This Handbook is designed to help our Centers run smoothly by clarifying Parent and Center obligations for guiding day-to-day operations. Please take some time to become acquainted with the Handbook contents before your child begins our program. Some of these policies have been revised, so even if you are a returning parent, you will want to read them thoroughly. Click on any of the links below to view its contents.
Family Handbook (PDF, )
OUR MISSION & VISION
The Center for Early Education provides outstanding research and training opportunities for college students seeking knowledge of early childhood education and development. Under the guidance of our dedicated, professional staff, the Center for Early Education creates stimulating, campus-based, active learning experiences for children ages 2 through 5. Our program cultivates academic readiness and social/emotional development within a nurturing, respectful environment that meets the needs of our community.
The Center for Early Education will be a national model for student learning and faculty research in early childhood education and development. The Center for Early Education will be where early childhood professionals, faculty, students, families and the greater community come to experience the finest early childcare training, education and service.
The Montgomery College Early Learning Centers are licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education, Office of Licensing. The Centers are also nationally accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
NAEYC is the largest professional organization of early childhood educators in the world, and the recognized leader in development and articulation of best practice. Early childhood programs accredited by NAEYC’s National Academy of Early Childhood Programs have voluntarily undergone a comprehensive process of internal self-study, invited external professional review to verify compliance with Criteria for High-Quality Early Childhood Programs, and been found to be in substantial compliance with the Criteria. Additional information regarding NAEYC and its accreditation standards can be found online at NAEYC Accreditationnew window.
Pre–Enrollment Visit – To support the adjustment period, all families are required to have their child visit the classroom before entrance into the program. During this time, the family member and child are encouraged to become involved in the classroom activities. Pre-enrollment visits may be a half an hour to an hour in length. This opportunity allows the children to begin to develop a sense of trust, meet their teachers and become comfortable in the classroom setting.
Adjustment and Trial Period – Once a child has begun attendance at the Center, there is a one-month trial period. Within this period, employees and families are in regular communication to assist the child in a successful adjustment. Should a family member and/or Center Manager decide that the program is not meeting the child’s needs, the child may be withdrawn. Should there be a credit, the parent will receive a refund for the portion of the billing period remaining after the child’s enrollment is terminated.
As children adjust, here are some things that families can do to help them adapt to the new environment of the Montgomery College Early Learning Centers:
- Most of all be patient, tolerant and easygoing. Recognize that beginning a new program, like all developmental milestones can be stressful and there will be some tension for the child.
- Remember to give the child plenty of preparation for coming to Montgomery College Early Learning Center. Children need and want to be told where they will be going, how long they will be there, and where you will be. They do not like surprises that relate to being separated from family.
- For the first few days, a parent or family member are welcome to stay with the child for several minutes. In fact, the parent can come early and stay for fifteen minutes, the child will feel more relaxed than if allowed only enough time to “drop and run.”
- After the first week the child is with us, it will be helpful to the child if the parent/family member shorten the time of the stay in the Center at drop off time. Teachers are experts in helping children to express their fears and soothing their tender feelings as you leave.
- To ensure a healthy development of trust, families are encouraged to ALWAYS say good-bye to the child and assure the child that they WILL BE BACK LATER.
- Good-bye rituals (i.e., a “big bear hug” or a “kiss to last all day” or waving good-bye from the good-bye window) can be comforting to children.
- Sometimes a tangible item, i.e., a family photo for a child to keep with him/her during the day, can help ease the transition.
- Upon return, be sure to speak directly with the child about the fact that you came back to pick him/her up to go home. Sometimes young children have fears that parents will not return and that the Center is their new home. Children need to be assured that the parent/family member will pick them up every day.
- Lastly, remember to talk to the child’s teacher and the Center Manager about any concerns. Call the center by phone, write a note or e-mail or request a time to sit down and share the concerns. Because they are with children at drop-off and pick-up times, teachers are not able to discuss extensive concerns during these periods. Arrange a time to share concerns when the teacher can give undivided attention. A professional team is here to partner with children and families, so please speak with the staff.
Curriculum – Young children are learning all the time! At Montgomery College Early Learning Centers, each experience in the life of a child is seen as "curriculum" or an opportunity to learn new concepts and to gain new skills and ideas. Daily experiences are tailored for each individual child to reach optimal development and success. Through play, active participation and decision-making, young children may:
- Enhance their self-concept.
- Increase their awareness of the world around them.
- Build skills for positive and healthy interactions with peers and adults.
- Gain foundational skills in literacy and mathematics needed to be successful in school.
- Learn to care for and respect materials and property.
Developmentally appropriate activities are designed to meet children’s physical, social, cognitive and emotional needs. Physical development highlights good health and hygiene practices and appropriate nutrition; activities that enhance each child’s body coordination of large muscles through running, jumping, climbing, dancing, bike riding, ball playing, etc.; fine motor skills develop eye-hand coordination through such activities as block building, lacing, connecting and disconnecting interlocking blocks, and handling crayons, markers, scissors, and bean bags.
Social development highlights working and playing together through small and large group activities, as well as the creation of friendships through effective dialogue and interactions, negotiation and problem solving, appropriate turn- taking, role playing, and involvement in community life.
Cognitive (or intellectual) development highlights language and literacy activities, reading readiness, recalling events, processing information and following directions. Cognitive development also includes math readiness, sorting and classifying, comparing and counting; science, sensory and carpentry activities include using one’s five senses to understand, explore and investigate the environment, hypothesize and draw conclusions.
Emotional development highlights interactions with staff and children that build self-confidence and self-concept. It includes the ability to identify and express one’s needs appropriately and assist others, self-reliance and trust in oneself and others; includes the ability to venture to try new experiences, separation, transition, flexibility and adaptability to daily routines and schedule adjustments; incorporates freedom of expression through dance, music and movement, creative art and dramatic play.
Written curriculum resources are Building Language Literacy (Scholastic), and Growing with Mathematics (MacMillan) A daily schedule and lesson plan is posted in the classroom. Schedule and lesson plans are subject to change. Throughout the day, “teachable” moments occur that are not planned. When planning, teachers use curriculum as a guideline and take note of children’s interests to support learning in all developmental areas.
Assessments of Development – Teachers maintain a developmental portfolio of each child’s growth and progress. During scheduled parent/teacher conferences, the assessments are shared with families in written form. Families are welcome to review their child’s portfolio at any time. Families are further encouraged to share observations from home that may be beneficial to the teaching staff in their assessments.
Whenever a family member has any concerns or questions for the teachers, they are encouraged to consult with the teacher in charge of their child’s classroom. Additional conferences may be scheduled as needed or requested by the parent or classroom teacher.
Teachers will use multiple assessment sources, including results of informal and formal assessments to identify what children have learned. Teachers are expected to adapt curriculum and teach to meet the needs and interests of the children and extend their engagement. These assessments will be completed in the Fall, Winter and Spring.
Field Trips – Montgomery College Early Learning Centers’ regular campus program may include activities such as campus/neighborhood walks, field trips, and other off-site activities that give the children a first-hand opportunity to add more specific information to what they already know about their world. Transportation for children not riding in their own parents’ vehicles may be in College vans driven by Center staff or in chartered vehicles. Car seats must be provided for van trips in accordance with Maryland State laws. Additional fees, if any, will be due before the scheduled activity and all such activities will be announced well in advance.
-2½ year olds will only be permitted to go on field trips when a family member drives and attends the field trip. When a family member attends a field trip, they will be expected to be responsible for their own child and may be asked to assist with other children. In order for children to participate in field trips, permission must be given by signing the field trip portion of the Personal Profile and Release Form.
Behavior Management and Guidance – Montgomery College Child Care Services’ philosophy of guidance is designed to help each child develop self control and responsibility for his/her own actions. The teachers interact with the children in a consistent, respectful, positive manner, guiding them in achieving those inner controls. Simple understandable classroom rules are established with each group of children and posted in classrooms. These rules are set to establish limits of behavior required for the safety and protection of the children.
Children are made aware of expectations, inappropriate behavior and the resulting consequences. Likewise, behavior management is developmentally related to the child’s act and not out of proportion to the particular inappropriate behavior. Positive, functional statements are used when redirecting a child.
No child is subjected, under any circumstances, to corporal punishment inflicted in any manner upon the body. Guidance procedures are reviewed with every employee, volunteer and intern when participation in the program begins. When children demonstrate serious, persistent and or challenging behavior, teachers will work together with families and other professionals to develop and implement an individual plan to support your child.
In the judgment of the Center Manager, the Center may terminate a child’s enrollment effective immediately, if the child’s behavior threatens the physical or mental health of him/herself, other children and teaching staff in the center.
OUR OPERATIONAL POLICIES
Open Door Policy – At Montgomery College Early Learning Centers we welcome you to visit your child during the day. Families are encouraged to partake in activities, assist in the classroom or eat lunch with their child. Our teachers can share with you appropriate times to visit or activities in which they would especially welcome your support.
If at any time, a family requires the services of a translator, MCEL Center employees will make every effort to provide this service. Teachers are available for quick verbal updates about your child at drop-off and pick-up times. The Center Manager is available by phone or e-mail as is the Child Care Services Director. We are also willing to schedule a conference with you at your request, as needed. Please keep us informed of significant changes and events that might affect your child’s typical behavior patterns.
Child's Enrollment and Medical Files – Maryland State Department of Education licensing regulations, as well as National Association for the Education of Young Children standards, require that the following information be on file at the center no later than the first day of attendance:
- Current, up to date medical and immunization records (supporting evidence for cases in which a child is under-immunized because of a medical condition, documented by a health official or family’s religious beliefs)
- Lead Screening form
- Current health insurance information for treatment in an emergency. Families have the right to deny providing information related to health insurance
- Current emergency card information (must be updated annually)
- Special health needs such as allergies, chronic illness (e.g., asthma, hearing or vision impairments, feeding needs, neuromuscular conditions, urinary or other ongoing health problems, seizures, diabetes)
- Medication Authorization form (if applicable)
- Personnel Profile Form
- For students only – a current semester class schedule to notify the parent in case of an emergency
- Registration and Billing Agreement
- Acknowledgment of receipt of “A Parent’s Guide To Regulated Child Care” form
- About My Family form
Sign In and Out – Upon daily entrance to and departure from the center, it is a licensing requirement that parents and or guardians sign a child in and out daily. These records are used for attendance purposes, tracking the number of children in the center at all times, and are critical for emergency evacuation procedures. The Sign In and Out forms are found in the parent information area of each classroom.
Confidentiality – It is contrary to the privacy and legal interest of the center and those served to give out information regarding children and parents. Such information must be held in strict confidence and may not be discussed with any unauthorized person outside the center. All employees are expected to have respect for the professional privacy of the Early Learning Center families and staff. Inside the center, such information shall be discussed only when it would benefit the care and education of the children and the parents.
For families, all employees are expected to respect a family’s right to privacy and confidentiality regarding all health, behavioral and developmental records and information concerning a child. Various federal and state statutes, local ordinances, accreditation standards, and regulations protect individual rights to privacy and confidentiality. Families should not ask for and will not be provided with personal information (e.g., telephone numbers or addresses) of other families for outside activities such as party invitations and/or play dates.
Grievance Policy — Montgomery College Early Learning Centers make every attempt to offer the highest quality care to all children and families. It is recognized that there may be occasions when families have concerns about particular events, situations or employees. In those instances, families are encouraged to talk to the child’s lead teachers as a first point of contact. If contact is not satisfactory, families are encouraged to contact the Center Manager. If there is still no satisfactory resolution, the family is encouraged to contact the Director of Child Care Services. The Director will then communicate directly with the family and may schedule meetings with the appropriate parties to gather relevant information before determining a course or courses of action. The family will be informed, as appropriate within confidentiality requirements, as to the result of the Director’s inquiry and the action(s) taken. Should a family find the outcome of this process unsatisfactory, they are encouraged to contact the Associate Director of Administration for Auxiliary Services.
Inclement Weather & Emergency Closings — Montgomery College Early Learning Centers are required to adhere to the cancellation policy of the College. That means the centers will be closed when the College is closed for inclement weather or emergencies; e.g., snow, power outages, etc.
To determine the College’s operational status at these times, please use the following communications systems:
- Check the College’s Web site at Montgomery College or if applicable, log on to MC e-mail. A College-wide e-mail will be sent to announce closures or delays. Families are encouraged to sign up for MC Alert to receive additional notifications of closures or delays.
- Tune in to area radio or television stations, including Montgomery College Television, cable channel 10, in Montgomery County. Dozens of commercial radio and TV stations are also notified including: NBC Channel 4/WRC; Fox Channel 5/WTTG; Channel 7/WJLA; Channel 9/WUSA; and cable news Channel 8; Radio – WTOP (103.5 FM), WMAL (630 AM), WAMU (88.5 FM), WFMD/WFRE (99.9 FM).
- Call the College’s main phone number, 240-567-5000, to hear an updated message in the event of closures or delays.
In the event of an early closing, a family member needs to pick up their child within one (1) hour of notification. There is no refund or credit against tuition charges for such closings. A late fee will be charged if their child is picked up past the time of the center closing.
Parking — Each center provides a designated parking area for drop off and pick up. The Campus Security Office will ticket a car if not parked in the center’s parking area. Please check with the Center Manager for parking area information.
Babysitting – At Montgomery College Early Learning Centers, our teachers are early childhood educators. As such, we expect all teachers to abide by the Code of Ethical Conduct as set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This principal states, “We shall not use our relationship with a family for private advantage or personal gain, or enter into relationships with family members that might impair our effectiveness in working with children.” Please refrain from asking our teaching staff to care for your child before or after center hours of operation.
Lost and Found – The center will not be financially responsible for lost, damaged or items left behind at the center. Please notify the classroom teacher if any child’s items are lost, and staff will make every attempt to locate the item. Please do not allow a child to bring the following:
- Money, small objects or food items that can be a choking hazard.
- Chapstick, lip balm and other personal toiletries. Children like to share these and it is not hygienic.
- Toys and other items brought.
Clothing and Shoes – Children must be dressed comfortably for active play. Paint, dirt, and spilled juice can make program participation hard on clothes. Clothing needs to be easy for the child to manage by him/herself and completely washable. Children are offered opportunities to use a wide range of materials including paints, pastels, chalk and other items that may stain. Even though children are instructed to push up their sleeves and wear art smocks to protect their clothing, stains are still common. This possibility needs to be considered when dressing children for school classroom activities. The center will not be financially responsible for replacing children’s clothing.
Labeling clothing is a must. Every clothing item a child wears or brings to the center must be clearly labeled with his/her name. A complete change of clothes for each child (shirt, pants, socks, underwear) must be kept in the child’s storage area at the center at all times.
Clothes must be appropriate to the weather. Outside play is an integral part of the daily curriculum. Children are required by NAEYC to go outside every day. Boots are needed for snow and wet muddy days. Hats, mittens, scarves, sweaters, boots, coats and other possessions must be clearly labeled with your child’s name. Shoes must be sturdy, with a closed heel and toe and a non-skid sole, to allow for traction, mobility and safety for all activities in all types of weather. Sneakers are ideal; slippery sole shoes (i.e., Crocs and Jellies) and sandals are not allowed.
Immediate Termination — Center Manager may terminate a child’s enrollment effective immediately if any of the following conditions arises:
- In the judgment of the Center Manager, the child’s behavior threatens the physical or mental health of him/herself, other children or employees in the Center.
- Inappropriate, harmful behavior from a child’s family member. Physically or verbally abusive behavior is not acceptable and will result in immediate dismissal. A collaborative partnership is critical to a successful early childhood experience. If a family has unfounded, repeated concerns, the Center Manager will give notice to the family to locate a program better suited to meet their child’s needs.
- Tuition has not been paid by the due date.
- The child is picked up late more than three (3) times in a semester.
- The child is ill when brought to the center more than three (3) times within a semester.
- The parent fails to pick up a sick child promptly (within an hour) more than three (3) times within a semester.
Termination With Two Weeks Notice — The Center Manager may terminate a child’s enrollment with two (2) weeks written notice to the parent/guardian if any of the following conditions arises:
- Any of the conditions listed above (assuming the Center has not exercised its right to terminate enrollment immediately).
- In the judgment of the Center Manager, the center’s program does not meet the developmental or special needs of the child.
- Necessary items (such as all completed forms, clothes, diapers, food, etc.) are not provided as described in this Family Handbook.
- Failure by the parent/guardian to comply with the terms and conditions of the Registration and Billing Agreement and this Family Handbook.
No appeal is provided for termination of enrollment as set forth in the provisions of this section.
Technology - Montgomery College Early Learning Center limits the use of interactive technology. Technology used at the center includes apps, non-commercial television programming, videos, streaming media and ebooks. Technology is only used to enhance a lesson and screen time will be limited to less than 30 minutes a week. Center owned technology may be used for student observation and to assess children’s progress.
Moderation of screen time is key for healthy development. The Montgomery College Center for Early Education Lab School adheres to guidelines and recommendations provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. Screen time is prohibited for young children under the age of two years. For children in childcare ages two to five years screen time will be limited to 30 minutes per week and less than two hours per day total.
The Montgomery College Center for Early Education Lab School understands that T.V. and other electronic media can limit children’s explorations and interactions with others. Therefore any technology and media usage will support and extend the curriculum and engage students in a creative and authentic way. Screen time guidelines are indicated as followed:
- Allow a maximum of 30 minutes total per week of educational and age appropriate screen time (video, iPad, DVD)
- Allow no more than 15 minutes of educational computer time per day
- Zero screen time for children under the age of two
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF, ) , (AD-3027) found online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
- Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
- Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
- Email: mailto:email@example.com .
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Healthy Environments – We are committed to providing a healthy environment for all children, families and employees. Upon enrollment, health forms are on file for each child noting current health information and updated immunization records. It is the family’s responsibility to update health records annually and submit notification of any updated immunization information. Upon daily entrance into our program, employees and children are asked to wash their hands before beginning the day in our classroom. Children and employees wash their hands throughout the day to reduce the spreading of germs. Surfaces that are touched frequently by many hands, including toilet handles, faucets, door knobs, tables, toys, equipment and furnishings are disinfected routinely.
Absent notification – Families are encouraged to notify the center if a child is absent due to illness or vacation. If a child is absent for more than three (3) consecutive days due to illness, the family must provide a note upon the child’s return to the classroom, verifying that the child is well enough to resume normal activities in the center. A medical note may be required. Please note that special arrangements will not be made to exclude a child from outdoor play. If a child is suffering from a communicable disease, the center is required to notify all families of the incident and what symptoms to look for in their own child. The child’s name will remain confidential when families are notified.
Exclusion of Sick Children from Care – In order to protect all children and teachers from illness, children and employees may not be present in the program if they have the following:
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting within the last 24 hours
- Fever within the last 24 hours
- Contagious or unidentified rash
- Severe cough
- A contagious illness (conjunctivitis, chickenpox, strep infection, impetigo, etc.)
- Head injury within 24 hours
- Severe cold or influenza
- Head lice
- Other unusual symptoms for your child (extreme tiredness, headache)
The family of a child who develops any of these symptoms while at the center will be called immediately to pick up the child. When an immediate family member cannot be reached, the emergency contacts on the Emergency Card form will be contacted. Families are responsible for making arrangements to pick up a sick child within an hour of notification. Children will be provided a comfortable space that is within sight and sound of employees while waiting for their family member to arrive. A child may not be readmitted to the center until 24 hours after the last signs of a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, (without medication).
Emergency Medical Care – All injuries will be documented on an Incident Report and given to the family the day of the incident for review. Depending upon the severity of the injury, a family member or designated emergency contact person will be notified. If the teacher believes that the child needs emergency medical treatment other than basic first aid, the following steps will occur:
- Contact Campus Security
- Call 911
- Contact family member or designated emergency contact
If a child must be transported for emergency medical care, the child will be taken by emergency vehicle to a local hospital or appropriate medical facility as deemed necessary by 911 emergency medical technicians. An employee who is familiar to the child will remain with the child until a family member or authorized emergency contact person takes custody of the child at the medical facility.
Administration of Medicine – Center personnel can ONLY administer medication (including over-the-counter medicines, sunscreen and vitamins as well as prescription medicines) to a child when the Authorized Medication Form is on file. For each medication needed, the Authorization for Medication Form must be completed to include:
- The child’s name
- The date of the prescription
- The name of the medication
- The medication dosage
- The administration schedule
- The administration route
- If applicable, special instructions, such as “take with food”
- The duration of the prescription; and
- An expiration date that states when the medication is no longer usable
All medication must be given to the child at least once at home to observe any reaction before providing the center with the medication.
All medications should be in the original containers. Each child’s medication should be labeled with the child’s name, the dosage, and the expiration date. Medication will be stored as directed by the manufacturer, the dispensing pharmacy, or the prescribing physician. Medication will be returned to the parent upon expiration or discontinuation. Non-prescription medications may not be administered to any child unless the Authorization for Medication Form is submitted by a family member or guardian.
With the exception of acetaminophen and topical medications, only one dose of a non-prescription medication may be administered to a child per illness unless a licensed health practitioner approves the administration of the non-prescription medication and the dosage.
Snacks/Lunches/Peanut Free Zone – The center provides nutritious snacks in both the morning and afternoon. While every attempt is made to accommodate special dietary needs, families are expected to check the weekly snack menu, posted in the family communication area and alert center employees to any dietary concerns.
Lunch is provided by the family. Milk will be provided by the center at lunch time. If a child is unable to drink milk due to allergies, please provide center employees with written notification and pack 100 percent fruit juice or a milk substitute. Due to licensing regulations, center employees are unable to heat food items for a child at lunch. If a warm meal is provided for lunch, please place food in a container to adequately maintain the heated temperature. It is each family’s responsibility to put the child’s lunch in the refrigerator if needed. Please label child’s lunch box and containers with the child’s name for easy identification.
Suitable lunch items are: yogurt, salad, cold cuts, fresh or canned fruit, vegetables, cheese sticks, and other healthy items. Please contact the center manager if further lunch suggestions are needed.
Because of choking hazards, the children will not be served the following foods: hot dogs unless cut into half circles, whole grapes, cherry tomatoes, nuts, popcorn, raw peas, hard pretzels, chunks of raw carrots or large pieces of meat. Candy, chocolate, cookies, cupcakes or other sugary items do not provide adequate nutrition and will also not be served. The above items will be sent home if packed in a child’s lunch box.
We are a 100% peanut free facility. This is to ensure the safety of children who are allergic to peanuts and foods containing peanuts. These conditions can result in airway restriction that requires immediate emergency medical care. Although the program strives to be a peanut free/allergy free environment, it is not possible to guarantee that the classrooms are food allergen free zones. Due to the fact that parents provide lunches for children on a daily basis, it is impossible to ensure that there are no nut products in every child’s lunch. Instead families are requested to exclude peanuts and peanut products from all lunches.
Food Allergies – For any child with special health care needs, food allergies or special nutrition needs, the child’s health care provider is required to provide completed medical instructions on page two of the Emergency Card noting signs/symptoms and special procedures if an allergic reaction occurs. The center will strive to protect children with food allergies from contact with the problem food.
Please notify the center manager if your child is allergic to any food. The center will post that information in the food preparation area and in the areas of the facility the child uses so it is a visual reminder to all those who interact with the child during the program day.
Diapering – Children will be diapered every two hours and/or as needed. All diaper changes will be documented on a record sheet. Families must provide a sufficient labeled supply of disposable diapers and diaper wipes for a child. When a child needs a prescription strength cream for a diaper rash, an Authorization for Medication form with a physician’s signature and parent’s signature is required. Over the counter diaper rash creams may be used only when a parent completes and signs a medication authorization form.
Pull-ups may be used at the center only if they have the side open-closures. Please notify the child’s teacher during the toilet training process. Center employees can support children at this time by reminding them often to use the toilet and encouraging independence. Please dress the child in clothes that he/she can easily remove to ensure a successful experience. Belts, overalls, and pieces of clothing that are difficult to remove without adult help are discouraged during this time.
Sunscreen – Families are asked to provide sunscreen for children to support sun safety. Families are encouraged to apply sunscreen when children are dropped off each morning. Center employees can apply it in the afternoon if a completed Medical Authorization Form is on file.
Emergency Evacuation Procedures – Each center will conduct monthly fire drills and other emergency preparedness drills throughout the semester. Emergency Evacuation maps are posted in each exit area throughout the Center. In the event of any emergency requiring evacuation of the building, emergency contact information for each child will be in the possession of center employees. Every possible attempt will be made to contact families with the location of the children.
Rest Periods – Children work and play hard all morning and need time to relax. Individual cots are assigned to all children who are in the Center between 12:30 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. for nap time. It is the family’s responsibility to provide one flat crib-size sheet for your child’s cot. Families may also send a small lightweight blanket and pillow. All nap time linens must be clearly marked with the child’s name. All items must be laundered on a weekly basis and returned to the Center. Linens will be stored in labeled zip bags in an effort to keep the spread of germs to a minimum. Please be sure the child’s linens will fit completely into the bag.
Children's Lending Library – A children’s take home library is available for your family to check out books periodically. Each book kit includes suggested activities.
County Resources – Our program partners with county agencies providing developmental screenings, behavior support, health consultation and tuition subsidy programs.
Close Communication – Close communication is important as families and teachers work together to provide the best possible experiences for each child. The methods listed as links on the Family Handbook page are ways to foster family and teacher communication.
Departure/Pick Up – Quick parent messages to the teacher’s in the beginning of the day are always encouraged. Families also have an opportunity to check in with teacher’s during pick up time to see how a child’s day went.
Bulletin Boards/Clip Board – Be sure to check out any notes posted on the clip board or Parent Communication area to alert you to closings, parent trainings, special activities, etc.
Conferences – Family/teacher conferences to discuss each child’s developmental progress are held formally twice a year in the fall and spring semesters. In addition, feel free to contact teacher’s and/or the Center Manager throughout the year to schedule additional conference times if needed.
Annual Family Survey – An annual survey is distributed to all families requesting feedback regarding experiences while participating in the Montgomery College Early Learning (MCEL) program. All observations, suggestions and feedback are welcome. The MCEL program and services aim to provide a quality early childhood experience for families and children.
Our Staff - Montgomery College Early Learning Centers teachers have extensive experience and knowledge in the early childhood education field. As educators, all staff continuously strives for best practices. All employees are required to meet Maryland State Department of Education/Office of Childcare qualifications and National Association for the Education of Young Children standards. Upon initial hire, the following documentation is required: pre-employment medical, notarized release of information, proof of age, proof of initiation of a criminal background check, transcripts and reference information. Before working with children, new teaching staff is given an initial orientation that introduces them to fundamental aspects of program operations.
Ongoing continued training is required for all positions. Staff professional development days are scheduled throughout the year to keep abreast of current developmental practices. Each employee develops a professional development plan with their supervisor to set goals for continuous development.
Since the program is an integral part of a college community, the early childhood education department has partnered with the program to support students interested in the education field. Occasionally, practicum students may observe and assist the teachers in the classroom. Please note, students are never left alone to directly supervise the children. It is a pleasure to support future educators and model best practice.
We thank you for allowing us to play a special role in your family’s life. We take pride in providing high quality services to every child enrolled in our program and look forward to working with your family! Please feel free to speak to your child’s teacher or the Center Manager if you ever have any questions or concerns about the program.