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YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo

YMCA Extended Day Kindergarten Program Parent Information Guide Revised August 2012

Table of Contents Philosophy and Program Statement Exceeding Your Expectations Extended Day Kindergarten Program

3 4

Quality Matters Quality Statement Caring Qualified Staff Guiding Children’s Behaviour Specialized Services

7 8 9 10

Registration Details Hours of Operation Closures Enrolment Fee Payment and Payment Options Subsidy Kindergarten Programs Service Termination

13 13 14 14 14 15 15

Daily Routine Arrival/Departure Absence Making Changes to Registration Nutrition—Food and Snacks Children’s Belongings Illness in a Child Administration of Medication Field Trips and Off Site Activities Added Value Programs Parent/Family Connections Parent Communication

17 17 17 18 19 20-21 21 22 22 24



Philosophy and Program Statement

Every morning, parents get ready for work: dressing kids, washing sleepy faces and grabbing a quick bite to eat before they’re out the door to work. Parents can trust that the YMCA supports their efforts to ensure their child’s healthy development by providing an environment where children will form friendships, grow, develop and thrive.

Exceeding Your Expectations Collectively YMCAs are the country’s largest provider of child care and licensed school age programs, and are committed to developing and operating the highest quality programs possible. The history and reputation of the YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo is evidence of this. The YMCA takes a holistic approach to children, families and communities. This is what sets us apart and makes us unique. Together we are building a healthy community one child, one family at a time. Quality care and education of children has a lasting impact on their ability to become healthy contributing members of our community. The YMCA is very proud of its commitment to the children and families that it serves. In all areas of program delivery, YMCA programs strive to exceed the standards set by the different government bodies ensuring your child gets the very best the YMCA has to offer. The YMCA is a non-profit charitable association of volunteers and professionals. The association operates under the direction of a Board of Directors and Leadership staff. Our programs are licensed by the Province of Ontario and adhere to all regulations and standards set out by the Day Nurseries Act. All centres have subsidy agreements with the Region of Waterloo Child Care Division. Local Health Units and Fire Departments inspect the facilities regularly. The YMCA is an active participant in the Waterloo Region Raising the Bar on Quality initiative: a community standards program for licensed child care. This is a voluntary, peer-driven, annual community accreditation program designed to promote healthy child care environments for children and support the professional development of Early Childhood Educators.


Kindergarten Extended Day Program The YMCA, in partnership with the local School Boards, provides an Extended Day Kindergarten program for four and five year old children. The extended day program is complementary to the core program and aligned with it in order to provide a seamless and consistent experience for the children. This program is offered before the core day begins and continues at the end of the day. The Extended Day program provides both child-initiated play and more structured play-based learning opportunities. Children are offered choices of learning activities that reflect their developmental stages. The learning activities are designed by the team to encourage the children to think creatively, to explore and investigate, to solve problems and engage in the inquiry process, and to share their learning with other. The extended day program is consistent with the following guiding principles:

All children benefit from consistent routines.

All children benefit from extended periods of time in a play-based program to independently explore and consolidate their learning throughout the day.

All children benefit from ongoing interaction with highly trained and qualified early learning professionals.

All children benefit from daily participation in activities that promote health, well-being and active living.

Families benefit from ongoing and regular communication with the early learning professionals who are actively engaged with their child.


Registration Details The YMCA is pleased to work with the Waterloo Region District School Board to offer our School Age Youth Development programs in a variety of schools across the region. Registration for these programs will be completed through the Waterloo Region District School Board website. After your registration is completed through the above link, the YMCA will contact you to confirm your request. Making Changes to Registration Any changes to your child’s schedule must be completed through the Waterloo Region District School Board website.



Quality Matters

Quality Statement Quality in all five areas of a licensed YMCA program leads to an experience for the children and their families that are much more than the sum of its parts. Human Relationships

Positive relationships among the children, among the staff team and positive relationships with the families.


Plenty of inviting areas to stimulate children’s exploration and involvement.


Balance of activities that are all about development, learning and fun.

Safety and Health

Constant supervision, effective procedures, responsive and understanding staff to attend to the health needs of each child.

Snacks and food served is nutritious and plentiful.

Effective Administration

Maintenance of ratios by qualified, caring educators.

Meaningful collaborations and partnerships with others.

Regular evaluations of effectiveness, responsiveness and overall quality of program that emphasize the need for continual improvement.


Caring Qualified Staff Our dedicated educators are qualified professionals carefully chosen through a selection process designed to determine their ability to meet the needs of children, to support parents and to meet the expectations of the YMCA. Our Educators have either attained their Early Childhood Education diploma or equivalent. All staff complete a Criminal Reference Check, First Aid and CPR as well as an orientation to the YMCA programs before being placed in the classroom. Continuous evaluation of staff and programming ensures ongoing high quality care for your child. Volunteers and Students From time to time, there will be volunteers and students at our centres. Their role is to enhance and assist in program activities and at no time will they be counted in our staffing ratios. Good to Know: Feel free to use this section to make note of details specific to your YMCA program of choice. 8

YMCA Staff:


Guiding Children’s Behaviour The YMCA feels that children gain necessary security from knowing how their day will unfold and what is expected of them. Our ultimate aim is to help the child achieve selfdiscipline and a sense of responsibility. A positive approach will be used to guide the children; each situation and child will be dealt with individually. Our educators will explain why the actions of the child are inappropriate and will use language suitable to the child’s developmental level. The child will be encouraged to use verbal skills rather than physical actions, thereby sharing their feelings with the staff and children. Prevention Positive Reinforcement: encouraging children Anticipating Trouble: planning and preparing the environment • Modeling: demonstrating appropriate ways of interacting • Providing Choices: outlining appropriate choices and encouraging children to make decisions for themselves • Limit Setting: developing boundaries for the children as a group • •

Intervention • Ignoring: some inappropriate behaviour can be ignored with more emphasis given to appropriate behaviour • Logical and Natural Consequences: striving to make children aware of the results of their actions • Re-direction: guiding a child into acceptable options when engaged in an unacceptable activity • Time Away: a short time away from the activity, for the teacher and child to think and then work out problem together Under NO circumstances will the following be used: corporal punishment, harsh, belittling or degrading responses, depriving a child of basic needs or confining a child.


Specialized Services The YMCA strives to provide a welcoming, supportive and safe environment for all children and families. The centre creates experiences for all children to discover similarities and embrace differences within themselves and others. Our commitment to meet the needs of all our children is realized through: Policies and Practices As an inclusive program, accommodations and allowances are made for children with special needs and allergies. Procedures and Day Nursery Act Policies are in place to facilitate management of medication, food sensitivities and life threatening allergies. It is our practice to work with the parents of the child to ensure the environment is safe and secure. We also work with the other parents and children in the centre to increase their knowledge and understanding of any special circumstances provided parental permission has been obtained.


For example, when a child has a severe allergy, a protocol is developed with each family. This protocol is communicated and posted so that all educators/students/ supply and support staff are aware of the child’s situation and can initiate action if required. Should a child have a life threatening allergy, we will request a photo of the child to accompany the protocol. Severe food allergies will result in restrictions of the food served within that centre so as not to put the child at risk. All educators and other staff working with the child will receive specific orientation to each individual child’s protocol and plan of action.

Relationships with Community Support Agencies Collaborating with other community agencies facilitates early identification and intervention as well as a comprehensive support network. The YMCA has established relationships with agencies such as kidsLink for behavioural supports, Kidsability for speech and language services, Cambridge Community Living—Preschool Services, K-W Habilitation Services for resource teacher consultations regarding physical, developmental and behavioural situations.



Registration Details

Hours of Operation YMCA programs provide care Monday to Friday, 51 weeks of the year. The centre will be closed for approximately one week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Dates will be posted. The centre will be closed: New Year’s Day Family Day Easter Monday Victoria Day Civic Holiday Labour Day Christmas Day Boxing Day

Good Friday Canada Day Thanksgiving Day

Additional closures will be posted.

Closures Most programs offer full day care options on Professional Activity Days. Check with your Centre for details. If a site will be closed due to inclement weather, the information will be broadcasted on your local radio station. Should the centre need to close during the day, parents will be notified and staff will remain on site until you can arrive to pick up your child.

Registration Registration for Waterloo Region District School Board programs occurs through this website: Registration for all other programs can occur directly with the YMCA site.


Enrolment Registration and Orientation Please complete all forms and return them to the centre PRIOR to your child’s first day. Once all the paperwork is complete, your child may begin. Parents are requested to arrange an appointment for an initial visit and interview at the centre. For those who require it, additional visits can be arranged in order to help facilitate an easier start for all. If your information should change, we require you to notify us immediately as it is vital that we are able to contact you in an emergency.

Fee Payment and Payment Options Refer to the Fee Schedule and Financial Policy for further information. Fees Relating to Absence Due to Illness Fees are not reduced for absence due to illness, statutory holidays or inclement weather. Fees Relating to Absence Due to Vacation 14

For those utilizing pre-authorized payments, you must contact the Supervisor 2 weeks in advance. This will allow us to withhold your pre-authorized payment for the holiday time requested.

Subsidy All YMCA Child Care centres have a Purchase of Service Agreement with the Region of Waterloo Child Care Division enabling them to register families who receive financial assistance. Further information is available from your centre Supervisor.

Kindergarten Programs Kindergarten programs are defined as Before and After School programs and School Closure programs. All Kindergarten programs run September - June. At the end of June, your spot will end. Accordingly, registration is required each spring for the following school year. You may choose to register for School Closure and Summer programs for an additional fee.

Service Termination YMCA Child Care requires two weeks written notice for permanent withdrawal from care or change in care requirements. Full program fees will be levied if sufficient notice is not given.



Our Daily Routine

Your child’s health and development, is a high priority in YMCA programs. At the YMCA, we know and understand that all children are individuals who have different needs and interests.

Arrival/Departure You must sign your child in and out every day. Sign-in includes escorting your child to a staff on duty and placing the time and your initials in the column next to your child’s name. Thank you for dressing and undressing your child upon arrival and departure. Release of Children If you are not picking up your child, please inform the educators. We will not release your child if we have not been told to do so. Individuals picking up your child will be asked to show photo identification before releasing your child to their care.

Absence Please call the centre before your child’s scheduled arrival if your child will be absent.

Making Changes to Registration Any changes to your child’s schedule must be completed through the Waterloo Region District School Board website and/or your program staff.


Nutrition—Food and Snacks YMCA programs provide morning and afternoon snack (as appropriate). Children are encouraged to try some of each food available. Children in group settings often eat foods that they would not touch at home, much to their parent’s amazement. Menus are posted and copies are available should you wish to take one home to assist in planning meals at home. We are conscious of food allergies and have allergy lists posted in the kitchen and eating areas. In the event that there is a severe life threatening allergy within your child’s centre, restrictions in food will apply. Children experiencing allergies may have substitutions. Speak to the Supervisor if your child has special dietary concerns, needs or allergies. Birthdays


Children often wish to celebrate their birthday with friends at the program. Any special food items brought in for a celebration must be store bought, must have an ingredients label and must be free of nuts and nut products. Parents are welcome to discuss any special plans with the centre.

Children’s Belongings What will my child need to bring? Each child is assigned a cubbie or hook to hold their personal belongings. Please label all belongings. We are not responsible for lost articles. Required belongings vary depending upon the age of your child, but in general:

Children’s clothing for child care should be comfortable, washable and easy for the child to fasten. Extra clothes are also a necessity. We often encourage children to participate in activities that can be messy, so they need clean, dry clothes to change into— especially if your child is learning toileting skills.

Time is spent outdoors each day, all seasons, weather permitting. Please ensure your child is dressed appropriately for each day’s weather and shoes are available each day.

A cuddly sleep toy or special blanket is always welcome.


Illness in a Child Health care is of great importance. Although illness in group settings is inevitable, we try to minimize this by practicing good hygiene, disinfecting toys regularly, and making daily health checks. When your child does get sick, we ask that you remember the following:

Children who are too ill to play, are too ill to come to child care

Children cannot be kept inside due to illness—all children go outside weather permitting.

Children who show signs of high fever, vomiting, diarrhea or other contagious illness cannot attend

Should your child become ill during the day you will be contacted to pick up your child

Your child can return to the centre after he/she is free of diarrhea and/or vomiting for 24 hours. In the case of an outbreak, your child can return to the centre after he/she is free of diarrhea and/or vomiting for 48 hours. 20

Administration of Medication Our staff can administer medications if:

Medications are brought in their original containers

Medication must be labeled appropriately with child’s name (staff will provide a label for over the counter medications)

Medication has not expired

Staff are required to follow the directions on the original container, a Doctor’s note may be required if the dosage is listed by weight or you are requesting a dosage different than the directions on the container.

Medication form is completed

Very strict medication procedures are in place to ensure that medication is given in the proper manner. Never leave medication, lotions, chapstick etc in your child’s bag or cubbie. Always hand them to a staff member.


Field Trips and Off Site Activities From time to time short walking trips or, on occasion, major learning trips may occur to expand the learning the children have begun in their classrooms. When learning trips are planned, parents will be given complete details regarding the purpose of the trip, the transportation method being used, the cost involved and the date/time of the activity. Walking and Learning trips are a wonderful way to expand experiences and have an adventure. Sometimes we stay put and invite the adventure to come to us! Information regarding special visitors or activities will be provided for parents.

Added Value Programs The following programs, are incorporated into our YMCA curriculum.


Small World (Global Education Program) Family Math Second Step Violence Prevention Program Virtues Program Parent Resources Home Reading programs Physical Activity programs Home Alone Intergenerational Programs Environmental Education


Parent/Family Connections

For some parents, involvement means that you share a special recipe for the children to prepare as part of a cooking experience. For others who work in professions that lend themselves to classroom visits, you might come in and talk to the children about your job. We even have some parents who volunteer to do sewing, typing or repairs. Whatever your skill, whatever your timeframe, we can help you find a way to become involved.

Parent Communication We know it is important to your peace of mind to have regular information about your child’s experiences. We always welcome your input, ideas and suggestions as to how we can make your child’s experience with us more enjoyable, safe and/or developmental. Parents are encouraged to visit when possible. Family Events Families are encouraged to participate in special events that are offered throughout the year. Parent/Teacher Conferences Opportunities to talk about your child’s healthy development can be arranged anytime by either parents or centre staff. Open Communication


The YMCA believes that your child’s experience must be shared between parent and staff. A variety of opportunities (such as newsletters, calendars, notes, Communication Journals) will be provided to ensure effective communication. Feedback Parents will be invited to participate in feedback forums (such as task groups, surveys) focused on particular child care issues. Program Evaluation Parents will be requested to fill out a Parent Satisfaction Survey periodically.

YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo

YMCA Mission Statement The Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA is a charitable association, creating opportunities to develop individuals, families and communities. YMCA Core Values Our values are based on our Christian Heritage. ACCEPTANCE Welcoming and open to all CARING Acting with compassion and concern for the well being of others HEALTH Developing people in spirit, mind and body RESPECT Treating all people with dignity RESPONSIBILITY Accountable for oneself, others, our environment and the world in which we live

YMCA Extended Day Kindergarten Program Parent Handbook  

An informative guide for parents interested in the YMCA Extended Day Kindergarten Program.