Here are 12 FAQ’s prospective families most routinely ask
The short answer? It depends.
Longer answer: Immediate placements can only be fulfilled if another family gives their one month’s notice of vacating a spot. Because we cannot predict when a family will withdraw, the best thing for a prospective family to do is contact the Campus Manager about two months before you require the service, to discuss specific enrollment needs. Anything further into the future is handled by retaining your application on file, as a waitlist. (You are advised to keep your application updated.) Also, be aware that your application is considered according to these starting times:
- Immediate start date (i.e. you need a placement ASAP or within next 2 months): If the centre is full, you can waitlist for a future opening. It is customary to have to wait at least a month to see if any family gives a withdrawal notice.
- Summer start date (i.e. you are able to start in July or August): Summer time brings changes (families move, children graduate to other programs) and so waiting until July 1 is often a very good way to secure a spot in your desired program.
- Future start date (i.e. you seeking a placement anywhere from 2 months to 18 months from now): We will keep your application on file for 18 months.We encourage you to keep your application information up-to-date and to refresh your interest with us 2 months before your intended start date to discuss program availability.
Once we have allocated program space to you, you will have 24 hours to complete your application. You will be able to access your initial application with your user name and password to complete the application, review the Permissions, attach a picture of your child and electronically sign our contract. Your registration fee and deposit will also be due within the 24 hour period. We accept cash, cheques or email transfer. A delay beyond the 24 hours may result in your space being re-assigned to others.
Once our programs are full, applications are held for 18 months in a wait list. Priority is given in the following order:
- Internal transfers: children already enrolled in our program and graduating to the next age group
- Children already enrolled in our programs and desiring more days or changes in their days of attendance
- Siblings of children already enrolled in our program
- Children on our wait list for that have maintained an up-to-date application. We recommend that Applications should be updated every couple of months to reflect changing requirements or changes to contact information.
Yes, it is possible to enroll your child in our programs on a part-time basis. You are able to choose 2,3 or 4 days/week and select from the days that are available. One day per week is not always available and subject to approval by Management. The only exception is mid-week consecutive day enrollments. We do not accept Tues/Wed/Thurs OR Tues/Wed OR Wed/Thurs enrollments unless they are anchored with a Monday or Friday.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to change your part-time enrollment days on a week-by-week basis. A part time enrollment assigns you to specific days (example: Tuesday and Thursday). Other families take the remaining days (Monday, Wednesday & Friday). These other families would have to have the same rotational schedule as you to allow you a rotation every other week.
Generally, you are free to choose the time you wish to drop off or pick up your child, between 7am to 6pm. If you plan on dropping your child off after 10am, we require notification so teachers can plan accordingly. Please note that picking your child up earlier or dropping them off later will not result in a reduction of fees, as our staffing is based on the number of children enrolled.
For our enrolled families, half days (up to four hours) may be available on a drop-in basis, when attendance and staffing permits. If you are interested in a full-day or half-day drop-in, please contact the Facility Manager to discuss availability. .
Most of our infants are at least 11-12 months of age before they start with us. We will consider younger children on a case-by-case basis, and make a decision based on the dynamics of the classroom.
Yes, we welcome special needs children on supported child care programs. If your child has been identified by Supported Child Care with appropriate funding, we can take care of hiring suitable Program Assistants. Additionally, some of our staff with have post-basic training in Special Needs and can be a resource for the classroom teacher.
Yes, we accept children under government subsidy. Your family must apply to the Provincial Government to receive your childcare subsidy. Once approved, both your family and our facility will receive the authorization document in the mail, which will contain an authorization number that we use to apply for your subsidy. You will be responsible for any part of the fee that the subsidy does not cover, and this must be submitted on a monthly basis. You are also responsible for supplying the deposit to secure your spot, as the subsidy program generally does not supply additional funds for the deposit.
We supply nutritional afternoon snacks (whole grain cookies, fruit and vegetables, crackers, etc.) to children attending our full-day 3-5 year old program. During the summer months, we also supply a snack to our School aged program. In addition to the snack provided, we ask each family to send along one piece of fruit which we will clean and cut to be served to all the children. Not only is this encouraging children to try different types of fruit, conflict is minimized with everyone sharing the same snack. Infants and Toddlers will bring their own snack items.
Talk to your Facility Manager.
Changing number of days: Advise your Manager of the extra days(s) you would like to take. Once there is an opening in your child’s program, your will be prioritized for the spot. If you agree to the extra days, you will be required to top-up your deposit. Dropping a day is subject to the policy of withdrawing (see below). We will not accept dropped days that result in a mid-week enrollment of consecutive days. (example: Tues/ Wed/ Thurs OR Tues/Wed OR Wed/Thurs. Dropped days to 1 day/week are subject to Management approval.
Withdrawing (or reduction of days): Advise your Facility Manager using these 3 steps:
- provide email or written notice of your intention to withdraw. Specify your child’s last day of attendance.
- Notice must be provided one full calendar month ahead of time. For example notice must be received by March 31st if April 30th is your last day.
- Once notice has been given, your deposit will be used for your last month fees. If your deposit requires a small top-up, you will be notified. Your post-dated cheques will be returned or destroyed. If you give less than one calendar's month notice, there will be no refund of your deposit and it will be retained as a penalty.
*Exception – School Age Program: Each year you will be asked to renew your school aged care commitment for the next school year (July to June). Changes in registration (or notice to withdraw) will be accepted without penalty if submitted by May 31. Changes after June 1st (including dropping of days or withdrawal) will result in a penalty equal to your deposit.
Continuous enrollment through the summer months secures your spot for September. Days enrolled over the summer months will be the days assigned for September. If you drop days during the summer with the intention of adding them back in September, you are not guaranteed your preference, as dropped days will be made available to other families.
Yes. You are welcome to schedule 1-2 transition visits during the two weeks prior to the actual start date. Parents are asked to stay in the classroom for the two hour transition visit. Visits can be arranged directly with the teacher. This is a great time for your child to meet their teacher and for parents to pass on any pertinent information regarding their child's care.
If you desire additional visits, paid drop-in days can be arranged. Once your child begins, we recommend parents build flexibility into their schedule for the first two weeks in order to accommodate earlier pick-ups, if necessary.
Think of your deposit as a rental security deposit. You secure your enrollment at BrightStart with a deposit. Your deposit is equal to one month of program fees and will be held in your account to be used against your last month’s fees. Deposits will change as the program or days of attendance change, with credits or debits applied to your account as necessary.
At times, your deposit may be retained as a penalty for improper withdrawal or program changes. The most common reasons for incurring a penalty are:
1) withdrawing your child with less than one calendar’s month notice
2) withdrawal or reduction of days (within the school aged program) that affects your school year commitment
15 Questions you should be asking
Yes, BrightStart Children’s Academy is a fully-licensed facility, governed by the Community Care Facilities Act. We are routinely inspected by a Licensing Officer working for the Fraser Health Authority, who makes sure that your child's safety and well-being is being met consistently. We are also under the local Fire Department's routine check up to make sure that we are meeting all the building and fire codes.
BrightStart is a unique facility for a number of reasons, including:
- We provide continuity of care with multi-program campuses spanning the age groups of infants to 12 years.
- We’re independently local; not associated with daycare franchises or big box operators.
- We focus on an emergent curriculum style. This is a move away from preescriptive, top-down curriculum to a more personalized approach.
- We provide peace of mind through the accountability provided with our real time webcamera video feed
- We provide a nurturing enviroment; seeing growth in children being similar to a tender seedling; both requiring patience and nurturing to grow into their potential.
- We have beautiful, inspiring facilities at all locations emphasizing large windows for natural light and on-site playgrounds.
Please see here for further information about these six BrightStart Basics.
BrightStart Children’s Academy utilizes Emergent Curriculum in our classes. To put it simply, Emergent Curriculum builds on the interests of the children. Teachers create a curriculum based on the expressed interests of the classroom. It is a move away from the prescriptive curriculum and lesson plans popular years ago to a more personalized approach. This style of teaching has been shown to offer better results in developmental outcomes for children during their early years.
You can read more about our Emergent Curriculum, as well as an overview of other curriculum styles like Montessori and Reggio Emilia
In June, children in our 3-5 yr full day program and preschool will receive a progress report that documents developmental milestones.
Our curriculum is designed to prepare children for kindergarten, (see Kindergarten readiness.) however we do not force children towards a predetermined developmental level. Your child’s teacher will always be available to discuss any developmental concerns you may have. Since our staff are trained early childhood educators they are always on the alert for any type of behavior or development that requires early intervention.
The number one factor in moving a child to the next program is availability. Subsequent factors include maturity and development level as well as birth date. Each child’s transition plan and timing will be different, based on these factors.
In regards to the actual transition, we are able to ease the process in two ways:
- Teachers of various programs often visit and collaborate back and forth. This results in a familiarity with the “new teacher” in the "new classroom".
- Gradually introducing a child to his new program in the month prior. When space permits, a child will spend smaller snippets of time in the new program, enjoying a circle time or free play time.
For more information, please refer to our “Successful Transitions” document.
It is not mandatory, but highly recommended. Children that are enrolled over the summer months will be given priority for September in all of our programs. The days you are enrolled in over the summer will guarantee the same days for September. This applies to all of our programs. Dropping days over the summer months with the intention of picking them up in September is not advised, as the dropped days will likely be assigned to other families.
Yes. We have an open-door policy that allows for visits or observation at any time. Most importantly our password-protected, web-based webcams in each room allow parents to check-in with their child at any point in the day, from home or work.
Our facilities and teachers are nut aware – we do not allow nuts in the centre. Regarding other food allergies, we use a classroom specific approach and ask for parent cooperation in minimizing the presence of the offending food item. Please inform us if your child has an anaphylactic response to nuts or any other allergen and bring in an epi-pen along with your completed Medical Care Form. All allergies, whether mild or severe, should be made known to staff as well as treatments and care instructions.
We believe that children react positively to a nurturing environment, and teachers set the stage for success when they offer clear and concise expectations. We try to prevent discipline situations by using positive reinforcement and teaching children self control by warning or redirecting their activity. If necessary, a child will be removed from the situation (while remaining in the classroom), followed by a discussion of feelings and classroom rules. We wait for the child to decide when they are ready to rejoin the activity. We follow through with the child to ensure a successful return to play.
Our facility absolutely does not allow any form of corporal punishment with the children, such as hitting, slapping, pulling, grabbing or pushing. More details can be found in our Policies and Procedures, available from the Facility Manager.
Absolutely! Field Trips are always a memorable part of daycare for many children. Children in our 3-5 yr full day programs and preschool will go on two field trips during the school year. There is a Fall trip to the pumpkin patch (or local farm) and a Spring trip to a child’s venue such as the Aquarium, Science World, Children’s Festival or zoo. Children will be wearing safety vests and will be supervised at all times by their teachers and adults during the trip.
We welcome and appreciate parent participation in our field trips.
All teachers plan in-class seasonal celebrations such as Christmas and Valentine’s parties. Our Christmas concert is a highlight for children and parents. It is usually planned for one week night during the first week of December.
In June we celebrate with a Graduation ceremony for our children that are ready to graduate to Kindergarten.
BrightStart believes that our staff members are our most important resource. We hire qualified and trained staff that must go through both criminal record and reference checks. Our staff come from a variety of backgrounds, and we try to maintain a balance of experience and youthful energy. Our goal is to develop teaching teams of staff with a range of styles and skills. For example we like to team a “nurturing-type” teacher with a “currriculum-strong” teacher.
Yes, our full day programs are open during spring break, (part of the) winter break and summer holidays. Only our preschool programs are not in session during these times, as these programs follow the school district calendar.
All centres will be closed for two weeks in the year: the week prior to school start including Labour Day (September) and from December 24-January 1. This allows us to clean, organize and sanitize the facilities for the new terms. Parents are urged to seek alternate childcare arrangements. Fees for these months will remain the same
Preschool is a 4 hour program that follows the public school calendar (September to June). Junior Kindergarten is longer than preschool but shorter than the full day program, running for 5.5 hours during the school calendar (September to June). Full day care is available from 7 am to 6 pm and is available every month of the year. All three programs promote early learning through emergent curriculum, outdoor education and free play. The 5.5 hr and full day programs are longer and include additional circle time, play and outdoor time, as well as time for lunch and a rest. Junior kindergarten is not always available, so please check with the Manager of your chosen campus.
Please refer to our first-day document to prepare yourself and your child
Nice to know
Children are usually potty trained by the age of three and older. If you are enrolling into our infant/toddler program (0 to under 3 years), we do not expect your child to be potty trained. If you would like to enroll in preschool or the 3-5 year old daycare and your child is not completely potty-trained, we are able to accept him/her if well established in the potty-training process. This means there is a familiarity with the toilet and communicating with adults regarding toileting needs. Children are given opportunities to use the toilet on a regular basis; however, staff ratios do not allow for multiple diaper changes or cajoling children into using the toilet.
Definitely not – our naptime is provided for those children who need their nap. If your child hasn't slept after the first half hour of our naptime, he/she can choose to play with quiet toys or a teacher will take the non-nappers outside to play (weather permitting).
Our curriculum incorporates outdoor play time everyday for at least an hour (weather dependent). We believe that children benefit immensely from engaging in outdoor physical activities. In addition to our on-site outdoor playgrounds, we will take your children on neighbourhood walks and utilize the community fields and playgrounds when possible.
No. Web-cam access is protected with a password and only parents with children in the facility will be able to utilize the webcam. If you desire, grandparents or family members can also apply for webcam access, however please advise BrightStart administration so that their applications can be approved.
Your child should be at BrightStart by 10:00 am. This has been established to allow programs to operate without interruption and ensures your child's participation in the morning activities. If you know your child will be arriving after 10:00 am, please contact your child’s teacher so they can plan accordingly. If we don't hear from you by 10:00 am, we will assume your child will be absent for the day.
No, we do not provide weeknight or weekend babysitting. If you enter into a private arrangement with our staff, then a Liability Release form must be completed