The Children's Center is sponsored by Fermi Research Alliance, the operating contractor of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It is a service available to all FRA and DOE employees, users, and long-term on-site subcontractors. The Children’s Center opened January 2, 1980 for children age 2 ½ -7 years. Since then an Infant/Toddler program has been added that provides care for children age 6 weeks-2 years.
The mission of The Children’s Center is to serve the diverse needs of the Fermilab community, which includes employees, users, contractors, and their children.
The Children's Center works to promote social, academic, emotional, and physical development of each child while taking into account his/her level of interest and ability.
Parents are advised to put their name on our waiting list as soon as they know they will need day care. We accept students on a first come, first serve basis except for when siblings are already in attendance at the center. Parents should schedule a visit at their convenience. At this visit, they will be able to tour the facility, meet staff members and visit with the classroom teacher.
The following forms must be turned in prior to enrollment:
Children enrolling at the Children's Center may choose from one of the following schedules:
The school is open from 6:45 AM until 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday, except for certain holidays or days when the Laboratory is officially closed (e.g. snow day). The school is officially closed on the following days: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, day after Thanksgiving, half a day Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and a half a day New Year's Eve, or any other holiday recognized by Fermilab. Tuition is charged if your child is scheduled to attend school on the designated holiday.
The Children’s Center has a security card system in place for the protection of the children. Once you have been accepted at the center, your Fermi ID will be activated to open the doors Monday through Friday, 6:45-5:30.
If you are not the parent associated with Fermilab, we will make arrangements for you to obtain a Parent ID. The Parent ID agreement form must be filled out and signed by the Administrator or Assistant Administrator. Once approved, the parent has to visit the Key and ID Office to have a picture taken. You will need to provide a driver’s license for identification. If you are not an American citizen, you will also need to provide documentation regarding your status, i.e.; green card, Visa, etc.
Children new to the center will be given a 2-week adjustment period. During this time, every attempt will be made to make the child feel welcome and comfortable in this new setting. Occasionally children do not adjust and it is in their best interest to leave the center. If this occurs, the parents will be given a 2-week notice to make other arrangements.
Parents are expected to help their children wash their hands immediately upon arrival at school. Please deposit lunch boxes, bottles, etc. in the refrigerator in your child’s classroom. Check your child in. If you need to leave a message for a teacher who has not arrived, please use the notepads or paper next to the check in/out sheets. If your child is having a hard time separating, please let a teacher know when you are ready to leave and she will assist you.
When picking up your child, please make sure you read the Daily notes, check your child’s cubby, take any possessions you have at the center (lunchbox, soiled clothing, toys, etc.) and communicate with your child’s teacher that you are leaving. You must also sign him or her out on the sign out sheet before leaving.
Parents will receive newsletters informing them of their child's activities, special events, etc. This newsletter will also be found taped to their cubby or in their take home folders.
The Children’s Center follows all lab policies in regard to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. The center is committed to offering an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Fermilab’s Nondiscrimination policy can be found on the WDRS web site in the Guide to the Laboratory’s Policies and Procedures section.
All staff members are bound by the center’s responsibility to maintain confidentiality regarding personal information including health, development of children, records, etc. The only exception to this is suspected child abuse. The employee is then expected to follow the child abuse policy.
If the complaint or grievance is an environment, safety or health related concern, and the parent feels the management representative is not addressing the concern, the parent should follow the procedure described in the Fermilab Environment, Safety, and Health Manual (FESHM), Chapter 1060, Fermilab Employee Concerns Program, or contact the WDRS representative at extension 8448.
A parent, who has any questions regarding the policy on sexual harassment or feels he has a complaint of sexual harassment, should contact the Equal Opportunity Manager directly at extension 4633. All inquiries and discussions are handled confidentially.
Grievances are school related problems and complaints in which the parent feels he/his child has not been treated equitably as stated in the Children's Center Handbook. Parents are encouraged to discuss problems with their children's teacher and each teacher is expected to know Day Care policies and procedures related to the individual classrooms and to explain them.
In most instances, a day care issue will be discussed with the teacher informally, and the parent may not label it a grievance -- but simply a concern, gripe, complaint, etc. Through accurate information, good communication and equitable supervision of the group, the teacher will gain the respect and confidence of the parent so that most problems are resolved at this level.
When a parent feels he cannot discuss a problem/complaint informally with the teacher, there is a formal grievance procedure that can be used as outlined below.
All problems/complaints whether handled informally or through the formal grievance procedure are expected to be timely -- right after the incident/problem occurs. This makes it possible to obtain more accurate data/information.
Level 1: The parent should submit to his child's teacher in writing what the complaint/problem is (the nature of the problem, the facts on which it is based) and what action the parent requests. This must be done within five working days of the incident/problem that prompted the complaint.
The teacher will investigate the grievance, will make a determination about the grievance, and will reply to the parent in writing within five working days of receiving the written grievance.
Level 2: If the parent wishes to appeal the teacher's response, the parent shall do so in writing to the Day Care Administrator within five working days of the teacher's response. This written appeal should include a copy of the original grievance, a copy of the teacher's response, and a letter explaining why the parent does not find the answer to be satisfactory and what action is requested.
If the subject of the parent's grievance is the child's teacher, the parent may start the process at Level 2 of the grievance procedure.
The Day Care Administrator will meet with the parent and appropriate persons to discuss the grievance, will make a determination, and will inform the parent in writing within five working days from the receipt of the appeal.
Level 3: If the parent is not satisfied with the response of the Day Care Administrator, the parent may appeal in writing within five days to the Benefits Administrator giving reasons for dissatisfaction. A copy of all the correspondence should be attached.
A Benefits Office representative will conduct an investigation and issue a written answer within five working days of receipt of the appeal.
Level 4: If the parent does not consider the issue resolved by the Level 3 response, he may request in writing that the Benefits Administrator refer the grievance to the Head of WDRS. This request must be made within five working days of receipt of the last answer and all previous correspondence must be attached. The Head of WDRS will investigate the grievance and will issue a decision within fifteen working days of receipt of the appeal.
The decision of the Head of WDRS shall be final and binding on all concerned.
Time Limits: If a grievance is not presented within the time limits as spelled out above, it shall be considered waived and resolved. If the appointed management representative does not answer a grievance within the specified time limits, the parent may elect to immediately appeal the grievance to the next level.
Fire and Tornado:
We practice fire and tornado drills monthly. The children practice both indoor and outdoor procedures. Our evacuation plans are posted in all classrooms and the gym/atrium. Emergency procedures are also posted.
MEDIA RELATIONS: The spokesperson for the Office of Communications will answer any and all questions regarding incidents for The Children’s Center. Staff members are to refer all questions to the spokesperson.
Comfortable and washable clothing are recommended for your child. Comfortable because children are active and their motions should not be inhibited by their clothes. Washable because the program provides many different textured experiences. Please bring an extra set of clothes that are appropriate for the season. These will be used if a child has an accident, spills, etc. Snow pants, boots, mittens, hats, scarves, etc. are necessary from late fall through early spring. These items are needed whether or not there is snow on the ground.
The children wear smocks for messy projects but sometimes they are not enough protection. Children should be free to engage in experiences with sensory media (water, paint, perhaps even mud) without concern over their clothes. Girls are encouraged not to come to the Center in skirts, dresses, or party shoes because they interfere with play. Sandals or open toe shoes are not permitted on the playground.
We are required to provide a supervised rest/nap period for all children less than six (6) years of age. The Fermilab Children's Center will furnish a child sized comfortable cot or sleeping mat for each child. Parents may provide a child-sized blanket for their child. Rest shall be in the afternoon of the day and shall not exceed two (2) hours (3, 4 and 5 year olds), 2.5 hours (15 mo. - 2 year olds), and Infants on demand.
The center will provide nutritional snacks in the morning and in the afternoon. Lunches, however, are to be provided by the parents. Although milk and juice are available, many children prefer bringing a beverage from home.
Food to share with classmates is allowed only if the food has been commercially prepared and is in an unopened packaged in the original container. It may not have previously been served.
Parents are welcome to send cookies or healthy snacks to share with their children's friends and teachers on birthdays or special occasions (such as the birth of a new sister or brother). We encourage parents to send a food that would be nutritious, as well as tasty. Please let your child's teacher know in advance when bringing a snack. We do not allow treat bags, balloons, or toys of any kind to be brought for children on birthdays.
We expect all children in the Day Care (3-6 year olds) to be totally proficient in toileting skills. For this reason, children are not to be sent in the disposable pull-ups. Underwear must be worn. The teachers in the 2 year old room make toilet training a priority. Your help at home is essential. Further information regarding toileting is sent home when your child enters the 2-year-old classroom. Before children move to the 3 year old room, they must demonstrate their ability to be accident free, be able to undress and dress as needed and wash their hands independently for a 2 week time period. Children new to the center will be expected to show this proficiency during their first two weeks of enrollment. If children do not meet these requirements, their parents will be given a two-week notice to make other day care arrangements.
Medicines may be administered to a child at the Center provided that:
Each child entering the program will be required to have a physical examination. The attached form must be completed prior to enrollment or include a notice from the physician that the form is being faxed to The Children’s Center at (630) 840-5162. Please ask for the form to be updated when your child has an exam. If medical forms are not updated when we request updates, your child will not be admitted to the center until a completed form is supplied.
Parents are asked not to bring children into school when there are present any signs of illness developing. A child will not be admitted to the Center on a given day if the child is judged to be ill by the staff member who greets the child. Your cooperation as a responsible parent is required in this respect to prevent the spread of illness to the other children.
Children will not be admitted if showing signs of:
•Fever •Vomiting •Diarrhea • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
•Rash (unless parent brings a note from the doctor specifically stating the cause of the rash and the fact that it is non-contagious).
• Any contagious disease such as strep throat, chicken pox, scarlet fever, measles, and mumps. These are highly contagious. Please report contagious diseases to the staff.
• Pinworm, lice, or any other parasitic infestation. These are transmitted by direct contact and are highly communicable. Please report any such infestation to the staff.
Children will be sent home if:
• A fever of 101 or more is present
• Three diarrhea stools occur within a 6 hour period.
• The child is vomiting.
• The child develops unusual rash.
• Any observation that presents a health concern to the child or the other children, such as an eye irritation.
Sick children need to be picked up from the center within 30 minutes. If we cannot reach the Fermi parent within 15 minutes of the first phone call, we will start calling the people on your pick-up list. A teacher will remain with the sick child in a comfortable area until the parent arrives.
We send children home for their personal comfort and to attempt to stop any spread of disease to all of the children. If a child is sent home from the center, he must remain home for the day after being sent home or return with a form supplied by the center that his doctor has filled out and signed. A sample Re-admittance Form is attached.
Each case of discipline is handled individually. Usually the child and teacher discuss what has happened and the child is informed of the unsatisfactory behavior and told that the incident should not reoccur. The child may then be redirected. If the situation continues to occur, the child may be asked to take a break from activities. Depending on the situation, the incident will be brought to the parent’s attention so the staff and parents can work together to resolve the problem.
The Children’s Center reserves the right to discharge any student from school. Specific reasons for such action include but are not limited to: a child who is verbally and physically abusive to other children and staff, a child who continually destroys school property, a child whose individual needs would be better met in a different environment, a child with toileting problems which interfere with teaching and learning times, or non-payment of tuition. Before a child would be removed from school, a conference would be scheduled to discuss the problem and to compile a list of solutions to be attempted. One or more follow-up conferences may then be scheduled. If these attempts do not work in an agreed time span, a two-week written notice of removal will be sent to the parents.
Biting can be a normal stage of development for children. The teachers normally notice signs of frustration in a child and take steps to control the situation before a child bites. There are times when a child bites even though he has not been provoked or the child is too quick for a teacher to intervene. If biting appears to be occurring on a regular basis, the teachers will inform the Day Care Administrator and document bites. At this point, the parents will be contacted and a meeting will be held to discuss how to handle the biting problem. If a child bites hard enough to break the skin and cause bleeding, he will be immediately suspended from the Center, pending a review by the Day Care Administrator and meeting with the parents. Biting is also a cause for dismissal from the Center if the Day Care Administrator determines this to be appropriate.
We hold two types of conferences a year, for participating families. The Informal conferences are scheduled mid-winter and formal conferences are at the end of the school year. Teachers are available to discuss your child’s development and growth during this time. Once the schedules of conference times are posted, you may sign up for a time slot that best fits your needs. Please see The Children’s Center administration if you are unable to be on-site for the conference dates. We will make arrangements for alternative dates.
The teachers are also available to discuss your child with you at any point in the year. If you would like to schedule a conference, please contact your child’s teacher to make arrangements.
The staff at The Children’s Center recognizes the importance of parental input regarding the care of their children. We encourage parents to collaborate with the teachers, and share information that helps the staff better understand the child’s needs.
Parents are invited to visit the Center at any time. If your visit is disruptive to the program or the other children, you may need to take your child to an empty room for the duration of your visit. You may also call your child's teachers at any time during the day to check on your child. We welcome your input and presence in the classroom. If you would like to share an activity or explain an aspect of your culture, please talk with your child’s teacher.
We schedule several activities during the year for parents and children to participate. Some of these events are after hours and others are during the school day. We hope you take advantage of these events and enjoy the time spent with your child as well as the opportunity to meet other parents at the center.
The Children’s Center takes a developmental approach in teaching young children. Learning is an interactive process. Developmentally appropriate practices allow children to learn interactively through real experiences, exploration and through hands-on-activities. Our preparation of the environment, planning of activities, and experiences provided, is based upon our observations of the children’s needs, interests and assessed developmental abilities.
• To provide care for each infant or toddler while they are away from parents, giving primary attention to their safety and well-being.
•To provide a staff of qualified caregivers who are trained and who show a deep interest in each child as a growing individual.
• To provide stimulating experiences and opportunities for infants and toddlers to learn about themselves and the world around them.
• To provide a program for developmental, physical, and emotional needs of each child.
• To provide an atmosphere for infants that allows for natural sleeping and waking rhythms of each child.
• To provide an atmosphere where parents, staff, and children work together to form an extended family for the child.
• To provide a daily program of constructive experience for each child through planned physical activity, creative play, music, stories, art projects, and personal attention according to each child's needs.
Eating: All infants entering the center must be proficient at taking a bottle. We welcome nursing mothers but mothers must be available on demand. In those instances where a mother cannot respond quickly, supplemental bottles will be given. In the event that the mother cannot come to breastfeed or the infant refuses all bottle feedings termination may be needed for the child’s health and safety.
Sleeping: All infants will be placed on their back to sleep because it is the safest sleep position and provides the best protection against SIDS.
FULL DAY $822.70/month $38.00/daily rate
HALF DAY $493.62/month $22.80/daily rate
FULL DAY $887.65/month $41.00/daily rate
HALF DAY $532.59/month $24.60/daily rate
FULL DAY $982.91/month $45.40/daily rate
HALF DAY $589.75/month $27.24/daily rate
Pre-Toddler and Infant Care
FULL DAY $1082.50/month $50.00/daily rate
HALF DAY $649.50/month $30.00/daily rate