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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions at the Whelan Children’s Center.

  • That he/she is a special, unique and valued individual. We strive to impart upon your children a positive self-image and self-confidence. We help each child see themselves as capable learners- as individuals who are developing the skills and understandings that will enable them to make sense of the world and to succeed in it. Each child is greeted warmly every morning and is shown warmth and affection throughout the day, not only by his/her teachers, but other staff as well. This shows the child that he/she is valued and holds a special place in the lives of others.
  • Interpersonal skills such as sharing, taking turns, good health and hygiene habits, and how to respect others as well as themselves. These skills are learned through daily experiences with other children and teachers.
  • How to use their words. Our children learn that words are a powerful tool. They gain self-confidence that allows them to interact with other children and adults in a meaningful way and be responsible for their own needs and feelings. Words allow our children to resolve conflicts with peers in a peaceful way.
  • How to make choices and accept the consequences of those choices. Our children learn that everyone makes mistakes. It is a learning experience.
  • To be aware of the print that surrounds them. They will learn to recognize letters and their sounds through play and small group activities. They will recognize that words are all around us and that those words have meaning and allow us to convey our thoughts and information. Your child will not be taught how to read, however he/she will gain the tools necessary so that when they go to kindergarten, their pre-reading skills have already been developed. This will make the process of learning to read an easy and fun experience.
  • Concepts and skills. Our children learn by doing through a variety of meaningful experiences. Worksheets and ditto sheets are not used in the Center. When the preschoolers discuss apples, they taste apples, explore the different colors of apples, cook with apples, and read books about how apples grow.
  • How to have fun and enjoy being a kid! We have fun and laugh a lot each day because our staff love working with young children and honor the unique quality of their thinking.

The Whelan Children's Center is located in the back of the main campus of Loyola University New Orleans, next to Mercy Hall, close to the intersection of Calhoun and Freret Streets.

  • To enter from Freret Street: Turn onto Loyola's campus through the entrance by the parking garage. Continue driving straight and you will see the parking garage on your right and the Center's play yard on your left. At the second stop sign, turn left into the parking lot.
  • To enter from Calhoun Street: Pass the corner of Freret and Calhoun Streets. You will see Mercy Hall on your right. The next street you come to is La Salle Street located between Mercy Hall and Holy Name of Jesus School. Turn right onto La Salle Street and take another right into the parking lot in front of Mercy Hall.

The Center is the one story building with three glass doors facing the yellow striped drop-off zone. The entrance to the center is up the ramp on the side of the building, in the breezeway between our building and Mercy Hall.

When a child's name is placed on the list, he/she is ranked according to the date placed on the list. Children are grouped on the list according to their age and affiliation with Loyola. The list is updated every March and September. When the waiting list is being updated, parents will receive an e-mail or phone call asking if they would like to remain on the list. There is no other action necessary until you receive the phone call stating that a spot has become available for your child. If you choose to accept the spot, we ask that you make an appointment to come visit the center. When you arrive, you will be given a tour of the center and a packet containing all of the forms necessary for enrollment. A $100 registration fee and a deposit of ½ months tuition will be collected. (The deposit will be applied to the child's last month of tuition once a thirty-day written notice of withdrawal has been given) The first month's tuition shall be paid upon the child's first day at the Center. If you chose not to accept the spot but wish to remain on the waiting list, your ranking date will be changed to the date you denied the spot and you will move to the bottom of the list.

The Center maintains full enrollment year round, therefore is it very difficult to predict a timeline for enrollment. The majority of new children are enrolled during the summer months of June through September when the older children leave for elementary school.

If you are on our waiting list and wish to be taken off, please don't hesitate to call and let us know.

These are common symptoms, which will cause a child not to be able to attend the Center:

  1. Uncontrolled diarrhea: 2 or more occurrences in a day. (Stool runs out of the diaper or the child cannot get to the toilet in time.) The child may return after 24 hours diarrhea free and after a normal stool. If a child is on medication that includes diarrhea as a side effect, the child may return to school with a doctor’s note. However, if the stool runs out of the diaper, causing unsanitary conditions, the child will not be allowed to return to the Center until the diarrhea is controlled.
  2. If a child has vomited more than once in a 24 hour period, the child may not return until 24 hours after the vomiting has ceased or a health professional determines that the child may return to child care.
  3. Mouth sores with drooling, or other open sores unless a health professional determines the child's illness is not a communicable illness.
  4. Rash with fever or behavior change until a health professional determines that the child may be in childcare.
  5. Pink eye with white or yellow eye discharge until 24 hours after treatment is started. The child must be symptom-free before returning.
  6. Head lice, scabies or other infestations until child is treated. The child must be nit free before returning.
  7. Fever of 100 degrees or more. Temperature will be taken with a thermometer in the armpit. A child must be fever free for 24 hours without the aid of a fever reducer unless a health professional determines that the child is free from communicable illness. If it was necessary to administer a fever reducer during the night or morning, please keep your child at home until he/she is well.
  8. A heavy discharge from the nose that is yellowish or greenish accompanied by a cough, lethargy or fever. The child must be symptom-free before returning.
  9. At the discretion of the Director - any child who is unable to comfortably participate in the activities of the Center will not be able to remain. Even if the child is not considered contagious, he/she may require greater care than the childcare staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of the other children. Indicators would include persistent crying, uncontrolled coughing, irritability, difficult breathing, wheezing, or other unusual signs.

If the child develops any of the above symptoms at school, he/she will be kept in isolation and the parent will be asked to pick him/her up as soon as possible. Once a child is on prescribed medication and symptom-free for 24 hours, he/she may return.

If your child is well enough to come to school, he/she will be considered well enough to participate in all activities, including outdoor play. We will not be able to keep him/her inside since we do not have the space or staff available to provide this service.

If your child has been admitted to the hospital, or visited an emergency room within a 24 hour period, he/she must have a doctor’s note to return to the Center. The staff greatly appreciates being informed of any illness your child may have had. Not only does the staff worry about the children when they are not at school, it also helps the teachers alert the other parents to any illnesses that may be spread to their children.

Arrival time at the Center is 7:30 a.m. Teachers arrive early to prepare for the day. Children will not be allowed in the Center before 7:30 a.m. Children must arrive at the Center by 10:00 a.m. In case of special situations such as doctor visits, etc., please let us know when to expect the child and provide a doctor’s note. Children develop a sense of security dependent upon a consistent routine and daily schedule. Parents can help by bringing the child to school each day at the same time. Children arriving after 10:00 a.m. miss much of the center’s activities. It is distressing to arrive only for clean-up, lunch, then nap. Please respect your child's need for a dependable routine. Pick up time is by 5:30. If you would like feedback about your child’s day from his/her teacher, please arrive before 5:30.

For safety reasons, the front door of the center is locked between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. It is necessary to ring the doorbell in order to be admitted into the center through the buzzer system. Only staff members are allowed to buzz parents and visitors into the building.

Please accompany your child into the center and make sure he/she is with the teacher before you leave, whether in the classroom or play yard. When picking up your child, please make sure the teacher is aware of your departure. When you pick up or drop off your child, please make sure your cell phone is not in use. Drop off and pick up are very important parts of your child’s day. If you need to use your cell phone, please do so before you enter the building or after you exit.

Each classroom has a sign-in/sign-out sheet for parents to fill out when they bring their child in the morning and when they pick up their child in the evening. Parents must write the time at which their child was brought to the Center and then sign their names next to the time, with the same procedure to be followed when leaving at the end of the day. Please sign your full name; no initials. Children or siblings are not allowed to sign in/out.

Please use the loading zone for drop off and pick up. Spaces in the Mercy Lot are for Loyola faculty and staff with parking decals only. You may receive a violation ticket if you park in areas other than the drop off zone. You will be issued a permit from the director to park in the drop off zone.

No one, except those individuals on the enrollment card, will be allowed to pick up your child. If someone else must pick up your child, please provide the individual's name in writing and give it to the director. We will not release your child to anyone else. If the staff has not met the person picking up your child, the staff will ask for a picture ID. Names must be provided in writing.

Parents arriving after 5:30 p.m. will be charged a late fee of one dollar per minute per child. Please pick up your child promptly and plan to leave the building by 5:30 p.m. After 5:30 p.m. there is no one left for your child to play with which causes children to become distressed. When extenuating circumstances are involved you are invited to write a note to the director explaining why you were unable to be on time. Late Fees can be waived in cases of extreme emergency. If a child is late an excessive amount of times, it could result in the termination of service to the family.

All children need at least one complete change of clothing, appropriate for the season, including shoes. Children who are toilet learning need three changes of clothing and an extra pair of shoes. This clothing must be marked with the child's name and stored in their cubby. If a child becomes excessively dirty or wet, we will be happy to change him/her into these cubby clothes. We will place the dirty clothes in a plastic bag to be taken home to be washed. Please remember that children at this age are experimenting and will often become dirty during normal play. Please don't expect them to come home as clean as they were when you brought them. Let them have fun and enjoy the "messiness" of learning!

Parents are asked to bring their child to the center in closed toe and heel shoes such as tennis shoes. Sandals, flip flops and crocs are not acceptable footwear at the center. As a safety precaution we ask that boots stay at home.

Donations, including tissues, diapers and wipes, to the center are accepted throughout the year and are greatly appreciated.

Of all the concerns parents have, separation anxiety seems to be the most common. Separating from young children is very difficult even for seasoned veteran parents! Know in your heart that this is a good, safe place for your child to be. He/she will be loved, nurtured, and well cared for by adults who are committed to the well-being of young children. His/her "boo boos" will be tended to with loving care, Band-Aids and ice packs. His/her questions will be answered thoughtfully and respectfully. He/she will be in constant contact with many adults who specialize in enhancing children's growth and development and rejoice in their accomplishments and personality differences. He/she will eat, laugh and play with other children, while learning with them and from them. He/she will learn the give and take of cooperative living with other children his/her age and children of other ages.

Research has shown that children who attend quality day care programs are socially well ahead of their peers who stayed home alone those first formative years. Though your child may cry when you leave, take comfort in the fact that it does not last long. While you are agonizing over whether or not you made the right decision - he/she will be laughing and exploring his/her new world. Call often during the day to check on your child - as often as you need to be reassured!

We have found that there are certain routines that help ease the separation for both child and parent. Establish and follow a comfortable routine. Set a relaxed pace. Share information with the staff. Say goodbye (never sneak out) and then leave immediately. It is not helpful to the child for you to return for one last hug or kiss. It sends mixed messages to him/her. (Mommy must not want me to be here either!!) Tell your child when you are coming back in terms he/she can understand (after lunch, after nap, after late snack). Return on time. Some things are non-negotiable when helping children to grow and learn. Separation is one of those facts. When parents are clear and secure in their decisions and actions, children tend to accept those facts much easier.

On the first day, come prepared to stay with your child for a few hours (as long as your schedule permits), then take him/her with you when you leave. On the second day, stay for a while then leave. Say goodbye and you will see him/her after lunch. Pick him/her up right after lunch. On the third day say goodbye and pick him/her up right after nap. On the fourth and fifth day pick him/her up a little later each day, telling him/her you are coming back after afternoon snack. Children who are gradually introduced into the routine tend to adjust faster than those who are left the entire day for their first day.

Be prepared for adjustment to take from two to four weeks. At first he/she may cry a good bit when you leave. Each day he/she will cry less and less. After a week, or even two, your child will not cry as much and will spend time watching the other children as they play. At this point he/she may still not be real happy but he/she is beginning to adjust to his/her new environment. After the second or third week he/she starts actually enjoying school. He/she begins to laugh and play with the other children. Very few children cry all day. Unfortunately, the hard part for parents is that this how they left them - crying. This does not last long. It is often helpful to provide snapshots of the family members and pets, special blankets or stuffed animals. Carrying around pictures of Mom and family helps to reassure your child. Blankets, pillows or special stuffed animals help your child rest at nap time.

A nutritious, wholesome breakfast, hot lunch and afternoon snack are served daily. Whole milk is served to children under two. Children two and older are served 1% low fat milk. Children under one year of age only receive formula or breast milk. Water is always available and children are encouraged to drink water often.

The meals are planned with low salt, fat, and sugar content while rich in flavor, texture, and visual appeal in order to be appetizing to children. We are aligned with the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and follow Federal guidelines concerning portion sizes, preparation, sanitation codes, and documentation. The menus provide one-half to two-thirds of the child's minimum daily nutritional requirement. Breakfast is served at 8:30 - 9 a.m. Lunch is served at 10:45 for infants, 11:00 for toddlers, 11:35 for two year olds, and 12:00 for preschoolers. Afternoon snacks are served at 2:30 for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The menu is posted and distributed monthly.

Children in the infant class are offered the option of Center provided formula, cereal, assorted fruits, vegetables, and meats that follow the CACFP's infant meal pattern. Also, breastmilk may be substituted for formula.

We celebrate many holidays as well as birthdays. Parents may wish to provide a special treat, usually cupcakes or cake (store bought only), for their child's birthday. Please discuss this with your child's teacher. Parents who wish to invite children to a private party outside the center may place invitations in each child's cubby as long as each child in that class receives an invitation.

We have an open door policy. Parents with children in the center are welcome to visit any time. Any visitor, besides parents, will be accompanied by a staff member at all times while in the center.

We ask parents to respect the children's learning environment by not distracting the teacher or the children. The teachers must remain involved with and supervise their children at all times. If you wish an individual parent/teacher conference, please contact the director to arrange a convenient time. Please do not interrupt the teacher when they are with children to ask specific questions about your child. Teachers are working with the children during the day and would not be able to talk to you for any length of time. This would leave children unsupervised and would be very disruptive to the children’s daily classroom routine.

The Whelan Children's Center strives to make transitions as easy as possible for the children. The developmental level of each child is taken into consideration when the transition time approaches. The teachers, director, and parents all work together to make sure that the child is ready to move on to the next classroom. Continuity and consistency are very important to young children. The classroom arrangement, shared play areas and the friendly nature of our center, ensure the children get to know the teachers across age levels. By the time each child is ready to move, they know the teachers well.

The transition process takes place as follows:

  • Monday: The child visits the new class for 30 minutes
  • Tuesday: The child visits for 1 ½ hours
  • Wednesday: The child visits in the morning and has lunch in the new class
  • Thursday: The child visits all morning, has lunch and naps in the new class
  • Friday: The child stays all day in the new class

This is only a basic guideline. It will be adjusted according to the needs of each child and after conversation between parents and teachers. At the end of the child’s day on Friday, they will help move their items out of their cubby and into the cubby in their new class.

Children move to the next classroom when space becomes available. Due to the fact that the center maintains full enrollment year-round, the majority of children move between the months of June through September as the older children leave for elementary school.

According to research, a child does not achieve the physical and mental maturity that makes successful toilet learning possible until sometime between his second and third birthday. Nerves connecting the brain and the excretory system mature only after a child is about 18 to 20 months old. In fact, it isn't until the age of 30 months or so that the bladder and the bowel - emptied frequently and involuntarily during infancy - are able to retain waste for extended periods. Development varies with every child, but in general 28 months is when the child exhibits some or all of the following signs of training readiness:

  • Your child is having fewer and more regular bowel movements which are firm in consistency.
  • Your child is having more dry diapers for several hours during the day.
  • Your child makes facial expressions and sounds that indicate he/she is urinating or having a bowel movement in his/her diaper.
  • Your child often lets you know that his/her diaper needs changing.
  • Your child is completely off the bottle.

Toilet learning should be a positive experience for a child and parent. When the child is ready, it takes only a short period of time. Toilet learning is as individual as learning to walk. There is no right age by which all children should be using the toilet. Problems in toilet learning usually arise because adults do not pay close enough attention to readiness signals from the child.

When the child is showing these signs, and after a parent/teacher conference we will begin working with you and your child to accomplish this skill. We have a center/parent agreement (please see attachment), which the child's teacher and parent will sign that outlines guidelines and expectations regarding this process.

We will try toilet learning with your child for 10 days. If your child shows no interest, is fearful, or has too many accidents, we will again use diapers until we decide together that your child is ready to try again.

When you dress him/her in underpants, explain that he/she will have to tell you and his/her teacher when he/she needs to use the potty. We provide many gentle reminders during the day, every 30-45 minutes the first week or two, using the correct terminology bowel movement, or BM, and urinate. We let the child know that we are pleased when he/she uses the toilet; however, we avoid intense focus on success and failure, which tends to over-emphasize the whole issue. After all, using the toilet is something that everyone learns to do - eventually.

When accidents occur, we are very understanding and patient. The teacher will not punish, shame, or scold a child who has had an accident. Accidents happen and are treated in a matter-of-fact manner.

The parent must provide at least three complete changes of clothing daily, including socks and an extra pair of shoes. Make sure all clothing is clearly marked to avoid loss. Please provide clothing that makes it easy for the child to dress and undress. Avoid snaps, zippers, belts, buttons, all-in-ones and unwieldy overall straps that can cause disastrous delays. When nature calls on toddlers, every second counts. Choosing the right clothing for a child who is toilet learning can make all the difference. Use loose fitting pants that have an elastic waist or Velcro closures so they will come right off with a good tug. Please avoid dresses for girls until they have mastered this process. The dress often drops into the toilet causing a sense of failure. They cannot see to pull down underpants. We prefer that you supply regular thin cotton underpants. The child is more aware when she or he has had an accident in thin underwear rather than thick cotton pants or pull-ups. For the same reason, we do not put children back into diapers at nap time.

Due to health regulations, we are unable to wash out soiled clothing. We will put them in a plastic bag for you to take home and wash.

Toilet learning requires a great deal of patience and consistency. It takes time for children to gain complete control. Trying to teach your child before he/she is ready to use the toilet can set the stage for a protracted and frustrating learning process. We cannot help your child here without your help at home, nor can you do it at home without support here at the center. It is not possible to have children use the toilet who are not physically or emotionally ready. We must work together and avoid power struggles with children. It is one of the very few areas children have a certain amount of control over what happens in their lives. If they feel they are being pushed to do something before they are ready they may exercise that power.

Children are never left alone with one staff member. The children's bathroom door is always open and children are not allowed in the bathroom without adult supervision.

Each class has its own separate daily schedules. On a normal day (barring any inclement weather), the Twos will be outside while the Threes have inside activity time and vice versa. The two classes are only together during meal and nap times.