Happy House is one of the few natural play-based daycares in the state of Michigan. We provide quality care in a home atmosphere and make it a priority to help little ones learn and grow in a natural environment. We realize you may have some questions. Please read the information provided below and contact us if you need further assistance.
Happy House Tuition Rate
Happy House is a tuition based daycare. We are happy to provide care for as few as 2 days a week or as many as 5. The daily rate is $65.00* per child, this includes diapers, wipes, meals and snacks. Once your schedule is set, tuition is expected for the days stated in your contract whether or not your child attends those days. Since we have limited space per day we are unable to offer a sibling discount.
* There is a minimum of 2 days of care a week. The rate for less than 3 days of care is $75.00 per child, per day, which includes diapers, wipes, meals and snacks.
Happy House Parent Handbook
Updated January 2020
Enrollment at Happy House Nature School is open to all children from 6 weeks of age through 5 years old. Enrollment for the program will reflect priority given to children already enrolled in the center, siblings of children already enrolled, and those children whose age fits in with the attendance needs of the center. Happy House Nature School will not refuse entry into the program based on race, color, nationality, sex, sexual preference, age or disability. We offer equal opportunity for every individual family. The center reserves the right to withdraw a child for the following reasons: nonpayment of tuition/fees, philosophical differences, inability to fulfill a child’s specific needs or in order to preserve the safety of children or integrity of the program. Parents may request withdrawal of their child for any reason. Both parties agree to provide 3 weeks written notice. The following enrollment criteria are required for admittance to the program:
1.Record of your child’s immunizations or signed waivers.
2. Current completed health appraisal within 30 days of enrollment. (center only)
3. Current emergency card information.
4. List of any allergies to food, medication, pets, or foliage.
5. Completed informational survey on your child.
6. Signed agreement of policies and procedures.
It is important to update any and all forms and paperwork, especially emergency card information.
HOURS OF CARE:
We operate Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, on a year-round basis.
TUITION AND FEE POLICY:
Happy House is a Tuition Based Center
· In order to reserve your child's place in the program, the first week's tuition plus a non-refundable enrollment fee of $100.00 must be made upon registration.
Tuition payments are enrollment based not attendance based.
· Tuition fees are used to provide consistent quality care and learning environment for your child.
· Payments must start no later than one week after enrollment whether or not the child has started care.
In the event that a child enrolls before a spot is open, tuition payments will be due on the first day the spot is available whether or not the child attends.
· Payment is due regardless of attendance.
· Credit may be given for prepaid tuition if the center closes unexpectedly due to an emergency or another reason deemed appropriate by the center.
· Due to the limited space available, we are unable to offer discounts to families with more than one child enrolled.
Tuition payments are due no later than Friday the week before care for your child. Online payments Brightwheel should be set up prior to the initial first day. Families may pay weekly or biweekly, using auto pay or manually. If you prefer to pay monthly, you may do so but must do this manually. All families must prepay for care.
Prompt payment of tuition is required to continue care. Tuition fees that are not paid in full by 6:00 p.m. on Friday the week before care for your child; are considered past due. A charge of $10.00 per day, including weekends, will be added to your account until fees are paid in full.
· If tuition fees are underpaid and/or overdue for two consecutive weeks’ childcare may be suspended until full payment is received.
· A fee of $20.00 will be charged for any payment returned due to non-sufficient funds (NSF). In addition to the NSF fee, parents are responsible for all charges assessed due to NSF payments.
SEVERE WEATHER POLICY
Severe weather may bring road and driving conditions that impedes public safety or makes opening the facility extremely difficult. This could cause changes in Happy House operations such as delayed opening, early dismissal, or in extremely rare cases, closure during regular business hours. We understand this may be inconvenient for families but our priority must be for the safety of our staff and children we care for. We HIGHLY suggest you have alternate care in place for these incidences.
· If you are unable to pick up your child by the designated time, please arrange for someone else to pick up your child.
· Please take weather conditions and traffic delays into account in order to assure that you make it to the center on time.
· We close promptly at 6:00 pm. Any parent that arrives after 6:00 pm will be charged one dollar for every minute they are late.This will be billed through Brightwheel and is non negotiable.
· Every family must adhere to the business hours of the center. This allows the caregivers to have the personal time they need and prevents them from having to work beyond their scheduled shift.
· At 6:10 PM calls are made to work, cell and home of parents. At 6:20 PM calls are made to listed emergency numbers.
Pick-Up Other Than Parent
A valid driver’s license must be shown and the name must appear on the child’s emergency card. Parents should provide written notice to the center if an adult other than a parent will be picking up.
Closing Dates for Happy House
The center will be closed on the following business days. If they fall on your child’s regularly scheduled days, tuition is required.
The week between Christmas and New Year
Martin Luther King Day January 20 - starting 2021 (used as a staff training day)
President’s Day February 17, 2020 (used as a staff training day)
Columbus Day October 12, 2020 (used as a staff training day)
Veteran’s Day November 11, 2020 (used as a staff training day)
Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following Thanksgiving
Christmas Eve Day
· If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the center will be closed the Friday before. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the center will be closed the Monday after.
The center will be open all other days except in extreme emergencies such as lack of power/water, or in the event of extreme weather conditions. Parents will be notified via email for closings. A year calendar will be provided to families in January with important dates noted.
Notice of Schedule change
Occasionally work or family schedules change. If you will be reducing your days of care we ask that you provide as much notice as possible. A minimum of 2 weeks’ notice must be given for any permanent schedule changes in order to avoid being charged for those days.
Communication from Parents
It’s our desire to maintain close communication with the parents of children in our care. In addition to this handbook, there will be a parent's message board, and daily communication with caregivers including an electronic daily report. Due to the number of parents and children that we see everyday, we must ask that you write down all of your requests or questions that cannot be answered immediately.
Child Custody Situations
Divorce or separation is very difficult for the entire family. We will do everything in our power to help your child through this time. We cannot however, take sides against either parent. We are unable to refuse to let a parent pick up their child because one parent does not want them to. A written statement from the court issuing custody must be provided first.
Infants will sleep on demand in cribs. They will have their own crib and sheet. Toddlers and preschoolers will nap during rest time (after lunch) on cots and also have their own sheet. As toddlers transition from multiple naps to one nap, they will be allowed to sleep on demand. Linens are washed on a weekly basis unless needed sooner. Children are not required to sleep. They do however need to remain on their cots so as not to disturb other children.
Classroom Transition Policy (Center only)
Children will transition from infant, to toddler, to preschool classrooms based upon age and development of the child. The developmental needs of the child will remain the priority.
HAPPY HOUSE RULES:
· You may not hurt yourself.
· You may not hurt others; this means words as well as actions.
· You may not hurt things, such as animals, toys, or furniture.
These rules are simple and direct. They are easy for younger children to follow (most of the time!) As caregivers we will strive to help teach your child the life basics. It takes time to learn the rules of society and we have plenty of patience.
GENERAL DISCIPLINE POLICY:
Several positive techniques will be used when disciplining your child.
· We will attempt to redirect them to something more appropriate.
· We will give them the words to use in stressful situations.
· We will explain the reason for a rule in age appropriate terms.
· We will show empathy and understanding when correcting behavior.
· As a last resort, the child will be removed from the situation in order to calm and reassure them.
· At no time will children be humiliated, threatened, shamed or deprived of meals, sleep or snacks as a means of discipline. Nor will children be confined in an enclosed area or subjected to any physical punishment. A child may be temporarily picked up and held to prevent him/her from harming him/herself or others.
If after exhausting all of these techniques, the child is unable to follow the rules of the center and is a constant disruption, Happy House reserves the right to withdraw the child from the program.
Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution
Over the years we have discovered that focusing on the importance of cooperating with others as well as respecting each other's feelings and differences goes a long way toward developing empathy, compassion, problem solving skills and many other attributes that will give children a strong foundation in life. We strive to help the children work through their problems using their words rather than physical force or crying. Happy House utilizes a 6 step conflict resolution strategy.
1. Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions.
2. Acknowledge children’s feelings.
3. Gather information.
4. Restate the problem.
5. Ask for ideas for solutions and choose one together.
6. Be prepared to give follow up support.
Over time, children develop the ability to solve conflicts independently.
Toys from Home/Play Weapons
With the exception of comfort items (blanket/“lovey”) that are to be used at rest time, we ask that families do not bring toys from home to Happy House. Occasionally if your child would like to bring a toy that goes along with the theme we are learning about or is of interest to the whole group we can discuss having them bring it, with the understanding that all the children will get a turn with it. Star Wars, Super Heroes, and many other imaginary figures use weapons and aggressive behaviors as a way to deal with their problems. We understand this is exciting for children and they tend to think they have to have them in order to play the part. We make it a priority to encourage them to think of different ways to play these games without using a weapon or being aggressive physically. Once they warm up to the idea it is amazing to see what they come up with to “save the world”. In order to be consistent we ask that you not bring any play weapons from home.
Happy House is working toward becoming one of only a few certified natural play spaces in Michigan! With the help of the children we have created what we call The Happy House Forest. It is a designated area of the play yard that is filled with natural elements such as sticks, rocks, branches, and what we call loose parts. All of these things enable the children to create a world just for them. They are constantly building, tearing down and rebuilding. Like any play area we make sure the items are used in a friendly way and remind the children about safety. The only thing that holds them back is their imagination!
Natural play can be extremely messy. For this reason, we ask that you dress your child every day to get dirty! During the summer months when we are applying sunscreen and bug spray as well as doing active water play, we have found that having a set of play clothes and a bathing suit or swim diapers left at Happy House, makes it much easier. Please label all clothing items from home to ensure they make it back to the correct owner. We wash all play clothes as needed in Free and Clear laundry soap.
We are committed to partnering with parents for this important milestone. Due to sanitation requirements, we ask that your child be accident free for at least a week before sending cloth underwear. We do not wash soiled clothing or underwear but will put them in a bag to be sent home.
HEALTH POLICY AND GUIDELINES:
To ensure a safe environment for both children and staff, the following guidelines have been established.
1.The center shall keep on file a signed record of immunization and a current health appraisal form. These shall be updated annually or as immunizations are administered.
2.The staff must have in writing any known allergies and symptoms that may appear, this includes any allergy related to latex. An allergy action plan, signed by a physician will be posted in each classroom and the kitchen.
3. A medication form must be filled out by the parent prior to the center administering medication. The caregiver will provide a record of the time and amount of medication given. Medicine must remain in the original packaging per licensing rules.
4. Staff will be trained and/or written instructions will be posted regarding procedures for hand washing, diapering and toileting, sanitation of toys and equipment, injuries, accidents, weather emergencies, evacuation procedures as well as CPR and First Aid.
5. Disposable gloves will be used when preparing or handling food, changing diapers, when contact with blood or bodily fluids is likely, when cleaning surfaces that have been contaminated with blood or bodily fluids, during potty training.
6.Hand washing will occur regardless of glove use after diapering, before or after using the restroom, handling soiled items, after cleaning up messes, after handling a sick child, before or after preparing food. Hand washing will also occur before and after mealtimes, after handling animals, after playing in sand/water.
7.Three-step cleaning/sanitizing process will be used for surfaces and toys/materials will be sanitized regularly or when visibly soiled.
8. Sick children must remain at home. The center staff reserves the right to exclude any children exhibiting signs of illness.
9. If your child becomes ill while in our care, we will contact you to come and pick up your child. The emergency card information will be used, please ensure it is always up to date. Child must be picked up within an hour of notification. Emergency contacts will be used in the event you cannot be reached. Sick Child Forms will document any illness that occurs at the center and a copy will be provided to parents.
10. Communicable diseases need to be communicated to staff to help determine when exposure may have occurred at the center. The following symptoms are suggestive of communicable diseases:
1.Red or running eyes, sneezing or discharging nose continual and/or excessive
2.Cough, particularly if persistent, productive, or “barky”
3.Sores and crusts on the scalp, face, or body
4. Any skin eruption or rash (aside from normal diaper rash)
5. Swelling and tenderness of glands
7. Nausea or vomiting
8. Excessive complaints of pain and stiffness
10. Diarrhea, any loose or unformed stool associated with one or more additional symptoms
11. Children with a fever of 101 or above will be sent home.
12. A child is sent home for a possible contagious disease (i.e. rash, pinkeye, chicken pox, head lice, impetigo, or ringworm) will require a doctor’s note to return.
Your child must be free of any and all symptoms including a low-grade temperature of 99 or higher without the use of medications, for at least 24 hours before returning to the center. If antibiotics are prescribed, they must be on antibiotics for a full 24 hours before returning to the center.
Accident / Injury First Aid kits are available in the kitchen, and taken whenever a caregiver takes children away from the center. Emergency contact information is filed. Any incidents, injuries, or accidents will be documented and a copy will be provided to parents. Any injuries involving the child’s head or neck, or a distinct mark will result in a call to parents. If a child sustains a more serious injury, 911 will be called. The child will be accompanied to the hospital and their complete file will be brought. The parent will be called as soon as possible.
Happy House provides breakfast, lunch, and snacks to all children, with the exception of infants who are on breastmilk/formula which will be provided by parents. Outside food may not be brought into the center. All menus are planned in advance, and posted where parents may see them. Allergies and special dietary needs will be taken into account provided they are stated in writing. Food served by the center will be of sufficient quantity and nutritional quality and will meet the daily requirements set forth by the Michigan Department of Education. Whole milk is given to children until the age of 2.5 and 1% or skim milk is given to those between 2.5-5 years. Infants will be offered table food from our menu once they have tried the food at home and the parents have approved that item.
We value family-style dining and encourage children to assist in setting the table, scooping their own servings, and using utensils. Assistance will be provided as needed. Caregivers will join in meal times and socialize as you would at home. We encourage nursing mothers to stop in whenever they like to nurse their babies, and freezer or refrigerator space is available for storage of expressed milk. A complete daily supply of milk must be on hand in case of emergency.
All bottles MUST be labelled with the NAME, DATE and CONTENT per licensing rules.