Parent Handbook

2024-2025

 

General Information

Tigers' Den provides high quality, before- and after-school care in an enriching atmosphere with supervision by a professional, caring staff. Tigers' Den is a non-profit self-supporting program that is administered by the Littleton School Department. Tigers' Den is located at  Russell Street Elementary School.

Children enrolled in the Littleton Public Schools from kindergarten through grade five may attend on a space available basis.  Tigers' Den does not discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.

Hours of Operation: School Days Only

7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

 

The program schedule follows the school calendar of 180 days.  Care is NOT provided on holidays, during school vacations or on days that school is closed unexpectedly due to inclement weather, facility and/or COVID-19 issues. 

TD will close at 4:00pm on the day before Thanksgiving and the last day of school.

 

Program

Tigers' Den is designed to meet the individual needs of its participants by allowing them the opportunity to schedule their own activities.  Many different choices are available each day.  Indoor activities may include arts and crafts, cooking, hobbies, games, science projects, computer exploration or free choice from among the many games and materials available.   Outdoors, children may participate in hikes, group games or free choice on the school playground.  These activities may be offered to small groups of children of the same age, or to a more general grouping of diverse ages. As the children advance to the higher grade levels, Tigers' Den provides choices that are more age appropriate and satisfying to their expanding interests. Children are supervised at all times by adult staff members.

Before School Program 7:00 a.m. – School start times.

Children from kindergarten through grade five may arrive anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 8:15 a.m., with transportation provided by the parent(s).  Children may choose to participate in games or craft projects or go to the gym, when available, for recreational activities.  Russell Street students are dismissed at the designated time to start their academic day. Shaker Lane students take a bus to their school. 

Afterschool Program School dismissal to 6:00 p.m.

The afternoon program provides time for participating in group projects, relaxing, and socializing with friends. A daily snack is provided by Tigers' Den, which consists of a dry snack and fruit/vegetable. Children may supplement snacks with food from home. Field trips and special on-site programs are scheduled on Early Release days.

Tigers' Den provides a quiet space, Monday-Thursday, for children in grades 3-5 whose parents would like their child/ren to make use of it for completing homework. You may inform the coordinator of these wishes. Tigers' Den staff members will monitor their attendance but will not take responsibility for completion of assignments. This space is available dependent on staffing.

In addition to the Tigers’ Den daily activity schedule, children may also participate in the after-school activities offered by the Russell Street School and Parks and Recreation Community Education, by following the sign out procedure.

Shaker Lane Students         Grades K, T, 1 & 2

Staff members take attendance of all Shaker Lane students after dismissal to café. Children arrive at the Russell Street site by school transportation. Snack is provided, daily announcements and activity choices are made.

Russell Street Students       Grades 3-5

Children are dismissed from their classrooms to the RSS cafeteria. Attendance is taken, snack is provided, and daily announcements and activity choices are made.

Recognizing that older children desire more independence, options are provided that allow them to participate in a supervised program while at the same time, making their own decisions about use of their time. Children are encouraged to suggest their own activities.

Tuition

Tigers' Den is a non-profit self-supporting program.  Operating funds are derived from tuition fees. It is presumed that the child is enrolled for the full academic year. Participation levels determine annual tuition fees.  The monthly tuition fee is based upon the total tuition for the school year and is then divided by ten. Tuition payments are due the first of each month, September through June. A ten-dollar late fee is charged for accounts that are outstanding on the 11th day of the month.

No schedules will be changed between June and September. Any requests submitted during this time will be processed after September 1st and become effective October 1st.

If you need to increase or decrease your child’s schedule, request a change through written notice to the director, 2 weeks in advance. We will make every effort to accommodate the change.

If withdrawal from the program is necessary, one month's written notice to the director is required. Withdraw will be effective on the 1st of the upcoming month. You will be responsible for tuition up until the withdraw effective date and your security deposit will be retained. No refunds are made for absences or unused tuition.

Families will be charged a $40 per child registration fee upon being offered a spot in the program or placing their name on the waitlist.

If you wish to suspend your child’s attendance to our program, you may place your child on hold for up to three months, with an imposed monthly fee of half the regular monthly tuition.  After three months, your child will not be guaranteed placement should you choose to return.

There are multiple ways to pay your tuition.  You may sign up for automatic withdrawal from your checking account, use a credit card online or submit checks or cash.  You will not receive a bill unless you incur additional fees during a month. 

If you require a receipt for your payments, you will be able to access the information through your child’s ProCare account. ProCare is the system used to support families’ accounts for contact information, attendance, emergency information along with bookkeeping.

 

Tuition payments may be made by cash, check, ACH or credit card (MasterCard, American Express or Discover.)

Rates are subject to change with 30 days’ notice.

 

Attendance Procedure

It is the parents’ responsibility to notify us when a child will be absent from Tigers' Den on a regularly scheduled day. Please phone, email, or message in ProCare. We review voicemail often.  Notifying your child/ren’s school is not enough.  The school secretaries do not notify us if your child is absent from school. We need notification from a parent before 2:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. on early release days.

An email or message through ProCare is an acceptable form of notification if it is sent well in advance of school dismissal.

If your child is absent from school, s/he may not attend Tigers' Den that day. 

Report Absences:

(978) 540-2555

tigersden@littletonps.org

 

Missing Child Fee

If your child does not arrive at Tigers’ Den on a scheduled day and we have not received notice from you, you will be charged a $10.00 Missing Child Fee.  We will do all we can to verify your child’s whereabouts. If we cannot reach you or determine the child's location within 30 minutes, the police will be notified that your child is missing. 

Repeated failure to notify Tigers’ Den of your child’s attendance will result in termination from the program.

 

Extra Hours

If there is space available, your child may attend Tigers' Den on an unscheduled day.  Please notify us in advance of your need, we may or may not be able to accommodate the extra hours based on staffing and bussing. These hours will be tallied, and you will receive an invoice through ProCare at the end of the calendar month.

If your child is not scheduled to attend on Early Release days, s/he will not be able to attend as extra hours.

 

Early Release Days

The school calendar indicates an early release day in red. Schools are released three hours earlier than a regular school day. Reminders will be sent via email and on our social media pages.

Buying a “To Go” lunch from the school cafeterias is an option on all Early Release days. Russell Street students will go to the cafeteria during breakfast pick-up to grab a school lunch. Shaler Lane students will order as normal.

The day before Thanksgiving falls on a Wednesday and is a 3-hour early dismissal.  Tigers’ Den will close at 4:00 pm on that day.  The last day of school is also a 3-hour early dismissal from school, so therefore, only those scheduled to attend on the day that it falls will be eligible to attend TD, AND, we will close at 4:00 pm.  Signing up for All Wednesdays will only make you eligible to attend on the last day of school if it happens to fall on a Wednesday. 

Students who do not have a full-time PM schedule will be charged a $30 half day fee if they are scheduled to attend that day. The fee will not be removed if the student does not attend that day.

 

Delayed Opening

When schools delay opening due to inclement weather, Tigers’ Den also delays opening for the same amount of time.  If school is delayed 90 minutes, Tigers’ Den will open at 8:30 a.m.  If your child is not registered for the Before School Program, but you find you need care due to the delay, please call us before dropping off.  We try very hard to get as many staff members as possible, in early, but if traveling is difficult, we will have to limit our number of children to only those enrolled in the Before School Program.  If we can accommodate your child, you will incur an additional fee for the time.

 

Emergency Early Dismissal from School

When school closes early due to inclement weather, Tigers' Den will remain open whenever possible.  Parents are asked to pick up their children as soon as possible or make alternate care arrangements and notify Tigers' Den of the change.  (Tigers’ Den is not considered an after-school activity.)

 

Pick Up Responsibilities

The parent is responsible for picking up the child by closing time.  The parent or designated guardian picking up the child must sign-out through ProCare. Written notification must be made for people other than the parent or guardian to pick-up the child.  Any person picking up a child that is not known to the staff will be asked to supply proof of identification (e.g., driver's license, photo I.D.)  If a child is outside at the parent's arrival, the parent must go to the child and inform the staff person they are picking up. All children should leave their classroom with their adult so staff can see students leave with safely. Children should not run to a parent's vehicle upon the parent's arrival.

 

Late Pick Up:

Picking up after 6:00 pm will result in a fee of $1.00 PER MINUTE, for which the parent/s will be billed.  Picking up later than 6:00 pm three times will require a conference with the Director to discuss an alternate pick up plan.  Repeated lateness will result in termination from the program.

 

Communication

Parents need to complete all necessary permission forms for their child/ren to participate in program activities.  Please notify the office and make edits in ProCare when changes occur in address, phone numbers (home or work) or pick-up authorization.  The schools will not notify us of these changes.

A monthly newsletter will inform parents about Tigers' Den happenings. It will be available via email and website. We will also use email as a means of communication along with the ProCare app.

Parent conferences may be scheduled anytime at the request and convenience of the parent(s) and/or staff.

It is also important for parents to inform your child's school and classroom teacher of your child's participation at Tigers' Den and of his or her schedule.

 

Staffing

Staff members work together in a professional, supportive, and cooperative manner to create an atmosphere in which children and staff can grow together.  They interact with children and encourage their participation in the program. They strive to be fair and consistent with all children. Staff members communicate in a positive and professional way with children and parents.

Parents, staff members and children work together to provide the best possible care. Frequent communication is extremely important and is valued by the program. Feedback is incredibly pertinent to the success of our program. Parents are invited to visit Tigers' Den whenever possible.

The Director is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the program with an emphasis on safety, enrichment, and professionalism. The Director works cooperatively with staff members, children, and parents to maintain a high-quality program in a caring environment that meets individual needs.  Program philosophy, policies, procedures, and financial matters are administered by the Director. The Director is responsible for personnel assignment, training, supervision, and evaluation.

Coordinators and Group Leaders plan the daily program of activities. They are responsible for the safety and well-being of the children. They maintain children's files and regularly communicate with parents.

Staff Assistants work with other staff members where needed and interact with children to encourage their participation in the program. High School Assistants are hired to serve as positive role models for the children and to assist other adult staff members.

Health and medical records, attendance, food services, and inventory are handled by specific personnel as their job descriptions indicate.

 

Health

Tigers’ Den will receive a copy of the emergency form that you provide the school that your child attends, but we ask for you to complete the Tigers’ Den required forms also. It is pertinent that all updates in health and emergency information are updated as needed.

The same guidelines that apply to the school day apply to Tigers’ Den.  If your child is ill (e.g., temperature, sore throat, etc.,) they are not allowed to attend the program.  Should your child become ill while at Tigers’ Den, you will be notified and will be responsible for picking up your child immediately.  If your child is absent from school, they may not attend Tigers’ Den that day.

Please inform the program when your child is ill with any serious illness or contagious disease.  Your child should not return to Tigers’ Den until such time as they are no longer contagious.

Parents are notified immediately of any injury requiring emergency care beyond minor first aid.  Parents are notified in writing through ProCare, of any first aid treatment administered to their child, within 24 hours of the incident.

 

Medications

Dispensing of medication must be arranged with the school nurse during the school day.  Please see your school handbook for more information on this policy.  Children must not transport medication of any kind. Tigers’ Den staff may NOT ever administer medication. Epi-Pens MUST be provided to the Director at the beginning of each year if your student requires one.

 

Personal Belongings

Each child has an assigned space to store personal items such as outerwear, school materials, lunch boxes, etc.  Please make sure that all items are labeled with your child's name.  A lost and found area is provided.  A change of clothing (including underwear) needs to be kept for emergency use, especially for children in grades K – 2.  This needs to be kept in their backpack and CAN’T be stored at Tigers’ Den due to limited space.

We strongly discourage children from bringing in valuable items from home such as stuffed animals, electronic devices, or other expensive personal belongings. Students are not allowed to have toys from home out at Tigers’ Den. Tigers' Den is not liable for any lost items.

 

Food Services

All children receive an afternoon snack upon arrival at Tigers’ Den.  Parents may supplement the program snack with additional items from home.

The school cafeterias will provide “To Go” lunch on Early Release days.  Tigers’ Den children may purchase lunch and/or milk on these days by using their school lunch accounts or cash, in accordance with the School Department’s Food Service Program. Russell Street students can pick their lunches up at breakfast pick-up at the start of school.

 

Field Trips

Parents receive permission slips for field trips two weeks before the event. A return date is specified on the form. The form needs to be returned by the deadline whether the child plans to participate in the field trip. Space is limited.

 

Behavior Management

Tigers’ Den provides a positive environment that is supportive and nurturing for each child. Children are expected to be respectful and cooperative with others. Parents should understand behavioral expectations and support them at home.

Children are expected to comply with the following Tigers' Den rules:

  • ·   Respect other people, their feelings, their differences, and their belongings.
  • ·   Follow directions and respond to staff requests.
  • ·   Use equipment properly and safely and return it when finished.
  • ·   Refrain from unsafe physical contact (hitting, kicking, biting), using profane language or spitting.
  • ·   Remain at the site until called for by a parent or guardian.

A contract specifying behavioral expectations for children is signed by child and parent at the start of the year.

When intervention is necessary by a staff person, positive behavior modification techniques are used.

The following procedure is used if behavioral intervention is needed:

  1. Staff person checks with child to be sure that expectations are clear.
  2. The child is directed to another activity.
  3. If difficulties persist or if the infraction involves hitting, kicking, biting, swearing, or a discriminatory comment or action, the child is sent to the coordinator for that age level and appropriate immediate consequences will be imposed.
  4. If problems continue, the child, parent(s), coordinator and/or director confer to develop a plan that prevents repeated incidents.

Tigers’ Den will make every effort to accommodate all students, however we are not a behavior modification program. Repeated difficulties with behavior may result in suspension or dismissal from the program at the discretion of the Director.

 

Thank you for reading the Tigers’ Den Parent Handbook!