CHILD CARE CENTER
“Where little hearts are loved.”
184 Marshall Hill Road, West Milford, NJ 07480
Phone: (973) 728-1028; Fax: (973) 728-5257
Agapé is a Noun: [Greek] love – especially love that is unconditional
At Agapé we look forward to partnering with parents in being a part of the growth and development of each child in our care. Our motto, “Where little hearts are loved,” expresses the determination we have to make sure children know how loved they are and provide a loving environment while always considering what is best for the child in each and every aspect of their day, providing the best environment possible for optimal learning to meet their social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs.
And we believe that learning is FUN - so there are many smiles and lots of laughter throughout the day!
The staff has been carefully selected for their professionalism and compassion. Our staff includes New Jersey State Certified Teachers, CDA Credentialed Teachers, Trained Primary Care Givers and Assistant Teachers with extensive Pre School experience. Each staff member participates in ongoing training to further develop their knowledge and skills, resulting in continuous quality care for your child.
As required by law for the safety of the children and as an assurance to the parents, all of our staff are fingerprinted and have background checks. In addition, all of the staff is certified in First Aid, CPR and EPIPen usage.
Our staff demonstrates their commitment to your child through patience, joy, laughter and love.
Agapé is sponsored by The Almond Branch, formerly known as The Journey Church of the Highlands. Although we do not have formal religious training at Agapé, we are based on Christian principles. The children are encouraged to pray before snack and lunch, but the prayer is optional and up to parent discretion. For families that are interested in religious programs offered for children, The Almond Branch can be contacted at 973-728-3479 or visit their website, www.awakenj.com for further information.
RACIALLY NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICY
The Agapé Child Care Center admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded and made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, and other school-administered programs.
Agapé is a New Jersey State licensed Child Care Center. We gladly meet, or exceed, all state requirements to ensure the best care and education for each child
Department of Children and Families
Office of Licensing
INFORMATION TO PARENTS
Under provisions of the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers (N.J.A.C. 10:122), every licensed child care center in New Jersey must provide to parents of enrolled children written information on parent visitation rights, state licensing requirements, child abuse/neglect reporting requirements and other child care center matters. The center must comply with this requirement by reproducing and distributing to parents this written statement, prepared by the Office of Licensing, Child Care & Youth Residential Licensing, in the Department of Children and Families (DCF). In keeping with this requirement, the center must secure every parent's signature attesting to his/her receipt of the information.
Our center is required by the State Child Care Licensing Law to be licensed by the Office of Licensing (OOL), Child Care & Youth Residential Licensing, in the Department of Children and Families (DCF). A copy of our current license must be posted in a prominent location at our center. Look for it when you are in the center. To be licensed, our center must comply with the current Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers (the official licensing regulations). The regulations cover such areas as: physical environment/life safety; staff qualifications; supervision and staff/child ratios; program activities and equipment; health, food, and nutrition; rest and sleep requirements; parent/community participation; administrative and record-keeping requirements; and others.
Our center must have on the premises a copy of the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers and make it available to parents for review. If you would like to review our copy, just ask any staff member. Parents may view a copy of the Manual of Requirements on the DCF website at www.state.nj.us/dcf/ providers/licensing/laws/index.html or obtain a copy by sending a check or money order for $5 made payable to the “Treasurer, State of New Jersey”, and mailing it to: State of New Jersey, Department of Human Services, Licensing Publication Fees, PO Box 34399, Newark, NJ 07189-4399.
We encourage parents to discuss with us any questions or concerns about the policies and program of the center, or the meaning, application or alleged violations of the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers. We will be happy to arrange a convenient opportunity for you to review and discuss these matters with us. If you suspect our center may be in violation of licensing standards, you are entitled to report them to the Office of Licensing toll-free at 1-877-667-9845. Of course, we would appreciate your bringing these concerns to our attention, too.
Our center must have a policy concerning the release of children to parents or people authorized by parent(s) to be responsible for the child. Please discuss with us your plans for your child's departure from the center.
Our center must have a policy about administering medication and health care procedures and the management of communicable diseases. Please refer to the parent guidelines for details.
Our center must have a policy concerning the expulsion of children from enrollment at the center. Please review this policy so that we can work together to keep your child in our center.
Parents are entitled to review the center's copy of the OOL Inspection/Violation Reports on the center, which are issued after every State licensing inspection of our center. If there is a licensing complaint investigation, you are also entitled to review the OOL's Complaint Investigation Summary Report, as well as any letters of enforcement or other actions taken against the center during the current licensing period. Let us know if you wish to review them and we will make them available for your review.
Our center must cooperate with all DCF inspections/investigations. DCF staff may interview both staff members and children.
Our center must post its written statement of philosophy on child discipline in a prominent location and make a copy of it available to parents upon request. We encourage you to review it and to discuss with us any questions you may have about it.
Our center must post a listing or diagram of those rooms and areas approved by the OOL for the children's use. Please talk to us if you have any questions about the center's space. Our center must offer parents of enrolled children ample opportunity to participate in and observe the activities of the center.
Our center must offer parents of enrolled children ample opportunity to assist the center in complying with licensing requirements; and to participate in and observe the activities of the center. Parents wishing to participate in the activities or operations of the center should discuss their interest with the center director, who can advise them of what opportunities are available.
Parents of enrolled children may visit our center at any time without having to secure prior approval from the director or any staff member. Please feel free to do so when you can. We welcome visits from our parents.
Our center must inform parents in advance of any field trip, outing or special event away from the center, and must obtain prior written consent from parents before taking a child on each such trip.
Our center is required to provide reasonable accommodations for children and/or parents with disabilities and to comply with the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), P.L. 1945, c.169 (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.). Anyone who believes the center is not in compliance with these laws may contact the Division on Civil Rights in the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety for information about filing an LAD claim at (609) 292-4605 (TTY users may dial 711 to reach the New Jersey Relay Operator and ask for (609) 292-7701), or may contact the United States Department of Justice for information about filing an ADA claim at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).
Our center is required, at least annually, to review the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) unsafe children’s products list, ensure that items on the list are not at the center, and make the list accessible to staff and parents and/or to provide parents with the CPSC website at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html. Internet access may be available at your local library. For more information call the CPSC at (800) 638-2772. We also inform all families of any recalls on a weekly basis.
Anyone who has reasonable cause to believe that an enrolled child has been or is being subjected to any form of hitting, corporal punishment, abusive language, ridicule, harsh, humiliating or frightening treatment, or any other kind of child abuse, neglect, or exploitation by any adult, whether working at the center or not, is required by State law to report that concern immediately to the State Central Registry Hotline, toll-free at (877) NJ ABUSE or (877) 652-2873. Such reports may be made anonymously. Parents may secure information about child abuse and neglect by contacting: DCF, Office of Communications and Legislation at (609)-292-0422 or go to www.nj.gov/dcf and select Publications.
INFANT PROGRAM for Children from 6 weeks of age
We know that there is nothing more important to you than the safety, care and well being of your child. So, in our Infant Program, Children are our first priority! Throughout the day we spend a great deal of time with gentle interactions, eye contact, rocking, cuddling, singing and playing to encourage your little one to feel secure as well as allowing them to learn and develop at their own pace. Even routine activities, such as diapering and feeding, are opportunities for the staff to smile, sing, talk, hold and interact with your child.
We also know that parent involvement is extremely important. We ask parents to provide us with specific instructions on their child’s needs and preferences. Each child’s schedule is based on their specific needs as per the instructions provided by the parent. We will use our Procare APP to communicate everything about your infant's day, diapers, naps, and meals, and more.
Our Infant Program provides age specific activities for the development of language, small and large motor skills, and social and emotional skills. Infants and young learners experience visual and tactile stimulation through music, stories, songs, books and toys in a safe and fun atmosphere. In the play area, babies can roll, sit, crawl, pull themselves up and walk, as the staff provides plenty of encouragement and praise.
Learning centers provide developmentally appropriate learning materials that help children to practice reaching, grasping and tracking objects with their eyes. We also provide age appropriate manipulatives that babies enjoy playing with over and over again to help them to solve problems, gain knowledge and improve dexterity.
Bouncers and excersaucers are used for no longer than 10-15 minutes at a time so that your child has floor time to explore as well as time to be rocked or held by staff.
A daily schedule is provided as a guideline for activities throughout the day and the staff posts a monthly calendar of activities that your child will be participating in.
Typically, when your child is 12-18 months, the transition from the Infant to the Toddler Room starts with participation in some Toddler activities. Transition from the Infant Room to the Toddler Room is based on the individual child’s developmental readiness and the level of development of the children currently in the Toddler Room. The Director will discuss transition times with parents prior to any transition taking place.
Children attend the Toddler Program when they are 18 months.
The Toddler Program is a structured program that offers a variety of activity throughout the day to encourage the further development of each child. Recently, Agapé was awarded a grant from the State of New Jersey. Included in the grant were several hours of observation, reporting and evaluating by a state approved consultant. Agapé scored above the state requirements – and then scored even higher after we implemented the consultant recommendations. The recommendations and training, along with the grant (which allowed us to purchase many new items), enabled us to improve the program beyond the already outstanding program we had implemented.
The Toddler Room consists of several learning centers – books/quiet play, housekeeping, dress up, blocks, puzzles, manipulatives, art, and a climbing cube and slide for large motor development. Outdoor play is on our specially made Toddler Playground with a poured rubber surface. There is equipment for climbing and sliding, and a sand table and water play for the warmer weather. In addition, our Toddlers enjoy going outdoors in our 6 seat stroller for walks around our facility and spacious grounds.
Transition from the Toddler Room to the Beginners Class is based on the child turning 2 ½ and individual child’s developmental readiness. The Director will discuss transition times with the parents prior to any transition taking place.
GENERAL POLICIES PERTAINING TO THE INFANT AND TODDLER ROOMS
Infants must be at least 6 weeks of age to attend Agape’.
Infants will be held during bottle feedings.
When an infant or toddler show evidence of wanting to feed him/herself, the child will be permitted and encouraged to do so.
Toilet training typically begins around the age of 2 ½. Every effort is made by the staff to coordinate toilet training with the parent, when the parent has begun toilet training at home.
All rooms are vacuumed daily, bathrooms cleaned, and garbage disposed of. All toys used by the infants and/or toddlers are disinfected daily, as are cribs.
The diaper area is disinfected after each use and all staff wear gloves when changing diapers.
Shoes are not to be worn by staff or parents in the Infant Room
Permission slips giving or denying permission for Infants and Toddlers to eat other snacks and/or food (for example, birthday party cupcakes or our optional lunch program) are to be signed by a parent. Children WILL NOT be given any food other than what the parent has sent in for them, unless the parent has signed the permission slip.
Parents are to provide
· A written and signed diet plan for each infant and toddler. Agapé is a peanut free environment, therefore please do not send toddlers with peanut butter or peanut products.
· Feeding bottles for the day, prepared at home, with individual identification and date on each.
· Disposable diapers, wipes and any creams or powder.
· All food and snacks that your child will eat throughout the day, with individual identification and date on each. Any unused portion of food will be returned to the parent at the end of each day.
· At least two complete changes of clothing brought to the center daily.
· Extra sheets, blankets, diapers, clothing, and non perishable foods may be stored at the center in the child’s individual bin, which is provided by the center.
Both the Infant and the Toddler rooms are equipped with a refrigerator and microwave.
PRESCHOOL CLASSES – (General Information pertaining to all classes)
The Pre School Classes offered are Beginners, Early Skills, and Pre K. Pre School Class sizes are limited and are taught by a teacher with an assistant teacher (dependent upon enrollment).
Agapé provides snacks in the morning and in the afternoon. We are a peanut- free environment, therefore snacks are provided that are free of peanut ingredients.
Early Skills and Pre K classes have Share & Tell on a semi-weekly basis. Teachers will send home a monthly newsletter which will include the Show and Tell dates for your child’s class. Children may bring their favorite toys or any other appropriate item to school for Show and Tell on these special days.
We ask that children arrive on time for class. Young children are easily distracted and classmates and parents entering the classroom after play time tend to interfere with the learning process. We ask that all students enrolled in Pre School Classes be in their classes before 9:15.
BEGINNER CLASS for CHILDREN AGE 2 ½
Monday - Friday – 8:30-Noon or 8:30-2:30
All children in this class are 2 ½ to 3 years old.
The Beginner Class is very similar to the 3 year old Early Skills Class, but taught at the age appropriate 2 ½ year old level. Children do not need to be potty trained for this class and is often a class where potty training takes place as the teaching staff works in conjunction with the parents in the potty training process.
Children in this class participate in various activities to help in the development of large and small motor skills, number and letter recognition, calendar and weather, as well as many opportunities to make friends, learning to share, take turns and follow direction.
EARLY SKILLS CLASS for CHILDREN AGE 3 by OCTOBER 1ST of the academic school year
Monday - Friday – 8:30-Noon or 8:30-2:30
The children in this class are 3 years old by October 1st of the academic school year.
The Early Skills class is a preparation for the 4-year-old Pre K Class. Children learn to take turns, follow directions, sit in their seats, transition from one project to another and speak before their peers. Numbers, letters, shapes and sizes are taught from a developmental, hands-on perspective through arts and crafts, music, and games. These concepts are reinforced through our learning center, toys, and various activities. Children do not need to be potty trained for this class.
PRE K CLASS for CHILDREN AGE 4 by OCTOBER 1ST of the academic school year
Monday - Friday – 8:30-Noon or 8:30-2:30
The Pre K Class is for children who are 4 years old by October 1st of the school year.
Children are prepared for Kindergarten during their time in the Pre K Class. Children learn letters, numbers, shapes, colors, sizes, sequencing and much more through a hands-on approach to learning. Using children’s natural curiosity makes learning easy and fun. Teachers use dramatic play, learning centers, arts and crafts, group games and music – as well as traditional paper, crayons and pencils to encourage the development of writing skills.
EARLY LEARNING Extended CHILD CARE
Monday-Friday – 6:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. and/or 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
This is a combined age group of children ages 2 ½ - 4 years old. Before and after their Pre-School class times the children have opportunity to participate in various activities. In this supervised and structured time children can play games, play with blocks, cars, dramatic play, playdough, color, do arts and crafts, and have outdoor playground time.
Children can have breakfast until 8:00 a.m. that parents provide. Also, parents may provide a 5:00 p.m. snack for children staying at the center at 5:00 p.m.
BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Before School Program
Monday-Friday 6:30-8:30 (times vary depending on school bus pick up)
Children participate in a variety of activities including board games, group games, coloring, crafts, toys, Wii, jump rope and free play. Children may bring breakfast to eat before leaving for school. Breakfast may be eaten at any time until 8:00 a.m. (Please no chocolate or sweets).
Children are transported to and from Agapé to various West Milford Schools by the West Milford Transportation Department. Parents need to complete the transportation form provided by the transportation department or by Agapé requesting that Agapé be their child’s pick up and/or drop off bus stop. Agapé staff put children on the bus and takes them from the bus upon bus drop off.
After School Program
Monday – Friday – 3:00-6:30 p.m. (drop off times vary depending on school)
Children in Kindergarten through 5th grade participate in this fun filled after school program. Our large auditorium provides plenty of room for basketball, scooters, Wii, indoor games, and crafts. As children arrive from various township schools, snack is provided by Agapé. Children are then able to do their homework with assistance provided by staff as needed from 3:30-4:15.
Our state of the art playground and grassy areas provide plenty of exercise and fun with running and playground climbing equipment and swings. Occasionally, in inclement weather, a movie and popcorn time is provided. Parents are to provide snack, if they choose, for children who attend after 5:00 pm.
Before and After Care Program
When the West Milford Schools are closed due to holidays, we will have child care available at Agape. You can sign up to attend those days on the sign up sheets that get posted by the front door.
If West Milford is closed due to inclement weather and Agape is able to stay open, the school aged children will be offered child care here at Agape.
EXTRA CURRICULAR ELECTIVES
Throughout the school year we offer various electives that children can participate in. These activities take place at Agapé but are often sponsored by outside groups – such as the King Centre Dance Class and Karate. Other electives include music, provided by musician, Chris Amelar.
Registration information is sent home with your child as to the dates, time and cost of these classes.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES – Each child needs the following items for their day at Agapé. Please note that ALL items need to be labeled with child’s name, including jackets, sweatshirts, change of clothing, lunch bags, backpacks, sheets and blankets.
1. A book bag or back pack large enough to hold an 8 1/2x11 folder
2. A manila folder used to send home important flyers, letters and projects
3. A complete change of clothing – this includes socks and underwear
Children attending lunch and nap need the following items…
1. Lunch bag or box. We have refrigeration and a microwave – microwave lunches are to be heated in 3 minutes or less, due to the number of children in attendance
2. A fitted mat sheet and blanket – Sheets and blankets are sent home if soiled and weekly for wash. Sheets must be returned with the child for the next school day.
Also, please note that ALL children go outdoors daily – even if for 15 minutes at a time – unless it’s raining, snowing or icy. So please be sure that your child is dressed appropriately for weather – including hats, jackets, mittens, and boots if needed.
Agapé offers Summer Day Camp for children ages 2 ½ through 3rd grade. The Camp hours are 9-4 p.m. with extended hours available from 6:30-9 and 4-6 pm as needed for both Pre School (ages 2 ½-4) and School Age (K-3rd Grade).
A fully air-conditioned building allows children to have fun rain or shine! A large state of the art playground and spacious lawns, along with sprinklers and water games make outdoor time an adventure every day. Every week has a different theme with indoor and outdoor games, crafts and projects to coordinate with the theme.
The Camp Store is open daily for Pre School and School Age Camp – this is always a highlight for the children as they are able to purchase items from 25 cents to $2.
School age children also attend field trips to a local pool for swimming! Snacks, picnics and barbeques top it all off!
Special guests – such as a Magician and a petting zoo – A list of themes, activities, field trips and special guests is provided in March for the following summer.
GENERAL POLICIES FOR ALL CHILDREN AGES 6 WEEKS THROUGH 12 YEARS
Registration must be done in person at Agapé. The registration form must be completed in its entirety and must be accompanied by a non-refundable, non-transferable registration fee.
At the time of registration, a packet will be given to the parent/guardian for emergency and ID information, state required forms, and the physician form which needs to be completed by your child’s pediatrician. The packet should be filled out in its entirety and returned to the Agapé office prior to the child’s attendance at Agapé.
All new registrations are taken contingent on the Director’s approval and a 2 to 4 week probation period from the start date. Upon completion of this probation period, if there are any concerns about the child remaining at Agape, the Director will contact you and has the right to terminate enrollment.
Our Procare APP is now available to parents. This can be used to check your child in/out each day. There are QRIS scan codes that you can use for your convenience posted by the front door and in the hallway upstairs.
Parents are to walk their child to class – children are not permitted to roam the building unattended.
POLICY ON THE RELEASE OF CHILDREN
Each child may be released only to the child’s parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) to take the child from the center and to assume responsibility for the child in an emergency if the parent(s) cannot be reached.
If a non-custodial parent has been denied access, or granted limited access, to a child by a court order, the center shall secure documentation to that effect, maintain a copy on file, and comply with the terms of the court order.
If the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) fails to pick up a child at the time of the center’s daily closing, the center shall ensure that:
1) The child is supervised at all times;
2) Staff members attempt to contact the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s); and
3) An hour or more after closing time, and provided that other arrangements for releasing the child to his/her parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s), have failed and the staff member(s) cannot continue to supervise the child at the center, the staff member shall call the 24-hour State Central Registry Hotline 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873) to seek assistance in caring for the child until the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the child’s parent(s) is able to pick-up the child.
If the parent(s) or person(s) authorized by the parent(s) appears to be physically and/or emotionally impaired to the extent that, in the judgment of the director and/or staff member, the child would be placed at risk of harm if released to such an individual, the center shall ensure that:
1) The child may not be released to such an impaired individual;
2) Staff members attempt to contact the child’s other parent or an alternative person(s) authorized by the parent(s); and
3) If the center is unable to make alternative arrangements, a staff member shall call the 24hour State Central Registry Hotline 1-877-NJ-ABUSE (1-877-652-2873) to seek assistance in caring for the child. For school-age child care programs, no child shall be released from the program unsupervised except upon written instruction f rom the child’s parent(s).
Class Tuition – Pre School Classes are based on an annual charge per year. The payments are divided into ten equal payments for your convenience. A 10% discount is offered for parents who choose to pre-pay the entire school year tuition by August 15th of the current school year.
Monthly tuition invoices are sent electronically through our Procare APP. Payment is due by the 15th of the month. Balances not paid in full by the 30th of the month will accrue a 3% late fee.
Pre School Camp and School Age Camp Tuition
Pre School and School Age Camp tuition is based on a full day rate from 9-4pm or half day rate from 9-noon.
Children attending prior to 9 am or after 4 pm are billed on the hourly rate as per their schedule for the month.
Children can attend camp one day a week up to a full five day week, based on their needs and the parent’s schedule.
School Campers attend field trips and the cost of these will be added to your monthly invoices.
Day Care, Infant, Toddler, Before and After School Programs Tuition
The Day Care, Infant, Toddler and Before/After School Program tuition is based on the hourly charge for the child’s SCHEDULED hours for the upcoming month. Parents are to clock their children in and out each day in Procare . This will automatically bill for additional hours outside of the scheduled time. Those hours will be posted as extra hours on the following month’s bill. For example – September invoice will state September SCHEDULED hours and August EXTRA hours (hours outside of the scheduled times).
Changes in your child’s schedule are to be submitted during the last week of the month prior to the 1st of the upcoming month being billed for or the invoice will reflect the fee for the original hours scheduled. For example – a September change in schedule must be submitted during the last week of August.
All children are expected to be picked up prior to the center’s closing time. If you will not arrive at the center prior to the closing time, the parent/guardian must communicate the estimated time of arrival to Agapé staff and/or arrange another authorized person to pick-up as soon as possible. Failure to pick up a child prior to the center’s closing will incur a fee of $1.00 per minute beginning the first minute after hours.
Your child’s attendance is contingent on payments. If payments are made more than 10 days late, your child will not be permitted to attend class until the account is brought current. If at any time there are extraordinary circumstances that affect your ability to make a payment on time, you need to contact the Director prior to your payments being late.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO REFUND OF TUITION FOR TIME NOT ATTENDED DUE TO ILLNESS, HOLIDAYS, SCHOOL CLOSINGS OR VACATIONS.
School Closing Care
Agapé is open for delayed school openings and early dismissals. Agapé may or may not be open on snow days, dependent upon weather and/or road conditions.
On the West Milford School scheduled closings – for example – Columbus Day – Agapé has a sign-up sheet for parents who wish to have their child attend. The times signed up for are the times that the parent is responsible to pay for, as we staff according to the number of children scheduled to attend. Children who have not previously signed up by the deadline are not able to attend due to staff/child ratios. A minimum of 10 children is required in order for Agapé to open on sign up days. These sign up days are only for our school aged children. Children in our preschool programs will have regular scheduled days.
We rarely close other than major holidays and the Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas week, Good Friday, and President’s Day. Parents will find the sign-up sheet for school closing at the Agapé front entry.
Agapé is closed for selected holidays. The Agapé calendar is handed out to parents at the start of the school year and can also be accessed online at our website – www.agapechildcarecenter.org
We have the right to close in an emergency such as inclement weather, but we try to stay open when possible. Please contact Agapé at 973-728-1028, visit our website, or look at Procare during extreme weather conditions to be sure that the staff has arrived and we are open.
WITHDRAWEL FROM AGAPÉ
Children may be withdrawn from school for health reasons, moving from the community or at the teacher’s recommendation. When parents wish to withdraw their child, they must give written notice advising Agapé of the withdrawal at least one month in advance. Failure to give written notice one month in advance will result in the parent being responsible to pay the following month’s tuition.
Agapé is a Peanut free environment and all snacks provided are peanut-free and made from equipment that has not been used for peanut products. (The exception to this is for children from ages 2 ½ and older who have peanut butter for lunch provided by their parent. These children sit together at a separate table and wash their hands immediately after eating. The staff also immediately wipe down table and chairs as a precaution for those who may be allergic)
Agapé provides morning and afternoon snacks at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 pm and after school as children arrive.
The exception to this is the Infants and Toddlers. In the Infant and Toddler programs we ask parents to provide all food and snacks that their child will need. We also request a signed permission form giving or denying permission for their child to have special snacks – for example birthday cupcakes.
Parents may choose to send an additional snack for their child if attending later than 5:00 pm.
Parents may also provide a healthy breakfast that can be eaten if arriving before 8:00 am. Donuts, cookies and candy are not permitted.
Lunch is from 11:30-12:00 during the school year and 12:00-12:30 during the summer months. We ask that parents provide lunch and snack that has no peanuts, nuts, candy or soda.
Parents may also choose to participate in our optional lunch program. You can find copies of the menu options located by the front door. If you are buying lunch you can give the filled out form to the office. The cost of lunch is added to the monthly tuition invoice.
We ask children to refrain from wearing clothes that are not modest, or have inappropriate images or words. Should this occur, parents will be contacted and ask to either pick up their child or bring them different clothing to wear.
We support parents in communicating to children in a positive manner. We do not tolerate children using fowl or inappropriate language or gestures. Should this occur parents will be notified. If the child continues with inappropriate language or gestures a second time, the child will be given an in school suspension and the parent will be contacted. Should this occur a third time, the child will be suspended for one week. The child will only be permitted to return to Agapé after a conference with the teacher, director, parent and child has taken place. Further offenses may be cause for expulsion.
Agapé does not permit bullying of one child or a group of children to another child or group. We encourage children to use positive communication and assist them in working out their problems with others should the occasion arise. We also work in cooperation with the West Milford busing and school system in not tolerating any unruly or disrespectful behavior to one another or to those in authority over them. Parents will be informed of any situations that may arise – including the incident and how it was handled. When parents, Agapé and the school system work together – and the child understands that we are all working on the same team supporting one another – we have very few, if any disciplinary situations.
USE OF AGAPE’ TOYS AND EQUIPMENT
Agapé, along with the parent, instills a sense of respect for one another’s belongings. In the case of an intentional destruction of property – or abuse of Agapé equipment (for example, not following the rule to wear the Wii wristband after being told to) – the parent is responsible to pay for items that their child has damaged or destroyed.
We ask that young children NOT bring their toys to Agapé. All toys must be shared and this can be difficult for a young child to share their favorite toy. A special toy that gets broken can be devastating to a child. In addition, Agapé needs to have control over items in the classroom to be sure they are age appropriate and safe for the age of the children attending each class. We are sure that your child will enjoy the many toys that Agapé has to offer and will find their toys more special to them when they arrive home.
School Age children are permitted to bring electronic games for school closing times, for example, snow days. However, Agapé is not responsible for personal toys and games that are lost or damaged while at Agapé.
Consumer Reports provides lists of recently recalled toys and games for babies and children. To view these lists, visit http://news.consumerreports.org/safety/recalls/. You can also subscribe to their news feed for the most recent recall updates at this website.
MOVIES AND BOOKS
Children who attend all day may choose to bring a special book or movie to share with their class while in Day Care or in the After School Program. Please hand the book or movie to the staff when you arrive. All movies must be rated “G” and all movies and books must be previewed and approved by the Agapé staff prior to giving permission for the movie to be shown or the book read. Please also share with your child that depending on the day’s activities, their movie or book may not be used on that particular day.
Also, movies are viewed occasionally in inclement weather and after 5:00 pm. for children who desire to view an age appropriate movie or cartoon. Other than these specified times, children do not watch TV as we have a multitude of other activities to involve children in.
POLICY ON SCREEN TIME
For children under the age of 2 years there is no TV or any computers in the room. On occasion, the teacher uses her tablet to show the children a song that goes with the current week’s theme.
For children attending less than 4 hours per day and are over the age of 2, they have an opportunity to use tablets during the class play time – at the start of each class. The half hour play time is shared tablet time for those that are interested.
For children attending over 4 hours a day and are over the age of 2, they have an opportunity to use the tablets twice during class play time, for 30 minutes each time.
For School age children – Kindergarten and up – the tablets and Wii are available for shared use prior to the school bus coming at 8:00 a.m. The Wii is also available after school for shared 15 minute use per child or on occasion for longer use during school closings and snow days.
Children with special needs that benefit from the educational instruction use of the TV, computer or other video equipment are able to use the equipment as needed based on the instruction of the parent, teacher or physician.
Agapé celebrates with a Harvest party and a costume parade. Children also participate in projects and crafts depicting the beauty of autumn. For the party and parade we ask that children do not wear any costume that would be scary or frightening to other young children.
Birthdays are very special to children. We encourage the children to celebrate their birthdays with their classmates. Birthday children receive a birthday crown and parents may also send in a special birthday snack to be shared with classmates. Contact your child’s teacher if you would like to provide special snack. Please be reminded that we are a peanut free environment – so please check labels to be sure it is not a peanut product or a product that has been made on equipment used for peanut products. Also, all food brought into the school must be packaged, store-bought with nutrition facts available.
For the benefit of all the children, we reserve the right not to accept a child that we feel is contagious.
POLICY ON THE MANAGEMENT OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
If a child exhibits any of the following symptoms, the child should not attend the center. If such symptoms occur at the center, the child will be removed from the group, and parents will be called to take the child home.
-Severe pain or discomfort
-Episodes of acute vomiting
-Elevated temperate of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit
-Yellow eyes or jaundice skin
-Red eyes with discharge
-Infected, untreated skin patches
-Difficult or rapid breathing
-Skin rashes in conjunction with fever or behavior changes
-Skin lesions that are weeping or bleeding
-Mouth sores with drooling
Once the child is symptom-free, or has a health care provider’s note stating that the child no longer poses a serious health risk to himself/herself or others, the child may return to the center unless contraindicated by local health department or Department of Health.
EXCLUDABLE COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
A child or staff member who contracts an excludable communicable disease may not return to the center without a health care provider’s note stating that the child presents no risk to himself/herself or others. These diseases include respiratory, gastrointestinal, and contact illnesses such as Impetigo, Lice, Scabies, and Shingles.
Note: If a child has chicken pox, a health care provider’s note is not required for re-admitting the child to the center. A note from the parent is required stating either that at least six days has elapsed since the onset of the rash, or that all sores have dried and crusted.
If a child is exposed to any excludable disease at the center, parents will be notified in writing.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE REPORTING GUIDELINES
Some excludable communicable diseases must be reported to the health department by the center. The Department of Health’s Reporting Requirements for Communicable Diseases and Work-Related Conditions Quick Reference Guide, a complete list of reportable excludable communicable diseases, can be found at http://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/reportable_disease_magnet.pdf.
***If your child develops any of the above symptoms while in our care, we will immediately contact you. If you are unable to pick up your child within the hour you must provide a contact person who is able to pick up your child. Agapé is not licensed by the State of New Jersey to care for sick children.
***Children may return to Agapé after they are SYMPTOM FREE for 24 hours, or with a doctor’s note stating the name of the illness and the date that they are able to return to Agapé, and that returning is not a health risk to themselves or to other children at Agapé.
Our Health Policy as required by the State of New Jersey regarding sick children is as follows: Agape staff can only disperse prescribed medication to a child with a physician's note stating the name of medication, dosage, frequency to be administered, and reason for medication. Parents must also complete and sign the medication form located in their child's classroom. If the child needs over the counter medication it must be accompanied by a written permission note from a doctor stating the time and dosage for the child. Topical preparations such a sunscreen or diaper rash creams can only be applied to a child after writen permission is given by a parent. Please make sure to hand sunscreen and diaper rash creams to the teacher. (If left in backpack it may not be noticed). All medications must be unopened in original containers/boxes.
Agapé staff is unable to disburse medication unless the above regulations are adhered to.
Children that are sent home with a fever cannot return to Agape until 24 hours after the fever breaks - or if sent home ill but without a fever, the child cannot return until 24 hours symptom free. If they are taking antibiotics, they and required to be on them for 24 hours before returning to school. If your child's symptoms are contagious, we need a physician's note stating they are no longer contagious and are allowed to return to school. We understand that this is challenging for parents with their work schedules, but we have found that adhering to this policy has resulted in breaking the cycle of continual illness of both children and staff.
Also, please give us a physician's note as your child receives additional inoculations. The note is to include the type of inoculation and the date administered. We then update our records on the physician's form submitted to us at the time of enrollment. Also, please note that the state requires the flu shot to be given by December 31st of each year to children 6 months to 59 months, or turning 5. We are audited by the Township Nurse and all of our records need to be current in order for children to continue attending.
We encourage you to visit and observe your child’s class and see the wonderful things that are taking place. We are open from 6:30 am – 6:30 pm. Parents are welcome to stop in at any time or can call the director to schedule an appointment.
Parents are welcome to invite family to our annual Family Day, Dance Recitals, and Pre K Graduation. We have a large auditorium and are able to accommodate up to 300 people.
Methods of Parental Notification
Our goal is to always maintain clear and open communications between the Agapé staff and the parents. There are multiple ways that Agapé Child Care Center will communicate to parents. Listed below are the means of which we may communicate to the parent.
-Monthly Newsletters -Notes sent home with child
-E-mail -Text Messaging
-Direct Phone Call (Cell phone, home line, work line) -In-person conversations
-Mail -Agapé Website/Procare App
Agapé staff understands that in this day of technology, access to the internet and cell phones is widespread, however, we acknowledge this does not encompass everyone. Agapé staff will do their best to reach the parent(s) in the most suitable method available to them. If there is an urgent matter, our primary means of communication is through a direct phone call with the phone number(s) provided at registration, including but not limited to the parent(s) and emergency contacts.
If a parent needs to reach Agapé for any given reason, the staff can be reached via the above methods as well. Parents of children of any age can feel free to contact Agape’ at any time to talk to their child’s teacher or caregiver or to schedule a meeting with their child’s teacher. Teachers will return calls as soon as possible after class ends.
Guidelines for Positive Discipline
Positive discipline is a process of teaching children how to behave appropriately. Positive discipline respects the rights of the individual child, the group, and the adult. Methods of positive discipline shall be consistent with the age and developmental needs of the children, and lead to the ability to develop and maintain self-control.
Positive discipline is different from punishment. Punishment tells children what they should not do; positive discipline tells children what they should do. Punishment teaches fear; positive discipline teaches self-esteem.
You can use positive discipline by planning ahead:
-Anticipate and eliminate potential problems.
-Have a few consistent, clear rules that are explained to children and understood by adults.
-Have a well-planned daily schedule
-Plan for ample elements of fun and humor.
-Include some group decision-making
-Provide time and space for each child to be alone.
-Make it possible for each child to feel he/she has had some positive impact on the group.
-Provide the structure and support children need to resolve their differences.
-Share ownership and responsibility with the children. Talk about our room and our toys.
Positive discipline includes intervening by staff when necessary:
-Re-direct children to a new activity to change the focus of the child’s behavior.
-Provide individualized attention to help the child deal with a particular situation
-Use time-out – by removing a child for a few minutes from the area or activity so that he/she may gain self-control. (One minute for each year of the child’s age is a good rule of thumb).
-Divert the child and remove from the area of conflict.
-Provide alternative activities and acceptable ways to release feelings.
-Point out natural or logical consequences of children’s behavior.
-Offer a choice only if there are two acceptable options.
-Criticize the behavior, not the child. Do not say “bad girl”; instead say “That is not allowed here.”
You can use positive discipline by showing love and encouragement:
-Catch the child being good. Respond to and reinforce positive behavior; acknowledge or raise to let the child know you approve of what he/she is doing.
-Provide positive reinforcement through natural rewards for good behavior.
-Use encouragement rather than competition, comparison or criticism.
-Overlook small annoyances and deliberately ignore provocations.
-Give hugs and caring to every child every day.
-Appreciate the child’s point of view.
-Be loving — but don’t confuse loving with license.
Positive discipline is NOT:
-Disciplining a child for failing to eat or sleep or for soiling themselves
-Hitting, shaking, or any other form of corporal punishment
-Using abusive language, ridicule, harsh, humiliating or frightening treatment or any other form of emotional punishment of children
-Engaging in or inflicting any form of child abuse and/or neglect
-Withholding food, emotional responses, stimulation, or opportunities for rest or sleep
-Requiring a child to remain silent or inactive for an inappropriately long period of time
Positive discipline takes time, patience, repetition and the willingness to change the way you deal with children. But it’s worth it, because positive discipline works.
(OOL/GUIDELINES FOR POSITIVE DISCIPLINE/APRIL2017)
Sadly, there are sometimes reasons we have to expel a child from our program either on a short term or permanent basis. We want you to know we will do everything possible to work with the family of the child(ren) in order to prevent this policy from being enforced. The following are reasons we may have to expel or suspend a child from this center:
IMMEDIATE CAUSES FOR EXPULSION
The child is at risk of causing serious injury to other children or himself/herself. Parent threatens physical or intimidating actions toward staff members. Parent exhibits verbal abuse to staff in front of enrolled children.
PARENTAL ACTIONS FOR CHILD’S EXPULSION
Failure to pay/habitual lateness in payments. Failure to complete required forms including the child’s immunization records. Habitual tardiness when picking up your child. Verbal abuse to staff. Other (explain)
CHILD’S ACTIONS FOR EXPULSION
Failure of child to adjust after a reasonable amount of time. Uncontrollable tantrums/ angry outbursts. Ongoing physical or verbal abuse to staff or other children. Excessive biting. Other (explain)
SCHEDULE OF EXPULSION
If after the remedial actions above have not worked, the child’s parent/guardian will be advised verbally and in writing about the child’s or parent’s behavior warranting an expulsion. An expulsion action is meant to be a period of time so that the parent/ guardian may work on the child’s behavior or to come to an agreement with the center. The parent/guardian will be informed regarding the length of the expulsion period. The parent/guardian will be informed about the expected behavioral changes required in order for the child or parent to return to the center. The parent/guardian will be given a specific expulsion date that allows the parent sufficient time to seek alternate child care (approximately one to two weeks notice depending on risk to other children’s welfare or safety).Failure of the child/parent to satisfy the terms of the plan may result in permanent expulsion from the center.
A CHILD WILL NOT BE EXPELLED
If a child’s parent(s):
Made a complaint to the Office of Licensing regarding a center’s alleged violations of the licensing requirements.
Reported abuse or neglect occurring at the center.
Questioned the center regarding policies and procedures.
Without giving the parent sufficient time to make other child care arrangements.
PROACTIVE ACTIONS THAT CAN BE TAKEN IN ORDER TO PREVENT EXPULSION
Staff will try to redirect child from negative behavior. Staff will reassess classroom environment, appropriate of activities, supervision. Staff will always use positive methods and language while disciplining children. Staff will praise appropriate behaviors. Staff will consistently apply consequences for rules. Child will be given verbal warnings. Child will be given time to regain control. Child’s disruptive behavior will be documented and maintained in confidentiality. Parent/guardian will be notified verbally. Parent/guardian will be given written copies of the disruptive behaviors that might lead to expulsion. The director, classroom staff and parent/guardian will have a conference(s) to discuss how to promote positive behaviors. The parent will be given literature or other resources regarding methods of improving behavior. Recommendation of evaluation by professional consultation on premises. Recommendation of evaluation by local school district child study team.
Biting is a stage that some children, especially toddlers, go through for various reasons. They may be tired, teething, not feeling well, frustrated because they are not yet able to verbally communicate what they want, they may be jealous or want attention, or their environment may be too chaotic or over stimulating for them. We understand that while biting is a normal developmental stage for some children, it is not acceptable and is very upsetting for all involved.
Our goal is to help identify what is causing the biting and to resolve these issues.
When Biting Does Occur:
The priority is to always keep the children safe and to help a child that bites to learn a different, more appropriate behavior.
For the child that was bitten:
1. First aid and lots of loving care and attention is given to the child that was bitten. The bite is cleaned with soap and water and ice is applied if needed.
2. The Parents are notified.
3. The Incident for Biting Form is filled out documenting the incident and is given to the parent at pick up time.
For the child that bit:
1. The teacher will immediately remove the child from the situation by placing them in the pack and play or at the table, firmly telling them “NO! DO NOT BITE!”
2. The child remains in time out for no longer than the child’s age (one minute per age).
3. After the time out is over the teacher will try to determine why the child bit to help them with learning a more appropriate behavior.
4. The Incident for Biting Form is filled out documenting the incident and given to the parent at pick up time.
When Biting Continues:
1. The child will be shadowed to help prevent any biting incidents.
2. The child will be observed by the classroom staff to determine what is causing the child to bite (teething, communication, frustration, etc.) The administrative staff may also observe the child if the classroom staff is unable to determine the cause.
3. The child will be given positive attention and approval for positive behavior
When Biting Becomes Excessive
When biting still continues to excessively occur, even after the director, staff and parents have worked in cooperation together to resolve the biting issue without success, the director will have the child removed from the Center for a period of time.
Welcome to Agapé!
We hope you and your family
enjoy being a part!