Frequently Asked Questions
My child was running a fever last night, but I gave them some medicine and they are not running a fever now. Can I bring them to school this morning?
Children have to be symptom free, including fever free, for 24 hours before returning to school. This is one of the ways we can be effective in controlling the spread of sickness to other children and staff within the Center.
If I send medicine for my child, can you give it to them during the day?
First you must complete a Medication Authorization/Release Form. This form is located in the school lobby in the information holder on the wall. Complete the form and turn it into the morning staff and the school administration staff will gladly administer the prescribed dosage as needed.
What!! My child has head lice? What do I do?
Once detected by our school staff, we will call you to pick up your child. You will need to take them home and immediately treat them for these pesky critters before returning your child to school. Upon arrival at school, our staff will check the child before you leave to make sure they are clean of all nits and live bugs. If you have questions about the proper procedures for handling this very common childhood problem, just check with our office and we will gladly visit with you.
Oh no! Not Pink Eye! Now what?
Pink eye is highly contagious! If we suspect your child of having pink eye, we will call you to come to the school and pick them up. A doctor visit or phone call with a positive diagnosis of pink eye will usually result in prescribed eye drops for the child. After 24 hours of being given the eye drops, the child may return to school.
Do you take the children out when it's really hot or cold outside?
DHS requires that all children have at least one hour of outdoor play per day in SUITABLE weather. Anything 32 degrees and below and a heat index of 90 degrees and above is considered unsuitable. Parents are strongly advised to always dress their children accordingly for the weather.
Where do you go with the children when it's bad weather outside?
In accordance with DHS regulations, CCC practices monthly tornado and fire drills with the children. During severe weather, the Administration of CCC stays abreast of all weather conditions via television and radio alerts. The main hallway through the gym doors leading into the church is our “safe” place. In the case of a fire, the children leave the building through designated exits and walk single file out to the curb by the street or the grassy area in neighboring yards.
What about inclement weather and closings? How do we find out?
Cavanaugh Children’s Center follows the Fort Smith Public School’s (FSPS) inclement weather policy. If they are closed or close during the day, then CCC will follow suit. The school Director will wait to see if the FSPS close before making a call to both Channel 40/29 and Channel 5 to list CCC as closed. During inclement weather, all parents and guardians should be on alert as to the weather conditions and stay in touch with our Center as to any possible early closure. The Administration of CCC will make every effort to contact parents if an early closure should occur. An email will be sent out to all families at every email address on file. Channel 40/29 and Channel 5 will be contacted. With 100 children enrolled, it would be impossible to call each family personally.
What meals are served and when?
Breakfast is served at 8:00 a.m. each morning to all children in their classrooms. A mid-morning snack is provided around 9:15 a.m. Lunch schedules start at 11 a.m. for the Waddlers and Toddlers and end with the K4 children going to lunch at 11:20 a.m. After nap, around 2:15 p.m., a snack is provided as well as an additional snack for those children still in attendance around 4:30 p.m.
My child has food allergies. What needs to be done about meals?
A monthly menu is provided to all parents for their information. The kitchen staff can provide a list of all ingredients used in the foods prepared. If a child with allergies is unable to consume any of the foods prepared or snacks given, then those families will have to provide to CCC substitute foods, snacks or meals suitable for that child’s needs. CCC will provide refrigeration and storage of any foods supplied by parents by children with medical allergies.
Can my child bring their lunch to school?
Yes. Families may send their own lunch to school with their child. However, it must meet nutritional guidelines as mandated by DHS and the US Department of Agriculture. Any foods sent from home must NOT require heating before being consumed by the child. Foods can be refrigerated. All containers sent to school with foods items MUST be labeled with the child’s name.
Can I eat lunch with my child?
Yes. However, you must let the school office know before 10:00 a.m. that you will be joining your child for lunch so that the kitchen staff can prepare enough food. It is also acceptable to bring lunch with you from an outside source for both you and your child to consume at lunchtime –i.e., McDonald's.
Can my child bring their own snacks?
Only under two circumstances: One – if the child has food allergies you will need to supply their own snacks. Two – you may supply snacks, but you have to send enough for all the children in your child’s class. All foods brought to the school to be consumed by the children must be store bought. No homemade products are allowed.
What do the children drink during the day?
CCC is a firm believer that children and adults need to consume more water! Therefore, children drink water with their breakfast and afternoon snacks. 2% milk is served with lunch. Whole milk is provided to our children in the 12 months to 17-month classroom only. At no time are sodas or soft drinks served to the children. Only 100% fruit juices may be served - but only occasionally. "Party days" will usually consist of fruit juices.
Can my child bring their own breakfast to school and eat it in class?
If you are providing a breakfast meal for your child and want them to eat it at school, you will have to stay with them in the school lunchroom while they consume their foods. Staff will not be available to sit with your child in the lunchroom at that time. They will not be able to consume these foods in the classroom in front of the other children.
It's my child's birthday. Can I hand out invitations at school?
No. Names and addresses of those parents who signed the Birthday Policy in the Registration booklet will be provided to you upon request. Invitations must be mailed. By mailing out invitations, your child can privately pick and choose who they want to invite to their party. We would not want the uninvited children to have their feelings
Can I bring food, drinks and other items to the school for my child's birthday?
Certainly! However, you must provide enough for the entire class. All food items brought for the children’s consumption must be store bought. Homemade food items are not allowed.
What do I need to provide for my child for their nap time?
CCC provides each child with their own "cot” for nap time along with a special cot sheet and attached coverlet. Families are allowed to send a travel size pillow for their child to use on their cot at nap time. We will also accept a small child size blanket for their use at nap time. These items must be able to remain at school each day. We will send home any personal pillows and blankets for laundering when necessary.
My child doesn't like to nap. Do they have to take a nap?
No, they do not HAVE to take a nap. We do NOT force them to go to sleep. However, they are required to lie on a cot and rest during nap time. Usually, a TV is on in the classroom or nap area for those children who are not “nappers”. It is our experience that most children, once they get still, will fall asleep – even if it’s briefly. This is not a bad thing. Adequate rest is critical for all children and their development. Parents should plan ahead at home for their child’s bedtime procedures and timing – adjusting to the fact that they will be napping and potentially sleeping at school. It is strongly advised to NOT allow a child to “sleep-in” in the morning and then bring them to school close to lunch and nap time and expect them to rest quietly with us. This will ultimately result in a non-positive time for your child.
Can my child bring a favorite toy or something to sleep with at nap time?
Yes AND no! Yes, your child may bring a favorite small pillow or blanket to be left on their cot for their nap time each day. We strongly request that this item be allowed to stay each day and not have to be sent back and forth from home to school each day. No, your child may not bring a toy or stuffed animal etc. to school for nap time each day. This will prove to be more of a distraction at nap time and something that could ultimately get lost, stolen or broken. CCC will not be responsible for keeping up with nap time toys.
How often do you clean the sheets and blankets the children use at nap time?
Each class is assigned to a day of the week in which they are responsible for laundering their student's sheets and attached covers. Any blankets and pillows sent from home will be sent back home for the parents to clean. CCC does not want to be held accountable for ruining any blankets or pillows sent from home. Many of these items have special meaning or sentimental value. If these items are sent home, you should send them back the next day for your child's nap time use.
What is your chapel time all about?
Chapel time at CCC is non-denominational. Even though we are a Free Will Baptist Church, we do not teach any of our doctrine during our Chapel time. Chapel time consists of basic Bible stories and songs about Jesus and Bible memory verses. Chapel time is held daily in each classroom by the teacher. However, once a week, Brother Johnny, the Children's Pastor of our church, leads the chapel service in his "western" gym. The children all love Brother Johnny and you'll hear his name quite a bit. He's a cowboy and loves to give out candy to the boys and girls.
Does my child have to attend chapel every day?
Yes. This is a daily part of our curriculum and a critical part to our ministry and private Christian preschool philosophy.
Will my child be forced to pray every day? Will you teach them to pray?
Before every meal and snack, we lead the children in a group prayer. A child may volunteer to lead the prayer and they will be allowed to do so at that time. We lead the children in prayer at chapel every day and at other group activities within the school. The children will learn to pray by listening to the adults and other children who volunteer.
My child wants to bring a toy or some other item to school every day. Is that OK?
We do not allow children to bring toys from home. Toys from home are always a distraction in the classroom and at playtime. The CCC staff cannot and should not be expected to keep up with the toys that children bring from home.
How do you discipline the children?
The first method of discipline is always to "re-direct" the child or children away from the negative behavior or problem area they find themselves in. Then, if this proves to be unsuccessful, the child will be placed in "timeout". The length of "timeout" will be determined by the child's age. 3 minutes for a 3-year-old, 4 minutes for a 4-year-old etc. As a last resort, the staff will escort the child to Mrs. Sheri's office, the school Director, for her to evaluate and discipline. Mrs. Sheri will then determine the extent of the problem and whether parent involvement is necessary.
How many children are in my child's classroom?
CCC always maintains the state approved ratio of children to adults in each classroom. Whenever possible, CCC strives to maintain the lowest ratio possible of children to adults. The number of children in a classroom is determined by the age of the children and the square footage of the classroom. For the actual number of children per classroom, contact the CCC office for that information.
What if I want to pay on my account and there is no one in the office at that time?
CCC has provided a SECURE locked payment drop box located on the wall outside the front office. Envelopes are provided for CASH payments. When paying with cash, simply complete the information on the front of the envelope, place the cash inside the envelope, seal the envelope and drop the envelope in the; locked, secure payment box. Checks DO NOT have to be placed in envelopes; they can be dropped directly into the payment box. CCC does NOT accept credit card payments at this time.
My child acts like they don't want to come to school in the mornings?
Don't worry! This is an extremely normal thing! Remember - children are just "little" adults. Not everyone likes to get up and go to work or school in the mornings. Children are no different. Like most grown-ups, they'd rather stay home where they can do what they want and play with their toys, etc. At school we get to play a lot, but we also have to learn to stay in line, raise our hands, play nicely with our friends, learn to share our toys, etc. We PROMISE that this behavior is just a test on their part to see if they can get you to give in and let them stay at home and not have to come to school. Stay firm and stay consistent! They will be just fine at school. Yes, they may cry - but they will stop! Once they figure out that they are not going to win or get their way - they settle in, relax and start really enjoying themselves. It won't take long before they will be running towards the door anxious to see their friends. They will be just fine! They will be loved, played with and educated all through Christ's love and the tenderness of our trained staff.
How do you handle a child who is having a hard time adjusting to their first experience in a childcare center or preschool?
Not all children will be immediately comfortable in a new strange environment with a group of total strangers. Would you be? The staff understands this unsettling time for some children and makes every effort to show them they are safe and loved and spends any extra time needed to make that child feel secure. Gradually, they will blossom and open up to the newness of it all and will make friends, play and learn! We tell parents, "If you don't want your child to be hugged then CCC is not the school for you". We love children! Children are what we do!
Do I have to come inside with my child in the mornings to drop them off for school? What about the afternoons? Can I just send their brother or sister in to get them?
An adult MUST accompany your child inside the building each time they arrive, and an adult MUST come inside each afternoon to pick up your child. An older sibling is not authorized to handle these procedures or operate the check-in system. AT THIS TIME, COVID 19 RESTRICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW PARENTS TO ENTER THE FACILITY DURING MORNING DROP-OFF. MASK MUST BE WORN FOR AFTERNOON INSIDE PICK-UP.
Can I just pull up and call you to send them out to me?
There are very few exceptions that will warrant this type of procedure. We have had parents who are disabled and wheelchair bound who we have assisted with the checking in and out process. However, this is not a normal procedure and requests of this sort will have to be approved through the school Director's office.
Do you contact me if my child gets sick or injured at school?
If your child starts vomiting, running a fever of 101 degrees or higher or exhibits any other symptoms out of the ordinary, we will most assuredly contact a family member. Should your child be injured in a manner that our Administration thinks warrants concern you will be notified immediately. Minor, bumps, bruises or scrapes from normal childhood play that are not bleeding or swelling will be doctored with love and kisses and band aides. Any type of accident or injury to your child is documented and a report will be ready for your signature upon your arrival.
What about my child going to the potty regularly? Potty Training?
Potty breaks and potty-training area fundamental part of our daily routine at CCC. There are 5 restroom facilities throughout our Center that the children have access to at ANY time during the day. The children also have designated potty break times during the day but are ALWAYS allowed and encouraged to go to the potty ANYTIME they ask.
When should my child be responsible for their own bathroom hygiene?
Once a child is potty trained and wearing "big boy underwear" or "big girl panties", they will be taught how to go to the potty by themselves. For those children new to this whole potty-training thing - the staff will monitor their endeavors and continue to make sure that they are capable of cleaning themselves properly. For those older children, who are completely potty trained and are old enough to go to the potty by themselves (usually 3 1/2 and older), adult staff members will not accompany them into the bathroom stalls. Adult staff members will not help clean up any child over the age of 4 without another staff member as witness. Adult staff members will be in the restroom facilities with the children in the Waddler and Toddler rooms or the young K2 classrooms. These little ones still need that adult supervision.
Am I responsible for providing to CCC any diapers and or pull-ups for my child?
If your child is in the Waddler, Toddler or K2 classes and is still wearing diapers or pull-ups, then you are responsible for keeping our center supplied with the necessary items. Your child's name will be written on each and every diaper or pull-up and will be for their use only. When you start running low, the staff will send home a note to you asking that you send more. Children entering the K3 program may start the year in pull-ups (no diapers) but must be potty trained before the end of the year. The children starting in the K4 and Older K5 program may NOT start the school year in anything other than underwear or panties and must be fully trained. Pullups need to be the kind with tabs on the sides.
Do you teach or encourage proper hygiene?
The children are taught to wash their hands after every potty trip and before they consume their snacks or meals. They are taught to "wipe" themselves after their potty trips and to flush the toilet after each use. We wipe our mouths after we eat, and we cover our mouth and nose when we cough or sneeze.
What do the children watch on TV and how much time do they spend watching TV or movies?
All the movies that are shown at CCC are rated either G or PG. Television and movie time is limited to 1 hour a day per DHS licensing regulations. TV or movies are allowed in the early morning for the children prior to breakfast and class time.
Who does CCC answer to?
All staff members ultimately report to the Director of the Center, Mrs. Sheri Stell. Mrs. Stell reports to the Sr. Pastor, Brother Will Harmon. Mrs. Stell and Pastor Harmon report to a Board of Directors consisting of church members of the Cavanaugh Free Will Baptist Church. Also, CCC is monitored and licensed by the Department of Human Services Child Care Licensing Division. This DHS division regularly makes site inspections and files reports regarding their findings. These finding are available to the public through DHS. All centers licensed with DHS have their reports on file for public viewing. Our school kitchen is licensed through the Arkansas Health Department and is inspected regularly. The Arkansas Department of Labor, Boiler Inspection Division annually inspects our hot water heater that supplies hot water to the school kitchen and restroom facilities. We are required to have fire extinguishers throughout the facility and they are inspected by Fire-Tec and kept up to code. The Fort Smith Fire Department inspects our facility routinely as well to make sure that we meet all fire code and safety issues and that we maintain properly operating fire and smoke alarms throughout the center.
Do I have to clock my child in and out every single day?
Yes. The clocking in and out procedure is critical for accurate attendance tracking for state licensing requirements, for keeping accurate account of all children in attendance that day, for the kitchen staff and the snacks and meal count for food preparation as well as billing requirements for your child. We have made this procedure as simple as possible by placing a QR code at the school entrance that you scan with your cell phone to automatically clock your child in and out.
Do I need to call the school if my child is going to be out sick? Or will be late? Or will be picked up early?
Yes. Please! This information is very important. Please call the school before 10:00 a.m. so that daily records can be adjusted, and school staff can be notified as to your child's attendance status.
Who can pick up my child from school?
Only those people who you have designated in the Enrollment Packet as an "Authorized Pickup Person" are allowed to pick up your child from school. All persons are asked to show their ID and are verified as to their acceptance via your provided list. If a person should arrive who is NOT on your list, we will detain the person and contact one of the parents or guardians for approval. Persons may be added or deleted from the list at any time. A copy of all authorized pick-up persons will have their driver's license copied by the office staff and kept on file.
Do I need to let the school know if someone new will be picking up my child from school that day?
Yes. If you are sending someone that you know is NOT on the list - just notify the school office with the person's name and they will be prepared. You should inform all persons picking up your child to have their ID with them at time of pickup and that we will be making a copy of their ID.
Does my child have to wear a uniform or is there some type of dress code?
There is not a school uniform. However, children should be dressed appropriately daily for not only the current weather conditions but for active play and messy arts and crafts. Sometimes, even our snacks and lunches can be messy and can stain clothing. It is strongly advised that you not send your child to school in any clothing that is deemed expensive or has sentimental value or something that you do not want ruined. This includes children learning their scissor skills and cutting their own clothes out of curiosity - as we have found from experience. Shoes are a difficult subject. We do not think that flip-flop type shoes or those toy plastic heels, or princess shoes are acceptable for daily school wear. They tend to be difficult for the children to run and play in, go up and down stairs in and often wind up being used as a weapon - believe it or not. Shoes that tie on, lace up or buckle are best for daily wear.
I do not want my husband (wife) to pick up my child from school - ever! Can you stop them?
We understand that many families experience difficulties within their personal family relationships. However, we cannot stop a biological parent from seeing or taking their child from our Center unless we have court documentation stating that they are not allowed to have contact with their child or they do not have custody. If this information is on file, we will gladly stop them from taking or seeing the child. We will contact you immediately upon their arrival at the Center.
What type of security do you have at the school?
CCC is a very secure facility. There is only one entrance into our Center. All other doors leading into the building are locked from the inside. Also, the church offices are on alert for any individuals entering the facility unauthorized and attempting to access the Children's Center. We are a small, self-contained facility and are extremely aware of who is around at all times. "Stranger Danger" is taken very seriously. The children are never left unattended and are protected by adults at all times while in our care. Authorized pick-up persons must register with the school. Any unfamiliar person pickup up will be asked to show proof of identification and will be verified as authorized. Also, each classroom is equipped with a camera that transmits a live action picture to the Director's office. The Director is able to monitor the classroom activities at all times from her office. These cameras also have one way audio. The Director is able to hear what is going on in each classroom as well. Finally, the school entrance doors are locked at all times and can only be opened by entering an access code that must be obtained from the school office. No one without a code will be able to enter the facility unless personally welcomed by the school administration.
When are you closed?
CCC closes for the usual holidays. We remain open during the Fort Smith Public School Winter Break and Spring Break - only closing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We close our facility annually for up to one week at the end of Summer Camp and just prior to school starting in the fall. These are our "Shut-Down Days". Our facility is given a top to bottom make-over each year before starting a new school year. A complete list of all holidays recognized, and days closed is provided to each family in the Registration Packet or under the Calendar tab of this website.
What if I'm running late in the afternoons to pick up my child?
We understand that there are sometimes when things are out of our control - accidents on the roadway, extreme weather conditions, etc. Please notify our office immediately when you find out that you will be late. WE MUST hear from you. If we haven't heard anything from you or another family member with an explanation within 30 minutes of closing - we are mandated to contact DHS and report your child as abandoned. Financially, there is a penalty charge that will be assessed to your account balance for every minute after 5:30 p.m. that you are late.