Frequently Asked Questions

What is the teacher-student ratio?

Infant 3:7, Toddler 3:9, Preschool 3:15 and Pre-K 3:20

What are the hours?

Family ACCESS Early Learning Center is open from 8:00am and closes promptly at 6:00 PM.

Do you enroll children throughout the year?

Yes, as space allows.

How do I enroll?

Family engagement begins with the first visit to the Early Learning Center when parents have the opportunity to meet with the Early Learning Center team and to tour the facility. Then, an application is submitted along with a non-refundable application fee of $25. Children are admitted based upon available space. Waitlist applications are prioritized in the order the application is received. Current siblings of children currently enrolled will have priority.

Do you have to live in Newton to attend Family ACCESS Early Learning Center?

Families do not have to live in Newton to attend Family ACCESS Early Learning Center. Most of our families are from the Newton area, along with Waltham, Watertown, and Wellesley.

How do you handle misbehavior?

Respectful communication and lots of connections are some of the ways we create classrooms that show respect. When all else fails, you may hear a teacher say, “I can’t let you…” or “Would you like to walk by yourself or hold my hand?” Teachers establish clear expectations, a “yes” environment with predictable routines.

Does my child have to be potty trained before enrolling?

No. If a child is not yet potty trained, the parent/guardian will need to provide diapers or pull-ups and wipes. We work in cooperation with families to toilet train children when they are ready.

How will my child's classroom teacher communicate with me?

All of our classrooms have telephones and computers. Classroom teachers communicate mainly via email. If your child’s teacher must get in touch with you, they will call the number listed on your child’s enrollment forms.

What additional enrichment will Family ACCESS Early Learning Center provide for my child?

Family ACCESS Early Learning Center strives to provide children with a wide variety of enriching learning experiences. For example, musician Hugh Hanley visits our program once a month, and for now the classes are being held in our outdoor space. Hugh Hanley has been singing with young children for over 35 years. Hugh is an early childhood educator, music specialist and entertainer. He draws from a wide and varied repertoire of songs, finger plays, and music activities that are appropriate, accessible, and highly engaging.

What is Family ACCESS Early Learning Center's allergy policy?

Family ACCESS Early Learning Center practices a nut-free policy; however, we are housed in a building that is not necessarily nut-free. Because of this, parents/guardians, educators and students work together in following these guidelines and policies.

All parents/guardians will be asked to fill out a sheet listing any and all allergies that their child(ren) may have. Along with this sheet, parents/guardians will be given an Individual Health and Allergy Plan to complete and sign along with their child’s healthcare provider. A medication consent form must also be completed and signed by the parent and medical practitioner.

Parents/guardians are required to meet with their child’s classroom teacher prior to the child’s start at Family ACCESS.

Does my child need to be up to date with immunizations?

A physical exam is required and must be updated yearly by your pediatrician. Immunizations should be up to date and are required by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care for all children in a licensed childcare program. Prevention is our model. We are able to provide information about medical or religious exemptions to the required immunizations on request.

Children need to have documentation of lead testing. If your child is over nine (9) months of age, you will need to provide documentation that your child has been screened for lead poisoning.

What is the Family ACCESS Early Learning Center's sick child policy?

It is assumed that if a child is well enough to attend the Center, he/she is well enough to fully participate in all planned activities. If a child is ill and/or has a fever above 99 degrees, or is vomiting or has diarrhea, he/she may not attend the program until he/she is fever-free or symptom-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication.

What happens if my child gets sick? How much time do I have to pick up a sick child when I use public transportation and rely on a train/bus schedule?

If your child becomes ill at childcare, you will be contacted right away. Every effort will be made to make him/her as comfortable as possible until you or your designee arrives. Teachers should be informed of your approximate arrival time.

Does Family ACCESS Early Learning Center follow the Newton Public School schedule?

No, we do not follow the Newton Public School schedule, although many of our holiday breaks are the same. A detailed calendar is shared with families each year and may be found in the Parent Handbook and on our website. The program is open year-round, closing for holidays and teacher professional development days. Tuition is not reduced by legal holidays, attendance of the child, severe weather/emergency closings, vacations, or extraordinary circumstances.

How will snow days or emergency notifications be communicated?

If Family ACCESS Early Learning Center closes for a snow day or has a delayed opening, our emergency notification systems will alert families via email, text, and/or an automated phone call. We currently use the One Call Now service to alert staff and parents of sudden closings due to weather and other emergencies.

What do your Mental Health Consultants do?

Family ACCESS’s Mental Health Consultants work with closely with teachers to support a nurturing classroom environment, positive teacher-child interactions and address the individual social/emotional needs of children. Specific activities include: weekly classroom observations, informal sharing of information; participation in teacher team meetings; mentoring and coaching; and, consultation as needed for an emerging challenge or crisis.

In addition to time spent in the classroom, our clinicians are available to meet with parents and/or children to provide added support around the life events that all families face: new siblings, the death of a grandparent, a move, etc. They are also available to provide support, referrals and counseling for those times when your child’s worries, behaviors, anger or sadness cause you concern.

How do you communicate with parents?

On-going, respectful communication with parents is a cornerstone of our program. On a daily basis, teachers and families share information during drop off and pick up and via email and phone. Each classroom sends home a weekly newsletter documenting the events of the week in words and photographs. While formal Parent-Teacher conferences are held three times a year to share information between school and home and to discuss children’s development, adjustment, and goals, families are encouraged to ask for a meeting at any time with their child’s teachers when they feel the need. Program administration communicates with families via e-mail, regular newsletters and quarterly Director’s Coffees and is always available to discuss concerns, answer questions and hear feedback about parents’ experiences in the program.

Do you assess children's progress?

Yes! At Family ACCESS teachers are engaged in ongoing assessments of children throughout the year. These assessments are formally shared with families at designated times. Teachers in Toddler and Preschool classrooms complete a comprehensive mid-year developmental progress report in February and a final portfolio (with pictures, work samples and developmental notes) at the end of the school year in August. In addition to mid-year reports and end of year portfolios, parents of infants and children with IEP’s/IFSP’s receive formal written reports in November and May. To help keep track of the children’s progress, teachers take observational notes throughout the year. Pictures of the children’s process of learning are used to accompany these notes.

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Contact Us:

492 Waltham Street
Newton, MA 02465
Tel: (617) 969-5906
Fax: (617) 964-3975

Our Mission:

As we have for over 100 years, Family ACCESS empowers and strengthens families and the community by providing programs that nurture child development, promote effective parenting skills and supports working parents. Our new name reminds us of the doors that open, and the rich journeys that result, when children and families have access to the very best education-based resources and programs.

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