PHYSICAL ADDRESS
366 E. Brundage Street
Sheridan, WY 82801

MAILING ADDRESS
PO Box 6351
Sheridan, WY 82801

First Light Early Education Center
 
 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why Is Early Childhood Education Important?
The benefits of high-quality early childhood education are irrefutable. Early childhood education results in successful students, responsible adults, and stronger communities. Visit First Light to learn more on early childhood education’s measurable effect on test scores, classroom productivity, tax-dollar savings, high school graduation, crime, special education placement, teen pregnancy, and unemployment.

When can I sign up?
Right now! Take the following steps right here on our website:

  1. Review the Family Handbook.

  2. Review the tuition and fees schedule.

  3. To begin the application process, please call 307-673-0403 or email info@firstlightsheridan.com and our staff member will assist you to complete the application, collect the $75 fee and provide you with access to the Enrollment Packet to complete prior to your child’s first day

What forms of payment do you accept?
Acceptable payment methods include Automated Clearing House (ACH) and credit cards.  Debit and Credit card payments include a fee set by the vendor. First Light does not accept cash or checks. Tuition and fees are paid in advance of service through Tuition Express.

Do you accept subsidies?
Yes, if you are eligible to receive a Department of Family Services Child Care subsidy, please contact our center to enroll your child(ren).

Can I apply for financial aid?
Yes, First Light Early Education Center offers partial financial aid, as funds are available, to families whose children have been accepted and can demonstrate need for financial assistance, but do not qualify to receive state funds. Priority will be given to students registered in a full time programs. Visit the Financial Aid page to apply today.

How do your hourly rates compare with other centers in Sheridan?
First Light is taking a revolutionary approach to early education in our community and we have not found a comparable program. Our flexible AM and PM half-day programming allows your student to receive 3.0 intentional high quality instructional hours implementing the HighScope curriculum each day.  This structure allows work from home, stay at home, and full time working parents the option to add to and enrich their child’s learning and give parents the peace of mind their child is getting what they need in order to be ready for kindergarten.

Investing in a High Quality preschool environment where we engage, play, encourage, and seek to enrich all areas of growth and development in a NAEYC Accredited and licensed Early Education Center is very affordable.  A four day a week schedule of classes is $5,000/year or less depending on the schedule and payment options you choose ($25/day with the option for 3% discount for payment in full each quarter). 

While this caliber of education does come at a cost, you may be surprised at just how well our rates compare. According to usa.childcareaware.org/costofcare, The Average cost for licensed, center based care for a toddler in Wyoming is $10,140.00 annually ($39/day).  Our flexible part day programming eliminates the need for parents to pay for things like transition times, meals and naps gives us the ability to offer intentional high quality learning at a fraction of the price. 

How flexible are First Light programs? 
First Light offers AM and PM half-day programming with 2, 3, and 4 days a week schedules and enrichment programs for children ages 3 years to 7 years, with breakfast and lunch options available making our offerings meet the needs of your family.

Why do I have to pay for days/hours my child is not in the center?
First Light Early Education Center is a "pay for the slot" facility and requires payment in advance of service.

Why do we have to pay a $20 monthly bookkeeping fee?
First Light continues to be committed to staying in business for the long run, so the $20 administrative fee is in effect. The First Light Administrator is actually processing each payment a few days prior to when it comes out of your account. For monthly accounts this requires 4-5x the amount of time that is required when someone pays for the entire semester upfront. Additionally, First Light is charged fees from Tuition Express for all payments that we process through them. Lastly, we want to continue rewarding customers that pay 100% upfront as this improves the cash flow of our organization. We modeled this policy after practices that are standard across our industry as well as many other industries, such as vehicle and homeowner's insurance.

Families that pay by semester or in full do not pay a monthly fee and are able to credit days absent for future semester days.

Why can't I pack my child's meals to save money?
Participation in our meal program ensures the nutritional intake of our students and provides opportunities to learn and practice healthy eating patterns that should be followed throughout adulthood. Our menus are created by the collaborative efforts of a chef and PhD food scientist. Investing in your child's health by forming good eating habits at an early age will pay dividends for the rest of his/her life.

My child has a food allergy, what should I do?
If a child is diagnosed with a disability and/or food intolerance/allergy, parents can request special meals, accommodations, and milk substitutes from our center by completing the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals, Accommodations, and Milk Substitutions Form. This form must have the required signatures prior to being considered by our center. Food preferences are not an appropriate use of this form. Decisions to approve special requests are based on individual circumstances; there is no blanket statement that can be made for all children. An accommodation for a child that is not disabled is neither an entitlement nor a requirement.

What does NAEYC accreditation mean?
First Light is dedicated to bringing your family the highest professional standards in early care and education and is working toward National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation. NAEYC is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC accreditation is the industry's most respected rating and demands that programs demonstrate consistent quality and meet high standards. Parents looking for a high-quality program for their young child are encouraged to search for an NAEYC-Accredited program. Currently there is only one other NAEYC accredited program in Sheridan. Achieving accreditation takes at least three years and requires a significant investment from First Light to meet the rigorous standards set forth by NAEYC, which are above and beyond those of the State of Wyoming in many cases. First Light achieved this status in January 2015.

Why does First Light have a Family Resource Team?
First Light's vision is a community of healthy families. The FRT team is integral to us accomplishing this vision. We understand that issues a child faces outside our center may impede his/her ability to become Kindergarten-ready. The FRT is therefore positioned to direct a child and his/her family to the community resources available to help remove any barriers to success in school and life.

What does non-denominational values-based mean?
First Light believes all children are unique and valuable. Operating with love, respect, dignity, compassion, grace, integrity, honesty and humanity is essential to the success of First Light. Our staff's conduct and behaviors will model these values to children at our center. Our goal is to provide a safe place where children can learn and grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and socially at their own pace. The development of strong self-worth and character building are also major goals. Children will be taught to respect each other, adults and property.

Do children go outside every day?
The First Light playground is considered an extension of the classroom. In addition to running, jumping and climbing, teachers plan nature walks, picnics and other learning opportunities. Weather permitting, children play outside every day!

What security measures are taken when releasing children?
First Light has a computerized sign-in / sign-out log and password procedures. A child may be released to an alternate caregiver who is on the approved list provided by parents and presents picture identification.

What is the philosophy on discipline?
Discipline, defined as "training to act in accordance with rules," is not to be confused with punishment. We do not use punishment. Discipline is used as an opportunity to redirect and teach more appropriate behaviors. We never strike children, handle them roughly, or shout, nor do we use "time out" as a punishment. Our program has a specific policy regarding discipline. All employees are trained on our problem-solving approach to discipline. First Light implements Highscope’s 6 step approach to problem solving helping children to build the social, emotional, and critical skills they need in school and life.

Are teachers allowed to play with the children?
Absolutely! It is critical to children's social development to see adults play. This serves a dual role - letting children know that people of all ages can and do play and helping them grow as players through their modeling new roles and possibilities. However, it is still important to maintain the teacher role and perspective by setting boundaries.

When do you expect children to be toilet trained?
Children enrolled in our Pre Kinder programs are required to be toilet trained. Toilet training is a prerequisite for admission into older Pre Kinder program. First Light may accept older 2’s on a case by case availability if they are potty trained.

What do you do when a child has an "accident?"
Children are expected to be toilet trained as their classrooms are not set up with changing tables. However, it is very typical of preschool children, especially the younger ones, to have "accidents" or regress a little due to stress, excitement, being too busy to notice or stop, or other situations that may accompany being in group care. It is especially important that the child not be disciplined or shamed for this. It shall be handled carefully and tactfully to avoid embarrassment for the child.

What is your position on Kindergarten readiness?
Kindergarten readiness is a top priority for all our staff. First Light has committed the resources necessary to work with the local school districts to design programs that will help us strive to work with our families to help each child be Kindergarten ready both in their academic readiness but also their social and emotional readiness. All children will be provided the opportunities they need to learn and grow academically and developmentally so they will be prepared to enter Kindergarten and life. First Light will quantify and report their ability to meet this important center goal.

How are Birthday’s celebrated at First Light?
At First Light, we recognize your child’s special day with pictures, songs, special seating, and more.  Additionally, First Light “celebrates” all of the child and staff birthday’s for each month with a treat served on the first Wednesday of the month.  This way every child gets recognized, we all get to share a treat, and we limit the treats served at the center.  We do not allow treats from home.

What will I see children doing during the day?
Children and teachers engage together in learning activities throughout the day. Children work and play individually and in groups – accessing materials, investigating their interests, and exploring and testing out ideas. Children contribute to the classroom community in multiple ways, including caring for materials, participating in routines, and supporting and caring for one another.

Do the children just play all day?
Our teachers carefully plan the environment and daily activities so that children are offered rich experiences and multiple opportunities for discovery, interaction, and growth. Teachers and teaching assistants offer engaging and meaningful learning activities as part of every routine during the day.

How do you share information about children's learning with parents?
Our Pre Kinder parents will receive a written report of their child's progress, will have the opportunity to receive their child's portfolio/early literacy assessments, and will work with the teacher to create learning goals specific to their child as needed. In addition, important information will be shared with parents through our social media (Facebook & Instagram) pages, text updates, parent memos, newsletters, classroom boards outside of the rooms, and e-mails throughout the year. Parents are encouraged share concerns or discuss their child's progress at any time.

Who administers medication?
First Light prefers all medications to be administered at home and/or by the parent.  If circumstances prevent this, only staff trained in medication administration will administer medications as outlined in the Wyoming state regulations. Medications administered once the medication form is completed and signed by the parent.

Why is the Wellness Policy followed?
First Light is licensed by the state of Wyoming and follows the standards set forth outlined in the family handbook. If your child is cleared by your doctor to attend a note must accompany your child that indicates although the sysmptom is present the child is not contagious and can attend. We encourage hand washing and keeping children home when they are fighting symptoms as this may be an early indicator of a contagious illness that can spread.

 
First Light Early Education Center Notices

Year-Round 
Early Childhood
Education

Refer to the
Calendar for Breaks/Closures

Pre-Kinder
3-5 Years

Summer
Enrichment 5-8

After
Kindergarten 5-8

After School
Reading & Math Enrichment 5-8

Accepting older
2's that are
potty trained