The Primeron bases its philosophy and operations on five principles. These principles help children get ahead and ignite their lifelong quest for knowledge. Children are starting their lifelong journey and it is critical that we teach them fundamental principles that will significantly increase the probability of success in future endeavors. Thus, our mission is to educate our children to their maximal potential – every day!
Our fundamental principles are:
- Great Expectations – how children perform and how motivated they are to achieve are directly related to what we expect of them. Children are smart and they very quickly perceive and understand what is expected of them. At The Primeron, we expect them to learn to their maximal potential – every day.
- Academic Rigor – whether children learn through play or pedagogy (we use both appropriately), it is essential they are intellectually prepared for elementary school and beyond
- Socio-emotional development – it is important for our children to learn, right from an early age, how to interact with peers and elders. This will help them in elementary school and beyond.
- Discipline – this is a key personality trait that will help them achieve their goals throughout life.
- Fun – whereas academic rigor and discipline are important, our children are, after all, children. It is critical that they also have fun and engage in play that is relaxing for the mind and challenging for the body.
Keeping the above in mind, our mission and vision are as follows:
- MISSION: To teach our children to their maximal potential – every day!
- VISION: To create an environment that optimally prepares them for elementary school and beyond.
We open at 6:15 am and close at 6:30 pm Monday through Friday and throughout the year. As we are only 4.5 minutes’ drive from the Odenton MARC station, the 6:15 opening time is chosen to facilitate parents’ commutes.
Our center is one of the largest in the region and is situated on 1.54 acres in a safe, secure environment. We also have one of the largest outdoor playgrounds (both covered and uncovered areas) in the region. All classrooms are well equipped, clean, and respect the developmental age of the children.
To be guaranteed a spot parents are requested to pay the Registration Fee (nonrefundable). Please note that some paperwork is absolutely required before your child will be able to start attending (details are available in the enrollment package).
TUITION AND FEES
Weekly tuition is due each Monday and accounts not settled by 6 pm Tuesday will be assessed a daily late fee. Parents may arrange to pay weekly, bi-weekly, tri-weekly, or whatever is convenient – as long as it is done in advance. Please note that tuition is assessed for your child’s spot at the center and NOT for attendance. As an example, if your child is scheduled to attend five days a week and he/she is sick for a few days, the full, scheduled tuition for five days will be assessed.
A nonrefundable, annual enrollment fee is also assessed (usually due before the beginning of the academic year). This fee partially covers the cost of educational supplies for your child for the entire year.
The amounts of the above-mentioned tuitions change periodically and the exact amount is available in the enrollment package.
Late pickup is problematic for parents as well as for the staff. We understand that from time to time circumstances beyond the parents’ control may lead to late pickup and if it is a problem every day then parents should please speak to the Director immediately. Please note that there will be a late fee assessed for all late pickups (fee schedule is available in your enrollment package).
We understand that childcare for multiple children in the same family can be financially stressful. We provide a sibling discount for each additional sibling. Typically, the youngest child pays full tuition and then the second, older child gets a discount. The amount discounted is available in your enrollment package.
In the event parents need unforeseen care for their children (that is outside of the original contract), the center will try its best to accommodate you. This accommodation depends on available space and staff.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
The Primeron takes security of our children very seriously. It is mandatory that the enrolled child be accompanied by an adult into and out of the center and the child’s classroom. If anyone other than the parents are picking up the child, they must be listed with The Primeron as persons allowed to pick up the child. There will be NO exceptions to this rule. If there are last minute issues and designated persons are not able to pick up the child, then the identity of the person picking up the child will be verified by calling the parent(s). If such identity is not verifiable by the parent or the parent is not available by phone, said person will not be allowed to pick up the child.
Please note at the beginning of the day your child may be in a larger classroom that is different from his/her classroom. Once most of your child’s peers and staff arrive they are then taken to their respective classrooms. This allows the child to interact with other children when his classroom peers are not available. The same process may occur at the end of the day.
It is mandatory for the adult picking up the child to sign in at the front desk with his/her four-digit code on our electronic sign in pad. Additionally, the child needs to be signed in and out, on paper, in the classroom. This sign-in process is mandated by State Law and has to be followed.
If there is an issue regarding which parent is allowed to pick up a child, The Primeron will abide by whatever is stated on official documentation by the court. Such documentation should be provided to The Primeron prior to enrollment and/or immediately when such custody rights change.
DISCONTINUATION OF ENROLLMENT
Discontinuation of enrollment can be initiated either by the parent or by The Primeron and a two week, written, notice is required for discontinuation (if such notice is not received parents will be billed for these two weeks). The Primeron reserves the right to immediately discontinue enrollment for a child who presents a risk for health and safety of other children or staff. Other reasons why discontinuation might occur include inability of our program to meet the needs of a child or inability on the part of the child or parent to follow The Primeron’s rules and regulations.
ABSENCES AND ILLNESSES
Please notify the staff if your child will be absent from the center. Also, please do inform us of any contagious diseases that your child might have. Please note that if our staff recognizes that a child possibly has a contagious disease (such as chicken pox, pink eye, flu, etc.) the parents will be called and asked to take their child home and get him/her evaluated by a physician. This helps us prevent other children from getting sick.
CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
The Primeron’s goal is to meet the needs of all children and all reasonable efforts will be made to do so. Prior to enrollment, our staff will gather information from parents regarding the child’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities to assess whether we can provide what he/she needs. The optimal growth and development of your child is important, and thus such assessment regarding a fit between our capabilities and resources and the child’s needs is critical to determine if we are able to provide what your child needs.
CHILDCARE SERVICES OUTSIDE THE CENTER
From time to time parents ask teachers and staff to baby sit for them outside of The Primeron’s operational hours and at a location other than The Primeron. The Primeron does not authorize nor take responsibility for such child care.
SNOW AND EMERGENCY CLOSING
The Primeron does not follow school or government closings for emergencies but rather makes its own determination. This is to ensure that we are open for parents and children for the maximal number of days in the year. If we are aware of the closing the previous day, you will be notified by a notice at the front desk. If the emergency occurs during the night or in the early hours of the morning please call 410 672 8004 and the greeting message will tell you whether we are open or closed. You may also check our website at www.theprimeron.com.
The Primeron observes most of the standard holidays and a complete list is available in your enrollment package.
Seasonally appropriate clothing and closed toe shoes are required. Please have one set of extra clothing available in your child’s cubby in case of accidents. Please label all your child’s clothing.
Please see enrollment packet for supplies.
Children’s personal toys are not permitted at The Primeron because
- They may injure other children
- Staff is not able to monitor toys not previously approved for safety
- Children do not understand concept of possession. Another child may take your child’s toy and cause hurt feelings
- Toy guns and other aggressive toys do not support the learning and cooperative play encouraged at The Primeron
Children will be allowed to bring a favorite toy to school for show and tell, if approved in advance by their teacher.
Lastly, please do not have your children wearing jewelry of any kind for several reasons. Most importantly, it may get dislodged and create a choking hazard. It may also be pulled at by another child and cause injury
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The Primeron takes security of our children, staff, and parents very seriously. We have various layers of security at our center. First, we have 24-hour video monitoring of all classrooms and outdoor areas. Please note that this video monitoring is for security reasons and for internal review for quality control. It is not available for viewing by parents. Second, access to the classrooms is restricted by a security door. This can only be opened by fingerprint recognition or facial recognition. Third, parents are required to enter their four-digit PIN code on the entry key pad before entering the classroom area. Fourth, there is someone at the front desk who monitors entry into the classroom area.
Fire drills are performed on an unscheduled basis to ensure that everyone is always prepared and knows what to do in case of a real emergency. Emergency exit routes are posted in each classroom and each staff is knowledgeable about the primary and secondary exit routes.
EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION CARD
Our database has information regarding parent contact information, emergency contacts, and names of other persons that the parents have deemed relevant and accesible. In case of an illness, accident, or other emergency, we will immediately contact the parents or the person they have designated as the “emergency contact person.” For this system to be efficient and effective, we request that you immediately update contact information if it changes.
In case of a minor injury to your child, the staff person will first administer first aid to your child and then the parent (or contact listed) will be contacted to explain the injury. An injury/incident report will be completed and signed by relevant staff and parent.
Children under three years of age will not be transported by The Primeron. Older children will be transported either for before and after school programs or for field trips. We make sure that all transportation is done safely. Attendance is taken at each destination and upon return to our center. Children are never left unattended and are escorted by an adult to and from the bus. All children are required to wear seatbelts. The bus used by our center is specially designed to accommodate children and has multiple safety features. Lastly, once the children are off the bus a special alarm system in the bus requires the driver to walk to the back of the bus and sit there for > 30 seconds to make sure no child is left in the bus. Only then does the bus allow the alarm to be turned off. If this procedure is not followed the bus will sound a continuous alarm until the procedure has been followed.
Information related to your child is confidential and will only be released to parents or legal guardians. Of course, an exception to this rule is suspected child abuse.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Medical requirements for attending our center are determined by the State of Maryland and include up to date immunization records (upon enrollment), child health appraisal form filled by the child’s physician (upon enrollment), and ongoing updates on immunizations and health appraisal.
All children enrolled at The Primeron must be current with all immunizations and physical exams. Please note that your child will need to be removed if these medical requirements are not met.
These are the most common illnesses children experience and it is our goal to prevent as much infectious spread as possible. If a child is not feeling well (infectious or otherwise) and is not able to continue with classroom activities then parents will be requested to take their child home. If parents are not available then the emergency contact person listed will be contacted. These policies are instituted to minimize as much as possible the spread of infectious disease. The following symptoms/diagnoses that will preclude your child from attending The Primeron include (but are not limited to):
- Severe pain or discomfort
- Acute diarrhea – usually greater than twice the number of usual bowel movements
- Two or more episodes of vomiting within 24 hours
- Severe coughing or sore throat
- Temperature of 101.5 or greater
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Red eyes with discharge
- Infected or untreated skin lesions
- Difficult or labored breathing
- Severe itching of body or scalp
- Skin rashes (excluding diaper rash) lasting more than one day
- Swollen joints
- Visibly enlarged lymph nodes
- Stiff neck
- Blood or pus from ear, skin, urine, or stool
- Unusual behavior for the child
- Loss of appetite characterized by refusing all solids
- Symptoms that indicate any of the following: lice, scabies, other similar afflictions
Your child can return when the symptoms are no longer present or a licensed physician indicates in writing that your child has been evaluated (face to face) by him/her and that your child does not pose any health risk to himself or other children.
Our primary concern is safe and effective administration of medications if your child requires any. Both prescription and over the counter medications must be signed in daily on our medication form. All medications are stored safely and are inaccessible to children unless accompanied by an adult. Medication is administered by qualified staff only and recorded appropriately.
Both over the counter and prescription medications will be administered as directed by a licensed physician or dentist. For our center’s staff to administer such medication, parents or legal guardians must give written permission to administer such medication, provide the medication in its original container with a label attached bearing the child’s name, current date, time/dose to be given, number of days to be administered, and the pharmacy’s name and contact information. A separate medication form must be filled out for each medication.
Parents may come to the center at any time to administer medication to their child. Documentation will be required describing the medication administration (as detailed above).
Topical applications such as diaper rash ointment, petroleum jelly, suntan lotion, or insect repellant can be administered with the parent’s written consent. We will follow directions provided on the manufacturer’s label. All containers must be labelled with your child’s name.
The Primeron is a peanut free environment. However, there are many other substances which we cannot control for. In the event that there is an unforeseen event (bee stings, etc.) or in the event of potentially foreseeable events (known allergies), we remain prepared. If your child requires medication for potentially life threatening allergic reactions, the prescription can be kept at our center. An authorization form must be signed by the child’s parent and physician.
Biting is a typical behavior often seen in infants, toddlers, and 2-year old. As children mature, gain self-control, and develop problem-solving skills, they usually outgrow this behavior. While not uncommon, biting can be an upsetting and potentially harmful behavior (please read more about it on the following website (http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/understanding-and-responding-children-who-bite#sthash.K3OOFbTK.dpuf). Biting is discouraged at our center but parents must understand that this is a “normal” behavior for this age group. If a child does get bitten it is usually not a major problem unless the skin is broken. In any case, the following will occur after a bite:
- The bite area will be cleaned, an incident report filled out, and the parent notified.
- The biting child will be redirected to appropriate activities and his/her parents will also be notified and an incident report filled out.
- The teacher will do whatever is possible to minimize biting by the child and will discuss this biting with the child’s parents. The identity of the child will be kept confidential.
- In rare cases, the biting child may continue to intensify his/her biting activities. If this happens repeatedly, the child may be asked to leave the center temporarily or permanently.
If your child is not yet toilet trained we can help with that process. Parents are usually anxious for their child to begin toilet training. Please note, however, that at times toilet training may not be a smooth forward progression. Sometimes children might regress a bit but will almost always bounce right back and onto schedule. Toilet training requires consistency and patience. It also requires the parents to reinforce the concept and processes at home.
When children are in the toilet training process, please provide us with three complete sets of clothing, including socks, in case of accidents. Please rest assured that eventually your child will indeed be toilet trained.
The Primeron places a significant premium on cleanliness and holds each staff member responsible for the cleanliness of their working area. Professional cleaning services are also used. All toys and equipment are cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
Nutrition, it goes without saying, is important for growing children and we promote good eating habits. The entire snack or meal (provided by parents) is served at one time so that the child can choose what he/she eats first. Food is not used as a reward or punishment for anything. If there are religious reasons for eating or not eating something, the parents will need to provide the acceptable food. All children are encouraged to use silverware. However, it is normal for infants and toddlers to use their hands and fingers.
Parents are welcome to join their child at lunch time if they wish.
Quiet time is important for a child’s health and alacrity. This time allows a child to re-energize and develop self-control. Each child has his/her own mat/cot/crib and is encouraged to take a nap. We understand that some children don’t sleep and they will be provided with a quiet activity once the other children are asleep. Blankets or stuffed animals that are special to your child are useful for this time.
Most people associate the word “discipline” with punishment. At The Primeron we use the concept to instill self-discipline. For example, children are taught to be quiet, walk in a single line, and in the middle of the hallway when they are not in their classrooms. Such requirements instill the concept of boundaries and self-control.
Discipline is also used in the context of “providing feedback when children do something undesirable.” We have a clear discipline policy and use positive redirection. Corporal punishment or yelling/screaming at the child is strictly prohibited and is grounds for staff dismissal. If a child’s negative behavior continues after two verbal warnings he/she will be removed from the group and will be returned to the group at the teacher’s discretion.
Some of the interventions that we use include ignoring, redirection/distraction, verbal intervention, logical consequences, break period. If these interventions are not effective, the following will occur:
- We will observe and record all behavior and efforts to correct them
- Parents will be asked to have a conference regarding their child’s negative behavior. Here a specific action plan will be developed.
- Our staff may suggest outside help for the child.
- If inappropriate behavior continues the child will be asked to stay home for a few days.
- If said behavior continues the child will be asked to leave.
- Please note that if at any time your child’s behavior gets very serious and can potentially harm other children or staff he/she will be asked to leave immediately.
Please note that the following forms of discipline are NOT used at The Primeron for ANY reason:
- Corporal punishment
- Punishment for toilet training lapses
- Withholding food, light, warmth, clothing, or medical care
- Ridicule or embarrassment or humiliation
- Physical restraints (other than restraint necessary to protect other children or the child him/herself from harm)
YOUR CHILD’S FIRST MONTH
The first few weeks after enrollment are challenging for both the parents and the child. The environment is different and will naturally lead to anxiety for both. Staff at The Primeron is sensitive to this adjustment period and will make every effort to help you and your child adjust.
There are some things that can be done to ease this period of adjustment:
- Take time to chat with your child’s teacher so that you feel comfortable with her/him.
- If possible, spend 1-2 hours with your child on the first day
- Talk to your child positively about the center
- After you bring your child to his/her classroom and after the exchange of greetings and signing in, it is best to say your goodbyes to your child, tell him/her that you will pick them up later, and to leave as quickly as possible. In most cases, this works best since it not only minimizes the time of separation anxiety but also informs your child upfront what you are about to do (as opposed to “sneaking out” when your child is not looking).
- It may be useful to bring a special, favorite object such as a stuffed animal or a blanket.
- If you feel anxious when you are away from our center, please feel free to call at any time to find out how your child is doing. We will be happy to keep you informed.
- Please note that most children might cry for a while during the day. However, this quickly resolves once they start playing with their peers and start enjoying the activities we provide.
- Please note that a readjustment period might occur after a long weekend or vacation.
Once your child is ready to transition to the next classroom there are two ways to do this. Most children have no problem transitioning to the next classroom and in fact are excited to do so. In this case he/she will be transitioned to the next room at the appropriate time. Alternatively, a few children might need a step-wise approach. In this case we will do a “soft transition” for a week, where he/she will attend both classrooms during the day – thus providing time to acclimate to the new classroom. This soft transition time will not last more than one week and in most cases can be completed in just a few days.
In keeping with our philosophy, mission, and vision (described on page 2), we have “Great Expectations” of our children. Our goal is that by 5 years of age our children should be familiar and comfortable with basic reading, writing, and mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, etc.), and even beyond for those so inclined. During the 2015-2016 School year, The Primeron introduced its new, rigorous curriculum for all children ages 1-5. The curriculum is designed to accelerate students’ learning, putting them on the path to be beyond kindergarten-ready by the time they graduate preschool. The curriculum contains highly structured lesson plans that include Math, English, Science, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Etiquette. Some of the specific concepts covered in each grade level are detailed below.
During the 52-week curriculum, children in the one-year-old room will be exposed to the letters of the alphabet and the numbers 1-10. An entire week may be spent on each number and each letter, allowing the children to simply gain familiarity with their shapes. In addition to letters and numbers, one-year-old children will learn the words for colors, shapes, and animals, and may practice basic sign language (such as “more,” “please,” etc.) to be used while verbal skills are still developing. Science lessons for one-year old children will focus on explorations of texture, smell, shapes, and sizes. Unlike some of the older children’s lessons, one-year old children will also practice fine motor and gross motor skills weekly, such as crawling, walking, using Velcro, and holding a pencil.
Children in the two-year-old room will continue learning their letters, practice recognizing lower and uppercase letters, learn their sounds, and begin to trace some letters. In addition to letters, the English curriculum teaches students various sight words – that is, recognizing important words seen in everyday life such as those found on the calendar. In math, two-year old children will practice counting from 1-20, begin to trace numbers, and deepen their understanding of shapes and patterns. Two-year-old science lessons are often hands-on, encouraging students to make astute observations with their five senses. Gross motor and fine motor lessons will continue weekly, and will involve skills such as bouncing balls and tying shoes.
In the three-year-old room, students will begin to write uppercase and lowercase letters while continuing to practice their sounds. Throughout the year children will learn to sound out and write various letter combinations, eventually leading them to write whole words, recognize sight words, and, by the end of the year, very simple sentences. Three-year-old children will begin the year by reviewing counting to twenty, then extend their knowledge quickly by learning all of the number families up to 100. In addition to counting, children will be challenged to identify one more than and one less than, laying the foundation for basic addition at the end of the school year. Beyond numbers, three-year old children will also practice positions (such as left and right, above and below), and review the calendar. The science lessons will build upon the hands-on nature of the two-year-old lessons, allowing children to take a more active role in the experiments as their fine motor skills develop.
Four-year old children at The Primeron will spend their 52 weeks practicing basic addition, learning subtraction, and telling time on the clock. Children will also learn to count in various intervals to lay the foundation for learning multiplication. In English, children will read passages in class while practicing sight words, vocabulary words, and basic sentences during their morning journal, classwork, and homework. Science lessons for the four-year old children are similar to those in the three-year-old classroom, but prompt children to think more critically, making inferences and drawing conclusions.
In our Before-After School program, our teachers may periodically reach out to your children’s teachers at their elementary school. This interaction will inform our teachers about what material they can review with any given child to reinforce concepts they may need more help with. For example, some may need more help in mathematics, reading, vocabulary, etc. If you do not wish our teachers to communicate with your child’s teachers at their elementary school, please let us know in writing so we can respect your wishes.
If you have questions about any age-specific curriculum, please speak with our Director and he/she can arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher or with our Assistant Director for Academics. We would like to emphasize that teaching your child is a “team sport” and we cannot do it without your help. Children will be given homework on a regular basis and the expectation is that parents will help them complete this. Homework has to major advantages. First, it reinforces concepts that your child has learnt during the day thus accelerating the pace of knowledge accumulation. Second, it allows parents to see what their child is learning and provide us with feedback about how they think their child is faring with the learning materials.
Please note that curriculum is a dynamic set of concepts and may be changed at any time.
Please note that, as much as possible, we choose our staff carefully to meet our goals and complete our mission. However, the Early Education Industry is, by its nature, a high turnover one. Whereas we try our best to minimize staff turnover, there will always be significant turnover. The summer months are especially busy, as teachers are making plans for the next academic year (some may want to change careers, some buy a house far away, some move for social reasons, etc.). Once a teacher leaves, it does take several weeks, if not longer, to find a good replacement. As such, there will be substitutes in your child’s classroom who may change from week to week and sometimes even from day to day. During such times, please bear with us as we strive to find the best teacher for your child’s classroom.
This handbook is designed to help parents understand the structure, processes, and environment at The Primeron. The policies described herein are current but the childcare landscape is by no means a stationary one – and changes occur all the time. As such, The Primeron reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify or change the policies and procedures, in whole or in part, at any time. This handbook does not represent a formal contract.
The Primeron provides an environment that is free from unlawful discrimination of any type, including race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic as described by law. The Primeron is an equal opportunity employer.
The Primeron strives to provide an inspiring environment – one that inspires children to learn. And not only learn but learn to their maximal potential – every day. Our center has multiple layers of security to keep the premises safe. The classrooms are kept clean and tidy to create the right atmosphere. Our staff is well versed in what and how to teach your children and we focus on all aspects of your child’s development (intellectual, physical, socio-emotional). We welcome any suggestions for improvement and will do our best to incorporate them if possible. We hope you and your child have a great time and an awesome learning experience at The Primeron.