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Parent Handbook

WELCOME

We are happy to have you as part of the Merry-Go-Round Preschool family. We are here to assist you in providing meaningful Christian, early childhood learning experiences for your child. We will strive to work as a team with you and God in meeting this goal. We believe parents are the experts on their child’s development and we welcome you to share your insights with us.

Our school is located at 1004 E. Highland Acres Road where we rent the educational facilities inside Lutheran Church of the Cross.

We are a non-denominational Christian Preschool. We pray with and for your children and help them to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Our teachings come from the Bible and are presented at a preschool level.

The owner/director is Jo Wilson (701) 391-0342

Our hours of operation during the school year are M-F 8:30-11:20 and  MWTh 12:30 – 3:20 pm.
Philosophy

Our main objective at Merry-Go-Round is to provide a safe, Christian environment in which the children will enjoy learning through free and organized play, creative activities in areas of art, science, music, movement, and language. Social growth is of great importance. The children will be given opportunities to work independently as well as in large and small groups. The children will gain understanding of their own feelings as well as the feelings of the peers as they work and play together. Learning to share, take turns, and work cooperatively can be a tall order at this age. A happy, self-assured child is able to cope with new situations and make adjustments easily. There is no stress on success or failure at Merry-Go-Round. The children are encouraged to do tasks suitable to their own individual levels of development. Children are forced to face too many pressures all too soon. We want to help your child to enjoy these precious years of his or her childhood.

At Merry-Go-Round we like to use guidelines from the three “L” philosophy. The first “L” represents laughter. We believe your child should be engaged in activities and positive relationships that promote laughter. The second “L” represents love. We believe your child should be loved and cared for, and taught in a kind, respectful, manner. The third “L” represents learn. We believe it is important for your child to learn at his or her own pace, focusing on social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual development. We believe that God and our families are the most important people in a child’s life. Together, we celebrate the three “L” philosophy.

All of our philosophy and curriculum ideas are bound together with praise and gratitude for our Maker, our Father in heaven, who has made all of this possible!

 

Curriculum

All children learn at varying rates, and are unique to their own learning style. Some children are better visual learners, while others are stronger auditory or kin esthetic learners. At Merry-Go-Round we plan activities that reach the “whole child” in a variety of learning styles. Our curriculum includes daily activities in all areas of development: Physical-both fine and gross motor skills, Cognitive, and Social/Emotional. We strive to develop the child’s potential in all areas of development so they have confidence in themselves and their abilities. We are a child-centered, discovery-based learning environment that gives each child the opportunity to engage in experiences at his or her level of interest and ability. The curriculum focuses on learning basic concepts and skills through hands-on experiences and activities.

Goals of the Curriculum:

  • To provide a positive sense of identity and emotional well-being.
  • To develop age-appropriate social, physical, language and literacy skills.
  • To encourage thinking, reasoning, questioning and experimentation.
  • To provide exposure to the arts and encourage creative expression.
  • To demonstrate proper health, safety, and nutritional practices.
  • To respect gender, age, and cultural diversity.
  • To share and demonstrate Christian values.

 

Daily Schedule

8:30-9:15 – Arrival and free social play in the centers (independent and group projects available in centers such as these: sensory, blocks and building, reading, dramatic play, housekeeping, art,music, fine motor, puzzles and games, etc.)

9:15-9:45 – Opening: calendar time, mini-lessons, theme introductions, stories, songs, gross motor activities, prayer, show and tell, etc.

9:45 – 10:00 Intro to our group and/or individual projects, center time (literature/reading readiness,math/counting, sensory/science,problem-solving/building, technology, and life skills/dramatic play) gross motor activities, free play (outside time when weather and time permit.)

10:00-10:20 – Snack (Prayer song & practice “Yes, please”, or “No, thank-you”)

10:20-10:50 – in depth group and/or individual projects, center time (literature/reading readiness,math/counting, sensory/science,problem-solving/building, technology, and life skills/dramatic play) gross motor activities, free play (outside time when weather and time permit.)

10:50-11:00 – Clean-up

11:00-11:15 – Closing (stories, songs, daily review, folders, get dressed to go)

11:15-11:20 – Dismissal

General Class Information

Our 3-day/week classes meet Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from 8:30 -11:20 am and Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 12:30-3:20pm.

Our 2-day/week classes meet Tuesday and Friday mornings from 8:30-11:20am.

Enrollment of both MWTh classes is limited to 24 children with a maximum ratio of 1:12.
Enrollment for the T/F class is limited to 24 children with a maximum ratio of 1:12, but is regularly 1:8.

Classes meet from 8:30-11:20 am and MWTh from 12:30-3:20. Children can be dropped off NO EARLIER than 8:30am or 12:20pm without the director’s consent and prior arrangements. We need time to prepare the classroom for maximum benefit for your child. By the same token, please try to bring your child in on time so that he/she is not made to feel uncomfortable by arriving after everyone else has arrived and has become involved in play activities. Parents are expected to pick their child up between11:20am-11:30 or 3:20-3:30pm, NO LATER than 11:30am or 3:30pm without the director’s consent and prior arrangements. Please notify us if you are running late so that we can prepare your child. Children tend to worry if you are late. If you are in a car pool, or someone else is supposed to pick up your child, please let us know. Unless we are notified, only those persons you have authorized will be allowed to pick up your child from school. Picture ID’s may be requested if someone does not look familiar to us. To avoid confusion at the end of the day, we ask that you wait outside for your child. We will bring/send them out to you when the school day is over.

**Late Pick-Up Fees of $1.00 per minute after 11:30am or 3:30pm will be added to your monthly tuition unless we are contacted by phone or you have made prior arrangements with us.**

Tuition/Registration Fees

Monthly tuition for our MWTh programs is $185.00 with a non-refundable registration/supply fee of $90.

Monthly tuition for our T/F program is $165.00 with a non-refundable registration/supply fee of $90.

Tuition envelopes will be sent home the last week of the month and will be due back the first school day of the month. Tuition for the entire month is due whether your child is in school or not.

*Although May and December are shorter months, tuition is still the same as the other 7 months. The total cost has been divided over all 9 months.

Checks should be made payable to Merry-Go-Round Preschool

**Late payment fees of $15.00 will be applied to your monthly tuition if tuition is not paid in full by the 2nd school day of the month.**

**If you choose to remove your child from the program before the school year is complete, we need a 30-day notice. **

School Attendance/Absences

You are welcome to come to the school during our regular hours. Usually the first part of our day is best ~ before classes begin. This allows for time to visit with the teachers about any concerns or questions you may have. We ask that you assist your child in taking off any outer wear and placing backpacks in their designated areas and then bringing the child into the classroom to announce that they are here. If you need assistance, please ask. We will be happy to help!

Childhood diseases are common and contagious at this age. If your child has been running a fever or was sick overnight, please keep him/her at home. If your child should become sick while at school, you will be notified immediately. If neither parent can be reached, we will then contact your emergency person to pick up your child. If your child is out of school due to a communicable disease, please notify us. Also, if your child will be out for an extended period of time (such as family vacations, etc) please let us know.

 

Show and Tell

Each child will have special days during the month for show and tell. This time will be an opportunity for your child to share something about himself/herself. It might include bringing something special from home such as a toy, picture, game, etc., or perhaps the child wants to share a personal experience (a visit from grandma, or a trip). Please limit show and tell to ONE ITEM. Our school has a rule against bringing any kind of gun, war toy, or any other toys of violence. We prefer not to have other action figures either, as many of them sometimes promote violence rather than language and social development. We will inform you as to the days your child will have show and tell. Please DO NOT send show and tell articles from home to school on any other days.

Behavior

We use “1-2-3 Magic” for our main classroom management system.  The child has 3 chances to reset their behavior to something that is acceptable.  If they choose not to do so, they will be sent to time-out to think about what they could have done differently.  If a child does something that physically endangers another child (hitting, pushing, kicking, spitting,throwing a toy at someone, etc) they will be sent to time-out without the 3 chances.

For more information, please see a staff member or check out the program at:
www.parentmagic.com
We also follow a basic guideline which consists of 3 rules:
~BE KIND
~BE SAFE
~BE RESPECTFUL

As simple as this may sound, all behavioral problems can be put into one of these three categories. We try to put attention on when a child is acting appropriately and following our rules while still allowing consequences (1-2-3 Magic) when our rules are not being followed.
Snacks

Children will take turns bringing nutritious snacks and drinks (milk  or 100% juice only please) to school to share with their classmates. Please check the monthly calendar for your child’s snack day. (You will be asked to provide snack no more than once a month, normally about once every other month.) On your snack day, please bring cups and napkins and any other utensils necessary for serving the snacks. 5oz cups or larger. NO DIXIE CUPS, please!

Snack ideas include, but are not limited to: trail mix, granola bars, cheese and crackers or bread, meats, canned, fresh, or dried fruit, applesauce, muffins, pudding, yogurt, veggies, banana bread, cereal, deli, sausages, jerky, or any roll-ups or wraps, boiled eggs, pudding, frozen pizzas, etc….. Snacks need not be store bought or individually wrapped.

Snack time is a great opportunity for us to give gratitude through prayer. This will be done before we begin eating each day. We will also learn about respect and manners as we politely ask and/or answer with “yes, please” or “no thank-you” for our food choices.

Your child may bring special treats for his/her birthday. We prefer cake to cupcakes. THANKS!

If you are having a party and not inviting the entire class, please send invitations in the mail. It is very easy for feelings to get hurt if they are passed out at school and not everyone gets one.

Occasionally your child will be able to cook or prepare special foods as part of our curriculum. Please let us know of any food allergies!

Parent Involvement

We encourage you to become involved in our activities at school. Share your talents with us. If you have a job or hobby that would be of interest to us, please let us know. These make great learning opportunities! We greatly welcome your visits at school, but please give us a few weeks to get settled into our routines before you do so. We need time to adjust and become acquainted. Sometimes children are reluctant to stay in school without mom or dad. This is normal and the child usually adjusts rather quickly. This is most likely a whole new experience for your child with new faces in a strange place. When you leave your child at school, assure him/her that you will be back when school is over. It is much easier on your child if you don’t linger. Leave him or her with a few cheerful words and a smile.

Here are some other suggestions for parent involvement: Communicating with Merry-Go-Round on a regular basis, read with your child, keep informed on events taking place at Merry-Go-Round by reading the monthly newsletters and checking the calendar and bulletin board, talking about your child’s day at home, attend special family events at Merry-Go-Round or that Merry-Go-Round is involved with, help with fundraisers if needed. THANKS FOR SHARING!

Faith and Gratitude

We encourage the expression of gratitude for all of our amazing and abundant blessings. During the course of the school day, expressions of our faith will emerge through thanks, prayers, stories, and/or projects. Children are always allowed and encouraged to share as well.

Articles from Home
Please do not send any unnecessary items to school with your children, especially toys, etc.

It is very helpful to label your child’s sweaters, jackets, boots, etc. It is amazing how similar everyone’s boots and mittens can tend to look. Please encourage your child to dress himself/herself. When buying outerwear, make sure that your child can easily put them on. It will save much time and frustration. Your child should have a school bag or back pack and a folder for school communication and to carry his belongings and items to and from school.

Transportation

Transportation to and from the school, as well as for activities away from school is the parent’s responsibility. The only exception is when a field trip is scheduled and permission to transport your child is granted by you. At that time, parents or adult volunteers will transport children to and from the designated location.

**WE MUST HAVE YOUR CHILD’S CAR SEAT FOR FIELD TRIPS**

Teachers and staff/Licensing

Merry-Go-Round teachers and staff members are qualified by the North Dakota State Child Care Program guidelines. We strive to build on professional development of our staff by compensating our staff for training and workshops. Staff education is an on-going process and 10 hours of training are mandatory for each teacher and/or aide. Please seek us on a regular basis to discuss your child’s adjustment and progress at the school. Any problems, however minor they may seem, should be discussed with the staff. We want you and your child to feel at home at Merry-Go-Round.

Merry-Go-Round Preschool is licensed by the State of ND under the Department of Human Services as a Preschool, chapter 75-03-11. The telephone number for the Department of Human Services, Licensing Division, is (701)222-6622.

Mandated Reporting of child abuse and neglect

By law, any employee of Merry-Go-Round who knows or has reason to believe that a child is being neglected or physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, shall immediately report the information to the local welfare agency, police department, or county sheriff.

Permission Slips/Photo release

Written parental permission slips is required for field trips. Parents will be notified in advance about field trips. Adequate supervision will be provided during the trip. If it is alright that we use photos of your child for brochures, our internet website, or other marketing materials, please sign the photo releases at the end of this handbook.

 Parent/Staff communication

To ensure that parents are involved with their child’s progress at the school, conferences are offered 1-2 times/year. If at any other time you wish to have a conference, please schedule that with the Merry-Go-Round staff. Notes to parents are placed in your child’s folders or cubbies and sent home at the end of the school day. Please check cubbies in the morning when you are dropping your child off. These notes are used to update you on what’s happening at Merry-Go-Round and with your child.

Your child’s folder will have papers placed in it on a regular basis. Please check this on a daily basis as it has important communication information in it.

A weekly email will be sent out reviewing the week at Merry-Go-Round. This is to help you know what your child has been up to at school and to offer a chance for you to encourage your child to share with you while you ask questions to promote this communication.

Calendar/Holidays

Merry-Go-Round will usually follow the Bismarck Public School Calendar with some exceptions. There is a calendar included in this handbook. *On storm days, we will notify you of school cancellations via local radio station. Please tune in on days that may be questionable. For the safety of the children, we may cancel school even though the Bismarck Public Schools are in session.

Thank You so much for taking the time to read this handbook.

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. We want to provide the best possible environment for your pride and joy!