Parent Handbook


Playhouse strives to: 

    • Maintain a leadership role in the childcare community by providing quality care through professional, well-trained staff 
    • Build trust and respect between families and staff through open, honest written and verbal communication
    • Provide an environment that encourages a positive lifestyle through physical fitness activities, nutrition, and health and safety awareness 
    • Prepare children for the next stage in their education by providing age-appropriate curriculum and learning opportunities in a playful, structured environment
    • Provide a safe, stable environment to meet the social and emotional needs of children by encouraging positive interactions, fostering self-confidence, and teaching problem-solving skills


Hours of Operation, Holiday Hours, and Center Closings

Monday–Friday: 5:30 AM – 6:00 PM

We are closed on the following six legal holidays: Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, and July 4th. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, we will be closed the Friday prior. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, we will be closed the Monday after. 

We are also closed for one staff in-service day, typically on a Friday in the summer. You will be notified in advance of this date. 

If adverse weather conditions force Playhouse to close, we will notify you by email, phone call, or Procare Connect. 

The St. Cloud Technical and Community College location will be closed additional days according to the college schedule. 

Playhouse reserves the right to close on short notice if deemed necessary. 

NOTE: Refer to the Parent Information handout for specific age-related program details. Refer to the rate sheet for our fee structure. 

Class Capacities

Children at Playhouse are grouped according to age and/or developmental level with a staff-to-child ratio that meets of exceeds our licensing requirements: 

    • Infant: 1:4 
    • Toddler: 1:7 
    • Preschool: 1:10

Class capacities are as follows for our locations: 


    • Infants: 20 
    • Toddlers/Preschoolers: 114 (not to exceed 44 toddlers) 

St. Cloud Technical and Community College 

    • Infants: 20
    • Toddlers: 29
    • Preschoolers: 50


    • Infants: 23 
    • Toddlers: 28 
    • Preschoolers: 40

South St. Cloud 

    • Infants: 19 
    • Toddlers: 36 
    • Preschoolers: 62
    Program and Curriculum

    Children participate in well-planned programs that strive to prepare them for school. Each day, Playhouse staff designs developmentally appropriate learning experiences to meet children’s needs for their age group. Our staff also complete newsletters that include opportunities to connect learning at home.  

    Our classroom environment is designed to treat children with respect and encourage their self-confidence and pride. We use The Creative Curriculum, which incorporates opportunities for: 

      • Creative art 
      • Music 
      • Science 
      • Language arts 
      • Dramatic play 
      • Cognitive development 
      • Large and small muscle development 
      • Outdoor exploration 
      • Play  

    We also foster children’s emerging literacy skills; incorporate lessons on health, safety, and nutrition; and introduce Spanish and sign language.  

    We respect the unique differences of the families we serve and recognize families celebrate holidays in a variety of ways. Therefore, our curriculum does not include the teaching or celebration of holidays. 

    The center director and curriculum coordinator observe the classrooms, review lesson plans, provide feedback, and share ideas with staff to ensure the curriculum is being carried out within each classroom. Extra-curricular activities may be available for an additional fee. Participation is optional. See “Field Trips. 

    A written program plan is available upon request. 

    Children Behavioral Care Needs

    Playhouse accesses community agencies and services to assist families and staff in providing quality care for children, including those with behavioral care needs. We also welcome these entities into our centers to work directly with the children.

    If a child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Playhouse must have a copy of it to determine how we can best meet the child’s needs. If an IEP is not provided, care may be suspended until it is received.

    Playhouse also partners with a behavior specialist, who is available for observations and can provide feedback regarding how to best help the child thrive.


    Playhouse hires individuals based on their qualifications and ability to meet licensing requirements. An aide who meets licensing requirements (experienced aide) can work independently 25% of the day.


    Meal and Snack Times

    Meals and snacks are provided at approximately the following times: 

      • Breakfast: 8:30 AM 
      • Lunch: 11:30 AM 
      • Afternoon snack: 3:00 PM
      Your child must be present to receive the meal. If your child will be arriving within 10 minutes after mealtime begins, you must notify the center to ensure a meal is available. 
    Nut Allergies

    Nuts/peanuts and nut/peanut butter are not served or allowed at Playhouse. We acknowledge that some food items may not be entirely nut/peanut-free due to factory processing.

    Special Diets

    If your child requires a special diet, it is your responsibility as their parent or guardian to notify the center director. A Special Diet Statement is required; it must be completed and signed by you and your child’s healthcare provider.

    If the dietary need is a request and not a requirement, a Dietary Preference Request Form must be completed and signed by the child’s parent or guardian. A meeting prior to implementation will occur if deemed necessary.  

    If the location in which your child is enrolled is not a participant in the Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP), parents must provide substitutions. Nut/ tree nut products, including milk, are not allowed on Playhouse premises. All substitutions, including milk, must meet these dietary guidelines.  

    Food From Home

    Children may not bring in beverages or food unless it is a birthday treat or a special day on the Playhouse calendar. Commercially baked goods, such as cupcakes, are discouraged due to their poor nutritional value and due to the dietary requirements of children enrolled. Any food brought from home must be commercially packaged and free of nuts/ nut products.

    Bag lunch guidelines based on USDA requirements are provided if children are asked to bring lunch from home.

    USDA Anti-Discrimination Regulations and Policies

    In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation),  disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. 

    To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form online or at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 

    (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture 

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 

    1400 Independence Avenue, SW 

    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 

    (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or 

    (3) email: 

    This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 

    Parent Information  

    Parent Aware

    Parent Aware’s Star Ratings help parents find programs that go above and beyond to prepare children for school and life. The 1–4 star rating system measures the best practices identified by research that help children succeed. 

    Playhouse teachers have: 

      • Volunteered for extra, in-depth training  
      • Devoted themselves to developing strong, caring relationships with each child 
      • Adopted the latest approaches to keep children’s learning on track 
      • Committed to daily activities and routines that help children learn 
      • Placed their focus on the children’s health and safety 

    Visit the Parent Aware website for parent resources, including a Parent Tool Kit about early care and education, low-income assistance, and health care expense resources. 

    Parent Aware

    Parent Communication

    Playhouse’s goal is to develop open communication, mutual respect, and understanding between parents and staff. We respect your role as a parent and welcome suggestions and recommendations to enhance your child’s experience with us.  

    We use feedback from families to plan and make improvements in our programs. Suggestions can be provided verbally or in writing to the center director. We strive for prompt responses, but we are unable to follow up with individuals who submit suggestions anonymously. 

    Playhouse strongly recommends parents speak with teachers to discuss significant life events or situations that may influence their child’s disposition.  

    A certified copy of the court order is required if visitation or custody of your child involves: 

      • Pick-up or drop-off directives  
      • Directives pertaining to sharing information about your child  

    We also need to be informed when there are changes in: 

      • Home or work phone numbers 
      • Home address(es) 
      • Medical information, including new immunizations  
      • Persons authorized to pick up children  
      • Enrollment schedule  

    Playhouse communicates with parents through periodic emails. Please provide your current email address, and let the office know of any changes. 

    Parent Involvement

    Parents are welcome to visit or call the center at any time. You are also welcome to volunteer at the center—please speak to your center director to arrange this. 

    The daily schedule, daily education activities, and weekly lesson plans are posted in your child’s classroom. Center-wide announcements are posted in a designated area—check with your center director to learn where this is in your center. We encourage parents to check these areas daily. 

    Parents can find Playhouse’s monthly newsletters, which include the special days we will be celebrating, on our website. 

    Parent Surveys/Testimonials

    Playhouse occasionally sends surveys to parents to help us identify our programs’ strengths and areas of needed improvement. We encourage parents to complete the survey and provide written feedback. 

    The overall results of the survey will be shared with the center. Comments and testimonials may be used for promotional purposes. 


    Every child at Playhouse is monitored through observation and assessment for progress in these developmental areas: 

      • Physical 
      • Emotional 
      • Cognitive 
      • Social 

    Written assessments of every child’s progress are shared at scheduled conference times in spring and fall and are utilized in curriculum planning throughout the year. Playhouse expects parents will attend these conferences, as we feel it is important for teachers and parents to discuss each child’s progress. Additional conferences can be arranged as needed. 

    Parent Questions and Concerns

    If you have concerns regarding your child’s program, contact your child’s teacher. Policy matters or unresolved issues will be discussed with the center director. If, after this, there are further unresolved matters, please provide your concerns in writing to the corporate office, and they will assist in coming to a resolution. 

    Items from Home

    All items from home, including clothing, must be labeled with your child’s first and last name. 

    Clothing regulations at Playhouse are as follows: 

      • Comfortable clothing for “messy” projects and outdoor play is appropriate  
      • Scarves or drawstrings are not allowed in/on jackets, sweatshirts, or hats 
      • Dangling jewelry, including earrings and necklaces, is not allowed  
      • Safe footwear (tennis shoes or sandals with back straps) must be worn at all times 
      • Flip flops are not allowed 

    Parents must provide the following items: 

      • A complete change of clothes to keep at the center 
      • A blanket, which must fit in your child’s dubby 
      • Sunscreen and bug spray 

    The following items are not allowed at Playhouse:  

      • Toys, books, games, electronics, infant equipment, etc. (except during special sharing days) 
      • Plastic bags—please use a cloth bag for items brought from home 
      • Refillable and disposable water bottles (for sanitation reasons) 
      • Glass  

    Playhouse is not responsible for items that become soiled, damaged, or lost. 


    Health and Medical

    The Minnesota Department of Human Services (MN DHS) requires a completed Health Care Summary signed by a healthcare source within 30 days of enrollment. The Minnesota Department of Health (MN DOH) requires current immunization information documented at the time of enrollment. This information must be kept up to date at all times. Playhouse reserves the right to suspend care if the information is not kept current. 

    The health and safety administrator oversees the planning and implementation of our health and safety policies. We follow control measures for accidents, illnesses, and parasite detection recommended by the MN DOH. We will provide measures for implementation at home upon request.  

    You will be notified if your child has been exposed to certain infectious or communicable diseases as required by the MN DOH. Please notify us if your child contracts a communicable illness. 

    Written Consent and Documentation

    Written consent for the application of insect repellent and hand lotion is included in the Enrollment Contract and will be administered as needed by staff. The same is true for sunscreen, diaper products, and numbing/teething products, though the products in question will need to be provided by the parent. 

    Using a weighted blanket or vest requires signed documentation from a medical professional or school district.  

    Health Exclusion Policy

    Playhouse’s health exclusion policy provides specific details on the exclusion of ill children. If your child meets one of these exclusions, you will be notified to pick up your child from the center within one hour to deter the spread of infection or illness to others. If your child becomes ill, they will be separated from the other children while waiting to be picked up. Alternate contacts will be notified if Playhouse staff is unable to reach the child’s parents or guardians.  

    Administration of Medication

    Playhouse strongly discourages dispensing medication (prescription and non-prescription) during childcare hours. Most medications or products can be administered 1–2 times per day at home. If your child must take medication or needs a product applied, you must comply with the following policies: 

      • Before medication or products can be administered, a Medication Authorization Form must be completed and signed by a parent and health care provider 
        • This includes but is not limited to: 
          • Non-prescription pain relievers or fever reducers 
          • Cold medication 
          • Cough syrup 
          • Pedialyte 
          • All prescription medications 
        • Medication or products must be in its original container and labeled with your child’s first and last name 
        • Playhouse will not administer the initial dosage of a medication or product 
        • Expired medication or product will not be administered and will be sent home with parent 
        • Medication forms are effective for a maximum of two weeks 
        • Medication administration exceeding two weeks required and Individual Child Care Program Plan that expires in one year 
          • Changes to information in this plan, such as dosage, requires an updated form and signatures 
        • Medication is not allowed in Playhouse centers without the required form with specific administration directives 
        • Medication will be returned upon completion of administration dates 
        • Children may not have medication in their possession, including on their body in their backpack 
        • Notify staff if medication was administered prior to arrival at the center 
    Accident, Safety and Emergency Information

    At Playhouse, the safety and wellbeing of the children we serve is our first priority. The following accident, safety, and emergency procedures are in place at our centers: 

      • Each location has a secure main entrance that requires a fingerprint or code to enter 
      • First Aid Kits are available to treat minor injuries 
      • Staff is trained in proper hand washing and disinfecting to help prevent the spread of germs 
      • Staff is trained and certified in CPR and First Aid within 90 days of hire 
      • If a child is injured, accident reports are completed and must be signed by a parent  
      • In a medical emergency, 911 will be called, then parents will be notified 
      • If necessary, transportation to the hositpal is via ambulance 
        • Parents will be responsible for any expenses incurred 
      • Parents/guardians provide authorization for staff to take emergency measures necessary for the care and protection of their child in the Enrollment Contract 
      • Fire, lockdown, evacuation, and tornado drills are practiced regularly 
      • Upon request, Playhouse must cooperate with state and local government disaster planning agencies working to prepare for a pandemic outbreak 
        • If asked to close, we will follow their recommendations 
      • In the event of an evacuation due to a fire or gas leak, in which the evacuation would last longer than an hour, staff will contact parents for pickup 
        • If the children are safely allowed back into the center, a written account of the incident will be posted at the center 

    Billing and Scheduling 

    Tuition Policies

    Tuition must be paid to maintain enrollment in Playhouse. Tuition rates are adjusted annually. Contact your center director for inquiries about tuition rates.

    Tuition policies are as follows: 

      • A late fee of $10 is applied if prepayment does not occur 
        • Tuition and late fees are due by 9 AM on Tuesday, or we reserve the right to suspend care 
      • Return payment fee is $30 
      • Year-end account statements will be emailed on or before January 31st  
      • Playhouse uses a collection agency to collect outstanding accounts 

    If payment policies are not followed, care will be terminated, and deposits will be forfeited. Playhouse reserves the right to terminate care on problematic accounts. 

    Tuition Payment Methods

    Electronic payments are billed weekly and are the preferred method of payment.  

    Tuition Express (TE) is used for electronic payments from checking or debit/credit card accounts. Parents and guardians can access billing and payment information utilizing the TE website—see the center director for details. A new TE form needs to be completed if there are changes to your account information or before the card expires. 

    Tuition payments can also be made on using the email associated with your Procare account. 

    Checks are not accepted, but Playhouse does accept cash and money orders, which are due Friday by noon for the upcoming week. 


    You are required to pay for scheduled days. If your child is scheduled for care on a day when Playhouse is closed, you will be charged for that day. Nonscheduled closings, such as snow days and power outages, will be charged as regular days. 

    If you need to change your schedule, you must still pay for the days typically scheduled and pay the flex day rate for the added day. Part-time families paying the flex day rate may exceed the full-time rate if scheduled for 4–5 days. 

    Children in attendance or scheduled more than 10 hours per day will be automatically billed an additional $2 (per hour, per child) beyond 10 hours. A late fee of $1 per minute beyond 6 PM is assessed per child. 

    The weekly rate cannot be combined with other rates. 

    If your child has not been in attendance for a week and no contact has been made, care is discontinued and your deposit is forfeited. 


    Discount policies at Playhouse are as follows: 

      • Full-time, year-round, pre-paid families with two children in attendance are eligible for 10% off their oldest child’s care 
      • Full-time, year-round, pre-paid families with three or more children in attendance are eligible for 10% off their oldest child’s care and 5% off their second oldest child’s care 
      • Family discounts apply to immediate family members only 
    Subsidized Child Care

    If Playhouse is receiving payment from a third party, co-pays and rate differences must be pre-paid. If receiving subsidized payment for childcare, the parent or guardian is responsible for payment of services until authorization has been received from the agency. Care cannot start until authorization is received. 

    Parents or guardians are responsible for any tuition fees for additional hours, non-attendance days, or costs of childcare that are not covered in the service agreement or by the agency. This includes Playhouse’s staff in-service day when the center is closed. 

    Deposits and Withdrawals

    Deposits will be refunded provided a two-week notice is given; otherwise, it will be forfeited. If your childcare funding is from an outside source, your deposit will be refunded upon receipt of all payments provided a two-week notice is given. 

    If your child has not been in attendance for a week and no contact has been made, care will be discontinued, and your deposit will be forfeited. 


    Please contact your center if your child will not be attending on a scheduled day. If your child hasn’t arrived within two hours of the scheduled time, we assume they are not attending, and staffing may be adjusted. Always notify us of late arrival or non-attendance. 

    For children with varying schedules, parents must provide their schedule for the upcoming week by 9 AM on Wednesday. If no schedule is provided, hours may be very limited, and minimum weekly tuition is charged. 

    Extended absences or schedule changes in days or hours must be pre-approved by the center director. A $50 fee (per week, per child) will be assessed for approved, extended, and planned absences longer than four weeks. For absent time less than four weeks, parents or guardians will need to pay regular tuition rates. If the child does not return to the center during an absence, the deposit on file is forfeited. 

    A weekly minimum requirement of days will apply to part-time enrollments. See your center director for details. 

    Vacation Credit

    Only pre-paid, year-round, full-time families are eligible for vacation days: 

      • Families have 5 vacation days to use if child’s attendance starts between January 1st and Labor Day 
        • If care begins after Labor Day, families are not eligible for vacation days during that year 
      • Vacation credit does not roll over at the end of the calendar year 
      • Child cannot be physically present at Playhouse in order to use vacation credit 
        • Families may not apply unused vacation credit in lieu of payment during two-week notice of withdrawal 
      • Vacation request forms are provided 
        • Only utilized for pre-scheduled absences 
        • Must be turned in to center director by 9AM on Wednesday of the week prior to absence
    Referral Program

    Parents will receive a $50 credit for a part-time family referral or $100 for a full-time family referral. Credit will be applied after the family has been with Playhouse for 4 weeks. 

    Operations Procedures 

    Admission Procedures

    An initial, non-refundable registration fee and deposit are required. Once enrolled, parents must pay an additional $50 deposit if another child enrolls.  

    Upon payment, you will be provided with paperwork, and your child will be enrolled. Paperwork must be completed and returned prior to your child’s start date. If utilizing an electronic payment method, Tuition Express (TE) form must be submitted. To ensure scheduled hours, pre-payment of the first week’s tuition or approval of your TE account is required.  

    Playhouse’s orientation plan includes a(n): 

      • Tour of our facility 
      • Introduction to teaching staff 
      • Visit with your child’s classroom teacher 
      • Overview of our Parent Handbook 
      • Discussion of your family’s expectations and your child’s needs 
      • Overview of our family support resources 
      • Opportunity for extended visits in your child’s classroom 

    In needed, an interpreter is available for orientation. 

    Arrival and Departure

    Some children find it hard to separate from their parents or guardian. Our staff will help your child become acclimated to our environment. We understand it may be hard to leave, but your child will adjust and overcome the separation over time. 

    You must accompany your child in and out of their classroom. They must remain with you always and are not allowed in the center or on center grounds unless accompanied by an adult.  

    Check your child in and out on the time clock daily. Failure to do so may result in extra charges. 

    Activities during arrival and departure times are less structured, as children are coming and going. During these times, children may be grouped with other ages of children and their siblings. 

    Playhouse is required by law to comply with court orders regarding the visitation of children, as well as pick up and drop off in situations of separation, divorce, or other custodial rights of children. When restrictions are in place, a copy must be provided to the center director. 

    Authorized Pick Up and Drop Off Persons

    Authorized individuals must be 16+ years old to pick up or drop off your child. The person or people listed as emergency contacts on the Enrollment and Emergency Information Form have permission to pick your child up. Anyone picking up children should be prepared to provide a picture ID upon request. 

    Behavior Guidance

    Harsh or threatening methods of discipline are not permitted at Playhouse. Preferred discipline and guidance techniques include:  

      • Setting clear, enforceable limits 
      • Modeling acceptable behavior 
      • Structuring the environment to maximize good behavior 
      • Giving choices 
      • Teaching the use of acceptable alternatives 
      • Anticipation of problems 
      • Redirection 
      • Use of logical consequences 

    Children may be separated from the group temporarily if less intrusive methods of behavior guidance have been ineffective and the child’s behavior threatens the safety of other children or staff. All separations are noted on a separation log.

    If a child’s behavior is significant or poses possible harm to children, staff, or themselves, the child may need to be picked up from care.

    You will be notified if additional strategies for persistent unacceptable behaviors are needed for intervention, as necessary. A team meeting will occur, and a prosocial plan will be developed. Meetings will be held periodically.

    Other Policies

    Pet Policy

    From time to time, small pets or animals are kept at the center, such as a gerbil or fish. You will be informed of visiting pets or animals. Your child may encounter service animals while enrolled at Playhouse. 

    Field Trips and Special Visitors

    Field trips are part of our preschool program: 

      • Parents will be notified in advance of any field trips 
      • Before the day of the field trip, parents must pay any fees 
        • Once all fees are paid, no refunds will be made 
      • Before the day of the field trip, parents must give written permission for their children to attend 
        • This must be provided for each field trip 
        • If you do not want your child to participate, you will need to arrange alternate care 
      • Parent/guardian volunteers are welcome and encouraged to help supervise

    Walks may occur off the center property. By signing the enrollment contract, you give permission for Playhouse staff to take your child on these walks. 

    Special visitors are present in the center every other month. We strongly encourage parents, relatives, and friends to participate in this opportunity to share your occupation, talent, or hobby with the children. 

    Drugs and Alcohol Policy

    Playhouse is drug- and alcohol-free. We comply with the Minnesota Clean Air Act; no smoking or vaping is allowed in the building or on the grounds.

    Possession of Firearms

    Guns and weapons are not allowed to be brought into the center or onto Playhouse grounds. 

    Insurance and Licensing

    Playhouse Child Care Center, Inc. has a liability policy in effect to the limits required by the State of Minnesota. This includes general liability and automobile liability. 

    Playhouse Child Care Center, Inc. is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.  We adhere to all state licensing requirements (state, fire, safety, health, and sanitation regulations) with routine inspections from these agencies. 


    Playhouse staff recognizes the importance of keeping your child and family’s information private. 

    Your child’s file is kept in the center director’s office. The State Department of Human Services, accreditation agencies, and our health consultant review files to assure compliance. If you receive funding from a third party, information in your child’s file may be shared with the agency. 

    Due to confidentiality purposes, parents, guardians, and visitors are not allowed to take photos or videos at the center or on field trips. 

    Research, Publicity, and Training

    Children attending Playhouse may be asked to participate in scholastic research projects or public relations activities. Prior to participation, we require written parental permission. 

    Students from various schools in the area are often involved in on-site learning experiences at our center. 

    Within our classrooms, we utilize photos of children. We also videotape for internal use. 


    209 2nd St. S.

    Sartell, MN 56377


    St. Cloud SCTCC

    1701 9th Ave. N.

    St. Cloud, MN 56303



    109 Sandberg Rd

    Monticello, MN 55362


    South St. Cloud

    2901 Clearwater Road

    St. Cloud, MN 56301