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Early Childhood Learning Laboratory Family Handbook

Welcome to the Grand Rapids Community College Early Childhood Learning Laboratory

We would like to welcome all children and their families and are committed to making all of you feel a part of our community.

The Early Childhood Learning Laboratory (ECLL) is a non-profit organization under the auspices of the Grand Rapids Community College, operating on the college’s academic calendar. An advisory board assists in matters of policy and programming. All family input is welcomed and appreciated. The program serves children six weeks to six years of age. Infants and toddlers attend on a full-time basis, while preschoolers attend a minimum of two days per week.

The GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This accreditation holds the program to a high standard of excellence in child care. Please see “Additional Family Information” for further details about NAEYC Accreditation.


The mission of the Grand Rapids Community College ECLL is to provide opportunities for Education Program  students to be involved with children under the guidance of instructors in a model early childhood program.

Infant and Toddler Philosophy

The Infant and Toddler programs of Grand Rapids Community College ECLL are based upon responsive, relationship-based care. Our philosophy supports respecting infants and toddlers as individuals. We believe that infant and toddler care should be based on supportive relationships and emphasize child-directed learning.

Infant and toddler staff are attuned to each child, learning from the individual what he or she needs, thinks, and feels. In order to provide consistent care and to maximize the child’s learning experience, each staff member acts as a primary caregiver. Primary caregivers are assigned to individual children and support their social emotional development, communicate with families, arrange the physical space of the environment, and plan learning activities. This allows a strong, secure attachment to develop and helps the child gain a positive sense of self. As they observe the children in their care, staff reflect on and record information about their interests and skills in order to set the stage for the next learning encounter.

Infants and toddlers require equal measures of freedom and adult supervision as their self-help skills progress into autonomy. We trust in the child to be an initiator, an explorer, and a self-learner, and encourage their developing self-confidence, independence and imagination. We provide an environment that ensures safety, offers appropriate developmental challenges and promotes optimum health for children.

Preschool Philosophy

The philosophy of our program is based on the belief that children learn through their interaction with adults, other children and the environment. Supportive interactions lead the child to a positive self-concept that will provide a sound basis for all subsequent learning. The program focuses on the development of the whole child. It is designed to enhance language, social, emotional, cognitive, physical and creative growth of the child. We emphasize the importance of working cooperatively with families to achieve that goal.

The Child Development theories that guide the program are those of Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson and The Project Approach. Piaget teaches us that children construct their knowledge of the world through their activities and interactions. Erikson describes the young child’s emotional development as the process of achieving a sense of trust, autonomy and initiative. These too, are achieved through the child’s interactions and experiences. The Project Approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, reflect and more.

The program emphasizes developmental appropriateness by meeting children’s individual needs and using knowledge of typical child development. This appropriateness is expressed in the environment and the interactions in each classroom.

Activities are planned by teachers, with children moving freely among learning center activities within each classroom. Some activities occur in a large group setting; however, most of the time is spent in small groups or individual activities chosen by the children. Both the schedule and the types of activities planned are designed to provide balance in the child’s day: active and/or quiet, large muscle and/or small muscle, individual and/or group, child-initiated and/or staff-initiated and indoor and/or outdoor.


  1. To encourage the child to develop trust and a sense of security. To accomplish this, the child needs to know that those around him will help him meet all of his needs, both physically and emotionally.
  2. To encourage children to recognize emotions and then later learn to express them appropriately. To foster the development of a positive self-concept and enable the child to feel successful and confident enough to initiate activities and interactions.
  3. To stimulate sensory systems and enable infants and toddlers to use sensorial and perceptual skills to acquire knowledge about their world.
  4. To promote growth of independence and a sense of competence through the development of self-help skills, problem-solving abilities, self-regulatory and coping skills, fostering the child’s growing sense of autonomy.
  5. To encourage social development through opportunities to play cooperatively and practice problem-solving and negotiation skills.
  6. To enhance fine motor abilities through the development of manipulative skills and hand/eye coordination. 
  7. To enhance sensory motor and manipulative skills and increase the child’s capacity to understand and manipulate the environment. 
  8. To develop gross motor skills in the areas of body awareness, balance, loco-motor, laterality, coordination and spatial awareness. 
  9. To promote skills by encouraging conceptual and symbolic skills.
  10. To promote cognitive skill development by providing interactions and materials that encourage constructing, refining and expanding knowledge. 
  11. To promote cognitive skills by responding to infants’ non-verbal cues and encouraging toddlers’ verbalization and language growth.
  12. To develop speaking and listening skills in children through interactions with staff, other children and materials.
  13. To establish relationships between families and teachers, and between teachers and children, in order to provide consistent, loving care.


The teachers/caregivers who make up the infant/toddler and preschool staff were chosen for their educational background in Child Development, their previous experience with young children, and their responsiveness toward, understanding of, and skills in planning for your child.

Minimally, assistants to the instructors have an Associates Degree in Child Development.  All instructors have a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development or child/family-related degree.  All faculty hires after 2020 will require a Master's Degree in Child Development or a related field within 4 years of being hired. The director has a Master's Degree in Child Development or family-related degree.

All full-time staff members are trained and most are certified regularly in Infant, Toddler and Pediatric CPR and First Aid response.  All staff participate in regular professional development including all college in-services, annual retreats, biweekly staff meetings, MiRegistry health and safety training and weekly team meetings. Topics covered are decided each year but include diversity, equity, inclusion, family engagement, child development, curriculum, assessment and community topics. In addition to all-staff training, individual staff attend special workshops and conferences, based on their professional goals and development plans.

The staff will work to help your child develop emotionally, socially, physically, and intellectually. They will accomplish these goals by planning activities, providing interactions and setting-up environments to meet each child’s individual needs. Partnership with families is essential for the success of the program.  You are the primary decision-maker in your child’s life. Daily communication between families and staff is important to ensure consistency and continuity of care.

Background Checks

As a part of the hiring process at GRCC, all staff members are required to have criminal and child abuse background screenings. This includes receiving a public sex offender registry (PSOR) clearance before having any contact with a child in care.  A copy of this clearance will be kept on file at the center.  Any individual registered on the public sex offender registry (PSOR) is prohibited from having contact with any child in care.   All staff members and unsupervised volunteers will complete a comprehensive background check, including FBI fingerprints through Michigan's Child Care Background Check Program.  In addition, all staff are required by law to report all known and/or suspected incidences of child abuse and/or neglect to the proper authorities.

College Students

Grand Rapids Community College Education Program students can be seen in all classrooms throughout the day. Prior to starting in a classroom, students complete an orientation to the preschool including training on Child Abuse and Neglect, and have successfully completed criminal background checks. This includes receiving a public sex offender registry (PSOR) clearance before having any contact with a child in care. A copy of this clearance will be kept on file at the center. Any individual registered on the public sex offender registry (PSOR) is prohibited from having contact with any child in care.  A written statement must be signed and dated by staff and volunteers at the time of hiring or before volunteering indicating all of the following information:

  1. The individual is aware that abuse and neglect of children is against the law.
  2. The individual has been informed of the center’s policies on child abuse and neglect.
  3. The individual knows that all staff and volunteers are required by law to immediately report suspected abuse and neglect to children’s protective services.

Intern students who are in their last semester of the Education Program work approximately 20-25 hours per week and are part of the paid staff. These students are responsible for the supervision of children and curriculum implementation. Since they are paid staff members, they can be left alone with children and will complete all background checks required of ECLL staff.

Upon entering the building, students check in at the office. They must sign in each time they come to the lab. All students will be wearing a yellow GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory lanyard and GRCC ID. The students also follow a check-in procedure when arriving at the classroom. Students work in the classroom under adult supervision two hours once every week. They are never left alone with the children.


Prior to starting in a classroom all volunteers, including parents, must  have completed an orientation to the preschool including training on Child Abuse and Neglect, and have successfully completed criminal background checks through the GRCC police department. This includes receiving a public sex offender registry (PSOR) clearance before having any contact with a child in care. A copy of this clearance will be kept on file at the center. Any individual registered on the public sex offender registry (PSOR) is prohibited from having contact with any child in care. Volunteers will always be supervised by the director, instructors or assistant to the instructor at all times and will never be left alone with children.  A written statement must be signed and dated by staff and volunteers at the time of hiring or before volunteering indicating all of the following information:

  1. The individual is aware that abuse and neglect of children is against the law.
  2. The individual has been informed of the center’s policies on child abuse and neglect.
  3. The individual knows that all staff and volunteers are required by law to immediately report suspected abuse and neglect to children’s protective services.

Child Abuse and Neglect Policy

Grand Rapids Community College ECLL is mandated by the Child Protection Law of Michigan to report to the Department of Human Services any suspected cases of abuse, neglect, child sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.

All staff, students and volunteers, including those who are parents, must sign and date a written statement including:

  • The individual is aware that abuse and neglect of children is against the law.
  • The individual has been informed of the center’s policies on child abuse and neglect.
  • The individual knows that all staff and volunteers are required by law to immediately report suspected abuse and neglect to children’s protective services.

Any staff member, student or volunteer that suspects abuse/neglect of a child will immediately make a verbal report to Children’s Protective Services at 1 (855) 444-3911. Within 72 hours, a written report will be submitted to Children’s Protective Services. This can be reported using Form 3200 located on the Department’s website.

If a staff member is accused of abuse or neglect of a child in the program, the situation would be investigated following the college’s general misconduct policy (6.23) and would be handled by the Executive Director of Human Resources at GRCC.

Question, Concerns and Visits

We strive to be the highest quality program for families and children. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss it with classroom staff or the center director. Items can also be emailed to the director. Concerns will be addressed individually between all involved. You are welcome to visit any area of the lab at any time during our regular hours of operation.

When differences arise in interactions between families and staff, we encourage both parties to participate in open and honest dialog. Your child’s best interest is important to both the ECLL staff and the family, and it’s important to share individual perspectives. In the event that communication between the two parties breaks down or is not satisfactorily resolved, a member of the ECLL administrative team may meet with the individuals as a mediator. 

General Policies

Hours of Operations

The center is open from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  *subject to change*
The center is closed on all college breaks and holidays. 
Calendars for the upcoming year are published for families at the beginning of fall semester.
The center operates on the same semester schedule as the college:
●    Fall (September through December)
●    Winter (January through April)
●    Summer I (May and June)
●    Summer II (July and August)

Provided by the Center

For Infants:

  • Similac® formula (with iron) for infants up to one year of age, that comes in factory-sealed containers, prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Food for breakfast, lunch, and snack, including baby foods and cereals from factory-sealed containers, prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wipes
  • Crib and crib sheets for naps

For Toddlers and Preschoolers:

  • Milk as required by the Child Care Food Program
  • Food for breakfast, lunch, and snack
  • Bedding for naps on a cot with a sheet and light blanket
  • Wipes, toothbrushes, and toothpaste

Families must provide:

  • An appropriate milk substitute if you chose not to use those provided. This could be soy, rice, organic, etc. (Almond, cashew and coconut milk are not allowed as we are a nut-free facility). For infants less than one year old, an alternate formula (Isomil, Emfamil, etc.) or breast milk is required. This needs to be labeled with your child’s first and last name and the date.
  • At least two complete changes of clothing. All items should be clearly labeled with the child’s name and placed in the child’s cubby or room storage drawers.
  • A favorite stuffed toy or blanket for your child’s nap, if needed. However, per licensing, infants may not have a soft object, bumper pad, stuffed toys, blankets, quilts, or comforters in the crib with them.
  • Infants and toddlers will need a full week’s supply of diapers, as staff check diapers every hour. If you have been notified two or more times regarding your child’s diaper supply, we will contact you to bring diapers in that day, or your child will have to go home.

What to leave at home:

Generally speaking, center staff feel that toys from home should stay at home. This includes all toys that have weapons or other violent themes. Please check with your child’s teacher, as each room’s guidelines may vary slightly.

Enrollment Policies

The program serves children between the ages of six weeks to 3 years in the infant/toddler program and 2½ years (30 months) to six years in the preschool program.

Children need to feel secure to be able to develop trust. Infants and toddlers develop that sense of security by having consistent, primary care givers. In the infant and toddler rooms, children remain with the same teaching staff for a minimum of nine months, preferably longer.

Vacancies in the program will be filled based on application date, the child’s age, and the level of availability each semester. If no space is available, your child may be placed on a waiting list. Families will be contacted when space becomes available.

To enroll a child in the Grand Rapids Community College ECLL, you will need to obtain an enrollment packet from the center office. This packet will minimally include:

  •  Health Appraisal Form and Immunization Record (to be signed by a physician)
  • Emergency Card
  • Tuition Billing Contract
  • Child Care Food Program Application
  • Field Trip and Photo Permissions
  • Child History
  • Licensing Notebook Notification

These items must be on file by your child’s FIRST day of attendance. The center cannot provide care without them. Children already enrolled in the center will have priority for the following year.

Summer Enrollment

  1. Summer enrollment forms will be available in late March and will be due by mid-April for tuition-based classrooms. A child already enrolled in the center will not be guaranteed placement. A completed enrollment form and one week’s tuition guarantees placement.
  2. To be guaranteed a spot for the fall semester, your child must be enrolled in the summer session. If your child is not enrolled in the summer session, they will be moved to the waiting list for the fall semester.
  3. There are no early leave exceptions. You must continue to follow the Withdrawal Policy.

Change of Schedule or Withdrawal Policy

Families must notify the preschool in writing two weeks in advance of a schedule change or withdrawing your child. Families are responsible for paying the tuition amount for those two (2) weeks.

Please obtain a change of status/withdrawal form from the center office.


  1. Upon arrival at the center, families must not leave an idling automobile in the parking area. Automobiles must be turned off, and appropriately parked. 
  2. Please sign your child in upon arriving at the center, using the Lilio app.
  3. Families are required to bring their children into the classroom, remove or assist in removing outdoor clothing, and discuss the child’s needs with the teacher if necessary. Please allow enough time for this transition in the morning. The center requires that whoever is dropping off your child be a minimum of 18 years of age.
  4. Families of infants must complete the top section of the daily activity record, noting how long and how well the child has slept, bottles or other food the child has already had that morning, comments on the child’s general state, and any other information that will help staff to better coordinate the transition from home to the center.


  1. Upon arrival at the center, families must not leave an idling automobile in the parking area. Automobiles must be turned off, and appropriately parked.
  2. Please sign your child out prior to leaving the building, using the Lillio app.
  3. Sufficient time should be allowed in the evening for families to talk with the child’s teacher, as needed. For families of more than one child, please allow more time to pick up your children, as the staff is not required to stay any later than our closing time.
  4. Children will not be released to anyone but their family or legal guardians without prior written permission given to the teacher in charge. In the event that another person needs to pick up your child, please make sure that they are listed on the emergency card located in the office and that they come with a valid photo ID.  The center requires that whoever is picking up your child be a minimum of 18 years of age.

Tuition and Fees

All tuition is to be paid per the terms stated on the invoice from GRCC Financial Services or through the Lillio app. If tuition is a week (or more) late, non-payment is considered a basis for termination of your placement in the center. Tuition payments are due on the fifteenth and by the end of the month. Payments will be considered late on the first of the month. A $25 late fee will be charged if the balance is not received in full by the first of the month.

When your child is ill, tuition is still assessed to maintain your child’s placement in the center.

Family vacations will be handled in the same manner as an illness absence (See Vacation Credit for additional information).

When the center is closed for holidays or inclement weather, no tuition will be charged.

Please refer to your billing contract for more information.

Registration Fee

There is a one time, non-refundable registration fee due to the ECLL at the time of enrollment for all private pay accounts.

  • The registration fee is waived for all grant-funded programs (Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), CCAMPIS, ELNC 3 year old and Early Head Start (EHS), and Occupational Support). 
  • Families that have a time lapse in enrollment (i.e. summer term) will need to repay the registration fee as well as the first week’s tuition upon return.

Vacation Credit

When a child/family attends the ECLL year-round, a one-week vacation credit will be given. This credit will be applied to your account on the August invoice. A child needs to have attended the ECLL since January 1 of that program year to be eligible.

Late Pick-Up Fee

A late fee will be applied for any child that is not picked up by closing, at a rate of $10.00 for any part of each 10-minute increment. This payment is made to GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory and should be made at time of late pick-up. This charge may also be added to your account. Non-payment is considered a basis for termination of placement in the center. If two children are picked up late from the same family, the fee is applied for each individual child.

Picking Children Up On Time

If, by closing time, a child has not been picked up, the following steps will be taken:

  1. Families will be called at all numbers listed on the Child Information Card.
  2. If there is no response and staff is unable to reach the family, all emergency phone numbers listed on the Child Information Form will be called. The child may be released to the individual(s) listed on the card.
  3. A full-time staff member will remain with your child. If a full-time staff member is not present, the Preschool Director will be called.
  4. When the director arrives to remain with your child, if the child has still not been picked up, or arrangements haven’t been made to do so, the Grand Rapids Community College Police Department will be called to pick up the child. They will also assist in trying to locate the family.

Staff will continue to try and reach the families (or other emergency contact) to make them aware of the situation. There will be a complaint filed with Child Protective Services by the police. GRCC Police and Child Protective Services may make the decision to take the child to Kid’sFirst at 2355 Knapp NE until the family arrives to pick up the child. This is a stressful and difficult situation for children, families and staff alike. Please help us to avoid these types of situations by picking your child up on time. The preschool is to close promptly at the identified closing time.  Please make sure to have your child picked up by or before this time.

Child Files

Individual child files are kept in a locked cabinet drawer adjacent to the center’s front desk, which is continuously staffed. These files are confidential, but can be accessed upon request by the following entities with a consent form signed by parent/guardian:

  • Center administrators
  • Teaching staff 
  • Parent/guardian
  • Regulatory authorities

Child Custody Issues

It is our goal to always advocate for children. In cases involving child custody, we need a copy of the current parenting-time court order. We will support any decisions that have been determined by the court.

In-Home Care Disclaimer

Families and their children become comfortable with staff and they sometimes ask our staff to provide after-hours, at-home childcare. Please be advised that the GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory assumes no responsibility for employees who provide private services to families, and that we are not permitted to refer possible babysitters or child care. Families may contact Grand Rapids Community College Student Employment Services to post job openings for College students.

Child Guidance and Discipline Policy

Discipline means to teach, not to punish. During infancy, guidance involves meeting a baby’s needs, responding to their cries and signals, and providing secure, warm care-giving. During both infancy and the toddler years, the child learns from his/her environment. The center environment is designed to encourage positive experiences with caregivers, other children, and with toys/ materials. 

As infants grow into toddlers, they need limits set by adults. Guidance from adults will help the very young child begin to learn how to regulate his/her own behavior. The staff will use positive methods of discipline which encourage self-control, self-direction, self-esteem, cooperation, and a sense of autonomy. The goal is to help children learn self-control that comes from within, and is based on a healthy self-concept. Corporal punishment, deprivation of food or rest, or any form of mental punishment will not be allowed.

Proactive Classroom Strategies

  1. We use positive guidance. We state what we want the children to do, not what not to do.
    1. Instead of saying, “don’t stand when you slide,” we say “sit down when you slide”.
    2. Instead of saying, “don’t tear the book,” we say “turn the page carefully.”
    3. Instead of saying, “don’t shout,” we say “talk in a quiet voice.” 
  2. We offer a choice only when we intend to give one. “Do you want to use red or green paint?” is a choice; “Do you want to have lunch?” is not. 
  3. We use words and a tone of voice that will help the child feel confident and reassured, not afraid, guilty, or ashamed. 
  4. Comparing one child, or his work, with another does not teach, but builds resentment and lowers self-esteem. 
  5. Redirection is often more effective than confrontation. 
  6. Remember that humor is more effective than admonitions. 
  7. Grabbing materials or toys while another child is using them is not allowed. The grabber is told (sometimes over and over again), “He is using it right now. You may have it when he is done with it.” Finding another comparable toy so they can play together is a social learning process. There is a difference in the behavioral expectations between the groups of children: the younger children are helped to stand up for their own rights, the older children learn to make decisions and solve problems for themselves. 
  8. We teach children to stand up for their rights. Having the child who has been hit say to the hitter, “I don’t like it when you hit me,” takes a lot of repetition and patience but it does teach the child that he can take care of himself. We make sure the aggressor understands and acknowledges the child he has hit. 
  9. When limits are necessary, they are clearly defined and consistently maintained by everyone who works at the center. Limits and goals are posted in the classroom. 
  10. We avoid words like good, bad, nice, naughty, and big. Instead of saying, “what a good boy!” we say, “you put the blocks on the shelf! Thanks for helping!” We acknowledge the act, not the child and disapprove of the act, not the child.

Strategies for Prevention and Response to Challenging Behavior

If a child in a classroom has serious challenging behavior, we will work with the family as a team to develop an individual behavior plan to support the child’s inclusion and success. Our goal is to prevent expulsion or suspension of a child from our program.  We will work together to make sure the teaching team and the family is provided with information and strategies to ensure success for the child.

Teachers and staff will comply with all federal and state civil rights laws and will use the following strategies to prevent and work through incidents of challenging behavior:

  1. Use of proactive strategies in the classroom
  2. Positive redirection
  3. Responsive strategies
  4. Conflict resolution

If these steps do not reduce the behaviors or if the behavior is extremely unsafe, we may request that a Mental Health Specialist complete an observation of the child, if the family agrees.  A meeting with the family will occur to determine further steps.  If the family does not want to have their child observed, the teachers may request a specialist to observe the class as a whole and help the teaching team develop some strategies regarding classroom management.

Challenging behavior or any disability is not a condition of enrollment.  Staff attitudes and/or apprehensions, unfamiliarity with behaviors or disability, the need to access additional resources to serve a specific child or the need for individualized planning and intentional teaching are not acceptable reasons to deny enrollment for a child.

Suspension and expulsion

Exclusionary measures are not considered until all other possible interventions have been exhausted, the situation has become dangerous, and there is agreement that exclusion is in the best interest of the child.  
Suspensions must be temporary, and must only be used as a last resort where the child's behavior poses a serious threat to the safety of the children and staff in the classroom. Modifications and accommodations must be implemented first; and if the behavior has not been successfully reduced or eliminated, suspension can be considered. Before a temporary suspension is implemented, the teaching team must collaborate with the family and engage with the director and/or a Mental Health Specialist. 


We will not expel or unenroll a child because of the child's behavior. If severe challenging behaviors are present, the teaching team must engage with family and consult with the director and/or a Mental Health Specialist.

Unacceptable guidance and discipline methods

Teachers and staff have a responsibility to the children they actively supervise to treat them with dignity and respect.  Physical punishment is never permitted and discipline must never be associated with food, rest or toilet training.

Staff may never use physical punishment, psychological abuse, or coercion when disciplining a child.
The following activities are forms of punishment, not discipline, and are not to be used for children in our program. The use of any of the following can and will be used as grounds for dismissal. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Restraints
  • Harsh treatment
  • Washing mouth out with soap
  • Taping or obstructing the child’s mouth
  • Placing unpleasant or painful tasting substances in the mouth, on lips, etc.
  • Verbal/abusive language
  • Isolation without supervision
  • Placing a child in a dark area
  • Inflicting physical pain; e.g., hitting, pinching, pulling hair, slapping, swatting, spanking, kicking, twisting arm, etc.
  • Labeling the child as “bad” or “naughty”

Appropriate use of restraint is only permitted when the safety of children is in jeopardy.

Biting Policy

Biting is a developmental stage that many children naturally go through between nine (9) months and three years of age. The safety of children is our primary concern. However, we understand most biting is a form of communication. Toddlers have emerging verbal skills and are often impulsive without a lot of self-control. Sometimes biting happens for no known reason. The teachers will encourage children “to use their words” when upset. Also, they will help children with the words they may need to describe their frustrations. Most importantly the staff will strive to shadow a child as closely as they can when biting is a concern.

If a child is bitten, the child who was bitten will be immediately cared for and shown concern. The child who did the biting will be acknowledged by telling them, “We don’t bite.” The child who is bitten will continue to be comforted. The child who was the biter will be removed from the situation and be given something to satisfy them such as a teether or other item. The teachers will stay calm. The bite will be assessed and cleansed with soap and water. The families of both children will be notified of the biting incident. The incident report will be completed. Confidentiality of all children involved will be maintained.

Staff in the classroom will work closely to develop a plan for the child who is biting. This is developed with the assistance of the family. This often will include tracking the biting in a journal with details such as day, time of day, whom they are playing with, what area they are playing in, etc. This information can assist the staff with what their strategies might be in the classroom.


The Early Childhood Learning Laboratory uses the HighScope Curriculum Model for both the Infant and Toddler Program as well as the Preschool Program. The curriculum is planned and implemented with the purpose of encouraging each child’s optimal, individual development.

  1. Facilitate and expand children’s play in areas so that each child’s learning is encouraged in a way appropriate to his/her developmental ability.
  2. Observe each child’s individual growth and interest and incorporate that knowledge into the curriculum planning.
  3. Interact closely and supportively with children building relationships that support growth.
  4. Assessment of preschool children through the guidance of an online tool, COR Advantage. 

Learning Environment

The teacher’s role in the preschool curriculum is to arrange the environment with activities and materials planned for each of the following permanent interest areas:

  • Art area
  • Book area
  • House area
  • Toy area
  • Block area
  • Outdoor area
  • Sand and water area

The preschool curriculum is implemented using the tenets of HighScope, State Standards for Early Childhood, and the Classroom Literacy Enrichment Model as a guide. The classroom teachers and children decide which topics are of interest throughout the year and sometimes choose to study a topic for several weeks similar to the Project Approach.

Using their knowledge of the sequential nature of learning, the teachers help children build their knowledge and skills in each of the developmental domains through the ongoing activity of the children. Each teacher plans to meet the developmental abilities of the group and of specific individuals.
The skills included in our curriculum planning include:

  • Approaches to Learning
    • Initiative, planning, engagement, problem solving, use of resources and reflection.
  • Social and Emotional Development
    • Self identity, competence, recognize emotions, sharing, turn-taking, negotiating, beginning cooperative play, moral development and conflict resolution
    • Increasing understanding of others’ feelings and needs
    •  Understanding and appreciation of differences in peoples’ families, physical appearance, and culture
  • Physical Development and Health
    • Large motor—running, jumping, climbing, balancing, throwing/catching, coordination, and spatial awareness
    • Small motor—hand/eye coordination, cutting, marking, building, and other manipulative skills
    • Body awareness,  personal care and healthy behavior.
  • Language, Literacy, and Communication
    • Comprehension and speaking
    • Phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge, reading, concepts about print, book knowledge and writing
  • Mathematics
    • Number words and symbols, counting, shapes, spatial awareness, measuring, patterns and data analysis
  • Creative Arts
    • Art, music, movement, pretend play and appreciating the arts
  • Science and Technology
    • Observing, classifying, experimenting, predicting, drawing conclusions, communicating ideas and using tools and technology.
  • Social Studies
    • Diversity, community roles, decision making, geography, history and ecology.

The Project Approach

Children have a strong disposition to explore and discover.  The Project Approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, reflect, and more. This kind of authentic learning extends beyond the classroom to each student’s home, community, nation, and the world. It essentially makes learning the knowledge of real life and children active participants in and shapers of their worlds.

For more information about The Project Approach, visit

Screening and Assessment

Infant and Toddler Rooms

The Woodland, Lake and River rooms  use Ages and Stages as a screening instrument within the child’s first month of attendance or re-admittance into the classroom. These are used to determine immediate concerns that require follow-up, referral, or other intervention. The screening tool is used as a link to follow-up, if necessary, but not as a means to a diagnosis or label.

If the child needs further developmental screening or referral for diagnostic assessment, the families will be notified in writing by the classroom teacher and a family/teacher conference will be scheduled to discuss findings and make recommendations.

All children in both the Infant and Toddler classrooms are assessed using COR Advantage. Children are assessed on a consistent basis using these reliable, appropriate, and valid assessments. The assessments allow the teachers to measure each child’s strengths, progress, and individual needs during daily activities and routine care giving.  Staff document moments throughout the day using the COR Advantage app.  Families are encouraged to download the Kaymbu for Families app and send pictures of their child engaged in learning activities at home.

The purpose of these assessments is to aid in making decisions about individual children’s teaching and learning, identify concerns that may require intervention, and assist in improving the developmental program and interventions. An individual weekly lesson plan is prepared using the anecdotal notes taken. During the family/teacher conferences, a summary of this information is shared with families who are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions for further planning and assessment for their child.

All of the Infant/Toddler staff has received training in the use of and interpretation of results of Ages and Stages, COR Advantage and where appropriate, the Brigance Screener.  All individual child records are kept in separate files in a filing cabinet. Only staff has access to this personal information.

The classroom teachers will provide additional information about the center’s screening and assessment methods via postcards, newsletters, and during family/teacher conferences. During these conferences, which are offered formally twice a year, staff will partner with families in answering their questions and concerns regarding assessment, and on goal-setting based on data.  Teachers may make referrals to community agencies so families can access the services they need to meet the comprehensive needs of the children and/or families.

Preschool Rooms 

The Meadow, Marsh, Beach and Dune preschool classrooms use the Ages and Stages as their screening inventory within the first month of attendance or admittance into the classroom. These are used to determine if there are immediate concerns that require follow up referral or other interventions. These screening tools are used as a link to follow up, if necessary, but not as a means to diagnose or label.

All children are assessed using COR Advantage. This assessment system assesses and documents children’s skills, knowledge, and accomplishments across multiple objectives. This assessment is ongoing and embedded throughout the curriculum.  Staff document moments throughout the day using the COR Advantage app.  Families are encouraged to download the Kaymbu for Families app and send pictures of their child engaged in learning activities at home.

Our goal is to use ongoing anecdotal records to assist us in weekly lesson planning, including small group activities.

All ECLL staff has received training in the use of and interpretation of results from COR Advantage. Each child has a file located in the classroom filing cabinet. Only staff has access to this personal information.

During Family/Teacher conferences, which are offered formally twice a year, staff will partner with families in answering their questions and concerns regarding assessment, and on goal-setting based on data.   Teachers may make referrals to community agencies so families can access the services they need to meet the comprehensive needs of the children and/or families.


Technology use in our program is connected to developing relationships, communication and social interaction. It is embedded into our daily routines and is used within the context of supporting responsive child-to-child relationships. Our play-based foundations require that technology is developmentally appropriate and used with intention as part of our holistic curriculum. Research shows that interactive media has the potential to enhance social interactions, creative play and exploration. Technology and interactive media expand children’s access to new content and skills and is viewed as a resource to accelerate learning.

Technology use reflects degrees of interactivity, active engagement/empowerment, child choice, and control, while ensuring that children learn the skills they need for technological literacy. The focus is on exploration itself, not on the technology. Children are supported in learning to think critically about the media they use. Use of technology provides adaptations for special needs individuals and is culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Staff is supported through time and training, enabling them to learn new technologies in order to enhance children’s learning. Technology used by children in the program is continually monitored and supervised by staff.

Cultural Competence in the Classrooms

We are guided by NAEYC Principles as professionals in our classrooms. We support the four guiding principles; Teacher Reflection; Intentional Decision-making and Practice; Strength Based Perspective, and Open, Ongoing Two-Way Communication.

Teacher Reflection

Teacher Reflection on our practice, including our own individual values and beliefs, is integral to creating partnerships with our families and children. We understand and support that children’s learning is influenced by their cultural and linguistic background.

Intentional Decision-Making and Practice

Children are “nested” in families. Families are the first and most influential teachers of their children. In recognition of this, families are actively engaged in setting goals for their child. Resources are available to build relationships such as translation or interpretative support whenever possible. The reciprocal nature of the relationship is the center of our focus. Families sharing specific information on their culture is encouraged through daily conversations, background forms/surveys, and featuring families in weekly documentation. Classrooms include materials that reflect the families enrolled.

Strength-Based Perspective

Families’ strengths are embraced in each classroom and throughout the program. Accepting differences and working towards understanding continues to be our first goal when dealing with families and children. Children’s strengths heavily influence curriculum and program planning.

Open, ongoing Two-Way Communication

Families are part of a partnership with the program and specifically each teacher and classroom are supported by open ongoing two-way communication. Daily conversations with families during drop-off and pick up are excellent opportunities to create open two-way communication. However, we use several other effective methods. Phone calls throughout the week sharing positive experiences and health updates, documentation throughout the classroom on children’s experiences, e-mails, journals, home visits, family teacher conferences, room events, program events and program documentation are examples of ways we connect with families.


Infant Nutrition

The center supports breast-feeding and will work with families to coordinate with feeding schedules and provide a comfortable place to breast-feed at the center.

All formulas must be commercially prepared and ready-to-feed.

Cow’s milk will not be fed to infants younger than one year of age without written permission from a doctor.
Staff do not offer solid foods and fruit juices to infants younger than six months.

Breast milk

Breast milk may be supplied in a 1 week supply in a clean, sanitized container kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or kept in the freezer for no more than 2 weeks.

Breast milk must be labeled with the child's first and last name and the date expressed as well as the day the center receives the milk.

Staff will gently swirl, not shake, the milk before feeding to ensure its highest nutritional components are preserved.

Toddler and Preschool Nutrition

All meals and snacks are planned and prepared by the staff trained in the area of menu planning and food preparation in accordance with the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines. All meals will meet or exceed the requirements of the Michigan Child Care Food Program. The GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory has a dietician available to review menus and provide general consultation about nutrition, allergy and other dietary-related questions. Nutritional guidelines require that children under the age of two be served whole milk. We must have written permission from your child’s physician to serve any other milk or food substitution.  If a substitute for milk is supplied by the family, it must arrive at the center factory-sealed and unopened with the date and the child’s first and last name.  The container will be kept in the refrigerator in the classroom for the week and then sent home.  If the substitute arrives already opened, the family will need to take the container home at the end of the day or the product will be discarded.  The milk substitute must not contain coconut, tree nuts or peanuts.

The menus will be planned quarterly and dated as to week of use. The current week’s menu will be posted on the Family Bulletin Board in the lobby of the ECLL. Menus are also posted in each classroom. All substitutions will be noted on menus, and after use, they will be kept on file for three years for audit purposes. Copies of the menus are available upon request.

The center will provide breakfast for all children in attendance at the time of service. Lunch will be served daily. A mid-afternoon snack will also be served to all children in attendance.

The following is a list of foods that will not be offered to children under the age of four years: hot dogs, grapes, nuts, popcorn, raw peas, hard pretzels, spoons of peanut butter, or chunks of raw carrots. We only service 100% juice at the center, and infants are limited to no more than four ounces per child daily.

The center is peanut and nut free.

All food/beverages brought into the center for your child are to be labeled with your child’s first and last name and the date.

Special Occasions Celebrations

We respect the fact that families often have different traditions and holiday celebrations. We strongly encourage families to come into the classroom and share their celebrations. Holidays in general can be overstimulating for young children. We are aware of children’s excitement surrounding celebrations. We acknowledge and engage in group discussion of their individual experiences without emphasizing holidays in the curriculum. Minimizing stress for families and children often associated with the holidays is our focus.

Guidelines for Food in the Classroom

Because some children have allergies or other dietary restrictions, each classroom at the ECLL maintains a list of “safe” foods that all the children are able to eat. Only foods that ALL children can safely consume are allowed. Pre-packaged foods that are commercially prepared by a licensed food vendor MUST list all ingredients. Commercially prepared packaged foods must be in factory-sealed containers with the labels intact. Peanut /tree nut products or items processed in facilities that process peanuts/tree nuts will not be allowed. Suckers, candy, or any other foods that may be a choking hazard are not allowed. Please read food labels carefully and consult with classroom staff before bringing a treat into the classroom. Homemade treats are not allowed. Fruit must be provided whole (not cut into pieces) – staff will cut and serve it to the children.

Rest and Activities


Children are provided a rest/nap time if they spend more than four hours in care here at the center. Each child will have his/her own cot or crib. The center will provide sheets and blankets which will be laundered regularly and when visibly soiled. Cribs will be cleaned weekly or before use by another child. Infants, unless ordered by a physician, are placed on their backs to sleep and may assume any sleep position when they can do so themselves.

Outdoor Play

Time outdoors will be provided for all children daily. According to licensing, children must remain indoors if there is lightning in the area, the temperature (including wind chill) is 10ºF or below, or the temperature (including the heat index) is above 95ºF.

The center’s playgrounds are located on the premises. All classrooms are open to the playgrounds, with covered porches for shade and outside learning activities. The Woodland, River, and Lake Room playground is located between the infant/toddler house and the preschool house. The preschool playground is on the south side of the preschool house.

The center must have written permission from the families at the time of enrollment to take children on walks off the premises of the center. Children are not allowed to be left behind for any reason.

Appropriate clothing for outdoor play must be provided by the families. During the winter, this includes a coat, snow pants, boots, hat, and mittens.

Appropriate shoes will have a back (such as sneakers) or minimally a sandal with a back strap. This is for your child’s safety while climbing, running, and walking. When necessary, staff may have your child wear school shoes to ensure their safety.

Staff will apply center-provided sunscreen to all children (May – September) prior to going outside. Families will sign a permission form that is kept on file. Families may choose to provide a particular brand of sunscreen for their child(ren). This will be labeled with the child’s full name and stored in a closed cabinet out of reach of children in the classroom(s).

Field Trips and Transportation

Walking field trips are plentiful due to our location. When leaving the grounds of the GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory classroom, staff record in the office journal where they will be going and what staff member’s cell phone to call in case of an emergency. Field trip details are shared with families through written communication at least three days in advance, generally a week in advance. For trips that require a mode of transportation other than walking, the parents must sign a permission form specific to each trip.  If classrooms are out in the late afternoon, they will return to the center by 5 p.m. for departures/pickup.

The city bus is also available for field trips. A release form is to be signed at the time of enrollment to give permission for your child to ride on the city bus. It is kept in your child’s file in the office.  For trips that require a mode of transportation other than walking, the parents must sign a permission form specific to each trip.

Field trips are an important part of the preschool experience and are enjoyable for both staff and children. Staff will plan, communicate, and watch safety to make these trips great learning experiences for everyone. Documentation will be done to share the experience with families.

Health and Safety

Health, safety, and nutrition are primary concerns at the ECLL. We will maintain good sanitation practices such as hand washing, maintaining individual cots/cribs with clean bedding, disinfecting furniture and toys, and closely monitoring each child’s state of health. Food and feeding utensils will be stored, handled, and used in a sanitary manner.

The environment is set up for young children to explore. Appropriate play materials and constant close supervision will assure safety. Shoe covers or shoes worn solely in the infant room are used to prevent foreign material from entering the room and contaminating the floors and main play space for infants.

Conversation between teachers and families every morning and evening will help maintain the consistency necessary for health development. Two-way communication about the child’s health and well-being will do much to reduce illness in the center.

Health Care Professional

The program has and implements a written agreement with a health consultant who is either a licensed pediatric health professional or a health professional with specific training in health consultation for early childhood programs. The health consultant visits at least two times a year and as needed.

The health consultant observes program practices and reviews and makes recommendations about the program’s practices and written health policies to ensure health promotion and prevention of infection and injury. The consultation addresses physical, social/emotional, nutritional, and oral health, and exclusion of ill children. The program documents compliance and implements corrections according to the recommendations of the consultant.

Physical Examination and Immunization

Licensing requires that all children enrolled in the GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory have had a complete health evaluation and immunization record within the 12 months prior to the first day of attendance. This form is provided in your enrollment packet and due before your child may attend the center. Families will be notified in advance when their child’s physical is about to expire and are therefore responsible to get it updated by the date required. Infants and toddlers will need updated physicals every year, and children in the preschool program will need a physical every two years. Any restrictions of activities or allergies should be stated in writing by a licensed physician. The center must also be informed of the date of subsequent immunizations.

Medical Emergencies

All children must have a Child Information Card on file providing current information.

If a medical emergency should arise and the family cannot be reached, the center may take such temporary action as deemed appropriate

Emergency Card

The emergency card provides center staff with information regarding how to get in contact with you, whom to contact in the event that you cannot be reached, and to whom staff are authorized to release your child. Emergency cards must be completed, signed, and on file before your child may attend. Information must be accurate and updated periodically as needed.  It is required that all boxes be filled in unless it specifically states “optional”.  Families must use the word “none” or “unknown” to fill in boxes such as allergies if there are no known allergies.

A class schedule must be provided by families who are students at GRCC. Campus Police will notify families in their classroom if their child is ill or injured.

Individual Emergency Care Plans

If your child has a known medical or developmental condition that requires special care in an emergency, please inform your child’s teacher. S/he will provide you with a form to complete, which provides them with your child’s emergency care plan to keep on file.

If your child has allergies or asthma, an “Allergy Action Plan” or an “Asthma Action Plan” must be provided by your child’s doctor. This plan must be on file at the center no later than two weeks after the child’s start date or enrollment will be suspended until this is received. This is for the safety of the child and the protection of staff.  Additional medications that are named on the action plan must be provided according to the Medication Policy.

If a physician has ordered a specialized medical/dental management procedure for an individual child, an adult who has been trained in the procedure must be onsite whenever the child is present.

Staff Procedures for Emergencies

The center will be responsible for reporting to the family observed changes in the child’s health, and/or any accidents which may have happened to the child. The staff member who observed the accident or illness will be responsible for filling out the appropriate form(s).

Medical Conditions

Communicable Diseases

Refer to the document from our local health department to know how we will manage communicable diseases.  
A notice will be posted in your child’s classroom if your child or another child contacts any unusual communicable disease. The posting will provide the following information:

  1. Type of disease
  2. Signs and symptoms of the disease
  3. Mode of transmission
  4. Period of communicability
  5. Control measures being taken in the classroom/school
  6. Control measures that families can implement at home 

A staff member annually attends the Kent County Health Department training to stay current on health and disease related information. Staff also obtains advice via email or phone from the health department and online resources as needed.  Please report your child’s illness to the front office.

A list of common infections in child care is included in the Additional Family Information section of this book.


Keeping your child at home

In an effort to keep down the incidence of disease and illness and for the comfort of the children, families are expected to keep their child home in the event of symptoms that include but are not limited to:

  • Fever:
    • Taken by mouth: 100.6°F (38.1 C) or higher
    • Taken under the arm, on the forehead or rectally:  or 99.6 F (37.6 C) or higher under the arm, on the forehead, or rectally 99.6 F (37.6 C) or higher.
    • Note: If there is influenza-like activity or COVID-19 like activity in the school, or in the community, as determined by the local health department, criteria for fever would be reduced to 100.4 F (38 C) or higher; 99.4 F (37.4 C) or higher, respectively.
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
    • Note: for children under 2, loose BM’s can be normal as their digestive systems develop and teething is present.  Diarrhea for children this age will be defined as two loose, watery stools not able to be contained by the diaper.
  • Undiagnosed Rash/Blisters
  • Runny/Red eyes or excessive discharge
  • Fatigue/Lack of participation
  • Respiratory conditions such as persistent cough / wheezing / difficulty breathing - unless an asthma action plan is on file and proper medication has been provided following the prescription medication protocol.
  • Thick, green or yellow nasal discharge lasting longer than a few days, or congestion preventing the child from participating in the daily routine
  • The need for 1:1 care, consisting of: inconsolable crying for more than 15-20 minutes, or other abnormal behavior for the child, in addition to one or more symptoms of illness.
  • Presence of live lice, nits (lice eggs), or other parasite
  • If your child tests positive for COVID, he or she should stay home for five days from the start of symptoms and be free from the symptoms listed above before returning.

Should your child become ill or exhibit any of these symptoms while at the center, you will be contacted and expected to arrange for your child to be picked up within 1 hour.   If staff are unable to reach you, others on the emergency card will be contacted. When possible, your child will be isolated from the other children in the classroom and cared for by a familiar caregiver. Your child will be kept away from others until they are picked up.

With proper documentation from a medical professional on file, staff will take into account certain medical conditions (GI tract issues, allergies, asthma) that indicate symptoms are not a result of a communicable disease.

Children may return to the center when:

  • The child’s temperature has been below the fever indicators listed above for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.
  • The child’s rash or blisters have been diagnosed and are determined not to be contagious, have been treated for 24 hours with appropriate medication deemed necessary by a medical professional, or lesions are determined to no longer be contagious as determined by a medical professional.
  • It has been 24 hours since the last episode of vomiting or diarrhea without medication.
  • The nasal discharge is not thick, yellow, or green and is not preventing the child from participating in the daily routine.
  • The child is able to participate in the daily routine as much as what is typical for the child.
  • Eyes are no longer runny, red or discharging, or the condition has been treated with an antibiotic for 24 hours.

Note regarding antibiotics – in accordance with the medication policy, if your child is given antibiotics for any reason, they must complete the first 24 hours at home.  Young children can have reactions to medication, especially if they have not had those medications before.  In addition to preventing the spread of the illness causing the infection, keeping them home for 24 hours allows the child to be monitored at home for any potential reactions before returning to school.

Occasionally, a written note from the child’s physician or proof of test results will be required by the center for a child to be readmitted. Please call the center if you have any questions regarding your child’s symptoms or to let staff know if your child will not be in attendance on a scheduled day: (616) 234-4004

Alternate Child Care Arrangements

Sooner or later, all children get sick. This causes changes in plans and expectations and makes life complicated, especially for working families. The best way to be prepared for these unavoidable sick days is to plan ahead.

  • Think ahead of time what your choices will be.
  • If you work during the day, find out about your employer’s sick leave policies.
  • If it is difficult for you to take time away from work, find an alternate caregiver. This might be a relative, neighbor, friend, or other dependable adult that you can call when you child is too sick to be at the center.

Allergies and Food Sensitivities

The ECLL is an entirely nut and peanut-free program.  Included in this policy are any products made with coconut, per government guidelines.  We do not prepare, serve, or consume any products that contain nuts or peanuts, or any food that has been prepared in a facility that also processes nut products. This includes birthday treats or other food brought in by families. Please check with your child’s teachers before bringing food into the classroom.

If your child has specific allergies, please provide the room staff with an ‘Allergy Action Plan’ obtained from your child’s doctor, and meet with staff to discuss the plan. The plan will assist staff in case of an emergency.

Some children have milk or food sensitivities and may require food substitutions. A food substitution form is available and should be completed by the child’s doctor and returned to the classroom staff. Families will be asked to provide an alternative food for the child and ensure that it is available for staff to serve each day.  Please keep in mind that we are nut free so alternatives such as almond milk or coconut milk are not allowed.

Please note that a food listed as an allergy on any documentation provided by the family will not be served to the child, even if the family states that they do so at home.

Documentation of children’s allergies and/or food sensitivities (child’s photo and specific allergy/sensitivity) is posted in the classroom as well as in the ECLL’s kitchen and office.

Medication Policy

  • The center must have a “Medication Permission Form” on file for each prescription and over-the-counter medications before administering. 
  • Prescription Medications: must have a current pharmacist’s label that includes the child’s full name, dosage, current date, time to be administered, and the name and phone number of the physician.
  • Non-prescription children’s medication: can be administered for up to 3 consecutive days according to the manufacturer’s instructions with written authorization from the parent/guardian. Written authorization from the child’s medical provider is required to continue use beyond the 3 consecutive days.
  • Children should have their first dose of medication at home and return 24 hours after the initial dose to ensure there are no side-effects.
  • Non-prescription topical children’s ointments: can be applied with authorization from the parent/guardian according to the manufacturer’s instructions for a period not to exceed 1 year. This includes diaper cream, sunscreen, and insect repellant and other non-medicated (free from antibiotic, antifungal or steroidal components) topical non-aerosol ointments designated for use with children.
  • Non-prescription topical children’s ointments: can be applied to open, oozing sores for up to 3 consecutive days according to the manufacturer’s instructions with written authorization from the parent/guardian. Written authorization from the child’s medical provider is required to continue use beyond the 3 consecutive days or if the condition worsens.
  • As needed children’s medications require written authorization from the child’s medical provider for a period not to exceed 6 months. Authorization must list the reason, dosage, start date, and end date.
  • Medications for chronic illnesses: require a written order from the child’s medical provider for a period not to exceed 1 year.
  • Homeopathic or herbal medications: require written authorization signed by the parent/guardian and the child’s medical provider including reason, dosage, times of administration, start date and end date.

Additionally, please note the following:

The label will suffice as the medical provider’s authorization. However, if the pharmacist’s label does not provide all the necessary information to administer the medication to the child, a written order from the child’s medical provider will be required before the medication can be administered.  Check with your pharmacy to see if they will provide you with an extra bottle for child care.  When a child is on a new medication, the first dose must be given to the child at home so the parents/guardians can check for any side effects from the medication.

  • All one-a-day medications and vitamins must be administered at home.
  • If while taking medication, your child’s dosage should change, a new “Medication Permission Form” form will be required. If this is a prescription medication, this will also require an updated prescription form from your child’s medical provider.
  • If a child should refuse to take the medication when administered by ECLL staff, the parent/guardian will be called in to administer the medication.
  • Medication should not be provided in a child’s bottle. If the child is not feeding well, s/he may not get all the medication necessary. Further, bottle-feeding times may not correspond with the appropriate medication administration schedule.
  • Fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen cannot be administered by staff or parents/guardians so that the child can remain at the center. The center can administer fever-reducing medicines at the parent’s/guardian’s request (if we have a note to administer fever-reducing medication on an as-needed basis) to a child while s/he waits for the parent/guardian’s arrival, if written authorization from the parent/guardian and/or medical provider has been provided. The child cannot be readmitted to the center until s/he is fever-free for at least 24 hours and has no other symptoms.
  • Products containing Benzocaine, the main ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) gels and liquids applied to the gums or mouth to reduce pain, may only be applied with authorization from the child’s medical provider for a period not to exceed 7 consecutive days.
  • All medications must be provided in the original container, labeled with the child’s full name and any medication spoon/device to administer the medication must be provided.

Non-prescription medications must be designated for use for children. A prescribed medication or an authorization  written and signed by the parent/guardian or who is also a physician is not acceptable. All prescribed medications and written authorizations for both prescription and non-prescription medications must originate from the child’s medical provider.

All prescription/non-prescription medications along with any administration device are stored in lockboxes in individual classrooms. These lockboxes are placed behind cabinet doors, out of reach of children. Medications that must be refrigerated are stored in individual classroom refrigerators in a lock box.



The program follows these practices regarding hand-washing:

  • Staff members and those children who are developmentally able to learn personal hygiene are taught hand-washing procedures and are periodically monitored.
  • Hand-washing is required by all staff, volunteers, and families when hand-washing would reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases to themselves or others.

Children wash either independently or with staff assistance as needed. Children and adults wash their hands:

  • On arrival for the day.
  • After diapering or using the toilet.
  • After handling body fluids (e.g. blowing or wiping a nose, coughing on a hand, or touching any blood, mucus, or vomit).
  • Before meals and snacks, before preparing or serving food, or after handling any raw food that requires cooking (e.g. meat, eggs, poultry).
  • After playing in water that is shared by two or more people.
  • After handling pets and other animals or any materials such as sand, dirt, or surfaces that might be contaminated by contact with animals.
  • When moving from one group to another that involves contact with infants and toddlers/twos.

Adults also wash their hands:

  • Before and after feeding a child.
  • Before and after administering medication.
  • After assisting a child with toileting.
  • After handling garbage or cleaning.
  • Between and after applying sunscreen to individual children

Proper hand-washing procedures are followed by adults and children and include:

  • Using liquid soap and running water.
  • Rubbing hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, including back of the hands, wrists, between fingers, under and around any jewelry, and under fingernails; rinsing well, drying hands with a paper towel, a single-use towel, or dryer; and avoiding touching the faucet with just-washed hands (e.g. by using a paper towel to turn off water).

Toileting and Diapering

Diapering shall occur in a designated diapering area and shall include all of the following:

  • Physically separated from food preparation and food service
  • Within close proximity to a hand-washing sink that is used exclusively for this purpose
  • Non-absorbent, smooth, easily sanitized surfaces in good repair and maintained in a safe and sanitary manner
  • Sturdy construction with railings or barriers to prevent falls
  • Adult work surface height to minimize children’s access
  • Diapering supplies within easy reach
  • A plastic-lined, tightly-covered container exclusively for disposable diapers and diapering supplies that shall be emptied and sanitized at the end of each day
  • Cleaned and sanitized after each use

Only single use disposable wipes or other single use cleaning cloths shall be used to clean a child during the diapering or toileting process.

The caregiver shall frequently check diapers/training pants and change diapers or training pants that are wet or soiled.

  • Toddlers in wet diapers or training pants may be changed in a bathroom.
  • Diapering shall not be done on any sleep surface.
  • The caregiver shall thoroughly wash his or her hands after each diapering and after cleaning up bodily fluids.

Guidelines for diapering and hand washing shall be posted in diapering areas.

  • Disposable gloves, if used for diapering, shall only be used once for a specific child and be removed and disposed of in a safe and sanitary manner immediately after each diaper change.
  • Diapers shall be disposable or from a commercial diaper service. If a child’s health condition necessitates that disposable diapers or diapers from a commercial service cannot be used, then an alternative arrangement may be made according to the child’s family or licensed health care provider.

The following shall apply when cloth diapers or training pants are used:

  • No rinsing of the contents shall occur at the center.
  • There shall be a waterproof outer covering that shall not be reused until thoroughly washed and sanitized.

Toilet learning/training shall be planned cooperatively between the child’s primary caregiver and the family so that the toilet routine established is consistent between the center and the child’s home. Equipment used for toilet learning/training shall be provided. Adult-sized toilets with safe and easily cleaned modified toilet seats and step aids or child-sized toilets shall be used.

Non-flushing toilets (potty chairs) may be used under the following conditions:

  • Easily cleaned and sanitized.
  • Used only in a bathroom area.
  • Used over a surface that is impervious to moisture.
  • Cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Crisis Plan and Disaster Preparedness

The ECLL is directly involved with the Grand Rapids Community College Crisis Response Team. This team has developed Emergency Procedures for Bomb Threats, Suspicious Persons, Power Failure, Injury/Illness, Fire, Gas Leak, Storm Warning, and Robbery. We work closely with the GRCC Police Department. In fact, they often visit our building to check in on us. ECLL employees have had Active Shooter Training provided by the GRCC Campus Police.

Family Notification - Families will be notified if the building is evacuated, in the case of a lost child, an unsupervised child, and alleged sexual contact.  

In the case of a power outage, fire, tornado, or other emergency, we will use the RAVE system to alert families.  Whenever possible, a sign will be posted on the doors at the ECLL and information will be available on the ECLL voicemail. Families will automatically be enrolled in the RAVE system and can opt out at any time.

If you would like to see our Crisis Response documents, please stop at the front desk to request a copy. Your child’s health and safety is our first goal. We take this responsibility very seriously.

What is Rave Alert?

Grand Rapids Community College has partnered with Rave Mobile Safety, the leader in mobile safety, to offer an emergency notification system, Rave Alert, capable of sending users text, voice, and email messages.
All families will be enrolled in this system and will have the option to opt -out.  Although the college rarely closes, we want to be certain the families understand the current policy.

Inclement Weather/Snow Days/Weather Delays/Campus Closures

It is the policy of Grand Rapids Community College to maintain normal operations on all regularly scheduled days; therefore, the college rarely closes because of inclement weather conditions.

If and when the college does close due to inclement weather, all buildings will be closed, including the ECLL. In the event of non-weather related issues impacting campus safety and security such as power outages, mechanical failures, etc. the college may need to temporarily close some or all of the campus.

In addition to RAVE Alerts, any closings will be posted on and local television stations including WOOD TV8, WZZM 13, and FOX 17 by 6 a.m. that morning. The GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory is part of the Main Campus, and will be included in this posting, however, it will not specifically note that GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory is closed.
In the event that the college implements a delayed start, the ECLL will open for families at 10 a.m.. Although families’ Raider Cards will admit them into the building before 10 a.m., we ask that you do not arrive before then. Our staff needs time to prepare the building and classrooms for the children and students; we are not responsible for drop-offs before 10 a.m.

In the event that the college closes early due to any of the issues mentioned above, ECLL staff will attempt to contact families. Staff will remain with children at the ECLL until all families have arrived to pick up their children. 
Rave Alert is extremely helpful in these instances. All families will be enrolled in the Rave Alert System and can opt-out at their own convenience.

Although the college rarely closes, we want to be certain the families understand the current policy. As always, we appreciate your support and understanding. Please let us know if you need clarification around delays and closures.

Fire and Tornado Drills

Fire drills are done monthly. This practice prepares children for an actual emergency. We stress the importance of moving quickly outdoors. In the event of an actual emergency and poor weather conditions, the children will be taken across to our designated relocation spot.

Tornado drills are completed monthly April through October. If the US weather bureau issues a tornado warning while school is in session, the children will be taken to the appropriate location on the evacuation chart posted in each classroom and the lobby.

Building Security and Safety

It is the responsibility of every staff person to be constantly aware of the safety of the children. The ECLL is the most secure building on the GRCC campus. A GRCC Raider Card, individually programmed for building entry, is needed to enter the exterior and interior doors. All families are provided with Raider Cards upon enrollment in the program, and it is the expectation that families will use these cards each day their child attends in order to promote the highest integrity in safety and security of the building. If a card is lost, there is a $10 replacement fee.

Students, visitors, and volunteers must sign in each time they come to the ECLL and will be admitted by staff through the hallway security doors. Each classroom has a child check-in procedure, and classroom doors can be locked if further safety measures are needed.

Tobacco Free policy

The Grand Rapids Community College campus is tobacco free. “No Smoking/Smoke Free” signs are posted at our facility and near outdoor play areas to communicate that no smoking is permitted in the presence of the children.  Vaping is also prohibited.

Pest Management

The GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory will provide notice annually of their pest control policy and regulation that includes the posting and notice requirements for pesticide application. Applications over school breaks will not require family notification. Written notification will be sent home with children and signs will be posted for planned pesticide application 48 hours in advance. This notice will contain information about the pesticide, including the target pest or purpose, approximate location, date of the application, contact information at the center, and a toll-free number for a pesticide information center recognized by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Liquid spray or aerosol insecticide applications may not be performed in a room in the center unless the room will be unoccupied by children for four hours or longer if required by the pesticide use directions. The building manager will inform the director who will inform families.

Classroom Pets and Animal Visits

Teaching staff ensure that pets are in good health and are suitable for contact with children. Teaching staff will supervise all interactions between children and animals and provide instruction on safe behavior. Children with animal-specific allergies will not be exposed to those animals. Reptiles are not allowed as classroom pets.

If a visiting animal should require immunizations, documentation shall be provided from a veterinarian or animal shelter.

Photography, Media and Marketing

Families will be asked upon enrollment to complete a media release form covering photographs, videos, web-based media, work samples, and promotional materials. In addition, families must understand that they may not post photos taken or shared with them of any child in our program on any social media website without permission. While this form covers specific permissions, it is always the intent of the Early Childhood Learning Laboratory to share with our families any photos or media that will be used for purposes other than classroom documentation, student projects, or assessments. In these cases, special permission forms that indicate the specific purpose of the photos or media will be offered.

Family Involvement

The staff at the GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory is a team with you and your child.  Although many families are working and going to school, you are encouraged to visit the preschool during regular operating hours whenever possible. The staff is willing to answer any questions that you may have, but please try to avoid times when they are actively involved with the children. Individual appointments with your child’s teacher(s) may be made by scheduling them with the teacher in advance.

Family Advisory Board

The center utilizes a Family Advisory Committee for advice on policy and selection and feedback of family events. This is done through meetings and surveys. If you are interested in being engaged in this work, please notify the office. You are needed, even if you can only give a small portion of your time. Family input makes for a better center.

Family Events

Events will be offered several times throughout the year to give an opportunity for families and staff to get to know each other better. Programs are offered at various times of the day to try to reach all families. There is an annual summer picnic, fall festival, and a winter breakfast for families to attend. Families on the Advisory Board are asked to help plan and organize these events. Notification of events and meetings will be given well in advance.

Family and/or Teacher Conferences

Conferences with your child’s teacher(s) are scheduled twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. At these conferences, you will receive written and verbal communication about your child’s development. Additionally, similar written and verbal information will be provided to you by your child’s teacher(s) on a regular basis.

If your child should have a serious challenging behavior, our staff will work with you as a team to develop an individual plan to support the child’s inclusion and success in the classroom. If necessary and agreed upon, additional support consultants will join the team, contributing behavioral expertise and techniques for both families and teaching staff.

If developmental delays are suspected and indicated by multiple screenings, specialists or organizations that specialize in helping families find the support they need will be consulted. Any interventions that are prescribed during this process will likely be utilized both at home and by our staff. By working as a team, the goal is to capitalize on the individual child’s strengths, helping them realize their fullest potential.

If you have any particular concerns, you are welcome to schedule an additional conference by contacting your child’s teacher(s) directly. Please allow enough notification of these appointments so that necessary arrangements can be made to free the teacher(s) from the classroom at the appointment time.

When there are differences that arise in interactions between families and staff, we encourage both parties to participate in open and honest dialog. Your child’s best interest is important to both the ECLL staff and the family, and it’s important to share individual perspectives. In the event that communication between the two parties breaks down or is not satisfactorily resolved, a member of the ECLL administrative team may meet with the individuals as a mediator.


The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age eight (8). NAEYC is committed to becoming an increasingly high performing and inclusive organization.
Founded in 1926, NAEYC is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children with nearly 90,000 members, a national network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like-minded organizations. Membership is open to all individuals who share a desire to serve and act on behalf of the needs and rights of all young children.

NAEYC Accreditation means that the program meets NAEYC’s 10 standards of excellence in early childhood education. Programs that meet these standards provide a safe and healthy environment for children, have teachers who are well-trained, have access to excellent teaching materials, and work with a curriculum that is appropriately challenging and developmentally sound. These programs are continuously improving themselves to provide the best possible educational opportunities for children.

The GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory’s accreditation is valid through October 2026. For more information on the accreditation process and criteria, please talk to the director or visit

Additional Information and Resources for Families

State of Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality

The Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality define early childhood settings of the highest quality. To learn more or to view the standards, visit MDE - Early Childhood Standards of Quality (

Great Start to Quality Initiative

GRCC Early Childhood Learning Laboratory is proud to be a 4 STAR Program through the Great Start to Quality. To learn more visit


Family Resource Library

The Family Resource Library is located in the main lobby behind the front desk. The shelves contain books, pamphlets, and videos relating to parenting issues and guidance. These resources are available for families to borrow. Feel free to borrow materials and return them when you are finished.

Family/Child Lending Libraries

The Family/Child Lending Library is located at the top of the preschool house corridor, across from the kitchen. Infant, toddler, and preschool books, big books, and literacy-based supplemental materials are available for children and their families to borrow. Families’ Raider Cards can be modified to include a QR code, issued by the ECLL, that will allow them to check out materials using our LibBib circulation system. Stop by the Front Desk to obtain your code.  There are also book boxes for families to check out.  These are located in the front lobby.

Please take a moment to look at and make use of all our resources available to you and your family.


Your child’s classroom teacher(s) will provide a monthly informational newsletter. Also, a center-wide newsletter is distributed monthly. If you would prefer these newsletters in a language other than English, please speak with your child’s teacher.

Community Resources for families

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a community that is very rich in resources for our families. Family Futures has an excellent Family Resource Guide that can be found at:

  • United Way of West Michigan has many programs that support families in our community. They can be found at:
  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is located in downtown Grand Rapids offers many family-friendly events. More information can be found at:
  • Kent District Libraries are found throughout Kent County. They have many free family events. Please visit their website to learn more:  
  • Grand Rapids Public Library also hosts many amazing events.  Please visit their website to learn more:
  • Free Preschool through Kent ISD:
  • Help Me Grow Kent offers developmental screenings and community resources for families
  • Success Starts Early offers ideas for family engagement as well as community resources
  • Managing Communicable Diseases in Child Care from Access Kent

Common Infections in Child Care

All diseases in bold are to be reported to local health department.  No fever = no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication

*Report only aggregate number of cases for these diseases

** Contact  local health department for a “letter to parents”

***Consult with local health department on case-by-case basis

Campylobacter enteritis***Ingesting raw milk, undercooked meat, contaminated food /
water; animal contact
Diarrhea (may be bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, feverUsually 2-5 days with a range of 1-10 daysThroughout illness (usually 1-2 weeks, but up to 7 weeks without
Exclude with first signs of illness; encourage good hand hygiene
Exclude until diarrhea has ceased for at least 2 days; additional
restrictions may apply
Chickenpox ** ⱡ
Person-to-person by direct contact, droplet or airborne spread of vesicle fluid, or respiratory secretionsFever, mild respiratory symptoms, body rash of itchy, blister-like lesions, usually concentrated on the
face, scalp, trunk
Average 14-16 days
(range 10-21 days)
As long as 5 days, but usually 1-2 days before onset of rash and until all lesions have crustedExclude contacts lacking documentation of immunity until 21 days after last case onset; consult LHDUntil lesions crusted and no new lesions for 24hr (for non-crusting lesions: until lesions are fading and no new
lesions appear)
Common ColdPerson-to-person; droplet or airborne spread of respiratory secretions; touching a contaminated surfaceRunny or stuffy nose, slight fever, watery eyesVariable, usually 1-3 days24hrs before onset to up to 5 days after onsetEncourage cough etiquette and good hand hygieneExclude until 24hr with no fever and symptoms improving
COVID-19ⱡAirborne or contact with respiratory secretions; person-to- person or by touching contaminated surfacesFever, sore throat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, cough, runny nose, congestion, fatigue, vomiting, diarrheaAverage 5 days
(Range 2-14 days)
2 days prior to symptom onset and potentially after symptom resolutionExclusion criteria based on type of exposure; masking or quarantine may be necessary; consult LHD and current school protocol.Exclude until 24hr with no fever and symptoms have improved and 10 days since onset (positive
test if no symptoms); consult LHD
CroupAirborne or contact with respiratory
Barking cough, difficulty breathingVariable based on causative organismVariable based on causative organismEncourage cough etiquette and good
hand hygiene
Exclude until 24h with no fever and
symptoms improving
Diarrheal Illness (Unspecified)Fecal-oral: person-to- person, ingesting contaminated food or
liquid, animal contact
Loose stools; potential for fever, gas, abdominal cramps,
nausea, vomiting
Variable based on causative organismVariable based on causative organismExclude with first signs of illness; encourage good hand hygieneExclude until diarrhea has ceased for 24h or until medically cleared
E. coli ⱡ (Shiga toxin- producing)Fecal-oral: person-to- person, from contaminated food or
liquid, animal contact
Abdominal cramps, diarrhea (may be bloody), gas, nausea,
fever, or vomiting
Variable, usually 2-10 daysFor duration of diarrhea until stool culture is negativeExclude with first signs of illness; encourage good hand hygieneMedical clearance required; Exclude until diarrhea has ceased
for at least 2 days
Fifth Disease (Erythema infectiosum) (Parvovirus B19)Person-to-person; Contact with respiratory secretions Usually 4-14 days with a range of 4-21 days No exclusion required.No exclusion required
German Measles (Rubella)Respiratory secretions; Direct contact; Droplet spreadFever, flushed, lacy rash (“slapped cheek”)Variable, usually 4-
20 days
Most infectious before 1-2 days prior to onsetIf pregnant, consult OB; encourage good hand hygiene; do not share
eating utensils
No exclusion if rash is diagnosed as Fifth disease by a
healthcare provider
Giardiasis** ⱡPerson-to-person transmission of cysts from infected feces; contaminated waterDiarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, fatigue, weight loss, pale, greasy stools; may
be asymptomatic
Average 7-10 days
(range 3-25+ days)
During active infectionEncourage good hand hygieneExclude until diarrhea has ceased for at least 2 days; may be relapsing; additional
restrictions may apply
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease** (Coxsackievirus) (Herpangina)Contact with respiratory secretions or feces from an infected personSudden onset of fever, sore throat, cough, tiny blisters in mouth/throat and on extremitiesAverage 3-5 days
(range 2-14 days)
From 2-3 days before onset and several days after onset; shed in feces for weeksExclude with first signs of illness; encourage cough etiquette and good hand hygieneIf secretions from blisters can be contained, no exclusion required
Head lice (Pediculosis)Head-to-head contact with an infected person and/or their personal items such as clothing or bedding
Head Lice Manual
Itching, especially nape of neck and behind ears; scalp can be pink and dry; patches may be rough and flake off1-2 weeksUntil lice and viable eggs are destroyed, which generally requires 1-2 shampoo treatments and nit combingAvoid head-to-head contact during play; do not share personal items, such as hats, combs; inspect close
contacts frequently
Students with live lice may stay in school until end of day; immediate treatment at home is advised
Hepatitis A** ⱡFecal-oral; person-to- person or via contaminated food or waterLoss of appetite, nausea, fever, jaundice, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, dark urine, fatigueAverage 25-30 days
(range 15-50 days)
2 weeks before onset of symptoms to 1 to 2 weeks after onsetImmediately notify LHD regarding evaluation and treatment of close contacts; encourage good hand hygieneExclude until at least 7 days after jaundice onset and medically cleared; exclude from food handling for 14
days after onset
Herpes simplex I, II (cold sores / fever blisters)
(genital herpes)
Infected secretions HSV I – saliva HSV II – sexualTingling prior to fluid- filled blister(s) that recur in the same area (mouth, nose, genitals)2-14 daysAs long as lesions are present; may be intermittent shedding while asymptomaticEncourage hand hygiene and age- appropriate STD prevention; do not share personal items;
avoid blister secretions
No exclusion necessary
*Influenza** (influenza-like illness)Droplet; contact with respiratory secretions or touching contaminated surfaces)High fever, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, headache, runny nose; rarely vomiting or diarrhea1-4 days1 day prior to onset of symptoms to 1 week or more after onsetExclude with first signs of illness; encourage cough etiquette and good hand hygieneExclude until 24hrs with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) and cough has subsided
Measles** ⱡ (Rubeola) (Hard/red measles)Contact with nasal or throat secretions; airborne via sneezing and coughingHigh fever, runny nose, cough, red, watery eyes, followed by rash on face, then bodyAverage 10-12 days
(range 7-21 days) from exposure to fever onset
4 days before to 4 days after rash onsetExclude contacts lacking documentation of immunity until 21 days after last case onset; consult LHDCases: Exclude until 4 days after rash onset
Meningitis** ⱡ
Varies with causative agent: droplet or fecal oral route; may result
from another illness
Severe headache, stiff neck or back, vomiting, fever, light intolerance,
neurologic symptoms
Varies with causative agentVaries with causative agent, but generally 2- 14 daysEncourage cough etiquette and good hand hygieneExclude until medically cleared
Meningitis** ⱡ
(N. meningitis)
(H. influenzae) (S. pneumoniae)
Contact with respiratory secretions; spread by sneezing, coughing, and sharing beverages or utensilsSevere headache, fever, stiff neck or back, vomiting, irritability, light sensitivity, rash, neurologic symptoms;Average 2-4 days
(range 1-10 days)
Generally considered no longer contagious after 24hrs of antibiotic treatmentImmediately notify LHD; encourage good hand hygiene; do not share personal items and eating utensilsMedical clearance required; exclude until 24hrs after antimicrobial treatment
Molloscum contagiosumTransmitted by skin- to-skin contact and through handling
contaminated objects
Smooth, firm, flesh- colored papules (bumps) with an
indented center
Usually between 2
and 7 weeks
Unknown but likely as long as lesions persistDo not share personal itemsNo exclusion necessary
MRSA** (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)Transmitted by skin- to-skin contact and contact with surfaces that have contacted
infection site drainage
Possibly fever; lesion may resemble a spider bite (swollen, draining, painful); asymptomatic
carriage is possible
VariesAs long as lesions are draining; found in the environment; good hand hygiene is the best way
to avoid infection
Encourage good hand hygiene; do not share personal items such as towels, washcloths,
clothing, and uniforms
No exclusion if covered and drainage contained; No swim exclusion if covered by
waterproof bandage
Mumps** ⱡAirborne or direct contact with salivaSalivary gland swelling (usually parotid); chills, fever, headacheVariesAverage 16-18 days
(range 12-25 days)
Exclude contacts lacking documentation of immunity until 25 days after last case
onset; consult LHD
Exclude until 5 days after onset of salivary gland swelling
(Viral Gastroenteritis)
Food, water, surfaces contaminated with vomit or feces, person-to-person, aerosolized vomitNausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain for 12-72 hours; possibly low-grade fever, chills, headacheAverage 24-48 hours (range: 12-72 hours)Usually from onset until 2-3 days after recovery; typically, virus is no longer shed after 10 daysEncourage good hand hygiene; contact LHD for environmental cleaning recommendationsExclude until illness has ceased for at least 2 days; exclude from food handling for 3 days after recovery
Pink Eye (conjunctivitis)Discharge from eyes, respiratory secretions; from contaminated fingers, shared eye make-up applicatorsBacterial: Often yellow discharge in both eyes Viral: Often one eye with watery/clear discharge and redness Allergic: itchy eyes with
watery discharge
Variable but often 1-3 daysDuring active infection (range: a few days to 2-3 weeks)Encourage good hand hygieneExclude only if herpes simplex conjunctivitis and eye is watering; exclusion also may be necessary if 2 or more children have watery,
red eyes; contact LHD
Rash Illness (Unspecified)Variable depending on causative agentSkin rash with or without feverVariable depending on causative agentVariable depending on causative agentVariable depending on causative agentExclude if fever or behavior changes present; may need
medical clearance
Respiratory Illness (Unspecified)Contact with respiratory secretionsSlight fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy noseVariable but often 1-3 daysVariable depending on causative agentEncourage cough etiquette and good hand hygieneExclude if also fever until fever free for 24hrs without fever-
reducing medication
Ringworm (Tinea)Direct contact with an infected animal, person, or contaminated surfaceRound patch of red, dry skin with red raised ring; temporary baldnessUsually 4-14 daysAs long as lesions are present and fungal spores exist on materialsInspect skin for infection; do not share personal items; seek veterinary care for pets with signs of skin diseaseTreatment may be delayed until end of the day; if treatment started before next day’s return, no exclusion necessary; exclude from contact sports, swimming until
start of treatment
Rubella** ⱡ
(German Measles)
Direct contact; contact with respiratory secretions; airborne via sneeze and coughRed, raised rash for ~3 days; possibly fever, headache, fatigue, red eyesAverage 16-18 days
(range: 14-21 days)
7 days before to 7 days after rash onsetIf pregnant, consult OB; Exclude contacts lacking documentation of immunity until 21 days after last case
onset; consult LHD
Exclude until 7 days after onset of rash
Salmonellosis ⱡFecal-oral: person-to- person, contact with infected animals, or
via contaminated food
Abdominal pain, diarrhea (possibly bloody), fever, nausea,
vomiting, dehydration
Average 12-36hrs (range: 6hrs-7 days)During active illness and until organism is no longer detected in fecesExclude with first signs of illness; encourage good hand hygieneExclude until diarrhea has ceased for at least 2 days; additional
restrictions may apply
ScabiesClose, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or via infested clothing or bedding.
Scabies Prevention and Control Manual
Extreme itching (may be worse at night); mites burrowing in skin cause rash / bumps2-6 weeks for first exposure; 1-4 days for re-exposureUntil mites are destroyed by appropriate treatment; prescription skin and oral medications are generally effective after one treatmentTreat close contacts and infected persons at the same time; avoid skin-to-skin contact; do not share personal items; see exclusion criteriaTreatment may be delayed until end of the day; if treatment started before next day’s return, no exclusion necessary
Shigellosis** ⱡFecal-oral: frequently person-to-person; also via contaminated
food or water
Abdominal pain, diarrhea (possibly bloody), fever, nausea,
vomiting, dehydration
Average 1-3 days (range 12-96hrs)During active illness and until no longer detected; treatment can shorten
Exclude with first signs of illness; encourage good hand hygieneExclude until diarrhea has ceased for at least 2 days; Medical
clearance required
Strep throat / Scarlet FeverRespiratory droplet or direct contact; via
contaminated food
Sore throat, fever; Scarlet Fever: body rash
and red tongue
Average 2-5 days
(range 1-7 days)
Until 12hrs after treatment; (10-21 days
without treatment)
Exclude with signs of illness; encourage good
hand hygiene
Exclude until 12hrs after antimicrobial
therapy (2+ doses)
Streptococcus pneumoniae ⱡContact with respiratory secretionsVariable: ear infection, sinusitis, pneumonia, or meningitisVaries; as short as 1- 3 daysUntil 24hrs after antimicrobial therapyConsult LHD to discuss the potential need for treatmentExclude until 24hrs after antimicrobial therapy
Tuberculosis (TB) ⱡAirborne; spread by
coughing, sneezing, speaking, or singing
Fever, fatigue, weight
loss, cough (3+ weeks), night sweats, anorexia
2-10 weeksWhile actively infectiousConsult LHD to discuss
need for evaluation and testing of contacts
Exclude until medically cleared
Typhoid fever (Salmonella typhi) ⱡFecal-oral: person-to- person, ingestion of contaminated food or water (cases are usually travel-related)Gradual fever onset, headache, malaise, anorexia, cough, rose spots, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation,
change in mental status
Average range: 8-14
days (3-60 days reported)
From first week of illness through convalescenceConsult LHD for evaluation of close contactsExclude until symptom free; Medical clearance required; Contact LHD about additional restrictions
Vomiting Illness
Varies; See NorovirusVomiting, cramps, mild fever, diarrhea, nauseaVaries; See NorovirusVaries; See NorovirusEncourage good hand hygiene; See NorovirusExclude until 24hrs after last episode
Whooping Cough** (Pertussis) ⱡContact with respiratory secretionsInitially mild respiratory symptoms, cough; may have inspiratory whoop, posttussive vomitingAverage 7-10 days
(range 5-21 days)
With onset of cold-like symptoms until 21 days from onset (or until 5 days of treatment)Consult LHD to discuss the potential need for treatmentExclude until 21 days after onset or until 5 days after appropriate antibiotic treatment
West Nile VirusBite from an infected
High fever, nausea,
headache, stiff neck
3-14 daysNot spread person-to-
Avoid bites with EPA
approved repellents
No exclusion


Managing Communicable Diseases in Schools from Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Divisions of Communicable Disease & Immunization version 5.1 (March 2022)

Cleaning and Sanitizing Equipment and Toys

Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting frequency table

Relevant to NAEYC Standard 5 (Health), especially topic C: Maintaining a Healthful Environment

Food preparation surfacesClean and then sanitizeClean and then sanitize   Use a sanitizer for food contact
Eating utensils & dishes Clean and then sanitize   If washing the dishes and utensils by hand, use a sanitizer safe for food contact as the final step in the process; use of an automated dishwasher will sanitize
Tables & highchair traysClean and then sanitizeClean and then sanitize    
Countertops CleanClean and then sanitize  Use a sanitizer safe for food contact
Food preparation appliances CleanClean and then sanitize   
Mixed use tablesClean and then sanitize    Before serving food
Refrigerator    Clean 
Toilet & Diapering Areas     After each child’s use or use disposable hats that only one child wears.
Changing tables Clean and then disinfect   clean with detergent, rinse, disinfect
Potty chairs Clean and then disinfect   Use of potty chairs is not recommended, but if used should be cleaned and disinfected after each use
Hand washing sinks & faucets  Clean and then disinfect   
Diaper pails  Clean and then disinfect   
Floors  Clean and then disinfect  Damp mop with floor cleaner/disinfectant

Child Care Areas

Plastic mouthed toys CleanClean and ten sanitize   
Pacifiers CleanClean and ten sanitize  Reserve for use by only one child; use dishwasher or boil for one minute
Hats  Clean  Clean after each use if head lice present
Door & cabinet handles  Clean and then disinfect   
Floors  Clean  Sweep or vacuum then damp mop, (consider micro fiber damp mop to pick up most particles)
Carpets and large area rugs  Clean Clean

Daily: Vacuum when children are not present; clean with a carpet cleaning method consistent with local health regulations and only when children will not be present until carpet is dry

Monthly: wash carpets at least monthly in infant areas and at least every three months in other areas or when soiled

Small rugs  CleanClean 

Daily: Shake outdoors or vacuum

Weekly: launder

Machine washable cloth toys   Clean Launder
Dress-up clothes   Clean Launder
Play activity centers   Clean  
Drinking Fountains  Clean and disinfect   
Computer keyboards Clean and then sanitize   Use sanitizing wipes, do not use spray
Phone receivers  Clean   
Sleeping areas      
Bed sheets & pillow cases   Clean Clean before use by another child
Cribs, cots & mats   Clean Clean before use by another child
Blankets    Clean 
  1. Definitions and table adapted from: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs. 
  2. Routine cleaning with detergent (see definition above) and water is the most useful method for removing germs from surfaces in the child care setting. Safer cleaning products are not only less-toxic and environmentally safer, but they also often cost the same or less than conventional cleaners. Green Seal and UL/EcoLogo are non-profit companies that research and certify products that are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. 
  3. Sanitizing and disinfecting can be achieved with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. However, the use of chlorine bleach for disinfecting and sanitizing is not a requirement; there are other EPA-approved sanitizing and disinfecting agents that can be used instead of chlorine bleach/water solutions. When purchasing products, look for an EPA registration number on the product label, which will describe the product as a cleaner, sanitizer, or disinfectant. When using sanitizing and disinfecting agents, it is important that manufacture instructions for ‘dwell time’ (see definition above) is adhered to. When sanitizing or disinfecting is warranted, staff use EPA-registered least-toxic disinfecting and sanitizing products. The easiest way to find least-toxic cleaning products is to use products that have been tested and certified by a third party group such as Green Seal, UL/EcoLogo, and/or EPA Safer Choice. For alternative methods and products to be used in lieu of chlorine bleach, please refer to the Green Cleaning Toolkit for Early Care and Education, a set of resources developed by the EPA.  Follow manufacturer instructions for how to mix chlorine bleach/water solutions for sanitizing and disinfecting. Refer to Caring for Our Children, Appendix J,( for instructions on how to identify EPA-registered sanitizing and disinfecting products (including chlorine bleach), and how to safely prepare chlorine bleach solutions. 
  4. In addition to the frequencies listed here, all items should be cleaned when visibly dirty. 
  5. It is best practice to use alternatives to installed carpets in the child care environment.
  6. All area rugs and carpeted areas should be vacuumed with a HEPA filtered vacuum and according to instructions for the vacuum. Use proper vacuuming technique: (1) push the vacuum slowly; (2) do a double pass—vacuum in 2 directions, perpendicular to each other; (3) start at the far end of a room and work your way out (to avoid immediate re-contamination); (4) empty or replace vacuum bags when 1/2 to 2/3 full. 
  7. “Each Use” of computer keyboards should be defined as use by each group of children, not each individual child. Keyboards connected to computers should be cleaned daily if one group is in the room all day, or after each different group of children uses the room. These guidelines do not apply to keyboards that are unplugged and used for dramatic play.

Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, and religion.
If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call 1 (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax 1 (202) 690-7442 or email at

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 1 (800) 877-8339; or 1 (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.