Frequently Asked Questions

Picket Fence FAQ

Enrollment Procedures
After you have toured the center and have decided to enroll your child, please read this Picket Fence Frequently Asked Questions and School Policy in its entirety. Please return the application forms and the following PRIOR to starting day:

A. Registration fee of $35.00.
B. One week’s tuition is required as a deposit to be used to pay for your child’s last week of attendance. We will also have the option to apply the deposit toward delinquent tuition fees.
C. First week’s tuition.
D. Purchase of “kidnapper” (sleeping bag).
E. A complete change of clothes to be kept in cubby.
F. Application forms completed including immunizations/physical, copy of child’s birth certificate and a signed handbook receipt.
G. Toothbrush
H. Both A & B are non-refundable.

Admission is open to all children between the ages of 2 and 12 years old who have completed the application forms, medical forms and pays the appropriate fees.

We are committed to equal opportunity for all persons in our program regardless of race, color, gender, creed, religion age, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, and arrest or conviction record.

We reserve the right to dismiss a child from this center for the reason of non-cooperation of parents with our policies, delinquency in payment of tuition or if the child, who, after reasonable trial, could not benefit from our program.

Two weeks written notice is required for parents who choose to withdraw their child from our program. If two week’s notice is not given, you will forfeit your deposit. DEPOSITS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.

We are not responsible for items left at the center after 30 days.


Children and families entering the center should have a chance to visit the center before starting to see what it is like. A teacher can also come to meet the child at his/her house during a home visit. Home visits can be set up through the Director. Separation can be made easier if the parents are honest with their child and let them know they are leaving (no sneaking out please) and that they will be back at a specific time (for example, “I’ll be back right after snack or story time.”). Building a trustful relationship is very important for young children.


Building quality relationships among the parents, families, teachers, and children is the foundation for the success of our program and healthy growth and development of the children. Picket Fence strives to work in partnership with families in order to provide a positive and supportive learning environment for all who enter here. We will support you in making the primary decisions about services your child needs and encourage you in advocating those needs.

We hope you will become actively involved in our program by contributing time, materials, suggestions, or feedback to help evaluate our program. We encourage your interest in participating and supporting community improvement and advocacy projects.

We value your time, input and opinions. Twice a year, we will ask for your feedback about our program through confidential surveys.

Hours of Operation
The center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The center’s school year is from the middle of August to the end of May. We follow the same schedule as District #401. The summer session is held from the end of May to the middle of August.
Arrivals and Departures/Late Pick Up

Parents may bring their children anytime after 6:30 a.m. Please be sure to sign in your child at their classroom. It is best to have your child arrive by 9:00 a.m.; this is when our program begins. In order to offer a program that is most beneficial to all students, we would like children to arrive by 10:00 a.m. However, please remember 9:00 am is MOST beneficial. If you are going to arrive at school after 10:00 a.m., please notify the office before 10:00 a.m.

We close promptly at 6:00 pm according to the school’s wall clock in the office. Promptness in picking up your child by 6:00 pm is necessary. A charge of $2.00 per minute after 6:00 pm will be charged payable when you child is picked up. If you will be late, please phone the center and talk to the person in charge. Repeated tardiness will result in removal from the center. Tardiness at 6:00 pm cannot be tolerated. Tardiness worries young children. In times of unusual weather, some delays will be tolerated.

Picket Fence is a smoke free environment. NO smoking is permitted in the presence of children.

For your child’s security, when dropping him/her off, please sign them in at their classroom. When picking up your child, please sign them out. If you are not able to pick up your child, please call to tell us who will be coming. They need to be an authorized person that is listed on the authorization form, including the driver’s license number on the application form. All staff has been instructed to card anyone that they do not recognize.

You may enter the building using your access card or key fob. It allows you six seconds to open the door once you hear the buzzer. For your convenience, you may also leave your swipe card in your pocket, or purse and it will still work by passing your purse or pocket near the black box. If you do not have your swipe card, please ring the doorbell and listen for the buzzer.

The center must be informed each time a child will be absent. THERE ARE NO TUITION DEDUCTIONS MADE FOR TIME MISSED DUE TO ILLNESS. When choosing days for part time scheduling, no changes may be made to make up for illness, vacations, or any other reason. Discuss scheduling with the Director before signing up your child.
Accidents & Life Safety

The Elmwood Park Fire Department and Gottlieb Hospital have been notified about the existence of the center. If your child needs emergency treatment, the Elmwood Park ambulance and Gottlieb Hospital will be used. Parents will be notified in such an instance. If the parents are not available, the persons on your application form for emergencies will be notified. Minor injuries will be treated with first aid by the staff.

All fire regulations required by the State are abided by. An evacuation plan in case of fire has been place in every room, and tornado/severe weather instructions have been place in every classroom. Fire drills and storm drills are held on a timely basis to meet current codes.

In the event that an evacuation needs to take place, all children will be brought to the Elmwood Park Parks and Recreation Building located at 2 Conti Parkway for Elmwood Park and to the River Grove Elementary School for River Grove Students. 

Dress Code/Clothing
Let your child be comfortable and feel free to get dirty. Dress your child in clothes that are easy to take on and off for bathroom purposes. Most children want to be independent at school, even though at home they may demand help.

Please send at least one complete change of clothing and be sure to label them with their name clearly marked. These will be kept in their individual lockers. If there is not a change of clothes available, a parent will be contacted to pick up your child or to bring a change of clothes. Be sure children are dressed for all types of weather. Children will spend time outside everyday including during the winter months. Children will be kept in on rainy days, and extremely cold or hot days.

Toys/Treasures From Home
We encourage the children to bring a favorite stuffed animal for nap. Many children feel more secure when they bring something with them while away from home. It is as if they are carrying a bit of home with them to school. However, other toys are NOT allowed to be brought to school. They can very easily get lost or misplaced. Teachers cannot take time away from the other children to look for a lost item.
Children nap from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. At this time, children are encouraged to sleep or rest. During this time soft music will be playing and backs or heads are being rubbed. Children are not forced to sleep; however, they are not allowed to be disruptive to the rest of the children napping.

Children eat lunch family style in their own classrooms. Teachers will join the children for lunch. Second helpings of food will be provided. Children will be encouraged to clean their places after meals. Children with food allergies will be treated individually. Written consent must be made for a special diet. Substitute foods, such as soynut butter, shall be available if this should prove necessary. After lunch, there will be a short time before nap to relax with a story. A mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack will be provided daily to the children. We ask that each child bring in a HEALTHY, nutritious snack once a month. Your child will pass out his/her snack to his/her friends on their snack day. Children look forward to their snack day! Some ideas for healthy snacks include; cheese and crackers, apples, oranges, vanilla pudding and graham crackers, yogurt, 100% juices. All snacks need to be store bought, NO homemade goodies please. Items made with peanuts, on a peanut line or manufactured in a facility where peanuts are made are NOT allowed.

To reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, all children and adults are required to properly wash their hands upon entering the building. Proper hand-washing procedure is as follows: Using liquid soap and running water, rub your hands vigorously for at least twenty seconds (length of the ABC song), including back of hands, wrists, between fingers, under and around any jewelry, and under fingernails; rinse well; dry hands with a paper towel and use the paper towel to turn off the water. Hand sanitizer may not be used in place of hand-washing.

For children in diapers, please bring in a supply of disposable diapers to be stored in the bathroom. When the supply gets low, you will be notified. In the event that your child is unable to wear disposable diapers, please provide a document from your health provider stating the medical reason. If cloth diapers are necessary, a waterproof cover such as a diaper wrap or a pull-on pant is required.

Birthday Treats/Holidays

A child’s birthday is important to their self-image. Being a year older is a milestone in a young child’s world. We have a party with his/her peers during p.m. snack. We will make or give the birthday boy/girl a crown and will sing the birthday song. The crown and song are a center tradition. Healthy treats may be brought in and are to be store bought and purchased within 24 hours of usage (Illinois Child Care Act 1969.)

Because of religious tradition or cultural backgrounds, families celebrate holidays in their own way. We strive to represent all families (cultures, traditions, and beliefs) throughout our program. We encourage children and parents to talk about family traditions of holiday celebration.


We welcome children and families without regard to family structure, socioeconomic status, race, religion, cultural backgrounds, gender, ability, or language. The multi-cultural backgrounds of our families have added to our well-rounded educational programs. Individual differences among our children are recognized, encouraged, and respected.


We are committed to equal opportunity for all persons in our program regardless of the child’s developmental situation. 

Changes in Home Situation/Parent Involvement

A major thesis for the Picket Fence Learning Center’s philosophy is that the more we cooperate and communicate with each other, the greater will be the benefits that your child will derive from the center. Frequently, a child’s behavior will change, and the teachers, unaware of what is happening at home, will be mystified as to the cause. The teacher will be hampered in her/his methods of dealing with this unusual behavior, if he/she has no idea as to the cause. We do not want to pry into your personal life, that is assuredly NOT our intention. But often, your child’s emotional well being is at stake. For this reason, we urge you to speak to us about any change or unusual event in your family life. We should always be told if you are going away on a trip and leaving your child with grandparents or a sitter. The illness of a parent or a close relative is often important to a child, particularly when one or both parents are away visiting the sick person in the hospital. We should always be notified immediately of a death in the family, since the very first reactions of a child to such an event are often crucial. The feelings of a very young child during such a trying period are often overlooked. “Talking it out” can prevent the development of unhealthy reactions. So please, do not hesitate to communicate with us. At important times in the life of your family, speak with your child’s teacher or the Director. Remember that we are sharing (if only for a year or two) in the development of your child. The early years are most important!


We encourage families to keep the lines of communication open. We hold parent-teacher conference once a year and through the Brightwheel application. Other ways to communicate is through phone calls, personal notes, bulletin boards, dry erase boards, daily news flashes and monthly newsletters. The newsletters will help keep you informed about activities at the center.

Grievance Procedure

At times, differences in communication styles, guidance methods or child rearing philosophies may occur. Our goal is to understand your wishes and find a way to work together to provide a comfortable learning atmosphere and reach the best possible outcomes for your child. If your position on a particular issue differs with what you see or hear in the classroom, it is recommended that you discuss your concerns directly with your child’s teacher. You can then work together with the teachers and Director to reach a solution. If you are still dissatisfied, please contact the center Executive Director, Toni Chakchay via our online contact form or by phone at 708-609-0339.

If there is a language barrier between teacher and parent, the program will make sure parent’s concerns are addressed.

Open House

We encourage families to attend our open house that is held in September of every year. This gives you the opportunity to meet your child’s teachers, peers, and their parents. It also gives you the opportunity to see what your child’s day is like while at Picket Fence.

Fall Fun Fair

We encourage families to attend our Fall Fun Fair! This event is held in late October on a Saturday Morning. Children have the opportunity to play games, win prizes, eat, make and take, and enjoy the company of their teachers and peers.

Parent Education

We welcome children and families without regard to family structure, socioeconomic status, race, religion, cultural backgrounds, gender, ability or language. The multi-cultural backgrounds of our families have added to our well-rounded educational programs. Individual differences among our children are recognized, encouraged and respected.


Simple, understandable rules are used with children. The purpose of guidance is to help children develop self-control and to learn to assume responsibility for his or her own actions. Positive statements are used to redirect any negative behavior. Removal from a group may be an occasional means of helping a child regain control. He/She will not be subject to a “time out”; he/she will be redirected to a different area. We feel that “time out” shames children and does not assist in promoting positive self-esteem.

In accordance with state law, no child will be subjected under any circumstances to corporal punishment in any manner upon the body, or to verbal abuse.

Health Policies

Control of communicable illness among the children is a prime concern. Policies and guidelines related to outbreaks of communicable illness at Picket Fence have been developed with the help of the health department and the local pediatricians. In order to protect the entire group of children, as well as your own child, we ask that parents assist us by keeping sick children home if they have experienced any of the following symptoms within the past 24 hours:

1. A fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit, orally or 100 degrees axially (under arm).
2. Signs of a newly developing cold or severe coughing.
3. Diarrhea, vomiting or an upset stomach.
4. Unusual or unexplained loss of appetite, fatigue, irritability, or headache.
5. Any discharge of drainage from eyes, noses, ears, or open sores.
6. Two or more watery stools, especially if your child acts, or looks ill.
7. Vomiting two or more times within the past 24 hours.
8. Sore throat, especially with fever or swollen glands in neck.
9. Unexplained rash, especially with fever or itching.
10. Please follow all COVID-19 protocols provided by the CDC, IDPHS, and DCFS.

If your child becomes ill at the center, we will notify you for IMMEDIATE PICK UP. Your child will be kept in the office on his/her cot awaiting your immediate pick up. If we cannot reach you, the emergency person authorized to pick up your child on the application form will be contacted to pick up your child. Your child may return to school 24 hours after a fever, diarrhea or vomiting has stopped or he/she has been on antibiotics for a 24-hour period. They need to be “fever free” WITHOUT medication (Tylenol, Motrin, etc.) to return to school. 

Any child not well enough to participate in the school activities, INCLUDING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, should remain home until recovered. Should your child contact any contagious disease, such as chicken pox, mumps, measles, Rosella, scarlet fever, whooping cough, etc… please report it to us immediately so we can notify other parents that their children may have been exposed. 

Outdoor Play

To protect the children against cold, heat, sun injuries, and insect-borne disease, please dress your children in layers for warmth in the cold weather. When in the heat, please dress your children in protective clothing and apply sun block or sunscreen that has UVB and UVA protection of SPF 15 or higher. If the staff needs to apply the sunscreen, please be sure to complete the consent form and return it to your child’s teacher or administrator.

In the event that the Cook County Department of Public Health recommends use of insect repellents due to a high risk of insect-borne disease, please use repellents containing DEET only. If staff needs to apply the insect repellent, please complete the consent form and return it to your child’s teacher or administrator. Insect repellent will be applied only once per day.


We prefer not to administer medication in our center, if your child needs antibiotics, ask your doctor to give you a prescription that is given twice a day. You can give it to them once in the morning before bringing them to the center, and once again in the evening after you pick up your child. If medication needs to be administered in our center, it must be in the original container, not past the expiration date and properly labeled (child’s name, doctor’s name, medication name, and dosage), and a consent form completed and signed. We will not administer any over the counter medication.

Change of Name or Address

It is the parent’s responsibility to notify the center in writing of the following changes:

Name and Address.
Home or work phone number.
Emergency names or phone numbers.
Authorized pick up names or phone numbers.

We welcome your involvement in our fundraising events. The proceeds from these events go directly to benefit your children with new materials, equipment, teaching aids, etc. Your participation will greatly enhance the success of the functions. Ideas and suggestions are also appreciated.

Parent Committee/Advisory Board

We encourage parent involvement in our program. Any parent is welcome to join our parent committee, which meets as often as necessary. At these meetings you will have the chance to make the decisions regarding our program, policies and plan events. To sign up for this committee please see the Director.


At Picket Fence Learning Center we have an open door policy. You are welcome to visit anytime. You can join your child for lunch or join in during activity time, share a story, or just say hi. Most children understand visits, but some might have a hard time at the beginning letting go of mom or dad in the middle of the day. Just until they understand that you are visiting and not here to pick them up. Be sure to make it clear to your child that you will be visiting. Another option would be to come close to pick up time and spend some time then.

Field Trips

We will be going on field trips throughout the year. An additional charge will be incurred to cover the transportation (bus) and any admission fee. Permission slips are to be completed before any child can attend. In most cases, the center is closed during the time we are away. If the permission slip and fees are not returned by the “due date” requested, your child will not be allowed to attend. Please pay close attention to those dates. Chaperones are invited to attend, admission fee will be charged. There is NO smoking allowed during our field trips. (Indoor or Outdoor). Chaperones should refrain from making any purchases while on trip if items are available, this would include snack or souvenirs. First aid kits and a cell phone will be taken with in case of an emergency. Alternate transportation arrangements are handled by the bus company in the event of a stalled vehicle.


The children in the three, four, and five year old rooms have access to iPads and or chrome books for educational software with a 20 minute max usage per day.


This confidentiality policy has been adopted to assure confidentiality and protection of individual rights to privacy for children, families, and employees of Picket Fence Learning Center. The individual dignity of children, families, and employees shall always be respected and protected in accordance with the law.

Information about children, families, or employees must not be divulged to anyone other than persons who are authorized to receive such information. This policy extends to both internal and external disclosure.

Picket Fence Learning Center follows the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethics. Protecting the privacy, interests and special relationships between co-workers, children and families is essential to maintaining professional and quality care.

Confidentiality of Children’s & Families’ Information

A. All children’s records must be locked in a secure file.
B. Access to children’s records is limited to appropriate employees.
C. Children’s records must not be removed from the center.
D. Children’s records must never be left out on desks, tables, etc. where other people may have access to them.
E. Children or families private information must never be discussed among employees except on the ‘need to know’ basis. Employees must be particularly aware of their surroundings when discussing this information. Special caution must be taken to be sure other children, families, or employees do not overhear information which is private.
F. Discussion of children or families’ information with volunteers, other families, friends, or community members is prohibited.
G. Information and documents which are considered confidential are medical records, educational records, special needs records, family records, financial records and any other private information about the children to their families.
H. All requests for release of information will be coordinated by director.
I. Information will only be released with the express written consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Integrated Pest Management

All licensed childcare centers are required by Illinois law (93-0381) to use Integrated Pest Management to control pests. Centers must notify parent’s if pesticides are to be used inside the facility (bait pesticides do not require notification). One staff member is assigned as the center’s IPM coordinator and regularly maintains the center’s IPM plan. All staff members that see a pest in the IPM Coordinator. The coordinator will complete the IPM Plan and communicate actions to be taken with the Director and staff.

Picket Fence follows the Safer Pest Control Project guidelines supported by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Financial Policy

Tuition is due each Friday in advance of the next week’s attendance. In case of an absence of a child, tuition is payable on the first day the child returns to the center. In case of a holiday that falls on Friday, tuition is due on the last operating day your child attends prior to Friday. When the center is closed for a holiday, REGULAR TUITION is still charged. If your child is absent for a whole week (5 days WITHIN that one week), half of the regular tuition fee is required for each week up to TWO weeks per calendar year.

If tuition is not paid on Friday by 6:00 pm, a late fee of $10.00 PER DAY will be added. In addition, all checks returned by the bank will incur a $10.00 late fee as well as the bank fees. If there are two returned checks, the tuition will be payable by cash only. If tuition becomes two weeks delinquent, your child will not be able to attend school and your space may be lost.

Families utilizing the Department of Human Service programs are required to make their co-payments in full on the first of every month or weekly payments are acceptable with permission from the office. If not paid on the first a $10.00 fee per day will be charged. If payment becomes two weeks delinquent, your child will not be able to attend school and your space may be lost.

Interested in a tour?

Call 708-452-4544 for Elmwood Park,
708-401-4544 for River Grove or click below!