The Learning Tree:

Preschool and Parents’ Morning Out
A Mission of O’Fallon First United Methodist Church

 

 

Program Policy

 

 

Administration of Medication

Any students requiring prescription or non-prescription medication for an ongoing medical condition (e.g., an inhaler or Epi-pen) must obtain, complete, and submit a Medication Authorization Form, including instructions from a medical doctor and parental consent.   Any student requiring on-going special medical attention must submit a care plan signed by his/her doctor.

 

Birthdate Cutoffs

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  Children six weeks through five years old are eligible to attend.  Once a child begins Kindergarten or turns six years old, he/she may no longer attend.  Parents must register in the classroom for which the child will be age-appropriate on the date of attendance.  The age breakdowns are as follows:

    • Sprouts: Six weeks – 17 months

    • Seedlings:  18 – 29 months

    • Saplings:  30 months – preschool (Summer: 30 – 47 months)

    • Blossoms (summer only):  48 months – preschool.

  • Preschool: To enroll in Preschool, a student must turn three by September 1 of the school year, and to enroll in Pre-K, a student must turn four by September 1 of the school year.  If a child turns three before December 31 and space is available in a preschool class, he/she may enroll upon turning three. 

  • Play Café:  Play Café is open to children through the age of 5.  Older children may attend with an adult but may not use toys, gym equipment, or the bounce house, as they are not age appropriate.  During summer months, additional activities may be provided for elementary-aged children.

 

Biting

If a child bites another child or staff member, the parents of both children will be informed while maintaining confidentiality of each student’s identity. Learning Tree staff will document the biting incident. Parents of the biter will verify in writing that they received the biting incident report.  A child who bites three times in one school year may not continue enrollment but is eligible to re-apply after three months.  If there is a waiting list, this student’s space in the classroom will not be held, but he/she may restart attendance if a space is still available.  If the child’s spot has been filled, he/she will be placed at the top of the waitlist. If a child is reenrolled after removal for biting and has another biting incident, he/she will be disenrolled for the remainder of the school year.

Child Abuse

According to Illinois law, a staff member who has reasonable cause to suspect that a student may be an abused or neglected child shall report such a case to the Department of Children and Family Services. 

 

Discipline

The purpose of discipline is to help a child develop self-control and problem-solving techniques.

The following techniques, outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, will be used by Learning Tree staff:

  1. Guide children by setting clear, consistent, and fair limits for classroom behavior.

  2. Value mistakes as learning opportunities.

  3. Redirect children to more acceptable behavior.

  4. Listen when children talk about their feelings and frustrations.

  5. Guide children to resolve conflicts and model skills that help children solve their own problems.

  6. Patiently remind children of the rules and their rationale.

Physical punishment, corporal punishment, emotional deprivation, threatening to deny any basic need (such as food, drink or toileting), is prohibited at the Learning Tree. Supervised “Time Outs” are used for one minute/age of the child. After the time is expired, Learning Tree staff will explain to the child why the time out occurred and what correct behavior is expected.

 

If a child is aggressive toward another student (pushing, hitting, shoving, spitting, etc.), the aggressor will receive an immediate time out. Parents of the aggressor and the victim will be informed.  Depending upon severity/frequency of aggression, a child may be suspended from school for a period of time to be determined by the Director.

 

The Learning Tree staff strives to work with families of children who are having difficulties in adjusting to the classroom social environment. Behavior of children which disrupts the classroom activities on a frequent or extended basis may indicate physical or emotional problems requiring the attention of a professional specialist. In this instance, the Learning Tree will follow this procedure:

  1. The Learning Tree Director may consult outside early childhood specialists for suggested strategies/interventions/observations.

  2. Teacher/Learning Tree Director and parents will conference. Issues and possible solutions will be discussed. An action plan will be developed and agreed upon by the parents and staff.

  3. If the plan is successful, the student may continue to be enrolled. If the plan is unsuccessful, another parent/ staff conference will be held where the current plan will be discussed and another action plan will be developed.

  4. If the teacher and Director feel adequate progress is not made toward solving the problematic behavior, the Director will inform the Learning Tree Board of the issues and status.  The Board will determine whether the child may continue enrollment.

  5. The Learning Tree may assist parents in accessing alternate placement or services.

  6. If a child is disenrolled from the Learning Tree, he/she may be considered for reenrollment the following school year. 
     

Dual Enrollment

Should a student qualify for early intervention services at the public school, he/she may dual enroll at the Learning Tree so long as his/her needs are within the abilities of the Learning Tree staff.  This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

 

Evaluation

The Learning Tree works in conjunction with O’Fallon District 90 to evaluate students who qualify for early intervention services. Should a child’s teacher feel that an evaluation may be important in meeting your child’s needs, parents may be asked to schedule a meeting at one of District 90’s pre-K screenings or a screening may occur during the day at the Learning Tree if necessary. Results of the evaluation will help determine the best placement of the student to meet his or her needs. 

 

Parents shall inform the Learning Tree if a student has received a preschool screening and been identified to receive special services.  Parents shall divulge the results of this screening to the Learning Tree.

 

Field Trips

The Learning Tree does not transport students on field trips.  Parents must arrange transportation and supervision for their child.  Parents/family members who drive students other than their own child for field trips shall obtain a transportation agreement from the Learning Tree Administrative Assistant, have it signed by a parent/guardian of the child being transported, and return it to the Learning Tree along with a copy of their car insurance prior to the field trip.

 

Food 

The Learning Tree is a “Nut Free” program.  No nuts or products containing nuts may be brought into nursery or preschool classrooms or the OFFUMC gym.  Parents must notify the Learning Tree in writing of any allergies or special dietary requirements.

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  All outside food is prohibited in the Seedlings and Saplings classrooms except with prior Director approval.  Baby food, bottles, formula, and infant snacks must be provided from home and labeled with a child’s name in the Sprouts classroom.  A refrigerator is available if needed.  All other food/lunches/snacks will be provided by The Learning Tree.

  • Preschool:  Lunches must be brought from home and must comply with the nut free policy.  Donations of perishable items such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, and yogurt will be requested for snack.  The Learning Tree will provide a dry snack such as pretzels or crackers daily.  Special birthday snacks must be coordinated in advance with a student’s teacher and must comply with the school’s nut free policy.

  • Play Café:  Outside snacks are permitted but must comply with the nut free policy and must be consumed in the designated area.

 

Illness and Injury

Keeping children safe includes protecting them from illness.  A child may not attend if he/she:

  • Has had a fever above 100.5 within the past 24 hours

  • Has vomited within the past 24 hours

  • Has had diarrhea within the past 24 hours

  • Has untreated pink eye

  • Has head lice

  • Has strep throat

Parents shall report cases of communicable diseases (such as measles, chicken pox, mumps, head lice, etc.) within their household to the Director immediately.  If a student becomes ill or injured during the school day (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.), parents will be contacted and must arrange pick-up of their child immediately.  Two current emergency contact numbers must be on file with the Learning Tree at all times.  If no one listed on the emergency contact form can be contacted, the decision regarding care will be made in the best interest of the child.

 

Immunizations

Up-to-date immunizations are required for a child to participate in Learning Tree programming unless he/she obtains a religious or medical exemption.  These exemptions, permitted in the State of IL, must be signed by the proper entities and approved by the Director prior to a child’s attendance.  In case of an outbreak of illness in the local area, The Learning Tree reserves the authority to deny attendance to an unvaccinated child. 

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  Parents’ Morning Out attendees must provide written confirmation that a child’s vaccinations are current and must provide documentation of such if requested to do so. 

  • Preschool:  Students shall provide an up-to-date immunization report within the first 30 days of school.  Failure to provide proper documentation will result in dismissal from the program.  Learning Tree dismissal fees shall apply.

 

Parent Communication

The Learning Tree will communicate with parents through a variety of media, such as email, phone calls, notes sent home, newsletter, Facebook posts, and website updates.  We recommend following our programs on Facebook for time sensitive updates such as weather cancellations.  The Facebook addresses are www.facebook.com/parentsmorningout and www.facebook.com/offumcpreschool.  Parents will be informed of school lockdowns, outbreaks of illness, and cases of head lice, etc.

 

Parent Concerns 

Should a parent/guardian have concerns about their student which they feel are not being resolved through collaboration/cooperation with the child’s teacher, concerns may be brought to The Learning Tree Director, and then subsequently to The Learning Tree Board.  Concerns directed to The Learning Tree Board should be submitted in writing to The Learning Tree Board Chairperson at 504 E. Hwy 50, O’Fallon, IL 62269.

 

Payment & Fees

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  Fee schedules will be published annually at the beginning of the school year. Payment must be made at the time of a child’s drop-off.  No advance payment accepted.  Check, credit card, and cash are accepted.  Please make checks payable to O’Fallon First UMC with PMO and child’s name marked in the memo line.  A “No Show” fee will be charged per child for each session missed without notification.  If a child is not picked up from PMO within 5 minutes of dismissal time, a "Late Pick-Up Fee" will be charged.  Consistently late pick-ups will result in dismissal from the program.  Any “no show” fees or “late pick-up” fees must be paid in full at the next attendance.  Financial assistance may be available upon request.

  • Preschool: Tuition is due on the first attendance day of each month.  A late fee will be charged each attendance day after the 5th of the month that fees remain unpaid.  If tuition is not paid by the end of the month, the student will not be permitted to return to class the following month.  To have tuition directly withdrawn from a bank account, please acquire and submit an ACH form to the Director or Administrative Assistant.  If a child won’t be finishing the entirety of the school year at The Learning Tree, notice should be given at least 30 days in advance or as soon as practicable.  Two months’ tuition is due past his/her final date of attendance.  This fee may be waived for military families receiving orders.  If a child is disenrolled by the Learning Tree for any reason, two month’s tuition is due past his/her final date of attendance. To request tuition assistance, or need to establish a payment plan, please contact the Director.

  • Play Café:  Payment must be made with cash or check at the time of a child’s attendance.

 

Pets

Before an animal is allowed into the Learning Tree, veterinarian shot records must be provided and the Director must give prior approval.  Student records will be consulted to verify any possible allergies within the classroom.

 

Pick-Up

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  At arrival, each child will receive a numbered nametag and a coordinating pick-up label.  This label (or a picture of the label) must be presented to the child’s teacher at pick-up.  Staff will verify that the numbers match before releasing a child.  Children must be picked up promptly at 12:00 PM (1:00 Lunch Bunch; 2:00 Extended Lunch Bunch).   If a child is not picked up by 12:05 (1:05/2:05), additional charges will be applied at the rate of $1 per minute.  Consistently late pick-ups will result in removal from the program.  O’Fallon Police Department will be contacted regarding any child not picked up within 30 minutes following dismissal.

  • Preschool:  Children must be picked up promptly at 12:15 PM (1:15 Wed Lunch; 2:15 Tues/Thurs Lunch).   If a child is not picked up by 12:20 (1:20/2:20), additional charges will be applied at the rate of $1 per minute. O’Fallon Police Department will be contacted regarding any child not picked up within 30 minutes following dismissal. Consistently late pick-ups will result in removal from the program.  Disenrollment charges will apply.

 

Playground

The Learning Tree will utilize the church playground as much as possible whenever weather permits.  Students will not play outside if the “real feel” temperature is below 9 degrees or above 98 degrees.  Playtime may be reduced if the “real feel” temperature is below 30 degrees or above 90 degrees.  If parents desire their child to wear sunscreen outside, it must be applied before drop-off.  Parents must also dress their child in weather-appropriate clothing, including, but not limited to, coats, jackets, hats, and gloves.  Close-toed shoes are required on the playground.  Any child without appropriate clothing may not visit the playground with his/her class.

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  Sprouts and Seedlings classes do not visit the playground.   Saplings and Blossoms classes will spend 30 minutes on the playground each day, with additional outside time after lunch if the schedule permits.

  • Preschool:  Classes will visit the playground for 30 minutes each day, with additional outside time after lunch if the schedule permits.

Potty-Training 

  • Parents’ Morning Out:  Parents’ Morning Out accepts students who are not yet potty-trained.  Teachers will provide frequent reminders and encouragement to assist children in their development.  A child who is not consistently potty-trained must wear a pull-up or diaper. 

  • Preschool: Students must be completely potty-trained before they begin attendance.  Diapers and pull-ups are not permitted.  Newly potty-trained children often experience accidents; however, if a child consistently struggles with accidents (more than three accidents in a one-month timeframe), he/she will not be eligible to attend preschool until potty-training is complete.  Disenrollment fees will apply.  If there is a waiting list, this student’s space in the classroom will not be held, but he/she may restart attendance if a space is still available when potty-training is achieved.  If the child’s spot has been filled, he/she will be placed at the top of the waitlist.

 

Safety  

Child safety is a primary concern of The Learning Tree staff.  Staff will participate in yearly emergency preparedness training to review and practice procedures in case of intruder, fire, tornado, earthquake, and disease prevention.  Safety drills will be conducted annually with students and staff. 

 

The Learning Tree will be placed on lockdown if a safety threat is identified by the O’Fallon Police Department.  In such an instance, children will not go outside the building for recess, and all outside entrances will remain locked.  No entrance to or exit from the building will be allowed.  Should a lockdown occur at dismissal time, dismissal will be delayed, and children will be kept in the building until the lockdown is lifted.  Learning Tree staff will notify families of the lockdown via Facebook and/or email as soon as practicable once student safety is secured.


Special Services

The Learning Tree staff may make adaptations and modifications to help each child be a successful learner. However, at times there may be cases which would indicate another placement would better suit a child. In these instances, assistance from outside specialists may be needed to help us develop teaching/learning strategies to promote success. For those students for whom an alternative setting would be more beneficial, Learning Tree staff will work closely with parents to access that placement. In making these decisions, the Learning Tree will follow this procedure:

  1. Teacher observes and documents concerns about a student

  2. Teacher communicates with family about concerns

  3. Teacher/family/Learning Tree Director conference

  4. Director contacts outside resource

  5. Director communicates with teacher and family, and a plan for success is developed,

  6. If the teacher/Director determine adequate progress has not been accomplished, the director will  inform the Learning Tree Board of the plan, issues, and status. The Board will determine if continued enrollment is possible.

 

Student Aides

Parents of students in need of one-on-one aides must notify the Learning Tree Staff upon enrollment. Should it be a necessity for the student’s success and if the Learning Tree Director feels the program is able to accommodate the student’s needs, an aide may be allowed. The student’s aide shall be hired by the Learning Tree and paid for by the family.

 

Student Therapies During the School Day

Outside therapies (examples include, but are not limited to, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.) should occur outside of the Learning Tree programming. In some situations, these therapies need to be integrated into an educational setting and therefore may occur during the school day. The family will communicate with the Learning Tree Director/Administrative Assistant to schedule these services.

 

Visitor and Volunteer Policy

As a ministry of First United Methodist Church, the Learning Tree values the covenant relationship with the Church, and shared space environment. Additionally, we respect the need to have a safe and secure environment for students. Outside doors are locked throughout the day, and access to the building is controlled. The interior doors to the Preschool classes and PMO classrooms are also locked.

 

Due to the activities of the Church, there will be individuals and groups in the building who are not connected to the Learning Tree. Learning Tree staff will maintain continual supervision of the students. Visitors will not have free access to students.

 

In the monthly intergenerational activity, “Prime Timers,” the staff will be actively engaged with students and guests. Parents/guests who attend class parties, special events, and field trips will be supervised by Learning Tree staff. At NO time will a class or individual student be left unsupervised.

 

Volunteers who work with the children will be under the direct supervision of a Learning Tree staff member. Volunteers will sign in/out with the Learning Tree Administrative Assistant.  Frequent volunteers must pass a background check. The Learning Tree Administrative Assistant will maintain a log of volunteers, including their name/date/and student(s) with whom they worked.

 

Weather Cancellations

The Learning Tree follows O’Fallon District 90’s policies for weather cancellations.  If District 90 closes, The Learning Tree is closed as well.  Follow the Facebook pages for updates.  District 90 weather policies can be found at www.of90.net/domain/209.

618-589-9040  /   offumckids@gmail.com   /  504 E. Hwy 50; O'Fallon, IL 62269