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Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School

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					Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School

Parent Handbook

70 Hooker Avenue Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 845-471-0895

Table of Contents Welcome Introduction 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Philosophy Goals Family Involvement Parent Group Special Events for Families

Who’s Who at the WNS 1. 2. 3. 4. Programs Procedures, Policies, and Protocol 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Enrollment Important Paperwork Special Needs Registration Fee Tuition Responsibilities Bounced Checks Gradual Opening Calendar Drop Off and Pick-Up Parking Late Pick-Up Waiting Areas and Facility Use Director Teacher Assistant Teacher Tuition Treasurer

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13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Security Absenteeism Illness Policy Emergencies Emergency Evacuation Drills and Procedures Snacks Parties and Birthday Snacks Potty Training Clothing Shoes Outdoor Play Field Trips Fund Raisers Wish Book Emergency School Closings and Snow Policy

Church Relationship

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WELCOME The Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School is a learning community for children and families. We are a community which values love of learning, compassion, respect and care for others. Our goal is to provide your child with a preschool education which is excellent in every way, in a loving environment and with teachers who are experts in their field. We invite you to learn more about our school; its‟ policies and procedures, of course, but also what we believe in as educators and caregivers: This Parent Handbook is designed to provide our community of families with the information needed to understand the policies and operating procedures of the Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School. Contained in this handbook are our school‟s goals, objectives, visions and philosophy of education. This handbook is also designed to answer any questions you may have concerning the appropriate procedures and policies for any issues that may arise throughout your child‟s school day. Our teaching staff and director are always here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Our doors are always open and we welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to contact us whenever needed.

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INTRODUCTION Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School is a not-forprofit family oriented, community minded, child-centered educational nursery school. We want our children and families to feel welcome and appreciated. It is our pleasure to share our days with your most precious gifts. We will cherish one another as we learn and grow together here, at Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School. We believe in a nursery school: Where children are valued for who they are, for their wonder and curiosity, their perspectives, and their ability to play... Where families are valued for their bonds and traditions, their commitment to work, home and community, their dreams for their children, and their ability to play... Where teachers are valued for their vision, their delight in children, their skill, heart and knowledge, a commitment to families, and their ability to play... We cherish one another, and we cherish what we learn from each other. The Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School was established in 1959 and is one of the oldest nursery schools in the area. We currently run 3 classrooms, servicing the educational needs of

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children up to 5 years old through a variety of early education programs. We are dedicated to doing so in a safe and nourishing environment designed to meet the needs of the whole child, as well as encourage their spirit and the love of learning. The best interest of each child remains in the forefront as we initiate our developmentally appropriate teaching curriculum. The curriculum is designed to address the developmental needs of each child with a focus on the social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of all young children. We welcome and encourage an ethnically diverse population. The WNS does not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and are open to children and families of all races, religions, cultural heritage, political beliefs and marital status. Parents and families are encouraged to participate in all of our programs. Philosophy Here at the Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School we believe that teaching is as much an art as a science. Our classrooms are warm, bright and spacious, childcentered environments with state of the art learning tools. The curriculum is based on the children‟s fundamental right to learn in a play based atmosphere. The natural learning process will occur as the children interact with the teachers and each other. Our program

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provides many hands-on learning experiences using the discovery approach appropriate and effective for children of all ages and in all learning stages. Goals Our program goals are: 1. To foster a positive self-image in each child by providing them with a wide range of opportunities to grow as an individual in all developmental areas. Each class is designed to meet the needs of each child as an individual as well as in a group classroom setting. 2. To help children learn to interact with their peers and adults in a positive, cooperative way. 3. To help children to understand and accept each other‟s individual differences and similarities. 4. To support parents and families. 5. To serve as a developmentally appropriate learning environment for all children. 6. To foster a loving community where each child and adult feels valued and valuable.

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The following strategies are used by our staff to help children to reach these goals. 1. Clear Expectations: Stating to the children, in a positive way, what is expected. 2. Praise: Praising children for behaving appropriately. 3. Choices: Giving children choices whenever possible. 4. Words: Giving children words to express their feelings in place of acting out physically. Our ultimate goal is teaching the children to verbally resolve conflicts with minimal or no adult intervention. One of the ways to do this is to be sure that the staff members are good role models. This includes showing respect, caring, and courtesy to every person in the school. Family Involvement Family involvement is welcomed and encouraged please feel free to share a story or family tradition, or join our Parent Group, which is involved in organizing special programs, activities and fund-raisers. Your help and input is always needed. Throughout the year special occasions arise and sign up sheets can be found in our hallways for those parents who offer their help.

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Parent Group The parent group is an important part of our school community. The parent group organizes special events, fundraisers and often hosts school events. The group may choose to organize play groups or a special project for the school. Each year the group is under the direction of the WNS Director who helps to organize parent volunteers. All are welcome at every parent group meeting and event. It‟s fun! Special Events for Families Each year the WNS organized several events for families. Some examples of these events are Autumn in the Park scheduled in October, a Thanksgiving Feast scheduled in November, and Moving Up Day scheduled at the end of the school year. We encourage parent volunteers to join us for the planning of these fun events! *** At times regularly scheduled classes will be cancelled in order to bring classes together for celebrations. Families will be notified well in advance when these dates arise.

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WHO’S WHO at WNS Director The Director , has primary responsibility for monitoring, evaluating, and communicating all educational and administrative policies set forth by the WNS Committee. The Director supervises the teaching and support staff of the WNS. The Director works directly with the children and the families as a means of modeling, evaluating, and disseminating curriculum within and outside the WNS. Teachers Teachers have at least a Bachelor‟s degree in Education. Teachers are responsible for the planning and implementation of the developmentally appropriate curriculum in the classrooms. They are also responsible for communicating openly with parents regarding students‟ progress throughout the school year. Assistant Teachers Assistant Teachers work as team members with the Teachers in providing an appropriate environment for children. They will interact informally with parents during the day, and assist the teacher with the classroom.

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Tuition Treasurer The Tuition Treasurer collects tuition and keeps parents updated on payments received and payments that are due. The tuition treasurer also issues contracts.

PROGRAMS Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School is open th th from September 10 to May 30 following a 9 month school calendar. The school closes for snow days and scheduled holiday breaks. Our 2 day, 3 year old program is designed for children who are fully potty trained and whose birthdays are on or before December 1. These programs are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00am – 11:30am. Our 3 day, 3 year old program is designed for children who are fully potty trained and who turn 3 on or before December 1. One program is held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and is offered from 9:00am – 11:30am.

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Our 3 day, 4 year old program is designed for children who are entering kindergarten the following year. This program is also designed to prepare the children for a ½ day or full day kindergarten program. This program is st offered to students turning 4 on or before December 1 . This class is held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 9:00am – 11:00am. Our Pre-K program is designed for students turning 4 st on or before December 1 and who will be entering kindergarten the following year. This program is designed to prepare the children for a full day or half day kindergarten program. This program is offered Monday – Friday mornings from 9:00am – 11:45am. We strive to respond to the needs of our community, and therefore our program offerings change from year to year, and we may add new classes as needed throughout the year. Please feel free to inquire based on your child‟s individual educational needs.

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PROCEDURES, POLICIES, AND PROTOCOL Enrollment Continuing families and families of the Reformed Church st have priority until February 1 , after which registration is open to the community. Children are admitted on a first come first serve basis. Placement in a classroom will not be made until the paperwork has been reviewed by staff. We aim to design classes of children who will complement each other, and some study is required to determine what the placements will be. Advanced registration is required and all paperwork must be completed, handed in and kept up to date. A waiting list is kept by the director and will be used when an opening presents itself and the timing is appropriate. The Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or differing abilities. However, if the nature of a child’s disability requires physical therapy or special staff, the child will not be enrolled until special arrangements are made. Important Paperwork It is important that all of your child‟s paper work, including medical forms are kept up to date and current at all times. If your child‟s developmental or medical history is changed at any time please notify your child‟s

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teacher as soon as possible so that all records can be changed. Should your child be injured at school, an accident log is filled out stating what may have caused the child to become injured. A copy of this report is given to the parent/guardian and a copy is kept by the teacher. Parents/guardians or emergency contacts will only be called to come and pick up the child should the child become unable to fully participate in the remainder of the school day. Special Needs Parents are required to identify and communicate to the RCWNS staff any special needs that may be pertinent to the child‟s safety or developmental well being. Parents of children with special needs will be expected to participate with RCWNS staff in identifying and selecting any necessary supplemental staffing assistance and/or equipment. Additional funding for any special needs will be jointly pursued by the RCWNS Director and the parents of the child with special needs through local government and other agencies. Registration Fee A $75 new student registration fee or a $50 returning student registration fee is required to confirm enrollment and must accompany the registration form. The fee is non-refundable.

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Tuition Responsibilities You have signed an enrollment contract which clearly states the cost of sending your child to the WNS and identifies your chosen payment schedule. You will receive a tuition reminder notice before each payment is due. It is crucial that you help us by making your payments on time. An easily accessible, locked box is located in the school for checks and money orders only. All cash needs to be directly handed to the tuition treasurer or the director. As your enrollment contract states, if you find yourself in a position where you are unable to pay your child‟s tuition, you must call the tuition treasurer to make arrangements. If you fail to make two consecutive payments and fail to make arrangements with the tuition treasurer, your child‟s enrollment will be cancelled. The WNS depends on the tuition payments in order to provide its‟ students with a high quality educational program. We appreciate your cooperation regarding this matter. Bounced Checks The checks returned require parents to issue a new payment plus the returned check fee charged to the WNS by the bank. Two bounced checks may result in being required to pay in cash or by money order.

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Gradual Opening To begin the school year and to ensure that each child is comfortable, we have a gradual opening process, which is as follows: The first day of school your child will attend with a parent/guardian for 1 ½ hours. This gives the child the opportunity to meet the teacher and other children, and see the classroom to get a comfortable feeling. Parents are welcome at this meeting. The next school day your child will attend by him or herself for the regularly scheduled class time. Calendar The WNS does not follow any specific school district calendar, but rather attempts to meld the calendars of area schools to benefit the greatest number of families. Our programs run from September to May with scheduled legal and holiday closings. A school calendar with the scheduled school closing is given to each family.

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Drop off and Pick Up Our school days run as follows: The AM sessions begin at 9:00 am and end at 11:45 am for the Pre-K and 4 year old programs, and begin at 9:00 and end at 11:30 am for the children in the 3 year old programs.

Please keep in mind that it is important that the children are dropped off promptly at the starting times and picked up on time as well. Late arrivals can be distracting and disruptive to the child coming in and the other children in the classroom. Late pick ups may cause the child having to wait to become worried or anxious. We have comfortable places for you and your child to wait for children to arrive or be dismissed. Our day is designed so that our doors open at 9:00, rather than opening our classroom doors earlier than when class is due to start. This is more consistent for the children, as well as allowing for fun surprises upon arrival! You will fill out a transportation form which indicates who may pick up your child. For your child‟s safety it is important that we be notified if someone other than those who are listed will be picking up your child. Please advise them that they will be asked for identification as well.

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Parking Parking is available at the front entrance of the WNS (Hooker Avenue) as well as in the rear entrance (Hanscom Avenue). Parking is also available in the Bartlett Park Lot on Hanscom Avenue. Late Pick-Up Parents are considered to be late when he/she is picked up later than the agreed upon time at the signing of the contract. For each late pick up the parent will be asked to sign a slip to verify the date and time of pick up. One copy is retained by the parent and the other is kept on file at the school. All families will be allowed one late pick up without penalty. On each subsequent late pick up you will be charged $5.00 for every five minute period your child is at the school. Fines can be made payable to the Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School and are due on the next scheduled school day. The above policy was established with much care and consideration given to all families. We ask your cooperation regarding this matter.

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Waiting areas/Facility Use As members of the nursery school community, you are welcome to use the facilities of the church to wait for your child to be dropped off or picked up. We have a children‟s library (with some parents‟ books, too!) for your use. It is also stocked with fun things to do, as is the breezeway. The playground may be used when the children are not utilizing it, and there is also a nursery upstairs for your use. Some parents form play groups and use this room, Case Chapel, or other rooms in our spacious upstairs. The church is yours to use and feel comfortable in. Please carefully supervise your children, and ask staff if you have any questions. Security We unlock our outside school doors 10 minutes before drop-off and pick-up times. At all other times the school doors remain locked for your child‟s safety. If you are visiting the school when the doors are locked, look for the buzzers next to each door. A staff member will let you in ASAP! Absenteeism If your child is going to be absent, please notify the nursery school prior to his/her arrival time. A message leaving your child‟s name and class is sufficient. It is important that all children attend school on a regular

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basis, as frequent absences may disrupt a child‟s daily routine and make it difficult for the child to enjoy all the benefits of our nursery school program. Illness Policy The Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School does not have facilities to care for sick children, and when a child is ill they cannot benefit from our program. If a child becomes ill while attending school, the parent/guardian or emergency contact will be notified immediately. The child who has developed symptoms of illness will be provided a place to rest quietly within view of and under the supervision of a staff member until the child is taken home from school by the parent/guardian or emergency contact. You will be protecting the health of your child, as well as protecting the health of all the children and teachers by helping us maintain these health standards. Sick children should be kept in the comfort of their own homes when: * The illness, or child‟s reaction to an illness, requires attention that cannot be provided by the teachers (such as administering medicine) or an illness or reaction that compromises the health and safety of others. * Significant fever of above 100 degrees Fahrenheit when taken orally, 101 degrees

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Fahrenheit when taken rectally, or 99 degrees Fahrenheit when taken under the armpit. Any child showing any of these signs of fever is asked to be kept home for at least 24 hours after the fever has cleared and temperature has returned to normal. * The child has an undiagnosed rash or itchy skin * Undiagnosed watering or redness of the eyes * The child has persistent diarrhea, defined by three or more stools in a 24 hour period, when this pattern represents: -An increased number of stools compared to the child‟s normal pattern. -Increased stool water -Diarrhea accompanied by symptoms of dehydration, such as sunken eye, dry skin, concentrated urine or small amounts of urine of no urine in four hours. -Diarrhea accompanied by blood in the stool

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A child should be kept home if they have vomited two or more times within a 24-hour period, or if the vomiting has been accompanied by any symptoms of dehydration or other signs of illness. A child is ready to return to school when they have been vomit free for at least a 24 hour period. A child that requires medication such as an antibiotic is required to refrain from attending school until they have received the proper 24 hour dosage. If a child is not prepared to participate in all aspects of our school program, such as playing outside on the playground s/he is not ready to return to school. If a child is or becomes lethargic, has uncontrolled coughing, persistent abdominal pain, discolored urine, refuses to eat or drink, unusual irritability, persistent crying, difficulty breathing or is wheezing or showing other signs of unusual behavior, staff will call home. Per New York state law, we do not administer medication to children. Emergencies Your child‟s records and emergency cards must be kept up to date at all times. Please keep your child‟s teacher up to date with telephone and cell phone numbers,

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family‟s pediatrician or primary health care provider and any changes that may occur throughout the school year. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT UP-TO-DATE PHONE/CELL NUMBERS BE MAINTAINED!. It can be scary for a child to be anxiously waiting for some one to pick him/her up when s/he is ill or waiting to be taken home. Emergency Evacuation Drills and Procedures Fire Drills Proper fire drills are practiced with the children periodically throughout the school year. We alternate the days of the week and morning and afternoon drills so that all the children have an opportunity to participate. A written record of all drills is kept on file. Emergency Evacuation Procedure In the event that the student and staff must evacuate the premises, they will do so quickly and gather in their designated area. Drills will be practiced and documented so the children are familiar with what to do. During an emergency evacuation students and staff in rooms 12 and 13 will exit through the school‟s Hooker Avenue

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door and meet in the Weekday Nursery School‟s parking lot. Students and staff in room 15 will exit through the Hanscom Avenue door and walk around the building to the meet in the WNS parking lot. Teachers will take attendance and immediately check in to assure all students are safe. If needed, parents will be notified and instructed where to pick up their child. Lock Down Procedure In the event that a lock down is needed, the authorities will be notified, the teachers will find the nearest locked room, gather their students, lock the doors, and sit quietly. The student will be kept away from the doors and windows. The teacher will maintain a calm environment while keeping in contact with the other teachers through the use of the in-class intercoms. When the authorities have deemed it safe for the students and staff, parents will be immediately notified. Snacks DUE TO SEVERE FOOD ALLERGIES, ALL FOOD ENTERING THE SCHOOL BUILDING MUST BE HANDED DIRECTLY TO A CLASSROOM TEACHER OR AIDE!

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A $25 snack fee is required of all students. The school will use this to provide the children with a light snack and 100%fruit juice each day. Parents are welcome to bring in fruits or veggies for the class at any time. ** NOTE: FOR CHILDRENS’ SAFETY, ANY FOOD OR OTHER ALLERGY MUST BE REPORTED TO YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER!! ** Parties and Birthday Snacks On special occasions such as birthdays and parties it is okay to bring sweet treats. Let your child‟s teacher know in advance if and when you would like to bring in a special treat. Potty Training Always a popular topic among caregivers and teachers of young children, potty training, like tying shoes, learning letters and identifying colors, is a learned skill. Our teachers and aides are skilled in reminding children, and “looking for signs” that another reminder is in order. We understand very well that accidents happen, but consecutive accidents are cause for a discussion about readiness for classroom learning. Children must be fully potty trained in order to participate in the 3 and 4 year old classes. Pull ups and diapers are not allowed in the 3 and 4 year old classes. We ask you to be frank with us about your child‟s readiness, as we

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strive to provide an environment where each child is successful. Clothing Casual comfortable clothing is recommended for active hands and classroom play. Although our classroom supplies are water soluble and nontoxic, the children will be exposed to many creative, and sometimes messy, classroom materials. We strongly suggest that your child wear clothing which, would not cause any alarm should it become soiled. Extra clothing should be kept in your child‟s school bag in case a change is needed. Shoes Party shoes are pretty and sandals and fancy boots can be very stylish, but sneaker or work boot type shoes are recommended for safety‟s sake on the playground. Outdoor Play In the event of extreme cold, such as when temperature dropping below 25 degrees with the wind chill factor, the children will remain indoors for that day to play in the huge gym area that is located in our school. When the temperature is above 25 degrees with the wind chill factor, the children will go outside to play at the discretion of their teacher. All items, including hats, mittens, boots, snow pants and jackets that you wish for

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your child to wear in these weather conditions should be brought to school with the child each day. In the event of extreme heat, with temperatures reaching above 90 degrees including the heat index, the children will remain indoors to play in our huge gym area located in our school. If the temperature is under 90 degrees including the heat index, the children will be taken outside to play at the discretion of their teacher and provided with cool water breaks to maintain proper hydration. Field Trips Field trips are designed to expand on our classroom curriculum and broaden the children‟s learning experiences, as well as to be FUN! There may be anywhere from 3-10 field trips a year. Locations vary each year due to interest and availability, but have in past years included: the Mid-Hudson Children‟s Museum, the Bardavon, Trevor Zoo, local apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Each child is chaperoned and escorted to and from by their parent/guardian. If their parent/guardian can not attend the field trip with their child, parents are welcome to make arrangements with another parent or family member to attend with the child. A 1:1 ratio is enforced for all field trips outside the school building.

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If a fee is required, it will be collected prior to the date of the field trip, and whenever possible a refund will be made if a child is unable to attend the field trip due to illness or family emergency. Field trip scheduling may be constrained by the administrator of the location in which the field trip is being held. This sometimes prohibits scheduling in the afternoon or on an alternative day, and at these times the PM classes and/or other classes will join the AM class or other classes for the field trip. Fund Raisers School fund-raisers are conducted from time to time throughout the school year. We encourage your participation, but you are under no obligation and we will not pressure our families to make purchases. All monies raised are utilized to better the operation of our school and directly benefit the children. The school is a not-forprofit 501(c) organization, and any and all contributions are tax deductible. Your giving benefits not only your child, but also the children of our community now and yet to come.

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Wish Book. The Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School is a not-for-profit school that depends on the support and donations of the families that we serve. The WNS Wish Book is an organized list of school supplies and educational tools that is compiled by our teaching staff. The book is located in the breeze way near the front entrance of our school. Some of the supplies found in the book are used throughout each school year for projects and exploration. Other items found in the book may bring extra life and fun to our school environment for years to come. If you would like to make a donation for our school and/or have a wish that you would like to see come true, please see the Director for assistance.

Emergency School Closings and Snow Policy If we need to cancel school, you will know by logging on to Cancellations.com and looking under “Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School” or by listening to any of the Clear Channel Radio stations (FM 101.5, FM 92.7, FM 96.9, FM 94.3, AM 1340, and AM 1390). Many of our families and several of our staff travel some distance to get to our school, and we will make every effort ensure safe travel by being cautious with our cancellations. Spring is a wonderful time for makeup days, should we need them, so enjoy the snow and be safe!

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CHURCH RELATIONSHIP The Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie, the first church in Dutchess County (1716), decided in 1959 to start a weekday nursery for our community‟s children. Jesus himself established the importance of children: “Taking the little child in his arms, Jesus said to the disciples, „Whoever welcomes one of these little ones in my name welcomes me....‟”(Mark 9:36,37). Louis Comfort Tiffany‟s masterpiece window “Jesus Blesses the Children” in our church‟s Case Chapel (second floor) bears unique witness to the place of children in the life of the church. The Weekday Nursery School is, therefore, a mission and ministry of the Reformed Church, created, sustained and overseen by the church‟s Consistory (Minister, Elders and Deacons) since 1959. The Consistory carries out its oversight responsibilities through its Board of Christian Education and the Board‟s special committee, the Reformed Church WNS Committee. The day-to-day operations of the WNS are lead by a Director, appointed to the position by the WNS Committee with the approval of the Board of Christian Education and the Consistory. The WNS Committee and the Director select the school‟s teachers and their assistants. The Reformed Church Weekday Nursery School is a place which seeks to show the love of God and has a

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Christian environment. You will notice that our efforts often go above and beyond what you would expect, that we are joyful and optimistic, and that we strive to be unfailingly loving and kind. We do not discriminate on basis of faith and we do not teach dogma, but we do pray before eating and as occasions warrant. It‟s a loving school. As members of our nursery school community, you are also members of the greater Reformed Church community. This means that you are welcome in the church facilities (as discussed in the “waiting areas/facilities use” section), and welcome to participate in church events, from humanitarian efforts such as feeding the homeless to joining the congregation on family and adult oriented excursions, and so on. If you have older children, they are most welcome in one of the church‟s two youth groups. Of course, you are always welcome at church services during which child care is provided for pre-K and Sunday School for K-12. Should you wish to find out more about the Reformed Church, please ask in the church office for the booklet, Our Reformed Church. In short, all are welcome! Thank you for sharing your children with us. We take that responsibility very seriously, but also undertake it with joy.

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