Parent Handbook

Parents are always welcome at the nursery school. We encourage you to come spend time in your child’s class or to watch from the hallway. You might like to speak with your child’s teacher or the director about sharing a special skill/activity or come read a favorite story to the class.

When you have concerns about your child, we are available to discuss them with you. We recommend that you call or stop by the office to talk to the director or make an appointment with your child’s teacher.  Please do not try to have an extended conversation with the teachers during class time since their attention must be focused on the children. In addition, we suggest not raising concerns about your child during carpool.

The school has two parent conferences per year (see calendar for dates). This is a time to visit with your child’s teachers and receive verbal and written assessments concerning your child’s development. Childcare will be provided during your conference time. A parent conference can be scheduled at any time during the year as needed by the request of parents and/or teachers.


Assessment is an ongoing process at WUNS. Teachers interact with children in their play, conversations and observations both in the classrooms and during outdoor play. Teachers keep notes on each child, writing about strengths and weaknesses in all areas of their development. Assessment includes checklists, timelines and examples of the children’s writings and pictures. Teaching teams meet weekly to discuss each child and plan activities in their program to enhance needed skills for children. The school has two Parent Conferences during the school year. The fall conference is a more informal, getting-to-know-the-child-and-family discussion. The apring conference is a more detailed, written evaluation. A parent/teacher conference can be scheduled at any time during the year as needed and by request of parents and/or teachers.

Drop-Off and Pickup

All traffic for arrival and dismissal must proceed from the parking lot entrance west of the school, driving east and stopping at the school entrance. Drivers stay in their cars and teachers help the children enter and exit.

Teachers are outside for arrival of children at 8:50 a.m. for the morning session and 12:25 p.m. for the afternoon session. At no time should your child be allowed to exit your car without a teacher present. If you arrive late, you must escort your child to the classroom. At dismissal (11:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.), children assemble outside the front door on benches or, in inclement weather, inside the front door. The teachers bring children to their cars. Your child must hold hands with a teacher or parent when in front of the school in the drop-off/pickup area.

No child can be dismissed to anyone other than persons designated in writing by the parents.


Parking permits are issued to parents for special events at the nursery school. These permits are for the yellow zone in the Millbrook Garage, which is directly east of the school on Throop Drive. Due to fire regulations, parking is not allowed along the yellow curbing in front of the school.


It is recommended that children be dressed in play clothes that are comfortable, washable and suitable for activities both indoors and outdoors. Children need to have at least one extra set of clothing appropriate to the season that can be kept at school. Please mark your child’s name in permanent marker on all clothing so that it can be easily identified.

Parents should be aware of weather conditions and dress children accordingly as outdoor play is an integral part of the daily schedule. During the winter months our general guideline for outdoor play is that we will go outside when it is above 20 degrees with wind chill taken into account.

Peanut and Tree Nut Policy

A growing number of children deal with food allergies and, specifically, potentially life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies.  Washington University Nursery School will be a peanut and tree nut (Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts) preschool beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.  The full explanation of the Peanut and Tree Nut Policy describes how teachers and families will support the efforts of safeguarding the health and safety of the children. 


The nursery school provides a healthy snack each day for the children. Fresh fruit (apples, oranges, pears, bananas, melons, etc.) are purchased each week and kept in the “children’s refrigerator.” There are a wide variety of crackers (soda, graham, Ritz, Goldfish, etc.) available. Snack time consists of a fruit, crackers and water. The older children learn to pour their own water.

Birthday Celebrations

We celebrate each child’s birthday (or half-birthday for children with summer dates). If desired, talk with your child’s teacher about bringing a special snack and/or activity to share with the class.


We are fortunate to have diverse cultures and religious beliefs in our nursery school community. Our policy is to celebrate family traditions, not religious aspects, of holidays.

Field Trips

Teachers frequently plan short walking trips on campus. Occasionally, trips are planned off campus to further enhance the children’s experiences. Each time an off-campus trip is planned, parents will be notified in advance and required to sign a form granting permission for the child’s participation.


The nursery school encourages parents to administer medications at home and not at school. The nursery school staff does not routinely administer medications to the children. Also, we do not apply
 sunscreen or insect repellent. Medication that absolutely needs to be administered during school hours must be cleared with the director.


If your child has a known allergic reaction, this must be documented on the child’s history and health record, kept in his/her file in the office. Also, please report these allergies to the classroom teachers. For your child’s safety, these allergies will be posted in your child’s classroom. If you object to this information being posted, please contact the director. In case of severe allergies such as to bee stings, an EpiPen injector kit may be kept at the nursery school and used by the director and/or teachers who are trained in its administration. This is stored in an emergency backpack on a high shelf in the child’s classroom. Each classroom has a first aid kit that includes the EpiPen (if required). This, along with emergency medical forms for every child, accompanies the classes on all field trips.


The nursery school makes every effort to ensure the safety of all children. However, should a serious or minor accident occur, a parent is immediately contacted. If parents and emergency contacts cannot be reached, we will take your child to the hospital designated on your enrollment form. All injuries will also be reported in written form and given to you at pickup time. We will ask you to sign an identical form to be placed in your child’s file at school.

Health Policy

The nursery school makes a great effort to provide a healthy environment for your children. We work diligently on forming healthy habits such as washing hands before eating or handling food and after toileting. Our dishes and cups are put through a dishwasher/sanitizer to sterilize them and to prevent the spread of germs. The rooms are thoroughly cleaned daily and checked for safety. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, children and adults will get sick. It is an expected part of life. If children become ill at school, they will be cared for in the office until a parent can pick them up.

Parents are requested to keep their child home in the event of specific diseases or symptoms. The child will be allowed to return to school when he or she has been free of these symptoms and has not required medication for a minimum of 24 hours. If a symptom persists (such as rash or cough) or if a communicable disease is confirmed (measles, chicken pox, etc.) returning to school may require a statement from the child’s physician declaring that the condition is no longer contagious.

Please call the nursery school to inform us that your child is sick, especially if he/she has a communicable disease.

Communicable diseases or conditions include: measles, chicken pox, impetigo, diarrheal diseases, pinworm, conjunctivitis, lice, ringworm, strep throat,
 hepatitis A, scabies
 and certain other viral or bacterial infections

Also, the following symptoms could indicate a contagious disease:  fever, 
 skin eruptions/rash, runny nose, lethargy,
 sore throat, 
reddened, weeping eyes,
 constant sneezing/productive cough.

If your child is exposed to or contracts a communicable disease, it is essential that you call the nursery school to tell us. In turn, we will send a letter home to inform parents that your child has been exposed to a communicable disease.

Emergency Procedures

We have effective, campus-supported policies at the Nursery School to keep your children safe. Below you will find our Emergency Procedures. We have a safety drill each month, and all staff is informed of procedures, locations of first aid kits and emergency medications, and emergency meeting locations.

In case of FIRE

  • Short bell rings alert you to a fire or drill
  • Close doors and evacuate in a calm manner through the nearest exit, as designated on our evacuation map
  • Stay in the designated outdoor area until cleared to reenter


  • One long continuous bell ring alerts you to severe weather, i.e. tornado threat
  • Take shelter under tables or in a hallway or bathroom
  • Assume tornado position when threat is imminent
  • Stay in the designated area until cleared to reenter classrooms

In case of LOCKDOWN

  • If the WU Emergency Alert System is activated and announces, “Go to secure area” a whistle will be blown.
  • Children will be moved out of sight to the designated safe area in the school.
  • Teachers will have cell phones to get emergency information from the WU Emergency headquarters to follow accordingly.
  • No one will be permitted to enter or leave the building, unless evacuation is necessary.
  • If possible, an emergency email/text will be sent out explaining the circumstance.
  • Lockdown will continue until the school receives an “all clear” signal from WU emergency personnel.

Parent Notification Procedure:

  • Parents will be notified of campus emergencies and evacuations through the WUSTL Mobile app, which is the fastest and easiest way for anyone — with or without a Washington University email address — to receive emergency alerts. The app is available for iOS or Android. Note that it is important that you enable push notifications to receive alerts.
  • The school has an emergency preparedness bag easily accessible with all contact information, allergy information, and other necessities.
  • WUNS staff will attempt to send out an emergency email/text explaining the situation as much as possible, as a follow up to the all-campus emergency alert.

Procedure for Snow Closing

The nursery school, as a department within Washington University, follows the university policy for school closings as a result of inclement weather. It is university policy that faculty and staff members should report to work and leave work at their regularly scheduled times. Should weather conditions create potentially hazardous travel, the vice chancellor for human resources will evaluate the severity of the situation and, in consultation with the executive vice chancellors, determine the appropriate measures to be taken. Factors to be considered will include the safety of our faculty, staff and students as well as the services that must be provided despite the severe weather.  In the event that the decision is made to dismiss employees early, the staff of the Office of Human Resources will contact the various executive vice chancellors, vice chancellors and deans, who, in turn, will be responsible for communicating this decision to faculty and staff members.  A nursery school staff member would then relay that decision to the parent community via phone and/or email.

Referral Process for Children with Special Needs

It is the policy at the nursery school that after school is underway and teachers have had time to observe children in the classroom, a teacher who feels help is needed in understanding the behavior of a child in the classroom will ask the director to come and observe. After reviewing our observations, we schedule an appointment with the parents to discuss the school behavior. In the course of that meeting, we may request that a community professional evaluate the child in the classroom. This observation may result in a request for further evaluation. If needed, community facilities that better serve the child’s needs may be recommended to the parents. The school reserves the right to terminate attendance.

Confidentiality Statement

The records kept on families enrolled at the nursery school are confidential. Staff may not share information on file with others without written permission from a parent or guardian. Information received while in the performance of duties, either written or verbal, shall also be considered confidential and shall be treated the same as written information contained in the child’s file.

The nursery school adheres to the Code of Ethics created by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This document provides guidelines for responsible behavior and establishes a common ground for early childhood professionals to resolve ethical and moral issues encountered in daily practice. The foundation for the Code of Ethics is a commitment to quality early childhood practices, including providers’ goals to:

  • appreciate childhood as a unique, valuable part of the human life
  • base program practices on knowledge of child development
  • appreciate and support the child/family bond
  • understand children in the context of their family, culture and society
  • respect the uniqueness and worth of children, family members and colleagues
  • develop helpful relationships based on trust, respect and positive regard