Content

FAQs


Hours of Operation
7:00 am – 5:00 PM..................................................................................Monday – Friday
Contact
Home -  403-252-5052 ………………………………………………..Cell -  403-880-9423

Waiting lists are maintained for our 2 age groups: ages 1-3 and 3+. Priority for spaces is given first to siblings of children already registered, and then to those on the waiting list based on date of request & age. Within this priority system, spaces are allocated on a first come first serve basis, provided that the child is age appropriate for the program.
*While on wait-list, fees are subject to change without notice.

About Small Wonders
Small Wonders Nature-based & Waldorf-inspired dayhome/playschool is not that different from many dayhomes in Alberta, but we do have some things/features that make us unique.  Our aim is to provide high quality child-care to your family. As a nature-based home, I aim to inspire the beautiful spirit of each child and create an environment that nurtures the developing human being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is also my goal to provide a safe space for learning and growing, in a home-like setting.

Why I do what I do
Childcare—especially quality care-giving requires patience, dedication and energy. It also requires a lot of hands on learning. I don't believe one can ever "master" child-care, but it's worth trying to do as much as possible. 
Some very important beliefs about childhood has allowed me to explore the nature of childcare & early childhood education. I believe that childhood is special, and magical. That imaginative play is important...that children are not just minds needing to be filled - they have a spirit and a soul that needs to be nurtured...that a daily rhythm is important to the whole child. 

One thing that I take from the Waldorf philosophy is the need for caregivers to take pride in their daily work to ensure that the environment is beautiful, that (essentially) their actions and words are worthy of imitation by the young child. Let’s be honest, it is not an easy feat, but I never give-up or take short cuts (ok, maybe sometimes I do
, but I try not to). My main goal is to operate a flexible program that benefits families from all walks of life.

What I do:
My goal is to conduct my business with professionalism and honesty. I aim to keep you as informed as possible, while providing quality care for your child.

What I don’t do:
I am not in the position to provide specialized care for any one child, and will be honest up front if I believe your child needs more care than I can offer. In addition, I don’t agree to things that I cannot or do not have the intention of doing. This may (at times) be annoying, however, in principle, I can’t think of any other way to run a business.
I believe in flexibility, but will not make exceptions that could be detrimental to my family or other families that I serve. Please see The Right Fit tab on the blog.

Q & A with Salma

Tell me about yourself - How long have you been in business?
 I've been blessed to open my home to other children since the Fall of 2014. I have many years of experience with children. I worked as a summer holiday nanny for 3 summers (1994-96), and as a companion/caregiver for an Autistic child (1990-1993). And of course like many teens, I had regular babysitting jobs in my community. 

I am formally trained in Criminology & Women & Gender Studies. I worked for years in the Social Work, Education & Legal sectors before starting Small Wonders Dayhome & Playschool in 2014. Aside from working outside of the home, I unschooled my children for years, based on the premise of Playful World Travelling. This simply means that we celebrated all aspects of hands-on learning without specific learning tools learning tools such as flash cards, notebooks, or curriculum. 

More formal homeschooling took place on Saturday mornings for 4 hours. I taught language (French), language arts, art, and social studies. We invited friends to join us, and they loved it too.

How can we see your space?
We welcome prospective parents to call, or email us to set up an appointment. We like to meet with parents when we are open for business so that you can see first-hand what we do. Before you come, I always ask that you review the information on the website/blog to get an idea of what we are all about. Appointments are usually booked for the mornings & are slotted for about half an hour. 
When you come, I will walk you through our space, talk about our philosophy, rhythm of our days, and let you see first-hand what we your child’s day might look like. If you are interested, an application will be sent to you via email. 
Please bring only the child(ren) that you are seeking care for.

How many children are in your care? 
At any given time I will care for up to 6 children...not including my son who goes to school.

Do you have a Police Check & What kind of safety precautions do you take?
Yes, I have completed my police check for myself and my husband.

I have safety gates in place to keep the little ones from falling. Some doors are kept locked, chemicals are locked away...medications are stored on a high shelf (out of reach). The children do not share personal items (cups etc) which are always kept out of reach, and if I leave an area (washroom break etc.) children under 2 will be put into a play-pen.
I am also very diligent about "outsiders" having access to your children, and for safety reasons, I will NEVER transport your child in my personal vehicle unless it is an emergency.

Do you provide before/after school service?
My schedule revolves around the children in my care. I never wake up kids to go out, or engage in activities. As such, I do not offer before or after-school care.

Do you have references?
Absolutely. References are available on request. You can also see what other parents are saying on the Testimonials blog page.

What kind of families are you looking for?
You and your family are right for my dayhome if: 
  • you practice or are interested in some aspects of the Waldorf philosophy
  • you love nature/the outdoors & support outdoor play
  • you support a no television/media dayhome
  • you support a daily rhythm & flow of activities & understand that home life affects your child’s daily life
  • your child does not exhibit extreme behaviours that will be disruptive to my home and our activities. 
  • Read more about the types of families that we are looking for on the site (The Right Fit).
Our home/Philosophy

Do you follow any specific philosophy?
We love some aspects of the Waldorf way of bringing up children. Small Wonders is a combination of Waldorf & nature-based-unschooling. That being said, I try not to focus on or get caught up in philosophies because I don't like to follow every aspect/method or idea of any approach. Instead, I like to let the children be my teachers. 

What is Waldorf & how do you practice in the dayhome?
To sum it up, Waldorf is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Steiner is the founder of anthroposophy (the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development).  In Waldorf, the phrase "head, heart, and hands" is often used, and for good reason...as activities are planned to engage the child's thinking, feeling, and willing. At Small Wonders, seasonal changes are celebrated, and the children spend a lot of time outside.

The environment is nourishing, beautiful, and orderly. Common daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning are approached with mindful care and reverence, so that children can develop a deep respect for and enjoyment of work. 
The arts of the home are celebrated...cleaning, baking, and assisting with "chores" is enjoyed and welcomed by the children.

What can I expect from your program?
Small Wonders is a secular dayhome/program. I Do Not run a Waldorf program In our dayhome, we focus on the material world, and leave behind stories about fairies, gnomes and/or other beings. 
The aspect(s) of Waldorf that I love is one that provides a nurturing, warm, and rich environment. It is one that allows children to express themselves in many different ways. While in my care, your child will never be exposed to religious prayers, or blessings or mystical teachings.

At Small Wonders you can expect:
  • a holistic approach to learning
  • safety & supported risk-taking
  • a secular approach to Waldorf-inspired education
  • a genuine interest in your child's growth
  • an organized and flexible facilitator who follows a well-planned daily rhythm
How do you select toys for such a broad range of children?
 I respect all phases of child development. I have specifically selected toys that I think will nurture the development of the children in my care. One thing that is essential to any nature-based program is the spirit of simplicity. It is not about consuming. I don’t believe in shelves of toys and expensive gadgets to engage children. 
 While in our home, your child will never be bombarded with brightly colored plastics, polyester, noisy toys that flash and blink, baby equipment that push precocious development and videos that claimed to make your child brighter or more independent. 

In our home you will find toys that allow for open-ended play. Your child will never have access to items that when turned on cause distraction, loud noises, or even anxiety. Essentially Small Wonders is a home away from home- NOT a daycare centre. 
 My aim is to promote a home-like setting by providing a daily flow of activities with consistency and balance. 

Do you promote multiculturalism & diversity?
The children are not pushed but will be introduced to languages (French), and a lot of activities that explore, recognize, and celebrate diversity and differences. Our Book of the Month (and) related activities are often chosen to highlight various aspects of our everyday lives, as well as allowing teachable moments for your child as s/he explores people, places and things.
In addition, your child will be encouraged to try foods from different parts of the world. In our morning routine, we incorporate the use of language, song and rhyme with our drumming circle.

What kind of activities will my child be doing during the day?
Each day brings a different activity. We begin with breakfast & circle time where we sing, drum (once a week), & I listen to the kids tell funny stories. Our circle time is based on a seasonal rhythm. The children are then allowed to participate in structured activities or free-play - depending on their age and ability.
See our daily rhythm on the site (tabbed-daily rhythm).

Indoors - Children learn through play, and so large blocks of time are left open daily for the children to explore, interact with, and learn from their experiences and the nurturing, stimulating environment here. We cook, bake, paint, race cars, dress-up, and engage in purposeful play. 
We always celebrate each season with a nature table, and a book of the month which allows for various activities (crafts) and events. 

The Outdoors-Our home is surrounded by parks and a lot of space for discovery, exploration and nature walks. Children must be allowed to go outside every day (unless extreme weather), allowing them to embrace the natural elements. 
A few outdoor activities we do include scavenger hunts, snow painting, sidewalk chalk, nature walks, creating mandalas, and gardening.

...& what (non-childcare specific) things do you do while my child is in your care?
While in my care, your child will engage in or watch me engaging in the arts of the home. I cook, bake, fold laundry and tidy their surroundings. I sweep, mop up messes, and wipe down tables - if they are older, they are encouraged to help out (for the learning experience). Every space that I utilize while your child is in my care is child-friendly. 
The little ones are just as adventurous as the older children. Each child finds his comfort zone, but you are likely to find them playing with trains or reading books in the kitchen as I cook, or counting cars by the window as I fold laundry, or do other household activities. 

Are you a smoke free home? What about pets?
Small Wonders is a pet/smoke-free home.
**Please Note: My daughter and I have extreme asthma and allergies relating to asthma. We have serious cat and dog dander issues. It would be greatly appreciated if your child comes to daycare with no hairs/fur on his/her clothes, especially when I have to carry the child and it transfers to my clothes etc.

How do you discipline? What is your behaviour policy?
I believe in positive reinforcement. If children under age two are engaging in inappropriate behaviour (hurting another child, screaming inside, etc.), they will be redirected and, if necessary, repositioned to another area of the room. 
Children aged two to five are beginning to develop awareness of cause and effect, so different approaches are taken. If someone is hurt, on purpose or by accident, I talk about how that behaviour hurt them, how upset they are, and how we can help that child feel better (usually by stroking their arm gently or giving them a hug). 
This helps them develop empathy and an awareness of the perceptions of others. If the behaviour persists, they will be asked to engage in a different activity until they feel they participate or respect our property (toys etc).

What about time outs?
Time outs are a last resort in my home, and are VERY rare. They are based on the age of the child. After a child has been on time-out, I will quietly talk to them about the incident and we can move forward.
Children are not permitted to physically hurt another child.  I do not allow them to engage in activities that place themselves or others in danger (eg. climbing on furniture, throwing toys, etc.).  Children are not allowed to damage or destroy the property or personal property of others.   Roughhousing is understood, and encouraged, however, I try to ensure that there are parameters and clear rules as to what is acceptable and not. 
Please note: Toy weapons, and flashy toys are not to be brought into the dayhome. Any item brought into the home will be held until the end of the day.

Rates & Hours

What are your hours and do you charge for late pick-ups?
My hours are Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. As my family often has commitments in the evenings, this needs to be respected and maintained. 
Should you require an extra 10-15 minutes, once in a while, I can do that- FREE OF CHARGE, but not every day. If you know you will be delayed ahead of time, please call or text me. 
Please do your best to inform me as early as possible if this is going to happen. If it does become a problem I will begin to charge for late pick-ups. 
*Note to all families: The late allowance does not apply on Friday evenings - as I volunteer in the evenings. All pick-ups after 5:00 pm will be $1/minute for every minute you are late.*

Do you provide care outside of your regular daycare hours?
Yes I do. I provide childcare outside of daycare times (after 5 pm), provided that requests are made well in advance. My rate is $18/hr, paid on the day of. Please see the Drop-in Request page and the M-F Drop-in Request form.

Please contact me about rates.

Can I drop by anytime?
Of course. Please do not ever ring the doorbell as it excites the kids, and can disturb our activities. If you do come during nap time (anywhere between 12:30-3:30 pm) please knock so we don’t wake up little ones. If you come during yard time, simply go around the back. For safety purposes, please know that my open door policy does not mean that our doors will be kept unlocked.

Do you charge a holding fee & what are your rates?
Yes. A deposit equivalent to half of your child-care fee is required to hold your child’s spot in the day home. This fee will be applied to your child’s last 2 (two) weeks of care.

Please realize that in holding your spot, I am turning away another family, should they inquire about availability.
If within the first 2 weeks, you choose to withdraw your contract from Small Wonders after paying the deposit, the fee will refunded to you. 
The deposit will not be refunded after two weeks (14 days).

Termination of care/service
Upon terminating service
 with Small Wonders Dayhome, your initial deposit will be credited towards your final daycare fee. It is important to note that the deposit is a credit to your final bill, which may be equal, less than or more than your monthly fee if there are outstanding debts or your child falls under a different daycare rate upon time of exit. 

Payment *unless otherwise agreed upon, fees are paid by cash or cheque monthly; and should be paid the Friday before the beginning of the next month. Please note that there will be a $25.00 charge for returned checks, plus any other bank fees applied at that time.  A second returned check will result in fees paid strictly in cash thereafter.
Please see the rates section.

What is your withdrawal policy?
Please give 2 weeks written notice if you plan to withdraw your child from the dayhome. If you terminate care without notice I will keep your deposit and no refunds will be given for fees paid.

Your security deposit will not be refunded for the following reasons:
·         failure to provide a min. of 2 weeks written notice of withdrawal of care.
·         If Small Wonders immediately terminate your contract agreement due to repeated late payments /non-payment of childcare fees; or
·         if you enroll and then withdraw you child before your scheduled start date.

How do you decide your rates?
I choose to provide childcare because I love being with children, and I have the skills to help children master theirs. Like most individuals, my work helps support my family. Your childcare fees are my entire income. Your fees pay for food, toys, supplies, extra insurance, an assistant and all of the other things your child will use during their time in my home. 

When your child is here, my time belongs to all the children. My days are long, and definitely go over a 40 hour work week. This time does not include cleaning, shopping, planning and preparing activities, book-keeping, research, compiling my daily reports, and weekly updates etc. In addition, we cook and bake at least twice a week, this does not include general utilities needed to prepare fresh meals on a daily basis.
To me it's just a part of the job, it's how I want to run my program. I hope that gives you a better idea of what your childcare dollars cover, and I hope that you would discuss any concerns with me upfront. 


Activities
What does a daily typical schedule look like?
Please see our daily rhythm and our schedule tab on the blog.

Will I ever have to pay for activities or outing?
It is unlikely that you will ever be asked to pay for a specific activity or outing, but you might be asked to help us fundraise to cover the cost of specific outings or events. I ask that you only do what you can.

What do the kids bake/cook & what are those yellow bags for?
We love flexibility in the kitchen! At times, we bake just about anything…and soup day is just as open. However, many of our kitchen activities are deliberate, as in they are related to the season, book of the month activity, or themes. See our menu & recipes tab.

The “yellow bags” aka treat/goody bags are for the children to take home their baking/treats in. The bags are the property of Small Wonders, and must be returned each week, and also upon termination of contract.

Do the children handle nuts in the kitchen?
Small Wonders is not a nut-free dayhome. At this time the children do not personally handle nuts in the kitchen; however, we bake with nuts on occasion.

Do the children read books?
The children love to pick up books and either ask for me to read, or "read" on their own. I never force a child to learn to read- although I encourage early literacy. We read a few books at circle time and have a formal story time at first snack (when all the kids are likely awake). We also have a book of the month project. Many of our activities are based on the stories we read so it would be a good idea to stay up to date with the blog page. See our Book of the Month page.

Do you let the children watch television?
Our dayhome is a nature based program; we never watch television! The children do not have access to computers or video games. I ask that these items remain at home. If these or other electronic toys (flashy lights, beeping noises) arrive here, they will be placed in a safe place until the end of the day. Thank you for helping to maintain our atmosphere of peaceful, enjoyable, creative play.

Where will my child be napping?
We utilize all areas of my home. Our noisy play area is in the basement. For more natural light we hang out in the living room on the 2nd level of my home or the kitchen. When it's time for resting/napping, we close all the curtains and settle down.
There are two rooms upstairs used for naps. If your child is under 2.5 years I ask that you bring pack n’ play for nap time. I separate children based on how they will sleep (light/heavy – wakes up crying etc).

Do you have a nap schedule?
Yes. Nap time is after lunch from approximately l: 00-3:30pm (though some sleep longer and sometimes we don't get to sleep until 1:30). Children who are too old for a nap will participate in quiet time where they can play with quiet toys, or read books.

Supplies & Care
Labels
Names/initials should be on everything that your child brings into the home; including boots, coats, hats, mittens, gloves, blankets.

What supplies do I need to bring for my child? 
Depending on the age of your child you will need to bring:
  • diapers ...cloth diapers
  • bottles (if  using formula you should bring them full, pre-mixed)
  • creams (for bums)
  • sippy cup or other cup with a lid
  • extra set of clothes in case of accidents…including socks.
  • indoor shoes with treads (children are asked to change into their indoor shoes upon arrival to cut down on the dirt brought in from outside). A separate set of indoor shoes is required at the daycare for each child at all times. Feet are required to remain covered by public health at ALL times when indoors. These “indoor shoes” can be simply a pair of crocs from the dollar store, or a pair of slippers that they don’t use at home, or even a separate set of sneakers if you wish. Indoor shoes also protect your child’s feet in the event of a fire drill in the winter months/rainy days.
  • outdoor clothes (hat and swim suits in the summer; boots, mittens, hats, winter jackets in the winter). 
  • *Please help support your child's motor development and sense of self competence and independence by supplying articles of clothing that are easy to use. These include items like shoes with Velcro and pants that slip on and off easily. Please do not send your child in complicated outfits that require the removal of everything in order to change a diaper.
Diaper/toilet-training
Do you accept cloth diapers? What is your policy?
Absolutely. Please see my Cloth Diapers at Daycare check-list on the site.

Will you assist with potty training?
Absolutely. We can discuss your child’s potty training and I can assist with the process and help maintain consistency. I will ONLY assist in the process if the family is fully committed to doing so, AND when the child is ready.

Potty Training Policies
I strive to support your efforts of potty training at home right through the day here at daycare. However, I have learned from experience that it all takes time and a lot of dedication.

Working exclusively with a group of 3 year olds, or my own children is not the same as trying to divide my time between children of different ages. Please understand the difference in the amount of time that you could dedicate to your child’s potty training at home, versus, a dayhome.

Training Policies Do I/we have to request potty training assistance?
Yes! Toilet-training can be stressful for all involved. If your child does not show the key signs (listed below) then please try to understand how it could be more harmful to your child than good.
There are some key signs to look for before we are able to help you train your child. The key signs of readiness for potty training include:
·         your child is able to pull down and up their pants and underwear/pull-ups on their own with little or no assistance
·         your child is able to communicate to me when they need to go to the bathroom
·         your child (more often than not) possess the ability to hold their bowels and bladder until they get to the potty once they realize that they need to go.
  If these signs are not present, your child MAY NOT be ready to potty train at daycare, as I cannot have a potty in each room for your child to use.

When Can I say that my child is officially potty trained? (AKA no longer in need of diapers/pull ups)
·         your child’s diaper is dry after nap times and for long periods during the day
·         your child is able to hold their bowels and bladder until they get to the potty once they realize that they need to go

What do you do with soiled clothes?
Soiled clothes will be put in a plastic bag and left with the child's belongings. Items/clothing with feces will be left in a plastic bag outside (the front door) in a pail.

Note: Please remember that there are other young children in the home, and a child that pees or poos consistently on the floor could be putting the children at risk for illnesses. If your child is deemed to be potty trained and has more than 2 accidents in a week, or 1 poop accident then your child will have to return to diapers for a week (or more) depending on my observations.

Holidays/Time off

What is your vacation policy?

Your holidays/time off
When a child will not be attending care because of holiday plans, or other reasons (not related to illnesses), you must send a note in writing (email, text, etc), so that I can confirm his/her absence. All fees still apply.

I take two weeks paid vacation every year. I plan my vacation time far in advance, so families can choose to take their vacations at the same time if they wish, and thus avoid needing to pay for childcare twice during that time. I will notify parents of any planned vacation at least 2 months ahead of time.

When is Small Wonders Closed?
Having a business that runs from as early as 6:45AM to 5:15 PM leaves little time for appointments. Occasionally, the dayhome will need to open late or close early due to medical appointments which cannot be scheduled on weekends. I make every effort to have appointments booked first thing in the morning or last thing of the day, so that the dayhome can remain open as much as possible.

My dayhome is closed for all statutory holidays. As noted above, I am also closed for 2 weeks over the summer. Should any of these days land on a Saturday I am closed on the Friday before and if they land on a Sunday I am closed on the Monday after. The statutory holidays include:
  • January - New Years Day
  • February - Family Day
  • March/April - Good Friday
  • March/April - Easter Monday
  • May -Victoria Day
  • July - Canada Day
  • August - Heritage Day
  • September-Labour Day
  • October - Thanksgiving Day
  • November - Remembrance Day
  • December - Christmas Eve - closed at noon
  • December - Christmas Day
  • December - Boxing Day
  • December - New Years Eve
Updates/Reports
How can I know what my child's routine is like when I am away?
I try to keep my blog as up to date as possible, about our activities etc. I am also free to chat regarding your child’s care and how their day/week/month has gone via text, phone or email. Please ensure that I have the most current information on file. You can access our blog for updates about our activities as often as I update it. You will also have access to a password protected page highlighting some of the basics about your child's day (ie. food eaten, diaper changes etc). Please click on the parent’s page tab on the site.

How do you keep in contact with parents?
Each of my children have been in some type of care. Sometimes things were said (to them or other children), or things happened that the staff did not inform me about…my kids did. If your child tells you something that you feel needs to be discussed, please call me and ask me about it.
On my end, I will try to document issues that come up/things that happen that can be upsetting to a child or to your family. If the issue involves another child/family, I will speak to both families and give an account of what has happened.

B) Daily Updates/Day to Day Issues
Every evening you can access your child's daily routine. This information can be found on the blog (click on the tab that says daily reports). This page is private & password protected, so only you can see the update. * Small Wonders is not liable, should you choose to share your password with a third-party. 

C) Photos
At Small Wonders I try to capture the many moments that you've missed. Please speak to me about having access to group photos or how to get your child's folder of photos.
NOTE: Small Wonders does not allow the use of group photos (photos with your child plus other children in Small Wonders) to be added to social media sites by either you or family/friends. Sending group photos to family & friends is a breach of security and privacy, and is grounds for immediate termination of contract.

Copyright
All photos whether watermarked or not are the sole property of SalmasVisualNotes for Small Wonders Dayhome. If you choose to upload one of my photos of ONLY your child to FB/Twitter or Instagram (to name a few), I simply ask that you give credit where it is due. 

D) Accidents/Incidents
In the event that your child is injured while in my care, I will fill out an accident/incident/boo-boo report form. These forms will outline the nature of the injury, where and when it happened, what was done to treat the injury, who witnessed the injury and was involved in the child’s care.  You are asked to sign this form upon pick up so that it may be placed in your child’s file.

Safety
What is your position on reporting child abuse?
Small Wonders dayhome will promptly report to the local Social Services Authority if I have any reason to suspect that a child brought into my care has been injured as a result of physical, mental, emotional abuse or neglect, or sexual abuse.

What is your policy about non-family members picking up a child in your care?
You MUST call me in advance if your child is being picked up by someone else (ie, not you or the other parent). The individual must be on the pick-up list (prior to phone call) and MUST bring photo id, and sign the child out. Please note: my contract is with YOU (the parents/guardian). I do not and will never discuss or give information to anyone (family or friend) about your child.

Are you prepared to deal with allergies?
Absolutely. I will do everything I can to accommodate the allergy. I also have personal experience with EpiPens and asthma inhalers.

Will my children be exposed to strangers in your home?
Aside from other parents who drop off/pick their child(ren) I do not have individuals in my home on a regular basis. If I have guests I will communicate this with you beforehand. If it is unavoidable (someone drops in), then I will be sure to let you know. Whatever the case, I will be careful to not expose your child(ren) to individuals that you/they do not know.

How often are toys cleaned/replaced?
We try to focus on natural toys as much as possible. Toys are regularly rotated so your child will have new things to delight him/her on a regular basis. 
Toys are cleaned once or twice a week in a simple water & vinegar solution...depending on illnesses (colds etc), I have been known to disinfect every night. They are also inspected for damage that may be hazardous in any way to the children. 

What is your emergency plan?
I am trained and certified in Standard First Aid & CPR (level c) and Child-care First Aid & CPR. In the event of an emergency I have a number of people including my husband who I will call to assist me. I also have an emergency escape plan for each level of the home. 
Parents are required to fill out an emergency contact form which I keep in an accessible place, with other impertinent contacts such as Poison Control, and of course Emergency and Rescue services.
In addition, a copy of impertinent emergency information is always taken on outings.

Fire Drills
We try to practice monthly fire drills together. These include a sounding of the alarm and an exit through the door to our meeting point (out back-away from the house). This way, the children know what to expect and are less likely to be frightened in the unlikely event of an actual fire. 
In addition, the older children and I have had discussions about fire safety. We have discussed things like Stop Drop and Roll, crawling if there is thick smoke, and never hiding when there's a fire.

Do you celebrate special events or holidays with the children?
Small Wonders takes a secular approach to holidays…we celebrate the seasons. We will likely make crafts to celebrate some events such as Mother's Day, Father's day, Valentine’s Day and Canada Day (to name a few).

Eating
Do you provide food or do I need to supply my own?
Yes I provide food for all meals unless dealing with food allergies.* 
All meals are cooked by my hands. ..Special events Do Not Apply. That being said, with children babies who are just starting the dayhome journey, it can get tricky, so it will be best to bring a few of their favorite snacks from home. See our menu tab.

When do you NOT provide food?
Regarding food restrictions. If your child has confirmed complex food allergies (gluten, dairy & egg allergies), then parents must provide 2 snacks and lunch, plus milk substitute (if needed) every day. 
As someone with various food allergies, it can be costly and time consuming to provide 2 sets of meals on a daily basis. 
When you are sending food, each meal must be prepared and packaged in a lunch bag/box, and ready to be served. Your child's fees will remain the same.

Transitioning
Important notice!!
All new children will be cared for, for a 2 week trial/settling in period beginning on your child‘s first day of care. During that time the parent or provider may terminate the childcare agreement with 24 hours’ notice. Note: I no longer allow parents to transition with children as it causes some confusion and anxiety to the other children in my care.

How can I help my child settle in?
Each child is different, so different approaches must be taken. At Small Wonders, I truly appreciate that it may be difficult for parent and child to separate (especially early in the morning). Here are some ways that we approach transitioning.

b) Integration to Childcare
The first few days of a child's entry into care have a huge effect on their experience. To ease the transition, there are several steps that are followed here:
1. The child attends the initial interview to see the environment and other children while we talk.
2.  On the morning of the first day of care, one or both parents stay for a few minutes to help their child settle comfortably. Once the child is happily playing, the parent says good-bye and leaves.
3. Future drop-offs are brief and pleasant. Long, drawn-out, emotional good-byes let your child know that you are worried about their time here - it can also upset the other children. Simply tell them you'll be thinking of them and know they'll have a wonderful day and you'll be back soon. 

c) Transition and Items from Home
To help ease the transition from home into care, I ask that you bring a small, favorite blanket of your child's for nap time. If they wish to bring a (treasured non-electronic stuffed animal, blankie, etc.), that is a welcome and is an excellent transitional tool. I also invite you to bring in a picture of your family, so your child will be able to see your faces, even while you're at work. It's also a great show-and-tell piece for kids who are older.
Note: Please do not send your child with any toy, or favorite objects outside of a blanket and furry friend. It is not fair to your child, or the other children. All toys sent with your child will be taken and put in a safe place until your return. If this becomes a serious issue, this could be grounds for termination of contract.

d) You can also help make things go smoothly by:
  1. bringing your child to the home by 9:00 for full participation in the AM activity
  2. calling, texting or emailing before 8:30 am if your child will not be attending.
  3. helping your child as he/she undresses, put his/her shoes away in the mornings.
  4. signing your child in at drop off and out at pick up.
  5. writing any relevant information in the log/communication book. 
  6. making sure you bring in diapers, wipes or extra clothing when they are requested of you
You can help respect the dayhome & other families by:
this is especially important for parents who come/attend events
  1. being a silent observer
  2. not/never engaging any other child in my care - even if the child is known to you
  3. not disrupting the routine/activity (ie. speaking on cellphone, directing children to do particular activities etc.)
Illness

**Please keep us up to date by calling, texting or emailing before 8:30 am if your child will not be attending.

What is your illness policy?
I require that all children in my care have up to date vaccinations. I ask that vaccination records be provided no later than 1 month after registration with Small Wonders. 

I understand that children can get sick suddenly and unexpectedly, please ensure that you have backup childcare in place. The dayhome has the right to refuse care to any child who is deemed too ill to be here. Exclusion from a program depends on several factors, the most important being the way the child is feeling and the best interests of the other children:

All parents must notify the dayhome immediately if their child is diagnosed with a contagious condition, so that the other families can be notified. Let's do what we can to ensure the health of all children and families of our dayhome. Please do not bring your child into care if they exhibit any of the following: (failure to do so could result in immediate termination).
 If your child is away from care due to illness, the full fee will be charged, as it is not possible for me to fill that spot.
  • fever over 37.3 degrees Celsius axillary (armpit) or 37.5 degrees Celsius orally (you need to take their temperature; they need to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning)
  • severe cold and/or cough
  • pink eye
  • scabies
  • head lice
  • impetigo
  • strep infection
  • hand foot mouth disease
  • whooping cough
  • measles/mumps
  • ringworm
  • vomiting (need to be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning)
  • cold sores
  • etc.
Vaccinations -Each child in the Small Wonders dayhome must be immunized. 
Vaccinations do have the potential for serious side effects, which may occur after the vaccine is administered. For these reasons, please ensure that your child's vaccinations are scheduled for a time when you can care for your child afterward. The best time to do this is often towards the end of the end of the day, preferably on a Friday. This way any adverse reactions can be handled at home where the child is most comfortable.

In the event that I am too sick to care for the children or have a contagious illness I will inform parents as early as possible so you can make alternate arrangements. 
*Fees must still be paid for sick days.

What if my child needs medication during the day?
If your child requires medication while at the dayhome you must:
  • Complete and sign a permission to administer medication form and a separate Medication Administer Form which will document times, dosage and additional information.
  • Provide all medication in the original container with child’s name, name of drug, doctor’s name and telephone number.
Medication (non vs prescription)
Prescription medication is anything that is prescribed by a Doctor (antibiotics, creams…anything prescribed by a Dr).
At Small Wonders my first priority is keeping your child safe at all times. One way we ensure this is by following our policy on medication which is used to protect your child. 
Should your child have a prescription that must be given during the day, you must sign the permission forms giving me the exact instructions on administering the medication. 

Non-prescription is over the counter drugs or creams. I am not authorized to administer non-prescription medicine without a Doctor's note. Should your child require a prescription plus a non-prescription medication, the Doctor's note must state that both are to be given. 
I will administer Tylenol/Tempra for teething, or immunization if you can provide a Doctor's note asking me to give Tylenol, Tempra or other non-prescription medication (and the note must specify the amount etc. The same goes with creams of any kind. The Doctor's note will be considered good for 48 hours unless otherwise specified by the Doctor. Sunscreen is not included in this section, but every (and) any other needed cream applies. 
I understand the frustration, and you can't always know what will happen, but this is the policy.

Child under the weather, sick, contagious?
If your child is not feeling well...carrying a fever - outside of teething or immunization, then he/she could be carrying an infectious disease and therefore should not be in the daycare.

Illness Policy Enforcement -A child must:
  • Be kept at home If/when he has a fever - it's hard to tell with younger kids as fevers are normal with teething, but other illnesses must be ruled out first. 
  • Be 24 hours without symptoms of exclusion ...do not mistake for 24 hours from initial onslaught of symptoms 
  • Have a Drs note if s/he is away from care for more than 2 days due to illness, OR had a fever, in order to be re-admitted.
Termination Notice: If your child(ren) exhibits signs of serious infections/illnesses and the details are not disclosed (or) if it appears (to the best of my knowledge) that you have /had knowledge of the illness and did not disclose OR if a child has a fever (not relating to teething, immunization), and is given medication to get the fever down and then sent to daycare the policy is as such:
1. There will be a verbal warning
2. A written warning will be  issued
3. Immediate Termination of contract - no fees will be returned.

Special Dates & Events
Do you celebrate birthdays & what should I provide?
A simple birthday celebration in which each child participates by baking a cake, setting the table and wrapping a simple educational gift is common practice. Please do not send treats with your child.  If you do not want your child to have a birthday celebration it is perfectly fine - a quick email or note to let me know this would be fine.

How can I find out about special events? 
While I send email & text reminders, as well as updates in my week-ending reports, it is essentially up to each family to keep updated with our events and special days. Please visit our calendar page often.

Are parents expected to participate in activities & events?
In our dayhome ensuring a general sense of community is a priority. Each family plays an important role in their child's daily activities. My goal is to work mutually with all families to develop and create a community that can ensure a positive, environment where each child in my care will grow and develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually. We would love to have parents participate in our activities/events. We will let you know if a particular event is open to family.

How can I help or participate in Small Wonders activities?
Donate items - Donation of items (books, crafty material, non-noisy toys) are always welcomed. Please see our Wishlist page.
Seasonal-
We celebrate the seasons in our work and play. You can help to reflect the rhythm of the seasons by bringing appropriate living or cut plants, decorations, etc...for our nature table or space. 
Special Events - You can accompany and assist us in events, and on outings whenever invited.
General - Do what you can to help with the skills/means you have. 

Privacy
Who has access to my child's personal information?
Small Wonders Dayhome respects the confidential data of the children and families. All information is kept locked and secured.

Please note, however, if your child is sick/carrying a contagious illness all parents must be notified of the illness and its severity. Therefore, it is possible that other parents might be able to identify the carrier of said illness by a process of elimination.

Your Contract
It is important to note that each contract, like each child is different in some way or another. Depending on when you signed a contract with Small Wonders dayhome you may have some privileges and/or limits (ie. drop off times, discounted rates, etc). While I am open to discussions about modifying aspects of your contract, I reserve the right to not have the discussion(s) as well.

Referrals
Referrals from parents are one of the greatest compliments I can receive.  At times when taking on new children into my care, or upon your departure from my dayhome, I may ask your permission to use you as a reference or for a letter or recommendation.

Do you provide any other services?
Your time with your family is important; I know a little bit about trying to coordinate a busy household and falling apart over the lack of family time or meal-planning. 
When you get home from work, I am sure that cooking is the last thing on your mind; however, the family must eat- and healthy meals should always be a priority. For an extra fee, I provide catering service for busy working families. Please inquire about rates and menu...more info can be found on the Small Wonders Eats site.

Grievances
As a mother, I understand the stress of trying to balance work and childcare. My aim is to make it as stress-free as possible. As your child's childcare provider, I am your eyes and ears when you cannot be there. 
I am open to being honest with you about issues that arise, however, I have learned that words don’t simply flow into practice especially when dealing with sensitive matters. If an important issue comes up, please send me an email and we will try to discuss it.  Please for the sake of privacy and time, do not discuss issues upon drop off or pick up. This can be stressful for those involved.

Who takes the photos & do you provide photographic services outside of SW?
I do. I love photography. I can often be found snapping away at something or someone all day, in fact,  my camera card is always full. Many of the photos seem quite basic, but I share them because they capture the essence of our days.
Yes, I do provide photographic services for birthday parties or photos shoots (preferably in nature). My style...in the moment with natural lighting works for me because I don't have to get fussy about props or keeping the little ones in place. Please speak to me if you are interested.

 My photos & writing
My work is mine and I love to share what I do. I have come to the conclusion that I can ask nicely that my work not be copied. It goes without saying that stealing is not cool. All the content on this website is copyright of Small Wonders Dayhome & Playschool & Salma's Visual Notes.  I work very hard to bring content, take and edit photos and share it all with you. Please (simply) ask me for permission if you would like to use my work. Thank you!


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