Welcome to Eliot Chapel Nursery School! We are delighted to have your child with us for the school year and look forward to getting to know him/her as well as you.

Included in this handbook is important information about our philosophy, policies and guidelines. In addition to this handbook, you will receive information from your child’s teachers that is relevant to that specific classroom. Please take time to read all information carefully and ask any questions that may arise. We are here to help make the school year an enjoyable experience for the child, the family and the staff!

Parents are welcome in the classroom. We ask that you coordinate your visit with the classroom teachers prior to your visit so the class is available (not on a field trip) and another visitor or activity has not already been scheduled for that time.

Table of Contents

School Philosophy

Eliot Chapel Nursery School, founded in 1963, is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit, state approved school for 2-½ through 5 year olds. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing environment in which we support families and encourage children to develop physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually.

Our curriculum is hands-on and experientially-based. The staff is charged with recognizing and valuing individual differences and interests while providing developmentally appropriate practices in the classroom.

The experiences at Eliot Chapel Nursery School give children the opportunity to develop a positive self-image, foster independence, make wise choices, develop good listening and speaking skills, encourage positive peer relationships, promote curiosity and creativity and fully engage their predisposition to learn.

Eliot Chapel Nursery School is a state-approved program located in the Education Building at Eliot Unitarian Chapel, 216 East Argonne, Kirkwood, MO 63122. Morning classes are in session from 9:00 until 11:30 a.m. Afternoon classes are in session from 12:30 until 3:00 p.m. Classes begin in mid-September and end in mid-May. The director can be reached by calling the Nursery School office at 314-821-0982 during school hours or by leaving a message on the voicemail. Messages may also be left via e-mail at

For new students, the registration fee and one month’s tuition deposit are due at the time of registration. Returning families pay the non-refundable $60 registration fee in January and the tuition deposit on May 1st. After May 1st the tuition deposit is not refundable. (The tuition deposit is the May tuition payment for the following school year.) If a child is withdrawn during the school year, a two-week notice prior to the child’s last day of attendance must be given to the director in order to receive a prorated refund of any tuition paid. Supply fees are not refundable at any time. No refunds will be given for any absences.

There are nine tuition payments – the tuition deposit and eight monthly payments. The September tuition payment, along with the supply fee, is due by mail or online through the link on our website by the first day of September. This will be your second payment. Subsequent payments are due on the first of October, November, December, January, February, March, and April. Checks (no cash, please) should be made out to Eliot Chapel Nursery School and may be placed in the box in the hall or mailed to Eliot Chapel Nursery School, 216 East Argonne, Kirkwood, MO 63122. We encourage you to combine payment for several items in one check. Please note your child’s class (i.e. MWF105) on the memo line and what is included in the payment.  Tuition may also be paid online through our website. While there is no additional charge to pay by check, there is a fee imposed by the credit card company that is added to payments made through our website.

Tuition is considered late after one week. The treasurer will notify you if we have not received your payment. If any difficulties arise in making tuition payments, please place a note in the tuition box or call our treasurer, Susan Planck (H:314-966-3939) to make alternative arrangements. We try to be as flexible as possible. If the treasurer has not heard from you after several attempts to contact you, a $25.00 late fee may be added to your account. Direct communication with our treasurer is the key. All tuition accounts are handled in strictest confidence.

There will be no refunds or deductions for absences, holidays, snow days, etc. Our staff and working expenses are paid on a fixed rate which does not fluctuate with the size of the class.

Arrival and Departure from School

Each child must be accompanied by an adult going into or out of school. The parking lot is a busy place so we encourage parents to hold their child’s hand and NEVER leave a child unattended in a vehicle. If your child begins his/her day outside, the adult bringing the child is asked to walk him/her down the stairs to the playground and greet his/her teacher. Please do not send your child to the playground alone. If your child will be absent, please notify the office by phone or email.

The director or a staff member stands at the hall door to help ensure that children do not leave the building without an adult. For safety reasons, please make every attempt to keep children at your side once you have gathered your carpool group together. If a child departs at a time different from the normal departure time, he/she must be signed out on the log sheet inside the classroom door. Please remind older children who come with you that they need to wait in the front hall or stay with you. It is dangerous when older children are unsupervised on the play equipment with the preschoolers.

No child will be allowed to leave the building with an unauthorized person. Both parents are considered authorized unless the school receives a copy of a court order indicating parental restrictions.

Advisory Board

The advisory board is made up of officers, the director and the treasurer. The board sets the policy for the school and gives the director and staff feedback concerning all aspects of the school. The board also runs fund raising efforts as well as events such as the school picnic. Anyone interested in serving on the advisory board may obtain more information by speaking with the director or board officers.

Behavior Policy

If a child exhibits challenging behaviors, meaning “a behavior which interferes with the child’s learning and development, or the learning and development of others,” (Kaiser & Sklar-Rasminsky, 2015), parents and teachers will work closely to develop a behavior modification plan, so that the child may become a productive member of the classroom community. The challenging behavior plan will consider the well-being of all children involved. If a child does not show growth under these plans, ECNS may seek the advice of outside support staff, or may suggest an alternate school placement.

Belongings from Home

Please limit toys and other items your child may want to bring from home. Children are often disappointed if treasures are broken or lost. We do not allow children to play with toy guns or other weapons at school; please keep such toys at home.

However, we do welcome CDs, books, tapes and other items relating to the activities the children are exploring in their classroom. Please make arrangements with your child’s teachers. We cannot be responsible for lost or broken personal belongings.


A child’s birthday is a special time in a child’s life. Parties are fun to anticipate and plan. To avoid hurt feelings, please mail invitations rather than distribute them at school unless they are going to the whole class. Children cannot be completely sheltered from disappointments, but as adults we can take steps to avoid blatantly hurt feelings. It is the responsibility of the parent(s) to distribute invitations. Please do not ask the teachers to do this as they are busy with the children.

Children enjoy having recognition on their birthday, but please remember we have licensing and health regulations to follow, our school-wide nut-free policy, and our healthy food policy.


  1. All items must be commercially prepared and packaged with the exception of fresh fruit/vegetables.
  2. All food must have a label listing all ingredients and cannot contain or be processed in a plant that also processes peanuts or tree nuts.

Feel free to send special napkins, cups, plates if you would like. These help make the day special for your child.

Child Abuse and Neglect Policy

The staff of Eliot Chapel Nursery School are mandated reporters for suspected child abuse/neglect. As such, the laws of the state of Missouri (stat. 210.115) are followed.

All school staff in contact with the children are required to take part in the training provided by Prevent Child Abuse Missouri and Missouri KidsFirst. (MO workshop calendar S-2016-1302).


Children should wear comfortable, washable play clothes. While we use smocks when using messy materials, they do not always keep the children clean. All clothing should be marked clearly with your child’s name. In case of a toilet accident, we will change your child into clean clothes and wet clothes will be sent home in your child’s school bag. If school clothing is used, please wash and return them as soon as possible. Each child is asked to keep a change of clothes in his/her school bag including shirt, pants, underwear and socks.

Children function safely in rubber-soled shoes. Please, no cowboy boots, smooth-soled shoes, sandals, slip-ons or crocs. Socks must be worn if your child would like to wear the shoes in the dramatic play area. Please keep an extra pair in your child’s school bag.

Outside play is a daily part of our curriculum. Please dress your child appropriately. Send boots or extra shoes when it is wet or snowy. Boots should be large enough to slip on easily. Please mark mittens and hats with your child’s name. Due to health regulations we are unable to supply hats and mittens for children to borrow. Remember: “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” –Ralph Feinnes


We can be reached at 314-821-0982. Notes may be sent to us pinned to the outside of the school bag. In an emergency, staff may be contacted at home at a considerate hour. Please read notes home as many questions are answered in those items. Additional information can be found on our web site. Teachers do not check the inside of school bags.

You may also e-mail us at We encourage you to communicate with your child’s teachers about things that are happening at home which affect your child while at school: a parent out of town, loss of a pet, moving, changes in the home, i.e. a grandparent moving in, separation or divorce, etc. We feel it is important that the school work with the family for the best interest of the children.

“Today we” notes are posted daily on the board outside the classroom. You are encouraged to read these prior to picking up your child.

All families will be invited to join class Seesaw pages.  Seesaw is a great to tool to share information, photos and videos.  Seesaw is private; you’ll only see posts created by the classroom teachers.  It is a secure site and teachers approve all users.  The photos and videos cannot be copied or shared on other websites.

If you change your e-mail address during the year, please let us know.


Conferences are held twice a year. The fall conferences allow parents and teachers to become acquainted and to discuss goals for the year. The spring conferences will provide parents with more specific information about their child’s progress. Parents need not wait for conferences, however, to talk with the teachers. They are available any time during the school year, as is the director.

Occasionally, in working with a child, our teachers will feel that they, and the child, need some extra help to provide that child with the optimal learning atmosphere. Teachers, parents, and sometimes the director, will meet to discuss various options. It is important for parents to know that we do not suggest referring children to any kind of a specialist without a great deal of thought and effort. A referral is always suggested with the child’s best interest in mind.

On rare occasions ECNS staff members, in working with special needs educators, determine that another setting is more appropriate for a child with special needs. Our staff will do its best to help with that transition. Appropriate early intervention, when needed, is ideal.


Our three school rules are:

  1. Take care of yourself
  2. Take care of each other
  3. Take care of the school/the materials

The goal of any system of discipline is to encourage children to develop the tools they need to behave appropriately in society. We help children to solve their own problems by:

  • encouraging them to use language appropriately,
  • helping them to understand the rights and needs of others,
  • having them take responsibility for their own actions.

As teachers, we do not use strategies that are critical, sarcastic or involve physical punishment.

Emergency Procedures

We have established procedures for major disasters – fire, tornado, earthquake and intruder. Drills are conducted on a regular basis to assure the staff and children know what to do in the event of a real emergency.

If, for any reason, it becomes necessary to evacuate for more than a short period of time, parents will be notified immediately as to the location of the children. It is, therefore, very important to notify the office if your phone number changes so the information is kept current. At this time our nearby evacuation location is the Kirkwood Public Library located at 140 E. Jefferson Avenue in Kirkwood. The phone number is 314-821-5770. Should we need to relocate out of the area, we will go to the St. Louis County Library Headquarters at 1640 S. Lindbergh, St. Louis, MO, 63131. The phone number is 314-994-3300.

If the need arises that we are unable to return to the school building, parents will be notified and expected to pick up their child(ren) as quickly as possible.

Staff members are trained in basic first aid procedures and infant/child CPR.

If our area of Kirkwood is put on lockdown, parents can not pick up children from school until notified by text, email or phone call.

Field Trips

Although we have already received your permission signature on the emergency form, we will inform you when a trip is planned. Parents may sign up to provide extra supervision.

Fund Raising

Our board conducts several fund raising activities during the school year. Proceeds support the scholarship fund, the teacher enrichment fund as well as the operating fund. All nursery school parents are asked to help with fund raising activities in some way. For families receiving grants, the Durbin Fund can be replenished with your participation in fund raising activities.

Lunch Bunch

Lunch Bunch will be Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 am until 2:30 pm. When your child is toilet trained, he/she may attend. Children must be signed up for a minimum of two hours unless otherwise arranged with the Lunch Bunch teachers.

Lunches should be in lunch boxes or bags, clearly marked on the outside with your child’s name. Lunches should be nut free in accordance with the school’s ‘no nut’ policy. Lunches will be refrigerated. If you do not want your child’s lunch placed in the refrigerator, please clearly mark the outside of the lunch box with a note.

A reservation must be made in advance. Please note the arrival and departure times and the appropriate fees. You may also sign up children for Lunch Bunch on days when he/she is not regularly enrolled in school. Please pay by check. Payment must be made no later than the day Lunch Bunch is attended and may be paid in advance on the tuition check. Credit for prepayment will be given for withdrawals only if the director is notified by 9:00 am the morning of Lunch Bunch. Full payment for Lunch Bunch will be collected unless the director is notified by 9:00 am the morning of the reserved Lunch Bunch. Cost is $10.00 per hour for the first child in the family. The cost for additional children in the same family is $5.00 per hour. If Lunch Bunch payments are delinquent, your child will not be allowed to attend until your account is up to date and paid in full.

The Durbin-Schoenecker-Schweiss Grant & Enrichment Fund

This fund was established in order to provide financial assistance to families who show need as well as to provide enrichment for the nursery school as a whole. Much of the nursery school’s fund raising benefits this fund. Each year a budgeted amount of money is available for grants and enrichment. Applications may be obtained from the director or treasurer and submitted for consideration. Grant recipients are asked to help at the nursery school in a voluntary capacity. A portion of this fund is used for school-wide activities not supported by the operating budget.

Parent Helpers

Parents are always welcome in the classroom. Parents sometimes substitute for an absent teacher. If you have a special talent, please set up a time with the teachers to share it with your child’s class. Please do not bring other children with you when you help in the classroom or when you go on a field trip. The nursery school children need your full attention. When you substitute, your presence is appreciated and counted on by the teachers remaining in the classroom. Here are some suggestions which will contribute to a calm, smooth session:

  • Arrive at school a few minutes early.
  • Please do not bring siblings with you. The children in the classroom need your full attention.
  • Use positive encouragement whenever possible.
  • Our goal is for children to learn to do as much for themselves as possible. Assume that they “can” rather than “can’t” and encourage them.
  • Safety is a priority. If you see children doing something dangerous, calmly put a stop to it and help the children to verbalize what was unsafe.

Young children move quickly. Even when working with one child, a sense of what is going on in the whole group is important.


The playground garden is an ongoing project. Children and classes have planted and learned from watching the plants grow.

Children who use the playground require supervision. Once you have arrived to pick up your child at the end of the session, the teachers assume that you will be supervising your child. This is particularly true of unenrolled children, both older and younger than our students.

Scholastic Books

We participate in the Scholastic Books program. You will receive a letter of explanation each month and may order throughout the year. This program offers well selected, inexpensive books. It is a pleasant way to introduce your child to new books, plus the school receives credit toward books and equipment. You are, however, under no obligation to buy.

School Bags

Each child should have a school bag with his or her name in large letters on the outside. A shopping-type bag with an open top works best. An “Eliot Chapel” school bag may be purchased at school. Please check daily for notices from the classroom teachers or from the school. You may send a note to school by pinning it to the outside of the bag. We do not check in bags for notes from home.

The School Day

Morning classes begin at 9:00 a.m. Children should arrive no earlier than 8:55 (unless signed up for early drop-off 24 hours in advance. The sign up sheet for early drop-off is in the hall and is $10.00/day) to allow teachers to be fully prepared for the morning. Afternoon classes begin at 12:30. Children should arrive no earlier than 12:25 to allow the afternoon teachers time to eat lunch and prepare for the afternoon. An adult must accompany each child to the classroom and out onto the playground. If you arrive early, please supervise your child until a teacher is available. Entry to the school is from the parking lot driveway. Please do not use the minister’s spot or the niche by the ramp. You may park in either of the two lots or on the street. Entry to the closer lot is off Madison, and exit is onto Argonne. Please do not leave any children in the car unattended. Ask another parent to walk your child in if you cannot leave your car or call the school for assistance.

The school day ends promptly at 11:30 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. (unless the child is signed up for late pick-up. The sign up sheet for late pick-up is in the hall and is $10.00/day). Children should be picked up on the playground or at the classroom door. If someone other than the regular driver is to pick up your child, please notify your child’s teacher in writing. We will not release a child to someone new without prior arrangements and a photo ID. If you are going to be late, please call so that we can let your child know and thus avoid unnecessary worry. If late pick-up occurs, the late fee will be charged.

Sickness & Accidents

If you suspect your child is not well, please keep him/her at home to protect your child as well as the other children. If you are not sure, check with your pediatrician. Use the following guidelines as mandated by the Missouri Department of Health:


  • has had a fever within the last 24 hours
  • has a fresh cold with nasal discharge
  • has a severe cough or wheezing that would indicate croup or a severe asthma attack
  • has vomited or has had diarrhea within the last 24 hours
  • has any fresh symptoms of unknown origin such as a rash
  • has any contagious infection or communicable disease

Please call us when he/she is ill with a contagious disease and let us know the nature of the illness. We, in turn, will inform you of reported communicable diseases. If a child becomes sick at school, we will contact you. If we cannot reach you, we will call the person you listed as an alternate. If it is deemed necessary, the child should be picked up within 30 minutes of being contacted. If a child is unable to function in a classroom parents will be called. Missed school days are not able to be made up or refunded.

In case of accidental injury, we will make an immediate attempt to contact a parent. If we cannot reach either parent, we will call the child’s physician. You have already signed the authorization for emergency medical care. It is to your child’s benefit that you keep the school up to date on changes in phone and emergency numbers. In case of a dire emergency, we will call 911 first and then contact names on the emergency form.

We are required by the state to fill out an accident report form for injuries other than ‘routine’ bumps and bruises. We fill out a form for bumps to the head or a cut that may require further observations by parents. If a staff member fills out an accident report form, a parent signature is required. We will keep a copy in the child’s file. Parents may request a copy from the office.

Medication will be administered to children with a completed Medication Request From. All medications must be in the original bottle with correct label and child’s name. Medications will not be given if mixed with food or milk/juice as mandated by the Department of Health. All medication must be kept in the office where it will be out of reach of children. Please do NOT keep any medication in school bags.


Parents provide a variety of nutritious snacks during the school year. Sign-up is on the calendar for your child’s class. If the snack requires extra preparation time, please check with the teachers in advance. On days when no one has signed up to provide a snack, the nursery school will provide one.

Because of the number of children experiencing severe nut allergies, we cannot allow peanut butter or any food containing nuts of any kind for classroom snacks or at lunch bunch. If you have a child with food allergies, please provide a container of safe snacks to be kept in your child’s classroom.

Also, please avoid excess sugar or salt. Please send a few extra snacks so that no one is disappointed. Please remember we have licensing and health regulations to follow as well as our school-wide nut-free policy.


  • All items must be commercially prepared and packaged.
  • All food must have a label listing all ingredients and cannot contain or be processed in a plant that also processes peanuts or tree nuts.

If you need suggestions, ask your classroom teacher or the director.

Snow Days

We try to keep snow days to a minimum, but there may be days when safety dictates closing the school. We will try to make the decision to cancel as early as possible. School closings will be posted on, on KMOV Channel 4, on and on KSDK Channel 5. There will be no refunds or deductions for snow days.


All of our classes are led by a teaching team of two teachers. This team works together on the planning, the implementation of the activities and the observations of the children throughout the school year. All classroom teachers participate in professional development each year and receive a minimum 12 clock hours per year. Occasionally, we will also have student teachers from the Early Childhood Education program at St. Louis Community College at Meramec helping/obsering in the classroom. All staff undergo a background check through the State of Missouri prior to working in the classroom.

Sun Protection

It has been called to our attention by the AMC Cancer Research Center the importance of protecting children from the sun. Please apply sunscreen daily and provide a hat with a brim if your child will wear it.


Ideally, we would like all children to be toilet-trained when they come to school. The ideal time to begin toilet training is sometime between 2 and 2 ½. The process may take a few weeks or several months. It depends on your child. We do understand that the children in our 2/3 classes (2-1/2 and 3-year-olds) may not be ready developmentally to be totally toilet-trained by September. If they are not, please let the teachers know where they are in that process and continue to encourage them. All children in the multi-age group classes must be toilet-trained when school begins in September. If your child is not toilet trained, please call the director. Rather than excluding untrained children, we ask that any child in that age group who is not toilet-trained have a parent available during school hours to come to school to change him/her if necessary. Our curriculum requires our staff be available to the whole class at all times. If our teacher/student ratio is jeopardized regularly, parents and staff will confer regarding the individual circumstances. If an occasional toilet accident occurs, we are equipped to handle it. Please keep a change of clothing (including seasonally appropriate shirt, pants, socks and shoes in a zip lock bag) in your child’s bag.

Extended Day Options

To extend the school day when needed, early drop-off and late pick-up are available for children who are toilet trained. Children attending morning classes may sign up for early drop-off at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. Children attending afternoon classes may sign up for late pick-up until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Advance notice for early drop-off and late pick-up is required to ensure adequate staffing. It is $10.00 per child. Additional children in the same family are $5.00 each. Children picked up from school ten minutes late or more (after 11:40 a.m. or 3:10 p.m.) will be charged for late pick up at the same rate.

Updated: June 2019

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