Q: I am interested! How do I get started?
A: Just give us a call 1-888-TOT-DROP or drop by any time weekdays 9am-1pm. Tot Drop is for children 1 year (and a steady walker) through 5ish years old.
Q: How do I set up an appointment?
A: Getting Started at TOT DROP is easy. You just call us like you would call to set up an appointment to get your haircut. You can set up appointments occasionally as needed or better yet set up an on-going weekly schedule. By coming regularly, your child increases their attachment to teachers and to their budding friendships, grows in independence, and derives the greatest social benefit.
Q: What do I need to tell you when I call the reservation Recorder?
A: Whether you choose to schedule appointments occasionally or on-going, call and tell us the date(s) you need and the arrival and departure times. For example: "This is SAY YOUR NAME, and I'd like to bring SAY YOUR CHILD'S NAME, who is age SAY YOUR CHILD'S AGE, on SAY THE DATE AND TIME". Then be sure to say your phone number TWICE, slowly and clearly, so we can call you back to answer your questions and to confirm your reservation.
Q: After I call to request an appointment, how soon will I get a confirmation?
A: We call you back on the same day that you record your request. If you don't hear from us, don't hesitate to call again.
Q: Is there a minimum amount of time that my child can attend?
A: The minimum reservation is one hour. We set appointments in 15 minute increments, so you can make your child's schedule match your plans. More importantly, this flexibility is offered so that we book only the amount of time that your child can be successfully separated from you.
Q: Is there a maximum amount of time that my child can attend?
A: The maximum amount of time a child can attend is 20 hours per week. Additionally, we assess whether the child can handle a long day or consecutive days and provide you with that feedback.
Q: What is the best plan for scheduling appointments?
A: The best way is to set up an ongoing weekly schedule. That way your child gets to know the staff and the other children who come regularly. This method has the optimum social benefit for the child. Also, you can then look forward to and anticipate a weekly break. of course you can also attend occasionally, but for some kids this is hard because each time is like a first time.
Q: Is there paperwork I need to fill out?
A: Your first morning, we'll be asking you to fill out an enrollment form, so you'll need to bring along the names and phone numbers of people you're going to authorize to pick up your child. Please alert those people they will be required to show Photo ID. Once you've turned in your form, it's as if your child is always enrolled; you just call to alert us when you want to attend. You can download the form by clicking here.
Q: How far ahead do I need to call to schedule appointments?
A: It is best to call about a week ahead. However, you can often get a last minute appointment as we let families cancel without charge thus often have last minute openings. If you request a day that is full, we will put you on our waiting list and call you if another family cancels, thus making a spot available for you after all.
Q: What do I need to do if I need to cancel an appointment? Will I be charged?
A: If, for any reason, you can't make an appointment, just call and cancel BEFORE your appointment begins and you won't be charged. Uncancelled spots often go unfilled. So, if you forget to call to cancel or cancel after your appointment has already begun, you must pay the full cost of your missed appointment. Canceling is not just a courtesy. It is fundamental to our being able to offer our unique method of flexible scheduling.
Q: What do you recommend for a child that has trouble separating from a parent?
A: If you think your child might have a rough time separating, we recommend starting with frequent (3+ times per week), short appointments (say an hour) where a parent plans to stay for part or all of the time. We really want this to be successful, for your child and for you, so we'll just take it slowly and work together, listening to your child and taking our clues from them. We want the child to practice liking TOT DROP and build on positive experiences. For children struggling with separation, it is best if they no longer feel that the teachers are "strangers" before they attempt to attend alone. Please do bring special blankie, pacifiers, special dolly, etc! We want your child to have access to all of their comfort items.
Q: Do I have to pay for appointments when I attend with my child?
A: Yes. Your child will be participating in the program, occupying one of the limited spaces, and as a child who is taking their first steps toward independence, they will be the focus of our efforts. Imagine your child unable to attend a ballet class unless you were in the room--you'd still pay for the class. It's the same with TOT DROP.
Q: Is TOT DROP babysitting?
A: The only similarity is, that like babysitting, you determine when your child is with us. TOT DROP is a developmental program for preschoolers, designed by a professional educator, with a rich environment and a variety of activities. TOT DROP is so much more than babysitting!
Q: How is TOT DROP different from daycare programs?
A: TOT DROP is a recreation program where children attend for a maximum of 20 hours per week. It's a place for children to socialize with their peers, as they participate in educational activities, grow socially, and gain new skills and independence. Parents must be able to pick up their child, if they are unhappy or ill. If a child is having a rough time, we'll do everything we can to distract, comfort, entertain, etc., but if what they really need is to go home, we'll never let them just cry. We'll call you and have you come to finish their appointment together or to pick them up early.
Q: How is TOT DROP different from traditional preschools?
A: What makes TOT DROP unique is that we allow the parents to schedule their child's class time instead of regimented, predetermining days and times. The benefit of this system is that it allows parents to create and change their child's schedule to match the parent's schedule and the family's budget, while designing a schedule that best fits the needs of their child.
Q: What is the TOT DROP teaching / educational philosophy?
A: TOT DROP is a developmental preschool. The children are provided with many and varied educational activities. Children are allowed to choose to play independently, in small groups, or with a teacher. Not all the activities will appeal to all of the children. The activities are changed often to address different children's interests and learning styles. All efforts are accepted and applauded.
Q: Do the teachers direct the children's activities?
A: Strictly speaking, a teacher does NOT direct most activities. Instead, a teacher participates in the activity herself and thus draws the children to the activity, assists them, praises them, and talks with the children about what they are doing. In so doing, the teacher provides the children with the language development and vocabulary acquisition that go along with each activity.
Q: What is the benefit of having a multi-age program for preschoolers?
A: Children at different levels of development benefit and learn from watching, copying and/or leading others. By grouping different ages together, we teach cooperation not competition. Equally important, siblings can attend together. This is both convenient for you and supportive for them.
Q: What should I bring with me for my child?
A: Pack TWO bags. 1) bag with dipes and wipes and any cuddly things your child would like to bring along - dolls, pacifiers, blankies, etc. 2) bag with food and a drink (bottles are OK). Please NO NUT PRODUCTS and cut all foods into non-chokeable pieces. Please label EVERYTHING! It's best to use a sharpie to write their name on baggies, containers, even their banana peel.
Q: What about potty training?
A: We work with children at all stages of potty training. Just be sure you pack all the supplies they will need in their backpack so that we can help them help themselves toward independence.
Q: How do teachers handle behavior issues?
A: Learning self control in a group environment is one of a preschooler's greatest achievements. We work to encourage positive behavior though praise and positive reinforcement. TOT DROP teachers are skilled at keeping children actively involved, at redirecting when needed and at maintaining a safe setting where a minimum of restrictions are needed. Teachers model appropriate behavior and provide the children with appropriate language to use to help them through challenging situation and then redirect them into more appropriate play.