Parent Handbook

Noah’s Ark Preschool

License # 58-03-00295

 

A Mission of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church

 

5550 S. Sumter Blvd. North Port, FL 34287

(941) 426-7150 Phone

(941) 234-4981 Fax

Director: Lauren DiFranco

 

preschoolnoahsark@yahoo.com

 

Parent’s Handbook

2021-2022

 

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Noah’s Ark Preschool / North Port

 

 

 

Welcome

 

 

We are glad you have chosen Noah’s Ark for your child’s early school experience. Noah’s Ark is designed to be a happy, loving, stimulating, clean and attractive setting for the best possible growth and development of your preschool child. We encourage children to learn through play, discovery, interactive activities, and the arts.

 

Noah’s Ark admits students of any race, color, religion, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally awarded or made available to students at the school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin in administration of the educational policies, admission policies, or school-administered program.

 

 

Mission Statement

 

Our mission is to provide a safe learning haven for children that focuses on Christian values. Our Center and qualified staff are committed to providing families with a supportive partnership in the education of every child by providing them with a quality curriculum, as well as a nurturing environment.

 

 

 

Purpose

 

This handbook is intended to familiarize you with the procedures and policies of Noah’s Ark and to inform the community of the services provided. The policies and procedures set forth are intended to protect the health and welfare of the children and provide consistency in our program. It is our hope that the families served by this school will carefully comply with the guidelines. When you have thoroughly read this handbook, please sign and return the last page to the Director.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registration

 

Children must be 2 through 5 years of age to be eligible for enrollment. Each child must be fully registered before beginning our program.

 

The following items are required at the time of registration:

 

  1. Completed enrollment packet
  2. Current Physical (within 1 year)
  3. Immunization Record
  4. Copy of Birth Certificate
  5. Any legal papers (should custody be an issue)
  6. Annual Registration fee - $125.00 (non-refundable)

 

 

Tuition (Child must attend a minimum of 2 days per week)

 

Noah's Ark is a non-profit organization, which operates entirely on registration fees, tuition, and donations. Fees cover supplies, equipment, insurance, and salaries.

 

  1. is calculated on a weekly basis. Payments are due every Monday for that week. Payments may be paid by cash, check, money order or through the EZ Care Parent Portal. Any payments not made by 9:00 a.m. Thursday will incur a $20.00 late fee. If payment of tuition and late fee is not received on Friday, your child may not return to school until balance is paid in full. No credit or refund is given for absenteeism, holidays, or school closures. (Please note that your child’s selected days may not be “swapped out” for any absence, holiday, or school closing.)

 

All checks are to be made payable to "Noah's Ark." Payments should be placed in the payment box located in the lobby. There is a $25.00 fee for returned checks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Drop Off / Late Pick Up Fees

 

If your child attends the morning program and arrives before 8:00 a.m. or departs after 12:00 p.m. an additional fee of $15 for within the first fifteen minutes and $1 for each additional minute thereafter will be added to your bill.

 

If your child attends the full day program and departs after 6:00 p.m. the same fee as above will apply.

 

 

Tuition Rates (effective as of 8/9/21) for ages 2-5

(Child must attend a minimum of 2 days per week)

 

Morning Program - 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Paid on a weekly basis:

 

Two days - $63.00

Three days - $84.00

Four days - $104.00

Five days - $119.00

 

Full Day Program - 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Paid on a weekly basis:

 

Two days - $99.00

Three days - $119.00

Four days - $150.00

Five days - $170.00

 

 

 

 

Operating Hours

 

Noah’s Ark is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

State of Florida Voluntary Pre-K Program (VPK)

 

Noah's Ark is a proud provider of the State of Florida Voluntary Pre-K Program. To qualify, a child must be four years old by September first and be a resident of Florida. Ark offers VPK classes from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We are proud to offer a Spanish/English VPK class from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for dual language learners.

 

 

 

VPK Wrap-Around

Noah’s Ark provides VPK wrap around care, which covers your child from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Please note that the coalition does not pay for the 1 week at Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas or the 1 week of Spring Break. Regular rates (see page 4) will apply for care during those weeks should your child attend; the below mentioned rates will apply should your child stay home during those weeks.

 

AM wrap-around (Covers both before and after VPK hours)

2 days: $68.00

3 days: $89.00

4 days: $114.00

5 days: $135.00

 

 

For more information on the VPK program, please ask the Director or refer to the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota. www.earlylearningcoalitionsarasota.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Drop Off / Absences / Vacations

 

So that your child can take full advantage of our preschool program, that we do not disturb other children in class, and to be able to determine staff to children ratios, we request children arrive no later than 8:30 a.m.

 

PLEASE CALL US TO LET US KNOW IF YOUR CHILD WILL BE ABSENT (OR IN LATE PAST 9 A.M. WITH A DOCTOR’S NOTE) AS WE MAY SEND STAFF HOME ACCORDING TO CHILD ATTENDANCE, RESULTING IN THE POSSIBILITY OF YOUR CHILD NOT BEING ABLE TO ATTEND THAT DAY DEPENDING ON CHILD/TEACHER RATIOS.

 

Please alert your child’s teacher / the Director with written notice of any dates your child will be out due to vacation. Absence notes are mandatory for all children who receive School Readiness (SR) services through the ELC of Sarasota. SR Parents please be aware that if your child is absent more than 3 days you will need to turn in a doctor’s note, along with your parent note. Excessive absences past the amount allowed by the coalition will require the parent to cover any additional fees for each additional absence.

 

DCF call policy: A phone call is needed if your child will be absent for the day or coming in past 9 a.m. DCF has enforced a policy whereas if we do not receive a call, that we are to call/document to verify with someone of their absence. Please make sure to call if your child will not be in school or arriving late due to a doctor’s appointment.

 

 

Arrival

 

All children MUST be signed in on the clipboard in their classroom with the arrival time and a full signature. Your child should be escorted to his/her classroom by the parent/ guardian. The parent or guardian is responsible for placing the child’s lunch box, etc. in the child’s classroom cubby. Children must never enter the school by themselves. Security codes are exclusive to each family and should not be shared with anyone else outside of your child’s pickup list.

 

 

 

 

 

Departure

 

At the end of the school day, the parent or guardian must sign out the child on the clipboard with the pickup time and full signature. Remember to check your child’s file daily for important notices and the child’s classroom “cubby” for personal belongings.

 

 

Note: For safety reasons, we request that you do not leave your car running in our parking lot while dropping off your child.

 

Withdrawal

 

A two-week written notice is required when a child is withdrawn from the school's program. Please give the Director a written notice, which includes the date of your child's last day of attendance. If proper notification is not given, the school will continue to charge tuition.

 

When a child is removed from the school's program, for whatever reason or period of time, a space cannot be guaranteed when a parent wishes to re-enroll that child. If a parent withdraws a child and then chooses to re-enroll within 6 months (should there be space available), there will be a one-time courtesy $25.00 Administrative Fee. Any subsequent withdrawals and re-enrollments will be at the original fee of $125.00.

 

 

 

 

Qualifications

 

Our preschool is licensed by the City of North Port, Sarasota County, and the State of Florida. We offer developmentally appropriate activities for children 2 through 5 years of age. All Staff meets or exceeds State requirements, with all certifications being current. We are proud to be a four-star school under the Sarasota County’s “Look for the Stars” program, and to also retain the title of “Best of” Preschool in North through the North Port Sun’s “Best of” ballot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curriculum

 

Noah’s Ark currently uses three different curriculums, plus a Spanish program. We feel these three curriculums provide the best academic, character-building, and spiritual growth program that can be offered.

 

“Creative Curriculum” is rated by the Early Learning Coalition as one of the best programs for early learning experiences. Lesson plans are based on a theme that incorporates concepts such as Blocks, Dramatic Play, Art, Language and Literacy, Math and Science, Sand and Water Play, Music and Movement, Cooking and Outdoor Discovery.

 

A Christian curriculum that teaches the importance of faith, family, and friendship. We teach basic scripture and Bible stories that children can relate to their daily experiences. Children attend Chapel weekly.

 

“Kindness Curriculum” is a character-building program required by the Early Learning Coalition for reinforcing values and personal growth. It teaches the skills for empathy, showing and expressing emotions appropriately, and joy.

 

Spanish is taught to each class weekly by our Spanish teacher. The children learn basic pronunciation, the alphabet, shapes, colors, numbers, and songs.

 

The Ages and Stages screenings are utilized by the teachers for each student, along with informal assessments. These results are shared with the parents at a parent-teacher conference, or as requested. Teachers also write a personalized plan for each student focusing on each child’s academic and emotional needs. Each child has a portfolio of work samples and pictures saved by their teacher to chart their growth and development.

 

Transitions (Non VPK students)

 

For developmental appropriateness, your child may transition to a new classroom. We allow children to visit their new classroom and teacher for short time frames to make the move easier. Parents are strongly encouraged to meet the new teacher and discuss any personal needs or issues with their child’s new classroom “family” prior to the move.

 

 

Clothing / Potty Training

 

We request that your child comes to school in clothes appropriate to the weather. Girls are requested to wear shorts under their dresses, and to refrain from wearing jewelry (for playground safety). All children must wear close-toed shoes, and not wear sandals, “jellies” or open-toed shoes. We ask that every child bring a complete change of clothing including underwear and socks for messy days and/ or accidents. Please note: Children enrolled in our 3-year-old class up through VPK must be fully potty trained to attend our program.

 

Snacks

 

Each child is asked to put a clearly labeled morning snack and afternoon snack (if they are a full day student) in their lunch bag. We ask families to provide nutritious snacks.

Candy and soda are not permitted. Please do not send in a drink for snack time, as water is provided.

 

Lunches

 

Parents are asked to provide a nutritious lunch daily. Please provide a variety of choices; items not eaten will be sent home. We do not allow candy, soda, or gum in our school. (Please note we request that the 3-minute cook mac n’ cheese be cooked at home - we will reheat them at lunch time.)

 

Birthdays

 

Birthdays are special, and we love to celebrate them with your child! Should you choose to bring in treats for their class, they must be store-bought (for allergy precautions) and arrangements must be made in advance with your child’s teacher. Due to limited time and space, we are unable to accommodate birthday “parties”.

 

Rest Time

 

Children who attend the full day program are asked to bring a regulation vinyl- surfaced nap mat (no more than one-inch thick), a small travel- sized pillow, a small blanket, and any small comfort object to assure a comfortable rest time. All nap items should be labeled and placed in bag. On Fridays, we ask parents to take their children’s nap items home for washing and return them on Monday.

 

 

Weather Emergencies

 

As you know, the weather in Florida is very unpredictable. If the National Weather Service issues a hurricane advisory during school hours, you will be expected to arrange for the immediate pick-up of your child. If a warning is issued during the night and public school will be closed, we will close as well. Please tune into your local news (Sarasota County) and stay alert to weather conditions during a hurricane season.

 

Emergency Evacuation

 

Fire drills will occur monthly. Children will be taught to follow their teacher to our designated safe spot, which is the large field behind the church. We will wait there until further instructions are given. In case of evacuation children and their teachers will walk to The North Port Gardens Assisted Living Facility. Parents will be notified once we arrive at this location.

 

Family- School Communication

 

A monthly newsletter will be provided to inform our families of up-coming events and functions at our school. Please check our family bulletin board in either building for the latest news, as well! Parent/teacher conferences are held in both the winter and spring and may be scheduled at the request of the parent or teacher at any other time.

Additional school information can be found on our Facebook page, which is updated regularly.

Language

 

Noah’s Ark embraces and respects all cultures. The staff at Noah’s Ark mostly speak English with the children and your child will gradually acquire English through their experience with us. Please let your child’s teacher know of any critical words in your home language that you feel they may need to know.

 

Respectful Behavior

 

All children and families will be treated with respect and dignity. In return, we expect the same from all our families. We will not tolerate hostile or aggressive behavior. If this occurs, we reserve the right to ask you to control your behavior or to remove your children from our care.

 

Discipline

 

We believe that it is important for children to learn to respect themselves and each other. We ask that all children: 1. Play safely 2. Help each other 3. Take turns 4. Be polite and respectful.

 

Our teachers design the classroom to provide structured boundaries for expected behavior. By doing so, we help children foster their impulse control and develop personal responsibility.

 

We do not physically punish, degrade, or humiliate children in any way. We

encourage positive reinforcement. Whenever possible, a child is re-directed to a new activity. A quiet time is used if the re-direction was not enough to stop undesirable behaviors / actions. During a quiet time, the teacher will speak to the child on appropriate behavior and actions. If, under observation, the child shows no improvement, the parents are required to attend a meeting with the Director and teacher. There, they will discuss a behavior modification plan that involves the teacher and family in addressing the child’s issues in a positive and supportive manner.

 

If, after the parent conference and implementation of the behavior modification plan the child continues to show no sign of improved behavior, the child will need to be assessed to assure there is no developmental delay or health issue underlying the behavioral issues.

 

If a child shows behaviors and / or potential developmental delays with or without misbehavior, the director will speak to the child’s parent / guardian about their concerns. There are multiple resources in our community for screenings and services available to families that could assist for any needs your child may have. Referrals to the Warm-Line of Sarasota County may be reached at (941) 954-4830, ext. 218. Please see the display in the main hallway of Knox Hall for other brochures/available services.

 

If, after an assessment and behavioral modification are in place and the child still shows no sign of improved behavior, we will ask you to find childcare that better suits the needs of your child.

 

If a child hits, strikes, bites or kicks any staff member or another child, that child may be suspended for up to three days. If these behaviors are repetitive (after suspension) it will result in the child being dis-enrolled from our program.

Illness

 

We understand that it is difficult for a family member to leave or miss work, but to protect other children/ our staff, you may not bring a sick child to school. Noah’s Ark has the right to refuse a child who appears ill. You will be called and asked to retrieve your child if your child exhibits any of the following symptoms. (This is not an all-inclusive list.) We will try to keep your child comfortable, but he/she will be excluded from all activities until you arrive. (A doctor’s note may be required to return to school if your child is home sick for an extended (3 days +) amount of time.)

 

  • Illness that prevents your child from participating in activities.
  • Illness that results in greater need for care than we can provide.
  • Illness that poses a risk of spread of harmful diseases to others.
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher. (Child must be fever free for 24hrs. without medication to return)
  • Diarrhea – 2 stools with blood or mucus and/or uncontrolled, unformed stools that cannot be contained in a diaper/underwear or toilet. Child will be sent home upon second occurrence. (Child must be symptom free for 24 hrs. to return)
  • Vomiting – more than 2 times the previous 24 hours. Child will be sent home upon second occurrence. (Child must be symptom free for 24 hrs. to return)
  • Rash with fever, unless a physician has determined that it is not a communicable disease.
  • Pink or red conjunctiva with white or yellow eye discharge, until on antibiotics for 24 hours.
  • Impetigo, until 24 hours after treatment.
  • Strep throat, until 24 hours after treatment.
  • Head lice, until treatment and all nits are removed.
  • Scabies, until 24 hours after treatment.
  • Chickenpox, until all lesions have dried and crusted.
  • Pertussis (Whooping Cough), until 5 days of antibiotics.
  • Hepatitis A, until one week after immune globulin have been administered.
  • Tuberculosis, until a health professional indicates the child is not infectious.
  • Rubella, until 6 days after the rash appears.
  • Mumps, until 5 days after onset of parotid gland swelling.
  • Measles, until 4 days after onset of rash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children who have been ill may return when:

  • They are free of fever, vomiting and diarrhea for 24 hours. (Without medication)
  • They have been treated with an antibiotic for 24 hours. (Dr.’s note needed)
  • They are able to participate comfortably in all usual activities.
  • They are free of open, oozing skin conditions and drooling (not related to teething) unless:
    • The child’s physician signs a note stating that the child’s condition is not contagious, and the involved areas can be covered by a bandage without seepage or drainage through the bandage.

 

  • If a child had a reportable communicable disease, a physician’s note stating that the child is no longer contagious and may return to our care is required.

Allergy Prevention

Families are expected to notify us regarding children’s food and environmental allergies. Families of children with diagnosed allergies are required to provide us a letter detailing the child’s symptoms, reactions, treatments, and care. A list of the children’s allergies will be posted in each classroom, all emergency folders and kitchen. We are trained to familiarize ourselves and consult the list to avoid the potential of exposing children to substances to which they have known allergies.

Medications

All medications should be handed to a staff member with specific written instructions for administration. Medications should never be left in the child’s cubby or with the child to administer on their own. Our staff will ensure that the medication is recorded along with the directions and proceed to dispense the medication as directed. (Teacher will supply a medication authorization form for parents to fill out.)

 

Prescription medications: The label on the medication meets the above requirement. The medication must include your child’s name, dosage, current date, frequency, and the name and phone number of the physician. All medications must be in the original container. Please specify the dosage and time(s) to be administered for each medication on the above-mentioned authorization form.

 

Non-prescription topical ointments (e.g., diaper cream, teething gel, sunscreen supplied by the parent) require a note from the parent/guardian specifying frequency and dosage to be administered, as well as the length of time the authorization is valid.

 

Communicable Diseases

 

When an enrolled child or an employee of the Center has a (suspected) reportable disease, it is our legal responsibility to notify the local Board of Health or Department of Public Health. We will take care to notify families about exposure so children can receive preventive treatments. Included among reportable illnesses are the following:

 

  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Botulism
  • Chicken Pox
  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus Influenza (invasive)
  • Measles (including suspect)
  • Meningococcal Infection (invasive)
  • Poliomyelitis (including suspect)
  • Rabies (human only)
  • Rubella Congenital and Non-congenital (including suspect)
  • Tetanus (including suspect)
  • H1N1 Virus
  • Any cluster/outbreak of illness
  • Tuberculosis
  • Covid-19

 

Accidents

 

All Staff are trained in First Aid and CPR. First Aid will be administered to minor cuts/ injuries such as bruises or scrapes. A written incident report of the circumstances will be given to the parents. In case of a serious injury, or any injury to the head, parents will be notified immediately, and appropriate action will be taken.

 

The Staff of Noah’s Ark Preschool Practices Universal Precautions

 

 

 

Working Together

 

We encourage parents to visit the school, volunteer time, and assist with special celebrations. We feel a child’s first teacher is their family and want to foster a strong bond between home and school to support children in their early years.

 

Parental agreement with Noah’s Ark Parent Handbook for Policies and Procedures

Please remove this page from handbook, sign and return to the Director.

 

 

I have read the Noah’s Ark handbook, and I agree to abide by the policies and procedures set forth for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Date__________ Student’s Name_____________________________

 

Parent/Guardian Signature___________________________________

 

 

I have read and understand the Tuition Payment Policy and that I am required to make payments according to policy guidelines.

 

Parent Signature___________________________________________Date:____________________

 

 

I read and understand the DCF call policy and that I am required to call and report my child on days they will be absent.

 

 

Parent Signature___________________________________________Date:____________________

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO CREDIT GIVEN FOR HOLIDAYS, CLOSURES OR ABSENTEEISM. ALSO, THERE IS NO CHANGING CHILD’S SCHEDULE TO MAKE UP DAYS MISSED.

 

Parent Signature___________________________________________Date:____________________

 

School Readiness Children

 

For children under the terms of Sarasota County Coalition’s School Readiness program (“SR”). please note the following:

  • Registration fees are due IN FULL at the time of registration.

 

  • Parents are responsible for any differential fee that is not covered by the coalition/parent fee. (A worksheet will be provided to show exact fees)

 

  • An absence note must be provided for each absence. Any absences more than 3 days per month will need a doctor’s note along with the parent note. If a doctor’s note is not provided for absence days beyond 3 per month, parents are responsible for full payment of those missed days. Please note that if that payment is not made before the next week’s billing is processed, a late fee will be incurred.

 

  • Parents must call their children out for the day if they will not be attending school. Please note that as some children are considered “at-risk”, we are required to notify the coalition if your child is a no show/no call.

 

  • Please note that we are required to report to the coalition any payments outstanding by the end of each month.

 

 

 

 

 

Parent Signature___________________________________________Date:____________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noah’s Ark Preschool

2021-2022 School Year Closures

 

 

Professional Day August 5, 2021, Closing at 12:00pm

Professional Day August 6, 2021

Labor Day - September 6, 202

Professional Day – October 15, 2021

Thanksgiving Break - November 25 & 26, 2021

Christmas Break - December 23, 24, 2021

New Year – December 30, 31, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - January 17, 2022

President’s Day - February 21, 2022

Professional Day – March 21, 2022

Good Friday - April 15, 2022

Memorial Day - May 30, 2022

Juneteenth – June 20, 2022

Independence Day - July 4, 2022

Professional Day August? 2022 TBA

(This will be the Friday before the 2021-2022 school year begins.)

 

PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO CREDIT OR SUBSTITUTION OF DAYS GIVEN FOR HOLIDAYS, CLOSURES OR ABSENTEEISM.