Where learning begins...
...and friendships never end!

Handbook

Our Philosophy

St. Thomas More Preschool is a Catholic preschool that was founded in 1982 to satisfy the need for the parish’s young children. We offer a nurturing environment that encourages social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth. We believe that preschool should be a time of fun, warmth, security, exploration and discovery.


Program Objectives

The primary responsibility of our school is to provide a quality educational program for young children. In meeting this responsibility, the preschool will strive to:

Enrich our Catholic faith through special para-liturgies, prayers, art activities, and themes.

Encourage social development by providing opportunities for sharing, taking turns, making friends, resolving conflicts, solving problems, helping others, recognizing and accepting others, cooperating on projects, and building self-esteem.

Encourage emotional development through verbal expressions of thoughts and feelings, experiencing rules and limits, experiencing kindness, justice and empathy, and recognizing and accepting emotions in others. To develop a respect for other individuals.

Develop responsibility for one’s own actions in self help, health, safety, and interpersonal areas, and to exercise appropriate independence.

Encourage the physical development of large motor skills through outdoor and indoor games and activities, as well as fine motor development through the use of manipulative toys, blocks and puzzles, and other small tools and objects. To facilitate the development of visual-motor skills.

Encourage interest in language through stories, puppetry, the housekeeping corner and its equipment, music, games, science materials, dramas, problem solving, and other conversations.

Encourage creativity by offering many kinds of materials and frequent experiences in music, art, dramatics, literature and oral skills.

Facilitate intellectual development by widening the child’s experience in order to increase knowledge, basic concepts, and skills.


Curriculum

St. Thomas More Preschool has a child-centered rather than an adult-directed program. The program is based on sound principles of child development and early childhood education. Preschool activities are planned to develop independence, enhance motor skills, encourage creative thinking and promote ability to cooperate with others. Children learn best through concrete activities that they can direct. Teachers of young children should teach by asking, not telling. When children can discover answers for themselves, they learn more effectively than when they are told answers by the teacher.

A classroom in which children are encouraged to direct their own learning is often called a child-centered classroom. A child-centered classroom is set up with centers, which are special areas of investigation that children visit at different times during the day.  To have enough room there is a limit to the number of children in each center. During the year some centers will change, while others will be replenished.

In the centers the children will learn to explore materials, make predictions, test predictions, come to their own conclusions, record their ideas and share them with others. The teacher will lead them to further discovery with open-ended questions and support.

Much of what you see in the centers looks like games and play. We use play as a method of instruction. Through the activities and games the children construct their own learning. This is not the same thing as free play when children can choose whatever they want to do. There will be free play time during the day, but most of the day will be preplanned activities with a purpose.

Preschoolers need to use their senses to learn. They are not at a stage where they can sit in a desk and just hear about something, or see a picture of it and know what it is about. We use play as a method of instruction because play is concrete, first hand and active. The skills taught are not just taught once and dropped, but taught and reviewed again in different activities and discussions.

Our curriculum includes sharing and conversation time; stories, songs, and finger plays; creative art activities and crafts; games and large muscle activities; food preparation; science and nature activities; exposure to shapes, colors, numbers, letters, music, and exposure to the French language; and celebration of birthdays and holidays.

Daily outdoor activities are very important for young children and are planned every day, weather permitting. It is our policy that children who are well enough to come to school are well enough to go outdoors. If children are dressed properly, weather conditions should not pose any health risk.


Discipline Policy

Preschool children are beginning to learn responsibility for their own actions. It is our goal to guide them in continuing to develop this respect for themselves. Young children are beginning to learn that what they do affects other people. It is our responsibility to give them feedback and help them grow in respecting the rights and feelings of other people.

At St. Thomas More Preschool we do not hit or paddle children. Hitting as a form of punishment rarely stops inappropriate behavior, but does cause confusion and anger. At the preschool we do not shout or yell at children. Shouting usually frightens children and distracts them from the problem.

Derogatory remarks will not be made in the presence of children about family members or about the children themselves.

No child or group of children will be allowed to discipline another child.

No child will be deprived of meals or any part of meals for disciplinary reasons. No severe, cruel, unusual, or unnecessary punishment is permitted.

Acceptable behavior is encouraged by giving positive verbal rewards. This reinforces a child's good feeling about his/her behavior and serves as an example to the other children to act in a way that receives this praise.

For a child not cooperating in a group listening situation, the child is seated by a teacher and reminded of acceptable behavior.

Removal from the group for "time out" is the next tactic used for a child who continually displays unacceptable behavior. This "timeout" is not a punishment, but a time when the child may calm down, remember what behavior the teacher is asking for, and decide for him or herself when he or she is ready to rejoin the group with appropriate behavior. Any separation from the group will always be within sight and hearing of the staff, and the length of time will be related to the child’ age and maturity, never to exceed ten minutes.

All children and staff members shall be protected and provided a safe and secure environment. Children displaying any of the following actions must leave school for the remainder of the day:

  • ?Harming children or adults.
  • Total disrespect of authority. (refusing to go to time out, talking back to adults)

If behavior problems persist, the parents are asked to a conference to discuss what may be helpful in motivating their child to behave in an acceptable way. When necessary, we will contact the STM school counselor for guidance. All action will be taken with the written approval of the parents.

Licensing regulations require the following information per their policies which we previously stated and adhere to:
Physical or corporal punishment which includes but is not limited to yelling, slapping, spanking, yanking, shaking, pinching, exposure to extreme temperatures or other measures producing physical pain, putting anything in the mouth of a child, requiring a child to exercise, or placing a child in an uncomfortable position.

Verbal abuse, which includes but is not limited to using offensive or profane language, telling a child to “shut up”, or making derogatory remarks about children or family members of children in the presence of children.

The threat of a prohibited action even if there is no intent to follow through with the threat; being disciplined by another child; being bullied by another child; being deprived of food or beverages; being restrained by devices such as high chairs or feeding tables for disciplinary purposes.


Parent-School Communication

A monthly newsletter of events, special activities, reminders, book orders, etc. are sent from the teacher and school office. Many important notices will be coming home via the newsletter. Please check your child’s tote bag for important information and please
check your email regularly
.

Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled in January for children in Pre-K four and five. This is an opportunity to share our observations regarding your child’s development.

All notes, flyers, and announcements sent through the preschool must be approved by the director.

Parents are welcomed to visit the school but for the safety of the children you must check in at the front desk. Anyone entering the preschool will be accompanied by a staff member at all times.

If an injury occurs at school, an injury form will be filled out for parents to read and sign. This procedure is used so that you can have full information regarding the incident. A child who bumps their head will have a head injury form completed and the office will
contact a parent to inform them of the report.

All information on the emergency and authorization card, and in your child’s file must be kept current. It is your responsibility to inform the office of changes such as:

  • home phone and address
  • work place phone number of parents
  • persons authorized to pick up your child and their phone number

The staff will make every attempt to notify parents via the phone or by written note whenever a situation arises that we feel you should be aware of. We request that parents keep the staff informed of your needs, concerns, and feelings.

Parents may email any concerns to the administrative staff or teachers at the following email addresses:


Application and Acceptance

Enrollment is open to all children regardless of race, sex, or national origin.

Children applying for participation in the S.T.M. Preschool will register in January for the next school year. Children will be selected in the following sequence:

  1. Children within the program
  2. Siblings of children within the program
  3. Registered and supporting S.T.M. parishioners
  4. Other Catholics
  5. Non-Catholics

School Hours

St. Thomas More Preschool is in session from August 6 through May 25. We are a preschool that offers an extended care program for working parents. We are not a day care center. We are closed on some holidays and summer vacation. The preschool is in session from 8:30 A.M. until 11:45 A.M. Monday through Friday.

Second Dismissal is an additional program that allows the children to remain at school until 3:00. During this time the children have lunch, free play, story time, and naps.

It is disruptive to the other children when children are picked up early. If you must pick up your child early please try to do so before nap time which begins at 1:15.

Extended Care offers working parents day care between 6:45a.m. until 8:20a.m. and 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Children attending a.m. extended care must arrive before 8:20 to avoid the car pool line. After 8:20 all children must be dropped off in the car pool line. No one may park and walk their child into the building after 8:20.


Arrival and Dismissal

Cars will form a line on Sherbrook facing Sylvan. Please do not turn into the preschool drive until a staff member comes out at 8:25 a.m. Please follow the same procedure for dismissal at 11:45 and 2:45. Car pool signs MUST be used to ensure a speedy dismissal. Please, hang your sign from your rearview mirror. Please NO CELL PHONES DURING CARPOOL.

Preschoolers must be seated on the passenger’s side of the vehicle to ensure their safety when exiting or entering the vehicle. Staff members are not allowed to walk between cars when unloading and loading children to vehicles. During car pool drop-off the preschoolers are required to remain in their car seats or buckled in a seat belt until a staff member removes them from the vehicle. Our staff is required to buckle all children in a car seat when loading them into a vehicle.

NOTE: By LAW, we can NOT put a child in any vehicle without a proper car seat.

Please be courteous to our neighbors and do not block driveways during car pool. Never leave your car parked in the driveway with the motor running when dropping off or picking up your child. This is a safety precaution for children on our playground.

It is disruptive to all the children when your child arrives late. Please make every effort to be prompt as your children will miss instructions for their daily lessons. All “check-in’s” MUST arrive by 10:00 a.m. with a doctor’s excuse. Children will not be admited after 10:00 a.m.. St. Thomas More is a preschool, not a daycare center.

Children registered in the extended care program must arrive before 8:20 to avoid having to go through the car pool line. No one may park and walk their child into the building after 8:20 a.m.

A staff member will meet your child at your car each morning beginning at 8:25 and will return the child to your car when school is over at 11:45 and also at the 2:45 dismissal. It is imperative, you are prompt in picking up your child. A babysitting fee of $1.00 per minute for the first five minutes and $5.00 per minute after that will be assessed when children are picked up after 12:00 from preschool and 3:00 from second dismissal.

For safety's sake, children must never be left without direct transfer to an adult.

We will release children to authorized persons only. If necessary, photo identification may be requested by the staff before the child is released. Parents must notify the school when someone different is picking up their child. These rules are for the safety of your children.


Reasons for Dismissal

St. Thomas More Preschool seeks to provide a safe, well-supervised program that your children will enjoy. To do so, we must insist that all children show respect for adults, each other, school rules, and property. This policy assures parents that all children in our care will have a positive environment.

We may ask parents to withdraw their child from preschool for any of the following reasons:

  • If the program staff does not feel that it is meeting the child’s needs.
  • A child who continually exhibits behavior that endangers him/herself or others.
  • A child who continually exhibits behavior that is disruptive to the learning environment of the classroom.
  • Parents who are continually late arriving or picking up their child (more than four times in a school year, except emergencies).
  • Non-payment of preschool tuition and/or lack of adherence to our tuition payment policies.
  • Non-adhering of the policies and procedures stated in this handbook.

Fees

A registration fee and maintenance fee is due upon acceptance and is non-refundable. A “party fee” of $50.00 per child will be collected to cover expense of all parties (a detailed list was in your welcome packet.)

This program is a nonprofit organization, which operates entirely on the tuition fees from each child. Tuition is automatically debited on the tenth of each month. Tuition may be paid in full by August 10.

Withdrawal notice should be given two weeks in advance. The full monthly tuition is due if the child enrolls before the 15th of the month, or withdraws after the 15th of the month.

We cannot make deductions for emergency school closure and sickness or absence of any kind. Checks should be made payable to S.T.M. Preschool.

Monthly fees for preschool are for TEN (10) months (August - May):

Pre - K 4 and Pre K 5 - Registered & Identified Giver
(STM, St. Patrick, Imm. Conception, St. Anthony)
Preschool (8:30-11:45) - $245.00
Second Dismissal (8:30-3:00) - $380.00
Extended Care (7:00-6:00) - $480.00

Pre - K 4 and Pre K 5 - Other Catholics & Non Identified Giver
Preschool (8:30-11:45) - $265.00
Second Dismissal (8:30-3:00) - $400.00
Extended Care (7:00-6:00) - $500.00

Pre - K 4 and Pre K 5 - Non Catholics
Preschool (8:30-11:45) - $275.00
Second Dismissal (8:30-3:00) - $ 410.00
Extended Care (7:00-6:00) - $510.00

Pre - Four and Three Year olds - Registered & Identified Giver
Preschool (8:30-11:45) - $265.00
Second Dismissal (8:30-3:00) - $400.00
Extended Care (7:00-6:00) - $500.00

Pre - Four and Three Year olds - Other Catholics & Non Identified Giver
Preschool (8:30-11:45) - $285.00
Second Dismissal (8:30-3:00) - $420.00
Extended Care (7:00-6:00) - $520.00

Pre - Four and Three Year olds - Non Catholics
Preschool (8:30-11:45) - $295.00
Second Dismissal (8:30-3:00) - $430.00
Extended Care (7:00-6:00) - $530.00

Part time Second Dismissal - $15.00 daily
A.M. only (before 8:30) Full-time - $35.00 monthly

Registration Fee - $225.00 per child.

Maintenance Fees:

In Parish & Identified Givers - $125.00 per family
Out of parish Maintenance Fee - $175.00 per family
Non-Catholic Maintenance Fee - $200.00

*****NOTE: NO DROP-IN’S ARE ACCEPTED FOR EXTENDED CARE*****

Holiday Care Fees:

Holiday care is an additional fee of $22.00 per day. You will receive a registration form each month for holiday care. We do not deduct tuition for days missed. When your child is enrolled, you are reserving time, space, staff, snacks, and provisions whether he/she attends or not. 


Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast

Children attending a.m. extended care may purchase breakfast for a fee of .75 per day. Breakfast may not be purchased daily. A breakfast card must be purchased for $7.50 (ten breakfasts) or $15.00 (twenty breakfasts) at the front desk. A reminder note will be sent home when your card needs to be renewed.

Lunch

The children may purchase their lunch from the school cafeteria or bring a sack lunch. Lunch is purchased from the cafeteria by the semester. Changes cannot be made until January. The cafeteria fee is debited along with tuition each month. Sack lunches should consist of finger food such as a sandwich and fruit. NO candy, thermoses or canned drinks. The children should be able to handle their lunch with little assistance. Milk or water is provided.


Toilet Training

Toilet Training

When a child is not toilet trained, they are not physically ready for preschool. Children entering the preschool must be toilet trained. We understand all children will have an occasional accident. A child who is not toilet trained will be asked to withdraw from the preschool.

Preschoolers are given until September 30 to become potty trained.


Nap and Rest Policy

Nap and Rest Policy

Naps and rest are appropriate and necessary activities of children. During nap time we require all children to rest on a mat. Please do not pick up your child during nap time (1:15-2:30). It is very disruptive to have children leaving during rest time.

Each child may bring a small soft stuffed animal/doll (beanie baby size) for rest time. Restful music is played during this time and a staff member will give back rubs to the resting children.


Children's Belongings

Toys and items of value should remain at home. We cannot assume responsibility for materials brought from home. A lost and found is available in the office. Lost articles not claimed are given away.

Children are not allowed to bring jewelry, toys, umbrellas, gum or candy to school.


St. Thomas More Preschool Dress Code

Uniforms:

The preschoolers are required to wear school uniforms. They may be purchased at School Time or Inka’s. Tee shirts and sweat shirts may also be purchased at School Time.

Boys: Khaki shorts or slacks (with an elastic waistband, NO belts), a navy polo shirt with the school logo, preschool tee-shirts and sweatshirts are acceptable. A white or navy turtleneck-knit shirt may be worn under the tee shirt and polo shirt in cool weather. If an undershirt is worn, it must be white or navy in color.

Girls: Preschool dress worn with uniform shorts or bloomers [bloomers or shorts MUST be worn under any dress or skirt] khaki skort, short, or pants, a navy polo with school logo, preschool tee shirt or sweatshirt. A white or navy turtleneck or a mock turtleneckknit shirt may be worn under the dress and tee shirt or polo shirt in cool weather. Length of dresses may NOT be below the knee. White or navy tights / fitted leggings may be worn in cool weather. Jewelry is NOT permitted. If ears are pierced, only stud earrings are to be worn.

Rubber sole TENNIS shoes are a must on the playground. NO boots, sandals, crocs, “Toms”, ballet slippers, etc. are allowed. NO light up or sparkle shoes are allowed. All shoes should fit properly to ensure your child’s safety. NO oversized shoes, please. TENNIS SHOES ONLY. White or navy socks MUST be worn at all times.

Sweaters and jackets are your choice. Your child's name should be clearly marked in ALL clothing and belongings to ensure the return of all proper possessions and clothes.


Grooming

Grooming:

All children should be well groomed.

Hair:

Girls-brushed and out of face. Boys-brushed, bangs to eyebrows, back length to top of collar. NO rub on tattoos on any part of the body. (They love to “show” their friends which causes class disruptions!!!)

Jewelry:

NO watches, bracelets, jewelry of any kind.


Parent Responsibilities

Please make the school and your child's teacher aware of any special needs your child may have.

Check tote bags daily. Important information is sent home through the tote bags. Please keep tote bags free of toys and clutter.

Check emails regularly for important information.

Help with holiday parties by sending treats, party supplies, etc.

Help with school fund raisers. We need 100% participation for our fund raisers to be successful.


Holiday Parties and Birthdays

Holiday Parties

We will hold special parties to celebrate the major holidays. You may volunteer to help by completing the volunteer form. Parents assisting with the parties are asked not to bring siblings. We need your help with the preschoolers during this time.

Birthdays

You may celebrate your child's birthday at school by providing birthday napkins and simple refreshments to be shared during regular snack time. NO cupcakes or cakes please.

This is not a birthday party. Parents are asked not to attend.

If your child suffers from food allergies, you are asked to provide their treats for birthday celebrations and snacks. We are attempting to teach our children about those less fortunate and to help them understand the importance of helping others. We are asking the children to bring birthday gifts of food for the poor to the birthday child. Birthday invitations may be sent through the school if the entire class is invited.


Health Regulations

No child who arrives noticeably ill will be admitted to school for that day. Children are to be kept home when they show any of the following symptoms:

  1. Temperature more than ninety-nine degrees.
  2. Skin rash.
  3. Discharging eyes, a sore throat, profuse nasal discharge.
  4. Upset stomach or diarrhea.

    Children should remain home for twenty-four (24) hours after displaying any of the above symptoms.
     
  5. Any child who has head lice must be kept at home until proper treatment is administered and all nits are removed. A child that has been treated for head lice cannot return to school until he or she has been checked by a school representative indicating that the child is no longer infested with head lice. That means you must remove all dead nits or eggs before they are seen at school.

A child who becomes ill at school will be isolated from the rest of the group, and the parents will be notified immediately. An ill child should be picked up promptly. The child is required to remain at home for twenty-four hours after leaving school.


Medications Administered

The program’s medication policy states: Our staff is permitted by state law to administer prescription medications and over the counter medications to your child provided the medications are brought to the preschool in the original prescription bottle accompanied by an appropriately completed and signed medication permission form. Do not put medication in your child’s tote bag. The staff member assigned to give medications will follow the instructions on the medication container and the parent instructions on the permission sheet for any specific instructions. Medications are administered at 12:00 and 3:30. We cannot administer medications at any other times during the day.

The staff member administering medications will note on each child’s permission slip the time, date, and their signature. If medication is not administered on time, and it is more than an hour past the administration time, the parent will be contacted for further advice. After completing the medication cycle, the empty bottle or container is returned to the parent. With a parents written permission we may administer Tylenol and Benedryl if needed.


Electronic Devices/Computer/ Program, Movie & Video Game Policy

Electronic devices policy that provides that all activities involving electronic devices, including but not limited to television, movies, games, videos, computers and hand held electronic devices, shall adhere to the following limitations:

  • Electronic device activities for children under age two are prohibited; and time allowed for electronic device activities for children ages two and above shall not exceed two hours per day.

Computer practices policy that requires computers that allow internet access by children to be equipped with monitoring or filtering software that limits access by children to inappropriate web sites, e-mail, and instant messaging.

Programs, movies, and video games with violent or adult content, including by not limited to soap operas, television news, and sports programs aimed at audiences other than children, shall not be permitted in the presence of children.

All television, video, DVD, or other programming shall be suitable for the youngest child present. “PG” programming or its television equivalent shall not be shown to children under age five. “PG” programming shall only be viewed by children age five and above and shall require written parental authorization. Any programming with a rating more than “PG” is prohibited. All video games shall be suitable for the youngest child with access to the games.


Abuse/Neglect

Louisiana State Law requires any professional who works with children to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Louisiana Child Protection Statewide Hotline (855) 4LA-KIDS [(855) 452-5437].


Inclement Weather

In case of bad weather the preschool will observe the same early dismissal or closure as public and parochial schools. Please listen to local radio and television stations for information on school closure. If you have a serious concern about sending a child to school in bad weather, please feel free to have the child remain at home.


Holidays and Extended Care Closures

Preschool Holidays:

  • Labor Day — Monday, September 7
  • Thanksgiving — Monday, November 23 thru Friday, November 27
  • Christmas -- Friday, December 18 thru Friday, January 1
  • Staff Develoment Training - Monday, January 4
  • Martin Luther King Day --- Monday, January 18
  • Mardi Gras - Monday, February 8 thru Friday, February 12
  • Easter — Friday, March 25 thru Friday, April 1

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL — Tuesday, May 24

We are open for day care on most holidays at an additional fee. Holiday Care is a privilege and service for working parents. Parents who are continually tardy picking up their child or those children with behavior problems will not be accepted.

Extended care is closed on the following days:

  • Labor Day - Monday, September 7
  • Thanksgiving -Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27
  • Christmas - Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25
  • New Years - Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1
  • Martin Luther King Day - Monday, January 18
  • Mardi Gras - Monday, February 8 and Tuesday, February 9
  • Easter - Friday, March 25 and Monday, March 28
  • Last Day of Preschool - Tuesday, May 24

We will be open for day care Wednesday, May 25 thru Friday, May 27.