Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What time is Higher Horizons open?
A: We operate Monday through Friday, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Q: How will I know if I should bring my child to school if the weather is bad?
A: We follow the Fairfax County Public School closing for inclement weather. Check your local TV station, check our Facebook page or listen to the radio. Our inclement weather policy is also outlined in the Parent Handbook.

Q: How will I know if the school is closed for holidays or staff development days?
A: You will receive a notice of school closings through an automated phone/text message and information will be sent home in your child’s Wednesday Folder. The Higher Horizons calendar is located on the website and in the Parent Handbook, information about closings are also on our Facebook page.

Q: What are your drop-off and pick-up procedures?
A: Your child can arrive at the center as early as 7:45 a.m. and can be picked up any time between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. You must let your Family Engagement Advocate know, as soon as possible, if your child will be arriving to school late. Children who ride the bus must have someone who is at least 16 years old or older drop them off and pick them up at the bus stop.

Staff will contact you immediately if your child is not picked up by 4:30 p.m. If we cannot reach you, we will ask one of your emergency contacts to pick up your child. Please make sure your contacts know that we may ask them to pick up your child.

When bringing your child to school, you must accompany them into the building and take them to their classroom. When picking up your child from school, you will be required to sign your child out at the front desk, on the Child Sign Out Sheet. If you are unable to pick your child up, you may send an authorized adult who is listed on the Emergency Contact form. You may add or change names on this form at any time during the school year. The authorized adult must show a picture ID before we will release your child to them. After you sign your child out on the Child Sign Out Sheet, the front desk receptionist will provide you with a pink ‘Sign-out Slip’. Please note that identification will be required of any person who is not known to staff and that no child will be released to any person who is not listed on the Emergency Contact Form.

Q: What will happen if my child becomes ill at school?
A: If your child gets sick while in our care, we will contact you immediately at the phone numbers that you have provided on your Emergency Contact form. If you cannot pick up a sick child right away, your emergency contact person will be called to pick up your child. Emergency contact information must be updated routinely. You or an authorized adult are required to pick your child up from school immediately.

Q: What if my child requires daily medication while at school?
A: We require that a Physician’s Order and Parental Consent form be completed by both you and the physician and submitted to our Health Services Manager. You must bring the medication to school in the original container labeled by the pharmacy, and you may not send the medication to school with your child.

Q: What should I do if my child is too sick to attend school?
A: Please call the Absence Hotline at (703) 820-2457 ext. 100 and you may leave a voice mail regarding your child’s absence. Remember that a child’s absence cannot exceed more than 30 days of the school year, including family vacations. If your child is ill for an extended period of time, please contact your Family Engagement Advocate.

Q: What if there is a family emergency and my child is absent during that time?
A: If the absence will be more than 3 days, please report this information to your Family Engagement Advocate immediately.

Q: How can I stay informed about events at Higher Horizons?
A: Make sure to check your child’s Wednesday Folder for notes, letters and check the calendar on the Higher Horizons website.

Q: What meals will my child eat during the school day?
A: We serve children a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and light afternoon snack. Our policy does not allow any food to be brought in from the outside. This includes cakes, cupcakes, and ice cream. Children’s birthdays are celebrated without food.

Q: Are there opportunities for children with disabilities available?
A: Yes, we reserve 10% of our available slots for eligible children with diagnosed disabilities.

Q: What are the basic requirements for eligibility?
A: You must be a resident of Fairfax County, fall within the federal income eligibility guidelines, and the child must be between the range of infant to 5 years-old. Pregnant women are served through the Early Head Start program.

Q: What teaching curriculum does Higher Horizons use?
A: In the home-based program, we use the Parents as Teachers and Partners for a Healthy Baby Curriculum. Expectant mothers are taught using courses from Partners for a Health Baby. Head Start uses The Creative Curriculum for Preschool and Early Head Start uses The Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers.

Q: What is the home-based program?
A: A home visitor works closely with the parents and child to create developmentally-appropriate activities using the Parents as Teachers and Partners for a Healthy Baby Curriculum. Although much of the home-based program takes place at the child’s home, children and parents visit the Head Start center for on-site activities, field trips or educational experiences.

Q: Why does Head Start require medical and dental follow-ups?
A: We want all children in our program to be healthy so that they can get the most out of Head Start and Early Head Start.