy, and appropriate interventions.
4. After 10 unexcused tardies in one semester, the child will be removed from the program and placed on the
waiting list until another spot becomes available.
Discipline in the CPSD ABC Preschool Program will be appropriate to the child’s level of understanding and be directed toward teaching the child acceptable behavior. Staff will offer positive guidance that is consistent and individualized for each child. If a child continues to demonstrate inappropriate behavior, separation of the child for a calm down break may be necessary to resolve the difficulty. Parent/teacher conferences may be needed to determine if other circumstances are contributing to the situation and to develop a plan of action. The following procedures have been approved by DHS/ABC.
General Behavior Concerns—include those listed as age appropriate occasional behaviors (expected from time to time with this age group). These may include, but aren’t limited to: following directions, horseplay or disruptive behaviors. The following steps will be taken in response to these general concerns:
1. Prevention—trying to keep the inappropriate behavior from happening.
2. Redirection—encourage another activity, role playing appropriate behavior
3. Conference with child
4. Communicate concerns with preschool supervisor
5. Calm down break
6. Out of classroom support with another staff member
7. Contact a parent/guardian for conference or assistance
Ongoing/Recurring Behavior Concerns—can result in the following:
1. Develop a plan with parents and teachers
2. Refer to the Arch Ford Educational Cooperative for observation by a behavior specialist
3. Development of a behavior plan with the Arch Ford behavior specialist.
4. Refer to outside agencies if necessary.
5. Parental attendance at social emotional trainings to be provided by the program.
Dangerous Behavior Concerns— cause harm to others, the student, or physical aggression to the staff, and will be brought to the immediate attention of the program supervisor. These behaviors are not appropriate or acceptable and can be described as “assault” and “battery”.
The supervisor will contact ABC/DHS for approval to remove the child from the program for 24 hours or until a parent/school conference can be held. The child will not be kept out of the program for more than 24 hours unless the parent requests a delay to the conference. The parent/school will develop a behavior plan to prevent recurrence of dangerous behavior.
The child may not return to the classroom prior to a parent/school conference. Failure to participate in such a conference and resulting behavior plan may result in dismissal from the program.
Dismissal from the program— is a possible outcome of behavioral concerns. In the rare instance of imminent danger and dire threat, and after all efforts have been exhausted, the child may be dismissed from the program only with ABC/DHS approval. Recommendation for One-Day Removal or Dismissal from an ABC program must be submitted to the program supervisor to be reviewed and approved by ABC/DHS—Division of Early Childhood Childcare and
Parents will be kept fully involved as their children progress through the disciplinary steps. Parents will be called immediately when their children exhibit dangerous or uncontrollable behavior and disciplinary action will be taken to ensure the safety for all, which , as noted above, could be dismissal from the program as indicated above. At no time will any person be given information regarding any child other than their own. This would be a violation of the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act, a law that protects all students and their families.
Corporal punishment WILL NOT be used as a disciplinary measure in the CPSD ABC Preschool Program by any staff member at any time. The CPSD ABC Preschool Program discipline procedures meet the licensing requirements as set forth by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education licensing requirements.
Educational care Plans
Any student who comes to us with an existing educational care plan shall provide a written explanation from their educational professional with an individualized education plan to be followed by preschool personnel. All children are screened by the preschool program, and referrals for additional screening, if necessary are made to the Arch Ford Ed Coop. Should a child qualify for and accept services from Arch Ford, the Arch Ford team, including the child’s parent/guardian and teacher shall develop an individualized education plan to be kept in the preschool office and classroom. Parents are encouraged to take part in their child’s plan and may request a conference with the teacher, coordinator or Arch Ford personnel at any time.
Children with these symptoms are NOT permitted at school:
1. Temp of 100.4 or higher within a 24 hour period
2. Vomiting within a 24 hour period
3. Diarrhea within a 24 hour period
4. Symptoms of communicable disease
If any of these occur, the parent will be notified immediately to pick up the child. For the safety of the child and others, they must be symptom free for 24 hours without medication before returning to class. Children who are too sick to participate in daily activities, such as outdoor recess, should be kept home.
Staff members make every effort to ensure safety of students and staff, but unfortunately minor accidents may occur. In order to keep you informed, your child’s teacher will provide you with an accident or incident report for any minor occurrence. In case of serious injury we will make every effort to contact you for instructions. If we cannot reach you we will call the person(s) you have indicated on the emergency form to make medical decisions for your child. Please keep these numbers updated. Your signed medical consent form will also assist us in getting prompt medical attention for your child, if needed. In case of emergency evacuation, Students will be transported by CPSD bus to a safe location where parents will be phoned to pick up.
Medical Care Plans
Any student who has a special medical need or condition shall provide a written explanation from their medical professional with a detailed plan of action to be followed by preschool personnel. This plan shall be kept in the office and in the classroom. Parents will be encouraged to make suggestions to aid in the implementation of the plan and may request a conference with the teacher and/or supervisor at any time.
Preschool staff will not administer any medications other than those needed in life threatening emergency situations, such as rescue inhalers and EPI pens. Parents must fill out required paperwork with the front office before leaving any of these medications on campus. Transporting medication between home and school by preschool students is not permitted. All medications must be in original container with written prescription in the child’s name with dosage information on the label. Medications will be kept under lock and key in the front office and administered by nurse or office personnel only.
Emergency drills are held monthly to acquaint the children with evacuation procedures and severe weather procedures. Each class is equipped with smoke detectors and the building is equipped with fire alarms and fire
extinguishers. These drills may make quite an impression on students at first but with time, students become familiar with each drill and the procedures to follow .
After lunch, a rest period of no less than one hour and no more than two hours will be offered. Children will not be required to sleep but will be required to observe a period of calm and quiet to allow those children who will sleep the opportunity to do so. ABC will provide a sanitized cot and clean bottom sheet for each child. Parents will be asked to bring a small blanket for their child as covering. Coverings will be sent home on Fridays to be laundered and shall be returned to class on Monday for the following week.
School Breakfast/Lunch Program
Breakfast and lunch are a part of our school day, as the only cost to the parent. All families will complete an application for free and reduced meals. Applications may take 30 days to process so be prepared to pay full price for breakfast and lunch for at least the first 30 days of enrollment. Families qualifying for free meals will not be charged for breakfast or lunch, thereafter. Families qualifying for reduced meals will be charged .40 cents daily for lunches and .30 cents daily for breakfast, thereafter. Families who do not qualify for either free or reduced will be responsible for full cost of breakfast, $1.50,and lunch, $2.15, daily. Therefore, the most you would ever be charged in one week is $18.25, payable to CPSD Food Service, in the school cafeteria. Do not make payments to ABC Preschool. We prefer that all children eat the same meals daily, prepared by the cafeteria. If your child needs a special diet, please speak to someone in our office about making special arrangements. Please do not send food from home without speaking with a staff member for the state mandated guidelines. Lunches are ordered at 9:15 daily so if your child will be tardy, call our office before 9:15 to order a tray.
Outdoor play is required for one hour each day, weather permitting. Days between 32 degrees and 90 degrees, taking into account for wind chill, heat index, and precipitation will be outside play days. Please do not
ask for exceptions. If a child is too sick to go outside, the parent needs to keep the child home. Our school is not staffed to offer one on one supervision to children who cannot go outside.
Use of Sunscreen
Children may need to be protected from overexposure to the sun. As a result, sunscreen may be used as needed and as directed by the parent. Parents will be required to sign a sunscreen permission slip if so desired.
Toys at School
The CPSD ABC Preschool Program will not be responsible for lost, broken or stolen toys, so we ask that students do not bring these personal items from home. Our center is equipped with many age and developmentally appropriate toys for student use in the classroom and on the playground.
Bringing a toy weapon to school will result in confiscation of the toy with no return to the student.
We encourage parent participation to ensure the best possible educational experiences for your child. We believe that you are your child’s first teacher and we hope that cooperation between home and school will benefit the child, the family and the program.
Parent Support Association
A Parent Support Association will be created and officers should meet monthly to help staff enhance our educational opportunities. This association will also assist in planning and executing parent involvement activities.
Parents should provide an extra set of clothing in case of accidents. Parents will be notified if a child has a toileting accident.
Reporting Child Abuse/Maltreatment
Act 1208 of 1991 defines abuse as any non-accidental physical or mental injury, or any injury which is a variance with the history given. This includes welts, bruises, cuts, burns, scratches and broken bones. Sexual abuse and emotinal abuse are also reported and investigated. Neglect is defined as abandonment, lack of food, utilities, shelter, health services or lack of supervision. ABC Preschool staff members are mandated reporters of child abuse and maltreatment. If a mandated reporter does not report abuse, he/she can be found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. Should a staff member suspect abuse, he/she will contact the program coordinator, if they are not available, he/she will notify the Arkansas Hotline number and inform the program coordinator as soon as possible. Staff members will place all documentation in a confidential folder.
Interviewing of Staff/Students by DHS Employees
ABC staff and students are subject to be interviewed by Child Care Licensing, DCFS Special Investigators and law enforcement for investigative purposes and/or for determining compliance with licensing regulations.
Parents will park in the back parking lot for classrooms on the rear of the building. Parents from the front classrooms will park in the front parking spaces or on the street. ALL handicap parking is in the FRONT circle.
At no time is parking allowed by parents in the drive through lanes in the front or the back. Violators will be cited.
Appropriate Dress for School
Preschool is a very active place. Children paint, glue, play in sand and water, and play outdoors daily, weather permitting, therefore clothing should be sturdy, washable, comfortable, and seasonally appropriate. Clothing not allowed by the CPSD handbook will not be allowed by SCPC either. Parents should be sure clothing is easy to pull up and down for bathroom needs. Jackets/Coats should be worn in cool weather, light clothing worn in warm weather. A seasonally appropriate change of clothing should be kept in your child’s cubby in case of accident. It is a good idea to label your child’s clothing with his/her name, in pen or marker, on the inside tag.
FLIP FLOPS are unsafe for preschoolers and may not be worn by students at school. Children coming to school in flip flops will be sent home to change into safe play shoes.
Field trips may be taken within a safe walking distance from our campus with adequate adult supervision. We will not use bus transportation for preschool field trips.
Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Checklist
By law, schools are required to document that they have provided all parents with a copy of the kindergarten readiness indicators checklist which was prepared by the Arkansas Department of Education and the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. This is a great reference to parents who are interested in helping their children be successful in school. This list of 38 indicators identifies skills and knowledge that will help your child be prepared for that special day; going to kindergarten!
It is important, however, that parents understand that this is a checklist, not a test. It is a tool to help parents see all of the things that their children can do that will help him or her make the transition to kindergarten. Children will not be required to achieve all of the indicators prior to enrolling in kindergarten.
Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Checklist
Expressive and Language Comprehension
1. Speaks in complete sentences
2. Follows directions with at least two steps
3. Understands words such as “top” and “bottom” and “big” and “little”
4. Makes simple predictions and comments about a story being read.
Approach to Learning
5. Matches 2 pictures that are alike
6. Looks at groups of objects and says which are the same shape, color or size
7. Tells things that go together; for example, a spoon and a fork are for eating; a fish and a boat go in the water
8. Repeats a pattern you start; for example, step step jump, step step jump
9. Puts 3 pictures in order; for example, 1)planting flower seeds, 2) flowers growing, 3)picking flowers
10. Says or sings familiar songs or nursery rhymes.
11 Retells a simple story such as The Three Little Pigs after listening to it while looking at the pictures in the book
12. Works simple puzzles
13. Recognizes and names at least five colors.
Phonological Awareness and Print Knowledge
14. Recognizes his/her own first name in print
15. Recognizes letters in his/her own first name
16. Begins to write some of the letters in his/her own first name
17. Recognizes words or signs he/she sees often; for example, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, the family grocery store,
STOP and EXIT signs
18. Holds and looks at books correctly; for example, holds the book right side up
and turns the pages one at a time from front to back
19. Recognizes rhyming words such as cat and hat
20. Recognizes and names at least 10 letters of the alphabet by pointing to the
21. Matches a letter with the beginning sound of a word; for example, matches the
letter ‘b’ with a picture of a banana
22. Expresses ideas through pictures he/she draws; for example, a child draws a
picture of three family members and says who each one is
23. Counts at least 5 objects such as 3 bananas and 5 forks
24. Sees the written numeral 3 and understands it means three objects such as three apples
25. Adds and subtracts familiar objects such as cookies
26. Puts written numerals in order from 1 to 5: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
27. Recognizes and names 3 shapes: circle, square, triangle
28. Counts from 1to 10 in correct order
29. Uses the words “more” and “less” correctly when counting up to 5 objects
30. Tells if he/she is a boy or girl
31. Tells first and last name
32. Tells first and last name of parent(s)
33. Tells how old he/she is
34. Takes care of own needs such as toileting, hand washing and dressing
35. Separates from parents by appearing comfortable and secure without a parent
Physical Development Indicators
36. Has control when using pencils, crayons, markers and scissors
37. Draws a line, circle;, X and +
38. Runs, jumps and hops throws, catches and bounces a ball
Please note that when you apply to preschool at Sallie Cone you will be given a paper copy of this handbook. Once you sign the application, you have acknowledged receipt of the handbook. You have also agreed to abide by the policies and procedures set forth in the handbook. Please read through the entire handbook before signing a preschool application.
Other Helpful Information
Our Program provides theses link for assistance to parents about:
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Getting Ready for Kindergarten family calendar
Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Checklist
Additional resources from Child Care Aware Resource and Referral Agency
ArKids First—Health insurance program funded by the state for Arkansas children who qualify. For information, feel free to ask at the preschool office OR to apply online go to www.arkidsfirst.com or call 1-888-474-8275
Conway Interfaith Clinic—offers affordable medical care to the working uninsured and dental care for children with ArKids coverage. For more info call 1-501-932-0559
Community Action Program for Central Arkansas--Offers services for economically disadvantage families or individuals including Head Start, Food Pantry, LiHEAP, IDA and Weatherization. Go to www.capcainc.org
or call 1-501-329-3891
Counseling Associates— a non profit community mental health center serving adults, children and businesses. Fees are based on the ability to pay, with third party sources such as insurance, Medicare and Medicaid billed when available. For more info call 1-501-336-8300
Faulkner Co Health Dept— provides free or low cost vaccinations and family planning services to low income families. 501-450-4941
WIC—provides nutrition, resources and health education for parents with children 5 yrs of age and younger
Faulkner Co Health Dept 501-450-4941
The Faulkner Co Library—offers endless opportunities for family fun and learning! The children’s department sponsors story times, art activities, concerts and loads of summer fun. For more info call 1-501-327-7482
Arkansas Children’s Hospital—can provide free or reduced cost car seats for parents with financial need.
Bethlehem House—offers shelter for the homeless in Faulkner Co. 930 Faulkner St. 501-329-4862
Conway Women’s Shelter—offers assistance with domestic violence situations. Crisis hotline 1-866-358-2265