Hello and Welcome!
We are so excited your family is becoming a part of the Learning Tree Family! This handbook gives you additional information about the classroom routines and functions, our curriculum, and what you can expect from us as your child’s teaching team. Please read through it carefully; let us know if you have any questions or need clarification on an item.
We incorporate a wide variety of teaching methods and materials in the Infant Room; infants learn directly through their senses operating within their environment. We create our weekly curriculum and monthly themes with this in mind. The core of our curriculum focus is on sensory input experiences. We regularly go outside, for campus walks, listen to variety music throughout the day, make art projects, sing silly songs, and read lots of books.
We also like to “get messy” from time to time exploring things we don’t see every day (tinsel, pumpkin insides, painting with ketchup or Cool Whip or ripping apart different types of paper). We really try to include even the youngest infants by holding them so they can watch the activities and talk to them about what is going on. We plan lessons to accommodate all the different age-groups within our classroom, and as always, supervision and safety are a top priority.
Some things you will need in your child’s cubby are:
Spare clothes (onesies, one complete outfit or sleeper, socks, and shoes for crawling/walking infants)
Pacifier (if used)
Diaper Cream (if used)
Please remember to label all your child’s belongings with first and last name.
All crawling AND walking infants must have socks and shoes available to us because we go outside regularly.
Drop off and Pickups:
We know it can be hard for you and very hard for your child to be dropped off in an unfamiliar environment especially if others may by crying. This separation anxiety is a very healthy, normal behavior. This is very short lived in the span of infant development and quick goodbyes end up being the best for everyone. However, at first it may seem your child is very distressed. We work very hard to comfort him or her and distract in a positive way from your departure. Over time, the infants will come right in smiling and even not want to leave! We do not recommend “sneaking out”, occasionally is fine but in the long term, this tends to leave children more stressed and less ready to settle in. ***Please note if you bring your child in a hand carry style car seat you need to take it with you when you drop off your child. We do not store car seats. With regards to strollers, only umbrella type strollers are permitted. If you walk or catch the bus to school you need to get permission from Barb or Robyn to store your stroller***
Aside from talking face to face, we use daily sheets; these are located on the side of the parent board. It is mandatory for every parent to fill the top portion so we know where your child is at for the day, and the teachers will fill out the bottom portion. This is where we write down your infant’s bottle, meals, naps, and diapers for the day. We also let you know if we are running out of diapers or diaper cream, and a few notes about your child’s day. Please remember to sign our child in and out every day. The sign in and out binder is on the shelf below the parent board.
It is required by licensing that you label all bottles with both your child’s first and last name. All bottles should be brought in a labeled lunch bag. **You need to bring a complete bottle set for each feeding.** We offer both a morning and afternoon snack. If you would like to bring in your own food please label it and store it in your child’s cubby basket.
For older infants we have scheduled meal times:
Morning Snack is at 9:00
Lunch is at 11:30
For older infants, if your child will be present for lunch, please send a nutritious prepared meal in a labeled container with their first and last name. All food brought in must be pre-cut into ¼ inch or smaller pieces. We do not cut foods and will not be able to offer any foods that are not already cut. We can heat up any foods that need 2 minutes or less. Any food that takes longer than 2 minutes to heat is considered “preparing” and we will not be able to serve it (eg: easy mac, kids cuisine, Smart Ones, etc.)
Afternoon Snack is at 3:00
We check and change diapers every 2 hours or as needed. You provide diapers and any creams, LTDC provides fragrance free wipes. You can leave a stack of diapers in your child’s diaper cubby.
Each Infant is assigned a crib, which is labeled with their name. Crib sheets are provided and we launder them weekly. Soft elements (blankets, bumper pads, stuffed animals, etc.) are not allowed in the crib. All Infants will be placed on their back to sleep.
Health & Safety:
We work to keep our classroom, staff, and children healthy and safe. Due to certain illnesses and their respective levels of contagiousness, we will have to send your child home if they are vomiting, have a blowout, or have a temp of 100 or higher. Please check our Health Policies for other information regarding illness exclusions.
Toys that have been mouthed in the Infant Room are disinfected throughout the day. Teachers often will place a toy into the “mouthed toy bucket” after a child has mouthed it to be cleaned in the next batch. At the end of the day, other equipment and materials will be cleaned as well. The diaper changing area is disinfected after each use. A sanitizing solution of bleach water is used for general disinfecting equipment and toys.
Early Drop Off / Late Pick Up:
As a licensed child care facility, LTDC has classroom ratios to maintain. As parents of LTDC your responsibility is to arrive for care at your scheduled time and pick up at your scheduled time. Our staffing schedules are created around the number of children in our care and are not extended due to parents arriving early and picking up late. Please do not assume that it is okay if you are a “few minutes” late, as a few minutes can be the difference between us being in ratio or out of it. If you need a schedule change, please ask for a form. We will be happy to accommodate this change if the current number of children allows for it. If you arrive before your scheduled time, please be aware that care may be denied to you until your scheduled drop off time. Should you arrive late or drop off early, you will be charged $5.00 per 10 minutes of unscheduled care used. LTDC hours are 7:30-4:00. If you arrive after 4:00 there is an automatic $15 charge and a $1 per minute after 15 minutes.
Parents are welcome at any time to come and visit their child. For mothers who are breast feeding, the infant room provides a comfortable and peaceful area to enjoy that feeding time.
For some children, multiple separations from the parent during the day may make the transition to school more difficult. If you find that your visits are more upsetting to your child than consoling, we ask that you listen to your child’s cues.
Parent conferences are scheduled two times a year (fall semester and spring semester) and may also be held at anytime parents or teachers find it necessary. The infant years are marked by so much growth and change that conferences are a good time to discuss all the developmental issues surrounding them. Teachers put out sign up sheets prior to the times conferences will be held.
Parents sign up to talk with their child’s teacher. A developmental summary is shared with the parents during this time. Should there be any concerns that arise based on any teacher observation or assessment, a proper referral will be made with the expectation of working cooperatively with the parents to assist in their child’s healthy development.
Parent conferences typically take around 30 minutes.
There are times in the Infant classroom different issues surrounding confidentiality and maintaining the child’s personal space and privacy will arise. Our Infant Classroom is where many times parents are fresh to parenthood and seeking information to help them make sense of their quickly developing child; as well as wanting to be a part of the classroom and their child’s school environment. There are areas in which a parent will need to be aware of when interacting in the classroom and being around the children. Confidentiality is an important component to the parent/school relationship. It is honored by the teachers for all children and their families.
Please understand that the teachers do not and cannot discuss any child’s development; family situation; or any other personal information unique to that child with other parents. Confidentiality leads to the issue of developmental comparisons between children in the classrooms. We realize it is a natural parental response, you see your child growing up among a group of others close to the same age range. Comparing children is sometimes relevant or helpful but is also a “dangerous” thing to do. The window of time that any skill takes to develop in the Infant years are so vast, that it truly serves no positive purpose to note that your child either can or cannot accomplish the same developmental tasks as the next child. For example, the window of time for a child to accomplish walking can range anywhere from 9 to 18 months. If an 11-month-old is walking, but your 13 month old is not walking, that is completely not an issue or concern. The teachers perform assessments on all the children, not by comparing them to each other, but rather by observing and noting progress and growth each Infant has made themselves.
You are always welcome in the classroom; however, we ask you to refrain from making comparisons and asking about other children’s developmental levels.
Personal Space in the Infant Classroom:
Being a parent in the Infant classroom is sometimes different than being a parent in the older classrooms. Parents in the Infant Room physically are in the classroom more, get to know the other children on a more personal level more, and they have well intentions in trying to help out another child more. This is simply a natural part of being a parent of an Infant who has their child in group care.
We do understand the well intentions of a parent seeing another child crying or wanting to pick up a child to console him or her; but we do ask for you to refrain from handling other children. Ultimately, the center is responsible for the Infants while in our care. There are a few reasons why we ask for you to refrain from a lot of physical interaction with other children. First, other parents simply may not want or appreciate people who are not staff at LTDC handling their child. This is a legitimate and respected concern. Second, all the staff have gone through background checks. (Of course parents do not need to have background checks because they typically do not interact with other people’s children.) And finally, as stated earlier, LTDC is responsible for the safety and care of the children in our center while the parents are away. Should an accident happen to a child who is being handled by another parent –the center would ultimately be held responsible. Although we appreciate parents’ well intentions to help, a parent picking up another child and walking across the room, helping the get a coat on, feeding, etc. is crossing the boundaries of that child’s personal space and what are accepted and permissible interactions.
We do not want parents to feel we are intending extreme measures on this issue, and for parents to feel like they cannot sit on the floor with their child for fear another child will come up and want to interact. Of course friendly, non -caregiving, warm interactions are appropriate. Talking with another child or reading a book if they hand you one is fine. We need to error on the side of safety, cautiousness, respect for families and children, and what is acceptable and comfortable for everyone including parents, children, and staff.
We look forward to helping your infant grow into a happy, healthy individual!
Copyright 2013. Learning Tree. All rights reserved.