Connect with Head Start:  
1-888-893-6891
headstart@geminus.org

 

GENERAL PROCEDURES

 

Equal Opportunity Policy 

In accordance with federal law and the United States Department of Health and Human Services policy, this program is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability.

Classroom Entry

In order to enter the classroom children must have an up-to-date record of their immunizations signed by a physical (DO or MD), Physical Assistant (PA), Nurse Practitioner (ARNP), or Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).  Provisional certificates of immunization and religious/medical exemptions for immunizations will be accepted according to Indiana’s immunization law.

 

Each child admitted into the program requires a current (within the past 12 months) and comprehensive well-child physical examination.  This examination must be signed and dated by a MD, DO, PA or ARNP.  Please set up an appointment with your child’s health care provider and be ready to provide the appointment date on the first day of class.  This well-child examination must be updated every 12 months.  Dental exams will also be required at minimum every 12 months for children over 1 year of age.  Just like the physical exam, set up a dental appointment for your child if one has not already been completed.

 

Orientation

Upon enrollment, and prior to the child’s first day in the classroom, families are required to participate in a Head Start orientation.  This Family Handbook is presented to each family as a reference for program policies and procedures. A copy is always available on-site for parents and staff to refer to. In addition, a copy of the last page is made for each family to sign as confirmation of the attendance of the presentation and acknowledgement by the family that they will adhere to policies, procedures and their responsibilities. This form is filed on-site by staff.

 

Authorized Persons List 

Parents must provide a list of persons (18 years or older) they authorize to pick up their child from site or bus.  All authorized persons must sign the Child Sign-in-/Sign-out Sheet when bringing or picking up a child.  Authorized persons who are unknown to staff will be asked to show a picture identification before being allowed to pick up a child.  NO unauthorized person is permitted to pick up a child under any circumstances.

 

Arrival Time

Children need to arrive on time to class in order to fully benefit from the program which includes a nutritious meal – breakfast/snack for AM classes, lunch/snack for PM classes.  If a child will be late, parents are responsible for notifying site staff as soon as possible.  If there are circumstances that make arriving on time difficult, please contact your child’s Head Start site – together you may be able to find a solution.

Note:  Children are not allowed in classroom more than five (5) minutes before class start time.

 

Departure Time  

Children must be picked up no later than 5 minutes after class end time.  If a parent is unable to pick up their child on time, it is their responsibility to notify site staff in advance as well as to arrange for someone on the child’s “Authorized Persons List” to pick up the child.  If there are circumstances that make picking up the child on time difficult, please contact your child’s Head Start site – together you may be able to find a solution.

Note:  If a child is not picked up within 30 minutes past class close time and no arrangements have been made with site staff to have the child picked up by another authorized person, site staff will contact the Department of Child Protective Services.

We thank you for your cooperation in this matter, and we know you understand that for the safety and well being of your children, it is essential that children are picked up on time by the appropriate people and that a responsible adult is available to receive the children from the center. At no time will faculty hold the child responsible for the situation or discuss the issue with the child. 

If you are having a problem picking up your child on time, please speak with your Family Support SPECIALIST.

 

Change in Information 

Whenever there is change in address, phone, emergency contact, health provider, health conditions, work/school schedule, family situation, or other please notify us.  You may be asked to update the Emergency contact information form at your site.

 

Confidentiality  

All family information and children’s files are kept strictly confidential.  Only authorized Head Start representatives have access to these files.  On occasion, state and federal licensing representatives may also have access.  Parents and legal guardians have the right (at any time) to review and or obtain copies of their child’s files upon written request.

 

Pets  

Animals will be included in the classroom for observation purposes only.  Children will have no physical contact with the animals.  Certain pets are allowed if they are in good health, have no evidence of disease and post no safety threat to children.  Not allowed are:  ferrets, reptiles, turtles, or birds of the parrot family.  Visits by pets or other animals must be included on the lesson plan and parents will be notified before the animal’s visit.

 

Employment Opportunities

Head Start parents are strongly encouraged to apply for positions posted by Geminus Corporation for which they are qualified.  Check the parent board for current listings or visit the site www.geminus.org.

 

Accessing Child Records 

Parents and legal guardians who wish to review or obtain copies of their child’s file for any reason should contact their Program Assistant to make the request and to complete necessary paperwork.  All requests to access one or more of the following child folders (ERSEA, Education, Health, and Social Services) will be processed within 7 – 14 business days (depending on request).  Please note:  We adhere to all HIPPA regulations and no records will be released to an outside agency without the expressed written consent of a child’s parent and/or guardian.

 

Mandatory Reporter Statement 

All Head Start staff are Mandatory Reporters and must immediately notify the Department of Child Protective Services with any concern of child sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental injury, child prostitution, denial of critical care, bestiality in the presence of a child, illegal drug in the child’s system, or manufacture of drugs in the child’s presence.

 

Weather Related Closing Procedures

Site staff will contact you directly if the program is going to be cancelled/closed due to weather.  The following radio stations may also carry information about school closings in your area:

- WJOB 1230 AM

- WZVN 107.1 FM

- WGN 720 AM

- Indiana 105.5 FM

Announcements will be on the area radio stations before 6:00 am

 

Smoking 

All Head Start locations are smoke-free environments.  Smoking is not allowed in any Head Start or Early Head Start buildings or on any building grounds, including cars in the parking lot.

 

Fire Drills

As required by the Federal Performance Standards and state Child Care Licensing, the centers will hold monthly fire drills and post evacuation plans in all classrooms.  During the fire drills, staff will lead children to a safe area outside of the building.  Please do not be alarmed if a fire drill occurs while you are in the school building, simply follow the direction of the staff.

 

Child Safety: Jewelry  

We ask that you do not send your child to school wearing jewelry—including rings, necklaces, or earrings—as these items can get caught in equipment when children play, increasing the risk of injury.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

The center is not responsible for loss or damage of clothes and/or jewelry

If you need assistance with clothing resources, please contact your Family Support Specialist.

 

Bathroom & Toileting

As a component of our comprehensive early childhood program for children, we work with children who are still in the process of becoming toilet-trained.  Classroom Teachers will be available to assist your child in the Head Start program and will support your child in learning to use the toilet.

      -      Classroom staff will respond promptly when a child requests assistance using the toilet.

      -      Classroom staff will not show disapproval or punish children for any accidents. Children who have toileting accidents are NEVER degraded by harsh words or appearances of disgust.  A conference between the Teacher(s) and the parent(s) will serve to establish common goals and methods for toilet-training.

      -      A child’s clothing will be changed immediately following a toileting accident.  Soiled clothing is placed in a sealed, labeled, moisture-proof bag and sent home with the child, so that a fresh change of clothes can be sent back to the center.

Faculty members are required to wash their hands with soap and water after each toileting, and to assist children with hand-washing, using soap and water.

 

The following procedures are implemented in the center-based and home-based program to ensure sanitary conditions.

  1. Gloves are used whenever staff needs to assist children in the bathroom following universal precautions procedures.
  2. Faculty members always respect a child’s privacy.
  3. If an accident occurs, faculty and parents will not humiliate the child.
  4. If a child lacks the necessary self-help skills in the bathroom, the faculty will inform parents.
  5. Staff encourages the child to be independent and allow the child to become self-sufficient.
  6. Bathrooms are cleaned and disinfected properly after any accident, and regularly on a daily basis.

Tooth Brushing

Healthy oral habits are established in the classroom with daily tooth brushing after one meal.  The program will provide tooth brushes to all enrolled children and will replace them every 3 months.  

 
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