• To enhance growth and development through developmentally appropriate practices which promote physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being.
• To promote positive interactions between parents and children.
• To maintain the highest standards of health and safety.
Our program is based on the following beliefs:
1. Young children learn by doing.
They construct and acquire knowledge through interaction with the physical and social world. Children are motivated to learn by their desire to make sense of the fascinating world around them; their primary mode of learning is through play.
2. Teachers act as guides and facilitators rather than lecturers.
Since learning is based on the child’s sensory and motor development, teachers prepare the environment, observe children’s understanding, and work along with them answering questions and suggesting ways they can extend their activities. Through this practice new words and ideas are presented to children. This takes place in a classroom environment using a learning center approach, with ongoing changes in materials and activities.
3.Each child is unique.
This is expected, accepted, and used in the planning of appropriate activities. Children differ in their cultural, socioeconomic and linguistic background. Differences in abilities, maturation, and learning style occur in the areas of physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth. Experiences are provided to meet children’s needs in all these growth areas.
4. All interactions, activities, and learning materials are designed to develop self-esteem and positive feelings toward learning.
5. Exploration and opportunities to make choices are considered in the planning of classroom activities and in on-going daily routines.
Children are involved in discovery learning, and are expected to be physically and mentally active. Creativity and problem-solving are encouraged.
6. Children work mostly in small informal groups or individually.
Large group interactions are kept to short periods of time related to the development of the children in the group.
7. Materials used are concrete and hands-on.
They encourage child involvement and manipulation and are relevant to the child’s life experiences.
8. There is a focus on the development of self-control rather than adult-control.
This is fostered by the use of positive guidance techniques, including modeling, encouraging expected behaviors, redirecting, and the setting of clear limits. Opportunities for developing social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, and assisting others are provided to children.
9. An abundance of opportunities which provide meaningful experiences in language and literacy are included on a daily basis.
Appropriate activities include hearing stories, rhymes and poems, participating in dramatic play, and other experiences which allow for active communication by children.
The classrooms are set up in centers that allow children to move around freely and learn by doing. A planned classroom with appropriate play materials helps children develop and invites them to learn. The teacher acts as a facilitator by providing opportunities for children to play in the centers. The centers include materials for dramatic play, block building, reading, discovery, table activities, art, music, and sensory experiences. Centers support the program philosophy by allowing children the freedom to learn through many different types of play.
The curriculum we use is not a predetermined and fixed set of information. Rather, it is an ongoing plan of action, based on the program philosophy and the individual children enrolled in the program. Each semester, lead teachers cooperate to design a program of topics or themes. These are generally similar for all classrooms, but are implemented by each teacher to meet the needs of children in that group. Weekly lesson plans are written by each teacher. These are posted in the classroom for use by teachers and assistants, and are available for observers of the program, including parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment. Teachers’ plans for individual needs of children are kept in the child’s confidential file.
Children are provided with many opportunities for growth and learning in the following areas:
1. Knowledge. This includes facts, concepts, stories, songs, and other types of information which may be useful or enjoyable for the child to know. Material should relate in some way to the lives of the individual children, as well as being relevant to young children in general.
2. Skills. Skills are small units of action, easily observable, which occur in a relatively short period of time. These may include motor and social skills, printing, counting, etc., which can by improved through practice that is most often child initiated.
3. Dispositions. Dispositions are tendencies to respond to situations in certain ways, and can be thought of as habits of mind. Friendliness, creativity, curiosity, and cooperativeness are examples of dispositions which we hope to foster. They are learned primarily from interacting with those who have and exhibit these characteristics, and by being given opportunities to act in such ways, so that these behaviors can be acknowledged, appreciated, and strengthened.
4. Feelings. While some feelings may be innate, many are learned. Developing feelings of confidence, competence, and security is important for young children, and encourages the ability to understand and let others know what one’s particular feelings are at any given time.
In all four of these areas of learning, children should not only be exposed to, but actively engaged in the learning process. The total curriculum seeks to develop intellectual and personal competence by fostering the development of problem-solving skills, openness, autonomy, and personal integrity.
Guidance and Discipline
Guidance strategies we use are designed to help the child develop self-discipline. Teachers focus on modeling and teaching respectful interpersonal relationships with others rather than on the punishment of misbehavior. Physical punishment of any kind is never used. Language used with children during any incident of misbehavior may be firm, but is always respectful. Cool-off periods are used to assist in redirecting behavior. Parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment are encouraged to discuss concerns about appropriate guidance for children with teachers and the director.
The most common guidance strategies we use are:
• Modeling of expected behaviors
• Redirecting of inappropriate behaviors
• The expectation that children will act with kindness toward others
• The setting of firm and fair limits on behaviors
• The teaching, encouraging, and supporting of actions which show respect and fairness to everyone.
Three basic rules are taught and modeled:
• Be safe – we are careful in our use of all personal, classroom, and outdoor materials and we keep ourselves and others away from harm.
• Be kind – we respect and help care for all other living things.
• Be neat – we help maintain a learning environment that allows everyone to do their best, we clean up after ourselves, we do not waste resources, and we share materials.
The child development center is open from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm. Specific programming for Nexus’ residential services is from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Each lead teacher keeps a class schedule of which parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment may request a copy.
We serve the following meals which meet USDA guidelines for proper nutrition:
Morning breakfast 8:30 am – 9:00 am
Lunch 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Afternoon snack 2:00 pm – 2:20 pm
A meal schedule is posted on the parent board in the front lobby, or a copy may be obtained upon request. Children must arrive no later than 9:00 am in order to eat morning breakfast at the center.
All classrooms have scheduled rest time from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Since infants eat and sleep more often than older children, their feeding and napping schedule is more frequent and is recorded on daily sheets which track the amount of food consumed and length of naps taken. Daily sheets may be obtained from the teacher upon request.
We require white, plastic shoe covers to be worn in the infant classroom at all times. Please ensure to cover your shoes with the covers provided at the door to help us keep the floor clean and safe for crawling babies. Also, only two parents/guardians/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment should be in the infant classroom at a time. This will allow the caregivers to gather complete and accurate information on your baby daily. Please physically hand your baby to a caregiver upon entering the classroom. We also require that all parents and caregivers wash their hands upon entering the infant classroom. The sink is located by the changing station. In an effort to control infection please ensure to follow this policy upon entering the infant classroom.
Infant I & II Classrooms
It is a requirement that your child’s bottles, sippy cups and other food related items are labeled with his/her first name and last initial daily. A permanent marker is provided in each classroom to ensure proper labeling of your child’s equipment. Please ensure to re-label each day as the dish washer can cause labels from the previous day to disappear.
Toddler/Preschool/School Age Classrooms
Nexus CDC does not allow traditional flip flops to be worn in the child development center. If the shoe has a heel strap, it can be worn, but traditional flip flops pose a safety hazard for children when playing outside and should there be an emergency where children need to move quickly. Please ensure that your child is wearing appropriate footwear when coming to school. In the classrooms at Nexus your child(ren) will create art work from their lessons. Please check your child’s cubby daily to take home these precious creations. Also, please leave any personal items at home. It is difficult for the child development center to keep track of every child’s personal belongings such as toys, blankets, stuffed animals, etc… Since we cannot be responsible for lost items it is our policy that personal items are left at home.
One enrollment packet must be completed for each child attending the child development center. Please read and sign all appropriate pages in the packet. If you have any questions please ask the teacher or the director to clarify any information you may need. Enrollment packets must be returned to the center within 1 day of the child’s first day of attendance.
Nexus clients are not required to pay for childcare services while in treatment.
For customers, employees, and former clients, payment schedules should be discussed with the director upon enrollment. If you have not yet met with the director, please make an appointment to do so immediately to select a fee schedule and payment options. Nexus accepts CCMS or childcare assistance through the ChildCareGroup. All employee childcare fees are deducted through Nexus payroll.
A copy of your child’s immunization record that is signed by your child’s physician or other health care professional is required. If you are a Nexus client and your child is due for shots, let the director know and an appointment will be scheduled at the John West Clinic to have your child’s shots updated.
Vision and Hearing Screening
All children who are four years of age and older are screened for vision and hearing.
The child development center is open Monday through Friday from 7 am – 6 pm.
It is required that all children are signed in and out of the center in the blue notebook located in the lobby. If you have any questions about this process please contact the center director.
Arrival time for residential clients is 8:30 am – 8:40 am. Arrival times for outpatient clients are 8:50 am – 9:00 am, and 12:50 pm – 1:00 pm, depending on the session for which the child is enrolled.
Customers, employees, and former clients of Nexus should feel free to bring a child earlier or later than the stipulated times, as it suits their needs. A call to the center if your child will not be in attendance is appreciated.
When dropping your child off at the center, it is important to make farewells brief, positive, and cheerful.
Pick-up time for residential clients is 4:30 pm – 4:45 pm. Pick-up times for outpatient clients are 12:50 pm – 1:00pm, and 4:10 pm – 4:20 pm, depending on the session for which the child is enrolled.
Customers, employees, and former clients of Nexus are required to arrive no later than 6:00 pm. A late fee of $5.00 the first minute past 6:00 pm and a $1.00 fee for each additional minute thereafter will be applied if picking up a child later than 6:00 pm. After 45 minutes past closing, the child development center staff is required to contact Child Protective Services (CPS).
It is important to notify the center when:
1. Your child is going to be absent
2. Your child will be picked up early
3. Your child will be picked up by an authorized person other than yourself.
The center will be closed for the following holidays:
New Years Day
Additional days may be added or substituted.
Dismissal of Children
Children will be dismissed only to parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment and to persons designated by the parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment in the child’s enrollment packet. Designated persons should be personally introduced to the classroom teacher and should have proper identification. Please notify designees to use the blue notebook in the lobby to sign your child in and out. When a child is not picked up on time, we will make repeated attempts to contact family members and others listed in the enrollment packet. If no contact is made within 45 minutes after closing, staff is required to contact CPS.
Please give notice when you are leaving the program. It is important that teachers help prepare your child with this transition. If you continue in outpatient services at Nexus, your child’s file will remain open.
The center is open for residential clients during hazardous weather unless otherwise notified by the director. For daycare customers, the center is closed if the Dallas Independent School District is closed.
Parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment are encouraged to talk to teachers daily. If you have a concern, please bring it to the teacher’s attention. Parent conferences are scheduled on an as needed basis and may be requested by the teacher, parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment, or director. If a matter cannot be resolved between a parent and teacher, or if the parent has further concerns that need to be addressed, you may request to meet with the director. If the concern or complaint leads you to suspect that a licensing standard is not being met, you may direct your concerns to the Department of Family and Protective Services at 1 (800) 252-5400 or visit www.dfps.state.tx.us.
The center participates in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a federal program that provides healthy meals and snacks to children receiving day care. We receive a reimbursement based on the number of meals and snacks we serve. Monthly menus are carefully planned to meet the nutritional guidelines of the state child food program. A copy of the menu is posted on the parent board in the lobby and is available upon request.
If you have questions or concerns you may contact the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) at 1 (800) 795-3272 or the Food and Nutrition Division at 1 (800) 835-5832.
Written information concerning a child’s allergies must be provided in the enrollment packet. In addition, parents are requested to discuss a child’s allergies, medications, or other treatment, as well as any food limitations, with the child’s teacher as soon as possible.
All medications must be given to the child by the parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment. For residential clients, all medications must be administered from the Nexus Medication Room.
For children requiring nebulizers, inhalers, or any other special medical equipment, Nexus staff can and will administer treatment, as long as specific training has been provided to the teacher by a knowledgeable individual regarding use of the device.
Children should be kept home for the day if the following symptoms are present:
1. Temperature is 101 degrees or higher
4. Skin eruptions/rashes
5. Productive cough
6. Red rimmed eyes (with or without discharge)
7. Constant wheezing or sneezing
8. Mouth sores with drooling
9. A physician has diagnosed, or the director has reason to believe that a child may have a contagious disease.
10. Other symptoms that prevent the child from participating comfortably.
To return to the center, a child must be free from all signs of illness, including fever, for a minimum of 24 hours. If a doctor has prescribed medication, the child must be on the medication for 24 hours before returning to school. A doctor’s note stating the child can return to school is required.
Every precaution is taken to safeguard children against illness. If for any reason children are exposed to an infectious disease, all parents will be promptly informed. We request that you notify the director if your child has been exposed to infectious disease outside the center.
If your child becomes ill while at school, a quiet place for resting will be provided and we will notify you to pick-up your child.
Common illnesses among children include head lice and pink eye. Both of these conditions are highly contagious therefore children with either of these illnesses are not allowed to attend the center while conditions are present.
Early signs of head lice include itching and scratching of the scalp, and a child can return to the center when one treatment of medicated shampoo or lotion has been given.
Early signs of pink eye include red eyes, crust in corner of eye or on eyelids, discharge from corner of eye. A child with pink eye may return only when written permission from a physician has been provided to the center.
All staff members are trained in CPR and First Aid. Teachers can attend to minor scrapes, cuts and bruises. Should a child become ill while at the center, the parent will be contacted immediately. In case of severe illness or injury, the center will call 911 and follow the advice which is given, and also make immediate attempts to contact the parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment. All parents/guardians/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment have an obligation to inform the office in writing when there are changes of address, telephone number, or persons designated to pick up a child, so they can be easily reached in case of an emergency.
Nexus Recovery Center, Inc. which owns and operates the Nexus Child Development Center carries liability insurance on all children enrolled in the center.
In the event that a non-emergency incident occurs while your child is in our care, parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment will be notified in writing through an incident report. The report of how the incident occurred and the action that was taken is shared with the parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment and the parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment is required to apply his/her signature to the report indicating that it has been reviewed.
Fire and disaster weather drills are practiced on a regular basis. Nexus staff listens to radio reports during inclement weather to remain aware of changing conditions. Emergency information is posted near each door. The relocation area for Nexus is in the auditorium of the administration building. In case of an extreme emergency, teachers will take the children into the bathrooms in the center and remain low to the ground and away from windows. Nexus CDC has participated in formal emergency preparedness training and has developed an emergency preparedness plan and is registered in the Disaster Ready Database.
If you are on-campus during a drill or alarm, please do not come to the center to check on your child. The center’s staff is well trained and rehearsed in evacuating children from the building in case of fire, and protecting children during disaster weather. If a parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment comes to the center during a drill or alarm, protection of children may be compromised as teachers may not be able to remain in control of the children.
Staff makes every effort to prevent the spread of germs. We strive to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness, which includes required hand washing for children and teachers and instruction in hygiene to help minimize the spread of germs.
Since children who are afraid of getting dirty often refuse to engage in valuable learning experiences, clothing which can be easily laundered should be worn. Clothing appropriate for the day’s weather conditions is essential. Well-fitting shoes which the child can manage easily are important. Boots, thongs and some sandals are unsafe for many outside activities and are discouraged.
Learning center activities and outside play are part of the total day’s routine. All children will participate in both inside and outside learning center activities and should be dressed accordingly. On occasion when the weather does not permit outside play, children will engage in activities in the gross motor room located in the center.
During summer sessions the children may engage in water activities with signed permission from the parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment for each water event. All water activities are supervised carefully by teachers.
Occasionally we have opportunities for children to attend field trips. The Parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment will receive at least 48 hours notice before a scheduled event to sign the Field Trip Consent form and Transportation Waiver to allow a child to participate in an off-campus field trip.
The center provides a rich assortment of toys and learning materials. Toys should not be brought to school since they may be broken, lost or carried home by other children. The center cannot be responsible for lost or broken items that children bring to school.
The center provides refreshments and a birthday box for residential clients. All birthday parties should be arranged in advance with the classroom teacher. Customers, employees, and former clients are welcome to bring refreshments for the class if arranged with the teacher prior to the party. Items brought in from outside must be prepared and sealed by a professional cooking establishment (i.e., no homemade cakes).
Occasionally children may be photographed for class pictures, Nexus promotions, volunteer groups, etc… Only children with a signed media release in the enrollment packet will be able to have their picture taken.
Nexus Child Development Center provides resources and referrals for children who may need extra services. Upon admission into the center the teacher completes a behavior checklist on each child. If developmental delays are suspected, the teacher notifies the center director.
The center collaborates with the University of Texas at Dallas’ Human Development and Early Childhood Disorders department to provide developmental screenings (Denver II) on all indicated children as referred by the center director. Based on the results from this screening, the center director works with the child’s guardian to refer to the appropriate agency. When, and if, the referred agency begins services, Nexus CDC collaborates with the agency to align the child’s Individual Development Plan (IDP) with the goals of the special service agency. The IDP allows the classroom teacher to incorporate learning activities for the child that will target specific goals as indicated by the experts assisting the child. Nexus CDC keeps a resource binder on file with inclusive activities to use with children who have special needs.
Inclusion Enhancement and Support Project (IESP)
Nexus Child Development Center has participated in the Inclusion Enhancement and Support Project (IESP) provided by the Easter Seals of North Texas. This means that the center is an inclusive child development center that has received extra training and resources regarding early childhood inclusive practices. The center strives to unconditionally include children with disabilities and special needs in all of our programming.
Nexus Child Development Center is a breastfeeding friendly establishment. We provide a private room in the infant classroom for mothers to nurse their child(ren).
Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program
Nexus Child Development Center supports and promotes eligible client enrollment in the WIC Program. WIC's mission is to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care (www.fns.usda.gov/wic/aboutwic/mission.htm).
To contact WIC toll free dial 1-800-WIC-FOR-U or 1-800-942-3678.
If you have a problem or concern related to classroom activities, please speak to the lead teacher in your child’s classroom. If you envision that you will need more than a few minutes, or you prefer to talk in privacy, schedule an appointment time convenient to all parties. This meeting can be attended by the director or followed by a meeting with the director, if you choose. If you have a question or problem related to the overall program, to finances, or to other topics you deem to be more appropriate to discuss with the director, please schedule an appointment. If you feel your concerns have not been addressed to your satisfaction, please contact the Pregnant and Parenting Women with Children Program Director at extension 2107.
Child Abuse & Neglect
If we suspect a child has been abused or mistreated, we are required to report it within 48 hours to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and/or to a law enforcement agency. Failure to report child abuse or suspicion of child abuse is against the law in Texas. Child Abuse Hotline 1 (800) 252-5400.
Restraint Use on a Child
Restraint is only used when and if absolutely necessary if prompted by the child’s behavior in the following instance(s): Imminent serious physical harm to themselves and/or others and/or imminent serious property destruction. Any time physical restraint is used on a child a written summary is provided to the center director and to the child’s parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment.
The center does not discriminate against any child or family based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability. Reasonable accommodations will be made to provide services to all children enrolled in our program.
The center maintains confidentiality and respects the family’s right to privacy. Disclosure of children’s records beyond family members, program personnel, and consultants, having an obligation of confidentiality shall require familial consent (except in cases of suspected abuse or neglect).
This handbook has attempted to address the basic policies of our program. Parent/guardian/or person responsible for child at the time of enrollment may have many other questions relating to their individual child and family situation. We will be happy to meet with you to answer any questions and to listen to your suggestions at any time.
WELCOME TO NEXUS CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER!