At Great Beginnings Early Learning Center your child’s individual talents, skills and abilities will be nurtured in a loving and compassionate environment. Learning is encouraged through art, science, language, math, recreational play, individual and group dynamics and in the active engagement of the mind, fine motor skills and creativity of your early learner. Great Beginnings operates under a GROUP CARE MODEL and is comprised of qualified staff with a passion to support the developmental, educational, recreational and psychological growth of young children ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age.
Our center comprises of two programs. The Nursery Program for children in the ages from 6 weeks up to 2 years old while the Preschool Program is for children in the ages of 2 years old to Pre-Kindergarten entrance. We are a privately owned and operated Christian Center working with a rigorous Christian Academic Curriculum designed to encourage the healthy adjustment of children as they enter into the community of learning; with a focus on providing tools for them to learn sharing, compassion, patience, honesty, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We develop children’s educational and spiritual capacities along with their abilities to grow, learn, play and explore the world around them.
Hours of Operation
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center is open from the hours of 7:00am (7:30am for Nursery Programs) to 6:00pm Eastern Standard Time from Monday to Friday except on Holidays, Staff Development Days and inclement weather days when the City of Alexandria Public School system is closed.
Arrival & Departure
Upon arrival parents are required by state law, to leave their child in the care of a staff member. Children must be signed in at the front entry and brought to their class and left in the care of a known Teacher or staff member. Both the parent and the staff member are responsible for the care of the child and must sign each child in and out daily. Your child must also be picked up at their class and signed out both by their teacher and again at the front desk by the parent. Childcare payments are for the contracted drop-ff and pick-up times and cannot be adjusted for late arrival or early pickup. Late drop-offs do not allow for late pick-ups. It is your legal right to be admitted to the center at any time your child(ren) is in care at GBELC. On days when the parent(s) choose to keep their child at home, for vacation, doctor appointments, sick days, or personal reasons the center must be notified and those days cannot be deducted from the tuition.
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center will not release your child to anyone, other than those authorized on your child’s enrollment form, without written authorization from the parent. Valid State ID (Identification) will be checked for ANY person we do not recognize on sight and for all contacts on the emergency pickup list. Children will not be released to other children, i.e. older brothers and sisters, unless that sibling is at least 16 years old. Please do not allow your child to leave the building ahead of you or walk unattended on the street. Your cooperation will help ensure the safety of your child.
In order to maintain a quality group care program and ensure proper staffing, parents are required to notify the center by email no later than 9:00am if their child(ren) will be coming in late. In the event that a child arrives any time after 10:30am without the center being previously notified, the child will not be able to join the class that day and the parents will be informed that their child must return on the next school day. The educational learning and cohesive learning of our students is our top priority and the center takes this mandate seriously. There will be no tuition refunds issued in cases where admittance is denied due to lateness without prior Director Notification by the parent(s).
Established Lines of Authority
At Great Beginnings Early Learning Center, the center Director and Administrator are directly responsible for the operation and affairs of the center. The Center Director and or Administrator report directly to the State Department of Social Services through the Licensing Inspector assigned to the center by the Commonwealth. The Director and Administrator may also designate this authority to an approved designee such as the Associate Director of Center Coordinator. The established lines of authority at the center start off from the teacher’s assistant/aides, who report up to the Lead Teacher.
The Lead Teachers report up to the Center Director and Administrator either directly or through an approved designee such as the Associate Director or Center Coordinator. In certain cases such as an incident involving suspicion of child abuse or neglect, the center staff are not required to follow this line of authority as State laws require them as “mandated reporters” to report such suspicions directly and confidentially to Child Protective Services.
From our Caregivers in our Nursery Programs all the way up to our Preschool Teachers and their Assistants, all our staff who work directly with the children are specially chosen for their dedication to meeting the educational, spiritual, social and developmental needs of children. Each member of our staff meets or exceeds the qualifications set by state licensing standards. Our staff also participates in continuing education programs and training sessions designed to further improve their teaching skills and understanding of child development and early childhood education. All staff meet requirements set forth by the State of Virginia and the Department of Social Services. Screenings include verification of credentials and references, medical clearance, background check and Child Protective Services check.
We provide a nurturing atmosphere to encourage children’s physical, emotional growth & development. Building a feeling of security and positive attachment in an infant is our most important task. Parents will be responsible for providing diapers, bottles, pre-mixed formula and baby food. Each infant’s clothing, blankets, crib sheets, bottles, and personal effects must be labeled with the infant’s name. Perishable food items like formula, breast milk and solids must also be labeled with the child’s name as well as the date. Unused perishable items will be sent home or disposed of daily. Your child must have extra pairs of clothing, bibs, and crib sheets at the center each day. Any and all soiled items will be sent home for cleaning at the end of each day and in such cases a new set of extras must be provided the following school day.
Our Christian curriculum is carefully designed to meet each child’s individual needs. We involve all our children in the learning process. We believe that no child is too young to learn with the use of developmentally appropriate activities. The content and experience offered vary according to the age of the children. Each day children at our center complete a bible-based activity during their day. Staff also incorporates techniques into the program as a supplement to the curriculum. A broad lesson plan is emailed and posted at the start of the school week for parents to keep informed of their child(ren)’s class activities.
Lessons should include activities to enhance skills in:
- Pre-and Beginning Reading and Pre-and Beginning Math
- Christian Biblical understanding and character building
- Nature & Science
- Arts & Crafts
- Fine and Gross Motor Skills
- Music & Dance
- Social Skills & Recreational Play
Please check the lesson plan for your child’s class so that you can be aware of their learning and can enrich your child’s experiences each week.
Here at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center, Art activities are a very important part of fostering and expressing creativity in your early learner. This may take the form of free expression with crayons or paint or may be a teacher-directed craft. Emphasis is always on the process, not the finished product. It is most important that the child create his own work of art. The children in our Preschool programs visit the center’s art room weekly for structured art time when they work on specific art projects that are often in line with the week’s lesson plan.
The center has a Technology Learning Center where children in our Preschool programs spend time weekly working with approved tablets to supplement their curriculum and enrich their learning. Each parent should understand that the tablets at GBELC are for educational purposes only. Parents must understand that abuse or unauthorized use of GBELC Tablets shall result in disciplinary measures including loss of use privilege and financial compensation resulting from non-accidental damage of any of the devices. All technology devices used at the center for educational purposes will be “kid-safe” and have appropriate learning activities/programs for each preschool age group.
Music & Movement
Children are given many opportunities to express themselves through music and dance within the weekly lesson plans. The children sing, dance and participate in creative movement exercises that provide opportunities for rhythm, listening and self-expression. Music classes are provided weekly in both our nursery and preschool classes by an Independent Enrichment Program Provider and are paid for by GBELC. In the classroom the children may sing and move to DVD’s and CD’s or participate in other activities using various forms of music (including Enrichment courses for some of our Nursery and all our Preschool programs).
Enrichment Activities and Programs
Great Beginnings partners with a number of Independent Enrichment Program Providers and allows these providers to offer and have their programs conducted at the center for interested parents. The enrichment activities provided by these programs are conducted by the trained staff of each respective program and not by Great Beginnings employees or staff. Parents who register their children for enrichment programs such as Music, Sports, Gymnastics or Dance must do so directly through the Independent Program provider and will be responsible for communicating directly with the Independent Program Providers and not through the center. Great Beginnings provides a space in the center for the children to participate in these enrichment activities and is not responsible or liable for the performance, experience or management of the Independent Enrichment Programs. By registering their children for Independent Enrichment programs, the parents agree to hold Great Beginnings harmless for any accidents, injuries or other negative experience that may occur from their children’s participation in these Independent programs.
Field Trips and Special Activities
Field Trips are activities that are planned off of the center premises. At this time we conduct field trips in our upper Preschool classes only. Field trips are both fun and educational. All field trips are posted. A signed permission slip will be required before any child may participate in a field trip and money due for the field trip is to be paid in advance. Parents are welcome to accompany their children on field trips. Parents must provide their own transportation. Some children may not be allowed to attend field trips if they’re not appropriately dressed, do not have a parent-provided child restraint system such as a car seat or booster seat, or if their behavior threatens the security of the child and/or the group. Parents will be informed if their child does not attend a scheduled field trip for which they gave permission.
Outdoor Group Activities
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center’s policy is to take children outside should the weather permit for the required one hour of outdoor time per day at the very minimum. Please note that your child must be able to participate in the daily group activities in order to remain in care at Great Beginnings each school day. In an effort to make this happen please ensure your child is appropriately dressed each morning for the weather and allow an extra set (jacket, sweater, gloves and hat) to remain in the cubby at school each day.
Should the weather permit, your child will be taken on walks in the neighborhood with their classmates in the blue buggies that belong to Great Beginnings. They will go down the back streets from the center to no further than Queen and South Alfred. Children in the upper Preschool classes may go to the Founder’s Park or Oronoco Bay Park by the Waterfront. Additionally, in the summertime children will have water play at the center. Children will not be allowed to be picked up or dropped off while their group is out on a walk. Please remain at the center and notify the Director or Administrative staff to obtain an update on the return time from the walk. You must sign your child in and out at the front desk upon arrival and when leaving the center each day.
If your child is unable to participate in the normal group activities, for whatever reason, you will be notified and may be asked to bring the appropriate clothing, pick up your child or keep them at home until they are able to engage in the normal group activities for each day.
Parents who enroll their children at the center must do so understanding the information stated above and their responsibilities for their child regarding group activities, outdoor time and walks as well as summer water play while enrolled at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center. Parents also agree to hold Great Beginnings Early Learning Center harmless for the conditions of the community/weather outside the center and agree to have their child appropriately dressed and ready to engage in the normal group activities in order to remain in care at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center each day.
After lunch, a rest period is provided for 16 months to 5yr old classes. To protect your child’s health we provide a sanitized cot. Parents will need to furnish a small blanket and sheet with the child’s name clearly marked on it. Blankets and sheets should be taken home weekly for laundering. Rest time is a requirement of the state regulations but as long as children do not disturb other children they are not required to go to sleep. Parents may not drop off or pick up their children during the scheduled rest times of 12:30pm -2:30pm.
We believe that your child should have a healthy self-esteem. A healthy self-image comes from positive experiences like being praised for good behavior and repeatedly experiencing success. Our Guidelines for discipline are fair, consistent and encourage children to make wise decisions. At Great Beginnings Early Learning Center, discipline consists of positive reinforcement, redirection or “sit and watch”. The use of physical or corporal punishment is against the policy of the center and the law.
We believe in keeping the communication lines open between center management and the families that attend our center. Great Beginnings will at its discretion utilize the most effective means of communication to reach a parent or legal guardian. Such means include electronic mail (email); telephone calls, Voice messaging, Text Messaging or other forms of Instant Messaging.
Staff Solicitation and Fraternization
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center strives to maintain a professional client-provider relationship between our staff and enrolled families. As such, GBELC strictly prohibits any form of staff solicitation, especially for childcare services, between its staff and its enrolled families without express consent from the Proprietor or Center Director. Any such solicitation which occurs without express consent from GBELC ownership may result in the termination of the erring family’s childcare contract. GBELC also prohibits parents from inviting staff to social events or activities that take place in a parent or legal guardian’s home.
GBELC provides a catered lunch for children in the Toddler Class up to Preschool (these are children who are able to eat table foods). Our catering is provided by Fairfax Food Service, a fully licensed catering service specializing in highly nutritional meals for early learners. Parents whose children must have a lunch provided from home due to dietary or religious reasons will not be reimbursed for the cost of meals. Meals from home must be provided in a temperature-controlled container labeled with the child’s name and the date. All uneaten portions will be disposed of at the end of each day.
If the parent provides home based meals, Great Beginnings Early Learning Center is not responsible for its nutritional value or meeting child’s daily food needs. Please check with the center Director before bringing food items to be shared with the other children at the center. Due to Health Department Regulations, all food items brought into the center for sharing must be from a commercial source i.e. all baked goods must be brought from the bakery. Arrangements can be made with the Director if you would like to bring in snacks or cupcakes for a birthday party or special event. These celebrations require a 48 hour notice so the center can have time to get other parents’ consent for their children to participate in the eating portion of the celebration. While birthdays may be celebrated at the Center, presents are not to be exchanged. Please do not bring any items made with nuts or other common allergies.
Clothing and Center-Deemed Inappropriate Attire
Children are permitted to wear comfortable, safe shoes and clothing in any color, style or design of their choosing so long as outfits and dress attire do not contain any dark or scary symbols or slogans including Halloween type characters, skulls, violent scenes or characters. Please label all clothing and personal articles including lovies, pillow pets or naptime objects. Please bring an extra set of clothing to be kept at the center. Soiled clothing should be taken home and replaced with a fresh set the next day. If dressed in a way deemed inappropriate or scary to others, the Center has the discretion to have the parent bring a change of clothing and to request your child not wear those items to school again.
In an effort to maintain a quality group care program and to ensure the safety of all children in care; Great Beginnings Early Learning Center reserves the right to remove from our program any child whose behavior in any way threatens the safety or security and well being of the other children in the group. Unacceptable or unsafe behavior that falls under this policy includes but is not limited to: biting, pinching, scratching, hitting, shoving, sexually suggestive behavior, spitting, kicking, obscene behavior or the use of expletives, bullying, threats and any other form of physical contact or behavior that could result in harm or intimidation of other children in the group or harm to themselves or others.
While keeping all the children safe is the center’s top priority, we will make every effort to work with families whose children are exhibiting such behavior to get the behavior modified so that the child can be safe in a group care model where appropriate and with active engagement by parents at home and school. However, in instances where there is no parent participation or in which the behavior cannot be modified, the center will have no other option than to terminate care. In serious cases or where deemed appropriate by the Director, the center may terminate care immediately with or without prior notice or reports.
Enrollment Requirements and Forms
For your child’s safety and to comply with state regulations, all enrollment papers must be completed, and on file in the Center BEFORE your child attends Great Beginnings Early Learning Center. These forms include an enrollment application, parent agreement form, health forms and a notarized custody declaration (if applicable); We must view a Birth Certificate or hospital birth letter as identification for your child and verification of parental rights before they can be accepted into care. Medical forms including up-to-date immunization records, physician’s statement, necessary emergency medical contact information and emergency medical authorization must be provided at enrollment, whenever your child receives shots and annually for physical exams. Your child may not be admitted in to care until all of these forms are updated annually or bi-annually as required by law.
Tuition and Enrollment Fees
An enrollment fee is due upon successful enrollment of your child into the program. A re-enrollment fee will be due at each re-enrollment for each school year. The center also charges an Annual Supplies Fee of $150 per child in the Nursery Programs and $250 per child in the Preschool programs which is due at enrollment and/or Re-enrollment each year. Enrollment and Annual Supplies fees are not refundable. If you should withdraw your child during the year and return later, a new enrollment and/or activity & supplies fee will be charged. Full tuition is due to the center on the 1st and the 15th for semi-monthly payments or on the 1st for monthly payments. Great Beginnings Early Learning Center does not have part-time student enrollment and holidays are counted as a day present.
Methods of Payment
All tuition fees are due and payable in advance on your child’s first day of attendance in the given month or week. A bookkeeping fee of $50 will be charged on the unpaid balance if the full tuition is not paid by the 5th of the month for monthly payments; or the 5th and 20th for semi-monthly payments. Your child will not be admitted to Great Beginnings Early Learning Center until full payment is made. GBELC does not accept credit card payments. All payments, except for the security deposit fees, enrollment fees and Annual Supplies fees must be made by ACH Debit or by Certified Funds (Money Order or Certified Check). A $35 fee will be charged for all returned payments. Failure to make payments as scheduled may lead to suspension or termination of enrollment. Please note that the bookkeeping department issues electronic receipts for all payments received by the 7th of every month. Parents who lose their receipts and need a reprint will be charged a $5 fee for each reprinted receipt.
Vacation for Students
You may remove your child from the center for vacation, however a two-week notice is appreciated. Full tuition is still required in order to maintain your child’s enrollment at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center. For this reason there will be NO REDUCTION IN YOUR TUITION for absenteeism or vacation. Excessive absence may result in termination of care as we operate a learning center where children who miss out on school activities may be educationally affected or disrupt the group care learning of their peers when teachers have to spend individual time in trying to catch them up on the educational milestones missed.
Holidays & Closings
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center observes all federal holidays including: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. In addition to these, the center is also closed on Good Friday, Easter Monday, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The center also closes for three (3) staff development days once in the Spring, Summer & Fall. If a holiday falls on a non-work day, please follow the federal governments closing schedule for that holiday. An annual holiday schedule will be provided to you. Due to fixed costs, averaged over a calendar year, there is NO reduction in tuition for these holidays and staff trainings or closure days. Tuition charges for these holidays and center closures will be calculated as though the child was present, if it is the child’s regularly scheduled day of attendance. When one of the holidays falls on a weekend, the Holiday may be taken on Friday or Monday. The center will post which day.
Inclement Weather Closings
Great Beginnings follows the inclement weather closing schedule and announcement for the Alexandria City schools. If Alexandria Schools are closed, Great Beginnings Early Learning Center is closed. If Alexandria Schools open one or two hours late, Great Beginnings Early Learning Centers will open one or two hours late. If Alexandria Schools close early, we will close early. Please always call our main number 703-224-2599 to verify our opening and closing status. Tuition will not be adjusted due to inclement weather and is due in full otherwise termination or suspension of care may result, in accordance with the tuition agreement.
Late Pick-Up Notices & Fee
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center opens at 7:00am (7:30am for Infants & Toddlers) and closes promptly at 6:00 pm. Late fees of one ($1.00) per minute will be assessed for any pickup after the close of business. There is a minimum late fee charge of $5 regardless of if a child was picked up less than 5 minutes after closing. Additionally, parents who pick up their children later than the contracted times listed on their tuition agreement will also be subject to a late fee charge of one ($1.00) per minute with a minimum late fee charge of $5 regardless of if a child was picked up less than 5 minutes after their regularly agreed pick-up time.
A late pick up notice and fees due email will be sent to the affected families. This fee is to be paid, in cash or check, to the Director no later than the morning of the next school day. Late fees not paid by the parents as stated will be added to the next scheduled auto debit transaction. These fees are not tax deductible and excessive late pickup may result in termination of services.
Please do not leave children unattended in the car while you drop off or pick up from the center. If your child(ren) is still at the center one hour after close of business, GBELC is mandated to contact Alexandria Child Protective Services along with the local authorities and the Department of Social Services.
Absenteeism and Suspension or Termination of Care
In an effort to maintain a quality program and proper staffing, please notify the Center by email if your child will be absent on a scheduled day of attendance. Parents have a legal right to enter the center at any time during operating hours to visit with their children. Regular Daily Attendance in our Preschool is a requirement as we are working with a rigorous Christian Curriculum that requires the students to have an active learning model that will start to prepare them for Kindergarten entry once they get into the Penguins program. All enrolled preschool children must arrive to school no later than 9:30am in order to ensure children are tracking along with their teachers and peers and are able to stay abreast of the learning requirements for the daily and weekly lesson plan. Children who miss several days of the curriculum may not be able to keep up with the learning concepts that are introduced in the lesson plan daily, and thereby may lose their placement at the center as Great Beginnings‘ operates under a group care model.
Bringing Things from Home
Toys are not to be brought from home unless specifically requested for “show and tell” by the teacher or are used by the child at rest time to make him/her feel more secure. We strongly advise against sending your child’s special items to school and do not condone jewelry, scary, dark or violent toys or symbols at school including skulls, action figures, guns, or other items deemed inappropriate by the center. Teachers will confiscate such items and parents must retrieve them from the Directors office the next school day. Other toys can be easily lost or broken and can become sources of conflict between children. Great Beginnings Early Learning Center will not be responsible for toys brought to the center and their demise or condition if lost, damaged, given away or taken home by another family.
The Center will not replace lost or damaged articles. If your child brings money or something valuable to Great Beginnings Early Learning Center, it is important that the teacher or Director be informed so that they can be confiscated until the parent is able to pick them up the next school day from the Director. Please check in lost and found if an item is missing, where available in the classroom or center. Lost and found items will be cleaned out periodically and donated to local charitable organizations.
The staff at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center make every effort to ensure the safety of your child however, accidents may still occur. In caring for your child, we realize that you will want to be aware of your child’s injuries or illnesses that occur at the center and as such will contact you to notify you when such events occur. In case of a minor accidental injury, we will administer first-aid including cleaning wounds with mild soap and water.
In the case of a serious accidental injury, we will make every attempt to contact you for instructions and will call 911. If we cannot reach you, we will call the person you have indicated on the enrollment form to make medical emergency decisions about your child. Please keep these numbers updated on all enrollment forms. Your signed emergency medical release will also assist us in getting prompt medical attention in case a parent or guardian cannot be reached. Great Beginnings Early Learning Center’s main concern is and will always be the health and safety of your child. A report will be provided to you for signature and kept on file for any accident, incident, illness or injury at the center. All reports are available to you for your child upon request. All child information is confidential and the identity and sex of any other children involved is confidential and may not be disclosed as required by law. Great Beginnings is not responsible and will not be liable for payment or reimbursements of any cost incurred in the course of providing the needed medical care to an injured child regardless of the cause of the injury.
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center provides a private parking lot with 14 parking spaces as a courtesy for parents and legal guardians to use when dropping off or picking up only. The parking in the lot is managed by Henry’s Wrecker Service which also enforces the towing of unauthorized or otherwise unverifiable vehicles. Please note that the lot is primarily for drop off and pick up, as such, parents who may want to plan to be in the center for a considerable length of time may want to park on the side streets as a courtesy to the other parents who are dropping off or picking up.
Parents may not leave their cars in the parking lot when taking the metro, over the weekend or when in the area on business or for lunch. All cars parked in the Great Beginnings parking lot is parked at the owners risk and the center is not responsible for any damages, towing fees or losses that arise from parking in the lot.
No prescription or over the counter medication will be given out or administered by any staff member at Great Beginnings. The only exception to this policy is in the case non- prescription diaper crème(s) and emergency, life-saving medication such as an EpiPen (provided by the parent with the required medical paperwork) which will be administered by a trained Staff Member and Emergency Medical Services (911) will be called. Parents may also come into the center to administer medication to their children when they are in care.
Topical Applications Policy
Topical over the counter applications such as Sunscreens, Insect Repellant and Non-Prescription Diaper crème may be administered by Staff so long as parents provide an unexpired package of the product with a legible expiration date and also complete the center’s blanket permission form. Staff will administer these topical applications according to the manufacturer’s recommendation only and will send the products back home if the packaging becomes damaged in any way, if the blanket permission form on file is expired or if the expiration date on the topical application becomes illegible.
Parents must notify the Center immediately, within 24 hours or on the next business day if a child or anyone in your household has been exposed to or has contracted a communicable disease outside the Center.
Children must remain away from the center until 24 hours after they and/or the household is symptom free) as defined by the State Board of Health, except in the case of life threatening diseases that must be reported immediately. Policies and guidelines related to outbreaks of communicable diseases and illnesses in this facility have been developed with the help of the local health department and local pediatricians in order to protect the group as a whole as well as the health of your own child. Your child should be kept at home if he shows any sign of illness. If they have or have experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 24 hours they must to be kept at home and away from this facility and will be sent home if:
- A fever of 100* orally or 99 under the arm.
- Signs of a newly developed cough or a severe cough.
- Diarrhea, vomiting, or an upset stomach.
- Unusual or unexplained loss of appetite, fatigue, irritability, or headache.
- Any discharge or drainage from the eyes, nose, ears, or open sores.
- At the centers discretion if a child is inactive, lethargic or not acting themselves.
Children who show signs or symptoms listed above will be asked to be picked up As Soon As Possible. If a child becomes ill at the center, parents will be notified and asked to pick the child up within one hour.
A child and their household must be free of the contagious illness (i.e. fever, vomiting and diarrhea) for 24 hours before returning to the Center. We appreciate each family’s cooperation with this policy. If you have any questions concerning this policy and whether your child should attend, please call the center at 703-224-2599 or email the Director at any hour at email@example.com.
The Center has permission to take such reasonable measures as are, in the judgment of the Center, necessary for the welfare and safety of the child. In the case of emergency medical care, all medical bills are to be sent directly to the parent or guardian. In case of illness or accident, when a parent cannot be contacted by the Center, if in the judgment of the Center, a physician is required; one may be called or a child may be transported by emergency personnel at the parent’s expense.
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center reserves the right to use pictures, images and expressions of students in publications, informational brochures, on our website or flyers and other communications. By signing/enrolling your child with Great Beginnings Early Learning Center, you give express permission and consent for Great Beginnings Early Learning Center to use students images or pictures and expressions in publications, informational brochures, flyers, communications or Great Beginnings materials without compensation to the child or family.
We are always interested in your comments, both positive and negative, regarding the care and education that your child receives at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center. Your child’s teacher and center Director should be the first contacts for a parent’s constructive criticism. The Director has an open door policy and can be reached at the center, via phone, email or in person at your convenience. Use of expletives is never appropriate for addressing others and may result in a meeting with the Director or termination of childcare contracts.
Building Access, Safety & Security
The safety of all the children in care is the number one priority of Great Beginnings Early Learning Center. The Center has a Key Card/ Key fob based Security Access System that is Monitored and Maintained by Tyco Security Services, Inc. Each family that is enrolled at Great Beginnings is provided with a key fob on their first day of school for a rental fee of $10.00 per fob. We ask that for safety and security purposes, this fob IS NOT to be shared with anyone.
Upon leaving the center, all parents or legal guardians that are issued a key card or key fob must return it with 10 business days otherwise the replacement cost will be debited from the ACH account on file. The rental and or replacement fees for the key cards or key fobs are not refundable. The Center Access key fob is NOT TRANSFERABLE. Anyone listed on your emergency contact list should not be given this fob as it is only for parents/legal guardians and staff. Anyone else that enters the building MUST ring the doorbell, have their ID confirmed, and escorted by a GBELC staff member. Parents are strongly advised not to let anyone in the front door even if you know them. If your key fob fails to open the door as described, please ring the door bell for assistance.
Please note that the key cards and fobs have been automatically programmed to function during regular business hours when parents and children are legally allowed in the building so be sure to check your time to make sure you are not trying to access the building before or after the posted hours of operation. Please keep your key card or fob safe at all times and notify Great Beginnings IMMEDIATELY if you lose or misplace it. The charge to replace a key fob is $20.
The center is also equipped with a 24-camera CCTV system that monitors all activity throughout the center at all hours. The cameras and recording from the CCTV system are the exclusive property of Great Beginnings and are used for the purpose of maintaining child safety as well as quality assurance and training. The camera recordings are stored digitally for 30 days and then recycled. The center reserves all rights to the footage from the cameras and is not obligated to share or view the footage with parents or staff.
Building and Site Evacuation, Fire Drills and in Case of Emergency
The Center Director, Coordinator or designee will sound the alarm after which the Head Teacher in each class will make a quick assessment of the situation in the classroom and of any injuries, if applicable, to the children or adults. The teacher will perform a head count to ensure that all children are present. The Director or Designee will evaluate the evacuation route to be sure that it appears clear of obstructions. The Director or Designee will give instructions to evacuate via the walkie-talkies or verbally. If possible and time allows, the teachers and aides in each class will have children take their jackets and coats.
The Director or Designee will gather all pertinent information, health care supplies, and essential documents and take the following items:
- disaster supplies which are stored in the supply closet
- class/staff attendance sheets and visitor sign-in sheets
- children’s emergency and medical information/supplies
- Director’s cell phone and a walkie talkie
- emergency evacuation bag
Staff should assemble children 2 by 2 to evacuate the building (preferably one teacher leading the children and one teacher following behind). Young toddlers will be evacuated by adults carrying them out of the building or walking with them hand in hand and infants in the evacuation cribs. The Director or Designee will call 911.
The teacher for each class will perform a head count and take attendance and report it to the Director or Designee. The teacher will have children sit down if possible. If safe to do so, the Director or Designee will search the building for anyone missing.
If there is a gas leak or other incident that requires individuals be located further away from the child care, the Director or Designee will have teachers move children to the designated emergency evaluation area (700 N. Washington Street) or no less than one block from the child care center.
The Director or Designee will evaluate the situation with the help of responding agencies (fire, police, etc.) and determine if it is safe to enter building. If not, a determination will be made as to if it is necessary to move to the alternate site location (700 N. Washington Street), or to stay put until it is safe to re-enter the building.
The Director or Designee will notify parents immediately if evacuation looks to be long term or if children are moved to our alternate site location. The Director or Designee will report the incident to DSS and the licensing inspector. The Director or Designee will complete a written incident report at the earliest opportunity. All parents will be notified of incident(s) as soon as possible.
If it is determined that the center needs to be evacuated and that staff and children need to be moved to the alternate emergency location. The Center Director, Coordinator or designee will sound the alarm after which the teachers for each class will pair children together with a designated teacher or aide and will perform a head count before and after meeting at the emergency evaluation location. The Director or Designee will call the appropriate agencies (fire, 911, paramedics); gather all pertinent information, health care supplies, essential documents and the Director or Designee should bring the following items to the alternate sites:
- disaster supplies which are stored in the supply closet
- class/staff attendance sheets and visitor sign-in sheets
- children’s emergency and medical information/supplies
- Director’s cell phone and a walkie talkie
- evacuation bag
Children will walk with the teachers to the alternate site location. (If they are un-able to walk they will be carried or pushed in the evacuation crib.) Once at the alternate site location, the teacher will take head counts and attendance again and report it to the Director or Designee. Teachers must remain with their group of children until the children are picked up by parents or emergency contacts. The Director or Designee will continue to communicate with parents and coordinate pick-up of children. The Director or Designee will report the incident to DSS and the licensing inspector. The Director or Designee will complete an incident report at the earliest opportunity.
Child abuse and neglect are against the law in Virginia, and so is failure to report suspected cases of child abuse. If we/you suspect a child has been abused or neglected, the law requires that we/you make a report immediately without consulting the parent. Persons making reports in good faith are protected by law from liability, and their identities are kept confidential. Persons making false and malicious reports are open to the scrutiny and discretion of the criminal justice system.
To report to The Center for Alexandria’s Children, call the special toll-free Child Abuse Hotline
(1-800-552-7096 or 703-838-0800, voice or TDD). You can call 703-838-0800 or also visit the Center for Alexandria’s Children website at www.centerforalexandriaschildren.org. Please contact the center Director about any questions or concerns you as a parent may have.
Great Beginnings Early Learning Center reserves the right to remove a child from our program with or without notice or prior communications or meetings with parents for any good cause reason or if we have concerns that he/she may threaten the safety and educational learning of others in their class; or may hurt themselves or others; or if they are bullying, sexually suggestive, threatening, physically or emotionally intimidating; or if they are excessively absent from school and unable to track along with their peers, as we operate under a group care model; or if we feel we are not capable of providing the appropriate care for their needs.
To terminate this agreement, families must provide a written 30-day notice to the Director. If you choose to terminate without the appropriate written notice, you will be responsible for paying for the remainder of the time which can also be deducted from the ACH account you have on file with the center.