FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is there a registration fee?

Yes, for the full-day, year round program there is a non-refundable registration fee of $125.00/per child, charged at the time of enrollment in the program. Contracts are renewed each September and there is a registration fee of $125.00/family due at that time.

New families who register 2 or more months in advance will also be required to pay a non-refundable $400.00/child or $500.00/family holding fee. Upon starting, the standard registration fee of $125.00/child will be taken out of the total and remaining balance will be applied towards the first tuition payment. We will not hold spots for families unless the holding fee has been paid.

The half-day, school year program has a non-refundable registration fee of $125.00/child charged each year at the time of the preschool registration event (typically in December for currently enrolled families and in January for new families). The registration fees are for the upcoming school year which begins the following September after the registration process.

When does enrollment occur?

The Full-Day, Year Round program (for infants through 5+ years old) accepts registrations year round. Families may be placed on a waiting list if no openings are available at the time of inquiry. The non-refundable registration fee is due upon acceptance of an opening. All families need to tour prior to enrolling their child or children.

The main enrollment for the Half-Day, School Year program (for 3 – 5 years old) occurs in December for the CURRENTLY enrolled families and in January for NEW families. Families can register at times other than at the January Registration event, as space is available.

How do I enroll?

Families can either request an appointment for a tour online (see below) or by phone (651-768-3031). If a family decides to enroll their child or children in the Saint Ambrose Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC), then they will be required to complete all enrollment paperwork for their child or children, prior to the first day of school.

What are your adult to child ratios?

The Infant and pre-toddler classrooms will maintain a 4:1 ratio. The older toddler classroom will maintain a ratio of 7:1 and the preschool classrooms maintain a 10:1 ratio. While these are the state mandated ratios, we staff our rooms to allow us to have ratios closer to 3:1, 6:1 and 9:1 respectively.

Do you serve breakfast?

Families are allowed to bring in healthy, nutritious breakfast items for their child or children to eat here at school. We will provide the dishes and milk. Breakfast is available to be eaten here in the ECEC from 6:30 – 8:00 AM, M – F. Any child arriving after 8:00 AM should plan to eat breakfast at home. We will have a morning snack around 9:30 AM. We are a PEANUT and TREE-NUT FREE CENTER. Please refrain from bringing any food items that contain these products.

Will a hot lunch program be provided by the center?

Yes, hot lunch is provided to those children enrolled in the full-day, year round program and to the children in the Tuesday, Thursday and Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 5-hour class option for the half-day, school year program. A morning and afternoon snack, with milk, will be provided for all children in accordance to their schedules. Those that attend the M, W / F and the T, TH / F half-day Caterpillar and Frog classes will not have an afternoon snack served to them. Children 1-2 years of age will be served whole milk and children 2 years and older will be served 1% milk.

Are meals and formula provided for the infants in the program?

Yes, infants are part of the same food program as the older children. We will provide Advanced Similac® (milk-based), Similac Isomil® (soy based), and Similac Sensitive Stomach formulas. Solid baby foods, rice and/or oatmeal cereal and finger foods will also be provided. As the infants are ready, they will begin to receive the hot lunch meal as well. Parents can choose to waive the use of the center’s formula and food, but then they must provide their own formula and food for their child. No food items will be introduced to an infant without prior consent from the parent.

How do you handle allergies?

All of the staff (teachers, assistant teachers, aides, and substitutes) employed in the ECEC will partake in an annual Allergy Prevention and Response Training, as required by MN Department of Human Services, Licensing Division. There will also be paperwork required that families and the child’s pediatrician will need to complete PRIOR to the child’s first day. All allergy information must be updated annually, at a minimum. This includes all forms and medications, as needed. Allergy information will be posted in a confidential manner, in the classrooms as well as in the kitchen food service area.

Does your center use a curriculum?

We do not use a purchased, pre-done curriculum as such, as we allow the teachers and children to have input in the lessons and themes, based on the interests of the children as well as what may be happening throughout the year. We do reference and make use of both the HighScope Curriculum and The Creative Curriculum as resources to guide and direct our outcomes, goals and objectives for our curriculum and lesson plans.

Does the center provide diapers, wipes, etc., for those children who need them?

No, each family must bring in diapers, wipes, ointment, etc., for their child as they are needed. All items must be labeled with the child’s first and last name. The classroom teachers will notify parents if their child is running low on diapers, wipes, etc.

Does my child have to be potty-trained?

Children who are enrolled in the Half-Day, School Year Program MUST be potty-trained prior to enrollment.

Children who are enrolled in the Full-Day, Year Round Program must be potty-trained by the time they are ready to move to the 4-year old classroom (around 43-44 months old). We will work with individual families / children as and if needed.

What is the vacation policy for the ECEC families?

Each family enrolled in the full-day, year round program is allowed one week of vacation credit per contract year. The contract year is from September – August. The vacation time must be taken in a one-week increment (not spread out over the year) in order to receive the vacation credit on your tuition. One week constitutes the number of days per week your child attends the center. Children cannot attend the ECEC while a vacation credit is being used. The vacation credit is available to families once they have been enrolled in the ECEC for at least 4-months.

Is there a summer program?

Our Full-Day, Year Round program remains OPEN for the summer.

Does the ECEC have a leave of absence policy?

The Early Childhood Education Center relies solely on tuition funds. Therefore, our objective is to operate at full capacity. Families that choose to take the summer off will be required to pay a holding registration fee of $275.00/child or $375.00/family to commit to and hold their spot for the upcoming fall. This fee is non-refundable and is not applied to tuition. Families are allowed one week of vacation credit per contract year (September – August). If a child is absent for more than one week at a time, families will be charged the full tuition during the child’s absence, minus the one week of vacation credit, if applicable.

Will the ECEC be closed for holidays, staff in-service training days, or inclement weather?

Yes, throughout the year there will be days that the center is closed due to holidays and staff in- service training days. Each family will receive a registration packet which will include a yearly calendar with all the center activities and closures for the year. Calendars will also be included in all center newsletters each month, so that they can be readily accessible. In addition, they will also be posted on the ECEC website.

Typically, the ECEC will close due to inclement weather if the South Washington County School District (#833) closes. This may be due to icy road conditions, snow/blizzard conditions or extremely cold temperatures. All closings will be posted on WCCO TV and radio, voicemail messages at the front desk will also be changed stating that the ECEC will be closed, and we will send email and Brightwheel messages out to all families letting you know about any closings involving the ECEC.

What are the credentials of the teaching staff?

Because we are both NAEYC Accredited and 4-Star Parent Aware rated, we look for teaching staff that has a background and degree work in early childhood, or related field, specifically.

How much time do children spend outdoors?

We take the children out all year long. We spend more time outdoors during the fall, spring and summer, but we will go out at least once a day during the winter months, weather permitting. Classrooms have outdoor time scheduled a minimum of two times a day, but may go out more often during the summer. Outside time is a minimum of 45 minutes each time.

How do you discipline the children?

All children and adults deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The ECEC strongly believes in promoting a child’s self-esteem while helping them learn appropriate behaviors to deal with situations and conflicts. We will promote a positive atmosphere by providing an environment that includes the following:

  1. A challenging, yet age-appropriate environment where each child is able to develop and learn at his or her own pace.
  2. A safe, secure classroom that promotes trust and security. Protect the safety of children and staff persons.
  3. Clear, concise and consistent rules and expectations for all the children. Provide immediate and directly related consequences for a child’s unacceptable behavior.
  4. Observing and modeling appropriate, positive and acceptable behaviors.
  5. Anticipating problems or conflicts, and providing redirection and help when needed. Redirect children and groups away from problems towards constructive activity in order to reduce conflict
  6. Provide encouraging words and promote positive behaviors.
  7. Intervene when necessary to help children work through problems, and involve children in problem solving steps and solutions. Teach children to use acceptable alternatives to problem behavior in order to reduce conflict.
  8. Create an atmosphere of peace and cooperation.

Staff will intervene if a situation appears dangerous, destructive, or disruptive to other children. Each situation is unique and staff persons need to respond in a way that is quick, safe, and preserves each child’s self-esteem. Children will not be forced to apologize to each other, but they may be asked to help in the care of the injured child, so as to acknowledge the feelings of the child, if appropriate. In the event that a behavior becomes persistent and continuous and requires increased guidance by the teaching staff, the teaching staff will record the unacceptable behavior of the child and the staff’s response to the behavior. A behavior plan will be developed in cooperation with the other teaching staff and the child’s parent(s), and any other health professionals that may have been contacted.

The Early Childhood Education Center WILL NOT use the following methods of discipline:

  1. Hitting, rough handling, slapping, pinching, biting, shoving, hair/ear pulling, shaking, kicking, or spanking, etc.
  2. Subject any child to any form of emotional abuse, including, name calling, ostracism, shaming, humiliating the child or his or her family, or anything that frightens or threatens the child.
  3. Punishment for lapses in toilet training or habits.
  4. Withhold food, light, warmth, clothing, or medical care as a form of punishment for unacceptable behavior.
  5. Use physical restraint other than to physically hold a child where containment is necessary to protect a child or others from harm.
  6. Use any type of mechanical restraint such as tying.
  7. Separate children from the group. A child may be separated ONLY IF less intrusive methods of guiding the child’s behavior have been tried and were ineffective, or if the child’s behavior threatens the well-being of the child or other children in the program. If separation is needed, the child must remain within an unenclosed part of the classroom where the child can be continuously seen and heard by a program staff person. The child’s behavior should be under control before being allowed back to the group. The child must be returned to the group as soon as the behavior that precipitated the separation abates or stops. Children between the ages of six weeks and 16 months must not be separated from the group as a means of behavior guidance.
  8. All separations from the group will be noted in the daily log. The Daily Log must contain the child’s name, the staff person’s name, the time, date and information indicating what less intrusive methods were used to guide the child’s behavior and how the child’s behavior continued to threaten the well-being of the child or other children in the classroom.

The Early Childhood Education Center cannot and will not keep a child enrolled in the center who poses a threat or danger to themselves the safety and well-being of the other children or staff. Immediate termination could result.

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