Silver Spring Day School Parent Handbook

Frequently Asked Questions and Policies

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the school provide lunch & snacks?


Children bring their own lunch. Staff does not microwave lunches. Be sure to store food in proper containers. Lunches should be ready to eat when children open their lunch boxes. Please remember the no nut policy. SSDS refrigerates all perishable lunch items. Parents will be given information at the beginning of the school year on where to place their child’s perishable items. 1% organic milk and water are available to all children each day. SSDS does not supply cutlery or condiments for lunch.


Parents/guardians are responsible for providing their child an individual snack each day in addition to the child’s lunch. (If staying for afternoon programming, an additional snack will be provided).  There will be no sharing of snacks or other foods between children. If your child has allergies to other foods besides nuts, a list of snacks that are safe for your child to eat must be provided to the SSDS Office and your child’s teacher.

All parents (including non participation) are responsible for providing 1% organic milk for their child’s class during their assigned week. This will be included as part of the co-op schedule prepared by the classroom Scheduler.

How does SSDS handle “discipline”?

What is often referred to as discipline, we here at SSDS view as a key part of our curriculum.  Helping young children develop the skills to behave in both a developmentally and socially appropriate manner is a key piece of our work as educators.  We believe that every child deserves to be seen in the highest possible regard and adults are responsible for actively supporting their needs.  Every behavior is a message.  When challenging behaviors arise, the adults must work together to figure out what isn’t working for the child and how we can help.

When a child’s behavior warrants further observation, SSDS will work with early childhood specialists (including occupational therapists & speech and language pathologists), collaborating with our school while observing individual children (with parent permission) and/or entire classrooms.

How often do children play outside at SSDS?

SSDS understands the importance of outdoor play and schedules at least an hour a day for each class to be on our playground. In the event that the wind-chill or the heat-index represent a health risk, SSDS will limit or cancel time outdoors as needed for the given day.  Classes should play outside in all other weather conditions except heavy rain or other weather emergencies.

How will SSDS support my child (and me) during toilet training?

Toilet training is a very individualized experience for each child and each family.  SSDS will collaborate with families to support their children through this process and set them up for success!  This is one arena in which the children have much more control than their adults.  If a child is not ready, it is not the right time to toilet train, even if the parents are ready.  SSDS respects the individual needs of our students and will never force a child who is unwilling to use the toilet to do so.

While a child is toilet training, parents should send additional underwear, bottoms and shoes just in case.  Accidents happen, and it’s ok.

How will SSDS support my child during transitions?

SSDS values the participation of parents in our school, both formally and informally.  SSDS therefore has an open door policy, meaning that parents are always welcome in their child’s classroom.

SSDS does ask that parents and faculty work together to ensure that a parent’s time in the classroom works towards their individual child’s success.  For example, if a child is struggling with separation in the morning, the teachers may recommend that the parents stay for a brief period to help the child get settled, or they may recommend that the parents say a quick good-bye and a hasty departure.  Close collaboration between parents and faculty is often the key to a successful transition.

Is school open or closed?

SSDS follows the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) calendar for most holidays, snows days and some teacher professional days.  We will always communicate scheduled days off ahead of time to give families enough time to plan for alternate child care if necessary.

In general, when MCPS is closed due to inclement weather, SSDS will also be closed.  When MCPS opens one hour late, SSDS will also open one hour late; two hours late, SSDS will open two hours late. Early Bird will still be available but delayed accordingly.

When MCPS announces an early closure, SSDS will monitor the situation and make a decision separate from MCPS on a case-by-case basis. Add-on afternoon programs will be cancelled for the afternoon if SSDS closes early. It is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to know about early closings.

While SSDS follows MCPS’ decisions on closures and delays, SSDS will not make up days missed due to inclement weather.  Announcements regarding closures/delays will be sent in a school-wide text and email.

Is there rest time at SSDS?

In accordance with MSDE’s Office of Child Care, all children who remain at SSDS for afternoon programming must be provided a rest time.  Children who need to nap will be provided a quiet space to do so.  Children who do not nap, must be provided a quiet space in which to rest for at least 20 minutes.

What are SSDS’s food policies?

No Nuts

SSDS community members are prohibited from bringing food containing tree nuts or peanuts into the school.

Snacks and Meals

Families in our core program are solely responsible for providing snacks and lunches for their own children.  SSDS will refrigerate perishables but does not microwave or otherwise heat food for children, so parents must provide food that is ready to eat.

SSDS will provide afternoon snacks for all children who stay for our afternoon programs.  Snacks will be provided in accordance with a monthly schedule.  Children may only be given SSDS food if their parents have provided permission in their online registration forms.


Families are responsible for providing 1% organic milk for their child’s class on a scheduled, rotating basis.  The class Scheduler will include the milk schedule on both the online and the printed versions of the class participation schedule.  If an individual child does not drink milk, the family must provide an alternative beverage for their child.

What are SSDS’s immunization requirements?

In accordance with the Maryland COMAR sections,, and, SSDS will not allow children to attend SSDS who have not received all vaccinations required by the state of Maryland for children enrolled in preschool programs.  Parents must provide SSDS documentation of full immunization, signed by the child’s pediatrician.  The only exceptions to this rule are those stated in the above mentioned COMAR sections, as follows:

  • If a family presents SSDS with a licensed physician’s or health officer’s written statement that the student’s immunization against a disease is medically contraindicated, SSDS will admit the child.
  • If the student’s parent or guardian is unable to provide proof of immunization pursuant to the requirements, the student may be temporarily admitted, or may temporarily remain enrolled, if the student’s parent or guardian presents evidence of the student’s appointment with a health care provider to receive any missing immunizations.
  • In the event that a child is un-immunized or under-immunized in accordance with either of the above stated clauses, and a local outbreak or epidemic occurs of the diseases for which the child is un-immunized or under immunized, the child may be asked not to attend SSDS until the outbreak or epidemic has been declared over.

SSDS does not accept Religious Exemptions for immunizations.

What are the requirements to participate in the classroom?

As a Parent Participatory School, SSDS welcomes all families to play an active role in caring for children alongside our educators.  They are there to be part of the life of the classroom and should be encouraged to participate in all aspects of the classroom day – both curricular and administrative.  The relationship building that can happen during participation is truly valued at SSDS.

Parent participants arrive 15 minutes before class begins and should be prepared to stay as late as 30 minutes after class ends to help clean up.  Parent participants are responsible for helping with the necessary tasks in the classroom that the teacher will clearly lay out ahead of time – both at back to school night and the day of the shift.

Families who sign up for Full in-class Participation should expect to participate 12 times per year.  Families who sign up for Half in-class Participation should expect to participate 6 times per year.  Families who sign up for Quarter in-class Participation should expect to participate 3 times per year.

Parent participants are not included in the consideration of adult-child ratios.  All classrooms are staffed with SSDS Faculty sufficient to meet legal ratio requirements. 

Approved Parent Participants Must:

  • be fingerprinted
  • be medically cleared and have a Medical Report for Child Care form on file
  • undergo an FBI and MD criminal history background check
  • complete the SSDS online Child Abuse Prevention Training

In the event that anything on the background checks or medical report indicates that it is not safe for the adult to be responsible for children, said adult will not be approved for participation or be responsible for children other than their own.


What are your age requirements for enrollment?

SSDS offers programs for children ages 2 through preK, including a Rolling 2s program for those students with a birthday after Sept 1. For the 2021-2022 school year, required ages are as follows:

  • Rolling 2s : child turns 2 between Sept 2 and January 15, 2022
  • Two, Three, and Five Day 2s : child turns 2 by September 1, 2021
  • Three, Four, and Five Day 3s : child turns 3 by September 1, 2021
  • Five Day 1:30 preK : child turns 4 or 5 years old by September 1, 2021

What do parent jobs look like?

Each family at SSDS is required to take on one job per child enrolled in SSDS.  SSDS will ask parents to rank their preferences, and we will do our best to honor them whenever possible.  Some examples are:

  • Staff Appreciation/Hospitality
  • Homeroom Parent
  • Class Scheduler
  • Plant Sale Fundraiser
  • Playground/Facilities Maintenance
  • Spring Social Fundraiser

In addition, while faculty and staff regularly clean the school, all families are expected to participate in our bi-annual deep-cleaning on School Wide Clean Up Days.  Families are encouraged to come and help clean in person on the scheduled days, but may also sign up for a take home job if that works better for the family schedule.  All jobs are important – the cleaner the school the better.

What if I can’t participate on the day I’m scheduled?

Parents are responsible for finding their own replacements if they cannot fulfill their in-classroom participation commitment.  Nannies, au pairs and caregivers are not acceptable substitutes for in-classroom participation. However, parents from other classes can swap scheduled days. If you are unable to find a replacement and the school needs to find a substitute, there will be a fee.


What if I can’t participate in the classroom?

With full respect for and recognition of the fact that some SSDS families may not be able to participate in the classroom, parents have the option to opt out and pay an additional fee as part of their tuition to cover the administrative costs associated with supporting the classroom without a parent participant.

What if my child is sick?

Keeping your Child Home

(Please see “COVID Conditions” as it relates to the current situation)

We all want our children to be healthy! Children MUST stay at home if they have:

  • severe colds
  • green nasal discharge
  • vomited within the past 24 hours
  • pink eye
  • had a fever in the past 24 hours
  • head lice
  • had diarrhea in the past 24 hours
  • a persistent cough

*Any thermometer reading 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or above is considered a fever.



What is a Parent Participatory School?

At SSDS, we believe in the value of families participating in the school environment – creating a community and a partnership of learning amongst faculty, children, and parents.  It is our mission to jointly create an environment that is worthy of young children’s exploration: an environment in which children will encounter many questions to ponder, many materials with which to experiment, many opportunities to experience, and many relationships to build.  By providing this type of content rich environment, we facilitate children’s ability to create their own understandings, and to add to them over time, thereby constructing their knowledge.  By including our families in the daily life of our school, we enable children to place this knowledge within a broader community context.

Families participate in our school in multiple ways.  Every family must take on one parent job for each child enrolled.  Families also have the opportunity to participate in the classroom on a rotating basis as parent participants.

When is the first day of school?

Our first day of school will be Thursday, September 8th, 2022 and our last day of school will be Friday, June 9th, 2023.

*Silver Spring Day School’s year typically begins after Labor Day and ends in mid June.  We follow the MCPS calendar for most holidays & teacher professional days and all snow days.*