A.        PURPOSE
    It is the philosophy of St. Matthew’s Preschool that early childhood should be a time of fun,
    warmth, security, exploration and discovery.  Preschool children are creative and receptive. Our
    staff strives to nurture and encourage these qualities in the children who attend.

    The preschool’s purpose is to provide an atmosphere that encourages social, emotional,
    physical, cognitive and creative growth and the development of the child as a whole.

    B.        CURRICULUM
    Planned within the framework of philosophy and purpose, St. Matthew’s Montessori-inspired
    curriculum includes sharing and conversation time, stories, songs and finger plays, creative art
    activities and crafts, games and large motor activities, science and nature activities, social
    studies, Christian Education, celebrations of birthdays and holidays, and kindergarten readiness
    activities.  All of the above will be incorporated in themes that are child-centered and
    developmentally age appropriate.

    A qualified and experienced Director will supervise the total program of the Preschool. The
    Director and Teachers hold an A.A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education among other teacher
    trained credentials.

    All teachers are selected for Christian character, love of children, education, experience and
    training.

    C.        ENROLLMENT
    Children must reach their third or fourth birthday by the kindergarten cut off date in their own
    school district.  (Lehighton is currently September 1st).  Children must be toilet trained.

    Applications will become available on February 1st of each year.  A REGISTRATION FEE of $45.00
    must accompany each application for it to be considered.  Throughout the month of February,
    applications will be accepted with preference in the following order:

    February 1st-15th – currently enrolled children that will be returning for the following year
    February 16th-28th(29th) – members of St. Matthew’s Congregation, siblings of children
    currently enrolled
    March 1st – open registration to members of our community on a first come first serve basis

    Non-church members of our community MAY APPLY AT ANY TIME, but they will not be enrolled
    until March 1st.  At that time, any applications received to date will be enrolled in the order in
    which they were received.  When a class is full, other applicants will be placed on a waiting list.  
    The registration fee of $45.00 WILL BE REFUNDED IF THE CLASS IS FULL.  Registration fees
    are NOT REFUNDABLE for any other reason than the class being full.

    D.        SCHEDULE
    The school year begins the Tuesday following Labor Day and ends the Friday before Memorial
    Day.  (Four year-old classes will have a Graduation Ceremony that evening at 7:00 p.m.)

    Sessions:
    AM Three Year Old Class: 9am – 11am (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
    PM Three Year Old Class: 12pm – 2pm (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
    AM Four Year Old Class: 9am – 11:30am (Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays)
    PM Four Year Old Class: 12pm – 2:30pm (Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays)
    

    Holidays:  Preschool holidays will follow the Lehighton Area School District schedule.  They will
    be announced in the newsletter.  We will also be CLOSED on Teacher-In-Service days.  We are
    open when the schools have early dismissal.

    Church Closings:  Occasionally, the whole church building will be needed for a funeral.  These
    closings will be announced as far in advance as possible to the classes involved.  Please
    understand that when there is a funeral here at the church, we cannot lock the doors and
    ANYONE can come into our building.  It is in the best interest of your children to cancel school
    for the day.  School will also be closed on Election Days (November and May) due to voting being
    held at St. Matthew’s.

    Snow Days: We will be following Lehighton Area School District. If Lehighton has a delay, all of
    our AM classes will meet 10:00 am through noon; PM classes will meet 12:30 pm through 2:30 pm.
    If Lehighton closes, so will we. It is always the parents’ choice as to whether or not they choose
    to bring their child to school. School closings and delays/session cancellations can be viewed on
    the preschool’s website or Blue Ridge Cable Channel 13.

    E.   TUITION

    Tuition is $110.00 per month for the three year old class and $120.00 per month for the four year-
    old class.  A family having two children in the Preschool at the same time will receive a 25%
    discounted tuition rate for the second child. (Second child rates are: $90.00 per month for four
    year-olds and $82.50 per month for three year-olds.)  



    Tuition checks should be made payable to ST. MATTHEW’S PRESCHOOL and should be dropped in
    the Preschool lock box located in the Preschool hall above the children’s cubbies or mailed in to
    St. Matthew’s Preschool, 222 Church Street, Lehighton, PA, 18235.

    Payment Policy:

    1.  Tuition is due by the 1st of the month.
    2.  Any payment not received by the 5th of the month will have added to it a $10.00 late  
       payment penalty.
    3.  If the tuition and the penalty have not been paid by the 10th of the month, the family
       will be informed that the child is not to be brought back to Preschool until the
       outstanding debt is paid.  Legal action may be taken if necessary.
    4.  A $30.00 fee will be charged for all returned checks.
    5.  In case of withdrawal, NO refund will be made on tuition already paid.


    F.        HEALTH
    Before admission to class in the beginning of school, each child will be required to present a
    health form and immunization record, signed by a physician, for a physical exam done no more
    than 90 days before the opening of school.  Immunizations are required to be current in
    accordance to the Pennsylvania Department of Health School Immunization Regulations. If these
    forms have not been presented by October 15th, the teachers will be forced to request that
    your child not attend school until the form is presented.

    ***Parents are requested to keep a child home if there is any indication of illness.***  Please be
    sure your child has been clear of a fever and or vomiting for a full 24 hours before attending
    school.  Although your child may be feeling better, their resistance level is probably still low and
    may easily pick up another illness or spread the illness they are recuperating from.  

    All children will be under supervision and every effort will be made to protect their health and
    provide for their safety.  The Church and Preschool have liability insurance coverage for
    accidents or injury on Church premises.

    In case of an emergency, if parents, the two emergency back up people, or the child’s physician
    CANNOT be contacted, the Preschool will obtain emergency assistance and continue trying to
    reach parents.  If you know you will be away from your listed phone numbers, it will be helpful to
    let us know where you can be reached.

    G.        CLOTHING
    Children should wear clothing that is comfortable and easy for toilet use.  During the course of
    the day, children may be running, painting, gluing or playing outdoors.  Please avoid dressing your
    child in their best clothing.

    H.        SNACKS
    Each class will have a daily snack time.  We will send home a list of approved snacks and supplies
    for donation requests. Snacks will then be provided to the whole class at snack time.

    Birthdays:  We will be celebrating each child's special day here at school, however, because of
    an increase in food allergies we are no longer able to serve cupcakes or other birthday treats
    here at preschool.  If you wish to send in something special for your child to pass out, we
    recommend birthday treat bags for their friends to take home.  If your child is having a birthday
    party, invitations may be handed out at school ONLY if there is an invitation for each child in
    the class.  For the children who have birthdays when school is not in session, we will celebrate
    their birthday in May.  (Parents will be notified of this special celebration in advance!)

    I.        PARENTS
    We request that ONLY YOU OR SOMEONE THAT YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY IDENTIFIED TO THE
    TEACHERS PICK UP YOUR CHILD AT THE END OF EACH SESSION.  To protect your child, he or
    she will only be released to those with written authorization and identification.  Any change of
    authorized person for pick up must be in writing.  

    *A special note to families having custody issues...Please provide the Preschool Director with a
    copy of any legal papers concerning custody issues and child pick-up privileges.  Without legal
    papers, we have to release a child to their mother or father, as well as provide copies of all
    paperwork requested.

    During the week before school begins, time will be provided for you and your child to come to the
    school and meet the teachers, as well as other children in your child’s class during an Open
    House.  You will receive an invitation to the Open House some time throughout the summer
    months.

    Each month families will receive a calendar and newsletter informing parents of any special days
    or events.  

    J.   BEHAVIOR POLICY
 
     At St. Matthew’s Preschool, we maintain a positive discipline policy which focuses on   
     prevention, redirection, love, consistency and firmness. We stress two main patterns of
     behavior: respect for other people and respect for property. The children are explained
     the rules of the preschool frequently, so they are all familiar with the guidelines. Please
     keep in mind that there WILL be disagreements between children. Young children have a
     hard time expressing their feelings. We will try to prevent problems, redirect when
     appropriate, discuss inappropriate behavior, encourage making amends when the offense
     involves another person, and sometimes withdraw privileges based on the principle of
     "natural consequences".

     If a discipline problem arises that does not respond to the above-mentioned techniques,
     we will hold a conference with the parents as well as develop a behavior modification  
     plan. The plan will include observations, documentation of the child’s words and actions
     during school and suggestions for modifying the child’s behavior both at school and out of
     school.

     Hurtful physical and verbal behavior toward the other children, including bullying, will not
     be tolerated and may result in a child being sent home early for the day. We will do our
     best to avoid this possibility. Teaching and modeling kindness toward others is a priority
     for our staff members.

     All attempts will be made by the staff to resolve any behavior concerns. If hurtful
     behavior continues without any growth or follow through from parents, the Director of
     St. Matthew’s Preschool reserves the right to remove a child from the program if his/her
     behavior is deemed unsafe or harmful to the other children or staff.

     K.   A NOTE ABOUT ADJUSTMENT
     Your child may be used to outside programs or this may be his or her first time away from the
    security of home.  Reactions to preschool are as varied as your children’s unique personalities.  
    Some become quiet, some become loud, others may cry before they come into the building, then
    separate reluctantly, still others cry while you are leaving.  However, most children are eager to
    encounter new friends and love coming to preschool.  Be patient and be assured that we have
    probably encountered every response imaginable.

     We encourage you to share any concerns with us, for we consider you to be the most valuable
    people in your child ’s life!
St. Matthew's Preschool
Parent Information Handbook