Policies and Procedures


Hours of Operations

Early Learning Programs — 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, 12 months  year
Before School Programs — 7:00 am to morning bell, school year (10 months a year)
After School Programs — dismissal to 6:30 pm, 2 months a year

School Age Half Days and Full Days

Wonders operates on days when school is closed for certain holidays and all teacher meetings. On full days, the extended day program begins at 7:00 am and ends at 6:30 pm for all school age programs. On half days, the extended day program begins at school dismissal and ends at 6:30 pm.

Tuition

Tuition is due the first of each month. Payment may be made by signing up for the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or by check or money order. Mail checks to the business office—5272 River Road, Suite 503, Bethesda, MD 20816—or place in the tuition box at your program site. A late fee of $50 is assessed against all account balances after the 10th of the month.

Enrollment Forms

All required forms must be completed and returned to the Program Director prior to your child’s first day of attendance.

Daily Arrival and Dismissal

Your child must be escorted into the program in the morning and from the program at the end of the day by an adult who is listed on your dismissal authorization form. If alternative arrangements have been made, the staff must be informed in person, in writing or by phone. All individuals listed on the dismissal authorization form and those who are occasionally authorized to pick up your child must be at least 16 years of age. Wonders staff will check the identification of anyone they have not previously met.

Wonders reserves the right to refuse releasing the child to anyone who appears to be impaired by or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the event that the person responsible for your child’s arrival or departure appears to be impaired, our staff members will contact those listed as emergency contacts to make alternative arrangements. If the individual becomes agitated or aggressive, our staff will contact the police for assistance. If a family has child custody arrangements, a copy of the Custody Information form must be in your child’s file. If there are specific restrictions mandated by a court order, we must have a copy of the order on file in order to adhere to its requirements. In all other circumstances, we will release your child to either parent.


Drop-In Policy

There are two types of drop-in options: a) a school age child who is enrolled as drop-in only; and b) a school age or early childhood child who regularly attends a program on a part-time basis and needs an occasional extra day of care. Drop-ins for children who are currently enrolled will be assessed a daily fee, to be added to your monthly invoice. Families whose children who are enrolled as drop-ins only, must participate in the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for fee payment. All drop-ins must be scheduled in advance with the Program Director.

Late Pick Up Policy

There is a fee if you arrive to pick up your child after closing. You must sign a Late Pick Up form upon arrival. Thirty dollars is assessed for the first fifteen minutes (or any portion of the 15 minutes), and an additional $30 for each 15 minute interval or portion thereafter.

Disclosure Policy

All child and family information is kept confidential by Wonders staff, information is shared with:
administrators or teaching staff who have consent from a parent of legal guardian for the access to records; child’s parents or legal guardian; and regulatory authorities on request.

Changes in Enrollment

Between August 1 and October 1, changes in enrollment will not be accepted. On October 1, written requests can be submitted to the Program Director. Requests are honored in the order of receipt. All changes in enrollment are subject to availability and the discretion of the Program Director. For more information, see Enrollment Guidelines

Weather Guidelines

Outdoor play is essential to children’s health and well being. Children need to run, climb and play outdoors. The time children in play each day is just as important to their learning as the time they spend in the classrooms. For teachers, the outdoors offers many ways to enrich the curriculum and support children’s learning and development.

At Wonders, the children play and learn outside each day, weather permitting. We utilize weather guidelines to ensure that we have limited outdoor play during extreme weather. Flexibility is built into the schedule to extend outdoor play on fair weather days.

The following guidelines have been established for healthy outdoor play:

Cold Weather
Temperature/wind chills of 30°F or higher: regular outdoor play times are followed
Temperature/wind chills between 15-30°F: 15 to 20 minutes maximum outdoor play time
Temperature/wind chills of 15°F or below: no outdoor play time

It is important that children have winter coats, scarves, hats and gloves each day during the winter season. When there is snow is on the ground, we will put provided snow clothes on children, such as snow pants, and boots.

Hot Weather
Temperatures/Heat Index of 96° or higher and/or Code Red Air Quality:

  • Outdoor activities will be limited to 15 minutes at a time. The total amount of outdoor time for the day will not exceed one hour.
  • For outdoor field trips or field trips requiring a bus ride of more than 45 minutes one way if the bus lacks air-conditioning will be substituted with an indoor trip with a shorter bus ride.
  • Swimming outdoors is limited to one hour.
  • Medication provided by families of children who have asthma or other diagnosed illnesses will be taken on any trips.
  • Cold water will be available.

Nutrition

We provide a healthy snack at each of our programs. The snacks offered at JAS are Kosher. In addition ot a snack, prepared lunch is provided at Edgemoor and Leland Children’s Center.  We follow state guidelines for the food and intentionally offer familiar as well as unfamiliar foods to encourage a wide range of healthy eating habits.

Our staff members create a relaxed environment for eating—teachers sit with the children, engage in conversation, promote self-help skills, model respectful interactions and encourage community-building. We let children eat as little or as much of the food that is presented to them. We do not force children to eat certain foods nor certain amounts of food. Children will eat more on some days than on others. This is to be expected during their development. School age children must bring lunch during full date programs. We encourage you to provide balanced and healthful food items for lunch. Please do not send more than one sweet snack. We do not permit candy, gum or soda in lunches—these will be sent home with your child.

Allergies

We work with families to be responsive to food allergies. If your child has a food allergy, please notify your Program Director. Edgemoor Children’s Center is a peanut free center due to the presence of infants and toddlers in the program.

Clothing

Children should wear sneakers or rubber soled shoes to prevent injury during outdoor play.

Please remove any cords or strings from jackets, sweatshirts and other outerwear as it may become entangled in playground equipment. Please do not dress your child in personalized clothing or other identifying accessories, to prevent identification by strangers.

Please dress your child in weather-appropriate clothing at all times. We go outside in a variety of weather conditions. Children in early learning programs must have a change of weather-appropriate clothing labeled with your child’s name kept in the classroom. Please include two pairs of underwear, socks, shirts and long or short pants.

Personal Care Items

Diapers and wipes for infants and toddlers are supplied by the parents or guardians.


Fire Drills

Evacuation fire drills are practiced every month. The drills take place at varying times of the day. Records of the drills are maintained at each site.

Emergency Contingency Plans

A copy of the emergency plan for each center is posted at each site and is distributed to the families at the beginning of each school year.

Use of Family Mailboxes and Program Directories

There are mailboxes for each family at our Early Childhood Centers. These are used for the delivery of Wonders materials such as newsletters, fliers and invoices. We send weekly email newsletters to every parent. Please be sure your program director has your current email address. Families may use these mailboxes to deliver invitations to birthday celebrations or other events, only if the entire class is being invited. If you are not inviting the whole group, we ask that you mail the invitations to homes.

We distribute program directories in our Early Childhood Programs. This is done as a courtesy to our families and they should be used for internal purposes only.


Field Trips

Venturing out of the classroom fosters children’s connectedness within the community and offers opportunities to try new experiences. You will be notified of an impending field trip at least two weeks before the trip. The departure time, destination and chaperone sign-up will also be posted. On field trip days, we request that your child arrive at least 15 minutes prior to our departure time. If your child arrives after the group has departed, you will need to take your child to the trip destination or make other arrangements.

Your signature on the permission authorization form indicates your consent for your child to participate in all field trips.

A higher adult to child ratio will increase the safety and success of our field trips, therefore, we follow strict adult to child ratios. We count on available parent volunteers for our early childhood trips. If we do not have enough parent volunteers, trips will be cancelled.

Family Events

Throughout the year, you will be invited to participate in several family events. These events allow us to share in celebration, learn from one another and build community. We encourage you to join us at the start of the school year for an orientation meeting at which time you will learn about your child’s day and center procedures. We will also have pot luck dinners, family game nights and parent education seminars. Information about these events will be distributed prior to each event.

Birthday Celebrations

The Early Childhood Programs welcome the opportunity to celebrate your child’s birthday with you. The simple celebration is observed with a low key special snack. Families should provide enough of a healthy snack for all children in the class. NAEYC guidelines state that foods that come from home, for sharing among children, must be either whole fruits or commercially prepared packaged foods in factory-sealed containers. We ask that you coordinate this with your child’s teachers so that adjustments can be made to our snack schedule.


Health Guidelines

The following guidelines have been developed with our consulting physician and comply with DC and Maryland licensing requirements. It is our goal to curtail illness and promote healthy environments in our centers. All children are required to wash their hands upon entering the center each day.

The following require a child to leave the center:

  • A fever of 100.4°F or more
  • Persistent crying
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhea more than twice
  • Mucus or pus draining from eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent wheezing or coughing
  • Lethargy that interferes with regular classroom activities

Children who become ill while at the center will be removed from classroom activities to rest until a parent or designee arrives. When notified, parents/guardians are expected to come promptly to pick up the child. If the parents/guardians cannot be reached, we will contact the emergency contacts listed on the emergency card.

  • Children must remain at home for 24 hours after a fever has broken.
  • Children must remain at home for 24 hours after vomiting has subsided, unless clearance has been given by a health care provider.

These communicable illnesses require a child to leave the center and stay at home until the illness is no longer contagious:

  • Strep throat
  • Chicken pox
  • Viral diseases (including colds)
  • Flu
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Pinworms
  • Head lice

Written clearance from a health care provider indicating that the child is no longer contagious is required prior to the child’s return to the classroom. All absences should be communicated to the center by 8:00 am. Please notify us if the illness is contagious, so we can alert families to be vigilant for signs of illness. We welcome children back to the center when they are ready to join us in all our activities, including outdoor play. If children are too ill to participate in outdoor play, they should remain at home.

Medical Emergencies

In the event of a medical emergency which requires immediate treatment the following procedures will be followed:

  • Families will be notified and, concurrently, the staff will contact emergency personnel.
  • The responding emergency team will determine whether hospitalization is necessary.
  • If a hospital visit is required, the child will be transported to the closest hospital by ambulance and will be accompanied by a staff member.
  • If injury occurs while the class is participating in an off campus field trip, the injured child will be transported to the closest hospital with a staff member.
  • In the event the injury does not require an ambulance, but does require a hospital visit, you will be contacted and may elect to have the Program Director or other staff member transport your child to the hospital where you can join them.
  • In the event the parents are not available, Wonders will notify the emergency contacts listed on the emergency cards.

Medication

Medication (including over the counter drugs) will not be administered without a completed and signed Wonders Medication Order Form. If a form is not available, the health care provider may use stationery or a prescription pad to make the request, which must include the following: 1) name and dosage of the medication, 2) duration and specific instructions for administration, 3) possible side effects and 4) provider’s signature. Medication must be provided to the classroom teacher or program director in the original container in which the medicine was dispensed, including pharmacy label. Never place medicine in a lunch box or back pack. Over the counter drugs ordered by the health care provider must be marked with the child’s name.

Behavior Management

Behavior management is about a positive, constructive and cooperative effort by teachers, families and the child. This approach to a resolution is about teaching through experiences and modeling of appropriate behavior, rather than punishment.

We recognize that children will learn to manage their own behavior on their own developmental levels. By encouraging positive behavior, setting examples and helping children express and understand their feelings, we can guide them in their development of appropriate social behavior.

The Wonders staff members set clear boundaries and explain classroom expectations. Once these guidelines have been established, they remain consistent.

When children need behavioral guidance, staff members help the children articulate a description of the situation, their feelings and possible alternative solutions to the problem. They follow up by guiding the children plan for how they will manage future situations and will also remind them of their plan when and if the need arises.

The aim is, to help the children recognize their power to solve their problems and nurture the skills they will need to do so.

We rely on guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of the children at Wonders and the effective functioning of our programs. The following factors will result in suspension of enrollment:

  • The child engages in physical aggression and/or violence
  • The child engages in verbal harassment of peers or staff
  • The child brings an object or substance to the program which is harmful or dangerous
  • The child leaves the grounds of the program without authorization
  • The family account is in arrears more than one month.

The continuation of enrollment will be contingent upon an action plan developed by Wonders and agreed to by the parent or guardian. Termination of enrollment is the final option only after all possible alternatives have been explored. Wonders reserves the right to terminate enrollment at the discretion of the Program Director, Program Coordinator and/or the Executive Director based on the following factors:

  • We are unable to meet your expectations due to a mismatch in established philosophy or practice
  • The child engages in physical aggression and/or violence
  • The child engages in verbal harassment of peers or staff
  • The child brings an object or substance to the program which is harmful or dangerous
  • The child leaves the grounds of the program without authorization
  • The parent or guardian engages in verbal harassment of children, staff or others in the program
  • The parent or guardian is late in picking up the child more than three times in a 30 day period
  • The parent or guardian brings an ill child to the center more than two times in any 30 day period
  • The parent or guardian fails to promptly pick up an ill child from the center more than two times in any 30 day period
  • The family account is in arrears more than two months
  • The parent or guardian fails to abide by the terms of the Enrollment Agreement, Handy Family Handbook, supporting documents or subsequently issued written policies.

Reporting Suspected Cases of Child Abuse and/or Neglect

All child care providers are required by law to report any suspected cases of physical, mental or sexual abuse and neglect to the Office of Child Protective Services. Once a report is made, staff members are expected to cooperate with any investigation undertaken by Child Protective Services or the police.

 


GIVE FEEDBACK

We want to hear from you

In our ongoing effort to be responsive and collaborative with families, we will ask you to complete a Program Evaluation each program year. Your feedback informs our work and helps in long- and short-term goal planning for program improvement. Of course, we welcome your input at any time of year, you’ll find that all of our staff will be receptive.