Family Handbook

Welcome to Shaughnessy Point Grey Out of School Care

… affectionately known as SPG. Please read the entire Family Handbook so you are aware of all the important information that may affect you and your children. Sharing an understanding of all SPG’s policies and procedures will help ensure that your family’s experience in our centre will be a positive one. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Our Centre

SPG’s main centre is located in the Activity Room of Quilchena Elementary. This has been our home base since the society’s incorporation in September 1977. Today, we also use an Art Room we created in the gym area and all the lower hallway spaces. We are proud to be a non-profit, parent-run organization meeting the needs of Quilchena students and their families.

Our Philosphy

Our goal is to provide professional care, tending to the needs of each child for nurturance and guidance.  We aim to make it possible, through the environment we create and the program we implement, for children to become more aware of their own self-worth and more responsible for their actions. SPG serves more than 70 families from all parts of the community and promotes the social, physical, cultural and artistic development of youth. Through our recreational program, we attempt to build skills and confidence within all individuals and offer new experiential opportunities.

Hours

Our program runs Monday through Friday, twelve months a year (excluding statutory holidays and annually determined winter break closures). On days when school is in session, our hours are from 7:30am to 9am and from 3pm to 6pm. When school is not in session, our hours are from 8am to 6pm. SPG is typically closed for a few days during winter break and for one staff development workshop annually.

Our Parent Board

As a parent of an SPG child, you have an opportunity to play a direct role in determining our policies and programs. Each registering parent becomes a Direct member of our society and has a vote at our Annual General Meeting (non-registering parents are Associate members). SPG is governed by a volunteer Parent Board, comprising Direct and Associate members, which meets up to eight times each year. We encourage you to become involved whether as a Board member or by sharing your skills with the society. We need your expertise, time and talents to make SPG flourish.

Board Nomination Process

In nominating parents to our board of directors, SPG employs a transparent process.

  • Towards the close of the school year (usually by May 31st), a general invitation is sent to all members via email inviting expressions of interest. 
  • By mid-September of the new school year, a second invitation is sent to respondents (or all members) indicating which positions are open. This invitation includes encouragement to contact parent-liaison or vice-chair with any questions. 
  • If volunteers are not forthcoming, SPG will hand-deliver to each family a request for statements of interest.
  • Executive Director, Parent Liaison and Vice-Chair to finalize slate by week prior to AGM. Biographies of proposed slate will be posted.
  • New and continuing board members will be elected by a vote at the AGM, held in October.

Our Program

Children learn and develop best when treated as individuals. We realize that each child comes to us with a different background and a different rate of development. We aim to encourage SPG children to build upon their own abilities at their own pace. Play is serious business to a child. A child’s social, cognitive, emotional, and physical needs may be met through a program that is play based. SPG’s program is recreation oriented. We are always open to the ideas and suggestions of children and parents. We use member input to enhance our programming and we go beyond standard daily programming to include activities such as skating, drama, yoga, and science and art workshops. In our centre, we have a wide variety of games and toys, blocks, interest centres, computers, imaginary play centres, arts and craft supplies, a playhouse and a reading area for children to choose from. We have also created a space dedicated to art projects and use the hallway spaces as needed and gym as available.

A monthly schedule of activities and events is created to give the children a sense of routine and an expectation of upcoming activities. Our website at www.spgoutofschoolcare.org also provides current calendar and policy information.

Our program takes into account the different interests of children of varying ages. Our Primary Program offers children an opportunity to develop social skills and fine motor skills through carefully-planned, age-specific activities, with a selection of activities for children Grades K through 3 to choose from every afternoon. Our Intermediate program encourages self-direction for those in Grade 4 and up.

Our schedule of activities remains flexible, allowing for change if the need arises.

Children are provided with a snack every day at 3pm and breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Our Child Guidance Policy

The goals of staff should always be to help the child:

  •  establish a greater measure of self reliance
  •  understand the limits of his or her freedom
  •  learn respect for the person, values and property of others
  •  learn to behave in a more acceptable way in the presence of others
  •  understand important concepts, such as “safe” and “unsafe”

Habits, good and bad, are easily created.  Self control, manners and acceptable behavior are taught by setting a good example, by love, sympathy and understanding.

At SPG, we strive towards the best interests of each child and of the entire group through fair, consistent and firm guidance:

Be reasonable: We offer a child a choice to stop inappropriate behaviour or leave for another activity.  If the problem persists, we may reasonably direct the child to another activity.
Be consistent: We ensure that behaviour expectations are clear and unwavering. What is allowed for one is allowed for all and vice versa.
Be aware: As much as possible, we deal with a behaviour problem before it happens. By being watchful, we can offer children options to avoid conflict.
Be effective: We ensure that our body language, tone of voice and demeanor all work to gain a child’s attention and understanding. Something as simple as a hand on the shoulder makes all the difference.
Be resourceful: SPG staff work as a team, looking to other staff for support and assistance in difficult situations. 

When a situation arises that requires adult intervention, the staff members, using their own judgement, follow this general protocol:

Nonverbal clues: Facial expressions or hand signals will be used in an attempt to guide the children.
Verbal clues: For example, if a child was running inside, he or she would be asked to stop, go back, and walk.
Discussion: If verbal clues prove ineffective, the child and staff member will enter into a discussion, which will include: clearly stating the problem, discussing the child’s and staff member’s thoughts on the problem, brainstorming solutions, choosing and implementing a solution
Cool Down: In some cases, a “cool down” or “time out” period in a quiet area may be necessary before entering into a discussion.
Contracts: Individualized contracts with children trying to manage specific and persistent behaviors may be used. Such a contract would involve discussions with the child, staff member, executive director and parents.

Parent Involvement

Your input is an integral part of our guidance policy. You will be informed of any inappropriate behavior that staff members feel is dangerous to your child, other children, staff or property, or if we feel you could be of assistance. Our emphasis is on developing self-discipline and problem-solving skills. Allowing children to express thoughts and feelings and to make choices about their behaviour nurtures a positive self-image.

Continued Misbehavior

If a child is persistently and unduly disruptive to the program, to the extent that other children are adversely affected, SPG reserves the right to cancel service without notice.

Please note: Should your child be suspended from the program for behavior reasons, no portion of your monthly childcare fees will be reimbursed.

Our Food and Snack Policy

We are committed to providing healthy food to our young members. We believe that modelling healthy food habits in our childcare setting will impact lifelong eating habits. Balanced daily snacks are provided that are supported by Childcare Licensing Guidelines. We offer healthy alternatives to members with food allergies, diabetes or other food restrictions. For a look at our typical breakfast and snack list visit our Food and Nutrition page.

Parent Communication Responsibilities

Absentees:

Any time your child will be absent on a regularly schedule day, you must contact the centre before the time they are expected (usually 3 p.m.).

Should your child not arrive at the expected time, centre staff will:

  • have your child paged over the PA, if possible
  • check attendance with your child’s teacher
  • check the school office, library and school grounds
  • contact you regarding other arrangements that may not have been communicated to staff

If you cannot be reached and your child cannot be located, centre staff will contact POLICE to report your child missing. So, please, if your child is going to a friend’s house, let us know.

Pick-up/Drop-off:

You are responsible for making contact with daycare staff in person when dropping children off (to ensure we are actually in the centre) and must sign your child out at pick-up time.

If your child is to be picked up by someone other than those named on the “Pick-up Policy Form” you must contact the centre in advance. If that person is unknown to SPG staff, we will need information from you about that person including their name and a physical description. That person will have to show photo identification.

General Health and Well-Being:

In order for our staff to provide the most appropriate care for your child, it is important that you share information with staff members that is pertinent to your child’s general health and well-being.

  • has your child received support from Vancouver Supported Childcare Services or any other organization
  • are there any behaviour management concerns
  • is your child on medication
Daily communication:

On a daily basis, you should share with the staff any information relevant to our care for your child.

  • what is happening at home (eg: death of a pet)
  • any physical or emotional occurrences
  • new experiences
  • what your child tells you about our program

Feel free to ask the staff any questions about your child’s day.

Did they eat/try anything new/make a new friend…

File currency:

Please ensure that all our file information is up to date. In case of emergency, it is imperative that we have current contact information including:

  • work and cell phone numbers
  • change of address
  • email address
  • change of emergency contact person
  • pick-up list changes
  • health/allergy developments
  • custodial issues (Please note: We have no authority to keep a child from a parent unless the legal documentation is on file in the centre.)

Parent Liaison

Families are encouraged to bring questions or concerns regarding any aspect of the child care program to the Executive Director. If an issue arises, the goal is to resolve differences in a peaceful way, finding solutions that everyone can accept. In the event a parent chooses not to approach the executive director or another staff member, a Parent Liaison on the Board of Directors will be pleased to hear any concerns. The name of the Parent Liaison is available on the society’s website at www.spgoutofschoolcare.org

For Your Information…

To keep parents updated on any fee changes, special field trips, or meeting dates, newsletters and calendars are made available at the beginning of each month and a monthly update email is sent to all members. As well, an information area next to the sign-out sheet often advises parents of current events. Please visit our website at www.spgoutofschoolcare.org at the beginning of each month for news updates and calendars.

Late pick-up policy

If you have not picked up your child by 6 pm, a fee of $1 per minute will apply (even if you call the centre in advance). Continued inability to arrive by the centre’s closing time of 6 pm will be brought to the Board of SPG for discussion of penalties, potentially a request for withdrawal. If the senior staff person is unable to reach you or another person on your pick-up list by 7:30 pm, we are required to notify Emergency Services of the Ministry for Children and Families.

Release Policy

Should you or your authorized pick-up person be in a state deemed unsafe to provide care (eg: inebriated), staff members are instructed to advise that person to arrange for additional adult/familial support. Should the suggestion be refused, the police may be contacted.

Children arriving or leaving on their own

In some situations a family may request permission for a child to arrive or leave on their own. Written approval of this request must be given to SPG staff. Considerations will be based on your child’s age and development, any safety issues, time of day, and whether or not an adult is present at home.

An arrival/departure agreement may be discontinued at any time.

Policy for Care of Sick Children

While we are sensitive to the stress that illness may cause families, we are not licensed to care for children when they are ill. You will need to keep your child at home, or make alternate arrangements, if your child:

  • has a communicable disease
  • has a contagious infection, including pink eye
  • has a fever over 38 degrees C (must be fever-free for 24 hours)
  • is vomiting or has diarrhea (must be symptom-free for 24 hours)
  • has a skin infection or undiagnosed rash
  • is not well enough to participate in all program activities, including outdoor play
  • has a continual flow of mucus from the nose

Please notify SPG staff if your child has a communicable disease so that other families and the Community Health Department may be notified.

If your child becomes ill during the day, we will attempt to contact you. If you are unavailable we will try to reach your emergency contacts. Your child will be kept in a restful area until you arrive.

In cases of persistent illness, the coordinator may require a letter from your family doctor stating your child is well enough to attend daycare.

Administering Medication

Should your child require medication throughout the day, a form “Permission to Administer Medication” must be completed. Medication must be sent to the centre in the container in which it is prescribed with the child’s name visible.

Parents should also inform staff of any medication the child is taking at home in case of a reaction while at the centre.

Field Trips

To enhance our quality program, SPG staff members take groups on local field trips (eg: skating, running). In most cases, your monthly fees cover all costs related to such activities. We travel by foot, on public transit (including buses, SkyTrain, and the SeaBus), and in charter school buses. Transportation costs are also included in your monthly fees. We require that all parents complete the “Field Trip Permission Slip” that includes all of these activities.

Fees

Upon enrollment, a deposit of $125 is to be paid to SPG. This deposit will be returned to you within 60 days of your child’s withdrawal, provided you have given the required one month’s notice in writing.

SPG’s fee structure is posted at the front entrance of the centre and on our website. Void cheques are required for auto-debit of monthly fees.

If this is not possible, a written note of explanation will be submitted to the centre coordinator for the Board of Directors.

To ensure your child does not lose his or her space in the program, the full fees must be paid for any time your child is away, including vacation, sickness or other absence. See Summer Fee Policies for minimum registration to hold space.

Summer Fee Policies

Registration to our Summer Adventure Program opens to members in early April. Your child’s summer fees will be calculated based on your registration at this time, not actual attendance, unless attendance exceeds registration.

To hold your child’s care space for fall you must register for a minimum of two weeks of summer care.

There are no refunds (or alternate dates) for cancellations or non-attendance unless space can be filled, in which case fees minus a $30 administration charge will be refunded.

Outstanding Fees

Parents with fees outstanding will be given notice, with a specified time for payment to be made. Members will have an opportunity to make arrangements for payment with the Executive Director. Each situation will be handled individually.

If payment has not been received within the specified time, formal written notice will be sent by the Board of Directors indicating a final ten days to remit payment or membership will cease.

Withdrawal

Parents are required to give one month’s notice in writing if they plan to alter the care package or discontinue their child’s enrollment in SPG. If adequate notice is not received, the $125 deposit will be forfeit.

Termination of Service

SPG staff is committed to providing a caring and supportive environment for families. However, termination of service may be required if:

  • fees for services are not paid
  • behaviour issues create an unsafe environment
  • the centre is unable to satisfactorily resolve a conflict with an enrolling parent/guardian

Emergency and Evacuation Procedures

Safety is part of our ongoing program at SPG. Earthquake and fire evacuation procedures are posted in the daycare and are practiced regularly.

Centre Closure

In the event a strike or safety issue prevents Quilchena Elementary from opening, SPG will not be able to operate. Should an alternate location be found, parents may have to pay additional fees to cover any increased overhead.

In the event Quilchena Elementary is closed due to inclement weather, lack of heat or electricity or any other condition which makes the building unsafe to inhabit, SPG will also be closed. Staff on site will contact parents and wait until all children are picked up. Should the building require evacuation before parents can collect their children, staff will escort children to the Kerrisdale Community Centre.

Program Evaluation

Your feedback is important to us. SPG encourages parents to provide ongoing comments or suggestions. We also conduct satisfaction surveys every second year. Your responses help us develop programming policies and procedures to better serve your family and our community.

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