What are your Hours? How often do you close the preschool/daycare?

• Hope Lutheran understands the need for parents to have consistent care for their children. We are only closed on the major holidays and December 24-January 1st when most families are celebrating together. During the school year Hope Lutheran closes for snow days when USD 383 closes due to the weather.
• Hope Lutheran is open from 6:30-6:00 Monday-Friday.

Do we have to be Lutheran to go to your daycare?

• Your family does not have to be Lutheran to come to our daycare. We created Hope Lutheran to share the Gospel with children and as a service to our community. So while we don’t require membership to our church, we want you to know that we do give proclaim Gospel to children on a daily basis. We feel that it is important for parents to know what their children are being taught so we encourage (but not force) you to meet with our pastor for an overview or an in-depth look at what our church teaches. Hope Lutheran has a very clear message. Hope Lutheran is refreshing in that we know who we are, and we know who is our Savior. We give the Gospel out for free to the youngest and the oldest of our children–no strings attached, no works or to do’s required for forgiveness, because Jesus did it all!

Are your teachers educated?

• Our full-time employees hold an Early Childhood Education degree, Elementary Education Degree, or Family Studies Degree or are in the process of receiving a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential.
• Our part-time employees are often students who are training in early childhood education or training to become an elementary education teacher. We look for teachers to have experience working with children in a center setting or other settings where they would be familiar working with children and staff who are interested in taking classes toward a CDA or higher education.
• All staff are required to have training in child development, and safety procedures. We provide many training opportunities throughout the year for all staff members.

Are your teachers First Aid and CPR certified?

• Yes! All of our teachers are trained and are certified in First Aid and CPR.

What do you do to keep my child safe?

• Hope Lutheran has recently updated the building and entry procedures to make your children as safe as possible while away from you. We make it a high priority to train the staff in policies and procedures ensuring that every effort is made to keep your child safe.
• Whether inside or outside, supervision of the children at Hope Lutheran is a top priority. Making sure that we have low student to teacher ratios and a low student capacity in the classroom is one of the ways that we make sure the children are supervised well and consistently. Staff are thoroughly trained in safety procedures including supervision, child to teacher ratios, sleeping policies (especially with infants), infant supervision, discipline policies, developmentally appropriate practices and more.
• Outdoors we continue to have low child to staff ratios, but we do encourage the children to challenge themselves physically and mentally. We encourage children to explore and try new things to expand their knowledge and gain confidence in what their bodies can do, so that when the time comes (and it always does) they can make good choices on what their bodies can and cannot do. However, be assured a teacher will be with them and help them out when they get “stuck” with one of those challenges.

Do you contact me when my child gets hurt?

• Since every parent is different and every situation is different we take into consideration both parent and situation before contacting you. If we choose not to contact you because the injury did not warrant the call or text,we do still fill out an injury report so you do know what happened. We often will take a picture on the SmartCare app or text you a picture so you can see the injury and decide what you would like to do.
•  We feel that open communication is best when dealing with injuries and sicknesses, and we make it a priority to partner with you through this time.

What are we supposed to bring?

• Generally, we ask that parents provide an extra set (or two) of clothes, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, any ointments or creams that are necessary for your child, appropriate outside attire, and a sleeping buddy if appropriate and if needed. Most classrooms ask parents to bring pictures of their families and special people and each classroom has a special list of other things to fit their needs.

Do you have a sick child policy?

• We do have a sick child policy to create and maintain a healthy environment for all children and staff. If a child becomes ill while at the center we will call you to come pick them up, and if they are sick at home we ask that you would keep them at home. It is important to follow the policy so everyone stays well!
• The sick child policy is also regulated by state licensing and KDHE.

What is your cleaning policy?

• The toys in each classroom are to be cleaned and sanitized regularly. There is a cleaning list for each classroom ensuring that each one of the toys and the entire classroom will be cleaned and sanitized timely and appropriately. We meet all of the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) standards for cleaning and sanitizing the classroom. Those items that we know have been in a child’s mouth are put in a separate container out of reach and cleaned at the soonest opportunity.

Do you have a curriculum?

• Yes! We are excited and pleased that we use the HighScope curriculum. It is important to us to have a curriculum that is research based and proven effective in meeting educational goals for every area of development. HighScope encourages children to actively participate in their own learning. It provides an opportunity for children to learn how they learn best–through play. Instead of teachers just giving information and expecting the children to know and remember the information, the HighScope Curriculum encourages children to learn through their experiences. Learning through experiences encourages a love for learning which is important for a lifetime of learning.
• A child’s play is “work.” The teacher’s work is to prepare the children for the next level by:
o interacting with the children on their level
o helping the children build on what they know (scaffolding)
o asking the children questions that will challenge and stretch their thinking
o supporting children’s ideas and intentions
o preparing activities for the children that they are not only interested in but can learn from in all areas of development.
o providing a challenging learning environment
o establishing a consistent daily routine
o doing ongoing assessments to make plans and meet children’s educational needs
o helping children use a problem-solving approach to conflict
o meeting each child’s needs individually

What do you teach in your curriculum?

• The HighScope Curriculum parallels the five dimensions of school readiness identified by the National Education Goals Panel which is widely accepted as the standard in the early childhood community.
o Approaches to learning (making and expressing choices, plans, and decisions)
o Language, Literacy, and Communication
o Social and Emotional Development
o Physical Development, Health, and Well-Being
o Arts and Sciences (mathematics, science and technology, the arts)
• Within each of these readiness content areas HighScope identifies key developmental indicators (KDIs) that are appropriate to each age range. From these KDIs teachers plan activities, provide materials, and give choices to children so growth can occur in all areas of development.
• Check out the HighScope Curriculum here: https://highscope.org/
• Hope Lutheran also provides a Christian curriculum. We use Christlight to teach the children about God’s love for us in providing a Savior who lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and came back to life to take away all of our sins. He did this so that we can go to heaven to be with Him! With this solid foundation, the children are freed up to learn and explore the world around them from the safety and security of trusting that they are right with God and that Jesus is always with them!

Do you have a Preschool?

• Although our curriculum is for infants through preschoolers it covers all areas of development and every stage of development. We like to say we have a child care (daycare) with a preschool curriculum. Instead of providing a structured curriculum for just a portion of the day, your child is provided both teacher led and child initiated activities all day long, but they don’t get tired or bored with it because our curriculum provides opportunities for learning the way children learn best–through play!

Do you get my child ready for Kindergarten?

• We begin preparing your child for kindergarten when they begin in the preschool classroom. But, we could also say that about every level of care that we provide. Hope Lutheran is providing developmentally appropriate care and education to prepare each child for the next level of development.
• Our curriculum is designed so that by the time your child is out of preschool they will not only be ready for kindergarten academically, but they will be socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten. Our preschool has been recognized by kindergarten teachers in the area as being exceptional in preparing preschoolers for this next step.
• Check out page 6: https://s3.amazonaws.com/scschoolfiles/357/kindergarten_in_kansas_1.pdf

Do you teach good morals?

• We realize that children are not always perfect. After Adam and Eve sinned the first time, all of us who came after them are sinners also. We realize that there is a right and wrong. God gave us the ten commandments and clearly none of us can keep them and be right with God. We realize that children need to learn right from wrong, good from bad and our discipline policy reflects this belief. (Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.) Discipline means “to teach.” At Hope Lutheran that means, when developmentally appropriate, we get down on the child’s level and talk to them about their behavior and what it means for those around them or the materials that they play with. We teach the children self-regulation by helping the child discover what is upsetting them and what the child can do to fix the problem. We teach the children to love their friends (neighbors), work together with them, and respect their bodies and thoughts. We also teach the children to honor and respect the people whom God gave authority over them (their teachers and parents). Research has shown that Social and Emotional Development is a huge part of a children’s academic success ( see http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/kindergarten_readiness_social_and_emotional_development ) and therefore is extremely important for children to build and keep relationships with adults and other children and learn self-regulation which is a part of the “doing” of morality.
• You can learn more about our discipline policy in our Parent Handbook http://manhattanhope.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/PARENT_HANDBOOK_41415.pdf

Do the children take naps?

• Naptime is healthy for children of 0-5, and so a time is set apart for naptime everyday. After lunch from 1:00 until 2:30 is typical for toddler to preschool ages, while infants sleep as needed throughout the day. The children are given bathroom breaks before and after naptime, and are all encouraged to sleep or rest on their cots depending on the needs of the child. We work with parents as much as possible if a child has special sleeping/non sleeping needs.

Do the children go outside?

• One of the special features of our child care center are our natural playgrounds! Over ten years ago, before natural playgrounds became popular, we designed our playgrounds with children’s needs for nature in mind. “Needs for nature?” What a crazy thought. However, many now are seeing the need for nature in the lives of children. Books have been written (Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv; Balanced and Barefoot, Angela Hanscom) that tell how children need to be in nature, to watch the ants, to hear the birds, to climb on a tree limb, to see grass grow and die, to touch and feel the bark on a tree, to physically challenge their bodies, or to sit and feel the breeze. Children need to be in an outdoor, natural environment. Please note carefully that it was not stated that the environment needs children to be outdoors, although conservation is a very important side effect to children experiencing nature, but children need to be in nature. There is a direct link between child obesity and a sedentary lifestyle (try to keep a child sedentary when they are outside–especially on our playgrounds). Exposure to nature also may reduce the symptoms of ADHD and relieve children of many negative emotional and psychological issues while improving cognitive abilities and resistance to negative stresses and depression (Louv, 2008).
• Our playgrounds also have learning centers that are set up with different areas of development in mind while still creating open-ended play and learning opportunities. We encourage children to play with God’s created materials. Think about soil–children can see choose to play with it (initiative), it fill up a bucket (mathematics), pour it out (science), make a mud pie for their classmate (science, social/emotional, creative arts, mathematics, physical development). That is why nature is so incredible–you can learn in ALL areas of development outside, in God’s creation!
• Our schedule accounts for a healthy amount of outside play for our infants through our school age program. According to NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education), it is healthy for children to have no less than 60 minutes of unstructured play throughout the day and more. Our schedule provides that during outside time. Hope Lutheran’s natural playgrounds supply many opportunities for large motor development, with different options of play activities for the children, all the while communicating with their friends in play. When the weather does not cooperate (if it is too hot or cold for the children to be outside), large motor movement activities, structured and unstructured, are provided in our extra wide hallway which designed for movement.
• http://www.naturalplaygrounds.com/childrennature.php

Do the Classrooms have a schedule?

• Each classroom follows a schedule that meets the needs and educational goals of children enrolled in each room. The schedule gives the children structure which provides the children with a sense of control. This sense of control leads to a feeling of safety since the children know what to expect. When a child’s basic need of safety is met, the child is freed up to learn and therefore thrive in the structured setting. It follows that the children are better able to meet behavioral expectations when they are aware of what activity is happening next and how the transition will proceed from one activity to another.
• What remains constant on a classroom schedule?
o Christlight: Christlight is taught by a member of our church and is an important part of our mission statement: “…we exist to shine the light of Christ’s love to our learning center children and their families”
o Mealtimes breakfast, am snack, lunch, and pm snack
o Work time (preschool)/Choice Time (Infants and Toddlers): An important part of our curriculum that allows children to be active participants in their learning. Children choose who and what they are going to play with and teachers observe and interact with children to help them build on what they know.
o Plan-Do-Review (Preschool): Children plan where they are going to work and what they are going to do, children do the work of playing, children reflect on what they did, and who they played with.
o Movement/Music: Movement and Music are large group, teacher led activities that teach the children new songs and/or skills while keeping it engaging and age appropriate.
o Small group: These small group, teacher led “lessons” focus on different areas of development and cover every area of development
o Outside Play: Unstructured outdoor play helps the children develop their gross motor skills and social/emotional skills as they engage in self motivated games with their classmates.
o Caring for Personal Needs: We practice intentional responsive care by responding to the needs of each individual child and also routinely making sure each child’s needs are met. In the infant and one year old rooms diapers are checked every hour, two year olds are potty trained at the appropriate time, and preschool children can use the bathroom when needed.
• Learn more about the importance of a schedule in the early childhood room at this site: https://eceteachertalk.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/whats-going-on-in-here-the-importance-of-schedules-and-routines-in-early-childhood-classrooms/

Do you provide the food? Do you serve nutritious food? What kind of food do you have?

• We provide all meals and snacks for the children.
• Our food is homemade–no chicken nuggets out of a bag or super processed foods come from our kitchen. Our professional cook prepares the menus to both provide healthy and nutritious food, and give the children a variety of meals. Because the meals are made on site you can be assured of their freshness and nutritional value. We are part of the Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) which is just another way to assure you that we serve quality, nutritious, well-rounded meals.
• We practice family style meals which has proven to reduce child obesity. We see this family style meal time not only as a chance to communicate and interact with children, but to teach table manners, and respect for others at the table.
• We do work with parents who have children with allergies (see the Parent Handbook)
• Read about the benefit family style meals here: http://altarum.org/health-policy-blog/pass-the-peas-please-the-benefits-of-family-style-meals
• And here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/sfsp/SMT-FamilyStyleMeals.pdf

Do we bring in our own formula?

• Hope Lutheran provides Parent’s Choice formula. If your baby requires a different formula you will need to bring that in a sealed container and we will make the bottles at Hope Lutheran.

Do you support breastfeeding for infants?

• We support breastfeeding for the infants at Hope Lutheran as much as possible and encourage it! We provide comfortable place in the classroom or in the sanctuary for you to breast feed your baby if you choose to come to the center for a feeding.
• Breast milk cannot be thawed in a microwave or crock pot.
• Please bring breast milk thawed and in ready-to-feed sanitary containers. Label with the date and your infant’s name.
• We do not store milk for more than (24) hours so please bring in breast milk on a daily basis.
• Staff will make sure and gently mix, not shake, the breast milk before feeding to preserve special infection-fighting and nutritional components in human milk.
• Your child’s teacher will coordinate feedings with mom as much as possible.

What are your guidelines for feeding infants at Hope Lutheran?

• Parents provide bottles for their child.
• Each bottle must be labeled with your child’s name.
• Hope Lutheran will provide a specific formula, iron fortified infant cereal, and puréed food from the kitchen for the infants.
• The teachers in your infant’s classroom work with you to ensure that your child’s nutritional and developmental needs are met. Please, consult your child’s health professional for a recommendation for your child’s nutritional needs and developmental stage.
• All sweetened beverages will be avoided for infants.
• If your child’s health care provider recommends that your child should be offered solid foods and or fruit juice before six months of age we must have your written approval (CACFP Infant Offer Form).
• If juice is recommended by your health professional and approved by you we will serve 100% fruit juice, and we can serve no more than four ounces daily.
• Hope cannot feed infants solid foods in bottles unless your child’s health care provider supplies written instructions and a medical reason for this practice.
• Though Hope Lutheran provides a specific formula, iron fortified instant cereal, and pureed food from the kitchen you may provide formula and commercial baby food for your child. However, it must come to Hope Lutheran in a factory sealed container.
• Staff will warm formula or human milk in water at no more than 120o F for no more than five minutes.
• No milk or food will be warmed in a microwave.
• Parents are required to provide their child with the amounts of breast milk, formula, and baby food required by CACFP. If you cannot provide enough breast milk in order to meet CACFP guidelines you will need to allow Hope Lutheran to supplement with the formula Hope Lutheran provides, or bring in the formula that your child requires. CACFP provides a form for parents of infants to fill out when infants are ready to eat solid foods.
• Please discuss with your child’s teacher when you feel that your child is developmentally ready to use a cup. The teachers may also approach you when they feel that your child is ready because it is most helpful to the children to have all one year olds weaned from the bottle when they are at Hope and/or begin the weaning process.
• To keep your child safe we must discard any formula or breast milk that is served but not completely consumed or is not refrigerated after one hour.
• We do not feed cow’s milk to infants younger than 12 months.
• We serve whole milk to children ages 12-24 months unless we have a written recommendation from your health professional.

Do you welcome breastfeeding? Do you allow breastfeeding?

• We encourage mothers to breastfeed their infants because it is the best thing nutritionally for their baby. We make it a top priority to keep the children safe so there are specific guidelines we require of ourselves and parents to keep our Hope kids healthy (see Parent Handbook)
• We also realize that breastfeeding does not work for every mom or every baby. Therefore, Hope Lutheran provides Parent’s Choice formula. If your baby needs another formula parents must provide it for their baby.

What are your guidelines for feeding infants at Hope Lutheran?

• Parents provide bottles for their child.
• Each bottle must be labeled with your child’s name.
• Hope Lutheran will provide a specific formula, iron fortified infant cereal, and puréed food from the kitchen for the infants.
• The teachers in your infant’s classroom work with you to ensure that your child’s nutritional and developmental needs are met. Please, consult your child’s health professional for a recommendation for your child’s nutritional needs and developmental stage.
• All sweetened beverages will be avoided for infants.
• If your child’s health care provider recommends that your child should be offered solid foods and or fruit juice before six months of age we must have your written approval (CACFP Infant Offer Form).
• If juice is recommended by your health professional and approved by you we will serve 100% fruit juice, and we can serve no more than four ounces daily.
• Hope cannot feed infants solid foods in bottles unless your child’s health care provider supplies written instructions and a medical reason for this practice.
• Though Hope Lutheran provides a specific formula, iron fortified instant cereal, and pureed food from the kitchen you may provide formula and commercial baby food for your child. However, it must come to Hope Lutheran in a factory sealed container.
• Staff will warm formula or human milk in water at no more than 120o F for no more than five minutes.
• No milk or food will be warmed in a microwave.
• Parents are required to provide their child with the amounts of breast milk, formula, and baby food required by CACFP. If you cannot provide enough breast milk in order to meet CACFP guidelines you will need to allow Hope Lutheran to supplement with the formula Hope Lutheran provides, or bring in the formula that your child requires. CACFP provides a form for parents of infants to fill out when infants are ready to eat solid foods.
• Please discuss with your child’s teacher when you feel that your child is developmentally ready to use a cup. The teachers may also approach you when they feel that your child is ready because it is most helpful to the children to have all one year olds weaned from the bottle when they are at Hope and/or begin the weaning process.
• To keep your child safe we must discard any formula or breast milk that is served but not completely consumed or is not refrigerated after one hour.
• We do not feed cow’s milk to infants younger than 12 months.
• We serve whole milk to children ages 12-24 months unless we have a written recommendation from your health professional.

Do you potty train?

• Since potty training happens during the early years, we absolutely partner with parents in this endeavor!
• Potty training readiness differs with each individual child so each child is treated as an individual.
• Partnering with parents and communicating methods between home and our care is very important for the child so we keep you up to date on what is happening at Hope and we ask parents to do the same.
• It is best for children to be potty trained by age three so that the preschool years can be taken full advantage of.

How can we, as parents, be involved within our child’s classroom and center community?

• Hope Lutheran has many opportunities for you to become involved in your child’s classroom and our center community! Once or twice a month we have a day where parents are invited to participate in a classroom/center event. Some of these opportunities include: Winter Wonderland Dance Party, Valentine’s Day parties, a St. Patrick’s Day Green Buffet, July 4th Parade, Christmas Program, and lots more!
• Parents are also invited any day to read to their child’s classroom (and other classrooms, if desired).
• Parents are encouraged to share a special skill, or talk to the children about their profession.
• Parents are always welcome to come and eat with the children. By letting us know ahead of time we can plan for you!
• The classroom newsletter informs parents of upcoming activities and events that parents also can join as an active participant.
How do we communicate with parents?
• When you first enroll your child you download the SmartCare app to your phone. Teachers in the infant and toddler rooms log routine care giving (diapers, naps, meals), and can occasionally send pictures, preschool teachers can send pictures to update you on some of the classroom happenings or to give you information on what is coming up in their classroom.
• Parents are encouraged to interact and ask questions of the teachers whenever they drop off or pick up their children, but there are also other means of communication. A newsletter goes home with the children every week updating the family on upcoming events and exciting news. As the parents walk in the doors they are able to see these announcements as well, along with recent news for the whole center. We believe that the best communication is done face to face however, so we like to give you a snapshot of the day when you pick your child up if possible. We like to set up a time outside of the classroom if you ever have any questions or concerns that cannot be handled in the classroom at the beginning or end of the day.
• https://www.naeyc.org/familyengagement/principles/2
Do you potty train?
• Since potty training happens during the early years, we absolutely partner with parents in this endeavor!
• Potty training readiness differs with each individual child so each child is treated as an individual.
• Partnering with parents and communicating methods between home and our care is very important for the child so we keep you up to date on what is happening at Hope and we ask parents to do the same.
• It is best for children to be potty trained by age three so that the preschool years can be taken full advantage of.

Do you have a sick child policy?

• We do have a sick child policy to create and maintain a healthy environment for all children and staff. If a child becomes ill while at the center we will call you to come pick them up, and if they are sick at home we ask that you would keep them at home. It is important to follow the policy so everyone stays well!
• The sick child policy is also regulated by state licensing and KDHE.