Touching the Future
by Marti Doyle
I don't wear power suits,
make speeches, or
drive a fancy sports car.
I've never talked on a car phone, made a big sale, or
been elected to the Senate.
I spend my days wiping away tears, giving hugs, and
serving chicken nuggets.
A good day is when I go through a whole day without a temper tantrum, bite mark, or a toilet training accident.My "office" is a room full of brightly colored toys and laughing children.
You may not think that what I do is very important
you may even whisper behind my back "What a waste of a good mind" But I know better.
I make a difference
because I'm changing the world
one child at a time.
I'm proud to say "I'm a child care provider!"
Stephie's philosophy of child care
Children are unique creations. Their lives are impacted by a mix of genetics and experiences early in life. As a child grows, he continually makes connections in his brain, synapses. It is this early stage of life when the most synapses occur. It’s incredible! What an amazing creator we have! Curiosity is a trait in every child very early in life. It sparks investigations, explorations, and manipulations. It is the way children learn and answer questions they have about their surroundings. It is the role of the primary care giver – parent team to walk with each child on this learning path and give them experiences to make new connections and new discoveries.
Children and families should feel safe within the child care environment, a home away from home of sorts. If trust is the foundation and love and respect are the walls, it’s a house where happy and healthy children are growing every day! Quality child care providers create this community of happy learners in a comfortable, meaningful environment full of smiles, laughter, and most importantly unconditional love.
Providing an environment of praise and encouragement, love and respect, guidance and discipline, is a top priority for helping children reach their maximum learning space with developmentally appropriate, stimulating activities. Independence and confidence will bloom, with respect and love at the base of each child’s self-esteem! With love and respect at the base, independence and confidence will not be a hindrance to learning, but a strong asset. Learning will happen on a broad spectrum of life skills and brain skills and within all contexts. Even as adults, we should strive to learn something new each day! I want that for my own children and for each child I come into contact with each day.
Quality child care environments will be full-inclusion based and children of all learning and life abilities will be a part of our environment. An environment of full-inclusion gives children opportunities, at a very young age, to learn respect for each other. This also demonstrates that each child is unique and has his/her own ladder to climb. When one is higher than another, they can bend down and help that other child reach the next step!
I believe that children:
Stephie’s commitment to you
My commitment to each child in my care is to lead them through each day with love and respect. I will meet each child where he/she is at and help them reach that next step on the path of learning and developing in life.
Stephie’s Place Kids
.God designed to impact generations.
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove … but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
Stephie’s Place Kids will provide developmentally appropriate and stimulating activities surrounded with love and respect to help the whole child grow to his/her fullest potential with a happy, joyful heart.
Stephie’s Place Kids strives to live out God’s commandment to love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength; and love you neighbor as yourself. We will provide an environment of love and respect in which the whole child will thrive.
#Daily values framework
Stephie’s Place Kids will be provided care that is developmentally appropriate, stimulating, and framed around the following characteristics:
The children are our first priority as parents and caregivers!!
Welcome to Stephie’s Place Kids, my in-home based, child care center. My name is Stephanie Botkin. The kids can call me Stephie, Steph, or Stephanie, or whatever works for them. I am a 30 year old, kid fanatic, in love with Jesus, and passionate about helping kids reach their fullest potentials! I graduated from South Dakota State University with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences. My major is Early Childhood Education in birth to age eight. I am so excited to have your family be a part of our family!
My husband, Alex, and I have been married since December 2005. He is currently employed full-time at CMI in De Smet. We have two boys: Payton is 6 and in 1st grade; Jordan is 4 and in Preschool. We also have two dogs: Buffy is 7 yrs old and loves kids, she barks to let me know people are here and she is scared of men, but will let a baby maul her. She is a cock-a-poo. We also have a yorki-poo, his name is Bolt and he is only 2 yrs old. He is a little lippy, but he also adores the kids and the play time!
…Purpose of this handbook…
In order for me to concentrate on the important goals of this service, it is necessary to establish a set of guidelines upon which my home daycare will be operated. Please, carefully review all of the enclosed information and feel free to discuss any of it with me. As stated, this is an in-home childcare program, which means it is my home. Because I have my own family to consider, it is important that I establish hours of operation, an illness policy, and need for prompt payment of monthly fees, which I expect to be respected by parents of children in my care.
Please treat me as a professional. This is my career choice! I am a professional childcare provider, not a babysitter.
This handbook was created to help things go smoothly in developing a good working relationship/partnership with each family. This is best accomplished through open communication and clearly defined policies. This handbook was written with that goal in mind. In order to make our partnership as enjoyable as possible, the following pages contain useful information that is necessary to ensure there are no misunderstandings. As you partner and advocate in caring for your child, my interaction with you, the parent, is as important as my interaction with your child.
I hope we can work together to make Stephie’s Place the best it can be for your child and family!
Families that choose Stephie’s Place Kids will register each child for a guaranteed space at the center. This involves an information registration form, a contract for care, and a copy of each child’s current immunization records (have to be on file according to State requirements). The contract will establish the payment schedule your family chooses, the full-time/part-time decision your family makes, and days and times I can expect to greet your child each week. Think of it as a lease on an apartment, you are leasing a guaranteed space for your child at my house.
On the contract there is a space for your signature of consent to authorize Stephie’s Place Kids to seek care or treatment for emergencies at the center. There is also a space for your signature to allow Stephie’s Place Kids to use pictures with your child in them on our website and facebook pages. Please return the paperwork completed and signed. I will then, also sign our contract and make a copy for you to have in your folder. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
There may be occasional changes to our contracts and handbooks. I do reserve the right to make changes in rates and policies as I deem necessary. You will be notified, in writing, of any changes that may occur. You will want to keep your folder in an accessible location to add things to the folder as needed. You will also have the right to make changes to your contracts, with two weeks written notice (ex. Summer schedule changes from school year). We will renew contracts during the end of Summer/start of school transitions, each year.
Trial period/Leaving the center
A TWO-week notice is required for withdrawal from daycare. If notice is not given, two weeks pay or the balance of the two weeks will be required to be paid in full on the last day of childcare. Remaining vacation time may not be used in lieu of payment. If it becomes necessary to terminate your child’s position, you will receive verbal or written two-weeks notice.
I do understand that Stephie’s Place Kids may not meet the needs of your family or your child; therefore, I do have a two-week trial period. If after this time, for any reason, you or I find that this center is not best suited for you or your child, we will bypass this final agreement and all services will be paid in full on the last day of childcare.
Holidays / birthdays
We do honor major holidays and celebrate all children’s birthdays. If you would like to bring a special treat for your special birthday kid to share, please just let me know!
My philosophy is that discipline is used to teach a child. It is most effective through love, consistency, and firmness. The children are explained the rules of the center frequently, so they know the guidelines. Once the child understands the rules and chooses to disobey them, or hurts others or property, developmentally appropriate techniques are used to develop acceptable behaviors. These developmentally appropriate discipline techniques are as follows:
Infant care (up to 18 months)
Trust is key in an infant’s development as is the infant/caregiver relationship. My main priority with the infants that come to my home is to create a relationship built on trust. Infants do require specialty care which requires more of the caregiver’s attention. So, this is why the cost of care is higher for this age, because of that extra time and attention taken to provide quality care. This trust is also valuable between caregiver and parent. I value the confidence you have in me to provide quality care for your infant. Communication is where trust and confidence is increased. Please know, I love talking about your baby with you!
Although infants will not be directly participating in activities the same way as the older children at Stephie’s Place Kids, they will have their own activities each day that we work on. Maybe we read a book together, have tummy time, or practice counting our fingers and toes. It could be that we spent a whole 15 minutes stacking cups and knocking them down again. Whatever it was, your infant will have been learning. Learning is more than letters and numbers. Infants are developing their sense of self, their coordination, their language, their likes/dislikes, etc. At 18 months, they are naturally transitioning to “big kid” play times.
My house is not always spotless. My main concern each day is the care given and time spent with each child. The kids are encouraged to participate in picking up the toys throughout the day (before meals and rest time) and picking up their rest time spots also. I do clean my house during rest time if everyone has fallen asleep. I do most cleaning during non-business hours.
::Your child’s necessities::
It is your choice if you want to bring these items back and forth every day or leave them at Stephie’s home. Whatever system works best for your family is what works best for me. I do have boxes that will be labeled with your child’s name on it for whatever they do bring. These boxes will be stored in the playroom, up on the shelf.
If your child chooses to bring a toy to Stephie’s Place for the day, it will need to be a toy they will be willing to share with their friends and one that, if something happened to it, life would continue. Due to the busyness of our days, protecting toys is not the highest priority and so I cannot promise that a toy will not get broken, just because it isn’t one of mine. If it becomes an issue, I may also move the toy to a space that it will be found at pickup time.
Stephie’s Place Kids is not a preschool, but we do learn new things every day. I believe young children learn through play, not a structured, school-like environment. They will get that soon enough when they enter into the school system. Your child will not be pushed to do anything that he/she is not capable of doing; all children will learn at their own pace. Early learning should be a fun and enjoyable experience to help ensure a lifelong love of learning.
Understanding that children develop differently and do activities at their own pace, Stephie’s Place Kids operates on a daily routine rather than a set schedule. We will remain flexible throughout the day and adjust as the children’s needs change. The general outline of our day is as follows:
I want each family to know that this is a routine and times are NOT “set-in-stone” … this is just the general flow … bathroom breaks happen nearly every ½ hr of my day! J We just take group breaks to make sure.
Hours of operation
Stephie’s Place Kids will be open at 7:30am and run until 5:30pm.
If your child is going to be absent, please notify me at least a ½ hour before the usual arrival time to avoid unnecessary worrying. Please call if your child will be dropped off later than the scheduled time so I know to include them in our meal counts and activities. If you will not be able to pick up your child at the normally designated time, I need to be contacted as soon as possible to see if my schedule will allow me to extend your day. An extension fee of $5.00/hr will be charged for care needed before or after operating hours.
During the centers hours of operation, an open door policy will be operated. Please know that you are more than welcome at any time to drop by and visit. Please don’t ring the door bell or knock. This will disturb the activity that is happening in the center and hinder you from seeing the real enjoyment of the children. This also allows you and me to know who is entering my home. Family is always welcome in our home and when you’re here, you’re family!
One note to mention is that when you come to visit your child on “their turf” their natural behaviors are to test who is in charge. If you are coming to visit your child, please give them your attention and make good use of your time with them. They will be craving your attention while you’re here! If lunch is a time you choose to visit, please stop through before 12:45pm as that is the start of quiet time / rest time and visitors after this time interrupt that rest time for the kids.
An open door policy also leads into parent/caregiver communication. Communication is key to a successful caregiver/parent relationship. It is my hope that we have lots of fun times talking about your child together! What they did today, a new thing they learned or accomplished, a funny story now and then, new phrases or words, anything and everything!I am open to whatever communication is best for each family. I will share my contact information with you and please know that as long as we are communicating I’m happy with that. Please keep in mind, I may not always be able to run to my phone (ex. diaper changing, etc). If for some reason the phone goes unanswered, please do not be alarmed, simply leave me a voicemail or a text and I will call you back or reply as soon as I am able. If texting isn’t allowed at work, I also have email for those random, “I forgot to let Stephie know that” moments. I receive my emails on my phone and will read them as I am able; I generally reply during rest time.
Cost of care
Stephie’s Place Kids will operate on a weekly rate for child care.
Full Time = 4 to 5 days per week (30-50 hours per wk)
1 infant (up to 18 months) $110/wk
1 child (18 months & up) $100/wk
Each additional child from same family $15 discounted rate/wk
Part Time = 3 days or less
1 infant (up to 18 months) $80/wk
1 child (18 months & up) $75/wk
Each additional child from same family $15 discounted rate/wk
Daily Drop-in Rate
$25.00/day or 4 hours or less will be $15.00/day
::rates will be evaluated and adjusted each year::
Payments will be due on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (your choice on the contract). Payments will be made by 5:30pm on Fridays, unless otherwise arranged. If this day is a holiday, a vacation, or planned day off for the parent or provider, payment is due the previous day. If you or your child is ill, your payment is expected unless other arrangements have been previously made. If I have to close due to my own illness or emergency, payment will be accepted on your first contracted day back to the center. Payments may be made by check or cash. There will be a late fee of $5.00 for each day that payments are received late beginning the following morning for all payments not made before your contracted drop off time; this includes weekends. Please do not put me in the uncomfortable position of having to ask for payment and any other fees that may have been added in the week.
A return check fee of $25.00 will be charged to cover fees assessed to my account. Any returned check must be paid in cash. If two checks bounce in a year’s time, cash will then be required. If an unexpected financial situation presents itself, I am more than willing to work out a type of payment schedule with you. Please do not wait until your payment is due to discuss this.
Unannounced, early drop offs or late pick ups will be charged $1.00 every 5 minutes for any care needed before or after operating hours. Please notify me of any emergencies. A year-end statement of all daycare fees paid during the year will be given to you in January of the next year for tax purposes. Rates may be reviewed and increased each year.
If your account becomes delinquent by two weeks, it will be grounds for termination with notification and your child will no longer be able to remain at this child care center.
Vacation and Center closings
Families with children in full time spots will receive 8 days of unpaid vacation time. You may use your vacation days at your discretion. I do ask that you, please, give me at least a one week notice if you are going to use your vacation days. When the days are used, your weekly rate will be prorated. I do not expect you to pay for my vacation, personal days, or being closed due to illness. I will keep these days to a minimum and will try to give at minimum a week’s notice when I take any personal or vacation days; I will strive for at least two weeks in advance. I will take nine paid holidays per calendar year January through December. The following are paid holidays: New Years Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, New Years Eve. When a holiday falls on a Saturday, the center will be closed the preceding Friday with pay. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, the center will be closed the following Monday with pay.
When I need to leave my home for short periods of time (1-3 hours), due to appointments, etc. I will give the families plenty of notice. If an appointment is necessary, I will try to schedule it during quiet time/ rest time. The following persons would possibly take over for the short time I’m away from my home.
1.)Sandie Lee (mom, “Grama Sandie”) 3.) Alex Botkin (husband)
2.)Suzie Lee (sister) 4.) Ashley Barnard (college-aged niece)
On Wednesday afternoons, Stephie does leave the center at about 2:30pm to go to church and direct the after-school Kids’ Club program. During this time, one of the four “subs” is at home with the kids.
If Stephie’s Place needs to be closed for any reason related to emergency illness with myself, or my own children, you will be contacted as soon as possible. This will enable you to contact your back-up provider for that day. It is the parent’s responsibility to have a back-up provider searched out and prepared. During the summer months and school breaks, high school kids are great contacts to have! If finding that back-up is a challenge, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m more than willing to help.
Please notify me at once if your child has been exposed to a contagious illness such as the flu, chicken pox, pink eye, etc. This will allow me to contact all others who may have been exposed. I will notify you if your child has been exposed to an illness at this center. Stephie’s Place Kids will NOT accept children who are ill. Please use your best judgment. Please keep in mind that a sick child in the center will create closings when the illness spreads. One day at home with liquids and comfort can make a world of difference in a child’s system!
Your child will not be permitted in the center if they have, or have had in the past 24 hrs, any of the following symptoms: *these also apply to my own children*
:: Administering Medication::
If I administer prescribed medication, it must be in the original container with the child’s name, date, and instructions clearly stated on it. An authorization form must be on file before I can give the medications. Over the counter medications will be given, with your permission, according to the directions on the label. If your child has been prescribed an antibiotic, they may not come to the center until the medication has been taken for a period of 24-48 hours (doctor will tell you this info as well). I reserve the right to phone you at work and will expect you to pick up your child within one hour, if they become sick while at daycare.
In case of a serious accident or sudden illness requiring medical attention, the following procedures are followed:
~It is extremely important, especially in instances of illness or emergency that the emergency contact information is up to date and all information correct. Please report any changes immediately to keep your emergency contact information up to date.
~For minor injuries like bumps and bruises, I will provide home first aid. If the injury is more serious (ex. Needs stitches, broken arm, or dislocation, etc.) the parent will be notified immediately. Parents will be responsible for all cost involved in emergency medical treatment, including emergency transportation required. I will not be held liable for any sickness/ injury of either parent / guardian / or child while on these premises, or while the child is in my company during field trips or outings.
~I will provide you with an injury report on all significant injuries to your child that may have occurred while they were in my care. Please feel free to question me about accidents and reports.
Childcare providers are required to report any signs of abuse or neglect of the children in our care.
Healthy food choices are a key piece of quality care. Children will be served breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack each day. Children are served balanced meals with 2% milk. I also have skim for my family and if you would like your child to drink skim, just let me know. If your child requires a special diet due to allergies, medications, and/or cultural or religious beliefs it will be the responsibility of the parent to provide a well balanced lunch and snack for their child. No junk food, pop, gum, etc. If you wish to bring snacks for your child’s birthday or for just because that is great!
Every child will be served the same meal for the day and encouraged to eat what is placed in front of them. I do introduce “un-tasted” foods multiple times and ask each child to take at least one bite of each food on their plates. The more times a food is introduced and eaten, the more likely the child will begin to eat it without the one bite request. If they choose to not eat what has been given, that is their choice, but snack foods won’t be acceptable until a healthy food choice has been made (a method I have used for seven years and with my own children at every meal).
Parents of infants and toddlers, please note that you will need to provide your child’s formula or breast milk, and baby food. Your child’s food and formula will be stored in a separate place and labeled for them. While transitioning from formula or breast milk to regular milk, if you choose to use whole milk, please bring ½ gallon jugs at a time. Milk (breast, formula, or regular) and food will need to be provided until your toddler is drinking 2% milk and able to eat meals with the other children.
Stephie’s Place Kids have a designated nap time daily or at least lie down and rest time daily. Please let your child know that this is an expected part of our day. Each child is welcome to bring a comfort item for this time of the day. Infants do sleep on their own schedules and routines and are not expected to sleep during this same time as the older children. If a child does not want to sleep or it is requested by the parents to keep them awake, they will be provided with a book or quiet activity so that they may rest.
Rest/Nap time usually starts between 12:45 and 1:00pm. Children are most often beginning to wake up and play between 2:45 and 3:00pm.
If you have items around your home that you are wondering what to do with, we may find good use for them here! Donations help keep costs down, so if you have any of the following items and want to donate them, it would be greatly appreciated. This is not mandatory or expected, just a helpful list of things we would use.
Stephie’s Place outcomes
In striving to provide quality care for your children, I have developed a list of outcomes to help guide the development of each child as an individual. These are also what I base my activities on each day. Each developmental area is given a goal according to three age groups. For each age group, there is an overall developmental goal that I would like to have the children meet before progressing to the next goal. Each goal has a few indicators of how the child can meet that developmental goal.
These outcomes provide us (provider and parent) with specific goals to work towards with your child. These goals can be achieved through simple, normal, everyday activities or specified, planned activities each day. There will be a minimum of one hour to a maximum of four hours per day of qualified “Learning Time”. This could be a “preschool” activity or a group project. I will have a planned part of the day with specific goals to achieve for each child. There are no specific outcomes for infants, but please note that every child is different and even infants under 18 months are capable of some of the “toddler” indicators. Infants under 18 months will be encouraged to grow and participate as they choose each day.
(these outcomes are listed in your handbook folders and used within my daily #journal blog posts also)
I chose this profession because of my love for children. I have invested a lot of time into learning everything I can about them. I do take my job very seriously, working hard to provide the best educational and developmental care for your child while you are at work. The success of my business depends upon the payment of fees in order to take care of day-to-day expenses that are encountered.
I consider it a privilege to have been entrusted with the care of your child. I will always treat them with love and respect. If at any time you have suggestions, comments, or questions, please feel free to bring them to my attention. I hope that our relationship will be a long and beneficial one to both of us. I love what I do for a living and am happy to be able to welcome you and your family into my home!
Provider / parent communication is vital in maintaining a good working relationship. It is not the intent of this paperwork and agreement to replace that communication.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and concerns with me!