Parent Handbook

The Caterpillar Clubhouse story

Caterpillar Clubhouse was founded in 1990, by Wileen Richardson.  After 15 years of providing family child care at home, an opportunity presented itself and

Caterpillar Clubhouse became a great journey.

Caterpillar Clubhouse is a privately owned family business.  As a corporation it is not part of a chain or franchise.

Formed to meet the developmental needs of the children and to provide care, security, guidance, and love in an exciting environment, we pack each moment with learning opportunities, exploration, and fun.  You must be between the ages of 5 weeks and 12 years to join.

Services are designed to accommodate a variety of family needs at reasonable rates.  Full time and daily care is provided to infants, toddlers, pre-school, and pre-kindergarten.

Before and after school care is provided for school-age children.  Full-time care is provided for school-age, Winter and Spring breaks and other no-school days.  The Summer Camp program for the school-age children hopes to provide and reinforce the child’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

In all of our programs, we strive to help children learn through play, implement developmentally appropriate practices, and provide unique opportunities in a homey atmosphere.  We provide a choice of activities, flexibility, provide success and satisfaction, develop important values, solve problems, respect diversity, express creativity and build self-esteem.  We stay busy and we have fun!

We all learn things differently.  Caterpillar Clubhouse has a theme based activity calendar each month.  Some children are visual learners.  Some learn better by listening while other have to handle something physically before we can understand it.  Therefore, we plan different activities and different themes and a variety of presentations.

Auditory learners learn best by listening – therefore we read and discuss theme related stories.  Visual learners, or children who learn best by looking, are drawn to color, shape and motion – therefore, we provide pictures, music, videos, coloring and painting.  Kinesthetic learners, or children who learn best by moving, and learn from touching and feeling things – therefore, they have the freedom to move and to move around from center activity to center activity.

And of course, children need to play!

In play, the child learns by:

- Use his changing body by testing and exercising his body, in play.

- Explore the world around him by handling, tasting, smelling, and observing, in play

- Grow in language by hearing language tied to his experience, in play.

- Organize his learning by acting things out, living things over, in play.

- Learn to work with others by sharing materials and people, in play.

- Think of himself as a capable person by being accepted; solving problems in his own way, in play.

Play – We call it learning!

Children call it fun!

Wileen Richardson, Director

Melissa Moore, Assistant Director


Our goal…………………………………………..…..

It is our goal to meet the social, emotional, and developmental needs of each child.

- to provide care, security, guidance, and love in an exciting environment.

Our programs include creative learning through art, music, reading, language arts, science, nature, carpentry, cooking, physical education, manipulative and perceptual experiences, and free play.


Hours of Operation

Caterpillar Clubhouse is open Monday through Friday.

We open at 5:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Caterpillar Clubhouse is closed for the following holidays:

New Year’s Day                                Labor Day

Memorial Day,                              Thanksgiving Day

July 4 th                                          Christmas Day

We close early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.



Registration and Admission

Children may be enrolled at Caterpillar Clubhouse at any time that there is an opening.  Before a child can be admitted to Caterpillar Clubhouse, the parent must visit take a tour and acquire the necessary registration packet.  It is suggested that the children also visit the classroom prior to admission.  All information required is needed to meet the Virginia Department of Social Services Division of Licensing, Minimum Standards, and must be provided prior to admission.  This information includes the registration and parent agreement packet, proof of birth, and an immunization record.  A physical form completed by a physician, must be provided within 30 days of admission.  If a child has a special need, documentation must be provided concerning the particulars of the special need.

Pick-Up and Drop-Off Policy

Parents must enter with their child/children and sign in and/or out at the front desk.  The hours of operation are 5:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.  A late fee will be charged for each fifteen minute interval after 6:30 p.m. for children remaining in the care of Caterpillar Clubhouse.  If a child is not picked up by 7:00 p.m. and there has been no communication from the parents, and no contact with the emergency contact persons,   Caterpillar Clubhouse will notify Child Protective Services.

The parent or legal guardian must authorize persons picking up children other than parent or legal guardian.  It is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian to provide a list of

Authorized persons who can pick-up the child and notification as to when a change in pick-up will be done.  Caterpillar Clubhouse will not be responsible for allowing an authorized person to pick-up a child.  It is the parent or legal guardian’s responsibility to keep the authorized list of persons up-to-date.  Appropriate custodial paperwork, such as a divorce decree, shall be provided when a parent requests that Caterpillar Clubhouse, not release the child to the other parent.

Children’s Belongings

Children are provided with a designated space for their belongings.  It is preferred that a backpack containing an additional change of clothes be provided for each child.  If the change of clothes is used, please replace it with another one the following day.  Parents of infants and toddlers should provide disposable diapers and diaper wipes.  Parents of potty-training toddlers should provide training pants, disposable diapers and diaper wipes and at least two changes of clothing.  Please dress your child in clothing that would be easy for the child to maneuver.  Children will get dirty, so please dress them in washable play clothes.

Each child should have a small sleeping bag or blanket for rest time.  A small pillow, covered with a pillowcase is acceptable for children two years old and older.  Please label all items.  All blankets and pillows need to be taken home every Friday for laundering.

If toys or other items are brought to Caterpillar Clubhouse, it is the child’s responsibility to take care and keep track of their toys.  Caterpillar Clubhouse is not responsible for lost or broken toys.  If toys or other items become a problem, they will be kept in cubbies or in the office.  No guns or knives.  No toys with projectiles or sharp edges are allowed.  No toys with small pieces or many pieces are allowed.  Darts are not allowed.  Balloons are not allowed.  Purses, pockets, backpacks, or bags should not contain money, make-up, Chap Stick, candy, scissors, markers, or any items that are inappropriate for play or for sharing.


Discipline and Behavior

The meaning of discipline is to teach.  We will begin by setting a good example.  We will guide the child so they can understand appropriate behaviors.  We will distract and redirect.  We will provide the opportunity for the child to step away and regain self-regulation and self-control.

Our goal is that discipline should always be a positive process that results in a positive outcome and should never be used to take away a child’s dignity.

Caterpillar Clubhouse recognizes and practices the goals of discipline as set forth by the Virginia Department of Social Services, Minimum Standards for Licensed Child Care Centers (22 VAC 15-30-484).


Child Abuse and Neglect

Virginia law 63.1-1509 states that “any director”, teacher or other person employed in a public or private school or child care…who has reason to suspect that a child is an abused or neglected child, shall report the matter immediately” (to the local Police or Child Protective Services).  This law further states”…failure to do so shall result in a fine.”


Withdrawal or Termination

A parent or legal guardian must provide Caterpillar Clubhouse with a two week written notice if a child is to be withdrawn for any reason.  If a two-week notice is not given, the parent is responsible for payment of the two weeks.

If Caterpillar Clubhouse decides that it is necessary to terminate the enrollment of a child, Caterpillar Clubhouse will provide parents in writing the reason for termination.  Reasons for termination may include parental breach of contract, unacceptable behavior, and non-payment of tuition or communicable medical situation


Food Policies

Caterpillar Clubhouse participates in the Virginia Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  This program is designed to reimburse eligible early childhood education centers for providing healthy meals and snacks to children.  Children need good nutrition for proper growth and development.  Please help us comply with the requirements of the CACFP by completing the two USDA forms attached to the registration packet.  The information provided is confidential and used for the purpose of determining the amount of federal funding we receive. All meals served to children under the Child and Adult Care Food Program are served free regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and disability.  There is no discrimination in admissions policy, meal service, or the use of facilities.  Any complaints of discrimination should be submitted to USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, Rm. 326-W, Whitten Bldg. 14th and Independence Ave, S.W., Washington,  D.C.

Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack is provided to each child who is at the center at the time the meal is served.  Foods should not be brought from home unless pre-arranged for special diet consideration or for special occasion which must include accommodation of any special dietary restriction of any child in the classroom.

NO GUM.  Candy and special treats are not necessary.  Foods are not to be kept in backpacks, bags or cubbies.  Sippy cups and water bottles must be labeled with children’s names.

Menus are posted and provided as part of the monthly newsletter.  Foods not suitable for infants and toddlers are substituted with an appropriate food item.

Infants are provided with baby food and parents are given the option of Caterpillar Clubhouse’s chosen brand of formula.  Otherwise, parents provide the infant’s formula.  Caterpillar Clubhouse does accommodate breastfed infants.


Illness and Medication

Children should not be brought to Caterpillar Clubhouse with a temperature of over 101 degrees or with a contagious illness.  Please notify Caterpillar Clubhouse if your child may have exposed others to a contagious illness.  You will be notified to pick up your child if either of the above occurs while at Caterpillar Clubhouse.

No medication, cough drops,, lip balm, throat lozenges, sunscreen, insect repellent, etc. should be left in the child’s backpack, diaper bag, or cubby.  These items will be properly stored in the locked cabinet in the front office and a medication administration authorization form will need to be filled out.  No medication or vitamins shall be added to bottles or sippy cups.

All medication must be in the original container and have the child’s name on it and direction label attached.  Prescription medication must have the prescription label attached.

It is recommended that over-the-counter medication not be given in lieu of seeking proper medical attention.  Medication can be given for a period of 10 working days.  Long-term prescription medication or over-the-counter medication must have written authorization from the child’s physician and parent and must be reauthorized every 6 months.

Non-prescription medication must be consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions for age, duration, expiration and dosage.  Medications must be age/weight appropriate.

Parents must fill out a medication administration authorization form for all medication.  A staff person certified in Medication Administration will review the authorization form and administer the medication.  If medicine is to continue, and new form can be filled out or the parents will have 14 days to pick up the medication.  After 14 days, the medication will be disposed of.



When infants are ready to move into the toddler room, we take the opportunity to have them visit during less active times of the day.  Visits continue at different times.  Visits begin as moments which gradually turn into hours.  At the beginning, a familiar staff will accompany them.  We ask that parents keep the normal drop-off routine until we are all comfortable with the transition.  We don’t have a set time as to how long it may take; we leave that up to the infant or toddler.  This move usually occurs when an infant is walking and developmentally ready to move on, usually around 15 months.

The same thing happens when the toddler is ready to move into the two’s classroom.  It is great when we are able to move more than one toddler at a time.  Once again, we take the opportunity to have them visit during less active times of the day.  Visits continue at different times.  Visits begin as moments which gradually turn into hours.  At the beginning, a familiar staff will accompany them.  We ask parents to keep the normal drop-off routine until we are all comfortable with the transition.  We don’t have a set time as to how long it may take; we leave that up to the toddler.  This move usually occurs when a toddler is between 20 – 24 months.

Three, four and five year old classrooms are set-up corresponding with the year the child is to enter kindergarten.  These classrooms move together as a group.  There are prior occasions that the children will visit their new classrooms and spend time with the teachers.  The process usually begins several weeks before Labor Day and concludes Labor Day.

The pre-kindergarten class prepares months in advance to help the children understand the process of moving on to another school, through communication, stories and activities.

All school-age children transition from summer camp to a new exciting school year.

Meetings with parents to discuss a child’s transition will be provided on an individual basis.


Field Trip and Transportation Policy

Parents are asked to sign blanket permission for your child to attend a field trip.  Parents will be notified of all field trips and asked to sign an additional permission form.  Caterpillar Clubhouse will follow the Transportation and Field Trip standards as set forth by the Virginia Department of Social Services. 22 VAC 15-30-640 Minimum Standards for Licensed Child Day Center.

School-age children and their parents will review and sign a contract for what Caterpillar Clubhouse deems as appropriate behavior on the Caterpillar Clubhouse van.  Emergency information is provided for each van.


Traffic and Safety Procedures

When crossing the streets, or parking lot area, children shall cross at corners or crosswalks or other designated safe crossing point if no corner or crosswalk is available. There shall be at least one staff person at the beginning of the line and one at the end of the line.  All other staff-to-child ratios shall apply.

Parents are asked not to leave their car engines running and not to leave children in the car while entering Caterpillar Clubhouse.  Children are not to leave or enter the building without an adult.  Please make sure your child is supervised when going to and from the parking lot area.  Seat belts and/or child safety seats are a law.


Crisis Management and Emergency Safety Plan

According to the National Safety Council recommendations and the Virginia Department of Social Services Childcare Licensing Regulations, Caterpillar Clubhouse has adopted a plan with the abbreviated version of the Crisis Management and Emergency Safety Plan:

The Chain of Command in Emergency Crisis:

Wileen Richardson

Melissa Moore

Mercy Wanyoike


In case of an emergency situation, the following scenarios will occur:

On-site evacuation of Caterpillar Clubhouse

All staff will accompany the children out of the building and meet at the predetermined assembly points.  Attendance will be taken and children will remain in this location until the Administrative staff has issued an all-clear announcement is made and the building is deemed safe.  At which time children will return to the building and attendance will be taken.

Shelter in-place

This would include situations such as  high winds, uncontrolled human or animal and the like.  All children will be taken to the center of the building (Room 5).  In the case of a tornado, all children will be taken to the hallway stretching from the toddler room to the boy’s bathroom.  In both situations, staff will stay with the children at all times.  Children will remain in Room 5 until the Administrative staff has issued an all-clear message.

Bio-chemical Shelter-in-Place

This would include situations in which a Bio-chemical attack has occurred.  Caterpillar Clubhouse will go into a “LOCK DOWN” status.  This means that no one will be allowed in and no one will be allowed out of the building until the Administrative staff has been told that the threat of contamination is over.  Emergency supplies of necessary items are in place.

Off-site Shelter

If Caterpillar Clubhouse is forced to evacuate the building, the fire alarm will be pulled and evacuation procedures will take place.  The first off-site potential shelter is Living Faith Ministries, which is located immediately adjacent to Caterpillar Clubhouse at 10306 Battleview Parkway.  The phone number is 703-297-6650.

If the situation requires the evacuation of Battlefield Business Park, the off-site potential shelter would be Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas campus, which is adjacent to Caterpillar Clubhouse but separated by the wooded area, located at 6901 Sudley Road.  The phone number for the Campus Security and Safety Police is 703-297-6650.

Parents will be notified depending on the emergency situation either by notice on the front door or front counter, or by phone call.

Caterpillar Clubhouse will be responsible for maintaining master emergency contact information for each child enrolled.  This master packet will accompany any evacuation.



Parent Communication

We want you to be comfortable with your choice of child care.  As Director, I invite you to discuss any and all suggestions, questions, or concerns with me or my assistant at any time.   We want your child to have a wonderful experience at Caterpillar Clubhouse.

A monthly newsletter is provided each month to help you stay in touch with what’s happening at Caterpillar Clubhouse.  It may contain parent messages, schedules, invitations, policies and procedures, etc.  Reading the newsletter will enable you to communicate with your child about what happened in their day.  We have an open door policy and you can always feel free to be a part of any activity.


Children with Special Needs

Choosing childcare for any child can be an arduous and stressful task, but for parents of a special needs child, it can be a confusing and emotional experience.  Since Caterpillar Clubhouse began in 1990, we have provided an inclusion program for children with special needs.  Children learn so much from each other.

One of the most important things for your child is that a good match is found for childcare.  We ask that you visit our center, provide us with all the pertinent information concerning your child’s medical, medications,  physical, behavioral, educational evaluations, I.E.P’s, etc.  We will review the information together and determine if Caterpillar Clubhouse can successfully meet the needs of your child.

A successful partnership between Caterpillar Clubhouse and parents of children with special needs, is to be honest about the child’s disabilities and needs.  Discussing any concerns is an important step in assuring open and honest communication between the parent and the center.

It is our goal to help children learn through play, implement developmentally appropriate practices, and provide unique opportunities in a homey atmosphere. We provide a choice of activities, flexibility, provide success and satisfaction, develop important values, solve problems, respect diversity, express creativity and build self-esteem.