Frequently asked questions

Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions from parents about Stepping Stones. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the center and our policies as well as those concerning parenting, child development and early childhood education. Our staff and parents are a tremendous resource for others. 

 

How is Stepping Stones different from other centers?

Stepping Stones is a private, non-profit organization that operates with a Board of Directors who are parents of children at the center. Most of our children enroll as infants and attend the center for at least six years.  We strive to be a home away from home for them and encourage parent involvement. We have long-term staff, who work in partnership with parents to provide a family friendly environment.

When are you closed during the year?

The center is closed five to eight days from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day. We are also closed one day mid-August for staff training and for four major holidays including Labor Day, Thanksgiving (and the following Friday), Memorial Day and Independence Day. In the event of icy/snow/cold weather conditions, Stepping Stones closes when the Lawrence Public Schools (USD 497) close.

Can I bring my child in late or keep them at home on my day off?

Parents can drop off and pick up their children at any time. We encourage parents of preschoolers to have them here before 9:00 so that they will be a part of planning for the day, but they are not required to do so. We do ask that all parents call the center if they will be dropping off after 9:00 so we know to expect them. If your child will not be coming to the center on a particular day because of illness, vacation or just to spend the day with you, please tell your child’s teacher or phone the center as soon as possible so that our staff can make plans for the day and adjust staff. Because our staff are not always in front of a computer, please do not inform us of schedule changes via email unless it is for a date in advance.

Can someone else pick-up my child at the end of the day?

Upon enrollment, each parent completes an authorization form listing those authorized to pick-up their child if they are not able to do so. We do also require that parents let us know if someone from this list will be picking up. Please remind them to bring in a photo ID for us to check before releasing your child.

What should I do if I am running late and can’t pick-up my child by 6pm?

If you cannot pick up your child by 6:00 p.m., please call as early as possible so that arrangements can be made for the care of your child. At that time, you can ask if one of our staff can stay late with your child and pay them individually. Any time you pick up your child later than 6:00 p.m. without making arrangement in advance, you will be charged an additional $1.00 a minute for each minute after 6:00 p.m., with a minimum late fee of $10. Please let us know if there is an emergency and be considerate of our staff and your child.

My child isn’t feeling well. Do they have to stay home?

Stepping Stones does not have the staff or facilities to care for sick children. Your child and the others will be sick less often if everyone follows our policies consistently and catch illnesses before they become too severe.

We require that children are not brought to the center if they (1) have a temperature of 101 degrees or higher for infants and toddlers, 100 degrees for preschoolers, (2) have frequent diarrhea, which is three or more times a day or (3) is vomiting. It is also our policy that a sick child does not return until symptoms have been gone for 24 hours. A child must be maintaining a lowered temperature without taking fever-reducing medication.

Of course, children must also be kept at home if they have any contagious disease or virus. This includes conjunctivitis (pink eye), strep throat, etc. In most cases, this is only 24-48 hours after treatment begins based on an individual’s doctor’s recommendations.

What happens if my child is hurt during the day?

Each of our staff has received first aid training and all of our fulltime staff as well as several part-time staff have received CPR training for infants and children. This training allows us to act quickly and accurately in an emergency. An “ouch” report will be sent home with you at the end of the day for all minor injuries (scratches, bumps, bruises, bites). This form will describe what happened and what the staff did to tend to the injury. Staff will call parents to discuss the incident of any larger injuries. We will not hesitate to call 911 or transport a child to the hospital in any emergency situation that requires additional medical attention.

My child has food allergies. Can you accommodate a special diet?

We will work with parents who have a child on a special diet. Stepping Stones is a peanut-free environment. Due to several of our children having serious peanut allergies, all peanut products have been taken off of our menu. We also check the labels of all food items brought into the center to ensure that they, too, are free of any traces of peanuts/peanut products. When possible, we will adapt our menu for those who have milk, egg or other food allergies. Substitutions may need to be brought to replace main food items a child cannot eat.

Will my child be sick all of the time when they are in group care?

The health of each child can vary greatly. Whether children enroll as infants or preschoolers, they usually have a month or two when they seem to be sick often. Although we do pass colds back and forth around the center, with time, most children’s immune systems become better able to fight off other illnesses. We do our best to reduce the spread of germs by washing hands often and disinfecting toys and classroom surfaces on a regular basis. We will also keep you informed of illnesses that are going around by posting notes.

My child needs to have medication each day. Can you do that for me?

With your written and signed instructions, your child’s lead teacher will give your child medication once or twice a day as needed. The center cannot give any medication or apply ointment (even diaper cream) without your signed authorization, nor do we keep medication on hand. Please give all medication, including items in diaper bags, to our staff to lock up each day. Staff can also administer breathing treatments with signed authorization unless too many children are on breathing treatments at the same time.

What forms of communication will I have with my child’s lead teacher?

Communication between parents and our staff is extremely important in helping to meet the needs of each child. The infant, toddler and preschool lead teachers work in the classroom daily from 7am - 3pm. They will greet you as you drop off your child and visit with you about any special instructions you have for the day. Infant and toddler parents will receive a written report at pick-up time to let you know details of your child’s day including how they ate, slept and pottied, their general disposition and the activities they did. The preschool lead teachers send home a weekly letter with general information about their classroom’s plans for the week. The kindergarten lead teacher is here at the end of the day to discuss your child with you. Each lead teacher will let you know of their preferred method of communication. They will contact you via a phone call, note or email as needed to keep you up-to-date. Parents can feel free to call to check on their child at any time and arrange a time to sit down with their lead teacher to discuss any questions or concerns they have. Formal parent/teacher conferences are conducted each June and December to discuss developmental checklists and how each child is doing at the center. The Director emails weekly memos to keep parents informed. Notes are also posted and sent home to cover all methods of communication.

Why does the center have so many fund raising events?

Our center is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. Therefore, all donations to the center are tax-deductible. Fund raising events are planned each year to help us meet our annual goals which usually include major purchases or improvements for the center. Most of these events are family-friendly, social events that are a great way for families and staff to get to know each other better. We have an annual Golf Tournament in June, a Halloween Carnival in October, and other various events throughout the year. Family and friends are always welcome to participate in our fundraisers too. Get involved with others from Stepping Stones, have fun and support our center all at the same time!

How can parents get involved?

We encourage parental involvement! The more you get to know our procedures, staff and the other children and families at the center, the more you will feel like a part of our Stepping Stones family. We welcome your time and talents when volunteering for activities at the center, coming to our events and simply spending time with the teachers and children in the classrooms when you can. Being on our Board of Directors is another way to get involved. Our board members meet once a month to discuss the happenings of the center. This is a great way to contribute to your child’s early education and help the center continue to be the best it can be!

When are fees due and how often do they increase?

Fees are due by the 10th of each month. They generally increase each August due to inflation and/or changes in our budget. This increase is discussed at our annual meeting for parents in April. Parents will always be given at at least one month’s notice of fee increases.

Why is my child getting so dirty every day?

Play is hard work and we guarantee that children will get messy here! There will be spills throughout the day as children practice new skills and freely explore their environment and the materials we provide for them. Mud puddles, finger paint and even spaghetti sauce all become sensory experiences as children learn by doing. Please do not send your child in special clothing you don’t want to get dirty and be sure we have an extra outfit for them to change into.

How long is your waiting list?

Typically, we have about a nine month wait for infant care. We suggest you call to get on the waiting list as soon as you know you are pregnant. The wait for the older infant room, toddler room and preschool classrooms is a little more difficult to predict. We only have openings in those classrooms when someone disenrolls. When a child does leave, we go down the list until we find someone close to the same age as the one who is leaving. Although we estimate a 1-2 year wait in these age groups, it can be as short as a couple of months or as long as three years. Our part-time preschool and after school programs usually have openings at the start of each school year.. 

Our long waiting list can be discouraging, but there have been times when we have gotten children in quickly due to unique situations. Putting your child on the list gives you a chance in case our enrollment changes as well as a back-up plan in case your child care elsewhere falls through. We can never be sure of what our availability will be but it never hurts to get on the list to see what happens!

 
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announcements

We are on menu week 3 (September 18-22)

We have fall openings in our part-time preschool.  Call today for details (785-843-5919)!

We are #1! We were voted the BEST child care center in the 2017 Best of Lawrence contest!

contact us

Please feel free to contact us with questions about our programs or arrange a tour of the center. 785.843.5919
1100 Wakarusa Drive
Lawrence, Kansas 66049
info@steppingstones-childcare.org

employment

Are you interested in a rewarding job in early childhood education? Please call or email us to find out what positions might be available. 785.843.5919
jobs@steppingstones-childcare.org