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Prospective Families
 

What is a primary caregiver?

At the Center for Children, a primary caregiving system is used to assign a primary caregiver to a group of children in each classroom. A classroom may have one primary group or two primary groups depending on enrollment and transitions. If your child is enrolled with a schedule, then he or she will have their own primary caregiver. Having a primary caregiver ensures that each child has a special person who becomes your go-to person. During small group experiences your child will spend the most time with their primary, your child’s primary will ensure that you receive ongoing communication, will complete developmental observations throughout the week, and will be available to meet with you for conferences when the time comes. 

Because drop in children are usually dependent on space for care, we do not assign them primary caregivers. While we do make an effort to provide consistent care for drop in children it is not always possible to put them with the same primary or even the same classroom on every visit. 

How can we schedule a tour?

Call the Center at (859) 495-2831 or email centerforchildren@ymcacky.org. The days and times for tours vary due to staffing and classroom schedules. However, we will do our best to work around your schedule.

Do you offer part-time schedules?

Part time schedules for children Infants-K Prep are available only to the employees of Lexmark.  Preschool and Kindergarten Prep part-time schedules are either M,W,F or T,TH. Infants, Toddlers and Twos are a set schedule of two, three or four days. Part-time schedules are dependent on availability in the classroom and may need to be adjusted when transitioning to a new classroom. 

What is the tuition?

The Center has two tuition plans, Lexmark which includes the children and grandchildren of current Lexmark employees and retirees, and community rates.

How can I enroll?

Complete a Registration Form and submit the per family registration fee. Once the form and fee are received a member of the Center Leadership team will contact you to gather more information and discuss availability of care. If a program is full your child will be placed on a waitlist according to the date your registration form was received and your priority status. Lexmark employees and siblings receive priority registration. If you are not looking for care to start immediately you will be added to the futures list.  This is common for unborn or newly born infants or for older children looking to enroll when they turn a certain age or at a specific time of the year. Enrollment is not guaranteed and is still dependent on available space.

What are your teachers’ qualifications?

The Primary Teachers have a Child Development Associate credential (CDA), Associates degree or Bachelor’s degree. In some instances, exceptions are made based on the teacher’s experience, skills and education and continued enrollment in a higher education program.  Support Teachers are 18 years of age, have at least one year of experience working with young children or are enrolled in a higher education program. Support teachers may also have a CDA or be working towards an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.  All teachers participate in continuing education courses each year.

What is Creative Curriculum?

The Center for Children uses an emergent approach to curriculum. This means that teachers do not follow a pre-determined set of plans in which each classroom is always doing the same thing. Rather, teachers observe what children are doing, how they are playing, and what they are talking about in order to create weekly lesson plans that best reflect the children’s current skills, interests, and needs. 

However, while the topic and tone of lesson plans is determined by the children, teachers actively seek to ensure that experiences are appropriate for the age group and work to develop the whole child. To do this, we use Creative Curriculum. Creative Curriculum, in concert with Teaching Strategies GOLD, is a comprehensive, research-based curriculum resource. This tool provides teachers with what they need to be their most effective, while honoring their creativity and respecting their knowledge of each of the children in their care. 

What is Teaching Strategies GOLD?

Teaching Strategies GOLD (TSG) is an observation-based, online tool that teachers use to complete developmental assessments. In observing children throughout the course of their time at the Center, with this tool, teachers can then link what they see with developmental objectives that give us insight into how children are progressing in their development. This knowledge is then used to inform conferences and set goals for each child so that we can tailor our curriculum for both their strengths and areas of growth. In addition to conferences, developmental information is also shared with families through the Tadpoles application. 

What is Tadpoles?

In order to provide our families with consistent, ongoing information about what children are doing each day and the care being provided to them, the Center uses the Tadpoles program. Teachers can use an app on their classroom iPads to input information throughout the day regarding meals, diapering, naps, and activities. It even links with our Teaching Strategies GOLD system to share developmental observations. Families can then access this information either through an app on their smart phone or in emails and each family can customize the notifications they receive through the program. Pictures of the children and video of classroom activities are also shared with families. 

How does drop in care work?

Families who have children enrolled at the Center as drop ins are not in regular attendance in the program, but they can utilize the Center on a day-by-day basis. There must be space available on the requested day and space is not guaranteed. Families can call the Center to check for space on the day of care needed, or can schedule in advance. However, we cannot confirm drop in days more than two weeks ahead. There is a per child, daily rate for drop in care. The daily rate is dependent on type of enrollment, Lexmark or community and the age of the child.

Enrolling Families

 

What should I bring on my child’s first day?

For toddlers through kindergarten prep, you will want to bring a set or two of extra, weather-appropriate clothing. It is also recommended that you bring an extra pair of underwear, shoes, and socks, particularly if your child is potty-training. All children need to have a blanket for nap time and can also bring a soft comfort item for naptime and/or pillow. All nap items should be small enough to easily store in your child’s cubby. If your child is still in diapers or potty-training, you will also need to bring diapers and wipes. Diaper cream can also be brought along with the appropriate form. 

Infants will also need extra sets of weather-appropriate clothing, as well as diapers, wipes, and cream. In addition to bottles that are brought in daily, you can also bring along jar food to supplement your child’s diet as they begin to eat more solid foods. We do not use blankets in cribs in the infant rooms, however, you can bring a swaddler or sleep sack for your child. You are also free to bring a pacifier if your child uses one.

How do I label my child’s bottles?

To help us ensure that your child always receives the right bottle, we utilize a color-coding system. At your intake, you will receive a role of colored tape that is just for your child. The tape is dishwasher safe and can be used multiple times so we recommend wrapping the tape around the bottle entirely. Then, you can write your child’s first and last name and then add the date in smaller letters. Once the date is done, mark it out and add the next so that you don’t have to keep applying tape. For the lid, you can either add a piece of tape or write your child’s name – this is just to help teachers know which lid goes with which bottle as many children use similar bottles. For further details, review this Infant Bottle Guidelines resource. 

What are your hours of operation?

The Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. The outer set of doors will automatically lock and unlock at these times. 

What kind of food do you serve?

Our chef prepares healthy, fresh meals and snacks daily.  She focuses on seasonal farm to table items and builds the menu around that. 

Breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack is offered to all children, toddlers through kindergarten prep.  A late afternoon snack is offered to children still at the center at 5 p.m. Infants will be offered meals and snacks based on parent preferences as they begin to eat table food.  

Substitutions will be offered for children with allergies, intolerances, or cultural/religious preferences.  These must be documented with the appropriate form.

Do I need to come in for an intake conference?

At least one parent is encouraged to attend an intake conference.  This is a meeting that takes place one to two weeks prior to your child’s enrollment date.  We will review the completed enrollment paperwork, you will meet your child’s primary teacher and see the room he/she will be in each day.  We’ll also answer any questions you might have, give you key fobs to access the center, and discuss billing and center policies/procedures.  

How do teachers handle potty training?

Potty training can begin as early as in the toddler room, but typically kicks into high gear in the twos room.  Let your child’s primary teacher know when you begin potty training at home and what you are doing.  The teachers will support you and your child throughout the process.

Your child will be offered multiple opportunities to sit on the toilet throughout the day.  If an accident occurs, teachers will assist the children in cleaning up and changing clothes.  

If your child is not fully potty-trained before turning three and moving to preschool, we will not hold them back.  They will transition and continue to be supported with potty training in the next classroom. 

How is your Kindergarten Prep program different from Preschool?

The K-Prep program is for children who are four-years-old by 7/31 of the current year and who are eligible for kindergarten the fall. Once the children currently enrolled in K Prep leave for kindergarten, then the next group of children will transition to K Prep together (typically in late August). This group of children will participate in a year of curriculum geared towards Kindergarten readiness. They will work through a Handwriting without Tears workbook, focusing on each letter and then putting those letters together to form words. They will work in small groups to identify sight words and read simple books. Additionally, they will be offered various math and science activities all while encouraging social-emotional growth. As summer and Kindergarten approaches, we will shorten their nap times and purchase small milk cartons for them to practice opening at mealtimes. Our goal is to have the K Prep children ready and excited about a lifetime of learning as they enter the next chapter of their lives.  

What days are you closed?

The Center makes every effort to remain open throughout the year. However, we do close for major holidays to allow staff time with their families. We also schedule two Professional Development Days each year when the Center will not be open to children in order for teachers to receive needed training. The center calendar is provided to families annually and families are reminded of upcoming closures in weekly update emails. 

How do I access the center’s locked door?

The first set of front doors is unlocked whenever the center is open (7:15 a.m. - 5:45 p.m., Monday-Friday).  However, the second set of doors remains locked and can be accessed using a programmed key fob.  Each parent/guardian will be provided a key fob upon enrollment.  If you forget your key fob or someone else is picking up or dropping off your child, there is a doorbell in the foyer and the door can be unlocked by office staff.  Please report any lost key fobs so those can be deactivated.  Replacement fobs are available for a small fee.  

Grandparents will be picking up every so often. How will drop off and pick up work for them?

Grandparents or other adults authorized for pickup will be buzzed through the front doors. A member of the Leadership Team will ask for identification and then verify that their name is listed on the enrollment paperwork as an Emergency Contact or Person Authorized to Pick Up the child. Additional people can be added to the authorized pick up list by submitting a written request. The grandparent will sign the child(ren) out at the front desk in writing and will be escorted to the child. A grandparent or other adult who picks up on a regular basis will not need to show ID once they are known to the person at the front desk. 

It is my baby’s first day. How can I call her classroom directly?

The Infant classrooms have a direct line. You will be provided with the appropriate phone number during your intake meeting. All other incoming calls go through the front desk and are either transferred to the classrooms or a message is taken and given to the classroom teacher.

Current Families

 

I just found out my child has a food allergy.  Do I need to bring my child's own food?

If you’ve just learned that your child has a food allergy, inform Center leadership. In most cases, our Center kitchen has been able to provide substitutions for children with allergies without bringing in alternative items. However, we do need a Health Care Plan completed with a physician’s signature identifying the exact allergen as well as a plan for what to do in case of exposure. If medication is needed, the medicine must be provided and a Medication Form completed. Please know that if life-saving medication, such as an Auvi-Q or Epi-Pen, is prescribed the medicine must be kept onsite for the child to be left in our care. 

Also, to keep all teachers aware of potential safety issues in the room, please know that the Center posts children’s allergies and uses a color-coded placemat system for meals to help ensure that children do not come in contact with foods that are dangerous for them. This information, as well as what to do in case of exposure, is posted in the office, kitchen, and classrooms, so that it can be referenced easily and quickly by all staff.

When can I have a conference?

Families are offered a conference with their child’s teacher every six months.  We typically offer three types of conferences: a midpoint, a transition, and a final. A midpoint conference is usually six months after a child has transitioned to a new classroom or enrolled in the center. This is time where you can meet with your child’s primary teacher to discuss progress and goals. A transition conference, on the other hand, will also include this discussion with your child’s current teacher, but the new primary teacher will also be present so that you can learn about the new classroom as well. Final conferences are offered for those families who have children’s last day at the Center coming up. At this time progress can be shared and any final questions can be asked of the teachers. 

There are times when conferences may be offered a little sooner or later depending on the circumstances. For example, we have made a practice of offering infant midpoint conferences around their six month birthday rather than six months after enrolling. Our infants enroll at different ages and midpoint conferences are important for our infant teachers to be able to work with families on reaching milestones that will help their child be more prepared for the transition to toddlers. To give them enough time to develop and address these goals, midpoint conferences for this age group are always offered a little differently. 

Do I need to have a conference?

Maybe things have been going smoothly so there’s no need for a conference. Or maybe you feel like you see your child’s teacher every day and that should be enough. There are all kinds of reasons why you may consider skipping a conference when you get that invite from Center leadership. However, before making that decision, we encourage you to speak with your child’s teacher. While you may get to see your child’s teacher frequently at drop off and pick up, these times can be difficult for teachers to share everything they might wish to because they are still responsible for the supervision and care of other children. Conferences can offer you and your child’s teacher an opportunity to speak with one another openly without the distractions of a classroom. They can be a very valuable time for you to review progress and help teachers ensure they are meeting your child’s needs and goals. It may turn out that you and your child’s teacher are on the same page without a conference, but it never hurts to ask if they would like to speak with you or if the conference can wait for another time. 

If scheduling is a challenge, please reach out to Center leadership. Other options, such as a conference call, might make determining a time a bit easier. 

My child will be transitioning to a new classroom soon. What is the process for that?

With the exception of the transition from Preschool to Kindergarten Prep, transitions for children are typically planned around a child’s birthday. This allows the center some flexibility in scheduling moves around a child’s readiness, potential vacations of teachers and families, as well as allowing multiple children to move to their new classroom together. Once a transition has been planned, you should expect to receive a transition packet. This will contain some information about the new age group, your child’s transition schedule, classroom schedule, etc. It will also have forms for you to complete and return such as a classroom departure questionnaire and an updated developmental history. Additionally, you can also expect an invitation from center leadership regarding a transition conference in which you will have the opportunity to meet with both the current and new primary teacher to hear about your child’s progress and learn about the new classroom. 

Transitions are typically planned over the course of a week, gradually increasing the amount of time children spend in the new classroom and offering them time in the room during different parts of the day such as meal times, small groups, nap, drop off, and pick up. However, due to a variety of factors, these schedules are not always the same for each child and could possibly change depending on how children are adjusting to the new classroom. 

How is the transition different from Preschool to Kindergarten Prep?

Because our Kindergarten Prep program follows an academic calendar year, children from Preschool do not transition up to the next age group at their birthdays. Rather, in the fall Preschool families can expect a large transition from Preschool to Kindergarten Prep. In our experience, weeklong transitions are not necessary for this group as they are usually very eager to get into their new classroom. For that reason, transitions are usually shortened to a few days to get the children accustomed to their new space before they are in their new room full time. 

Furthermore, because so many families are making the move together, rather than a typical transition conference we offer a Kindergarten Prep Information Session. At this time, transitioning families are able to meet the teachers and learn about the Kindergarten Prep program and how it can help their child get ready for elementary school. On top of this, families can still expect to have the opportunity to meet with their child’s current primary teacher for a final conference. 

How often do children go outside?

It is our goal that children go outside daily. It provides them a much-needed break from the classroom, the chance to get in the active physical movement that their bodies need, as well as the many other benefits that going outside can provide. Even in winter, going outside can help eliminate many of the germs that accumulate and spread while children are cooped up inside classrooms. Therefore, each classroom, in age groups toddlers through school age, is scheduled to have 30 minutes of playground time in the morning and afternoon each day. This can be increased though as teachers may choose to conduct learning experiences outdoors, serve lunch outside, or go on nature walks with children. However, there are conditions in which the amount of time is limited, whether that is due to storms, the heat index, or wind chill. The Center uses the Child Care Weather Watch chart to help determine if times for certain age groups need to be shortened or if children should play indoors due to weather.

Do infants go outside?

It is just as essential for infants to go outside as it is for our older age groups. Particularly as the infants become more mobile, they need the opportunities to move and discover the world around them through exploration. Because of the individualized care and schedules of infant children, however, keeping to a specific time each day for outdoor time does not always work. So we are very fortunate in that each of our Infant classrooms has an outdoor patio in which teachers can take small groups of children outside throughout the day as the babies’ schedules allow. Our teachers also provide outdoor experiences by taking children out to the courtyard or on nature walk buggy rides around the perimeter of the Center. 

How early can I drop off my child? When do I need to be there to pick her up?

Our hours of operation are 7:15 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. and the outside set of doors to the Center will automatically unlock and lock at those times. While we understand that there may be days where these times put stress on your schedule, we are not licensed to care for children outside of these operational hours. Our Center staff are not scheduled to work past 6 p.m. each day and many of them have commitments outside of work that they must keep and we want to respect their time. In order to do this, we ask that families allow themselves enough time to be able to leave the Center with their child by our closing at 5:45 p.m.

What happens if I arrive late for pick up?

If you know that you are going to be late picking up your child, you are encouraged to call the Center and let us know. Children can become anxious when they are at the Center past their normal time and this allows us to let them know what to expect. It can also allow us to determine who among the remaining staff will need to stay and give us a chance to seek alternatives if your child’s usual teacher has prior commitments that they cannot miss. However, please know that while we appreciate a heads up if there is going to be a late pick up, any family with children still at the Center past scheduled pickup time will automatically be charged the late pick up fee of $20 per child. 

If we do not know ahead of time that a child will be picked up late, Center staff will immediately contact a guardian to determine who will be picking up the child and when. If guardians cannot be reached, we will then seek out emergency contact persons listed on the child’s enrollment paperwork. If a child is left at the Center more than an hour past closing time, then Child Protective Services will be called. 

Can I request a primary caregiver for my child?

If you would like to request that your child be with a specific primary caregiver, you are encouraged to speak with Center leadership. However, it is important to know that even though a request has been made, we cannot guarantee that space. Primary care group decisions are based on a variety of factors and can be impacted by ratios, schedules, outside enrollment, the dynamics between children, and so many other things. So while we want to respect family preferences and will make every effort to honor them, it is also not possible to make promises regarding primary groups. 

I just found out my child’s school is closed tomorrow…how do I sign up my child for School Age care?

Spaces for School Age care on days when there have been school closures are limited due to staffing. These spaces are provided on a first come, first serve basis and to do this, we have a School Age SignUpGenius link where you can sign up your child(ren) online. However, please know that by signing up your child(ren) you are committing to pay the daily rate per child regardless of whether you decide to utilize care as this may take space(s) away from other families in need of care.