Our program serves children between the ages of 3 years and kindergarten entrance. Our program is designed to be the two years prior to entering kindergarten based on the California September 1st deadline. Children must be potty trained by the time they begin attending the Early Childhood Learning Center. The definition of potty trained: Child does not exceed more than an average of three accidents a week. Our enrollment includes children of faculty, staff, University students and the community.
Lunch, Snacks and Naps
Full day children receive a hot lunch from the University cafeteria and rest or nap after lunch. Nutritional snacks are served in the morning and afternoon. We are able to accommodate 18 children per day in our nap room.
Number of Children per Classroom
- Three-year old classroom: 12 per day
- Four-year-old classroom: 16 per day
Our Program Offers Several Enrollment Options
- Full Days 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. TTh, MWF, M-F
- Mornings 8:30-11:30 a.m. TTh, MWF, M-F
We Offer a Developmental Approach
Our program consists of a teacher-prepared environment with a variety of experiences that invite children’s active participation. Some examples of these classroom choices include a writing center, process oriented art, listening centers, science exploration, sensory activities, block building, dramatic play, puzzles, games, books, math readiness activities, language and print rich activities. Children are free to select any or all of the available activities each day. Adults circulate among the various centers to scaffold, guide and direct the child's learning.
In addition to this individualized approach, a time is set aside each day for group involvement. These group activities are devoted to helping the emergent child develop language and print readiness. During these group times, teachers use various methods of meeting the learner through storytelling, puppetry, creative dramatics, songs, finger plays, use of rhythm instruments, cooperative games, movement to music and discussions.
Seasonally based themes help children organize and make sense of the world around them. The ECLC approach to learning is child centered. Teachers carefully listen to the children's interests and ideas. Projects then emerge from collaborations between the children and teachers.
We enjoy a beautiful setting and spend much time outdoors. In addition to our playground with grass and trees, there are wide-open spaces for special games and activities, the whole campus for nature walks, and the athletic fields overlooking the ocean. Our on-campus field trips have included:
- touring the library with the circulation supervisor
- guest speakers from the community
- visiting the post office to mail letters and packages
The Early Childhood Learning Center will be open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for children enrolled full days. (A suggestion to parents—it’s a long day for young children to be away from home. Pick them up as early as possible!) For children remaining for the afternoon, a hot lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. Simple midmorning and mid-afternoon nutrition is also served.
Children enrolled for the morning only should arrive at about 8:15 a.m., no later than 8:30 a.m. and should be picked up promptly at 11:30 a.m. Sometimes there is room for morning children to remain for lunch ($5) or lunch, rest time and the afternoon snack ($20), but this must be cleared with the school and paid on that day.
A parent, guardian, or designated representative of the child's parent or guardian should bring the child into the Early Childhood Learning Center. Upon arrival, wait until a staff member determines that the child is without obvious signs of illness, and then sign in on the appropriate register. A parent, guardian, or designated representative of the child's parent or guardian shall sign the child out, using full signature, on the appropriate register before taking the child from the premises. The person picking up the child must show valid picture I.D. whenever requested by the ECLC staff. This includes parents as well as family and friends. Your child cannot be released to anyone not listed on your emergency form without your expressed written permission. The sign-in sheets are kept for lunch count, attendance records, and legal purposes. California Community Care Licensing dictates that parents, guardians, or designated representative of the child's parent or guardian MUST sign their children in and out each day using full signature (initials are not allowed). The parents should check the child’s cubby daily for wet or soiled clothes or bedding, and the “classroom” cubbies for art projects and paperwork.
Children need to be signed out and leaving the center by their program’s closing time (11:30 a.m. or 5:00 p.m.). Parents will be charged a late fee of $1 for every minute they are late. The charge will be added to the next month's tuition payment. The clock at the sign-in/out table will determine closing times. Parents who are repeatedly late will be asked to make other arrangements for pick-up.
Each child must have a pre-enrollment examination by a physician (done within one year prior to the first day of school) and a lead blood test. The pre-admission health evaluation form and lead blood test form, signed by a physician, must be in our files on opening day or the child cannot be left at school. We must verify completed dates for all state required immunizations that are written/stamped on the California (yellow) immunization card. Senate Bill 277 states that there will be no personal beliefs exemption of immunizations as of January 1, 2016. It also states that in order for a medical exemption to be granted, a parent or guardian must submit a written statement from a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) which states:
- That the physical condition or medical circumstances of the child are such that the required immunization(s) is not indicated.
- Which vaccines are being exempted.
- Whether the medical exemption is permanent or temporary.
- The expiration date, if the exemption is temporary.
If the teacher greeting the child in the morning feels that she/he is not well, she may ask the parent to take the child home. Parents are asked to be considerate not only for their own child’s health and welfare, but also that of the other children and the teaching staff. Your child should be kept at home if she/he is experiencing any of the following:
- Sore throat or earache
- Swollen glands
- Sneezing, runny nose, with green or yellow mucus, watery eyes, or coughing
- Fever (during the preceding 24 hours)
- Vomiting or diarrhea (during preceding 24 hours)
- Unexplained rash or skin eruptions
- Flushed face, listlessness, headache, lack of appetite, etc.
- Any behavior signs that are noticeably out of the ordinary
The first three days of a cold are considered contagious. Even after that, children should not return to school if they have a temperature or their sinuses or coughing are not under control or if their participation in school activities would be detrimental to their physical state.
If a child becomes ill during the day, the parent (or adult indicated on the emergency form) will be called. The child will rest in the isolation area while waiting to be picked up. The school is equipped and staffed to care for well children only.
Please call to report the first day of a child’s absence. Report any contagious diseases immediately so other families can be informed.
In case of an accident, the parent will be called immediately. If the parent cannot be reached, the next step will be decided according to the circumstances or seriousness of the situation, which will include any or all of the following:
- Contact person listed by parent on emergency information form
- Call the university physician or nurse
- Call 911 if needed
An authorization for emergency medical services form signed by the parents must be on file at school. The parent will accept full financial responsibility for any services needed. It is the parent’s responsibility to keep the school informed so that names, addresses and phone numbers on the child’s identification and emergency information form are kept up-to-date.
First aid supplies are kept at school for simple cuts, scrapes and abrasions.
Prescription medications may be administered if all of the following conditions are met:
- Prescription medications shall be administered in accordance with the label directions as prescribed by the child's physician.
- For each prescription medication, the Early Childhood Learning Center shall obtain, in writing, approval and instruction from the child's authorized representative for the administration of the medication to the child.
- The instructions from the child's authorized representative shall not conflict with the label directions as prescribed by the child's physician.
The Early Childhood Learning Center's policy is not to administer over-the-counter medications.
Children staying all day will be provided a nutritional hot lunch. If your child has any allergies, the ECLC needs a written list of allergies on their emergency card and parent health history form. Accommodations will be made according to the child's health needs.
We encourage all children to try new foods. Group eating provides a great opportunity for exploration of new foods. No sack lunches from home will be allowed during the school year.
Each child's development is documented in an individual portfolio for each school year they are enrolled in the Center. The portfolio is a collection of children's work telling a story of what the child is learning and how that learning has occurred. Portfolios contain actual samples of writing, drawing, photographs of social development, records of teacher observations and checklists of skills. Portfolios are used as a tool for assessing growth and development.
Parents should watch the table and the bulletin board in the entrance for announcements. Weekly teacher letters will be e-mailed to keep you informed of school happenings and reminders. Refer to the attached school calendar for holiday recesses, school closings and many important dates that take place monthly.
The teacher’s time and attention belong to the children. Please limit conversations on arrival and departure to necessary information or instructions for the welfare of the child. We do need to be informed of changes and happenings that may affect the child’s emotions or behavior during the day. For lengthier consultation, conversations or conferences, you may make an appointment with the director and/or teachers or they may request a conference with you concerning the child’s growth and progress. The observation room is available to parents as well as university students.
Parent education events will be presented on topics of interest to parents of young children throughout the year.
University students from child development courses, psychology, education etc., observe children from the observation rooms. Other students have special assignments (such as child study, nutritional analysis, language development, speech assignments, etc.) and may occasionally request some information from the parents. It is hoped that parents will be willing to cooperate and assist the students in their understanding of children and family life and in their preparation for careers in working with children. Some students carry out mini-research projects and these are all approved by the academic director. The children enjoy these planned experiences and individual attention.
The Early Childhood Learning Center team is strongly committed to helping children grow socially and emotionally and to develop a positive self image. This is done with positive language and redirection. The children at the Early Childhood Learning Center are taught conflict resolution skills and teachers help guide children in working out conflict with others. Safety and the rights of the children are always our first concern.
Children should be dressed in self-help clothing or clothing they can manage with minimal help. Too many layers of clothing or difficult fasteners make it hard for the child to be independent in his/her toileting and are conducive to more accidents.
Dress children to be comfortable for play indoors and out. Sturdy, washable clothing is practical. Children should wear shoes that are appropriate for climbing and running. (No loose sandals or flip-flops.) Children climb, crawl, paint, etc. at school. Weather often changes during the day, so the child should always have a sweater or jacket for walks or outside play. Put the child’s name in any sweater, coat, or removable garment brought to school to lessen loss and mixups. Show the child where you put the name.
A change of (labeled) clothing should be in the child’s cubby in case of accidents or spills. Include underwear, pants, a top and socks folded and placed in a plastic baggie with the child’s name on it. The plastic bag is then used for soiled or wet clothes that need to go home. Please return clean clothing promptly for the next emergency use.
Children who stay for rest/nap time will in addition need a small blanket, crib sheet, small pillow and small stuffed animal. Please label each item. All of these items need to fit in the child’s cubby and be taken home at the end of each week to be cleaned. Five-day-a-week children must take their nap bedding home on each Wednesday and Friday to be cleaned.
Children may bring items from home to share with their classmates. The item a child brings to school will depend on the curriculum theme in his/her classroom.
Little cars and toys that fit in pockets should be left at home to be played with there. They often get lost, get into other children’s pockets and are a source of conflict. Bringing toys from home can become a status symbol and can be used to manipulate friendships. We ask that children not bring toy weapons of any kind to the center. Please do not bring gum, candy, money, fragile items. Pets are very welcome, but please speak to the teacher to plan for this.
Children enjoy celebrating their birthdays with school friends. The celebrations are kept appropriately simple. The child may “share” by passing out a special treat. Please try to limit the amount of sugar in birthday treats. If you wish your child to celebrate at school, please speak to the teachers a few days ahead of the date to ensure enough treats are provided. Do not distribute invitations to home parties at school unless every child in his/her is invited.
Your child's cubby needs to be emptied every day. Children’s creative art or craft work usually represents serious effort on the child’s part and it is important to treat it that way. The children will experience many materials, media and much joy through this activity. We encourage but do not stress the finished product. Emphasis is on the process and what happens to the child during the process, rather than on the product. Part of the experience is the child’s satisfaction and pride as she/he shows it to the family or sees it displayed at home.
Entering school is a big step for the child (and sometimes the parent). Children react to it in different ways. If the child cries or clings, do not be upset, but be calm and reassuring. Sit down with the child until she/he is more confident or interested in other children or activities. The teacher will help to guide you in the separation. When children do cry, they rarely continue after the parent leaves.
Sometimes when the first excitement wears off, some children have a delayed reaction to the separation and there may be some tears or fussiness or hesitancy, but it is transitory. Usually a simple statement, (i.e., “This is the day you go to school; You’ll stay home on Saturday”) is more effective than pleading or arguing. Then change the subject. At the same time you can be observant to see if there is a reason for the reluctance—is he/she tired, too rushed, coming down with something, jealous of a sibling, afraid of missing something at home or upset about a school friend or situation? Please feel free to talk to the teachers or directors about your concerns.
Talk about school but don’t talk too much. Help your child to know that going to school is a wonderful part of growing up. If you are confident that it is a good place for your child to be, she/he will take cues from you. Don’t let older siblings or neighborhood children scare or threaten your child by saying, “Your teachers will…,” or “At school you’ll have to…” etc. Do not talk about what you are going to do while they are at school. The child might want to do it with you or might feel you are anxious to get rid of him/her. Be glad to see your child after school, and enjoy any happenings, learning, songs, etc., that may be shared with you; however, some children seem to keep their school world private and don’t talk much about it. Sometimes these children will talk as a delaying tactic at bedtime, if you are a good listener.
If you have been on a more relaxed summer schedule, begin ahead to put your child to bed earlier. On school days, see that the child gets up early enough to get dressed and eat breakfast without rushing or stress or strain—on your part or the child’s. The child will have a better day at school and your day will be better too!
We look forward to getting to know you and your child. It is our hope that we become an extension of your family. We encourage open communication.