McMCC Parent Handbook

McMaster Children’s Centre Inc. Parent Handbook McMaster Children's Centre Logo

We welcome you and your family to McMaster Children’s Centre.  To ensure that your stay with us is a good experience, we ask that you take note of the following information so that you will have a clear understanding of our philosophy and policies upon enrolment.  You will find, in this handbook, basic program information and policies at McMaster Children’s Centre.  By ensuring that this information is understood and followed, we provide children with safe, reliable, high quality care.  If there are any questions or concerns, please contact the Director or speak with the program staff at the centre.

The services and facilities of the Centre are offered, not only to the McMaster University and Hospital communities but also the community at large.  McMaster Children’s Centre is a multicultural environment which promotes respect for diversity in colour, culture, age, gender, ability, race, religious belief and sexual preference, appearance and economic status.  Our license allows us to provide care and education for children from 18 months to 5 years of age.

The Centre is open Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Enrolment Breakdown

Group Number of Children Number of Teachers Ratio Ages
Toddler One 15 3 1:5 18m – 24m
Toddler Two 15 3 1:5 24m – 30m
Preschool One 16 2 1:8 2.5y – 5 y
Preschool Two 24 3 1:8 2.5y –  5y


Orientation Procedure

Parents are encouraged to visit the Centre as many times as they would like prior to enrolment.  They will receive a handbook at this time.  Upon acceptance of an available space, the family will be forwarded admission forms, a copy of our Program Statement and a copy of our Policies and Procedures.  Orientation will be discussed and the date to begin the Orientation Process will be decided between the family and the Centre.

It is very important that your child’s first visits with us are happy experiences.   Therefore, we ask for your co-operation in the following process:

  • Day 1 – Child visits with Parent(s) for one hour from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Day 2 – Visit is extended until after lunch. Parent(s) can pick up at approximately 12:00
  • Day 3 – Visit is extended until after sleep. Parent(s) can pick up at approximately 2:15 p.m.
  • Day 4 – Child’s first full day


Changing to the next Group

It should be noted that children cannot be moved to the next group until space becomes available.  Generally children move to new groups according to their birth date.  There are a variety of good reasons for flexibility in this policy.  All decisions about group changes are made in consultation with the Parent(s) involved.

Daily Arrival Policy

On arrival to the Centre, Parents are to take their children to their room and inform staff of their arrival.  Parents are to prepare their children for participation in the program when they arrive.  For example, a diaper change may be necessary or children may need to be dressed properly for outdoor play.  If your child will be absent, please call the Centre as soon as possible so that your child’s group can go on with their planned activities.

Daily Departure Policy

Parents must notify the Centre in writing if someone else will be picking up their child.  Children are not released to persons who have not been specified by the Parents.  Such persons, including Parents who are attending the Centre for the first time, will be required to show identification.

Parents are to come promptly to pick up their children at the end of their workday.  If a large number of children are left at the Centre at the end of the day, the child/staff ratio required by laws may be exceeded.  The Centre closes promptly at 6:00 p.m.   Parents must pick up their children by that time and are encouraged to do so by 5:45p.m.

Rights of Exclusion Policy

The McMaster Children’s Centre reserves the right to exclude any child for whom the programs at the Centre are deemed inappropriate in meeting the developmental, social or behavioural needs of the child.  Any decision affecting a child’s continuance at the Centre will be made by the Board of Directors after consultation with the Director and the Parents.  If Parents are asked to withdraw their child, two weeks’ notice will be given and appropriate financial adjustments will be made.  If problems between Centre personnel and Parents arise and these problems affect the efficiency of the Centre, the situation may be discussed with the Parents through a subcommittee of the Board of Directors.  The solutions arrived at during this discussion and then approved by the Board will then be final and could in the extreme include asking those Parents to withdraw from the Centre.  It is not anticipated that such a decision would be made until all other feasible avenues had been explored and found to be unsatisfactory.

 Fee Payment Policy

Parents are requested to submit post-dated cheques, dated for the first of each and every month, covering their child’s contracted day care for a full term at a time (May 1 – April 30).  This payment is a set fee for the entire term regardless of absence due to illness or holidays and vacations.  Fees may be changed at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

Parents of subsidized children are required to contact the City of Hamilton Subsidy Office to negotiate the renewal of their subsidy.

Parents are required to give the Director four weeks’ notice of a child’s withdrawal, in writing, so that a replacement may be found.  Failing to comply with this request, Parents will be charged for the four week period.

Receipts will be issued yearly for income tax purposes.

Please see the Fee Structure and Holidays schedule on the last page.

Parent Staff Conferences

Good communication between staff and Parents is an important goal for any day care program.  Parents of children new to the Centre will be invited to discuss their child’s adjustment to the program approximately one month after starting.  Interviews may be arranged at any time through appointments made with the Teaching Staff.

From time to time the Director and Staff may have concerns about the suitability of our program meeting the needs of individual children.  If this happens, the Director, after discussions with Parents and with their consent, will call upon one of the Centre’s consultants to assist in assessing the child’s needs more fully and in planning a more appropriate program to fulfill those needs.


Parents are requested to inform the Director of any allergies that their child may have and what reaction(s) to expect.  Although we cannot change the environment of the Centre, every possible effort will be made to minimize contact with any offending substances.  Please inform the Centre in writing of any changes to allergy status.

Children with life threatening allergies are often prescribed an “Epipen” to be used for severe allergic reactions i.e. anaphylactic shock.  An Epipen is required to be left with your child at all times.  Staff will check daily that the Epipen is present and will note this on your group’s Daily Health Check form.  All staff are trained to administer prescribed epinephrine auto injectors in emergency anaphylaxis situations. Epipens that are prescribed for these children are taken on field trips and walks.  For further information, please refer to the Policy/Procedures Manual.

Field Trip Policy

The regular program includes excursions around the campus.  It also includes periodic field trips, which will be publicized in advance.  If you do not wish your child to participate in a particular field trip, please notify the Director for alternate arrangements to be considered.  Parent volunteers are always welcome on any field trips.

Clothing and Possessions

Please label all clothing and possessions that come from home.  All children require appropriate clothing for outdoor play, every day.  Seasonally appropriate clothes are needed:

Summer:  Cool clothing such as shorts and t-shirts (shoulders should be covered, to protect from the sun), sunhat, outdoor running shoes

Winter: One or two piece snowsuit, boots, 2 pairs of mitts, neck warmer and hat

Spring/Fall:  Raincoat and nylon mud pants or rain suit, boots and hat

All children require at least one change of clothing in their cubby.  Clothing that is soiled while at the Centre will be placed in a plastic bag for the Parent to take home to launder.  Please replace clothing as necessary.  The children really appreciate being able to get their own spare clothing.  This helps foster independence and self-help skills.

Although the utmost care is taken by the Staff when personal belongings are brought from home, we cannot assume responsibility for items that are lost or damaged while here at the Centre.

These policies have been established to allow Parents and Staff to work closely together for the benefit of each child in the program. 

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Welcome to McMaster Children’s Centre!