Parents



Mission Statement
  Garrison Family Care will provide high quality education
and care in a home setting. Play will be used to provide
opportunities to explore language, literature, math, science,
social skills, emotional awareness, motor skills, and
sensory experiences. Each child will be encouraged to reach
towards their full potential based on individual abilities.

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Principles of Care
Give children what they need when they need it;
respect their needs as people.
Let the children play;
trust that they are capable learners.
Provide a wondrous, responsive, and engaging environment;
listen, then follow the children’s lead.
Children, teachers, and parents are partners in learning;
parents are a child’s first teacher.


Contact Information
104 Garrison Rd.
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Google Voice #: 978-710-8855


Common Questions:

About the daycare center
How long have you been in business?
            Since August 2014. Prior to that I taught special needs K-5 in public school, toddler & preschool in private centers, and was an early intervention developmental specialist.

Do you have a current state license?
            Yes. DEEC License #9018775, Program #8031141

Do you have other accreditation or award? If so, what are they?
            At this time I have a QRIS score of 1. This is a fairly new rating system for family child care. Essentially, a score of 1 means that I am complying with all licensing regulations. The highest possibly rating is 4. Ratings must be obtained sequentially, which means I will have to go through the process of 2 and 3 before applying for QRIS 4.
            I was voted the #1 reader's choice for child care and preschool in Chelmsford according to Wicked Local in 2019.

Enrollment
How many children do you enroll at one time?
            I can have up to 8 children in attendance, including my own. My space is primarily set up for toddler (12+ months) and preschoolers (2.9-5 years). Infant (3 months - 12 months) and school age spots will be made available on a case-by-case basis.

Do you have space for my child?
            For the most up to date information on spot availability email garrisonfamilycare@gmail.com or call 978-710-8855. Priority is given to full time enrollment. Part time hours are not guaranteed. Drop in case must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance and space is not guaranteed until payment is received. 
           
Days and hours
What are your hours?
School Year: September - June: Monday - Friday 730am – 430pm

Summer Program: July - August: Monday -Thursday 830am - 430pm

Scheduled early drop off or late pick up is determined on a case-by-case basis and must be approved in advance.

What's your holiday schedule? On what other days are you closed?
Unpaid Closings: There will be no payment required for these dates:.
  - 1 full day, Monday September 30
- Monday - Friday, the week containing January 1st
- 1 day, Friday April 17
- 1 full week, Monday - Friday, the 3rd week in April
- 7 days, Fridays in Summer July 3, 10, 17, 24 & August 7, 14, 28
  - 1 full week, Monday – Friday, following the 3rd Sunday in August

Paid Closings as follows: Regularly scheduled weekly payment will be required in full for corresponding weeks.
  - Labor Day - 1st Monday in September 
- Personal Day - Friday, September 27
  - Columbus Day - 2nd Monday in October
- Veteran’s Day - 2nd Monday in November
  - Thanksgiving - 2 days, 4th Thursday & Friday in November
  - 1 full week, Monday - Friday, the week containing December 25th
- MKLJr Day – 3rd Monday in January
- President’s Day - 2 days, 3rd Monday & Tuesday in February
  - Memorial Day - 4th Monday in May
- Personal Day - June, flex date pending end of school year events for my children
- Independence Day & Personal Day  – 2 days, Wednesday, July 1 & Thursday, July 2
- Personal/Sick Day - 2 days, pending need 

If no children are present by 9AM, GFC will close for the day.


How flexible are you with pickup and drop-off times?
            Please call or text if you will be late.  Early drop offs would be scheduled on a base-by-case basis and may require an additional fee. Drop off must be completed by 9AM. Late pick ups will result in a fee of $1 per minute.

Costs
What are your fees?
            For the most up to date information on cost email garrisonfamilycare@gmail.com or call 978-710-8855. Tuition is due monthly (before the month begins). There is no enrollment or materials fee at this time.

Do you offer scholarships or sibling discounts?
            Families with more than one child enrolled full time will receive a recurring $50 monthly discount per family. All children must reside within the same home to receive the discount. No discount will be given to families enrolled part time or school age children. School teachers, therapists, specialists, and administrators receive a recurring $50 monthly discount per family. One discount given per family.

Is there a late-pickup fee?
            Unscheduled late pick ups cost $1 per minute.
            Approved early drop off or late pick up will be charged an hourly rate of $20 per hour. For the most up to date information on cost email garrisonfamilycare@gmail.com or call 978-710-8855.

Do I pay when my child is ill or we're on vacation?
            Yes. Payments are made on a monthly basis regardless of attendance. There are 3 scheduled vacation weeks during the year that do not require payment. Those unpaid days are figured into to tuition so that you pay a flat rate year round.

How and when would you bill us?
            2 weeks tuition are due at enrollment. Payment for each month is due before the 1st. Payments can be made by ACH (electronic deposit from checking account) to Kid Kare. Statements for tax purposes will be supplied by January 31 or within 30 days of last day of attendance.

Supplies
Do you supply diapers, or is that up to the parent?
            Diapers, wipes, and cream/powder are supplied by the parent.

What other supplies would I need to bring for my child?
            Food for the day (lunch), napping items (special blanket, stuffed toy, etc), clothes appropriate for outdoor play (water play, snow play, hot or cold days), and a change of clothes (multiple if your child is potty training).  This is a play based program, please keep in mind that we use messy materials indoors, outdoors, in summer, and in winter. Children should be dressed comfortably in clothes that can get dirty and wet.

Do you provide any food?
            I provide breakfast at 845am, milk with lunch, and a snack at 330pm. A healthy lunch of appropriate size should be sent from home. 

Interacting with parents
Do you encourage visits from parents?
            Absolutely! Parents are always welcome – My home is your home.
            Parents are welcome to visit and observe their child anytime during childcare hours. Nursing is fully supported, so mothers may nurse during their lunch break if needed.
            If you stop in during the day to visit a non-infant child, you must be prepared to take your child with you when you leave. It can be emotionally traumatic for your child to say goodbye to you twice in the same day. Any child that leaves early, may not return to child care later that day.
            Please keep in mind that quiet time is from 12-3pm and curriculum begins at 9am. 

What do you expect from me as a parent?
            There are a few things that make the most of your child’s time in my program.
            I put health and safety above all else. You can help by reminding your child to wash their hands at drop off, staying up to date with check ups and immunizations, and being open about any health issues that may arise. Briefly communicating at drop off and pick up will help with this as well. Let me know if there were any changes in your child’s sleep, eating, bathroom habits, or behavior since the last time I saw them – and I will do the same for you.
            The other big part of parent expectations is curriculum – the fun part! I will provide information about what we are doing and why (via: announcement board/blog) and you can carry over those skills at home. There are sometimes funwork (not homework!) assignments to help bridge what is happening at school and home.

How do you communicate with parents? Will you give me a daily report or is there another process for informing parents of what children did during the day (naps, bottles, BMs, etc.)?
            A daily log will be kept at the center or I will contact you, as needed. If you prefer written notes to take home that can be arranged. 

Can I bring my child in for a pre-enrollment visit?
            Yes. Families must visit the center prior to enrollment. The first visit will occur outside of school hours. An additional visit may be made during schools hours, but keep in mind I must continue programming when visitors are here.
             I also offer two 2-hour play dates for new children. This gives the family and child opportunity to become comfortable with the new transitions and environment. These are not required, but highly suggested to ensure that my program is a good fit for your family.

Caregiver-child ratio
What is the caregiver-child ratio?
            1:8
            I can currently have up to 8 children in the program. At least two of those children must be school age, no more than three of those children will be under 24 months.
            When needed, I have back-up care available close by. In the event that back-up care is unavailable and GFC has to close (illness, appointment, admin day) there will be no charge for time that is in excess of 1.5 hours.

Primary caregiver
Do you have any formal early childhood development or childcare training?
            I have a Master of Education from Salem State University in the field of early childhood education, with and without special needs. My undergrad study was done at the University of Southern Mississippi in the field of psychology, with studies focused on child development and learning. I serve as President for the Family Child Care Association.

Why do you work with children?
            I work with children because I wouldn't be happy doing anything else. I love the way they see and explore the world. I also enjoy helping parents to see all of the wonderful things their child is learning through play. 

What do you like most about caring for children?
            A child’s innocent curiosity is an amazing thing. I love seeing a child grow and learn. It sounds cliché, but that moment when you see their eyes light up with understanding is one of the best experiences.

How do you discipline children?
            There are two rules in my home: Be safe. Be nice. Being "nice" is addressed through the social/emotional portion of the curriculum. Redirection is the main method of discipline. Young children are learning how to interact with their environment and other people. We have open discussions about what is expected, what to do when something unexpected happens, when and how to ask for help, and when and how to tell someone no. I am firm, fair, and consistent with my expectations and help children to act with their “Hearts not Hands” to fix problems.
            Being safe is a must for all times and all persons during the day. Occasionally, being unsafe requires a break from activity. Time out is not typically used. The behavior is either redirected, refocused, or support is provided for skills not yet learned. This is followed up with a discussion: Why did you need to make a different choice? Why is it not safe to do that? What can you do next time instead? 

How do you comfort children?
            Hugs hugs hugs. Hugs are a magical thing. Although sometimes just a kind word, a moment of individualized attention, or a reminder to “shake it off” is all that is needed. Young children are still learning social and language skills related to problem solving, so sometimes help articulating is comforting.

Do you have emergency training? In CPR? In First aid?
            DEEC requires CPR and First Aid training be kept up to date on a yearly basis. Additionally, I worked as a lifeguard for several years and am comfortable addressing emergency situations.

Caregiver's assistants
Do you have any assistants?
            Not at this time. I do have someone local available in case of emergency that has training in child care and health care.

If you don't have assistants, who covers for you when you're not available?
            I will do my best to give at least 24 hours notice for an unscheduled closing, not including emergencies. Payment will not be required for unscheduled closings due to illness. Payment is required for snow days.

Activities and Play
What activities do you like to do with the children?
            Activities are both theme based and observation based. This means that I have a loosely scheduled set of themes each month based on popular children’s books, Massachusetts State Frameworks, and developmental needs of young children. The direction that those studies go will be based on the children’s observed interests & developmental needs. Personally, I love art and music. 

Are your toys and activities age-appropriate?
            Yes. There are activities indoors and outdoors that provide opportunity to varied types of play. Activities include individual play, partner play, and group play. We will do large motor, fine motor, language, American Sign Language, sensory, self-help, social/emotional, music & movement, and pre-kindergarten related skills each day.

Do you have a comfortable, childproofed indoor play area where babies can safely explore and develop physical skills?
            Yes. The space is generally set up for toddler and pre-school aged children, but should a family with an infant be interested simple adjustments could be made to accommodate them.
           
Do you have a safe, enclosed outside play area that encourages large-motor skills (climbing, running, jumping)?
            There is a fenced area with direct access from the main playroom. The play area has grass and paved areas with both sun and shade.  The outside space includes low-level climbing and slides, sand boxes, mud pit, open grassy area, picnic table, and paved area for bikes. In the summer a wading pool and water table is added to the space. We use natural landscape (piles of snow, leaves in the fall, mud in the spring) and loose parts (sticks, mud, logs, shells, etc) to encourage gross motor skills. 

Do you take the children on walks through the neighborhood?
            Unfortunately, no. There is not a sidewalk on Garrison Rd. and I wouldn't be comfortable doing so without one.

What potty-training methods do you use for toddlers?
            Potty training varies between families. A discussion about what methods are used at home would need to take place so that I could match your techniques as similarly as possible. In my experience, a combination of patience, positive reinforcement, scheduled bathroom visits, and training to recognize the physical feelings of needing to use the toilet works well.
          I suggest beginning toilet training when the child shows the appropriate readiness skills. Those skills include: being able to hold urine for a period of time (at least 60 minutes), put pants on/off independently, be able to clearly and accurately communicate that their diaper is dry/wet/dirty. I train children on a full size toilet. Read more here.

What will my child be doing on any given day? May I see the daily schedule/routine?
            The daily schedule includes time for active and quiet play, meals and snacks, academic and free play, rest, and circle time (stories, etc). The routine will be followed daily, but I realize that children have varied needs and things like additional naps and feeding times will be available.

Do you let the children watch television?
            I have a computer in the space that is intended for music and yoga. In the rare occasion we do watch a video, it would be related to the curriculum or be part of a special day.

Health
Must children be immunized in order to attend?
            Yes. Documentation of immunizations and overall physical health must be kept on site and be up to date, within 12 months. Children 3 and under must have a yearly lead test on record. School age children must have that information at their full time school program and do not need to provide a copy for my records. More information regarding immunizations is available here.

What is your sick-child policy?
I can care for mildly ill children in my program, however there will be times when you will need to keep your children at home. If your child is sent home due to illness, regardless of any diagnosis or lack thereof they will not be able to attend the following school day during the same week. If your child is too ill to attend to normal activity on a stay-at-home-day, please keep them home from school on the following school day. A note from a medical professional does not override this policy.


If your child is unable to play, eat, sleep, and/or toilet as they would on any other day, then they should be kept at home.  If your child has a fever (100.5+), diarrhea, vomiting, unknown rash, continuous or wheezing/gasping cough, thick or continuous nasal discharge, discharge from the eyes, contagious illness (such as conjunctivitis or strep throat), lice, or bedbugs you should keep them out of care until those symptoms have resolved and/or been under treatment without the aid of fever reducing medication for 24 hours.




What if my child needs medication during the day?
            If possible, I prefer that all medication be administered at home.
            The first dose must be administered by the parent at home in case of an allergic reaction. All medications, in their original container, must be given to the Educator directly by the parent. All medications will be stored out of reach of children. All medications that are considered controlled substances must be locked and kept out of reach of children. The program will maintain and written record of administration of any medication (excluding topical ointments and sprays applied to unbroken skin) which will include the child’s name, the time and date of each administration, the dose, the name of the person administering the medication. This completed record will become part of the child’s file. All unused medication will be returned to the parent if possible, or disposed of in accordance with the Department of Public Health guidelines.

Do you allow smoking in the house?
            No. No one smokes in our home or on our property.

Hygiene
Do caregivers wash their hands after changing diapers and before feeding the children?
            Yes. Caregivers wash hands at the beginning of the day, after changing a diaper, before and after preparing food, before and after eating, before and after assisting with tooth brushing, after personal hygiene tasks, after cleaning with disinfectant/sanitizing solution - basically, I wash my hands all day.

Are older children taught to wash their hands after using the potty?
            Yes. Hand washing will be done upon arrival to our home, before and after eating, after playing outside, after using the toilet, and after wiping noses.

How often are the toys cleaned and replaced?
            Toys are replaced if broken. Toys are cleaned on a daily/weekly basis. Mouthed toys are cleaned after each occurrence.

Safety
Are indoor and outdoor play areas childproofed and escape-proof?
            Indoor areas are secured with baby gates. The outdoor space is secured with a gate. Additionally, safety precautions like securing furniture so that it does not tip and covers on the outlets are a constant in the play spaces.

Are the children ever left unattended?
            The only time a child would be out of sight is when I need to attend to personal hygiene. The bathroom is located on the same level immediately adjacent to the play areas.

Do you have a sign-in and sign-out sheet?
            I keep a record of attendance, but parents do not have to sign in/out.

Are the doors secure so strangers can't just walk in?
            Yes. Doors will be locked while children are present. Anyone who visits during the school day is required to show government issued i.d.

What is your release policy? Who may pick up my child?
            The enrollment packet includes spaces to designate people who are allowed to pick up or drop off children. Only persons on those forms will be allowed to do so and must provide picture identification. Any changes must be given in writing.

Do you receive personal visitors (not affiliated with the daycare business) during the day?
            Not typically. Any scheduled visitors (maintenance, out of town guests, etc) would be communicated with the parent beforehand. Any visitors, including special guests and therapists, would stay under my supervision and never be alone with children.

What is your disaster plan? Do you have procedures for handling fires, earthquakes, intruders, and other emergencies?
            Fire drills and Hold-in-Place drills are practiced monthly. The meeting area in the case of an evacuation from the home is on the large flat rock near the mailbox. In the event that we have to evacuate entirely, my designated meeting spot is in the parking lot of 313 Littleton Rd, Chlemsford. This is the only time that I would take your children off of my property. More specific information about emergency situations is available in the Parent Handbook.

Eating
Do you provide breakfast, lunch, and/or snack?
            Lunch will be sent from home. I suggest sending one item from each food group: grain, fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy. Please do not send desert, treats, or candy. I provide milk at lunch. The breakfast and snack schedule is available online. Snacks are served at 845am and 330pm.
            Families may send additional snacks from home, but I find that children are satisfied with the quantity of food provided. There is a fridge and microwave available.

Are there any food restrictions?
            I am not currently set up as an allergy free home, but do request that tree nut and peanut products not be sent as a precaution.

Do you have a refrigerator for storing bottles of breast milk or formula?
            Yes.

Do you feed babies on demand or on a schedule?
            This is per parent request. Infants do best when a routine is the same between multiple care givers. I would do my best to match what is being followed at home and partner with the parents transition over time to a routine that works for both of our schedules.

Nap times
Where do the children sleep?
            I have nap mats available for toddler and preschoolers. I have a pack-n-play for infants. They will sleep in the main play space. Sheets and blankets stay on site and are washed weekly.

Do you have a nap schedule?
            We do a scheduled quiet time between 1200-300. Should a child need more or less sleep, I can accommodate to meet their needs.

Do you place babies on their back to sleep and follow other safe sleeping practices to reduce the risk of SIDS?

            Yes. Children younger than six months of age at the time of enrollment must be under direct visual supervision at all times, including while napping, during the first six weeks they are in care. No child under 12 months of age shall be placed in a crib containing pillows, comforters, stuffed animals, or other soft, padded materials. All infants will be placed on their backs to sleep in a bed. Infants may not sleep in chairs, car seats, or play equipment. 

Additional Information

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, color, sex, age, veteran status, sexual preference, marital status, or disability.  

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Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding these policies. Additional information may be available in the Parent Handbook. All families are required to read the Parent Handbook prior to your child's attendance.

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