Provider Philosophy And Mission Statement
Mother Theresa said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I believe that the secret to Caring for a child Is CARING for the child. And that’s my primary goal: to love and care for your child -- all the 'small' things -- in a safe, comfy, and nurturing home/family environment.
I believe children benefit greatly from gently structured and non-structured activities. Throughout the day, they play individually and together. Toys and equipment are plentiful, age-appropriate and all activities are supervised. I provide plenty of attention, appropriate affection, and personal care as necessary. Meals & snacks are healthy, yummy & generously portioned.
How we learn thru play:
* Choosing Toys: Child learns to make decisions and how to work with abilities. He finds toys by himself and with others. He sets up the environment. He learns to express needs, share, barter, manage conflict, and ask for help so his needs can be met. He learns about acceptance, rejection, and compassion.
* Block Play: Child learns to balance blocks and line them up (small motor skills; coordination). He may count blocks, see pattern and design, learn to build & plan structure and match blocks that look alike-- important pre-math skills
* Dramatic Play: We love hats & shoes!! Children like & need to play adult roles. They develop their self-image and expression. Through role play, a child decides appropriate dress and appearance; uses visual perceptions to assist self, others, and play environment. He learns & copies behaviors. He develops abstract thinking abilities. He/she dresses his/herself & can set up the play environment and find props.
* Books & Music: Helps kids listen and retain information by following story line (sequencing) with eyes and/or ears. We learn patience, and how to sit still. Children recognize words, pictures, instruments, and rhythms--great pre-reading and math skills too!
* Outside Play: A child may count the rungs to the top of a climbing structure; plans his climb.He learns to map out direction and distance to ride: watch for others in path. He builds his large motor coordination, balance, and learns to take turns & interact with others.
* Putting Away Toys: Children practice their learned sorting skills and direction following. They can replace object on the shelf, replace lids, open and shut doors. We learn cooperation & responsibility by taking turns and handling toys carefully.
What we do:
LANGUAGE: Singing, reading stories, and lots of face-to-face talking.
MUSIC: We march, dance, & chant silly rhymes to wholesome age-appropriate music only.
ART: We use crayons, washable markers, dobbers and side-walk chalk.
TV: Television is in age- appropriate programs and amounts only. Our favorites are: Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby, Elmo, & Blue
MANIPULATIVES: Large Legos (duplos), books, stackers, knob puzzles, soft blocks are huge favorites!
DOLLS/CARS: Multicultural dolls, puppets and all kinds of cars favorites of both genders.
OUTDOOR PLAY: We have a wide variety of playground toys in an enclosed, shaded patio area.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Effective Fall 2017, my program will become morning-playgroup only.
PLAYGROUP, PLAYCARE, DAYCARE. ISN'T IT ALL REALLY JUST BABYSITTING?
Current national industry standards and California Code for health, safety, capacity, nutrition & compliance in licensed childcares, are complex, making it far more involved & evolved than stereotype babysitting and it does not include sitting on babies.
My license allows me to Care for & meet the many variable needs of up to 8 children in my home. I use play as the basis to our routine because I recognize its value and necessity in a child's early education and overall development.
HOW DOES CHILD CARE WORK? ARE YOU MY EMPLOYEE OR AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?
I am definitely independent!! In general, PlayCare is a small business with a 'co-op'-like principle in that I am not exclusive or on personal stand-by to any one parent. The easiest way to explain is I have a base salary of $X per week and I depend on it just like you do your weekly paycheck. The difference is this amount is not paid by one source (like your employer) -- rather it is split up between all the parents who share my services. By sharing services and splitting the cost, everyone benefits!
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE IN-HOME PLAY CARE OVER A LARGE CENTER?
One of the major benefits I offer that center-based care simply cannot is that mom/family setting. A home atmosphere fosters an overall feeling of satisfaction, contentment & security. Homes are comfy and cozy, never cafeteria-style or warehouse/institutional-feeling. In a home, children get nurtured the way they are familiar with and deserve.
Family Child Care is just as safe, if not safer than a Center. We must adhere to County, State and sometimes Federal, guidelines just like Centers but the ratio of adult:child is much lower therefore their needs are more closely monitored & met. (Personally, I am regularly visited by Licensing (CCL), the USDA Food Program, DCFS, and CCRC--whew!!) And because of their lower ratio, home groups tend be less stressful to young children.
Health is another reason to choose FCC. Remember the lower ratio? Center-based care may offer separate rooms for different age groups, but the fact remains that large numbers of people (children, parents, employees & visitors) walk through a center's doors--often over 100 people each day. Parents know that the fewer people their child is exposed to--the less likely they are to become ill. ESPECIALLY DURING FLU SEASON!!
Furthermore, centers generally don't allow their staff to work overtime, so two or three part time shifts are used on a normal business day--meaning babies are passed from hand-to-hand, person to person thru-out the day. In contrast, I run my business from my home and I don't hire outside employees which allows my caregiving to remain constant and familiar to your child -- a vital component in developing bonds, attachment and emotional security.
DO YOU DO SCHOOL-AGE DROP-OFFS & PICK-UPS?
Sorry, not at his time.
YOU DON'T "DO" PRE-SCHOOL, SO WON'T MY CHILD LEARN MORE IN A CENTER OR SCHOOL?
Personally I don't think academics should be ''taught'' in infant/toddler daycare. Developmentally, children in this age group benefit more from - in fact they REQUIRE - lots of playing, i.e. independent thinking, wondering, stretching, moving, exploring, pretending, networking, trial and error/problem solving, etc. My job is to facilitate that as much as possible -- there is more than enough time for formal academics later - right now kids need to be kids and to build & develop the logic & socialization tools they will use the rest of their lives.
Here, the children are the curriculum and all learning is done in a naturally progressing manner, at their own pace -- no pressure, no tests. For example, literacy & language are developed thru alphabet puzzles, writing their name on artwork, looking at books, etc., and math is explored thru art, music, counting & sorting objects, etc. Even preparing meals/snacks teaches math!!
So you see, there is really so much kids can learn thru play that is not specifically academic in nature, but is still so very vital to their development. Read on about what the experts say:
ARE YOU ACCREDITED?
No, I am not. NAEYC accreditation can only be achieved by those that serve 10 or more children -- I much prefer the small group environment (my license is for 8 but I keep to 6 or less). I am however a NAEYC and NAFCC association member and have adapted many of their general policies to my program.
I'M HAVING A HARD TIME RECONCILING THE FACT THAT YOU'RE HOME ALL DAY...
Home is a pretty important place to be. Even the State of California thinks it's pretty important for kids to be home! Consider this quote from the Health & Safety Code 1597.40... "(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that family day care homes for children must be situated in normal residential surroundings so as to give children the home environment which is conducive to healthy and safe development. It is the public policy of this state to provide children...the same home environment as provided in a traditional home setting." (text style edited for emphasis). Just please know we are NOT sitting and watching soaps all day, eating bon-bons... kids are a lot of work and I keep very busy with them!
WHY ISN'T YOUR PHYSICAL/STREET ADDRESS POSTED?
For safety and privacy reasons for myself as well as the children in my care. I apologize if that offends anyone but I simply cannot have people I don't know to just walk in at any time. All potential clients need to be pre-screened i.e. what is the age and schedule of your child? what kind of care are you looking for? etc... Only after I know who I am talking to, how I can serve them, and have a call-back number, will I give that information out.
WHY DO I HAVE TO SIGN A CONTRACT?
ALL money exchanges and transfers of important/valuable goods require a clear understanding of the transaction taking place. Think about it--Just getting your car tires rotated requires a service agreement!! So why not Child Care--aren't children valuable goods? You are giving me your money AND your child, don't you want something in return? It is simply good business sense and responsible parenting to spell out the costs, limits, terms & conditions of your child's Care (i.e. your and my responsibilities, State & local laws, etc.)
HOW DO YOU SCHEDULE EVERYONE?
Very simply -- I don't over-enroll. I keep to one child per spot and all Care is advance-booked, which ensures I remain capacity-compliant at all times.
CAN I POP-IN ANYTIME?
To see your child while he is in my Care? SURE! In fact you have the legal right to. But I do not do impromptu (pop-in) tours or interviews -- all prospective clients need to be pre-screened first and then tours are booked at a time when the children's routine is not interrupted and I can give my full attention.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN CAPACITY & WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT? OTHER PROVIDERS HAVE NO PROBLEM SQUEEZING ONE MORE CHILD IN...
In California, the maximum of kids a provider can legally & safely have varies according to a formula based on the children's ages and the provider's type of license. (Know that in California, children under age 2 are considered infants)
Personally, I like my little group. It's what gives us that 'home' or family feeling. It keeps the kids calm, and fosters their sense of security. I will 'squeeze' or book a drop-in only if there is a clear opening on the calendar, but going over-limit is always out of the question--it is dangerous and disrespectful to the other families in Care.
I'M A TEACHER. HOW DO YOU HANDLE SUMMER VACATION/SCHOOL BREAKS?
Beginning Summer 2017 I will be closed during July and August, at no charge to hold your spot. Winter & Spring breaks will still be charged for however with 30 days advance notice I may discount your fee 50%.
DO YOU ACCEPT SPECIAL-NEEDS KIDS?
My experience has been with asthmatics, mild physical impairment, some speech- and developmental- delays, and special diets. I am happy to accommodate physical or other conditions to the best of my ability but I do not accept willful behavior or attitude problems.
WHY DON'T YOU ACCEPT SICK CHILDREN?
Family Child Care licenses are only issued for non-medical, well-child care and during inspections, Licensing agents note the health of all children present in addition to the safety of the facility and will remind me that I am "running a daycare, not a clinic". You can download our full illness exclusion and recovery/return policy on our download page.
** 10/07** DIRECT FROM LICENSING--HERE'S THE FINAL WORD ON SICK-CARE: The California Health and Safety Code (HSC), is the law upon which all of the Title 22 Child Care Regulations are based. HSC Section 1596.750 defines child care facilities as facilities that provide non-medical care to children under the age of 18. Allowing a licensed child care provider to provide medical services...would be a violation of the HSC, as well as The Business and Professions Code (B&PC), which governs the Medical Practices Act and the Board of Registered Nursing.
WILL YOU CHARGE FOR MY CHILD'S ABSENCES?
Yes, because I fulfilled my commitment to you: I will have specifically set aside the designated time & reserved a roster position just for you, to the point of turning others away. It's like your car payment or mortgage - you still have to make a payment even if you spend 2 weeks in Hawaii.
Also, I will have shopped and otherwise prepared behind the scenes to receive your child --that's space, time & preparation which cannot be returned, re-sold, or covered by the next person in line.
WHAT IS YOUR MEDICATION POLICY?
All meds must be clearly necessary, in their original containers with unaltered labels, un-expired and accompanied by the appropriate dispensing tool. By law all RX's must be specifically labeled for the enrolled child being given the medication and include the dispensing pharmacy's name, address, and prescribing doctor's name & date -- no exceptions.
In addition, I prefer all OTC dosages and necessity be approved by a medical practitioner too but this is not currently required by law -- I only ask because of past issues with being asked to give children medications and/or dosages inconsistent or incompatible with their symptoms, age, weight & medical history. This includes Tylenol, Miralax, gas drops, teething tablets, etc.
MY CHILD IS NOT IMMUNIZED, WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON SHOT EXEMPTIONS?
The State's new policy is my policy -- no shots or records? no childcare (See their pic).
Under SB 277, which took effect 1/1/16, no new opt-outs for personal or religious beliefs can be accepted on all school or childcare enrollments -- that means everyone new coming in must present either: a current up-to-date shot record, a medical exemption with doctor's note, or pre-2016 on-file personal exemption, or I cannot admit your child, no exceptions. Read more at: www.shotsforschool.org/laws/sb277faq/#Q4
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE SICK OR OTHERWISE CAN'T WORK?
I usually plan my personal time for long weekends and I always post my intentions well in advance. In the unforseen event I should become too sick to work or need emergency time off, I will notify you ASAP, so you can put your back-up plan in motion.
Note: All of my parents are required to have a back-up plan at all times, ie: another provider. a family member or you may choose to stay home too. In fact Licensing looks to see this information in my file when they come for inspections. Be assured your fee will be adjusted for my sick/ personal days (but recognized Holidays or parent/child sick or personal days are not included in this exception).
WHAT ABOUT YOUR BACK-UP? WHY DOESN'T SHE STEP UP WHEN YOU'RE OFF?
I don't keep an outside back-up person on retainer because it's simply not cost effective. Also, Licensing considers the choice of caregiver to be a PARENT CHOICE & RESPONSIBILITY issue. What I can do is refer you to different people for you to interview in advance but ultimately, all arrangements are your responsibility.
BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS! In 20+ years, I've caught cooties bad enough to have to stay in bed only two dozen times. And every time I called & let everyone know ASAP and they all were able to put their back-up plans in motion without a hitch, and I adjusted their fee the following week.
WHY AREN'T YOUR RATES POSTED?
Rates are given at our interview as they are determined by the days and hours of care needed. Be assured I set them as fairly as possible and they are within the averages of the State RMR (regional market rate). You can see thru this link what the Average is for your CA county but keep in mind, it is not broken down by ZIP code (Lancaster is NOT the same as Valencia, Van Nuys or WeHo) plus I supply diapers & formula. www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/ap/index.aspx
IF I PAY IN CASH, WILL I GET A RECEIPT OR IS IT UNDER THE TABLE?
This is a legit business and I treat it as such in ALL aspects. Payment methods are cash or check -- I do not currently accept credit cards. Checks are electronically-deposited as soon as received, and every payment gets a receipt whether cash OR check which specifies the date, amount, and Care period. In addition, you will get a tax statement at the end of the year.
DO YOU OFFER ANY DISCOUNTS?
The only discount I offer is a small one to active military/fire/law enforcement personnel & wounded warriors only -- as a thank you for putting your life on the line for me. (RIP Spc Matthew Ramsey, d. 2010 Afghanistan)
WHAT IS 'CCRC'?
That's the Child Care Resource Center, the primary administrator for CalWORKS, GAIN, TANF, Federal Stage II and III, and Family Child Care Network assistance programs in this area. SUPER NICE PEOPLE!! They also have community playdates, a public toy-lending library and free referrals to local licensed providers. Check them out at: www.ccrcca.org
DO YOU REALLY PROVIDE DISPOSABLE DIAPERS?!...
Yes I do. It is SO much easier for me to have all supplies here at my fingertips when I need them rather than rifle thru umpteen diaper bags fifty times a day! Of course you must understand that I use generic disposable diapers/wipes & buy in bulk to keep costs down. (FINE PRINT: If your child uses cloth, or has an allergy & requires a certain brand, you will need to provide those at your cost.)
AND FORMULA ALL AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE?!!...
Yup!... The Food Program requires me to offer a house formula -- I offer Sam's Club regular (yellow can) or gentle (purple can) Enfamil-equivalent, BUT you can opt out if you prefer to supply your own brand or breastmilk.
IF YOU SUPPLY IT ALL, WHAT DO I BRING?
You provide the check, the child, 2 changes of clothes and any specialty items your child may need. For convenience, you can leave a full pack or canister here and just replenish when needed, no need to pack or shlep that clunky diaper bag every day -- is that too cool or what!?
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON MEALS?
I serve generally available foods on a set timetable and prepare one meal in ample portions for each sitting; all meal cut-off times are listed in your Handbook -- children due to arrive after a scheduled meal must eat before they arrive or wait until our next scheduled serving. The only exception is bottle-fed infants -- their schedules tend to be wonky the first few months so they are fed on demand. Children are not force-fed or required to finish their plates but I do encourage at least 4 bites before I let them get down from their high chairs. All custom menus or specialty foods must be parent-supplied.
THOSE RULES ARE KIND OF 'ANAL' AREN'T THEY?
It's true, someone really asked me this question! The bottom line is that the things people do naturally at home, is tightly monitored in daycare--there is a rule for EVERYTHING!! Regarding food, please know that I am a member of the USDA CACFP (Child And Adult Care Food Program) and I am just doing my job by following their schedules & policies. The FEDS require that I serve certain components in certain quantities at certain times. I have to complete menus, attendance, all kinds of forms AND have different kinds of milk on hand for every age group. Also, I am required to have training in nutrition, safe food handling & prep practices -- by keeping everything under my control, temperature, freshness & quality are assured.
I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THAT PROGRAM--TELL ME MORE...
The CACFP is a Federal Child Nutrition program that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the National School Lunch Act, and is administered thru several State sources. Their goal is to educate & encourage healthy eating habits and ensure all kids in school/child care eat regularly and healthfully. While participation is not mandatory in general, certain subsidy programs do require me to participate in the CACFP as part of my contract. If I don't follow CACFP rules, I am dropped as an approved subsidized-Care Provider.
* Please know that by law, children are NOT required to eat everything on their plates, the food is simply made available for them and they are encouraged to at least taste everything. What your child ultimately eats or doesn't eat is up to him or her. Your help in this area is appreciated because sadly, a lot of it gets thrown away... You can learn more at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/childcare/ .
WHEN SHOULD I START POTTY TRAINING?
Potty training should be done once your child is off the bottle, wakes up dry from naps, can pull his own pants up & down, has reasonable pee & poo holding control, AND can express his need to go before it’s too late. These signs generally appear between ages 2 and 3 but there is no magic age - every child's development and temperament is different.
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON POTTY-TRAINING?
I am more than happy to help PT but I will not do it alone -- it has to be diligently worked on at home too or I will not work with him here. And I will not start a child here until he is clearly ready, willing, and able. When the time comes, we can discuss the process & requirements further and in detail.
HOW CAN I HELP OUT, OR BE A HELPER?
OOOH--Bless your heart! We LOVE donations of snack items, unexpired baby food jars/cereal, outgrown clothing, diapers & toys, box-tops & labels, etc.!!! Volunteering as an unpaid helper requires: getting livescanned (at your expense) specifically for Child Care (regardless if you already are for other purposes), passing a DOJ criminal record check & CA Child Abuse Index check, AND providing proof of current negative TB test -- all of which must be submitted to Licensing and approved before your first interaction with the other children in Care. If you are interested in volunteering, I can get you the forms and walk you thru the process.
HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?
Please, feel free to contact me and ask -- I truly am happy to answer them. One can never be over-informed! Call me at 661-722-7071 or use the email link on our contact page and I will get back to you asap. Thank you.