Parent Handbook
“Let the children come to me and do not stop them because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14

St. Joan of Arc
Early Learning Center
12735 W. 58th Avenue
Arvada, CO 80002

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Our Vision: Our vision is to be a Christ-centered Catholic Community, so rich in faith and vibrant in life that people will see Christ through us and want to be a part of His life.

Our Mission: St. Joan of Arc is a Christ-centered sacramental community within the Catholic Church. As individuals and members of this community we will strive to live holy lives that reflect the joy of Christ within us. We will do this through the sacraments, stewardship, education, and through exemplary good works within our parish and the community around us.


We are committed to enriching and educating the whole person and honoring the dignity of every person as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. We seek to develop and educate intellect, faith, spirituality, physical, emotional, moral and social aspects of the persons we serve.

We are guided by faculty grounded in Catholic values and educational principles within a wholesome, creative and secure environment.

We are dedicated to serving our community as stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and faithful to the Christ Centered Community of Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Denver.


St. Joan of Arc Early Learning Center (ELC) was established to assist parents in the Catholic and developmental education of their children. The advantage for the child comes in educational opportunity, social skill development and the chance to learn at an early age that there is much more to the world beyond the walls of his/her home.

The staff at St. Joan of Arc Early Learning Center are not baby-sitters. We are child educators. We take professional pride and responsibility in the loving, competent care of your child. We are committed to providing the very best opportunity for your child to grow in the knowledge of God and the world He created.


The early years are the most critical for developing social and group behavior. We believe that children are most comfortable socially when limits on their behavior are set and when they understand those limits. When those limits are exceeded, we feel the child needs to understand why limits need to be set and why his/her behavior outside those limits is destructive to the group. It is also our policy to recognize negative behavior for its causes and redirect such behavior in a positive way. Inappropriate behaviors will be dealt with on an individual basis. The child will experience interventions based on his/her age and the type of misbehavior. Time out will be used as well as logical consequences for the inappropriate behavior exhibited.

We feel our most important asset in the whole process of educating the child is his/her teacher in partnership with the parent/guardian. Our teachers are fully qualified and trained in the area of early childhood development. They are certified by the Archdiocese to teach our Catholic faith. We provide ample opportunities for our staff to continue and maintain their proficiency.

The other partner is the parent/guardian. We understand that by choosing preschool or kindergarten, you have a strong interest in the development of your child. We strive to act as partners with strong lines of communication and ample opportunities for parental/guardian participation in the growth process.


We have focused the scope of our education and care to children three to seven years of age. The Director will consider children with physical handicaps or special needs for enrollment on an individual basis. The decision will be based on whether St. Joan of Arc ELC can take readily achievable actions to accommodate the disability and whether the placement is in the best interest of the child and the other children in the center.


To enroll your child, you need to fill out the registration information and the state of Colorado immunization card. A registration fee is due and payable at the time of enrollment. (See rate sheet for current amounts.) All children must meet the health requirements of the state of Colorado to enroll in St. Joan of Arc ELC. No one shall be denied access to our program because of race, sex, creed or color.


We require a one-week notice before withdrawing your child. The parent/guardian is responsible for fees due for that week. We cannot hold a space for your child beyond two weeks. After that time your child will be withdrawn. After an extended absence, you may reregister your child by paying the appropriate fee and updating the registration materials currently on file. Should we find it necessary to withdraw your child, we will hold a conference between you and the Director. Reasons for the withdrawal will be discussed so that you understand why we are asking you to withdraw your child. Grounds for withdrawal could be, but are not limited to, the following examples: nonpayment of tuition, failure to submit paper work as required by the Department of Social Services, a threat to the health or safety of others or the willful destruction of property.


Any type of weapon, whether it is real or for play, poses a threat to other children and the staff. Weapons will not be allowed at anytime in the center. If your child brings a weapon to school, it will be confiscated and placed in the office. You will be called and a conference held. Consequences will be developed to prevent any further occurrence.


You may, on occasion, wish to discuss a concern or complaint. Please feel free to talk to the Director to discuss your concerns. If your concern or complaint is not resolved at this point, you may also speak to the pastor. We will make every effort to resolve any issue to your satisfaction. If your complaint involves a licensing violation that you feel continues to go unresolved, you may call the Department of Human Services. To file a formal complaint, the address is 1575 Sherman; phone number is 303-866-5958.


St. Joan of Arc ELC is open for children needing our extended-day program from 6:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Preschool and kindergarten classes are offered in two sessions. Kindergarten also offers a full-day session. The morning session runs 8:30-11:30 a.m. The afternoon session runs 12:30-3:30 p.m. The full-day kindergarten runs 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. You may select the days of attendance if your child is in preschool. The kindergarten programs are all five-day programs.

We will be closed if the Jefferson County School District declares a snow day due to heavy snowfall and impassable roads. If Jeffco schools is on holiday, check our website for snow closures. This information will be posted by 6:00 A.M.

We observe the following holidays:

New Year’s Day                             Labor Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day         Thanksgiving Day
Presidents’ Day                             Friday after Thanksgiving
Good Friday                                   Christmas Eve Day
Easter Monday                               Christmas Day
Memorial Day                                 Day after Christmas
Independence Day

Full tuition is due for the months in which these holidays or extra center closures occur.


Children are given many opportunities to play outdoors. Each outside experience lasts no longer than 30 minutes. In case of inclement or excessively hot weather, the duration of their outside time will be shortened. They will be monitored closely by the staff to avoid any injury or discomfort. It is expected that they will come to the center with the proper clothing to allow them to play comfortably outside. If it is snowing or raining heavily, gross motor activities will be made available inside.


St. Joan of Arc ELC is licensed by the state of Colorado as a pre-school, kindergarten and large day care center. Continuous inspections by the state health and fire licensing offices monitor our operations. We meet or exceed all minimum requirements for the type of care and education we provide and post our state license in the main office where it can be easily viewed.


Fire, Severe Storm, and Tornado drills occur at regular intervals. Your child will be instructed with the proper procedures for handling each of these events.

Should there be a Tornado/Severe Storm Warning in the area of the center, all children will be taken to the central four-year-old classroom on the first floor. In case of fire, the staff will escort all the children out of the building to a designated area. Teachers will maintain supervision and remain in that area until further direction is given by the fire department.


It is expected that your child be toilet trained prior to enrollment in preschool or kindergarten. Please be sure to have adequate clothing at the center in the event that your child has a toileting accident.


Transportation is provided to and from field trips by licensed drivers in either a vehicle owned by St. Joan of Arc or privately owned vehicles. There may be occasions when we will ask for parent/guardian volunteers to assist transporting children to and from field trips or other special activities. St. Joan of Arc ELC will make sure that all drivers are licensed and that all vehicles are insured. You will need to provide us with a child restraint system if your child is under four years old or under 40 pounds.


We feel that many of the finest experiences we can provide take place outside the confines of the center. Field trips are taken regularly and you are required to sign a transportation permission slip for our files. All field trips have a purpose; therefore, you will receive a notice of each field trip indicating the goals for the trip. Field trip records are kept in our files. Attendance records and emergency cards accompany the children on their various field trip experiences. Attendance is taken before leaving the center and checked with the field trip roster. Teachers continually check to make sure that all children are accounted for during their field trip experience. Attendance is also taken again before returning to the center. If a child arrives at the center after the group has left, that child will be placed with a group at the center that most closely matches the child’s age.

In the unlikely event that your child becomes lost or separated from the group on a field trip, we will remain in the area until your child is found. You and the proper authorities will be called if we are unable to find your child after 15 minutes.

Occasionally, a field trip will require a small admission fee. You will be informed well in advance of the cost. Money for field trip participation should be paid to the Director’s office prior to the trip. Because each trip is paid for in advance, please do not send extra money with your child to the center on the day of the trip.


We are constantly striving to connect our families with as many services as possible. The main office has information regarding community service agencies such as mental health, physical health and developmental screening and education. Please consult our director for information on how to contact the appropriate service provider.


When you bring your child to the center, we ask that you sign in your child at the desk in the waiting area and accompany him/her to the classroom or playground. It is the responsibility of each teacher to know who is in attendance at all times of the day. By making brief contact with your child’s teacher, you are ensuring that we know your child is here and in the proper place. Please plan to drop your child off no earlier than five minutes before his/her respective session begins.

We will release a child only to the parent/guardian who enrolled the child or to persons authorized in writing on the registration form. In case of emergency, we will release your child to the authorized person(s) you have indicated through direct verbal authorization to a member of our staff. It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility not to restrict the rights of another

parent/guardian or act in a manner contrary to court order. We are bound to abide by a legally-served court order and will communicate to the enrolling parent/guardian that an order has been served. When picking up your child, you will sign him/her out of the center. Please go to your child’s classroom or playground. It also offers the opportunity to talk with the teacher and see what your child has done that day. We must release your child directly to your supervision. This transfer must be observed directly by our staff.


We know moving from the home environment to a school environment can be stressful for your child. We have opportunities for your child to become more familiar and comfortable with his/her new environment.

Families interested in enrolling their children are given a personal tour by our director or staff member. Your child is invited and encouraged to be part of this process. You will be escorted through the building and respective classroom appropriate to your child’s age and developmental level.
Your questions about the program will be answered. Your child is invited to join the activities for a few minutes at your discretion.

We conduct an annual “Open House” at the beginning of each new school year. This gives you and your child the opportunity to come in and meet your child’s teachers and become familiar with the classroom. Your child will be invited to engage in activities set up in the classroom. This is also an excellent time to meet other families who have their children enrolled in the classroom.

For those families who miss the beginning for the year events and believe it would benefit their child’s transition into the classroom, we offer a “try it” visit. After consulting with our director, you may bring your child to visit the classroom for up to two hours.

We partner with our sister schools, Shrine of St. Anne and Saints Peter and Paul, when it is time for your child to move on to elementary school. Information regarding tours, open house, and orientation will be shared with you when it is appropriate.


Children under full-day care receive two nutritious snacks and a prepared, nutritious lunch every day. Children with us part-time will receive snacks based on the time they are in the center. All meals and snacks are prepared to be tasty and wholesome.

Children eat these meals and snacks in their rooms, with their teacher, and this time is used as an opportunity to teach children acceptable, social table manners. We believe that food is a valueable building block to healthy bodies and nutrition helps only when it is consumed, so you’ll find we go that extra mile to give the kids good, solid meals and snacks.

Part of the learning experience is eating and trying new foods. Food brought from home is distracting and often unfair to the other members of the group and will not be allowed.

Allergies or special diets can be noted on the registration form. Every effort will be made to make the lunch and snack experience a positive one. Please discuss special needs with the Director.

Occasionally, the children may be away from the center at lunch time or snack time on a field trip. It will be at these times that you may need to supply your child with a snack or sack lunch. You will be informed by a notice placed in your parent pocket.


Our goal is to provide a clean center and we invite you to personally inspect the center. Your child will be reminded of his/her role in keeping things clean. Because we feel that the children need to have ownership in “their” center, they will be asked to keep their rooms clean and neat.


PLEASE mark items of clothing that may become separated from your child. Gloves, coats, hats, etc., should have the family name on them for easy identification. A lost and found box is maintained in the office for your convenience. Remember as you dress your child that we have several “creative play” activities, and your child may be painting, cooking, and playing outside or at the water tables. Every effort is made (aprons, etc.) to keep your child clean, but accidents do happen.

Learning materials are provided to the children as part of your registration and supply fees. Therefore, there is no need to bring any personal items from home. Personal toys brought to the center will be kept in a “special safe box” in the office. Your child may take his/her toy home when leaving for the day


The closing staff member will walk through the entire facility at the end of the day to ensure that no one has been left at the center. All doors and windows will be checked to ensure they are closed and locked.


We will be happy to celebrate your child’s birthday with you during lunch or snack time. Please give us advance notice as to what day you would like the celebration to occur. Advanced notice allows us to notify parents of children with food allergies who may not be able to participate unless an alternative snack is prepared. We ask that a special snack be prepared by the parent/guardian and brought into the center the day of the celebration. We suggest healthy food choices such as smoothies, fruit kabobs, or build your own mini pizzas. Non food party favors also work well. We also ask that the celebration not include gifts or gift opening as that is best done at home and will prevent gifts from being lost or damaged.


We expect your child will be healthy and free of fever or infection for at least 24 hours when you return him/her to us after he/she recovers from one of the many childhood diseases. If your child becomes ill while in our care, we have an isolation area to move him/her to while we contact you to pick up your child. The Director will determine if your child is too ill to stay at the center. The emergency phone numbers you provided on the registration form will be used to contact you or someone you have designated. Our prime considerations are the safety of your child and the rest of the children at the center. Please refer to illness exclusion included in your registration packet.

Medicine will be administered to your child as required if you and your doctor have signed our medicine permission form. This form has a place on it for us to record times, dates, and amounts administered and by whom. All medicines must be in the original bottle with your doctor’s and your child’s name on it with the prescribed dosage. State law requires we get a doctor’s written consent before we dispense any medicines. We secure all medicines from the children and refrigerate, if necessary. 


To be prepared for any emergency, we will ask that, along with enrollment forms, you sign an authorization for emergency medical treatment. We want to be sure that nothing stands in the way of treating your child should an emergency arise. We have staff members trained in Red Cross First Aid. We will make every effort to contact you and the doctor you have chosen to treat your child. If we can’t reach you, we will make sure that your child receives necessary treatment until you are contacted. Immunization forms must be kept current, and the state requires a yearly physical for all children enrolled who are under the age of seven.


In the event that we have to “lockdown” the building, all outside doors will be locked by staff. Children will remain inside the building until the proper authorities notify us that it is safe to exit. NO ONE will be allowed to enter or exit the building while the “lockdown” is in effect.

In the event that there is an external threat to our school and its occupants, we will enforce a “shelter-in-place” protocol. All exterior doors will be locked by staff and all the shades down. Children will remain in their classrooms until we receive reliable information that the threat has passed.

If an armed person gains access inside our building, staff is instructed to remove the lock bypass from their classroom doors and close them. Lights will be turned off and shades closed. Staff escorts their children to areas of their classroom that can’t be seen from the hall way observation windows. They will keep the children as quiet as possible and in one place until help arrives. Each staff member has responsibility to call 911 to report an active shooter in the building if they are able to gain access to the phone in their room.

Should it become necessary to evacuate the center, children will be escorted to the church basement in Durrie Hall and adjacent classrooms. Children and staff will remain in this area until proper authorities notify us that we can leave. At that time, staff will begin calling parents using emergency cards provided by the parents. Parents should pick up their children from the location specified by the staff.


Curriculum development is an ongoing process. We have developed (and continue to develop) our program based on six key elements that provide the framework for our approach to teaching your child. We hold parent/ guardian-teacher conferences twice a year in November and May regarding these elements.

The first element involves determining how children learn. Two paths can be followed, one is to create activities based on children’s interests and the other is to create activities based upon what children need to know about God and to get along in our world. These two approaches need not be exclusive of each other, and our position is to provide a combination of both approaches. Learning experiences have been devised that are of high interest to your child and encourage him/her to construct, move and interact, while providing teachers with the opportunity to communicate information in an appropriate manner. It is our goal to provide direct, concrete and high-interest experiences along with well-timed guidance and instruction.

The second element involved is to set long-range goals for your child. These are listed here:

bulletCompetence to develop your child’s ability in the areas of language, numbers and interest in books.
bulletCooperation to enhance (self-concept) and (other-concept) through group activity and sharing experiences.
bulletAutonomy to encourage your child to initiate, ask questions and make limited choices.
bulletFaith Life to learn to live the Gospel in all facets of life’s experiences through Bible stories, songs and prayer.
bulletCreativity to construct new products, think of new ideas and find alternative solutions.

The third element is the observation and assessment of the individual needs of your child. We use a skills-concepts checklist and keep it in your child’s folder to evaluate his/her progress during the school year. This is used for conferences and to determine skills that need to be strengthened.

Element four is to create developmentally appropriate activities. We create activities to achieve the long-range goals of element two and develop competencies found in our skill-concepts checklist. Each experience develops one or more skills or concepts and is related to one of the six general content areas:

bulletThe Child and Family health, body parts and family
bulletThe Community Institutions people, workers, traditions
bulletPlants beauty, food
bulletMachines appliances, vehicles
bulletAnimals pleasure, food
bulletPhysical Forces weather, gravity
bulletReligion God’s presence in all of life’s experiences

Element five is to plan for the repetition of concepts. The skills learned need to be reinforced and extended, otherwise they will be forgotten. We have your child study one topic each week and expose him/her to eight subject areas each day. By creating different activities around one topic, your child’s teacher has the opportunity to reinforce and extend concepts, skills and faith in God.

The sixth element is simply to evaluate your child’s progress. The skills-concepts checklist is used to note your child’s demonstrated behavior and skill acquisition. Decisions can then be made providing for individual assistance or creating a new activity to reinforce a skill that your child may have had difficulty acquiring.


We welcome your participation in our classrooms after the first month of classes has been completed. Visitors who wish to come to our center for a tour or to volunteer, must sign our visitor log and have their identification recorded by a member of our staff. All visitors must remain under direct supervision of our staff while in our building or on the playground. It is a marvelous time to spend some special moments with your preschool or kindergarten child and his/her classmates. In order to provide a consistent learning environment, we must ask that someone care for younger siblings other than you while you are here assisting. Younger children cause distraction for the children who are enrolled in our program and are disruptive to their routine.


Upon registering your child, you will be asked to pay a registration fee. Should you withdraw your child for more than two weeks, you will be asked to pay a re-enrollment fee to re-enter your child.

Our preschool and kindergarten program rates are based on a full-year program. We cannot offer any credits for absences or center closures. “Make up days” for absences are also not available. It is expected that your schedule remains consistent. Should you need an occasional extra day or need to change your schedule, please contact the director for space availability. Extra tuition will be charged for extra days of attendance. Should you want to take family vacations during the summer months of June, July or August, we will discount your rate by fifty percent (50 %) for the week(s) you are gone. We require a two-week notice of your child’s absence to receive this discount.

If you prefer, you may withdraw your child during the summer months of June, July and the first half of August. You will need to re-enroll your child by August 1, by paying the materials/registration fee and updating your child’s records. If we do not hear from you by August 1, we will assume that you intend to discontinue your child’s attendance and allow enrollment to another child.

We must occasionally adjust our fee structure. You will receive notice in writing one month before any fee change is implemented.

Families enrolling more than one child will receive a percentage discount on their total bill.

Tuition is billed and payable on a monthly basis. Tuition is due by the 5th of each month. If the 5th falls on either a Saturday or Sunday, tuition will be due on the following Monday. Tuition received after the 15th of the month will be charged a $20.00 late fee. Failure to pay tuition within the month will result in termination of enrollment.

A Material/Registration fee is charged yearly.

Returned checks result in a $20.00 charge.

Other charges may arise for special services or special field trips, etc. You will be fully informed of these charges in writing.


Part-day sessions end at either 11:30 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. Your child must be picked up no later than ten minutes after the session ends. A late charge of $1.00 per minute will be charged if your child is not picked up.

St. Joan of Arc ELC closes at 6:00 p.m. and our staff is ready to go home at this time. To ensure your promptness, we must ask for a $1.00 per one (1) minute late penalty if you pick up your child past 6:05 p.m. Any amounts due should be paid directly to the staff member who is in charge of closing the center for that day. St. Joan of Arc ELC does not receive any funds from this policy. Weather delays and emergencies will be considered at the time they arise.

If your child has not been picked up by 6:15 p.m., we will begin calling the numbers on your emergency card. If we cannot reach you or anyone else on the card, we will notify the Arvada Police Department that we have an abandoned child and that they need to come and pick up the child. This call will take place at 6:45 p.m.


6:30-8:30 a.m. Arrival at center, choice of Activity Play Centers: Dramatic Play Blocks, puzzles, manipulatives, science, art or the opportunity to rest if necessary.

8:30-11:30 a.m. Integrated into regular classroom setting. (See classroom program below.)

11:30-11:40 a.m. Wash hands, set table and prepare for lunch.

11:40 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Lunch—Staff and children eat together in relaxed atmosphere.

12:10-12:15 p.m. Clean up after lunch.

12:15-12:30 p.m.  Outdoor play—weather permitting. In inclement weather, children will use gymnastic equipment and games for gross motor development, using playground balls or beanbags, indoors.

12:30-12:45 p.m. Prepare for nap by toileting and washing hands.

12:45-12:50 p.m. Quiet wind-down music or books

12:50- 2:45 p.m. Rest time—sleep desirable, but not forced. Quiet activities are given to those who do not nap after half an hour.

2:45- 3:15 p.m. Put away cots and personal nap belongings, afternoon snack.

3:15- 3:45 p.m. Outdoor play—weather permitting. In inclement weather, children will use gymnastic equipment and games for gross motor development, using playground balls or beanbags, indoors.

3:45- 5:30 p.m. Circle time: review of special activities of the day (social games, premath games, listening games, creative dramatics). Stories read or presented, teacher-guided centers in subject areas of faith formation, science, premath, language/ reading readiness, creativity.

5:30- 6:00 p.m. Classes combined, child’s choice of activities in play centers. Preparation made for going home and closing the center.


8:30- 8:50 a.m.
12:30-12:50 p.m.
  Circle time: begin with prayer and sharing of daily subjects, i.e. self, social concepts, names, premath, listening, gross motor, Bible stories, music and games all occur during this time.
8:50- 9:00 a.m.
12:50 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
  Wash hands, set tables and prepare for snack.
9:00- 9:15 a.m.
1:00- 1:15 p.m.
  Snack served family-style with children joining in prayer then serving and passing food to themselves and others. This time allows for social unstructured conversation and the learning of proper social table manners.
9:15-11:00 a.m.
1:15- 3:00 p.m.
  Children in small groups explore various centers that have been set up in the room: religion, art, cooking, premath, prereading, language, science, fine motor and gross motor.
11:00-11:15 a.m.
3:00- 3:15 p.m.
  Outdoor play—weather permitting. In inclement weather, children will use gymnastic equipment and games for gross motor development, using playground balls or beanbags, indoors.
11:15-11:30 a.m.
3:15- 3:30 p.m.
  Circle time: review day’s activities, present stories and say departing prayer.

“The important thing is not so much
that every child should be taught, as
that every child should be given
the wish to learn.”

Sir John Lubbock
The Pleasures of Life


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