Parent Handbook

Welcome to the Child Studies Department Early Childhood Education Programs at West Valley College. This handbook is designed to familiarize you with our program policies and will help you to understand how the Child Development Center operates. We hope your experience with us is positive and rewarding.

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General Information

Our non-profit on-campus child development program is designed specifically for students, college staff, faculty, and local community families with young children. We are licensed through the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Title 22 regulations and administered through the Child Studies Department at West Valley College. Currently, funding for tuition subsidy for low income families is received through the Office of Child Development in the State Department of Education. Therefore, Title 5 regulations are also followed.

The programs are part of the Child Studies Department and are uniquely involved in the academic life of the college by serving as a teacher training and observation site for students and parents. The program is operated on a non-discriminatory basis, according equal opportunity for access to services and employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or sexual preference. No religious instruction of any kind is provided. Children are enrolled according to admission and eligibility policies or waiting list procedures established and monitored based on State Department of Education funding requirements.

Our early childhood program consists of classrooms which are designed for children two to five years of age. The program operates daily, Monday through Friday, 12 months a year.

Education Philosophy

Children deserve to be in an aesthetic environment that respects and understands the process of growth and development of the child. We believe play is the natural medium through which growth and development can best be realized for each child. Therefore, we reflect an emergent developmentally appropriate curriculum in a natural setting.

Play and Emergent Curriculum

While children play, they put their ideas into action. They learn to communicate effectively. They discover how to get along with other children. They make things happen and enjoy a sense of competence. Play allows children to experiment and problem solve. It fosters the ability to focus attention and to concentrate for long periods of time. Play provides opportunities for children to express their thinking and feelings. It requires authentic learning experiences, fosters imagination and encourages children to generate creative ideas.

Learning experiences are developmentally appropriate and are matched with the age of the child, their individual interests, their abilities, and their temperament. Workbooks, coloring books, and pre-cut art materials are ready-made adult models for children, that provide little or no opportunity for individuality and creativity. A rich array of natural materials and authentic learning experiences enables the child's involvement in a full range of activities.

Learning experiences are child-directed rather than teacher-directed. Children are presented with many opportunities for selecting materials, initiating activities themselves, participating in activities others have chosen, and following through to satisfactory completion. Children are given ample opportunity and time to discover, invent, create, feel, taste, touch, and enjoy a full range of activities within the classroom and college campus.

The curriculum is ethnically diverse, non-sexist, and anti-biased as demonstrated by use of appropriate learning materials, books, pictures, and foods. We have a diverse staff and are often assisted by our parent and student groups in providing ethnic and cultural experiences, food, dress, and celebrations. It is our goal to create an environment and foster interactions that provide children with the opportunity to:

  • Foster a spirit of inquiry and critical thinking through an emergent, play-based curriculum
  • Appreciate nature, the outdoor environment, and the outcomes of sustainable practices
  • Develop a positive self-concept and health self-image.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with teachers and peers based on mutual respect and trust through a developing understanding of the social and cultural environment
  • Commutate effectively
  • Build physical strength, skills, and muscular coordination
  • Practice safe and healthy nutritional and self-care habits
  • Develop problem-solving skills and to think creatively
  • Manage emotions and express feelings appropriately

Policies and Procedures

Sufficient blocks of time inside and outside set the framework for children to become engaged in activities in small groups or individually. Classroom schedules are designed to be flexible and to meet the needs of the group of the day. Morning snack is served around 9:30 a.m. Lunch is served around 11:30 a.m., and an afternoon snack is offered to children after 2:30 p.m. Rest time is generally from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A current daily schedule is posted on the outside bulletin board.

Documentation of children’s play and curriculum activities are a vital part of our program. Consequently, classroom teachers and supervised students may frequently photograph children while they play. These photographs and videotapes may be used in parent teacher conferences, for educational purposes on bulletin boards and photo displays, in campus newsletters, and in articles about the West-Valley-Mission Community College District Child Studies Department.

We strongly encourage parents to visit the center, converse with the teachers, and participate in the program as much as possible. More formal parent-teacher conferences are scheduled each semester. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to make an appointment with the teachers or the program director. We look forward to meeting with you.

Parents are a vital and important part of our early childhood program. We talk to parents regularly about their child’s experience in our classes. Parents are encouraged to assist us in presenting authentic cultural experiences for our children by visiting the classroom, providing cultural dress and food items for activities, providing cultural music and language experiences, and teaching us about cultural celebrations that they regularly observe. Family potlucks and parent-teacher conferences are part of our program.

West Valley College Child Development Centers maintain an open-door and inclusive program. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, gender, mental or physical disability, race, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, sexual orientation, or national origin. No religious instruction of any kind is provided.

Children who are medically fragile and/or have physical or mental disabilities may be enrolled if it is determined by the director, teachers and parents, after a period of observations and discussions, that the program is appropriate and the individual needs of the child can be reasonably accommodated within the group experience.

Each year the West Valley College Child Development Centers plan staff development activities, events, and opportunities. All newly hired staff members attend a staff orientation and receive a staff handbook. Staff attend weekly classroom meetings and all classrooms meet together monthly. Staff attend bi-annual meetings before Fall semester and before Spring semester with all faculty. We have numerous staff development days scheduled into the school calendar allowing our staff time for training and development. The staff is encouraged to attend local state and national conferences. The staff are encouraged to continue their education to earn advanced degrees in Early Childhood Education.

Please do not discuss children or their behavior while in their presence. All adults coming into the center and outdoor classroom are role models for our children. Consequently, we expect all adults to behave in an empathetic, courteous, respectful manner with the children and with each other at all times. The Child Development Center is not to be used as a place to settle disputes, school/work, personal, or related issues. No smoking is allowed on the center premises or front walkways or within 25 feet of building and outdoor classroom.

We ask parents to stay off their cell phones while dropping off or picking up their child. Your child needs your undivided attention when saying good-bye to you. And they need your full attention when greeting you at the end of their day. Please give your child the respect of putting them first – phone second.

Student Teachers are not allowed to use cell phones during their paid time with children. Master Teachers may us their phones to photograph children - but only for documentation purposes. Master Teachers may also use their phones to email parents when necessary.

Limit Setting Philosophy

The physical environment and general atmosphere of our Early Childhood Programs are designed to be safe and to encourage age-appropriate behavior from young children. The limits or rules set by the teachers for the children are simple and consistent. A positive approach is used with children in ensuring their safety and social-emotional well-being while in the program. Depending on age, temperament, and individual needs of a child, the following techniques and accommodations are used to foster cooperative, peaceful, and safe behavior of children in our programs:

  • Modeling and recognizing acceptable behavior.
  • Recognizing each child’s individual needs.
  • Structuring or modifying the environment and schedules as needed.
  • Anticipating and eliminating potential problems.
  • Planning routines to allow children a successful mix of choice and structure.
  • Engaging children in purposeful activities.
  • Recognizing and encouraging children’s attempts at solving their problems.
  • Identifying and discussing what a child might be doing and feeling.
  • Stating what a problem is and discussing ways to respond.
  • Giving choices.
  • Encouraging children to use their words and social problem solving abilities.
  • Redirecting a child’s attention to another activity or area of the room.
  • Using natural or logical consequences

The expression and practice of time-out is not used. When consistent unsafe behavior persists, the child’s actions will be stopped. For example, this includes instances of physical and verbal aggression towards other children or teachers, bullying, inappropriate throwing of objects, kicking, biting, and hair pulling. When necessary, the teacher helps the child move away from the existing situation and directs the child to another activity in the room. When children are asked to leave a play situation because of unsafe behavior, the teacher gives a simple explanation of the situation and the reason why the child is being asked to leave. The child is able to return to the play situation as soon as both the teacher and the child feel the child has calmed down and can behave safely and cooperatively.

Daily Procedures

The Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing requires that each child is signed in daily upon arrival and signed out daily (using full legal signatures) by an authorized adult when leaving the CDC. Children will be released only to authorized persons whose names are on the emergency forms. If an adult, who arrives to pick up a child is not recognized, name and photo ID will be requested and verified on the child's emergency list. If the name is not on the emergency list, the child will not be released. Parents or guardians will be contacted immediately.

Children are expected to arrive at the center before 9:30 AM If your child has not arrived at the center by 10:00 AM and you have not contacted the center to notify the teachers you will be late, your child will be considered absent for the day.

Families are expected to adhere to their contracted hours. Children are to be picked up by or before contracted time. A LATE PICK-UP FEE will be assessed per family and based on “cell phone” time after 12:30 PM for part day schedules and after 6:00 PM for extended day schedules.

Parents must email the director ( if their child will be absent for any reason; or leave a voice message on the director’s telephone line (408) 741-2152.

Families who receive full or partial subsidy from our state subsidy contract are allotted 10 “Best Interest” days per fiscal year – absences that are in the best interest of the child’s health and well-being (for example: family vacation, grandparent visiting, child needs time with parent at home, etc.). An absence of any kind must be indicated on the child’s sign-in sheet and initialed by the parent. If a child is absent without notification for three or more days, termination of services may result.

Parents are required to fill out an emergency form, medical release form, and family plan for disasters prior to the first day of attendance. It is the parents’ responsibility to keep these forms current. The CDC staff will care for minor cuts and scrapes at the center. Parents receive an incident form documenting the injury and treatment. In the event that a more serious injury occurs, parents are notified at once. If necessary, the authorized persons and/or specific directions designated on the emergency card will be followed. Otherwise, the child will be taken to the Student Health Center on campus and appropriate emergency medical treatment services and procedures will be followed as deemed necessary.

The teachers will respond to an emergency on campus or in the community such as fire, floods, and earthquake, as specified in the WVMCC District emergency handbook. If necessary, children will be evacuated to the parking lot adjacent to the center. Emergency food and water are stored on campus. Teachers will remain with the children as long as necessary. Children will be released only to authorized persons whose names are on the emergency forms.

Teachers and parents collaboratively decide when the child is ready to begin the toilet learning process. We believe this process should take place in a relaxed environment with the understanding that each child has his/her own timeline. If your child is wearing diapers or training pants please discuss the toilet learning process with the classroom teachers. For those children wearing diapers, teachers follow state health and safety procedures for changing diapers. Parents are responsible for providing disposable diapers and wipes for their child.

Each child has a cubby with plastic container at the center to hold extra clothing and nap items for the day. Please make sure your child has an extra pair of socks, underwear, long pants and a shirt in their cubbies at all times. We strongly recommend that you label your child’s clothing, especially jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts. If your child will be napping at the center, please bring a blanket that can be left at the center. Children are asked to keep food items, gum, candy, and toys at home. Parents are expected to keep a fresh supply of clean clothes in their child’s cubby box at all times.

On special occasions, children may bring a special book from home to read at Gathering (circle time) to celebrate birthdays or holidays. Please discuss your plans with staff prior to the celebration.

A morning and afternoon snack are served daily. The program will provide lunch and milk. Weekly lunch and snack menus are posted on the outside parent board.

Special food requirements or food allergies must be identified during enrollment. Parents must obtain written information from the child’s physician about the food allergies. Specific written instructions are to be included on the enrollment forms, and discussed with center staff. Parents may need to supply food items for their child if the CDC is unable to meet the special food requirements.

Health Policies

Teachers may administer prescription medication, asthma medication, inhalers or Epipen injection. Instructions from a physician must be clearly labeled on the original prescription container. Nonprescription medications must be administered in accordance with the product label and there must be written approval and instructions from a parent/guardian before giving medication to the child. Parents may visit the center at any time and administer medication themselves.

State licensing regulations require that all children have a medical examination upon entrance into the program or as needed. The child must be fully immunized according to age specific regulations prior to enrollment. A physician must sign a Health Evaluation Form/Physician Report indicating the child has had the medical examination and immunizations are up-to-date. This form must be completed within 7 days of enrollment.

Children must stay home with the following symptoms are evident:

  • Fever: 99.6º orally, 98.6º rectally or tympanic (ear), 100.6º auxiliary (under the arm) before fever medicine is administered. Child must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Colds and Runny Noses: runny nose with fever, lack of appetite, lethargy, or irritability; runny nose which is yellow or green for more than a week; runny nose plus other signs of illness. Any symptoms that persist for two or more weeks usually require medical attention. Child can come to center with clear runny nose if there are no other symptoms.
  • Cough: a wet, wheezy cough with mucous secretion.
  • Ear Infection: with fever, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, loose stools, drainage, irritability, tugging on ears. Child may return to center when on medication and 24 hours after symptoms are gone.
  • Eye Infection: with yellow or green drainage. Child must be on medication 24 hours and have very little drainage before returning to center.
  • Vomiting: recurring or with fever. Child must be free of all symptoms for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Skin Infection or Rash: with drainage.
  • Lice or Scabies: Child may return to the center after appropriate treatment and shampoo.
  • Diarrhea: All cases of diarrhea must be reported to the center. Diarrhea has more serious consequences than catching a cold. Severe dehydration can lead to hospitalization. The risks of spreading diarrhea are more serious than the risk of spreading colds. A child must stay home if they have: 2 or more watery, loose, or mucusy bowel movements and/or additional signs of being sick (fever, runny nose, lack of appetite). Child must be symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school.

Grievance Procedure

In the event of a situation that involves difficulties and/or differences among classroom staff and parents, every effort will be made to resolve the issues as follows:

  • Parents shall inform the director of their concerns – either in person, via telephone or email: Anne Horgan, Program Director: (408) 741-2152 or
  • Every effort will be made to resolve the parent concerns. If necessary, the director will hold a special conference among the different parties to attempt to further resolve any issue.
  • Questions regarding the director should be brought to: Leslie Hotta – Child Studies Department Chair: or (408) 741-4603

Other Information

  • The Department of Social Services has the authority to interview children or staff, and to inspect and audit child or Child Development Center records without prior consent.
  • The West Valley College Child Studies Office reserves the right to modify and/or terminate contracted attendance schedules in the best interest of the child.
  • For information or questions concerning enrollment and scheduling, subsidized tuition contracts, • licensing information (Title 22 and Title 5), tuition fees, and payments, contact the director: Anne Horgan, Program Director: (408) 741-2152 or

Contact Information

West Valley College Child Development Center
14000 Fruitvale Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070

Room Phone Number
CDC Office (408) 741-2152
CDC Fax (408) 741-2659
Oak Classroom (408) 741-4134
Acorn Classroom (408) 741-4001

*In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;. fax: (202) 690-7442; or email: This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Last Updated 7/18/19