Welcome to Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool. As Jesus welcomed the little children into his arms, we welcome your children to our Preschool Ministry. We truly believe children are a blessing from God, and we thank you for sharing your little blessings with us. It is our purpose to provide a program in a warm, loving, Christ-centered environment, which promotes spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth.
This is an exciting time for our preschool! I eagerly and enthusiastically look forward to the school year ahead. Our qualified, loving, and dedicated teaching staff joins me in this enthusiasm and, as a team, we are committed to making your child’s preschool experience an adventure in learning and exploring God’s world.
Linsey Jarrett, Weekday Preschool Director
Preschool Parent Organization
Admission Policies/Preschool Fees
Emergency Closings/Inclement Weather
Our mission at Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool is to provide a spiritually nurturing environment where children are able to explore and learn about God’s world while developing spiritually, socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically.
Athens First United Methodist Church and the Weekday Preschool believe that every child is a child of God and should have every opportunity to develop spiritually, socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically to their highest potential in a loving environment. Our emphasis on the spiritual nurture of children and staff makes the program at Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool a special one. With a structured day and trained caregivers that follow the accreditation requirements for the National Association for the Education of Young Children and North Georgia United Methodist Preschool Association, every opportunity will be provided for a child to feel secure as they discover the world around them.
- To provide a spiritual foundation for children.
- To encourage the development of children spiritually, socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
- To help children know themselves as unique individuals.
- To help children develop trusting and responsible relationships with other children and adults.
- To provide developmentally appropriate curriculum designed to meet the individual needs of every child.
- To provide time for social interaction with other children.
- To provide activities designed to develop large and small motor skills.
- To provide opportunities for children to develop basic learning skills for pre-reading, pre-writing, math and science integrated in the day’s activities.
- To provide opportunities for children to succeed at the tasks suitable to their developmental level.
We are a “School of Excellence” accredited by The United Methodist Preschool Association of the North Georgia Conference. We are not a licensed program and we are not required to be. We have an Exemption letter from Bright from the Start.
No soliciting of any kind.
The Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool Board advises the Weekday Preschool. The functions of the Board are to develop policy for the preschool; to assist in the selection of personnel; to develop a workable budget; and to give advice and counsel to the Weekday Preschool Director and staff where needed.
Admission Policies/Preschool Fees
Children will be enrolled in Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool based on space availability. The child enrolled must turn the appropriate age by September 1 to be enrolled in the current year.
A non-refundable registration fee of $150 is required to secure your child’s placement in the preschool program. Children entering the 3 year old classes must be potty trained.
The monthly tuition for the Weekday Preschool is as follows.
4-year-old/5 day M-F $290
3-year-old/5 day M-F $290
3-year-old/3 day MWF $225
2-year-old/3 day MWF $225
2-year-old/5 day M-F $290
2-year-old/2 day T/Th $190
Young 2’s T/Th $190
**Honeybees (developmental level, approximately 18-24 months) MW $190
**Butterflies (developmental level, approximately 12-18 months) MW $190
**Caterpillars (developmental level, approximately 9-12 months) T/Th $190
**Children enrolled in the Honeybees, Butterflies or Caterpillars classes will be placed in the class by the child’s developmental level NOT by age alone. This decision will be made by the teacher and the Director to better serve each child and provide a safe environment for all enrolled.
If your payment is received after the fifth day of the month, a $20 late fee will be added. If a check is returned to us, a $30 processing fee will be charged. Checks should be made payable to Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool. Please indicate on check child’s name, class, and monthly tuition (i.e. Sarah, 3 d/3s, Sept).
Nine tuition payments are due, on the first of May before the current school year begins. The remaining eight payments are due on the first of September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and April. You may pay the year’s tuition at once or in these nine installments.
If you must withdraw your child from the Weekday Preschool, please give the Weekday Preschool Director written notice. After the school year begins (August 18, 2014), one month’s written notice is required before a child may be withdrawn. Without written notice, the parent is responsible for the next month’s tuition fee.
No refunds or discounts will be made for short or long absences due to vacation, illness, or family schedules.
Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.
All new and returning children will pay a registration fee. Space will be saved for returning children and their siblings after parents have completed a registration form and paid the registration fee. Registration forms can be turned in at any time because we will conduct a lottery for our enrollment process. Each form will have a random number assigned to it when it is turned in. Siblings will get the same number; this does not guarantee that both siblings will get in. The lottery will be done at the end of each enrollment date. If you do not receive your first or second choice you will be put on a waiting list. We will inform you of your child’s placement by email.
Morning carpool starts at 8:45 and ends at 9:00. Please make every effort to drop your child off at the proper time. Afternoon carpool begins at 12:00 and ends at 12:15. Prior to 8:45 and after 12:15 our teachers are preparing for their day or wrapping up from the day’s activities. The preschool does not have the staff coverage for early drop-off in the morning or late pick-up in the afternoon. If you are going to be late picking up your child, please notify us as soon as possible, or you will be assessed a late fee of ten dollars for every fifteen minutes you are late.
Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool is in session 34 weeks. Both Clarke County and Oconee County Spring Breaks are observed. The reason we do this is to not have 2 substitute teachers in a class room who do not know the children and policies of the preschool. For the safety of all we feel it is best to take the time off so our teachers can be with their families and we add an additional week to the end of the school year. See full calendar at end of handbook.
Emergency Closings/Inclement Weather
Rarely does any preschool have to close due to illness or contagious health reasons of the children or staff; however, we reserve the right to close the Weekday Preschool if too many children have become ill.
Should there be any structural damage or condition to our building that would make it unsafe or unsuitable to occupy the building, we reserve the right to close the Weekday Preschool.
In the event of inclement weather, the Weekday Preschool will follow the same closings as Clarke County Schools. If Clarke County Schools have called for a one-hour delay, the Weekday Preschool will still begin on time, two hour delay we will close. If the preschool feels it is in the best of families and teachers to close the preschool we will send an email to you and make every effort to update our phone message at the Weekday Preschool office (706-543-2427).
A well-rounded, developmentally appropriate curriculum is used at Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool. A Christian environment provides the setting for our early childhood curriculum which offers opportunities for each child to grow in the awareness of the love of God. Our preschool follows the Georgia Early Learning Standards http://decal.ga.gov/childcareservices/georgiaearlylearningstandards.aspx and our Christian curriculum Bright Beginnings.
Each day is structured to allow alternating time for busy active play and quiet activities.
- Spiritual: To help children be aware that they are a child of God and therefore worthy of love, acceptance, and support.
- Social: To help children feel comfortable in a school setting, trust their new environment, make friends, and feel like they are part of a group.
- Emotional: To help children experience pride and self-confidence, develop independence and self control, and have a positive attitude toward life.
- Cognitive: To help children become confident learners by letting them try out their own ideas and experience success, and by helping them acquire learning skills such as the ability to solve problems, ask questions, and use words to describe their ideas, observations and feelings.
- Physical: To help children increase their large and small motor skills and feel confident about what their bodies can do.
Curriculum for All Children
The Weekday Preschool children will benefit from weekly Chapel and daily from Bright Beginnings by Gospel Light. The “Younger” children will benefit daily from Little Blessings by Gospel Light.
- Caterpillars, Butterflies, and Honeybees
A supervised playgroup for experiencing early social skills through music and play is offered to this age group. Children will be exposed to Bible verses, Bible stories and Bible songs. The ratios for the different age groups are:
6-12 mos: 1:3 with a maximum of six children
12-18 mos: 1:4 with a maximum of eight children
18-24 mos: 1:5 with a maximum of ten children
Curriculum for Young 2’s
A warm, accepting, and safe environment is offered to promote healthy, Christian attitudes toward social interaction, language development, and physical skills. Children will be encouraged and guided to develop self-help skills. The room will have open spaces for safe exploration, and center activities will be incorporated into the class structure. The ratio for this classroom is 1:4, with a maximum of 10 children.
2’s through Pre-Kindergarten
A warm, accepting, and safe environment continues to be offered to promote healthy, Christian attitudes toward social interaction, language development, and physical skills. Classes will be structured around developmentally-appropriate practices and activities.
Children will be encouraged to explore through learning centers. Learning centers include Bible, math, language arts, science and nature, social studies, art, block, drama, housekeeping, sand and water, library, music, manipulatives, and a quiet place.
Curriculum for 2’s
Children will be challenged as they move from one developmental stage to the next. Children will be encouraged to develop problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills. The ratio for this classroom is 1:6, with a maximum of 12 children.
Curriculum for 3’s
Children will continue to develop problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills while becoming more independent. The ratio for this classroom is 1:6, with a maximum of 12 children.
Curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten
Children in pre-kindergarten will prepare for Kindergarten. The class curriculum is focused to give the children the self-confidence necessary to make the transition into kindergarten. Children will work on reading skills and number concepts while continuing to build upon problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills while becoming more independent. Children will also be given assessments throughout the year to check for kindergarten readiness. The ratio for this classroom is 1:6, with a maximum of 12 children.
Chapel is a special time for special people. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14 NRSV) All people are loved by God, and it is important to talk with them about God on their level and within their own experiences.
Chapel time is a time to help the children come to know they are people whom God loves and that they are part of God’s kingdom. The clergy of the church, the Weekday Preschool Director, parents and church volunteers will lead Chapel time.
If you have any questions or suggestions about Chapel time, please feel free to contact Reverend Martha Aenchbacher.
Weekday Preschool children attend music with their class once a week. The music classes build on a child’s natural love of music, encouraging children to explore their musical abilities and include music in their development and growth. In music, children sing, dance, play instruments, and move to a variety of styles of music. The children are exposed to simple music concepts such as fast/slow, high/low, loud/soft, rhythm, and musical instruments. Music is used to reinforce what children are learning in their classrooms with songs about Nursery Rhymes, Bible stories, body parts, counting, letters, seasons, holidays, and more. We also learn songs for Chapel time and for performances at Christmas and the end of the year.
Weekday Preschool children 2 and older attend “Happy Feet” once a week with their class. Happy Feet is a musical-movement program that helps your child improve balance and targets motor skills, hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, and body space/awareness. The program enhances sensory functioning and the development of a positive self-image.
We are a peanut free school – Please know that we share space with other programs that may use peanut products.
Lunch Bunch is an extended-day option offered to children 2 and older who are potty trained. Lunch Bunch will begin in late August and is an additional $5 a day. Lunch Bunch operates 12-12:50 PM, and pick up is no later than 1:00 PM. A $1 per minute late fee will be assessed for every minute your child is not picked up after 1:00 PM. A calendar will be sent home before each month for you to sign your child up. If your child is absent on his/her Lunch Bunch date, you will receive credit toward the next month. Mrs. Tina is in charge of Lunch Bunch; please contact her with any questions. No peanut products please!
Children with Special Needs
Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool accepts all children into our program. However, we realize children have different needs. Therefore, if at any point it becomes apparent that our program cannot provide the optimum educational experience for a child; the child's teacher, Preschool Director and parents of the child will meet to discuss options that will be in the best interest of the child.
One of the primary goals of Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool is to help young children learn to live and grow in their relationships with others. Skills such as sharing, taking turns and cooperation provide an important foundation for a successful educational future. Discipline is derived from the word disciple meaning to teach.
We do not think of discipline as punishment but rather as teaching self-control and the expressing of feelings in socially acceptable ways. Discipline is a necessary and positive part of our program.
Discipline will focus on the positive behaviors that are expected. Simple and clear rules will be established in each classroom. Review of the rules will occur daily. Children will be treated in a positive manner with gentle reminders of the rules. Discipline measures are directed toward teaching children appropriate behavior and self control, based upon what is reasonable for their age and developmental level. Redirection, logical consequences and time-out may be utilized as a consequence for misconduct. Corporal punishment will not be used under any circumstances.
We are committed to assisting the children in their emotional, social and cognitive development. There may be times, however, when a child’s behavior can affect the atmosphere of the classroom. Behaviors that can be disruptive to a classroom may include aggression, defiance, disobedience or disrespect. If these behaviors occur, teachers will assist the child by:
- Helping the child use appropriate words to resolve conflict.
- Praising and/or rewarding kind behavior.
- Providing natural consequences for undesirable behavior.
- Working with the parents to provide consistency both at home and at school.
Should a child’s behavior become severe enough to interfere with the overall atmosphere of the classroom, the following steps will be taken:
- A conference with the parents, teacher and the Weekday Preschool Director will be called to discuss the behavior. The parents and teacher will work together to come up with recommendations to resolve the issue, while keeping foremost the best interests of the child and the Weekday Preschool.
- Parents may be required to pick up their child from school if an undesirable behavior becomes harmful to their child or others or if the problem is detrimental to the atmosphere of the classroom. These behaviors may include, but are not limited to, hurting or endangering themselves or other children, aggression, defiance, disobedience, and/or disrespect. When the child returns to school, they will be welcomed with open arms and love, knowing all is forgiven and forgotten.
- Continuation in the Weekday Preschool program shall be determined by periodic reviews and parent conferences with the Weekday Preschool Director and the teaching staff. The best interests of the child and the preschool program shall be the final determining factors in continued enrollment
Biting causes more upset feelings than any other behavior in preschool programs. Because it seems so primitive, we tend to react differently to biting than to hitting, grabbing or other aggressive acts. Biting is upsetting and potentially dangerous. In children under three years of age, biting is considered to be developmentally typical behavior. The following policy on biting has been developed for the benefit of the biter and the safety of the other children in the Weekday Preschool program.
Teachers respond to biting as follows:
- When a child bites another child, the teacher will offer large doses of TLC, ice and antiseptic to the injured child. They will give the injured child the words to use should this happen again. The teacher will encourage the child to say, “Ouch, don’t bite!” in a loud voice.
- Next, the teacher will take the biter aside and get down to their eye level and tell the child in a stern voice that biting hurts and that they may not hurt their friends.
- The teacher will try to determine whether the bite was out of frustration, territorialism, inquisitiveness or provocation. The teacher will then try to give the child the words to use in a future situation. “I know that Billy was too close to you and it bothered you. Next time say, ‘Billy, please move’.”
- The parents will be informed when a child has bitten or has been bitten; however, names will not be disclosed. The teacher will record the biting incident on the appropriate form.
However old the child is, biting is a very upsetting incident for the biter, the injured child, and the families of both children. While we know the causes of biting and that it is normal in young children, we take the situation very seriously.
Actions that may be taken to stop a child from biting:
- Notify the parents and provide information on biting.
- Schedule a conference with the parents, teacher and Weekday Preschool Director and discuss developmentally appropriate techniques to stop the behavior.
Repeated biting by children three and older may reflect a child’s inability to function in a group setting. It may be necessary to remove persistent biters from the program for the benefit of the biter and the safety of the other children in the program. Periodic reviews and parent conferences with the Weekday Preschool Director and teaching staff will help determine whether continued enrollment is in the best interest of the child and the program.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Clarke County Health Department requires that we have on file a complete record of immunizations on or before the first day of school (Form 3231). The required state form is available at your local pediatrician’s office and health department. Failure to comply with this policy will result in your child’s dismissal from the preschool until such form is present. All forms must be received by August 15, 2014. The fax number for Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool is 706-546-4797.
There are 2 teachers in a classroom at all times. All cleaning supplies are out of the reach of children. Poison Control will be called if any child were to come in contact.
Please let us know within 24 hours if your child contracts a CONTAGIOUS or COMMUNICABLE disease (such as chicken pox, strep, pink eye, lice, pin worms, viral infections, mumps, measles, scarlet fever or fifth’s disease) and we will notify other parents as necessary.
The preschool makes every effort to protect the health and safety of the children. For the child’s own protection and that of others in the school, your child should be kept at home when you see signs of colds or other illnesses.
Any child who has any of the following symptoms should not attend school: severe cold, red or sore eyes, persistent cough, green discharge from nose or eyes, *fever, sore throat, *nausea or vomiting, swollen glands, *diarrhea, ear ache, or *rashes.
*Please note: your child must be free of these symptoms without the aid/use of medicine for 24 hours before returning back to preschool.
All allergies need to be reported to your child’s teacher and an Allergy and Asthma Plan needs to be completed. No peanut products for snack or Lunch Bunch will be served at the Weekday Preschool.
Head Lice Policy
If you determine that your child has head lice (live lice or nits), you must notify your child’s teacher and the Weekday Preschool Director immediately. If the discovery of lice is made during school hours, you will be contacted to pick up your child. Medicated shampoos and combing tools for treating lice can be obtained from your pharmacy.
The infected child may not return to school:
1. Until the child has been treated and all live lice and nits (eggs) have been removed from the hair OR the child has a note from his/her physician stating that the child does not have head lice infestation and that no nits are visible;
2. For a minimum of 5 days; and
3. Until the child’s teacher or the Weekday Preschool Director inspects the child, at a time arranged with the parent, and finds the child to be free of live lice and nits.
Adults Authorized To Pick Up Your Child
If there is a change in your child’s schedule, such as going home with another child or adult, please let us know. Put the message in writing and be sure the note is given to your child’s teacher. Your child will not be released to anyone without their parent’s written permission. The person picking up your child must present a photo ID at carpool. If an emergency situation arises during the day, please call the school office at 706-543-2427. The Weekday Preschool Director will determine if permission will be given over the phone for your child to ride home with someone from your Authorized Adults list. Please make sure the person picking up your child has a photo ID. There will be no exceptions to this policy. The preschool will follow custody rulings made by the court.
Athens First United Methodist Church Weekday Preschool is required by law to report any suspected child abuse, neglect, exploitation or deprivation to the Department of Family and Children’s Services. Teachers also have Safe Sanctuary policies that will be followed.
Evacuation routes are posted in each classroom. Procedures are followed by the Weekday Preschool in the event of fire, tornado, and other emergency situations. Drills will be held during the school year.
Preparing for the First Day
The first day of school is one that we hope will be a positive experience for you and your child. To help your child start his/her preschool year off on a positive note, please make every effort to:
- Plan your schedule so your child will be well rested, unhurried, well fed and relaxed for the first morning and every morning.
- Expect that your child will go to school happily and will have a good time. Use encouraging and uplifting words with your child about his/her first day. Your child will sense your own insecurity or anxiousness quickly.
- Talk about preschool in a positive way and name specific activities that your child will enjoy during the day. “You will have so much fun making art with your friends” or “I can’t wait to hear about your day and see what you have made” or “Your teacher (use name) will be so excited to see you today”.
- For children in the Y2’s and older classes we ask that you keep all personal items such as: blankets, pacifiers, lovies, etc. at home. These items are “germ catchers” and can easily speed them around when other children try to enjoy them.
We encourage you to go through the car pool line, especially if you feel there may be some separation issues or anxieties. Be assured that your child’s teachers will comfort and calm your child’s fears and/or anxieties. Many times it is more difficult for the parents to leave a child who is struggling with going to school than it is for the child.
If your child feels the adjustment to preschool is difficult, we encourage you to talk with your child’s teacher. They may have some helpful hints or suggestions on how to make the transition to preschool easier.
You are welcome to call the Weekday Preschool office and check on your child.
If your child is inconsolable, the Weekday Preschool office will contact you. A full morning of crying can hinder the adjustment process and sometimes a fresh start the next time your child has school makes a big difference.
Cell Phone Use
Cell phone use during morning and afternoon carpool is prohibited. Our goal is to make the safest environment for the children of the Weekday Preschool; therefore, we will not allow cell phone use while in the carpool line.
Our teachers welcome the opportunity to confer with you concerning your child’s progress or any special problems about which you may be concerned. All classes in our program will have parent-teacher conferences, either by telephone or in person.
Please make prior arrangements to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss specific issues pertaining to your child. A note addressed to the teacher requesting an opportunity to speak privately may be placed in your child’s book bag. The morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up is not an opportunity to have such personal discussions without prior arrangements.
Parents are encouraged to visit the school throughout the year and to openly communicate with the teachers and the Weekday Preschool Director at all times.
The Weekday Preschool office publishes a monthly newsletter from September through May. This will give you a note from the Weekday Preschool Director, upcoming events, important dates and some timely tips. In addition, your child’s teacher will send home a monthly calendar at the beginning of each month, highlighting the activities and events going on within the classroom during that month. Please make every effort to read both carefully and post in a place you may refer to it daily. Teachers of nine through twenty-four-month olds will send home a “daily sheet” to communicate with you regarding your child’s day.
We recommend that children wear play clothes that are practical, comfortable, and washable. Tennis shoes that tie or have Velcro closures are best. Jellies, cowboy boots, sandals or patent leather shoes are not recommended and can be dangerous on the playground. Please be aware that we paint and glue frequently and spills occur.
As the weather gets colder, please dress your child in layers since we go outside everyday, weather permitting. Rain boots and umbrellas are not necessary, but a rain jacket is usually a good idea.
Each child should provide a complete seasonal change of clothing for the teacher to keep in case of an “accident”. Please put the change of clothes in a zip-lock bag and label with your child’s name.
Please remember to clearly mark your children’s clothing (i.e. jackets, coats, sweaters, mittens, etc.) with his/her name.
Children will eat snacks each day in their classroom with their classmates and teachers. Your child’s teacher will ask you to sign up to bring snack for the class or will send home a snack calendar. Please provide a healthy snack. This is a great time for your child to learn independence, table manners, and conversation skills. Please send your child to school with a water bottle to use during snack to be more “green” and prevent germs. If your child forgets their cup a disposable one will be provided. You will be notified of any food allergies in your child’s class.
Your child’s class will have a number of class parties throughout the year (Christmas, Valentine’s, etc.). At the Parent Orientation/Open House, your child’s teacher will have a sign-up sheet where you can volunteer to help coordinate holiday parties and special events as needed. All parties must be approved by your child’s teacher before planning anything. The purpose of the party is to celebrate. We want to keep this an exciting time but not take it too far. Please keep gifts, crafts and decorations to a minimum. We don’t want to hurt the feelings of families in other classrooms who are not receiving the same gifts. No peanut products.
Your child may celebrate his/her birthday at school if you wish. You may provide a special snack or treat; however, no presents should be received. Parents are welcomed on this occasion, but we do require that you pre-arrange this with your child’s teacher. Please do not distribute invitations to birthday parties held off school property in the children’s book bags. This only leads to hurt feelings and lost invitations. If you child has a summer birthday please speak with their teacher to set a date to celebrate during the year.
Your child will have the opportunity to have his/her picture taken in the Fall and Spring by Don Griner of Treasured Memories. There is no obligation for parents to purchase pictures. More information regarding time, dates, packages, etc. will be sent home in your child’s book bag in the Fall and Spring.
Weekday Preschool Carpool
The carpool for drop off and pick up is located at the Hancock Avenue entrance. Carpool begins promptly at 8:45 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Enter from Washington St. through the back of the parking lot up to the Hancock Ave. overhang. Please do not enter from Hancock Ave., this will hold up others that have been waiting in line from Washington St. Please remember that children need to be loaded and unloaded quickly to avoid backup on Washington Street. Weekday Preschool staff will not be able to buckle your child into his/her car seat. You will need to put your car in “park” and buckle your child in his/her seat. When exiting the parking lot onto Hancock Avenue, you will need to take a right out of the lot to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. Also, please remember that this is not the time for “mini-conferences”. If you need to talk to a teacher, please contact them to set up a conference.