operational policies & parent information handbook updated 04/27/18
welcome to spilled milk social club Our mission… spilled milk social club (smsc) is a creative collective whose primary goal is to provide an environment for young people wherein they may explore creativity and the arts from myriad perspectives. The founders of spilled milk social club each have extensively diverse experiences working with kids, and have come together, combining their superforces to not only provide summer and after-school care for Central Austin families, but have also built a curriculum rich with thought provoking activities to encourage (for each child) the realization of their most prominent philosophy: EVERYONE HAS THE CAPACITY TO BE CREATIVE. Our child guidance philosophy… In our interactions with the children enrolled in the program, smsc commits to treating each child with respect while keeping in mind our goal of guiding them to be the best version of themselves. We wish to instill in the youth a sense of independence and self-empowerment so that our community, young and old, is one that is welcoming, friendly, safe and exciting. Our actions and words reflect a language, tone and intention that is sincere, genuine and constructive. We avoid communicating and acting out of frustration in hopes of modeling the most respectful and effective means of interaction for the children. In short, we (smsc staff and collaborators,) carry ourselves in the same manner that we expect from the children under our care. Our business… The owners of spilled milk social club, Ali Epperson and Stella Maxwell, strive to create a community wherein the staff, children and families all feel a sense of ownership and pride in what we are and what we wish to become. As young and new business owners, it is important to us that we maintain open and honest communication with our children, their parents, our staff and other members of the community.
General Information What are the hours of operation? We are open Monday through Friday; hours vary with the program. Summer Camp: Monday - Thursday 7:30a-6p; Friday 7:30a-5p After School: 2:45-6pm What is the fee for late pick-up? We close at 6 pm. If you arrive between 6 and 6:10, a $5 late fee will apply. An additional $1 per minute fee will apply for each minute after 6:10. For example, if you arrive at 6:14 you will be charged $5 for the first 10 minutes, and 4 additional dollars for the 4 minutes past 6:10 for a total of $9. What is the “No Call” Policy during the After-School program? We expect to pick your child up from school each day unless we hear from YOU before 2pm. In order to assure that our pick up runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible, we MUST know in advance of any changes in your pick up plans. I If we have not heard from you and are at your child’s school to pick them up, we WILL NOT LEAVE THE SCHOOL UNTIL WE FIND THEM, OR HEAR FROM YOU! A $10 fee will be charged for the first 2 No Calls. After that, the fee will increase by $10 each time. Please understand that this is for the safety of your child.
When is spilled milk social club closed? We are closed New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. spilled milk social club may also be closed on additional days during the major holidays. These closures are listed on our website: nousecrying.com
What services does spilled milk social club offer? During summer months: •
We offer day camp for 5-13 year-old children
We plan field trips and onsite events every day. Parents are provided with a weekly schedule of activities.
During the school year: •
We offer after school programming for elementary school aged children (5-12 years old).
We provide pick up from area elementary schools, homework assistance, snack, and enriching projects and activities geared towards creativity.
How are the children divided age wise? For some activities, such as certain field trips, presentations, group projects etc, we will work together as a whole group. As such, we hold high expectations for our older kiddos to act as mentors/role models for the younger ones, setting a good example and being helpful. While we are at our facility, kids are grouped by age into Pints (5-7ish) and Gallons (8ish-12). During the school year, the children are grouped by grade (K-1st, 2nd- 3rd, and 4th- 6th). Though we would like to give everyone the opportunity to try everything, we understand that some activities are more appropriate for younger kiddos than older, and vice-versa. Are the children given choices or directed towards certain activities? Our mission is to instill in all of our campers a sense of confidence and creativity, and part of that means making choices to suit one’s individuality. Throughout each week at camp, several different projects and guided activities will be offered, from which campers will be able to choose how they participate. While these activities are guided/facilitated by staff, our goal is that the kiddos are designing, planning, and executing the activities and we (the grown-ups) are merely the tools with which they can accomplish their goals. We also believe that youngsters should have a choice in how they spend their time. When they are not actively engaged in a project, field trip, group activity, etc, campers will have the opportunity to 4
choose from a variety of adult monitored centers, facilities, and activities. These will include a craft/art area, dramatic play, Legos, outdoor games and free play, free play and splash pad at Eastwoods Park and more. What if I have questions/concerns and need to talk with someone? We encourage an open and ongoing dialogue with parents and staff at spilled milk social club. Feel free to call, or stop by at any time. Our job is to ensure that every child in our care is safe and happy. We appreciate parental input about an individual child’s needs. We do ask parents to kindly limit time talking with staff while they are supervising children. A child’s quality of care may suffer if the staff person’s attention is being diverted. What if I want to visit the facility? We have an open door policy at spilled milk social club. Parents are welcome to visit any time we are open. Remember, during summer camp we are often on field trips or doing activities off-site. You may want to call us first to make sure that we will be on-site. Parents are also welcome to participate in any activity or event which occurs during operating hours. In the interest of planning, we ask parents to notify us in advance if they do wish to participate in any event or program. What are the expectations for parents of enrolled children? -Be aware of all policies, hours and deadlines -Read all signs, postings and emails thoroughly -Know (and greet) the directors and staff who look after your child daily -Ask questions and give feedback! -Help/encourage your child to clean up any/all messes before leaving for the day -Put phones away before entering the building -Know and trust that your child’s best interest is our priority. If you have an issue or concern, please approach the staff and directors with kindness so that we can maintain a positive working relationship. 5
What is spilled milk social club’s discipline/guidance policy? We accept that children will misbehave as they experiment to find their own way. We believe our task is to assist children to become selfdisciplined. We believe discipline must be: 1.
Individualized and consistent for each child;
Appropriate to the child’s level of understanding; and
Directed toward teaching the child acceptable behavior and self-control.
We use positive methods of discipline and guidance that encourage self-esteem, self-control, and self-direction, which include the following: 1.
Using praise and encouragement of good behavior instead of focusing only upon undesirable behavior
Reminding a child of behavior expectations daily by using clear, positive statements;
Using brief supervised separation or time out from the group, when appropriate for the child’s age and development, which is limited to no more than one minute per year of the child’s age.
We believe there must be no harsh, cruel, or unusual treatment of any child. What information is needed from me to enroll in summer camp or after school program? Completed information on our enrollment forms is required prior to a child’s enrollment, including a confirmation that the child is physically able to take part in our program. Also, parents must complete new enrollment forms each season (at the start of the school year and/or before summer camp) prior to the child’s start date.
What are the immunization, TB test, and vision and hearing document requirements? During each enrollment period, a parent signature is required (on the enrollment forms) stating that the childâ€™s immunization record and health screening/test results are current and on file at the elementary school the child attends. Parents must also provide the name, address, and telephone number of the elementary school on the enrollment forms. spilled milk social club's caregivers are not required to get tested for vaccine-preventable diseases, such as TB. Caregivers are also not required to get any vaccinations to work at spilled milk social club. All staff are required to notify directors about any health risks, such as known illnesses and/or coming in contact with any communicable diseases, such as TB and influenza. How are parents notified of non-emergency information? We ask all families to read all signs posted at the facility on the parent info center. Additionally, we frequently send out emails with important info and upcoming dates. We expect all families to pay attention to posted signs and emails in order to stay abreast of any news or info they may need. Does smsc provide meals or snacks? During the after school program, we offer a daily snack. Each dayâ€™s snack will meet the Minimum Standards Nutrition and Food Services guidelines. Additionally, as we do not hold a Food Handlers Permit with the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department, we only serve non-perishable items. Snack menus are posted on the Parent Info Center. Families are welcome to send additional or replacement snacks for their individual child. During summer we ask that families send enough lunch and snack for their child for the entire day. We do not serve meals or snack during summer camp months. Additionally, we ask families to avoid sending lunches that require refrigeration or microwaving. While we can facilitate this occasionally, it slows down our day significantly if we must provide this service for all children.
When is tuition due? How can I pay? After School: Tuition is due by the 5th of every month. Parents may also choose to pay bi-monthly, in which case the second half is due by the 15th of the month. There is no refund or credit given for absences. Thirty days notice is required to withdraw from the program, otherwise the full monthâ€™s tuition will be charged. Payments may be made online via our website- nousecrying.com, or in person by cash, check, or money order. Checks should be made payable to spilled milk social club. Please do not make cash payments to anyone other than the directors who will then issue you a receipt. Summer Camp: You must sign a form, which states that you have reserved and agree to pay for requested weeks. Tuition is due in advance at the date indicated on your Tuition Agreement, or you may incur late pay fees. There will be no refund for absence or withdrawal past the deadline for schedule changes, (which is the same day of our annual summer Meet & Greet, at the end of April) unless a family on our wait-list can fill that spot. Does spilled milk social club accommodate part time enrollment? After School: We will only approve a part-time schedule for a family if there is another family requesting a complementary schedule, resulting in full enrollment shared by multiple families. Parents who want a part-time schedule for their child should email the directors to inquire about availability. Once approved for the desired days which a family signs up for per week, the family is required to keep a consistent schedule. Changes to a part-time schedule are allowed based on enrollment numbers, and are at the directorsâ€™ discretion. Summer Camp: Due to the nature of our camp, we do not allow parttime enrollment during summer camp. Our activities and field trips throughout the week will frequently be ongoing and connected with one another. We hate for kids to feel that they are missing out on a project or activity that they have taken some part in creating/ imagining/designing. If part-time care is needed, please talk to us. Our willingness to do this depends highly on our enrollment numbers. 8
What is spilled milk social club’s bad weather policy? We will follow the decisions of AISD, regarding closure due to bad weather, as AISD is committed to carefully judging safety factors when it comes to school closings, and to getting information to families easily through various media. If AISD closes the whole district… not just one or two schools… we will be closed also. If AISD postpones classes, our office will also open late. As long as the school dismissal time is the same as regularly scheduled, we will pick up students as normal. If AISD closes early, we will contact each family and work together to make sure all children are picked up from their individual schools. During summer, we follow the National Weather Advisory. In the event of inclement weather, we will contact families by phone and/or email. Will I get credits for absences or the days spilled milk social club is closed? For after school, children are enrolled on a monthly basis. smsc personnel and facilities are provided and scheduled based on enrollment, and so there are no refunds or reductions for periods of absence. There are also no refunds/reductions given for days on which school is closed for holidays or bad weather. If a family ends their enrollment, the last month’s full tuition will be collected, regardless of whether the family drops before the end of said month or not. For summer camp, children are enrolled for predetermined weekly sessions as requested by parents and approved by smsc’s directors. While smsc is committed to being flexible for families, whose schedules may change, we can’t guarantee that changes in enrollment, (specifically, changing from one session to another,) will be subject to a transfer of tuition payments, as sessions fill ahead of schedule, etc. The weekly tuition won’t be reduced/refunded for families whose children arrive late/get picked up early, as our expenses regarding staffing/budget don’t change.
How much notice must I give to withdraw my child from the program? For afterschool, thirty days notice of withdrawal is required. Any withdrawal/changes made outside of this time period will be subject to the family’s full tuition agreement. For summer camp, changes to attendance and schedule must be made by the Meet & Greet deadline (at the end of April, though the specific date may be different each year). Any withdrawal/changes made outside of this time period will be subject to the family’s full tuition agreement.
Health and Safety What are the illness/exclusion criteria? For the protection of all children and staff, a child should stay at home under the following circumstances: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms or any contagious diseases or symptoms. How are medications handled? Under no circumstances may children be allowed to carry or administer their own medicine, whether prescription or overthe-counter. These must be given to smsc directors, who will have a parent fill out and sign a “Medication and Dosage” form. The smsc directors will be in charge of following the directions outlined by parents for administering any medicine. *We are not allowed to keep any medication at our facility to give to a child unless it is given to us by a parent or guardian (including Advil, Benadryl, etc.) Please bring whatever medications you anticipate your child needing to the directors. What if my child has a medical emergency? If critical illness or injury requires immediate attention of a physician, a designated smsc representative will contact the child’s parent. If necessary, emergency medical services will be contacted and utilized, and/or a child will be taken to the nearest emergency room in order to get professional treatment. 10
Whether severe or not, parents will be notified of any incidents/injuries. If deemed severe by smsc supervisors, (ie. requiring medical attention or exclusion from activities, or placing a child at serious risk,) a parent will be notified by phone immediately. If the incident is less serious, a parent will be notified upon arrival to pick up his/her child of the less serious injuries that might have occurred. What are the procedures for environmental emergencies? We follow our Emergency Evacuation/Emergency procedures, which are posted in each classroom, on the Parent Info Center, and in the Required Postings Binder. These are available for review by parents at any time. Does smsc provide sunscreen and insect repellent? During summer camp, families sign an agreement to allow smsc to provide and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen and insect repellent to their children. If the family wishes to use a specific brand or type, the family must provide this to the directors or staff. If the smsc-authorized version isnâ€™t approved by a family, specific requests/directions are to be provided in writing to the directors of smsc before the start of the childâ€™s first session. Do the children come into contact with animals? Any time animals are brought or introduced to children within smscâ€™s program, parents will be notified through weekly schedules and/or posted signs.
Daily Routine What is the drop off/pick up procedure? Drop off and pick up each day at the location specified by the directors of smsc at the beginning of each session, (whether weekly during the summer or monthly during the school year.) Children will be released by designated staff to parents/guardians, whose information we have documented in enrollment forms; we ask that you, the adult, make daily contact with smsc staff, in order to keep our program 11
running smoothly. Children will never be allowed to exit the premises of the smsc program without an authorized adult. No child will be released to anyone other than parents and persons listed on enrollment forms unless we are notified. This is in order to ensure the safety of children, and to make sure announcements about tuition, field trips and changes are communicated to families in the correct manner. You may notify us of an alternate drop off/pick up by contacting the program director(s) only. Any new person picking up the child will be required to verify his/her identity by presenting photo identification. (*Because we have staff changes throughout the day and staff turnover on occasion, any person who enters the building may be asked to show a picture ID, if the staff on site have not met that person. Thanks for your understanding.) After School Pick Up From School: smsc staff pick up children from designated schools, and the pick up procedure will be discussed with each family upon enrollment. Starting at 2:57p each day, enrolled children are the responsibility of smsc staff. Whether at the child’s school, on the smsc bus, or at the facility, children are to remain with smsc staff at all times, unless a parent or person listed in the “Release of Child” section of the enrollment form arrives to pick up the child. What is the field trip/outing procedure? During summer camp, a weekly schedule will be issued to each family, outlining any and all activities that will take place outside of the camp’s facility Permission to transport the children, via smsc-provided vehicles, or on foot while being supervised by smsc staff, is given with each child’s enrollment, on each child’s forms signed by parents. Field Trip Practices: -All children wear uniform/identifying bracelets, buttons, etc, that include the name and phone number of smsc. -Staff have an updated list of children in attendance, as well as all enrollment information for each child in case of emergency. Staff also continually monitor the area and supervise children for safety, and a cell phone is carried with each group in order to contact the director or parents in case of emergency. What types of water activities does smsc provide? During the summer, field trips to city-run pools and splash pads are included in each weekly camp session. smsc follows the procedures 12
outlined by the City of Austin’s Aquatics Department, and as such, we have strict guidelines regarding children to staff ratios, our reservation and scheduling of time spent at city pools, and the requirements of staff taking children to pools, which includes CPR/ First Aid, and Basic Water Safety training. Upon request, details of the followed procedures can be provided to parents.
What can I do to help my child have a successful camp experience? -Read your schedule carefully each week. -Refer to your copy of the field trip schedule daily, in order to arrive on time and prepared… (For example: Send swimwear on water days! Wear suitable shoes for hiking! Arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled field trip!) -LABEL EVERYTHING with your child’s name or initials… towels, clothing tags, water bottles, lunchboxes, etc. -Bring your child’s gear in a backpack or bag, to keep everything together. -Send a labeled water bottle… EVERY DAY! -PARENTS- Make smsc staff aware of any changes/special instructions for your child’s drop off/pick up. If anything out of the ordinary occurs/needs to occur, call us. DON’T depend on your child to relay messages to us, please! -Support the smsc staff and your child by staying involved; ask about daily activities, communicate with the adults in charge, and encourage your child to have a blast!
Additional Information Minimum Standards and Licensing Report: Parents may at any time request to view a copy of the Minimum Standards as issued by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TxDFPS). Our Licensing Report, as well as all other required postings, are available for review at any time and can be found in the Required Postings binder. Parents may contact DFPS at any time: Child Care Licensing, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, 1400 Summit Drive, Ste 100, Austin, Texas 78728; (512) 834-3426 Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Texas law requires caregivers to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services or law enforcement. Failure to report suspected abuse or neglect is a crime. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against caregivers who make reports in good faith. Confidential reports can be made at: 1-800-252-5400 (TxDFPS) Gang-Free Zone: We are required by law to inform all parents and guardians that we are a gang-free zone. A gang-free zone is a designated area around a specific location where prohibited gang related activity is subject to increased penalty under Texas law. The gang-free zone is within 1,000 feet of our center. ENAGING IN GANG-RELATED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY WITHIN 1,000 FEET OF SPILLED MILK SOCIAL CLUB IS A VIOLATION OF THE LAW AND SUBJECT TO INCREASED PENALTY UNDER SECTIONS 71.028 AND 71.029 UNDER THE TEXAS PENAL CODE.