It is impossible for us to tell you in advance "what your chances are" (although we are asked this ALL the time). It depends on the number of currently enrolled children who continue into the next semester, therefore dictating how many openings we have for new children. The number of new children we enroll also depends on the types of schedules requested (part- or full-time) and space available in specific classrooms. For example, we can enroll almost twice as many part-time children as full-time. Once you turn in an application, we will notify you of your enrollment status within three weeks. Please note: the application you receive will only be good for that semester. You will need to return to our web site (on the date specified on our enrollment page) to obtain a new application for the next semester.
Who is eligible to attend the center?
Northern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff. Enrollment is open to the community in the preschool classrooms.
We enroll children ages three months to 5 years (pre-kindergarten), and 6-8 years during the summer. If a child won't be three months old until after the semester starts, a parent has several options: wait until the next semester to apply; if space is available, pay to save the space, although your child will not be able to attend until s/he is three months old; or wait until your child turns three months old before applying and we will let you know if space is available at that time.
Does my child have to be toilet trained?
No. We have diaper changing facilities in every classroom and do not expect all children to be completely toilet trained. We are more than willing to work with the children (and parents) during this process. We provide diapers in the infant and toddler classrooms. Parents provide diapers in the 2/3's and preschool rooms.
Is your program a "preschool" or "daycare"?
We are not a "preschool" in the technical sense because we are open for a full day rather than just a few hours, nor do we simply provide "daycare." To best describe it, we are a child care center with a preschool component. You get the best of both worlds: full-time or part-time child care with snacks, lunch, and nap time, along with a developmentally appropriate learning environment. The teachers (who have either a bachelor's or associate's degree in Early Childhood) plan the curriculum by setting up various interest centers in the classroom (science table; dramatic play; blocks; puzzles; art; large motor; etc.). The children are free to explore and play within a structured, yet flexible, environment. It is our belief that children learn through play by becoming actively involved within their environment. For more information about the curriculum see our Curriculum page and our Parent Handbook.
Does my child have to take a nap?
All children who are in attendance between 1:00-2:00 P.M. (12:30-1:30 PM for toddlers and twos) must rest quietly on a cot. During this rest time, the teachers go around and read a story to each child and rub his/her back. Soothing music is also played during this time. Children who are awake at 2:00 go outside to play or to the large motor room while the other children continue to nap until 3:00 (2:30 for toddlers and twos). We make every effort to accommodate children who truly need a nap as well as those who do not. All children, however, can benefit from a "rest time."
How much does it cost and how often will I be billed?
Our current daily rates are detailed on this Web site (see "Child Care Fees"). We maintain various rates which distinguish between: student status or faculty/staff; age groups; and full- or part-time child care. Parents are billed four equal payments each semester (two payments during summer).
Do I have to pay for child care on days my child does not attend?
Once we set a schedule for your child, you will be billed for those days regardless of your child's actual attendance. If your child is normally scheduled to attend on Monday, for example, and s/he is sick that day, then YES, you will still be billed (most child care centers operate this way). We also bill for holidays (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July).
Do I have to schedule an appointment to visit the center?
Although parents of enrolled children are welcome to visit the center at any time, prospective parents should call first to schedule an appointment. This way you can be sure that someone will be available to talk with you and show you around the center.
Do you offer drop-in care?
Parents sometimes call and inquire about the availability of child care for a day when they will be on campus for a visit or meeting. We do not offer this type of child care. Children must be enrolled for an entire semester at a time. Parents can call a local Resource and Referral Agency (4-C) at 815-758-8149 to obtain a list of "temporary" child care providers. For more information about sick child care, you can contact Sick Service for Tots 'n Teens at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, 815-756-1521 extension 3435.