For the Love of Learning™

Policies

Parent Handbook: Official Berry Patch Policies

Goals, Philosophy, Curriculum

As a Nationally Accredited (NAEYC) program, the primary goal of The Berry Patch is to provide a loving educational environment where each child will be nurtured and stimulated to reach his or her full potential in a Christian atmosphere. The program will be a combination of free-choice as well as teacher-directed activities. Your child will experience group play and individual learning in a warm, caring environment. Children will learn new skills in language development, art activities, small and large muscle development, music and rhythm, listening and readiness activities as well as social development skills. It is our desire to build each child’s self-esteem through the use of positive reinforcement.

Our philosophy is simple and ambitious. We continually strive to serve our children and families with the highest degree of excellence, creativity, love and joy. We believe the preschool years are the most important time in a child’s academic and social development and we share your desire to provide the best possible start for your child. We are dedicated to helping children discover their love of learning while developing the values and social skills required to excel throughout life. To assure this, our entire program is oriented around the following five core values: LOVE, JOY, RESPECT, CREATIVITY and FUN. We strive to begin each child on the journey of becoming a life-long learner.

Our Curriculum is a theme based, holistic approach to learning that follows the Minnesota Early Learning Standards developed by the Minnesota Department of Education. We also reference other nationally accredited curriculums such as Creative Curriculum and Ages and Stages.

We believe children develop on a continuum, therefore the goals for specific ages may vary from child to child, and modifications and adaptations may occur depending on the assessment and needs of each individual child. Our rigorous curriculum advances with each age group, Raspberries (18-23 months old), Huckleberries (2 years old), Blueberries (3 years old) and Strawberries (4 years old), as we focus on the following developmental skills throughout any given day:

  • Social/emotional development
  • Approaches to learning
  • Language/literacy development (emergent reading and writing)
  • Cognitive development:
    • Mathematics and logical thinking
    • Science (scientific thinking and problem solving)
    • Social systems
  • Creating arts
  • Physical development
    • Gross motor
    • Fine motor
    • Physical health/well-being
    • Nutrition

The Berry Patch looks to enrich the whole child — mind, body & spirit. Our hands-on, play-based morning program allows for much creativity as well as enrichment. The Berry Patch has developed Children Serving Others (CSO), which allows children to learn the importance of reaching out to others in our community and around the world through monthly service projects. Our objective with CSO is to help each child learn to become other-focused, rather than self-focused.

It is our desire that each child enrolled at The Berry Patch learns about the heart of God. Values like loving others, serving others and respecting one another are important to us. The Berry Patch is not formally affiliated with any particular branch of the Christian faith and our curriculum does not include specific religious content. We are pleased to welcome children of all faiths to our school.

Parents are welcome to visit our program at any time. We encourage and welcome parents to volunteer in the classrooms, on field trips and in other various roles, such as special events. Please see your classroom teacher to find out how you can get involved. Full Child Care Program Plan available upon request.

Preschool Classes, Afternoon Options and Specialists

Children are placed in age appropriate classrooms at the beginning of the year and remain there until May. The Berry Patch children do not experience changes with teachers during the school year, however, the following year they will transition into another classroom. We assist with transition by providing an open house before school begins each fall. For those children heading to Kindergarten, we provide information about the area public and private schools. Teachers also provide letters of recommendation for families pursuing private school options.

Your child will learn new skills in language development, listening and readiness, social/emotional development, art activities, music and rhythm, as well as small and large muscle development. Incorporated into each child’s daily schedule is 30 minutes of gross motor activity. Children will play outdoors, weather permitting, or in the indoor gymnasium where supervision remains a priority.

Toddler and Preschool Classes

Raspberries

Our 18-23 month old class meets at our Calvary location and is now our youngest group of berries! Children this age are eager to learn and explore new environments. We will provide a variety of activities to capture their young minds and interests through discovery times, art experiences and free play. Our teacher:student ratio is 1:5 which allows for individual and small group interactions. During this year, your child will grow in the ability to separate, show confidence in the classroom and make new friends.

Huckleberries

Our two year olds, children between 24 and 35 months of age, are experiencing an important stage of development; they are beginning to become more independent and inquisitive. Our teacher:student ratio of 1:7 provides individual attention and guidance during discovery times, projects and free play. During this year, your child will grow in his/her listening, sharing and independence skills.

Blueberries

Our three year old students are bursting with excitement and curiosity. The classroom and schedule are structured to meet the needs of this age group with a teacher/student ratio of 1:10. This year is a big year for your child as she expands her knowledge of the alphabet and numbers, communicates his thoughts and feelings through writing projects and Show and Tell, as well as develops friendships.

Strawberries

When a child enters the four year old classrooms he/she becomes a much anticipated Strawberry! We offer 3, 4 and 5 day Pre-K programs for this age group. Children are now showing more independence and their intelligence is expanding as they learn to communicate successfully, work well independently and within groups. The Strawberries’ portfolios become more comprehensive during this final year of preschool, as our teachers assist the children in developing the skills needed to transition seamlessly into Kindergarten.

French Fridays

This Friday only class is offered to a limited number of Blueberries and Strawberries, and is taught in partnership with Concordia Language Villages premier preschool program. This class is designed to immerse your 3 or 4 year old in the French language and culture. Your child will build confidence and foster curiosity about the world in this specialty class.

Afternoon Options

Please note that due to the structure of our afternoons, children must be fully potty-trained in order to participate in the following programs. We define potty-trained as child is wearing underpants (not pull-ups or diapers), able to communicate when they need to go, and able to go independently.

Please note that Lunch Bunch and PM Playmates will NOT be offered on the following Mondays due to monthly staff meetings. (Full Day Pre-K and Spanish Mondays WILL have lunch and regular programming on these dates.)

9/16, 10/14, 11/11, 12/9, 1/13, 2/10, 3/9, 4/13, 5/11.

Lunch Bunch

This optional program is offered daily from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm and is an opportunity for any of the children to bring their own lunches and dine with their friends. It is a social time where table manners are taught in a loving way.

P.M. Playmates

This optional afternoon program (1:00 – 3:00) is offered to Blueberries and Strawberries allowing children an extended time to play with their school friends. This is a structured program with curriculum that includes creativity in the classroom, large muscle activities, free play and some additional time with friends. A quiet story time offers them a few minutes of rest and relaxation.

Afternoon Adventures

Afternoon Adventures is offered to our Blueberries and Strawberries once a month (3rd OR 4th week) from 1-3 p.m. The afternoon will offer unique adventures in learning and playing. Some of the experiences children have enjoyed include: an afternoon with reptiles, special art projects with featured professionals from Abrakadoodle Art and Kid Create Studios, balloon animal art, face painting and magic shows. This is a fun way for children to spend the afternoon with friends.

Partnerships

The Berry Patch will again offer our outstanding Partnership Programs, which are designed to expose children to enriching extracurricular experiences in the arts, sciences and athletics. These partnerships will be offered in the fall, winter and spring from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. for the coming school year. All Blueberries and Strawberries are invited to participate.

Spanish Afternoons

We are thrilled to offer a weekly Spanish class option for a limited number of Blueberries and Strawberries from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Mondays (Calvary location) and Thursdays (Colonial location.) This class will help your child gain foundational vocabulary and cultural understanding about Spanish-speaking cultures. Our staff Spanish teacher, Zara Guevera, will lead this class for this small group of children.

Music

We have our own music teacher on staff and she holds weekly music classes for all age groups. Your child will experience classical, folk and international music with an introduction to instruments and movement. Students will have the opportunity to participate in our annual Christmas and Spring Concerts.

Spanish

As a global society, we feel it is important to offer an opportunity for our children to be introduced to another language. Your Huckleberry, Blueberry and Strawberry children will learn the beginning concepts of the Spanish language in a fun, creative way. At The Berry Patch, we know early introduction to a foreign language makes a smooth transition into elementary school where your child may continue to study a foreign language.

Library

The Berry Patch is blessed to have a full library at each of our locations, and you are invited to bring your child after pick up every Monday and Tuesday from 12:00 – 1:00. Come browse, check out a book, enjoy it at home, return it the next week and check out another! Children staying for Lunch Bunch on Mondays and Tuesdays will have a story time with our Librarian IN THE Library at 12:45. Blueberries and Strawberries may be picked up IN THE LIBRARY at 1:00. Huckleberries staying for Library and Story Time may be picked up IN THEIR CLASSROOMS at 1:00.

Summer Camp

Attending Camp Sizzle Berry is an exciting way for current students, incoming students and children who live in the area to enjoy a dynamic summer experience. This camp is staffed by our exceptional teachers who love and nurture children throughout the school year and look forward to creating new and fun programs for the summer. Camp Sizzle Berry is designed to engage children in a variety of stimulating, creative activities based on themes such as Island Adventures, Imagination Creations, Book Worms and Camping. Four of our camps are 2 weeks in length and held on Ts/Ws/THs from 9 a.m. to noon. We also offer Camp FRESHBerries – a Mommy and Me class for our incoming two year olds and Camp JAMBerries – a Kindergarten readiness camp for our outgoing five year olds. Both of these camps are held for three mornings in early August. All are offered at both locations and potty-trained children age three to five are invited to attend.

Learn More:

A Typical Morning at The Berry Patch

Arrival and Pick Up

Our school day begins at 9:00 a.m. and classroom doors will open at that time. Prior to 9:00 a.m., teachers are planning together and preparing for the day.

The morning program ends at 12:00 p.m. and parents are asked to be prompt in picking their students up. Should your child be staying for Lunch Bunch or PM Playmates, your pick up times are 1:00 or 3:00 sharp respectively.

Behavior Guidance

Each child will be provided with a positive model of acceptable behavior. Our behavior policies are designed to meet the developmental level of children attending The Berry Patch.

Children will be taught to use acceptable alternatives to problem behavior in order to reduce conflict. It is our policy to protect the safety of the children and staff while on the premises.

Immediate and directly related consequences shall be used for a child’s unacceptable behavior. Some examples of unacceptable behavior include: hitting, biting, and using unkind words. The staff will:

1. Observe and record the behavior of the child and staff response to the

behavior.

2. Notify parents in the event of continuous unacceptable behavior, and

work with parents to take action to improve the child’s behavior.

Full Behavior Guidance Policy available upon request.

Child Assessments

Our goal is to create a school that nurtures each child’s unique and special gifts and talents. Children’s development (intellectual, physical, social, and emotional) is assessed both formally and informally throughout the school year. Assessments take place within the classroom with developmentally-appropriate approaches, where teachers can evaluate children in the natural environment. Ongoing assessment of each child’s development allows our staff to work together to individualize learning and adapt teaching strategies as well as to reflect on overall improvements that can be made to our program. All staff receive ongoing training in best practices for observing and documenting your child’s development and sharing their assessments with you both formally and informally.

  • Formal Assessments are shared through individual conferences in the fall and spring. At this time your child’s teacher will share your child’s progress in person and through a written assessment of his/her intellectual, physical, and social/emotional development. Conferences are an opportunity for you to discuss with your child’s teacher how they are meeting your child’s individual needs.
  • Informal Assessments are made daily through conversations with the children and observations throughout the day. Teachers and Leadership Staff use observation notebooks to document children’s play and learning in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of your child’s progress and growth areas.
  • Please see the Director if you have questions or concerns about our assessment process and how it can meet the needs of your child.

If a teacher suspects that a child may have a developmental delay or another special need, this information is communicated to parents in a confidential and supportive manner. Teachers will provide documented accounts for the concern and share next steps for evaluation. Teachers work closely with the Leadership Team during this time to encourage assist staff and families in obtaining any needed support services.

Referrals 

As a child care provider, we continually monitor the development of all children in our care through ongoing observation and recording. We want the best outcomes for all children. Child care providers are considered a primary referral source for early intervention under federal IDEA special

education law. We are required to refer a child in our program who has been identified as having developmental concerns or a risk factor that warrants a referral as soon as possible, but in no case more than seven days after the identification. While this is a mandate, we want to communication openly with parents and caregivers about their child and any concerns we have before the referral is made. We can assist the parent with the referral or partner with them in the referral process.

Classroom Rules

We encourage positive, creative play in all classrooms. Please reinforce the following behaviors at home:

  • Be a good friend – share, be kind and respectful to others
  • Listen when others are speaking; wait for your turn to talk
  • Keep hands and feet to yourself
  • Use safety rules – hold onto hand railings, walk, wait your turn

Emergencies

In the event of a family emergency while your child is in our care you are asked to call your school location’s emergency and attendance line. The Calvary number is 952 221-9073 and Colonial’s is 952 232-9443.

In the case of a fire emergency, children will be evacuated and gathered in parking areas. If weather is a concern, Calvary students will be escorted to St. Peter’s Church, 5421 France Ave S, and Colonial students to the Edina Fire Station at 6250 Tracy Avenue.

Parents will receive school specific security procedures with this handbook and our full emergency preparedness plan is available upon request.

Field Trips and Community Resources

Field trips offer valuable learning experiences for children. Prior to the school year, a parent must sign a permission slip for his/her child, covering all field trips for the year. Transportation will be by school bus.

Our Blueberries and Strawberries will visit nursing homes during the school year, attend cultural or performing arts events, visit museums or nature centers, enjoy a Minnesota apple orchard and experience a working farm. We enjoy special visitors, both parents and community members, throughout the school year who share special talents, careers and cultures. We also have ongoing relationships with many community resource people.

Finances and Student Accounts

The Berry Patch is pleased to offer a multi-child discount for families with more than one child enrolled. You will receive a 10% discount off the tuition of each additional child enrolled.

Tuition payment is to be made by the 10th of each month, October through May. (September tuition is paid in advance). Please make checks payable to The Berry Patch and note your child’s first and last names on the memo line of your check. No cash, please. If you have chosen to have your monthly invoice automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account, it will be withdrawn on the 10th of each month after an invoice is issued. A $20 charge will be added to tuition for invoices not paid by the 20th of each month. Fees for Lunch Bunch and afternoon programming will be added to your monthly statements. Field trip fees for the year will be reflected in a one-time activity fee on a September invoice.

Please note that it is important to pick your child up promptly at 12:00 after the morning program, promptly at 1:00 if staying for Lunch Bunch or 3:00 if participating in afternoon programming. We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances that cause you to arrive late at some point. However, after the second late pick up, a written reminder will be given. There will be a $20 charge added to your invoice for subsequent tardiness. We appreciate your demonstration of respectfulness to our teachers and consideration of their time by being prompt.

If your account is three months overdue, your child will not be able to attend the program until the account has been paid in full.

Daily expenses remain constant throughout the school year. There will be no reduction in tuition for holidays, illness, vacation or other absences.

A non-refundable registration fee is required annually to enroll your child at The Berry Patch. These fees go towards classroom improvements for the school year. Parents are encouraged to complete an Automatic Withdrawal form upon enrollment.

Grievance Procedure

All parents are encouraged to openly communicate with the staff. If a parent has a difficulty or difference with a staff member, he or she is to contact the Director immediately. Director will promptly counsel with the teacher and develop a plan for correcting the situation. The parent will be notified of the action plan within 24 hours. If situation is not resolved, a parent meeting will be called to work toward a solution.

The primary language spoken by children and parents at the Berry Patch is English, however, The Berry Patch will secure a person to interpret conversation in native language if deemed necessary.

Health and Safety

The State Department of Human Services requires each student to have a health summary completed, including all immunizations up-to-date and on file, prior to the child’s first day of school. Please inform us of any updates regarding your child’s emergency contact information, health records and immunizations as changes occur. The health records are kept in a confidential file that can only be accessed by Berry Patch staff, child’s parents or legal guardians and legal authorities upon request.

  • Updates to children’s health and immunization records will be requested from parents in January.
  • The Berry Patch requires that all children registering for our program as of September 1, 2017 must be fully immunized without exception.

The Berry Patch asks that all staff, children and volunteers wash hands thoroughly prior to entering our classrooms. Children should also be taken to the restroom before checking in each morning.

If your child is not feeling well, please keep him/her home to rest. Your child will be exempt from the Berry Patch if he/she has the following conditions or has experienced them within the past 24 hours:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever (100 degrees or higher, taken under the arm)
  • Sore Throat
  • Excessive cold symptoms
  • Contagious Diseases (i.e., pink eye, chicken pox, etc.)

Your child may return to school 24 hours after symptoms have subsided.

Please report any contagious disease your child has developed to the school. The Berry Patch will notify all families whose children have been exposed in a confidential manner. It is our desire to maintain a happy, healthy and safe environment while your child is at school.

In the event of a health care emergency, The Berry Patch will do the following:

  • At the onset of notification that a child tests positive for a serious communicable disease, such as E. coli, The Berry Patch will report this to the State Health Department and follow their recommendations.

The Berry Patch will then:

  • Contact every parent within 24 hours of the notification of the illness.
  • Place a letter in each child’s cubby with information concerning the situation within 24 hours.
  • Close the facility for a period of time if recommended by the State Health Department.
  • Remove and sanitize all toys. Wash in dishwasher and use bleach sanitizer.
  • Continue to communicate with the parents through written documentation until the situation is under control.

If a child becomes ill while at school, your child’s teacher will notify the parents. In the event that a parent cannot be reached, the emergency number(s) on the Emergency Form will be called. The child will be removed

from the class and will remain with an adult until picked up. The parents of children who may have been exposed to illness will be notified with information on the illness from the Health Department.

In the event of an accident requiring emergency (urgent) attention, the child will be transported to the health care facility designated on the child’s Emergency Form. If not specified, Fairview Southdale will be used. In the case of an injury not requiring emergency medical care, the Director or Assistant Director will contact the parents first and the child’s physician, if needed.

If a child receives a bump on the body while at school, a cold pack is placed on the bump. If a scrape or cut occurs and is not an emergency situation, the wound may be washed with soap and water and a bandage or Band-Aid placed on the wound.

No medication will be dispensed at The Berry Patch with the exception of individually dosed Benadryl and/or Epi-pen in the case of an allergic reaction or a medical condition that is evaluated case by case (i.e., diabetes).

Please inform the school if your child has a special medical condition, needs, or allergies. We will work closely with you and your physician/specialist to create an Individualized Child Care Plan (ICCP) to be followed at The Berry Patch.

With the exception of diaper ointments provided by our families, The Berry Patch does NOT apply lotions such as sunscreen or bug repellents on the children; therefore we encourage you to apply protective lotions or sprays prior to attending school.

Hand washing is the best defense against spreading germs. The children will be taught how and when to wash hands. On field trips there may be an occasion that we need to use hand sanitizer. The use will be closely supervised and we will request parent’s written permission.

Children will experience outside play while attending the Berry Patch, therefore we want to remind you to provide appropriate clothing for the weather. If a child is not prepared for the weather we will make other arrangements for the child during outside play. The Berry Patch will ensure there is an opportunity to play in the shade on hot, sunny days.

Outdoor play will be suspended when weather is unsuitable to the safety of the children. This includes air pollution, high heat and humidity, extreme cold temperatures and wind chill. Please check the temperature by 8:00 a.m. Children will go out as long as the outdoor temperature AND wind chill are above 10° F. during the winter months.

The Berry Patch will continue to seek the guidance of community health resource people to maintain current health policies and will have our policies reviewed yearly by a Health Consultant. The Berry Patch will cooperate with state and local government disaster planning agencies working to prepare for or react to emergencies presented by a pandemic outbreak.

All staff members are certified in child/infant First Aid/CPR, and maintain this certification by renewing every 2 years as required by the Department of Human Services Licensing Division.

The Berry Patch will report serious injury, fire, death, animal bite or reportable diseases to the Department of Human Services. The Edina Police Department will be notified in the event of an animal bite.

All parents of children who are not potty-trained are responsible for providing adequate disposable diapers, wipes and ointments.

For children requiring diapers or pull-ups, parents are asked to provide those diapers and pull-ups that are commercially available and disposable. Staff will check children frequently throughout the morning and change them as soon as a wet or soiled diaper is detected. Clothing that becomes wet or soiled will immediately be changed, placed in a plastic bag and sent home that day for laundering.

Animals visiting school (for a specific reason related to the program, such as the MN Zoo Mobile) must be inoculated. Parents will be notified of any visiting animals (including pets.)

The Berry Patch is smoke free; therefore, please do NOT smoke in or on the grounds of the school.

Minnesota State Law requires that all cases of suspected child abuse and/or neglect must be reported by the school staff.

Parents will receive location specific security information in their Back to School Parent Packet that accompanies this Handbook. A copy of The Berry Patch Emergency Preparedness Plan is available upon request.

Hours of Operation

The Berry Patch is open Monday-Friday of each week, unless closed for a holiday (see School Calendar). The school year begins Tuesday, Sept. 4th, 2018 and ends Friday, May 24th, 2019.

Hours of Operation:

Morning Program: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. including French Fridays Monday – Friday

Full Day Pre-K Program: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday (+ Friday a.m. option)

Lunch Bunch*: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday – Friday

PM Playmates*: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday – Friday

Afternoon Adventures: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. monthly/3rd or 4th week

Partnership Programs: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesdays or Wednesdays (offered fall, winter, spring)

Spanish Afternoons: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays (Calvary) or Thursdays (Colonial)

*Please note that there will be no afternoon programming on these dates due to monthly staff meetings: 9/16, 10/14, 11/11, 12/9, 1/13, 2/10, 3/9, 4/13, 5/11.

Insurance

The Berry Patch carries Commercial General Liability Insurance.

License

The Berry Patch is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services – Division of Licensing in St. Paul, MN (651-431-6500). Parents are assured that high standards have been met regarding program, equipment, space and staff. The Colonial facility is licensed to accommodate 74 children ages 3-5 and 24 children ages 18-35 months each day. The Calvary location is licensed to accommodate 130 children ages 3-5 and 40 children ages 18-35 months each day.

Maltreatment of Minors Mandated Reporting Policy

Who Should Report Child Abuse and Neglect?

  • Any person may voluntarily report abuse or neglect.
  • All staff working in a licensed facility are legally required to report and cannot shift the responsibility of reporting to a supervisor or to anyone else at the licensed facility. If a staff member knows or has reason to believe a child is being or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years he/she must immediately (within 24 hours) make a report to an outside agency.

Where to Report

  • If a child is in immediate danger, 9-1-1 will be called.
  • All reports concerning suspected abuse or neglect of children occurring in a licensed facility should be made to the Department of Human Services, Licensing Division’s Maltreatment Intake line at 651-431-6600.
  • Reports regarding incidents of suspected abuse or neglect of children occurring within a family or in the community should be made to the local county services agency at 612-348-3552 or local law enforcement at 612-348-2345.
  • If a report does not involve possible abuse or neglect, but does involve possible violations of Minnesota Statutes or Rules that govern the facility, the staff member should call the Department of Human Services, Licensing Division at 651-431-6500.

What to Report

  • Definitions of maltreatment are contained in the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556) and are available upon request.
  • A report to any of the above agencies should contain enough information to identify the child involved, any persons responsible for the abuse or neglect (if known) and the nature and extent of the maltreatment and/or possible licensing violations. For reports concerning suspected abuse or neglect occurring within a licensed facility, the report should include any actions taken by the facility in response to the incident.
  • An oral report of suspected abuse or neglect made to one of the above agencies by a mandated reporter must be followed by a written report to the same agency within 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays.

Retaliation Prohibited

The Berry Patch shall not retaliate against the mandated reporter for reports made in good faith or against a child with respect to whom the report is made. The Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act contains specific provisions regarding civil actions that can be initiated by mandated reporters who believe that retaliation has occurred.

Failure to Report

A mandated reporter who knows or has reason to believe a child is or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused and fails to report is guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, a mandated reporter who fails to report maltreatment that is found to be serious or recurring maltreatment may be disqualified from employment in positions allowing direct contact with persons receiving services from programs licensed by The Department of Human Services and by the Minnesota Department of Health, and Unlicensed Personal Care Provider Organizations.

Primary and Secondary Person or Position to Ensure Internal Reviews are Completed

The internal review will be completed by the Berry Patch Director. If this individual is involved in the alleged or suspected maltreatment, the appropriate Leadership Team member will be responsible for completing the internal review.

Documentation of the Internal Review

The facility must document completion of the internal review and make internal reviews accessible to the commissioner immediately upon the commissioner’s request.

Corrective Action Plan

Based on the results of the internal review, the license holder must develop, document, and implement a corrective action plan designed to correct current lapses and prevent future lapses in performance by individuals or the license holder, if any.

Staff Training

The license holder must provide training to all staff related to the mandated reporting responsibilities as specified in the Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors Act (Minnesota Statutes, section 626.556). The license holder must document the provision of this training in individual personnel records, monitor implementation by staff, and ensure that the policy is readily accessible to staff, as specified under Minnesota Statutes, section 245A.04, subdivision 14.

The mandated reporting policy is intended to protect the rights of both the child and the accused staff member.

Nap and Rest Policy

All Berry Patch children may rest as needed. Each classroom has a quiet reading area that is a cozy place to take a break. Children who stay for full day preschool (1:00 – 3:00) will have the opportunity to rest. Resting children will not be required to remain on their mat for more than 30 minutes.

Resting mats will be placed on the floor and in such a way that there is clear space between mats for children and adults. Mats will not be stacked when in use. Resting children will have a quiet area to rest that is physically separated from children who are engaged in an activity that would disrupt the resting child. All children will be supervised by sight and sound at all times while resting by a teacher who is in the room with them.

Children who are resting will keep their footwear on in case of and emergency requiring evacuation. Families supply any blankets or stuffed animals desired for rest time and will take home daily.

Berry Patch staff will follow the surface sanitization Clean-Rinse-Sanitize procedure, as directed by our licensed Health Consultant, after the use of mats for resting.

Parent/School Communication

A Meet and Greet orientation will be held prior to the first day of school.

A monthly classroom newsletter will be written and emailed to inform parents of upcoming themes and events.

Monthly Director’s Newsletters and Parent Education Newsletters will be emailed to inform families of school-wide events and to encourage parents as they care for their young children.

Parents are asked to complete and return a “Let’s Get Acquainted” form before the school year begins which provides teachers with valuable information about the children. This Information is used throughout the year as teachers plan activities and prepare for conferences.

Communication is very important. All parents are encouraged to contact the teachers with any concerns that might arise during the school year. Staff will communicate (through notes, texts, emails, and/or phone calls) daily with the families of toddlers and weekly with preschool families. We are committed to collaborating with families to make sure all concerns are addressed.

Teachers are trained to practice confidentiality and thus encourage parents to call to discuss matters in a private manner.

Individual student records and student files are kept secure and confidential in a locked office. They will be made available immediately to Berry Patch staff members working with an individual student, the student’s parents or legal guardians, and regulatory authorities.

Written parental permission will be obtained before each occasion of research, public relations activity or additional professional observation or request of student information.

Our Annual Year-End Survey is an opportunity for parents to share feedback on their Berry Patch experience for that school year. Findings from the survey are used to guide improvements to program policies, procedures and activities. Findings are available upon request.

Please visit anytime!

Parking Lot Safety

Please note that our parking lots can be busy places with many cars coming and going. In keeping with our desire to prioritize safety for our students at all times, we ask that you use extreme caution while entering, parking, and exiting the lots. We strongly encourage parents to hold their preschoolers hands and monitor children closely while coming and going. Please remember that it can be difficult to see little ones while backing up, turning corners, and operating your vehicles.

The Berry Patch discourages leaving children unattended in automobiles and idling vehicles in our parking areas. Please bring siblings in the building with you at pick up and drop off times and do not leave your cars running unless absolutely necessary in extreme heat or cold.

Personal Items

Please dress your child comfortably for play. Children enjoy themselves more if they do not have to worry about keeping their clothing clean and they will be exposed to many kinds of art media (i.e., finger-painting). Protective shirts/smocks are provided.

During the school day the children will be going outdoors so please dress your child accordingly. During the winter months, children continue to go outdoors, unless conditions are extreme. We do go outside unless the temperature (including wind chill) is below 10° F by 8:00 a.m.

Please clearly mark all clothing (including hats, mittens, and boots) with your child’s name.

Potty-Training

Children entering our Raspberry and Huckleberry programs are not required to be potty-trained, however, it is our desire that children entering our Blueberries and Strawberries are fully potty trained. Our staff is happy to work closely with you as you navigate this process with your child. We define potty-trained as child is wearing underpants (not pull-ups or diapers), is able to communicate when he/she needs to go, and able to go independently.

Snack Time and Lunch Bunch

The Berry Patch is committed to providing a healthy snack each day. In accordance with our licensing guidelines we provide a snack with a minimum of two food groups represented and expiration dates of foods served are checked regularly. We do not offer foods that are choking hazards such as hot dogs, popcorn, raw peas, or hard pretzels. If teachers are serving foods at snack time that need cutting, they cut into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch squares.

Lunch Bunch

For children staying for Lunch Bunch, The Berry Patch follows and strongly encourages families to follow USDA requirements for healthy lunches. Please visit the USDA Website for a list of recommendations and serving sizes. In compliance with licensing regulations, The Berry Patch IS REQUIRED to supplement the following if NOT provided by the family: 1% milk, a serving of protein, grain, vegetable AND fruit.

Please remember to:

  • Label the outside of your child’s lunchbox with first and last names.
  • Provide a lunch with either non-perishable food items OR include an icepack or thermos for perishables.
  • Be sure all foods are cut in appropriate size pieces for your small child to prevent choking (for example, all grapes and olives should be cut in half or smaller).

Both snack time and Lunch Bunch are a social opportunities where good manners and interesting conversation are encouraged.

Nut-Sensitive School

If your child has special food requirements or restrictions, please notify a teacher promptly. Due to food allergies, we require that all snacks be store-bought and nut-free. Please carefully read labels to avoid nut products for all snack AND lunchbox items. We do not allow nuts or products manufactured with nuts at school.

It is fun to bring a special treat for your child’s birthday. Please consider items other than food to share with your class.

Transportation

Transportation to and from school is the responsibility of the child’s parents. Each child must be brought to the classroom and picked up by an authorized adult. We must be notified in writing those who are authorized to pick up your child. For your safety and that of your children, you are asked to supervise them very closely as you walk in the parking lot and enter the school buildings. Transportation to and from field trips will be provided by First Student school bus company.

Weather Related Closings

The Berry Patch generally follows the Edina Public School District’s plan for weather related closings in order to stay consistent with our primary community. Parents will be notified via email and text as early as possible in the event of a school closing. Tuition includes up to three school closings per school year. In the event that there are additional school closings, either additional days will be added to the school or families will receive reimbursed for missed days.

Contact Us

Molly Lounsberry Dykstra, Director & Co-Owner

M.dykstra@berrypatchschool.com – 952 836-1577 x2

Quay Mitchell, Assistant Director Program Administration

Q.mitchell@berrypatchschool.com – 952 836-1577 x1

Cara Terwilliger, Assistant Director- Calvary

C.terwilliger@berrypatchschool.com – 952 221-9073

Jenny Miller, M.Ed., Assistant Director- Colonial

J.miller@berrypatchschool.com – 952 232-9443

Carrie Lounsberry, Finance Director & Co-Owner

C.lounsberry@berrypatchschol.com – 952 836-1577 x5

Becky Danielson, M.Ed., Licensed Parent and Family

B.danielson@berrypatchschool.com