Parents Handbook

BunnyBears Preschool

BunnyBears Preschool La Mesa - 5358 Jackson Drive, Suite 2, La Mesa, CA 91942 - (619) 567-4214
BunnyBears Infant Toddler La Mesa - 8314 Parkway Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942 - (619) 439 -7140
BunnyBears Preschool Santee - 8559 Fanita Drive, Santee, CA 92071 - (619) 449-1187 - - Updated August 2019

Dear Parents,

     Welcome to BunnyBears Preschool – an intimate neighborhood preschool. Our nurturing learning environment is a place that helps to guide young children towards self-discovery. Children, families and teachers are a part of our community, where we learn from each other. We hope that our rich environment will be a comfortable place for children to learn, and develop their sense of self; furthermore, we hope that it will also be a place for families to share their experiences and grow together.

We look forward to this special time!

The BunnyBears Philosophy

     We believe the early years of a child’s life is the most important for growth and development; and the purpose of early education is to raise creative, thinking, loving children, who believe in themselves. Respectful, trusting and loving relationships between teachers and children, families and school are the key elements in creating the layout for early education.

     As an Early Childhood Educators, we see all five selves in each child and acknowledge social, emotional, physical, cognitive and creative growth. We strongly believe that a supportive, respectful and child-focused environment encourages children to reach their maximum potential. The teacher’s role is to support the environment and guide children toward self–discovery through art, music, literacy and dramatic play in small and large group activities. Although we agree that Early Childhood programs shouldn’t be highly structured, we do believe that children need a simple routine in order to feel safe and secure in their environment.

     Having studied in the field of Early Education, we are strong advocates for children’s free play, which develops the creative aspect of the child’s personality. We see creative dramatic play and constructive play as tool for children’s language, social, emotional and cognitive development. 

     Each child is an individual and we value his/hers personal achievements instead of making comparisons between one child and another, because each child is very unique and special.

Our early education goals for young children are to teach them how to cooperate with others, form relationships, share, take turns, and use self control. Learning this in early years can impact later social development and academic achievements.

     For BunnyBears Preschool the most important part of being a teacher is being able to validate children’s thoughts and feelings, acknowledge their actions and accomplishments.


     BunnyBears is a child–centered rather than adult directed program. Our curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and investigations.

     We provide children with rich and stimulating, high quality environment. In building our environment we think about many creative spaces that motivate learning, develop relationships and promote a child’s strong sense of self and security.

     Although our program is not highly structured, we do believe that children need a routine in order to feel safe and secure.

     In our program we encourage children to work together in small groups and value peer interactions that provide opportunities to learn and explore the environment. Teachers’ observations and documentation allows us to better understand each child’s learning styles and interests. It also helps us to provide children with the curriculum that is relevant and meaningful to children.

     BunnyBears is an environmentally friendly school. Taking care of our own garden and school pets, recycling paper and trash will teach children to be respectful and caring towards their own environment. We ask children to be co–participants in the organization of our daily life in school (setting up the snack, cleaning up, etc.,) so we could all feel like a part of the BunnyBears community.

     We work to create a literacy rich environment, which helps children make the connections between the spoken and the written word and that supports pre–reading skills according to each child’s development and personal timeline. BunnyBears highly values and encourages self–expression through a wide variety of methods, including art media, storytelling, dancing, poetry, puppetry, etc.

     Our outdoor art studio is rich with different kinds of paint and paper, collage and beading materials, clay, play dough, and much more. We encourage children to work on individual as well as group and long term projects. Art studio is a place where children are supported to be free in their own expression of art: finger painting, body painting, footstep pattern making, clay sculpture building, etc.

     All the teachers at BunnyBears School are well educated and experienced in early childhood education. We are committed to continuing our own growth and development as individuals and teachers by reading professional journals, attending workshops and conferences and supporting each other as colleagues.

Hours and Days

     BunnyBears preschool is open Monday through Friday 7:00am to 6pm. We serve children ages 2 to 5 years old.

     We observe most of the La Mesa – Spring Valley School District Holidays, and we close for two weeks for Winter Break and two weeks for Summer Break. Parents will be notified in advance of any other unexpected dates of closure.


     There is a $25 non-refundable application fee. Tuition will be due the first day of each month. If tuition is not paid by the fifth of the month, a late charge of $5.00 per day shall apply. Checks returned by the bank for insufficient funds will incur a $20.00 fee. If more than 2 checks are returned, you will be required to pay your tuition in cash. While enrolled, monthly payment is required whether your child is in attendance or not, including summer months. We require one month advanced notice should you decide to discontinue enrollment for any reason. The school reserves the right to terminate enrollment for non–payment of fees.

Arrival, Departure and First Days

     Our arrivals are flexible and everyone usually arrives between 7:00a.m and 9:15a.m. However, the latest time the child can be brought to school is 10:30a.m. Each child must be signed in upon arrival at school. Next to the cubbies we have a sign in sheet, where you must write your full name legibly in ink next to your child’s name (no initials) every day. Please note any special instructions, medications, play–dates, etc. on the sign–in sheet. Your child may be picked up and signed out by either parent or an authorized adult (the names of whom you must put down in our Enrollment Application). We will not allow your child to be taken from school by someone other than yourself or an authorized adult unless you personally notify us in advance. To avoid undue stress, be prompt in picking up your child. If you must be late for any reason, please call us so we can tell your child. There will be a $5.00 charge for every five minutes or part thereof if your child is not picked up on time.

     The first days/weeks at school are a time of adjustment. We recognize that each child’s adjustment period will vary depending on his or her age, temperament and prior experience. For some children it will be their first experience away from Mom and Dad and this might be frightening and overwhelming to a child. We ask that you discuss separation at home in advance and discuss where family members will be while the child is in school. Perhaps even a visit to Mom and Dad’s office will help the child to visualize where Mom and Dad are during the day. You are also welcome to discuss your child’s needs with us before they start so that we may work together to ease the transition. We will also schedule a play day or visit for both you and your child before he or she begins attending the program. This will give your child an opportunity to get acquainted with us and gain trust for open communication. We will also ask for first couple of days to stay with your child in our school, observe his/hers reactions to the new environment and don’t rush the good-byes.

     Snack and Lunch - A mid-morning snack is served daily with two food groups being represented. Fresh fruit or vegetables, crackers, rice cakes, bagels, waffles, cereal, etc. are typical. Our morning snack is available from 9:45a.m Children use ceramic cups, plates and silver. Teachers are always ready to help children but for the most part children are highly encouraged to be independent and help themselves. Afternoon snack is served at 3:30pm. Children are involved in preparing and serving the snack. We encourage you to pack healthy, nutritious lunches. Lunch may include protein source, fruits and vegetables, a drink or water, but not candy, sweets or gum. Because we expect parents to provide children with healthy options in their lunches, the children are responsible for what and how much they eat. They may choose the order in which they eat their foods. For example, if you do not want your child to only eat cookies or chips, then we suggest that you don’t send them or send a very small amount, so that they will still be hungry for the rest of their meal. We will not force children to eat or use food as reward or punishment. Packing and bringing your own lunch is very comforting for children as it connects school to home and home to school. We encourage you to pack your lunch in a special lunchbox which your child will carry to school, and an I love you note form parents in the lunch box can make a child feel very special.

     Nap/Rest Time - There is a nap/rest time from 1:00 – 2:30pm. You need to keep small blanket, sheet and pillow in your child’s cubby. At the end of each week we ask you to take blankets and sheets to wash them and bring them back to school on Monday. We will provide each child with special cot (mat). Children don’t have to sleep, but they will be asked to stay in their cots. Soft music and comforting back rub by teacher usually puts children in a nice sleep. Children may bring a special cuddly toy, blanket or book that they like to read before rest time. Please label all items from home.

     Termination Policy - We reserve the right to terminate a child for the following reasons (but not limited to):

  • Failure to pay
  • Routinely late picking up your child
  • Failure to complete the required forms
  • Lack of parental cooperation
  • Failure of child to adjust to the center after a reasonable amount of time
  • Physical or verbal abuse of any person or property
  • Our inability to meet the child's needs
  • Lack of compliance with handbook regulations
  • Serious illness of child

     Biting/Hitting Policy - If the child happens to bite other children or teachers, we inform both parties and work with the child making sure that the biting stops. We closely work with families and teachers, however, if we fail to modify the behavior, we will terminate child’s enrollment after 3 biting incidents. If the child is repeatedly hitting and hurting other children termination will be in effect as well.

     We appreciate as much advance notice as possible when terminating enrollment, and will give the same courtesy in return. Parents are required to give one month notice should you decide to discontinue enrollment for any reason. In lieu of notice, half the monthly tuition shall be paid.

     We will give two weeks’ notice of termination for which full tuition is due, whether or not the child is in attendance. The provider reserves the right to give written notice of immediate termination where there are extreme circumstances that affect the well-being of the provider or other children in attendance.

General Information

     The following information, policies and procedures reflect both our sincere concern for your child’s well-being and the various cities, county and state regulations with which we must comply:

     Parent/Teacher Conferencing – at least one formal conference will be scheduled during the year to discuss your child’s progress and development. This is usually held in spring. Daily communication between families and teachers are important and valuable. Please let us know if there are any changes in your child’s life.

     Parent Involvement – parents, teachers and children are all essential parts of our community. We believe that the partnership between family and school enhances your child’s educational experience. Parents are encouraged to volunteer and participate in our parties, special occasions, and book reading. We will have two school workdays throughout the year, when parents can assist teachers with improvements to our school environment. Workdays generally take place on Saturdays 9am – 12pm. The workdays are invaluable in creating and maintaining a safe and exciting environment for children. Picnics with children and Parents nights out will be held upon your requests. We are open to your ideas of how you can be a part of our community.

     Visiting – please feel free to visit the school at any time, but remember that teacher’s first responsibility is to the children. Please note that visits are not allowed during quiet/nap time.

     Physical Examinations – the state requires that before your child begins school, he or she must have a medical examination. The child also needs to have all the required immunization shots.

     Sick Children – if your child shows signs of an illness, please be sure to keep him/her at home for the well-being of both your child and the other children. The following is a list of symptoms to guide you in deciding if your child should attend school. Your child should not attend if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • A temperature over 100 degrees orally.
  • Any undiagnosed rash.
  • Diarrhea – runny, watery, or bloody stools.
  • Vomiting – two or more times in a 24 – hour period or once with other symptoms.
  • Sore throat with fever and swollen glands.
  • Severe coughing – child gets red or blue in face or makes a high – pitched whooping sound after coughing.
  • Pink eye and or eye discharge – thick mucus or pus draining from the eye.
  • Yellowish skin or eyes.
  • Unusual irritability or lethargy.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Mouth sores.

     For any of the above symptoms children will be allowed to return to school after 24 hours of being symptom free. Children sent home from school with vomiting, diarrhea or fever must be free of these symptoms for a full 24 hours before returning to school. Our teachers check each child daily for symptoms of colds, fatigue and contagious disease. You will be called to pick up your child if he or she shows signs of illness. In the event where you cannot be reached, we will notify a person listed on your emergency contact list. Please, keep this information up–to–date. BunnyBears also has a policy regarding head lice “Nits-No”. In case of head lice outbreak your child can come back to school only if he/she is nits free. Teachers will be checking children coming to school and if they see any nits or head lice, your child will be sent back home immediately with his parent or guardian.

     Medication – if medication needs to be administered to your child, please leave written instructions on the daily sign in sheet. Medicine needs to be in its original prescription bottle, clearly labeled with child’s and doctor’s names and dosage printed by the pharmacy. Leave medicine with the teacher. Medicine will be administered only with present doctor’s note, no over the counter medication will be administered to your child.

     Birthdays – your child’s birthday is a special day. We enjoy being a part of your child’s birthday celebration. You are welcome to bring a treat to share. We appreciate knowing ahead of time if you plan on bringing a special snack so we can coordinate the details with you. We also encourage to make your child’s day special not only by bringing treats, but more so, by coming and reading your child’s favorite story at story time; or perhaps telling the story about when he or she was little.

     Clothing - while at school your child participates in active, busy and messy play and work. Please dress your child in clothes that can be easily washed and possibly stained. Children should concentrate on their play, not on keeping clean. You should also provide clothes that are simple and free of complicated fastenings (belts, suspenders, overall etc.), so the child can assert their independence by using the toiled without any help. All shoes should be closed toed to eliminate stubbed toes and be safe for running and climbing. We suggest that you send a sweater or jacket every day or keep and extra one in your child cubby. At the beginning of the school year bring a spare set of old cloths to be kept at school in case a spill or a mishap occurs. Include pants, shirt, underwear, socks and please replace them as needed. Clothes can be easily labeled with a permanent laundry marker. Always label jackets and sweaters.

     Cubbies – each child has his/her own cubby where he/she can keep his/her personal belongings, a set of extra clothes and place their jackets once they get warm. Children’s bedding, pillows and blankets are also stored inside the cubbies. Please keep in mind that the space inside the cubbies is limited. We recommend you bring compact pillow and blanket for your child.

     Potty Learning – children don’t have to be potty trained prior to enrollment. This developmental milestone is a personal and individual matter which can’t be rushed. We are always looking for potty readiness signs and help children and families achieve success. We ask families to provide diapers (or pull ups for nap time) for their children.

     Field Trips – we don’t anticipate many field trips throughout the year. Whenever planning a field trip we allow ourselves plenty of time to give everyone notice and create the best adult/child ratios with an active parent’s participation and involvement in planning and facilitating the field trip.

     Toys from Home – please do not bring toys to school. Children who bring toys from home will be asked to keep them in their cubbies. If your child needs a blanket, stuffed animal or other transitional object in order to feel more secure, they are welcome to bring that to school. Action figures, toy guns and other objects which encourage violence in play are strictly prohibited.

     Discipline Policies - As stated in section 101323.1 in the Manual of Policies and Procedures of the Child Care Centers, Division 12: Any form of discipline or punishment which violates a child’s person rights, shall not be permitted. A child’s personal rights are outlined in Section 101223:

  1. To be accorded dignity in his/her personal relationships with staff and other persons.
  2. To be accorded safe, healthful and comfortable accommodations, furnishings and equipment to meet his/hers needs.
  3. To be free from corporal or unusual punishment, infliction of pain, or other actions of a punitive nature, including, but not limited to: interference with the daily living functions, including eating, sleeping or toileting; or withholding of shelter, clothing, medication or aids to physical functioning.
  4. To be informed, and to have his/her authorized representative informed, by the licensee of the law regarding complaints including, but not limited to, information on confidentiality and the address and telephone number of the Department’s complaint unit.

     At BunnyBears we treat children with respect and we operate on the premise that young children are never “bad”. Inappropriate behavior that requires discipline is usually the result of the child’s level of development. We believe in working with the child on their development level and helping the child to understand that the behavior is bad and not the child. We always take extra steps to help a child understand the concept of rules and consequences.

     We do not use “time out” at BunnyBears instead we try to give the child the tools to work through problems on their own. If a child needs to be removed from a situation they will sit down with a teacher who will help him/her to calm down and to figure out solutions to the problem. Each child is unique in its own way and teachers respect and acknowledge children’s feelings.

     “Say Sorry” statement is rephrased as “See/Ask what can you do to make your friend feel better” at BunnyBears. It allows children to take care of their friends with more empathy that just saying “Sorry” and give a friend a hug, go get a tissue, an ice pack; dust their pants, bring their cuddly toy, sit together and read a book…

     At BunnyBears we strive to create an environment that will enhance positive behavior in children, allowing children to feel a part of BunnyBears Family where we all take care of each other. We help children to gain confidence to solve problems on their own, encourage them to speak up and listen to others. When a child has the self-esteem to talk about his/her feelings and the respect for others, to listen to their peers, a lot of discipline problems get eliminated.

     Key Access – BunnyBears facility is locked at all times. Each parent/guardian will be assigned a key code allowing access to the facility. 

Emergency plan

     we have on hand supplies for 48 hours should a disaster occur. In a Ziploc bag with your child’s extra clothes, please include a personal note and a family photo that will comfort your child in the event of an emergency. In case we need to relocate, a note will be posted indicating our relocation site and parents will be contacted as soon as possible.