Bethlehem Children’s Center

Health and safety

Your child's safety is paramount here at Bethlehem Children’s Center. Please read on to find out more about our health and safety policies.

Exclusion guidelines

In general, we kindly ask parents to please check your child for good health each day before bringing him/her to the center.

A child who does not feel well enough to participate comfortably in the program’s activities needs to remain at home.

Symptoms for Exclusion

  • Child is excessively irritable, continuously crying or requires more attention and care than caregivers can provide without compromising the care of the group. Our activities are planned for well-child development and participation. If the child is deemed by the caregivers as unable to participate, the child will be excluded.
  • Symptoms and signs of possible severe illness such as unusual tiredness, uncontrolled coughing or wheezing, continuous crying or difficulty breathing
  • Fever, defined as 100 degrees or greater along with behavior change or other signs of illness. Most likely if a temperature is being checked, the teachers have already noticed some other type of symptoms.
  • Diarrhea, (defined as more than one runny or watery stool), as determined by the child’s caregiver to be different from the child’s normal BMs during the duration of the school day.
  • Vomiting more than once during the duration of the school day. (For infants, this is at the discretion of the caregiver, who would be familiar with the child’s normal amount of spitting up.)
  • Any unexplained body rash. If your child has a non-contagious body rash and you already know the cause, please be sure to let your child’s caregiver know.
  • Sore throat with fever and swollen glands or mouth sores with excessive drooling
  • Head lice or nits
  • Severe coughing-child, gets red or blue in the face, or makes high pitched whooping sounds after coughing
  • Eye discharge-thick mucus draining from the eye(s), accompanied by eye pain, swelling, eyelid redness

A child must be free from all symptoms for 24 hours before returning to the Center.

Staff may request a clearance form from a physician prior to readmitting a child to the program.

If there is a difference of opinion between childcare staff and a family physician as to the appropriateness of the child’s attendance at the Center, the Director / Assistant Director will make a final decision based on discussions with the physician and teachers. Parents will be called if a child becomes ill at school. The child will be isolated until the parent or substitute adult picks him / her up. We will notify you of any communicable disease at the Center. We will also notify you of various health services available during the year.

Further information

Please see the items below to learn more about the other areas of health and safety that we consider to be of upmost importance.

It is our policy not to give a child any type of medication. You are welcome to store prescription medication at the Center and come during the day to administer it. Special arrangements may be made to accommodate a child who has a chronic illness. The medication will be administered on an as needed or daily basis if the parent is unable to come to the Center. Medical notes must be completed, and all medications will be kept in a locked cupboard or container within the appropriate classroom.

Applying water-proof sunscreen to your child in the morning is encouraged. If sunscreen needs to be applied later in the day, we will need a doctor’s prescription. Due to toxicity of sunscreen and possible allergic reactions, the sunscreen along with the doctor’s prescription needs to be given to your child’s teacher.

Please label the sunscreen with your child’s full name.

Please make sure the directors and teachers know of any allergies that your child may have, i.e. food allergies, bee stings, medications, animals, etc. Please also let the directors/teachers know if your child has hay fever or seasonal allergies. We have a no perfume policy at BCC because staff and children are often sensitive or even allergic to perfume or strong-smelling odors such as shampoos or fabric softeners. Please use scent-free products.

If your child needs to wear eyeglasses at the Center, the staff will make every effort to encourage your child to keep them on and take care of them. However, we cannot be responsible for lost or damaged glasses.

Upon arrival, children are asked to wash their hands before entering into play. Parental assistance may be required for the younger children.

We will administer simple first aid, and we will report any unusual mishaps immediately or at pick up time with a “boo-boo” report. Children must always be within sight of a teacher or a parent at Bethlehem indoors or outside.

BCC has an emergency procedure which will go into effect in the event of an emergency or disaster. Your child will be cared for until you are able to pick him/her up. Each class has food and provisions for three days. In the event that the building must be evacuated, there will be notification as to the location of pick up. We have designated the Church Sanctuary and the Parish Hall as primary alternate sites. If the school is closed due to weather or other emergency, the information will be broadcast on the local radio. If the school is closed due to an emergency (after you have dropped your child off) you must return immediately to pick up your child. If the Center must be closed due to plumbing, heating or electrical problems we will notify you by phone or email to come pick up your child. BCC also has lockdown procedures and active shooter response procedures in place.

As Early Childcare Professionals we are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse.

Our program teaches proper nutrition according to the basic food groups. We strongly suggest avoiding foods high in sugar. Please keep drinks containing caffeine at home. Lunches may be heated up by microwave. Teachers will be glad to give you lunchtime ideas. Please do not send gum or lollipops.

Under the laws of the state of California, both parents may have the right to pick up their child, unless a court document restricts that right. The enrolling parent, who chooses not to include the other parent on the authorized list, must file an official court document (e.g. current restraining order, sole custody decree, divorce decree designating sole custody). Absent that document, the program may release the child to either parent, provided that parent documents his/her paternity/maternity of the child. To provide this documentation, you can fill out a Shared Custody Agreement in Brightwheel.

Children transported in vehicles must be buckled safely into car safety seats or seat belts that meet state requirements. Parents will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain and use car safety seats. Another person on the authorized list will be called if this requirement is not met. No child may be left alone in any vehicle while at BCC.

Persons on the authorized list must be at least 18 years of age and able to supply documentation of their identity.

If we have concern about a child’s safety at pick-up time, we will contact another person on the authorized list to pick-up the child.

If a crisis arises at the end of the day, we will take the following steps to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. We will:

  • Not immediately release the child. While discussing our concerns with the person picking-up the child, we will engage the child with another staff member.
  • Contact the other parent of child, or other persons on the authorized list to enlist them in ensuring that the child leaves our care safely.
  • Offer alternatives. Brainstorm with the family member alternative ways to ensure the child goes home safely.
  • Release the child with reservations, notifying the appropriate authorities of our concern.
  • Call in the Police and/or other authorities if anyone’s well-being and/or safety is threatened.

Our program provides a supportive environment in which children begin to learn and practice appropriate and acceptable behaviors as individuals and as a group. The staff believes in a positive approach to discipline. In guiding a child in developing self-control, the staff gives special consideration to reinforcing the child’s self-esteem through positive affirmation of each child’s unique qualities. Redirection and use of “our words” are most often emphasized. For the mobile infant and/or toddler, redirection, distraction, or removal from the area will often modify the behavior.

A few basic rules we have at Bethlehem are:

  • A child may not hurt another child.
  • A child may not hurt himself/herself.
  • A child may not damage or destroy another person’s or BCC property.
  • A child may not intentionally do what he/she has been asked not to do.
  • A child may not avoid doing what he/she has been asked to do.

Repeated negative behaviors may require a separation from an activity. The break is intended to give the child a chance to regain self-control, not as punishment. Sometimes a child simply needs a few moments to slow down. Often children act from an emotional stance, and they need adult direction to assist them with their self-control.

Under no circumstance will any method of corporal punishment be used.

If a child has repeated behavior issues, we will request a Parent-Teacher Conference. A strategy will be developed together. The director, teachers and parents will implement the new strategy, and document results and set a timeline to check back in.  If the behavior has not improved, we will work with the parents to provide an outside resource to observe and provide further strategies. In extreme circumstances, if all modification strategies are shown to be unsuccessful, the child may be dismissed.

We reserve the right to suspend or expel immediately any child that we determine to be harmful to any child or staff member and/or who continually breaks the basic discipline guidelines.

One of the most important services we provide the children in our care is a safe environment. A safe environment is more than just equipment in good repair, doors and windows in working order etc. A safe environment is also a place where children can feel secure and where adults coming into the Center treat others with respect and consideration. Just as children must remember that sometimes rules of conduct differ between Center and home, so must adults remember that when entering a child care facility, the adults are expected to act in ways that help children feel safe. The following are examples of adult behavior that will help children feel safe while at child care:

  • Speaking in a friendly voice, refraining from yelling.
  • Using positive language when speaking with your child, teacher, or other children, refraining from threats and never swearing or name calling.
  • Refraining form using any form of corporal punishment while at the Center even if it is used at home and even if it is your own child.
  • Model kindness and inclusiveness. Refrain from criticizing and/or gossiping.
  • Keep all cell phones turned off and put away upon arrival and pickup times.
  • Informing a teacher if you see a child other than your own misbehaving, and allowing them to intervene.
  • Not smoking while at the Center either inside or outside.
  • Not coming to the Center while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Allow your child adequate time to finish what he/she is doing and separate from friends. Let your child know that you’ll be leaving in a few minutes and use this time to check his/her cubby and exchange information with the teacher.

When all adults follow these and other common sense rules of conduct, we help create a safe and pleasant atmosphere for the children in our care.