On Campus Child Care

If my child doesn’t get a slot in one of Harvard's on-campus child care centers or my family doesn't choose to apply to an on-campus child care center, where else should I look?

There are several state and local resources that can help you identify other group child care options.

For lists of licensed family day care providers and group child care centers in your community, visit the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and click on “Find Early Education & Care Programs” at… Read more about If my child doesn’t get a slot in one of Harvard's on-campus child care centers or my family doesn't choose to apply to an on-campus child care center, where else should I look?

Is there any financial aid available to help pay for child care?

Some of the child care centers are able to make a limited amount of internally generated financial aid available each year. Consult individual centers for more information.

Benefits-eligible faculty, staff and postdocs may be eligible for one of several child care scholarship programs. Please go here for more information.

There is currently no child care funding available for students.

Why are the on-campus child care center tuition costs so high?

Centers invest in recruiting and retaining skilled and experienced personnel. An overwhelming body of evidence connects educated and experienced caregivers, small group sizes and low teacher-child ratios with high-quality early childhood programs. Across the six centers, three-quarters of teachers have BA, MA or higher degrees; salaries are higher than normative given longer teacher tenure; historic turnover is low; many group sizes are smaller than both National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards and Massachusetts regulations; and teacher/child ratio is… Read more about Why are the on-campus child care center tuition costs so high?

Where do my on-campus child care center tuition payments go?

The revenue for all six on-campus centers is generated by parent tuitions and fees. Families’ tuition payments fund the budgets of the child care centers; payments do not go to Harvard. The centers are independent 501(c)(3) – nonprofit corporations. Eighty-five to 92 percent of the child-care centers’ total budgets go to salaries and benefits. Because the centers are individually incorporated nonprofits, they pay small-business rates for their benefits, and negotiate and pay for their own health plans and insurance policies.

Do slots in Harvard's on-campus child care centers ever open up mid-year?

Each center requires parents to sign a contract. Enrollment is focused around the academic calendar, with new enrollment concentrated in the fall. While there are sometimes mid- year enrollments, most children remain in their programs for the length of the contract. If your care needs fall outside of this schedule, please reach out to centers individually. They can sometimes pair two families with matching needs.

How easy it to move from one on the Harvard on-campus child care center to another?

Once you have signed a contract with one child care center, you have made a commitment to that center. There is no way to “transfer” to another. If you want to withdraw from a center, you must follow its procedures and policies, which means paying tuition until your slot can be filled or until the end of the contract. That said, all centers want families to be happy and center administrations will work with you to the best of their ability.

How can I increase my odds of getting a slot at one of the on-campus child care centers?

Provide accurate information. We rely on accurate information entered into the online application system to be able to contact families. Please be sure to enter all relevant information carefully and completely. Please be sure to include an HUID, if applicable. If you do not yet have an HUID, please be sure return to  your application and provide it as soon as you can.

Apply early. It’s a good idea to apply as soon as you know you will need care, whether you are expecting a baby or moving to Harvard. But please note, even if you are applying “late,”… Read more about How can I increase my odds of getting a slot at one of the on-campus child care centers?

How long are the waiting lists for the on-campus child care centers, and what does my position on a waiting list mean?

Waiting lists don’t tell us much. Families may have their names on several lists at the same time, and may leave their name on a waiting list even once they are enrolled elsewhere. Centers are unlikely to give you an actual number on their waiting list, as the number of families in the categories ahead of you may change. In addition, you may be waiting only for a full time space, and someone who applied after you and wants a part-time spot may be offered a space first if that opens (or vice versa). In each category, the date of application is the determining factor. A center may tell you… Read more about How long are the waiting lists for the on-campus child care centers, and what does my position on a waiting list mean?

What are my chances of getting a place at one of the on-campus child care centers?

The child-care centers are very popular and receive many applications. Certain classrooms may fill up quickly. Even if you are applying “late,” however, don't assume that they are full and that it’s not worth applying. This is a very mobile population and things can change quickly. The Office of Work/Life encourages families to apply to a center they might be interested in, while also educating yourself about other options.

If I apply to one of the on-campus child care centers, have I applied to them all?

No, families must apply to each center individually. You can apply to one or more centers using the universal online application, available at the web sites of each of the centers. You will only need to enter your family’s information once. You will need to indicate, however, which centers you wish to receive your application.

How should I decide which of the on-campus child care center(s) to apply to?

We encourage you to get to know individual child care centers before making the decision to apply. Please visit their web sites and/or make appointments to visit if possible; you can find contact information and website links on this information sheet. Child care centers are not all alike. There are structural and cultural differences from one school to another. When choosing a child care center, it's important to consider the best fit for your family and child. Please be aware that child care… Read more about How should I decide which of the on-campus child care center(s) to apply to?

What are the differences among the on-campus child care centers?

Each of the child-care centers was founded under different circumstances at different times. Their physical spaces, population served, geographic location and original charters have contributed to shaping the organizations. There are some obvious differences: For example while they are all parent-governed programs, two centers are co-operatives, meaning parents are required to contribute to daily operation of the center, and the other four are not. One center serves hot lunch. Each center has a slightly different schedule and calendar. Their buildings and outdoor spaces vary. But beyond… Read more about What are the differences among the on-campus child care centers?

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