Frequently Asked Questions
This page now contains information about both our current operations during the Caronavirus Pandmic and what operations were prior to March 2020. Our hope is, at some point in the future, to be able to return in many ways to operations as they were before. At this point, the plan is to continue modified operations for the remainder of the 2020-21 year.
Altered operations due to the pandemic are in bold italics.
What are the hours of operation?
COVID-19 Alteration: Until further notice, the hours of operation have been decreased. We will be operating from 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Our hours of operation are from 7:00am to 6:30pm. Tuition covers the hours of 7:30am to 6:00pm. There is an option for extended care (7-7:30am and/or 6-6:30pm) for an additional fee.
Do you serve meals? What type of food do you serve? What do you do about food allergies? Can I bring my child's food?
COVID-19 Alteration: During this time, our cafe will be closed to children. All children will receive meals in their classroom. We serve breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack in our cafe and all meals meet CACFP guidelines. When you come in for a tour we will be happy to share the current month's menu with you. Many of our parents are surprised by what their children will eat at school! Our Infants and Toddlers eat in their classrooms and our Preschoolers eat in the cafe. The food for all of our students is prepared by AELC's very own Cook. In addition to providing excellent meals to our children, our Cook makes sure that the food served is safe for all of our children. If alterations are needed to an individual or classroom's meal due to allergies and/or restrictions, we work hard to make sure the substitution or alteration is as similar as possible to what the others are eating.
Are you open year round? When are you closed?
COVID-19 Alteration: This year we will not be closed the week before Labor Day as we typically are. We are a 12-month program with two more significant breaks of about a week. These two breaks are the before Labor Day and New Years Day. We are closed on federal holidays. We are also closed approximately 2 full days and 2 half days a year for training purposes. We will be happy to give you a yearly calendar when you come in for a tour.
What are the staff to child ratios?
The staff to child ratio is based on the age of the children in the class with a higher staff to child ratio for the younger children. Our ratios are as follows:
* Infants - 1:4
* Toddlers - 1:5
* Preschool - 1:7
This means that in our Infant program we will have at least one staff member for every 4 children.
How do drop-off and pick-up work?
COVID 19 Alteration: During this time, families will drop off their children outside of the center (weather permitting) and an AELC staff member will take them to their classroom. We will not be combining classrooms at any point during the day. Staff will also be in one classroom per day (unless there is an safety issue requiring otherwise). Families bring their child(ren) into the center and help them put their things away in their classroom. If children are not yet in their classroom, the parent takes the child to the morning drop off classroom and signs the child in before leaving. At the end of the day, as children from classrooms leave and class sizes decrease, we often combine classrooms for activities. Families pick their child up, sign them out, and retrieve any items to be taken home.
How do teachers and staff communicate with families?
COVID-19 Alteration: During this time, our drop-off and pick-up procedures differ significantly and mean that the families will not have as much access to the informal conversations with staff. We will enoucrage our families and staff to communicate more intentionally using other methods. Head Teachers are provided a bit more time each week to step out of the classroom and connect with families via phone or email. Communication between families and staff is essential to successful early childhood education. (You can read more about it on our Communication & Collaboration page.) It is important to know that a parent or guardian can request a meeting or conversation with Teacher/Director/Education Coordinator at any point. We do ask that they are scheduled so we can assure proper coverage while the teacher is meeting with the family. We also have time set aside several times a year for Parent Teacher Conversations so parents can sign up to come in and learn about their child's classroom and individual progress.
Our primary form of communication is through Tadpoles which you can learn much more about on our Communications & Collaborations page.
Families are welcome to call the center at any time. We do not connect calls to classrooms as we want to assure that our teachers are always engaged with the children. That said, we can either get the teacher to call you back or communicate information between you and the staff.
Our staff also have work email addresses should you prefer to communicate that way.
Do you have an Parent Association?
We have a very active AELC Parent Association! All parents who have children enrolled in our program are members of the PA and we encourage you to get involved. The group works hard to meet at times convenient for parents. Even if you can't make it to the meetings there will be plenty of ways to get to know other families and support the school. There have been paint parties and coin challenges, Spring Flings and Moms and Dads Socials. The association works hard to balance the work with lots of fun. You can be as involved as you like. One of the wonderful things about the association is that each year is a bit different depending on the interests and talents of the parents involved.