Parent Handbook

The following items are elements from the Parent Handbook and should help you understand all the details needed to help make each day with us the best it can be for your child. These policies allow us to employ consistency and structure first and foremost in your child's day to ensure a minimum of surprises and they help us manage our business expectations with parents. Don't hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

Parent/Staff Communication

We offer our families BrightWheel which is a communication app that allows you to send and receive messages, photos, and info about your child’s day. Our Team tries to keep updates through BrightWheel as “real-time” as possible; however, the care and safety of the children always come first. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to visit The Ark at any time. Parents or teachers may request scheduled conferences at any time throughout the year. It is important that staff be made aware of any unusual situations occurring in the home so we will be better prepared to meet your child’s needs. We ask that these matters be discussed in private.

Arrival/Departure

Please park your car out of the normal flow of traffic in the parking area. Please do not block the entrance to the building. For the safety of the children, please turn engine off and remove keys. Children must be accompanied by a parent and brought into the building. A staff member must be made aware of the child's arrival and departure. We keep a daily roster of attendance and need to know the whereabouts of your child for their safety. Children will only be released to a parent or to persons listed on the registration and emergency contact information form. We request a note in writing when someone other than a parent is picking up the child. This note must accompany your child when they arrive in the morning. For an unforeseen schedule change, we request the parent call The Ark from work and verbally give permission for the alternative person to pick up. Because separation may be a difficult concept for children to understand, it is important that you as a parent plan to spend extra time with your child the first time they attend the Center. It may be helpful for him/her through the separation process. Your child may cry and be upset when you leave, this is common but never leave without saying good­ bye. 

Security System

As an extra safety precaution for your child, each visitor must be identified on the video monitoring system in order to be "buzzed in" to the building. 

Breakfast/Lunch/Snacks

The Ark provides a "child approved" nutritious breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack to each of our children through the CACFP "USDA" food program. The USDA food program does not allow food or drinks from home unless your child has a specific medical need and then a note from your child's doctor is required. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the office.

Meal Schedule:

Breakfast:
Schoolagers:
7:15 - ­7:45
Infant/Toddler:
8:30 - 9:00
Preschool:
9:00 - 9:30 

Lunch:
Infant/Toddler:
11:30 - 12:00
Preschool/Kindergarteners:
12:00 - 12:30

Afternoon Snack:
Infant/Toddler:
2:30 - 2:45
Preschool/Kindergarteners:
2:45 - 3:00
Schoolagers:
3:45 - 4:00 

Clothing and Skin Protection

The Ark Christian Nursery & Learning Center requests that all children be dressed in comfortable clothing appropriate for weather conditions. Please provide an extra set of clothes to keep in your child’s cubby. (Please make sure you include a clean set of underwear and socks.) Accidents do happen and we want to make sure your child is as clean and dry as possible. Please label everything that comes in to the Center with your child’s name. Parents may choose to provide sunscreen and bug repellent. Parents and staff will arrange use of these based on parent's preferences and child's needs. 

Naps and Rest

Rest and quiet time varies per room from 12:00p.m. ­ 3:00p.m. During this time a mat/crib will be provided for each child. We ask that your child bring a sheet and blanket, and if they wish a small stuffed animal for their comfort. These items will be sent home every Friday for cleaning. During rest time, stories will be read and soft music played. Staff will sit quietly in the room. Children in care for more than five hours are provided with the opportunity for at least one hour of rest and relaxation. Children who do not fall asleep after 30 minutes are given the opportunity to do a quiet activity. Children will not be forced to sleep or stay awake. (Per N.H. licensing standards). 

Toys

Toys from home may not be brought to the Center. The Ark believes in a sharing environment, and this will cause conflicts of ownership. There will be a scheduled day in which your child may be asked to bring an item from home to “show and share.” These days will be announced in advance and a notice will be written on the white board outside of your child's room. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for lost or broken personal items brought from home. 

Behavioral Supervision

Supervision practices shall support the child's behavior with positive guidance, redirection, positive role models, as well as setting clear limits which foster the child's ability to be self disciplined. Time­outs shall not be used at The Ark. We prefer redirection. We shall not use any form of corporal punishment per New Hampshire Child Care Program Licensing Rules. Your child will never be left unattended. 

Toilet Learning

Please see the Director to discuss your goals for your child's toilet learning. We recommend beginning toilet learning after a child reaches 2 1/2 years old. We prefer that your child has been working on toileting at home for 2 full weeks before we begin here at The Ark. Your child will have better success if his/her teacher knows and uses the same wording, prompts, etc. that you use at home. Please provide Pull­Ups until such time as you and your child's teacher agree it is time to switch to training pants/underwear. At this time, please provide at least 4 pairs of training pants/underwear and pants each day. Soiled clothing will be placed in a plastic bag and put in your child's cubby to be taken home and washed

Illness

Children who are ill or have a communicable disease should be cared for at home as well as children who have illness­ related diarrhea or are running fevers. We recommend that a child be free of a fever at least 24 hours before returning to the center. Parents will be notified when a child is not feeling well and/or has a fever. At this time, parents may be asked to pick up their child. Arrangements must be made for the child to be picked up as soon as possible after being notified. A school­aged child dismissed by a school nurse for health reasons may not be brought to the Center for care. Children well enough to be in attendance are well enough to participate in all planned activities including outside play. 

Physicals

Each child must have a health form on file as required by State of N.H. The child’s physician must sign this form. It is a record of age appropriate immunizations, allergies, developmental and medical concerns and physical examinations. No child may be admitted without an appropriate record of immunizations. Physicals are required by N.H. licensing standards, to be on file no later than 30 days following entrance into the program and must be renewed ANNUALLY. Parents will be reminded by the center of the required renewal 30 days prior to the expiration date on a current physical. Please notify the center when a child receives immunizations at times other than at their annual physical. 

Medications

We will administer medications that have been prescribed by a physician. We ask that the Medication Authorization Forms to be completed and signed by a physician and parent or legal guardian (per NH Licensing Regulations). For the administration of any over the counter medication, an Authorization Form needs to be completed as well as a written signed prescription by the physician naming the over the counter medicine, dosage and time of administration. No open­ended prescriptions can be accepted (for example: children's Tylenol with no ending date).

All medication must come in the original, labeled container, no expired medication can be given. Prescription medication must have a printed prescription label that contains the child's name, medication, dosage, Physician's name, expiration date and time of administration. Parents must complete and sign an Authorization to Administer Prescription form each time they bring medication to the Center. Medications must be given to a staff member. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THEM WITH YOUR CHILD'S BELONGINGS

Injury

Parents will be notified of all injuries. Parents will be notified at pick­up when a bump or injury is minor. It will be recorded on the Child Care Injury Report. You will be notified by telephone immediately if your child's injury may require medical attention. In case of a serious health/accident emergency, we will call 911. The medical team will make the decision to transport the child to the appropriate medical facility. The parent will immediately be notified of the nature of the emergency and be advised to meet the child at the designated medical facility. A staff member certified in pediatric first aid and CPR is always in attendance. 

Staff Requirements

The staff shall meet the qualifications for their position as outlined in the Employee Handbook and as mandated by the State of New Hampshire's Child Care Program Licensing Rules. All new staff members shall be placed on a 90 day probation period and will be permanently hired if this probation is positive. All staff members must pass a criminal background check and be fingerprinted with the State of New Hampshire. 

Payment Policies

Hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Our Learning Center closes promptly at 5:30 p.m. Parents who are late will be charged $1 per minute after 5:30 p.m. Full Payment is due in advance on Friday preceding each week. The Ark offers several convenient payment methods. The Ark uses BrightWheel’s AutoPay system which allows families to pay their weekly invoices automatically using ACH or any major credit card. Cash and check payments can be made in the office prior to the due date of your invoice. Any remaining balance will be automatically charged through your BrightWheel payment methods. Parents are charged according to their contracted hours regardless of the child's attendance. 

Returned Checks/Late Payments

Checks returned by the bank as unpayable will result in a fee of $25 per check. Any failed BrightWheel invoices will be subject to a late fee.

Tax Information

Tax credit: As a courtesy, each enrolled family in good standing will receive a receipt prior to January 31st, for childcare services for the previous year.

Birthdays

Birthdays are exciting and important to each child. We ask that if you wish to bring a cake or special snack that you first speak to your child’s teacher/Director and find out about special diets. Parents are invited to join their child on their special day. The Ark will recognize each child's special day. 

Inclement Weather

We will make every effort to keep our Learning Center open. Unfortunately due to power outages we may be forced to close. If there is a delay or closing of the Center, we will have it broadcasted on WMUR­TV News 9. Parents will not be charged for the day in the event of a non­ opening. 

Holidays

The Ark WILL BE CLOSED in observance of the following national Holidays:

LABOR DAY
THANKSGIVING
DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING
CHRISTMAS
NEW YEAR'S DAY
MEMORIAL DAY
INDEPENDENCE DAY

If you have contracted for childcare or preschool, you will be billed for all National Holidays that we are closed, which fall within the preschool or childcare term session. (i.e. If your child would normally be here on a day that a holiday falls on then you will be billed.) You are responsible for payments for any day that is your child's scheduled day. We cannot substitute days if your child misses a regularly scheduled day.

Holiday Lessons

Holidays are an important part of The Ark’s curriculum. Each Holiday will be observed through a lesson. Through the lesson, the children will learn the history and meaning of the holiday. Every Thanksgiving our children enjoy a sit down, family style "Thanksgiving Dinner" which they have helped to prepare. At The Ark, Christmas is a special holiday, celebrated with gift exchanges and an exciting Christmas party!