Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put my child on the waiting list before s/he is born?
Do I have to be a student or employee of St. Thomas for my child to be enrolled in the Child Development Center?
No, you do not have to be a student or employee of the University for your child to attend the Center. However, we give priority on our waiting lists first to the children of current UST students, then current faculty and staff, then siblings of current enrollees, and then community members.
How long will I have to wait to enroll my child?
Unfortunately, there is no exact timeline. We enroll children continuously throughout the year, with most openings occurring in January, May and September. In general, most students (with top priority) wait a minimum of 12 - 14 months to get into the program. Most community members (with the lowest priority) wait a minimum of 18 - 20 months to get into the program.
Will I pay a fee to be on the waiting list?
Yes, there is a waiting list fee of $50 for students and $75 for non-students. The waiting list fee is non-refundable.
If I put my child on the waiting list as an infant, but there isn't a spot for my child before s/he turns 16 months, do I have to start at the bottom the waiting list?
No, we sort the waiting lists first by priority status (student, faculty/staff, sibling, community) and then by the date you originally got on. That way you are credited for whatever time you've already spent waiting.
Does the Center take children on a drop-in basis?
No, the Center is not licensed to provide drop-in care.
What are the teacher's qualifications?
The University of St. Thomas Child Development Center is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS allows staff to qualify for their positions in a number of ways, each involving some combination of education and experience. While no two staff people in the center have exactly the same qualifications, all our staff meet and most exceed the DHS guidelines.
Does the Center do background checks on staff?
Yes, the Minnesota Department of Human Services completes a background study on any individual who provides direct service to children in the center.
What are the hours of operation for the Child Development Center?
We are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm . The Center is open year-round. We close for the same holidays as the University corporation, and 4 other days throughout the year (dates to be announced) for staff development.
If my child is out sick or on vacation, do I still pay the fee for day(s) missed?
Yes, you are actually paying for a spot in the center, not for individual days of attendance. Families have the option to take a break from the program. A break is defined as any period of absence lasting 30 consecutive days or more. If a family wants to take a break from the program but guarantee their child's spot when they return, they can pay a holding fee of $100 per child in lieu of their regular monthly parent fee.
I understand that the monthly fee includes meals, but can I send food for my child to eat during the day if I choose?
No, we do not allow food from outside the center (except breast milk) for a few good reasons. First, our license requires us to ensure each child has been offered a nutritionally balanced diet throughout the day. That is virtually impossible to do when we're not planning the menus ourselves. Also, we have neither the space to properly store food from home, nor the staff to prepare it in a timely manner. And finally, sharing a meal in a family-style setting promotes social interaction, fine motor and problem-solving skills, and a greater understanding of nutrition, table manners and cultural traditions and practices that may be new to your child.
Can the Center accommodate my child's special diet?
Yes, in most cases we can accommodate special diets.
Can I choose my child's classroom and/or primary caregiver?
No, usually it is not possible for parents to make that choice because we are filling a particular spot in a particular classroom.
Can I visit my child in the Center during the day.
Yes, parents are welcome to come and spend time with their child whenever they wish. Generally speaking, the more comfortable you are in this setting, the more comfortable your child will be in this setting.
When will my child start to work on school skills like writing and counting?
At the University of St.Thomas Child Development Center, we use the Creative Curriculum which is very developmental in it's focus. Children work building on secure attachments, motor, language and social skills, problem-solving and independence. As they move through toddlers and into preschool children learn to think critically and creatively, and to make healthy choices for themselves. We choose to focus on these developmental skills because we believe (and research supports) that children who reach some mastery of these skills in early childhood are more likely to excel academically and to be happier people throughout their lives.