Gainesville Preschool Policies and Plans
Welcome and thank you for choosing A Child’s Academy. We are confident that your child’s time in our school will be a happy and exciting experience. This article is an excerpt from our parent handbook and serves as an informative guide so parents can know and understand our schools’ procedures, policies and plans. Please read carefully and keep these notes (or link) for future reference. We understand the importance of your decision to entrust us with the care and education of your child. In any group care setting, good policies are an important part of maintaining proper health and safety. Many of our policies are the result of our effort to ensure strict compliance state and licensing regulations. It is understood that by enrolling your child in our center, you agree to abide by all of our policies and procedures. Watch for updates on the pro-care check-in screen, parent information board, or a letter or e-mail to parents.
Our mission statement
At A Child’s Academy, we believe that children should be “hugged first, then taught. ” We strive to provide a nurturing, secure, and stimulating environment for young children, in which
children can safely explore, learn, play, and develop in all areas of growth: physically, emotionally, socially, & intellectually. We believe in being supportive of our parents, and we welcome their involvement and presence at A Child’s Academy at all times. We further believe that in such a caring atmosphere, where parents and teachers have open and honest communication, children thrive and have the opportunity to blossom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of our society.
ACA’s is designed to care for children from infancy through twelve years old, including before and after school care and summer programs. In order to ensure that our children receive the best care possible, we can only accept a limited number. Children are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, without regard for race, color, gender, sex, religion, marital or veteran status, national origin, handicaps or political beliefs.
A Child’s Academy – History
A Child’s Academy is a private locally owned preschool, started by Barbara Harpe, who opened her first child care center in 1976 with 110 children, 18 staff members, and a basic philosophy that children should be “hugged first, then taught.” This heartfelt, caring philosophy brought great success. In fact, every center she has subsequently opened filled to capacity within 90 days. She founded A Child’s Academy to find a better solution for her own children and for her genuine love for children. Through her many years of experience in childcare and reaching out with technological advances, Barbara has created a concept that is unique and on the cutting edge of the childcare industry.
Gainesville Preschool Policies and Plans – Programs
Classes are formed by age and developmental level. The following is a brief description of each of our
Infants (six weeks to 12 months old)
Taking care of infants is both demanding and rewarding. Each infant has individual needs. In a warm, loving atmosphere, our staff provides for those needs as well as giving special attention to developmental milestones. Music and story time are everyday activities in the infant room. Health and safety are our top priorities. To help maintain the cleanliness of the room, our infant rooms are shoeless and street shoes are not permitted in the room. Parents are asked to remove their shoes before entering or to wait until a teacher is available to hand belongings through the door. Each baby is provided his or her own crib with a sheet and blanket that is laundered daily. In addition, toys are sanitized twice per day (noon and evening) and as needed throughout the day as well. Parents receive daily reports on feedings, diapering, napping and special activities. We have two separate infant rooms — one for smaller babies and one for babies who are scooting and crawling. This protects smaller infants from being crawled over and gives crawling infants the freedom to explore without hindrance. Therefore all the infants are given more opportunities for his or her developmental activities. Physical separation for baby and parent is always difficult. A Child’s Academy strives to help parents and children experience a calm transition of physical and emotional separation through our safe and loving environment. You can return to work with the peace of mind that your child is in good hands with us.
Toddlers (1 and 2 Year Olds)
Toddlers are learning many new and exciting things, experimenting, and meeting new challenges as fast as they come. They are learning new social skills and with those skills come new levels of emotions. A Child’s Academy’s Toddler program is developed to provide hands-on activities which allow children to explore, inquire, and discover solutions first-hand. Daily activities focus on language development, encouraging independence, an environment with structure and rules, boosting creativity, developing fine and gross motor skills, self-help skills, potty training, sign language and social interaction.
Preschool (2 to 3 year olds)
Preschool children love to learn new information and master new tasks. Our program is designed to facilitate learning through many self-directed experiences. Throughout the day children have opportunities to explore the learning centers within the classrooms. Children benefit greatly from having clearly defined interest areas that are arranged to promote independence, foster decision-making, and encourage hands-on learning. Each learning center enhances the child’s core components of development: social-emotional, language, cognitive, physical, and aesthetic. Our curriculum enhances the learning centers through a workbook and thematic approach. Children have many opportunities to see how reading and writing are useful before they are instructed in letter names, sounds, and word identification. An abundance of these experiences provides children opportunities to develop language and literacy skills. Physical development needs are met daily with opportunities to use large muscles, including running, jumping, and balancing. Small muscle skills will be strengthened through play activities such as puzzles, painting, and cutting. We have designed our preschool programs to be part of a nurturing and loving environment where your child is our number one priority. When children receive warm, responsive care, we feel safe and secure.
Pre-Kindergarten (4 year olds)
The concept that children learn best through play is reflected in the setup of each classroom with learning centers designed to foster choice and independence. This environment encourages experimentation and provides comfort and the freedom of choice. The atmosphere encourages independence and the building of self-esteem. We’ve developed a Pre-Kindergarten program with kindergarten readiness skills in mind including literacy (phonics), writing, math, science and social studies. Literacy focuses on a balanced approach between phonics and whole language. Math skills are developed through hands-on experience and experimentation with manipulatives.
School-age (5-10 year olds)
We provide after-school care for children who attend elementary schools in our area. They have an afternoon snack, tutoring and homework time, organized sports, games, art, and other fun activities. In the summer, we offer a summer camp comprised of water days, themed activities, and field trips. A Child’s Academy picks up and drops off from the following elementary schools: Glen Springs Elementary School, JJ Finely, Norton Elementary School, Littlewood Elementary School, and Talbot Elementary School. If your child does not need to be picked up from school on a regularly scheduled day for any reason, you must call ACA by 11 am. (This is per policy)
Florida VPK program
A Child’s Academy participates in the Florida Pre-Kindergarten program. This program is for children who turn 4 years of age by September 1 of the current school year. Since it is a state-funded program, tuition for the program is free. You must provide a valid VPK certificate for enrollment in the program. Space and session times are based on availability. VPK is a three-hour session, held five days per week according to the Alachua County public schools calendar. Students are only allowed to miss 20% of the year, which averages to 3 days a month. Parents are required to sign an attendance verification form each month. Attendance guidelines require a written explanation, signed by the parent for any absences from VPK past 3 days in a month. Extended absences may result in disenrollment from the VPK program; families are urged to plan vacations in accordance with school breaks. At A Child’s Academy, we have developed several different VPK programs to meet the high level of educational demands that our parents have:
VPK Only – 8:30-11:30am
Our VPK only class provides your child 3 hours of our VPK A Beka curriculum which will prepare your child with pre-reading, pre-math, language, and social skills necessary to succeed in Kindergarten. Our program also includes weekly chapel, music movement, arts and crafts, outside time on our enhanced playgrounds.
VPK Half Wrap – 7:00-1:30 pm
We offer an extended half day enrichment learning program for our VPKers for an additional fee. It includes all the benefits of our VPK Plus option, plus breakfast and lunch, outdoor learning, and water days on our splash park and with our bounce houses. Children must be dropped off by 8:45 am for the day.
VPK Full Day Wrap – 7:00-6:00 pm
We also offer our full-time working parents a “wrap” program that allows for additional care from opening to closing for an additional fee. It includes all the benefits of our VPK Flex option, plus afternoon snack and naptime. Children must be dropped off by 8:45 am for the day. For more information on VPK eligibility, visit Florida Early Learning, ELC Alachua or e-mail us at [email protected]
Full-time versus part-time enrollment
We offer both full-time and part-time programs for families. For infants, we offer only full-time enrollment. For children ages one and older, we offer a three-day program scheduled on Monday/Wednesday/Friday or a two-day program scheduled on Tuesday/Thursday. If your child is enrolled in a part-time program they may not attend on non-scheduled days or times.
Drop in care
Drop in care is based on daily availability and starts after 8:45 am. There is a monthly minimum of $36 is charged and this amount is then applied towards your time used. Payment is due at the start of the day or first day of the week of care.
Gainesville Preschool Policies and Plans – Licensing
The governing organization for childcare is the Florida Department of Children and Families. We comply with all state licensing regulations and requirements. Our school is subject to inspection by state and city health, fire, licensing, and building agencies. If you should have any questions, concerns, to see a copy of the regulations, or need resource information related to childcare please check out their website at www.myflorida.com/childcare. A copy of our license, the current DCF regulations, and improved healthcare plan are available on-site for your review.
In an effort to help make sure that we do not overlook any regulations, we are inspected by the Florida Department of Children and Families. We also have undergone the Gold Seal Accreditation process and further intensive inspections to be held to those higher standards because we feel the State Standards are not enough to provide quality child care. In addition to Accreditation and the State Regulations, A Child’s Academy has also created an internal quality assurance department that inspects our school on a recurring basis.
we hope this article has clarified some information regarding our Gainesville preschool policies and plans. contact us today with any questions regarding our programs, policies and plans, or availability.