1. Who is eligible for child care in the UCB Early Childhood Education Program centers? What center will my child attend, if accepted?
Children of UC Berkeley students, staff, faculty and post-doctoral families are prioritized for spaces in the UCB ECEP centers. Children of visiting scholars, LBNL, UCOP, and other UC campus staff/faculty families are also accepted. Community families may apply, but receive ‘secondary level’ priority. Placements are made at one of seven centers, depending on the child’s age and available spaces at the centers. Once a child is accepted into the ECEP program, he/she may continue in the program until he/she becomes too old, and as long as a parent maintains eligibility. Classroom and/or center assignments will change as the child ages.
2. How and when should parents apply?
Applications are available and accepted year-round. You may copy the application from the web site: housing.berkeley.edu/child/facstaff, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at (510) 642-1827.
Early applications are advisable. Many families apply within a few months after their child's birth, or before they move to the area. Applications for infant spaces can be initiated during pregnancy, but you must contact our office after the birth to verify name, gender, and birth date for the application to remain valid. Most children who are accepted will enroll at the start of the fall semester (mid-August), but limited spaces become available throughout the year. The acceptance process begins in February for summer and fall spaces. Although early application is encouraged, you can apply at any time — sometimes very late applicants are still accepted.
3. What ages do the UC Berkeley ECEP centers serve?
Children between three months and five years old are served at UC centers. Very young infants are most likely to be accepted in the fall. See our web page housing.berkeley.edu/child/lfacstaff for information on the ages served at each center.
4. Is there an application fee? A deposit? What are the monthly child care fees?
The application fee is currently $50 for non-students. Once accepted a $700 nonrefundable deposit is requested, but it is applied to the first month's fees. For the 2011-2012 academic year,fees for staff and faculty families are expected to be $2,000 per month for care in infant rooms, $1,792 per month in toddler rooms, and $1493 per month for preschool. A few scholarships for full-fee families are available each year. See our Scholarship Application for information regarding the Scholarship Lottery.
5. What is the philosophy of the program? Are centers accredited? What will my child's day be like?
The ECEP believes in building a working partnership with parents, family and the community to provide a child development program which nurtures a healthy sense of self-worth, fosters the development of skills in all developmental domains, encourages the development of independence and promotes diverse cultural values and acceptance. We believe in providing a loving, supportive environment where well-trained, sensitive staff appreciates the uniqueness of each child. The staff strives to help the child feel empowerment over her or his life. We believe that the program should be based on sound early childhood education and child
development theory and that practices should be developmentally appropriate.
Our centers strive to provide a warm, challenging environment that attends to the emotional, physical and educational growth of each child. To this end, we provide an atmosphere of respect for the individual child, in a warm, safe and clean supervised environment. For young infants, everything is "on demand." Babies eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired, are changed when they need diapering, and are cuddled and sung to regularly. In "wobbler" and toddler rooms, children eat together at small tables and nap at the same time. Small group singing and games begin. In toddler room a short "circle time" may take place. All children spend time outside in the play yards and/or on walks.
By preschool, dance, gymnastics and trips into the community are added to the schedule. Still, we encourage children's natural curiosity and their eagerness for information about the world around them. Curricular activities encourage thinking and logical reasoning, mathematical awareness, problem-solving skills, imaginative play, language skills, and socialization. Physical activity is encouraged and children spend a great deal of time outside in our ample play yards.
6. What is the adult-child ratio at the centers? What are the teacher qualifications?
ECEP staffs classrooms according to ‘best practice’ standards. Adult-child ratios at the centers range between 1:3 and 1:8 for infant through preschool rooms. Student Assistants often supplement staffing to provide additional care.
Most teachers have a Child Development Teacher permit or higher, and an AA degree or higher. Many of the teachers have a BA or MA in addition to the permit. Teacher Assistants have at least 12 ECE units and have, or are working toward, a permit. Student assistants are enrolled at UC Berkeley and have prior experience working with children. They receive in-service and on-the-job training throughout the year.
7. Will my child be involved in research if enrolled at UCB child care centers
Parents with children at all UCB centers should understand that their children may be observed for research or teacher training purposes, or that they may be approached regarding participation in studies or surveys.
Participation in research may take place at all centers, but may be more prevalent at the Haste Street Child Development Center and at the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center. Research is administered by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Human Development (IHD). The Child Study Center's current site was built in 1960, but the preschool affiliated with IHD has been in operation since 1928. Families accepting invitations for enrollment understand that their children will be observed for research and training purposes and will participate in closely monitored research studies. All research must be approved by the UCB Committee for Protection of Human Subjects, and reviewed by our own research coordinator. Children may be observed by researchers from within the observation galleries, or may be engaged in a "game" or specific task in a quiet research room. There are strict rules to ensure that a child’s participation in research does not interrupt classroom opportunities. For example a session cannot last more than 20 minutes, a child cannot "play games" for more than three sessions per week, and the child can refuse participation (though most enjoy it and ask to participate or "play games").
8. Do the centers operate year round?
Five of our centers operate year round and two centers close during the summer. The year-round centers are closed for a week in August and about two weeks between the fall and spring semesters, December-January. The ‘Academic Calendar Year Centers’ close between mid May and late August, and are also closed for three to four weeks between the fall and spring semesters, December-January. The centers are also closed for UC staff holidays and two to three days per year for staff development or center clean-up.
9. How many children are at the centers and how many openings occur each year?
ECEP centers vary in size from only 16 children at the historic Girton Hall to 80 at the Haste Street Center. Preschool rooms generally have 20-25 children enrolled, while an infant room will have 6-9 babies enrolled. Rooms with toddlers may vary between 8-16 children.
Although spaces can become available at any time due to vacancy, January, June and mid-August are the most typical times for enrollment. Most spaces open for new children in August..
10. I'm a UCB staff or faculty member. What are the chances that my child will be accepted?
There are several factors used in prioritizing applications, including the age range served in each classroom. For full-fee families the date of application is of primary importance. UCB students eligible for subsidy by the State of California Department of Education fill a percentage of spaces, primarily at academic-year centers. Enrollment in an ECEP infant or toddler room assures preschool acceptance, if the child continues in the ECEP program.
11. If my child is not accepted when I had hoped, does my application remain on a wait list? Do I have to re-apply each year?
Your application remains active and on a list until your child is age-eligible for Kindergarten — unless you tell us you are no longer interested, or if you do not respond to three contact attempts. If you are offered a space and decline, you may ask to remain on the list for a space that may become available at a later date.
When a space becomes available, it will be for a child of a particular age, and the applications for that age range will be reviewed. The date an application is received is very important. Our admissions coordinator will usually be able to give you a general idea regarding your child’s status on the wait list.