The Open Door School
Parent OpenEnrichment for Toddlers and
322 Elm Street
322 Elm Street
Home-Based Thematic Enrichment Program
For Toddlers and Preschoolers
Table of Contents: Open Door School Handbook
Education at the Open Door School
About the Open Door pg 3
Mission Statement pg 3
Educational Philosophy pg 3
Program Descriptions pg 3-4
Our Curriculum/Looping pg 4
Our School Space pg 4-5
Schedules pg 6
Food: Snacks & Lunch Buddies pg 6-7
Health and Safety
Emergencies/Fire Drills pg 7-8
Illnesses pg 8
Prevention pg 8
Allergies pg 8-9
Toileting & Diapering pg 9
Smoking/Guns/Pools pg 9
Child Abuse and Neglect Policy pg 9
Medical Records and Confidentiality pg 9
Medication Administration pg 9
Policies & Procedures
Admission pg 10
Tuition pg 10
Tuition Agreement pg 10-11
Clothing/Seasonal pg 11
Late Pick Up pg 11
Authorized Pick Ups pg 11
Toys from Home pg 11
Separation pg 12
Family Involvement pg 12
Communication pg 12-13
Conflict Resolution pg 13
Discipline/Behavior Management pg 13
Your Child’s File pg 14
About the Provider pg 14
Education at The Open Door School
About The Open Door:
The Open Door School provides high quality, home-based early enrichment programs for toddlers and
preschoolers. Our school is licensed through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, and
operates a toddler program for children ages 18-35 months and a preschool program that serves children ages 36
months (3 years) to age 4 years 11 months. We are an inclusive environment that strives to see all children grow
and learn together.
The mission of the Open Door School is to provide young children with high-quality enrichment experiences using a
thematic, play-and project- based curriculum that promotes a love of learning, to nurture and address children’s
social and emotional growth, and to foster appropriate readiness skills for future school experiences.
Both programs are based on The Creative Curriculum, with materials directed towards toddlers (18 months-35
months) and preschool age children (3 to 5 years), and also incorporate a social/emotional component to the
thematic academic curriculum. The goal of the toddler and preschool programs is to create a love of learning while
also nurturing social/emotional growth and readiness skills. The Open Door School’s curriculum is aligned to The
Guidelines for Preschool Experiences, a publication based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the
educational approach recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
I believe that children learn best through play and social interaction with peers. They also grow emotionally through
forming relationships with children and adults outside of their family. I connect the curriculum to project-based
activities that focus on the fun and enjoyment of the process, not the product. I also tie in a social/emotional
component to each theme that explores feelings of selves and others. The goal of this approach is to create a
lifelong love of learning by instilling children with confidence--socially, emotionally, and academically.
I believe that all children have learning strengths and challenges and develop at their own pace. Although a direct
teaching model is used during circle time and, to some extent, during project-based activities, Tabletop Time and
Centers are occasions where I can observe children’s interests and their motivation for learning. It is also a time for
me to observe and facilitate interaction with peers. These observations allow me to present additional challenges,
create a deeper focus on a thematic topic, or modify the curriculum based on student interest.
Assessment is based on The Creative Curriculum’s Developmental Continuum, which measures the four major
stages of development—social/emotional development, cognitive development, physical development, and
language development—using appropriate guidelines for each age group and over a continuum that expects all
children will have strengths in some areas and challenges in others. Formal assessments are given twice each
year and are discussed in parent-teacher conferences.
Our Programs/Program Descriptions:
The Open Door School addresses the curriculum needs of toddlers and preschoolers through direct teaching and
the facilitation of learning, using a thematic play- and project-based approach that helps children achieve success,
develop confidence, and spark their motivation to learn. Our language-rich thematic units are composed primarily
of science and social studies/history topics. All units are interdisciplinary and incorporate literature, music,
movement, mathematics, and art. In addition to our thematic units, children learn basic concepts through songs
and play-based activities. These concepts include letter and number recognition, identification of shapes, colors,
days of the week and months of the year. Each thematic unit also has a social/emotional component that connects
to the monthly theme and address concepts such as friendship, sportsmanship, truth, gratitude, and other
Both toddler and preschool programs share the following goals:
To prepare for future school experiences
To establish independence, self-help skills, and social skills
To foster a love of learning
1) The toddler program is a two-day morning program for children ages 18 months-35 months as of Sept. 1st. It
may be a first-time group experience for some children. Additional, specific goals of the toddler program are:
to introduce classroom structure and transition
to encourage and foster socialization skills
to ease of separation from parents and primary caregivers
to incorporate language and early literacy skills through play-based curriculum
to prepare toddlers for a more structured preschool environment
The toddler program meets from 8:45-11:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The ratio of teacher: student is 1:6. A
maximum of three children are under 24 months at the start of school, and the remaining students are between the
ages of 24 months and 35 months.
2) The preschool program is a three-day morning program for children ages 36 months-4 years 11 months old by
Sept. 1st. Additional, specific goals of the preschool program are:
to develop adherence to classroom structure and transitions
to enhance socialization skills with emphasis on feelings & friendship
to provide academic readiness skills for kindergarten
to encourage independence/self-help skills for kindergarten
to provide emotional readiness skills for kindergarten
The preschool program meets from 9:00-12:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. One day each week, all
preschoolers have the option of staying until 1:00 for Lunch Buddies, where they will have lunch and focus on
socialization/readiness skills beyond the regular program hours. Children who are kindergarten-eligible for the
following school year (aged 48 months by August 31) have the option of attending Lunch Buddies two days/week.
Our Curriculum: See Curriculum
Class or Curriculum Looping:
The concept of “looping” in curriculum is important to the programs at the Open Door. I have created a curriculum
that is flexible and allows for modifications in each age group, with age-appropriate activities that are variable
depending on a child’s skill level.
Additionally, the primary focus in the toddler program is the introduction to a structured, social environment and the
encouragement of toddlers to become comfortable in a group setting with a different caregiver and other children.
In the toddler program, the project-based academic curriculum is secondary to these more age-appropriate goals.
There is a greater emphasis on the curriculum in the preschool program, and children who attended the toddler
program benefit from the reinforcement this provides them. Instead of being a “repeat”, the academic curriculum
becomes more in-depth and is reinforced over time through age-appropriate curriculum and activity modifications.
Our School Space:
The Open Door is a home-based program and is located on the first floor of a single-family home in Walpole. Our
space for learning includes:
The kitchen, which contains an eat-in area where children have snacks and lunch. The kitchen is
also used for project-based activities, such as craft and cooking activities, tabletop activities and
the sensory table.
The playroom, which contains some if the learning centers. There is an area for dramatic play, a
block/building area, an art and writing area a reading/book center. The contents of the centers
The living room and dining room, where we have circle time, music & movement, and other group
The outdoor deck and the fenced-in backyard where children socialize, as well as practice and
develop gross motor/large muscle skills. Gross motor activities are held in the backyard and/or on
the deck, weather permitting.
Dramatic Play Area: Kitchen and pretend food play, dress-up, pretend store with cash register and shopping cart,
pretend tools, telephones, doctor kits, figures, dolls and accessories (high chair, strollers, pack and play), etc.
Dramatic play encourages cooperation, socialization, role-playing, and is a great opportunity for vocabulary and
Art and Writing Area: Plenty of paper, writing materials (pencils, crayons, markers), various art materials (stamps,
scissors, paints, stickers, stencils) are also available. There is a two-sided easel that can be used for chalk, paint, or
dry erase markers. This area encourages children to express their creativity and their fine motor skills. Along with
producing their own masterpieces using the available materials, the preschool children are encouraged to practice
drawing shapes, upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and their names. Toddlers are introduced to and
encouraged to join in these activities as appropriate. Proper pencil grasp is introduced, demonstrated and
encouraged in both groups as age-appropriate.
Blocks and Building: This area contains materials for construction. There are several different types of blocks
(Lincoln logs, Duplo, Clipo, traditional) as well as a train set, building/construction vehicles, and stacking toys.
Reading/Book Area: This area is filled with age-appropriate books for each program, and is a comfortable and quiet
area with pillows and seating. The Reading Center encourages a love of books/literature. Research has shown that
reading to children is the most crucial factor in establishing academic readiness. At the Open Door, we read two
thematic-related books each day and a third story is read to children who attend Lunch Buddies.
Tabletop Time: Tabletop activities are set on the low table in the kitchen. Tabletop activities consist of puzzles,
pop-ups, peg boards, stringing beads, shoe-tying practice, sorting and matching toys, threading activities, and other
manipulatives that provide practice in fine motor skills. Tabletop Time activities utilize thematic curriculum with
specific games and activities that reflect the current theme.
Sensory Table: Our sand and water table is used for many things other than sand and water. To provide different
sensory experiences, I offer frequent exploration of other textures such as dry oatmeal, dry potato flakes, large dry
pasta, and moon sand.
Gross Motor: The backyard contains a playscape with a large slide, a fort, swings (which rotate to serve toddlers
and preschoolers), and a sandbox. There are additional outdoor toys (smaller slides, climbing cubes, ride-on toys,
and tricycles, etc) that are appropriate for both toddlers and preschoolers and can be used in the yard and on the
deck. We also play traditional gross motor games that encourage socialization.
School Year & Daily Schedules
The Open Door School follows the Walpole Public Schools (WPS) academic calendar, which consists of 36 weeks
school weeks (180 days) from the months of September to June. The Open Door is a 34-week program (170
days), starting one week after the opening of the public schools and ending one week prior to the last day of school
in Walpole. We observe all WPS holidays and vacations, including winter vacation, February vacation, and April
vacation. In the event the WPS cancels school or has a morning delay due to weather, the Open Door will cancel
school as well. When this type of closing occurs, tuition remains the same. The year is not extended for snow days,
so the end-date for the program will remain the same, even if the end-date of WPS is extended.
Daily Schedule:Toddlers 9:00-11:45 and Preschoolers 9:00-12:00
9:00-9:30 9:00-9:30: Arrival, Free Play, Tabletop Time
9:30-9:50 9:30-9:50 Morning Circle (greeting, attendance, weather, letters, shapes, numbers, music &
9:50-10:00 9:50-10:00: Bathroom/changes, wash hands and prepare for snack
10:00-10:15 10:00-10:15 Snack/Story (children are read a story while they eat their snack)
1 10:15-11:00 10:15-11:00: Morning Activity (curriculum-related activity, often project-based) & Center Choices
11:00-11:10 11:00-11:10: Bathroom/changes, wash hands, prepare to go outside for gross motor
11:10-11:30 11:10-11:40: Gross Motor (outdoor or indoor, weather dependent)
11:30-11:45 11:40-12:00 Closing Circle (review of day, activity [story, music], goodbyes)/Dismissal
Please note the following:
--Clean up is built into the schedule for the last five minutes of each activity
--Modification of the above schedule may occur from time to time, however any permanent change to the schedule
will be made in writing and sent home for informational purposes.
--Modifications and accommodations to the curriculum are included for the toddler and preschool programs. While
circle time in the preschool program is a more structured time, the toddler program focuses on keeping children
engaged and in a circle (or as close to circle as possible!) with emphasis on increasing time and attention as age-
--The 15 minute difference in the two programs is reflected in the toddler program’s gross motor and closing circle
times (reduced by 10 minutes and 5 minutes, respectively).
Lunch Buddies Schedule:
12:00-12:20: Center Choices/Lunch Prep
12:30-12:50: Lunch (children are read a story while they eat their lunch)
12:50-1:00: Prepare for Dismissal/Dismissal
Early arrivals and extended days are available with advance notice and on an as-needed/space available basis.
Schedules for early arrivals and extended days are available upon request. Additional fees are required if your
child participates in an early arrival or an extended day. There are limited full-day spots for children of teachers or
school staff, or those who follow an academic year calendar. Schedules for these slots are designed based on the
individual childcare needs of parents. Full-time care includes all meals and snacks.
Food/Snacks & Lunch Buddies:
Snack is provided at school and is included in tuition. In keeping with the Mass. State Curriculum Frameworks on
Health and the Mass. Department of Early Education and Care requirements, only healthy snacks are served. This
includes fruit, whole-grain breads and cereals, etc. Either water, milk, or 100% fruit juice is offered. Water is made
available to children at all times during their school day. Lunch Buddies provides a lunch that is also consistent with
the state food requirements, including a protein, vegetable and/or fruit, as well as milk, water, or 100% fruit juice
depending on child and parent preference. Vegetarian options are available.
Children will never be force-fed. Although I encourage children to eat during snack and lunch, I do not push them to
eat if they do not wish to or if they dislike the food being served. A daily sheet record will show how much your child
ate for snack or for lunch, if they attend Lunch Buddies. I will send home a monthly menu of weekly snacks, as well
as a lunch menu for Lunch Buddies.
All children are seated together for snacks and lunches. Food and drink are served family-style, and children are
encouraged to drink from open cups or to use a straw. Snacks and lunches are great times to reinforce basic table
manners (“more, please” “thank you”) and encourage socialization. Once children are settled with their food and
drink, I also use this as an opportunity to read to the children, often stopping to ask questions or further engage
them in a discussion of the story with me or with each other.
Lunch Buddy sessions are not held on Walpole Public Schools early release days. On these days, school ends at
the regular dismissal time of 12:00.
Health & Safety Procedures
The Open Door must maintain stringent health and safety practices in accordance with policies and procedures
required by the Department of Early Education and Care. Our home is equipped with smoke alarms and carbon
monoxide monitors on each floor.
I am certified in CPR and Pediatric First Aid, as required by the State of Massachusetts and am trained in the use of
universal precautions to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases. Emergency telephone numbers for fire,
police, the nearest hospital, and poison control are posted next to the telephone and are included in the First Aid
Kit. On file will be emergency information that includes the name, address and telephone number of children, their
contact and emergency contact info Specific emergency exit plans are posted next to each emergency exit.
As required by the Department of Early Education and Care, we will perform documented monthly fire/emergency
drills, alternating exits each month. This ensures that if such an emergency situation occurs inside the school, the
class will know the exact procedures for exiting as quickly as possible.
In the case of an emergency inside the school, the class will either exit through the front door of the house or use
the sliding glass door, whichever exit is closer or available at the time of an identified emergency.
If exiting the front door, we will exit together, turn left and go past garage, and meet in front of the white gate. If it is
safe to do so, I will open the gate and walk the children in to the fenced-in area due to our proximity to a busy
street. We will then wait at the furthest part of the fenced-in area from the house (the corner behind the swing set)
for emergency personnel.
If exiting the back sliding glass door, the children and I will meet on the deck, which is located immediately outside
the sliding glass door. From there, we will descend the three steps of the deck to the entry of the fenced-in
backyard. I will unlock the gate and we will gather at the furthest part of the fenced-in yard from the house (the
corner behind the swing set) provided it is safe to do so, where we will await the appropriate emergency personnel.
In the event it is not safe to gather in the more protected fenced-in corner furthest from the house, I will take the
children from our meeting spot to my next-door neighbor’s home (306 Elm Street) while we await emergency
personnel. During any emergency, I will bring the First Aid kit and all emergency contact information. You will be
contacted as soon as possible.
In accordance with the Department of Early Education and Care, our school must have an emergency plan
prepared in the case of a major disaster and/or a sudden emergency situation, such as a mass power outage, a
natural disaster, or a terrorist attack. In the event of such an emergency, I will escort all children to a common
meeting place, where you will be able to pick up your child. The common meeting area will be the Walpole Town
Hall at 135 School Street in Walpole, Mass. The cross-streets are Stone Street and East Street (Rte 27). I will
always have the First Aid kit and all children’s contact information with me, as well as a method of contact. I will
notify you as soon as it is possible, and I will remain at this designated meeting spot until all families have arrived to
retrieve their children.
Children with symptoms of fever (99.0 degrees or higher), vomiting/diarrhea, a frequent or gagging cough,
conjunctivitis, irritability, listlessness, a diagnosed communicable disease, or such a bad cold that they are not able
to participate in regular activities should not be at school. I respectfully encourage parents to be considerate when
children show any signs of illness and ask that your child remain at home until s/he has recuperated. Please feel
free to call and discuss your child’s symptoms, as there may be a common virus/infection that is circulating.
Children should not return to school symptoms have been gone for 24 hours. If your child has been diagnosed with
strep throat or another bacterial infection, s/he can return to school after taking antibiotics for 24 hours and is fever-
free. Should a child become ill or develops a fever during the day, I will call you. If your child has suspected
conjunctivitis, impetigo, lice, or is vomiting/has diarrhea, you will be asked to come pick up your child. If parents
cannot be reached, I will refer to the emergency contact numbers listed on file. A parent or authorized emergency
contact should pick up the child within 1 hour.
In the event I am too ill to teach, or in the event one of my children is ill enough to require my total attention, I will
attempt to secure a qualified substitute for that day. If I cannot locate a substitute, school will be cancelled. I do
reserve two paid days for this circumstance or for an emergency/unforeseen situation (including bereavement
leave) where I cannot teach and a qualified substitute is not available. If such a situation goes beyond two days,
you will not be charged for those days and your monthly tuition will be adjusted/pro-rated accordingly.
Notes on Prevention & Cleanliness:
I use an air purifier that covers the entire first floor of my home. I also use Pureworks, a non-alcohol based cleaning
system that provides persistent protection against bacteria and viruses. Hand-washing involves the use of
Pureworks soap and running water. Hand-washing occurs before and after water play, before eating/handling food,
after toileting/diaper changes, after sneezing or coughing or touching any bodily fluids, after contact with our pets,
and after coming in from outside play. A foam sanitizer by Pureworks is also available during the day (it is not rinsed
off, similar to Purell), but is not used as a substitute for hand-washing. Diaper changing surfaces are wiped down
with an approved bleach solution before and after each diaper change. I also use Pureworks disinfectant on tables,
counter surfaces, toilets, trash containers and lids, sinks, changing surfaces, and play tables at least twice a day.
Toys are wiped down daily and are hand-washed in a bleach/water solution twice a week or more often if needed.
Unfortunately, most children who become ill are contagious prior to being symptomatic, so the only defense is to
Food Allergies/Pet Allergies:
Some children may have allergies or special medical conditions that require limiting exposure to certain foods. This
will be honored in menu-planning, and any snacks and/or lunches served will observe any food allergies. I will
inform parents of any severe allergies (i.e.—peanuts or nut allergies) that are life-threatening and provide guidance
on methods to reduce the possibility of exposing an allergic child to a life-threatening food allergen. I appreciate
your cooperation in keeping our children safe.
I have a sweet, friendly dog and a loving cat, so I cannot accept children with pet allergies. Our dog and cat are
peripheral to the programs, but do use school areas during non-school hours and may visit on occasion—for
example, if the dog needs to go outside. Both are friendly and extremely tolerant of and accustomed to small
children, and are always up-to-date in all vaccinations.
Toileting and Diapering:
Children who attend the Open Door School do not have to be potty-trained. A changing station is available to
toddlers and preschoolers who are in diapers or pull-ups. Parents need to provide diapers/pull-ups and wipes for
their child. I will send home a reminder when supplies are running low. I do not believe in pushing children to potty-
train and no child will ever be shamed or made to feel inadequate for accidents or for being a certain age and still
using pull-ups/diapers. I will follow the lead of parents in potty-training. If you have a specific manner in which you
are potty-training, I will adhere to this method during school hours, provided it does not require lack of supervision
of your child or of the other children in my care. Children are free to use the bathroom whenever they need to, and
the schedule includes formal changing/bathroom intervals, such as before snack and before going outside.
Children in diapers or pull-ups will be changed as needed, in addition to the regular changing intervals. All children
should bring in two complete changes of clothes in the case of toileting accidents (one for winter weather, one for
warmer weather), which should include socks and underwear.
We are a non-smoking household, and we do not allow smoking by parents at or immediately outside of our
residence. There are no guns or firearms on the premises. Although we may engage in water play on hot days
(sprinklers, etc), we do not have a pool and will only use child-sized wading pools with water amounts that are
approved for safe use by the Department of Early Education and Care.
Child Abuse and Neglect Policy
In accordance with state laws, I am responsible for reporting any suspected cases of child neglect or child abuse.
Medical Records and Confidentiality
In keeping with state and national laws, all medical records pertaining to your child will be kept strictly confidential
and in their personal file...
Administering medication during school hours requires a doctor’s authorization. Please have your doctor authorize
the use of any prescription or over-the-counter medications your child may require during his or her school day.
Once an authorization is received, I will work closely with parents to ensure the appropriate administration of any
needed or potentially needed medication.
Policies & Procedures
Parents who are interested in the Open Door School should visit during a pre-arranged time and submit an
application. There is a non-refundable application fee of $35. Applications for the following school year are
accepted beginning in December for new students. Current students are given priority and are asked to submit
their applications by the end of November for the following school year. Siblings of current students are given
preference for admission as new students, as long as their applications are received by the end of November.
New applicants will be notified of their child’s status as soon as possible. A deposit of one month’s tuition is due by
April 1st to secure your child’s space for the following year, for both new and returning students. This deposit will be
applied to the last month’s tuition payment. If there are more applicants than spaces available, a waiting list will be
kept. Parents will be notified of their status on the waiting list as spaces become available. When a space become
available, parents will be notified and will need to pay the deposit of one month’s tuition within five business days or
the space will be allocated to the next child on the waiting list.
Tuition is divided into ten payments and is based on a 34-week school schedule. The first payment is due as a
non-refundable deposit when your child is admitted or by April 1 st of the previous school year, whichever is first.
Nine subsequent payments are due during the school year. Payment is due on the first day of school in
September, followed by the first of each month (Oct. 1st-May 1st). Your deposit is applied to June’s tuition.
Payment received 5 days after the due date will be considered late, and fees will apply. Returned checks will incur a
fee in addition to bank charges.
Tuition for the 2-day toddler program is $1700/year, divided into 10 payments of $170. Holidays and vacation weeks
that follow the WPS are built into this tuition. For a 34-week program, the cost breaks down to $50/per week. Tuition
for the 3-day preschool program is $2350/year, divided into 10 payments of $235. Holidays and vacation weeks
that follow the WPS schedule are built into the tuition. For a 34-week program, the cost breaks down to $69/week.
These costs include a daily snack and beverage, as well as unlimited spring water. There is a sibling discount of
10%, which, if applicable, is deducted from either the lower tuition or the equal tuition of one child. The 10% sibling
discount is extended to Lunch Buddy costs as well as program tuition.
Lunch Buddy costs are separate from program tuition and should be paid on the first school day of the week your
child plans to attend. For example, if your preschooler wants to attend Lunch Buddies on Friday, the payment will
be due by the end of the school session on the Monday of the same week. Lunch Buddy costs are $10/session and
include a balanced lunch and a beverage. If you believe your child will attend most or all Lunch Buddy sessions,
you can purchase sets of 6 Lunch Buddy passes for a discounted price of $50 (buy 5 get 1 free) to be used over an
6 week consecutive period of scheduled Lunch Buddy sessions (note: Lunch Buddies will not be scheduled on early
release days for WPS, which occur one day/month).
A tuition agreement will be made upon receipt of your child’s deposit. Tuition agreements cover the period of
September-June or your child’s start date (if entering mid-year) until the last school day in June. Tuition amounts
will not be changed during the period of the tuition agreement. If tuition is raised for the following academic year,
you will be notified of the change before signing a tuition agreement. Although special arrangements will be
considered in the case of families with extenuating circumstances, parents are asked to provide one month’s notice
prior to withdrawing their child. Removing your child without one month’s notice may result in forfeiture of your
Enrollment in mid-semester or at other times of the academic year will result in a pro-rated tuition amount that will
be divided into payments equal to the number of months remaining in the program. For example, if you enroll your
child in the 3-day program as of January 1st, tuition will be based on the cost of attendance from January through
the end-date of school in June. September-June tuition is based on 34 program weeks. If the months of
September-December contained 14 weeks out of the 34-week program, your tuition would pay for the remaining 20
school weeks.. Tuition would be calculated on these 20 weeks multiplied by the weekly tuition (either $50/wk for
the 2 day program or $69/wk for the 3 day program) and the total cost would be divided into monthly payments.
Please dress your children in appropriate gear for the weather. We try to go out everyday if the weather is not too
below freezing or too hot (usually over 85 degrees). Winter weather requires hats, mittens, and winter coats. If
there is snow on the ground, we will still go outside, so please send your child with snow pants/snowsuits and snow
boots. On hot and sunny days, please make sure your child comes to school with sunscreen applied to any
exposed skin (don’t forget the tops of the ears!). If you would like sunscreen to be re-applied prior to your child
going outside for gross motor, please send in sunscreen.
Although I encourage children to use smocks to protect their clothing and we use washable art materials, there will
be times when your children’s clothes will not look as clean as they did at morning drop-off. Please send your child
to school in comfortable play clothes with the understanding that their clothes may get soiled or stained.
Late Pick Up:
Children should be picked up on time, at 12:00 noon, or at 1:00 if they have signed up for Lunch Buddies. Please
honor dismissal times when picking up your children. Although I understand occasionally being late, if it happens
more than twice or is for a longer period than 15 minutes, with no notification, you will be charged for that time
period ($1/minute). If you are going to be late, please call. This policy does not apply during inclement weather or
other unforeseen emergencies, as long as I am notified and am aware of the situation.
Authorized Pick Ups:
If your child is being picked up by someone other than yourself or a primary caregiver, you will need to fill out the
appropriate form allowing that person to pick up your child. Your child will not be released to anyone other than
you, another caregiver known to the school, or a person authorized by you.
Toys from Home:
Bringing in outside toys is discouraged unless there are special circumstances (show and tell/sharing). Toys from
home can be distracting to children if they do not wish to share the item, and some toys may not hold up well or
might break or become otherwise damaged. This rule does not apply to comfort objects such as blankets and
stuffed animals that your child may need as a transitional object. Comfort objects are allowed during transition to
school, but are then to be placed in backpacks during the school day. If I feel a comfort item may be helpful to a
particular child during the school day, I will provide that child with the item until the child seems to have achieved a
level of comfort, at which time I will encourage the child to return the item to his or her backpack.
It is my hope that we will be able to create a separation ritual that will help ease a child’s transition from parents to
school. Some children have a more difficult time with separation than others. I am a firm believer in saying
goodbye to your child and not trying to “sneak out” undetected. Although I think this method can work in temporary
situations, it can create distrust and suspicion in a long-term school situation, making any anxiety the child has
regarding separation even worse, since the child now think his or her parents may disappear at any moment.
For a child who struggles with separation at drop-off, be sure to utilize a transition period to engage your child in
play and reassure your child that you will be back soon. Lingering beyond this can often cause the anxiety to
worsen. Over time, you might develop a ritual that distracts your child from his or her separation anxiety—for
instance, making a game out of waving goodbye from the playroom window, or watching for your child to blow you a
kiss as you walk to you car. These are all rituals that set up a predictable pattern for your child to associate with
separation from you, and it will make the experience easier over time.
Parent involvement, family satisfaction, and shared decision-making about your child's experiences, as well as
support of family life, are essential to the Open Door programs. I actively seek to create a caring environment in
which families and children interact and grow. There is a continual exchange of information through daily notes,
weekly updates, calendars and newsletters.
The Open Door welcomes and encourages you to drop by any time during business hours. Please note that I do
not always answer the phone during business hours, but will see a message if you leave a voicemail. Please feel
free to call during non-business hours as well.
Special events such as children’s presentations and holiday parties are held throughout the year. The following are
also made available to you:
Daily, weekly and monthly formal and informal communication takes place though drop-off and pick-up
greetings, daily and weekly written updates, calendars and newsletters.
There are two parent-teacher conferences: one in early December, one in early May, where we more
discuss your child’s progress more formally. Formal assessment reports of your children are given and
discussed at this time.
I welcome volunteers, if you wish to help out in the classroom or are just curious about your child’s day. Let
me know of your availability, and we can schedule a convenient day. Unfortunately, I cannot
accommodate siblings who are not enrolled in the program.
I encourage you to share your ideas or concerns with me, and you are always invited to share a special
activity or project with the class, or even just read a story during snack. Advance notice is always
Students will take turns bringing home “classroom books” that contain activities and stories created by the
Open communication between parents and provider are crucial to my ability to meet your child's needs and to the
smooth functioning of our school. The link between home and school is a shared responsibility. Please inform me
of the best way and times to reach you. I do require that you or emergency contacts are always reachable by
phone while your child is in school.
To ensure that your child is safe and supervised at all times and to foster daily communication, a parent or
authorized caregiver should accompany your child into school each day and sign the sign-in sheet on the green
kitchen table. During drop-off, please let me know any pertinent information or share any changes or information
regarding your child. I will make every effort to be available at drop-off and pick-up to speak with you, but may not
often have time for an extended conversation. Please feel free to call in order to relay additional information or to
get feedback about your child. It is always appreciated when you call to let us know if your child is going to be
absent. It is always good to check-in, especially in the case of illness, as there may be a circulating virus or
common symptoms that are being experienced by other children, and sharing of this information is always helpful to
The Open Door’s goal is to provide, in partnership with parents, the highest quality early education experience. This
requires communication and commitment from everyone involved. In the routine and regular process of daily living,
there are inevitable situations or conflicts that may arise. Therefore, it is critical that an environment exists which
fosters mutual respect, tolerance, and honesty. If a concern arises you should discuss the issue with me in an
appropriate manner as soon as possible. Every situation is unique and I will work with you to come to a resolution
that meets the needs of your child, yourselves, and the school.
The Open Door views discipline as a learning process where children develop an understanding of feelings, both
their own and those of others. Through positive guidance of behavior, positive reinforcement, redirection, and
modeling, children are encouraged to follow basic rules and be respectful and safe. Basic ground rules are
established in the classroom, and keeping children engaged in activities eliminates most of the need for discipline.
Toddlers are given redirection, distraction, and positive reinforcement as age-appropriate. Preschoolers are given
redirection, positive reinforcement, gentle verbal cues, and positive guidance as age-appropriate. In cases where
children are not able to respond to these techniques, a short stay on the Thinking Mat is needed (never longer than
one minute per year of the child’s age and never out of the direct vision/supervision of the teacher) and parents are
informed of the incident that day. Children are given time on the Thinking Mat only as a last resort or in
circumstances of unsafe behavior, as explained below. After coming off of the Thinking Mat, there is a discussion of
what happened, what changes might be made, and how things could be different next time. Everyday is a new day
at the Open Door.
Time on the Thinking Mat will be given whenever children act in an unsafe manner towards themselves or other
children. These types of incidents are documented and discussed with parents as they occur. If I observe repeated
patterns of this type of behavior or find that a child needs more guidance than I feel is typical for the child’s age, I
will meet with parents to develop an advanced behavior modification plan specific to that individual child.
Recommended services or resources are also provided to the parents. Documentation of all observations of
behavior, all meetings and discussions with parents are kept in the child's file. If a child's behavior continually
proves to be harmful or unsafe to others at school, consideration will be given to other options, up to and including
termination of enrollment.
Your Child’s File:
A file is kept for each child in the program that contains all necessary information as required by the Department of
Early Education and Care enrollment packet, including a signed health form by your child’s pediatrician, emergency
contact information, medications, child interests and schedule, and days of attendance. In addition, any other
necessary paperwork is kept. The file will contain a log that documents observations of your child or any pertinent
conversations/correspondence we have regarding your child, as well as progress reports, tuition agreements,
permission slips, pick-up authorizations, and conference notes.
About the Provider:
My name is Whitney Buckley, and I was born in Florida, but spent most of my growing-up years in Texas. I began
babysitting regularly at the age of eleven and cared for the small children of several families until I went away to
college in 1992. I graduated from the University of Texas in Austin, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. During
my years in college, I both babysat (for infants and children up to age 4) and worked at a day-care center.
Following my graduation from UT in December of 1995, I spent 18 months as a full-time nanny for two children,
caring for an infant and 3 year old for 45 hours/week, including traveling overseas.
In 1998, I moved to Boston to attend the Graduate College of Education at the University of Massachusetts-Boston,
where I received my master’s degree in education in May of 2000. My degree is comprised of 48 graduate credits
(16 courses) in special education, general education, child psychology and child assessment, and includes 75
hours of practicum experience in grade K-4 at various Boston Public School sites. From 2000-2004, I worked at the
Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT) at UMass-Boston, where I assisted in coordinating an after-school and
summer enrichment program for at-risk elementary school students in the Boston Public Schools (BPS). I
developed curriculum and assessments, taught in the summer program, wrote grants, and was involved in all
aspects of program coordination. In 2004, I resigned my position at the ILT to stay home with my children. I
worked on the weekends at a daycare in a local gym, and in 2005, I welcomed another daughter. In 2006, I
returned to the ILT to coordinate a youth mentoring program and a Saturday/out-of-school time program for middle
school students in the Boston Public Schools.
Following the birth of my fourth child, I resigned from the ILT to focus on the varied needs of my children. Far more
important than my education and job experience has been the welcome challenge of raising my kids, all of whom
have varying intensities of needs, ranging from advanced, typical, and delayed in their development of many skills.
I am very excited about the opportunity to create an inclusive, early learning environment that welcomes all children
and provides a positive “first school” experience for families. Thank you for taking the time to read this handbook!
At least one parent/guardian is required to sign below.
I (we) have read the information in this handbook.
Parent/Guardian Name Date
Parent/Guardian Name Date