Initial Visit and the Waiting List
We welcome families to contact us with their interest in the Center and questions about enrollment. All families are guided to complete an application form available on the website and submit it with a $25 application fee to hold a space on the waiting list. A family may enroll to place an infant on the waiting list up to 8 months in advance of the child’s birth. We open the Center to all interested families on a Saturday in November (this date is posted on the website) in order for them to tour the facility and see the physical site. Throughout the year, we keep the program closed to prospective families who are not immediately in line for a slot in order to minimize the disruption to the children and educators during their day.
The waiting list is carefully managed for both Bowdoin families and community families. All families are kept current on our list serve and receive emails from us intermittently through the year. Families may contact us about their place on the waiting list; however, for community families, positions may vary because of Bowdoin College family enrollment. As a family’s name rises on the waiting list, we offer them a visit to the program that includes a tour of the facility and a meeting with the director.
The Children’s Center values and appreciates a strong relationship with all families. Contracts with families are considered annually. Community spots are offered in light of the Bowdoin demand for slots. Preference for a slot will be given in this order: to Bowdoin College families currently enrolled in the program, Bowdoin College students, faculty and staff of Bowdoin College who are enrolling a new sibling and have children who will be enrolled for the next academic year, new children of Bowdoin College faculty and staff, returning community families, siblings of present community families, siblings of past community families, and then new community families. If a community member’s contract is not renewed, they will have the option to place their name at the top of the Community wait list for the next year.
Considering the number of days for your family
If families wish to reduce their annual contract after March 31 they are welcome to put this request in writing. If another family will contract for those days, then the contract can be reduced. If there isn’t anyone who is interested in adding extra days then the family maintains their contract and the financial responsibility for those days.
If a family signs an annual contract for less than 5 days a week we advise that careful consideration is given to this, as adding an additional day may be very difficult from one year to the next. We advise parents of infants and young toddlers to consider not only the number of days they want immediately but also the number of days they may want in future years as flexibility for adding days may not be available.
Enrolling children in full time or part time slots
Each room offers full and part time slots for enrollment. After enrolling the children who are currently in the Center, we move to enrolling children on the waiting list. Families may choose to enroll their child in a part time slot if there is one available that compliments the remaining days of a full-time slot. The following is an outline of the number and types of part time slots that can be available for parents to choose on a first come first serve basis.
- Infants: 1, 3-day slot and 1, 2-day slot
- YT /OT: 1, 3-day slots and 2, 2-day slots
- PS: 3, 3-day and 3, 2-day slots
Because the 2 and 3-day slots compliment each other we suggest that
- 3 day slots could be: M,W,F; M,T,W; T, Th, F; or M, T, Th
- 2 day slots could be: T, Th; Th, Fri; M, W; or W, F
- Contracts for the academic year enrollment
- 10-month (mid August – mid June) and
- full-year contracts (mid August – mid August) are due by March 31 of that year.
- During this enrollment period, parents of part-time children can negotiate new schedules for the next year as slots become available.
- Parents may submit their sabbatical plans (in February) for the following year.
- Contracts are written to reflect the enrollment requests each family makes. These are binding contracts so please refer to their wording and terms.
- Infants who are enrolled for mid August of the following academic year may enroll during the summer months (mid June – mid August) if there is a space available and they are at least 6 weeks old.
Bowdoin College families may choose to sign 10-month or 12-month contract. In order to take advantage of this benefit they must sign a contract for the correct number of months. In the event that parents withdraw their child for the summer, they will place pay a retainer fee of 25% of their monthly tuition to hold the slot for this period.
Faculty who are on sabbatical may leave the Center for up to one year and return to their slot. In order to engage in this benefit, families must:
- Notify the Center Director by February of the next enrollment year, (This is at least 6 months notice so that a space can be filled by another child for this year).
- Place a signed sabbatical contract agreeing to its terms in their file. If a parent would like to enroll for the summer program after an academic sabbatical, they may have that opportunity as a slot becomes available.
- Pay 25% of their monthly tuition each month to hold their slot while on sabbatical.
- Return to pay tuition to the Center at the beginning of the next academic calendar year at the latest. If a family has an extended sabbatical (beyond 12 months), they can discuss arrangements with the administrator.
- Each Bowdoin family in the Center is able to use this benefit regardless of their affiliation to the College. (If a spouse is taking sabbatical from a different institution and the other spouse is a Bowdoin staff employee, this would apply to them as well). Community members are not offered this benefit.
Enrollment Contracts and Tuition:
Parents must pay a non-refundable enrollment deposit to secure their child’s place in the program. The Children’s Center retains the original enrollment deposit to be used towards the program. The deposit shall be credited toward tuition obligation for the last month of the Enrollment Period. However, the deposit may be forfeited upon early withdrawal (prior to the completion of the Enrollment Period), or for unmet financial obligations.
New Family enrollment
If you are new to the Center, you already will have toured the facility with the Director, reviewed the Family Handbook and some of the important policies, signed contracts, and determined billing information. Prior to your child’s first day, you and your child may visit the new room on several occasions. This offers parent and child an opportunity to find a place to explore the room together, and to develop a “goodbye” ritual to use.
When parents feel comfortable in their child’s space and when they share it with their children, everyone begins to see the room as an extension of home life and an experience with their family. When a child has the opportunity to share their room with their family, it can make the experience of separating and spending the day apart more manageable. We invite parents to speak with us about this in order to understand this practice more.
During the initial enrollment period, primary educators will provide families with a home visit. This is an opportunity to become more familiar with the routines and expectations of the program, to acquaint yourself with the primary educator, and to have your questions answered about the room. Often the older children enjoy seeing an primary educator at their home so that they can share their things and experiences with them.
The following forms must be completed for your child’s initial enrollment in our program:
- Enrollment Contract
- Personal Information Form
- Emergency Contact Information Card (“Pink Card”)
- Child Health Assessment Form
- Permission to Participate Form
Individual Emergency care plans will be completed for children with known medical or developmental problems that might require special care in an emergency
We will make sure that all emergency information, your child’s immunization forms, and health insurance information are kept updated by asking you to review them in January and June.
If your child is currently enrolled at the Center, the following forms must be completed at the beginning of each year:
- Enrollment contract
- Personal Information Form (only if your child is changing programs)
- Emergency Contact Information Card
- Updated Child Health Assessment Form or Updated Immunization Form
- Permission to Participate Form
In the event that pertinent information changes such as new cell numbers, new work numbers, new address, and/or new emergency contact information, please let us know.