What are your hours?
NDC is open daily from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm Monday through Friday all year except for holidays.

What does a typical day at NDC look like?
You are welcome to drop your child off or pick them up at any time during the day, but please remember that your child’s friends are eagerly awaiting their arrival to begin a day of play.

7:30am                 Center opens
7:30-8:30am       Greet teacher, quiet, small motor skills
8:30am                 Second teacher arrives, whole center opens, free play
9-9:30am             Snacks, free play continues
10am                     Art project
11am                     Outside time
12(Noon)             Bathroom and hand washing, teacher reads a book, and lunch time
12:45pm               Rest time begins
1:30pm                 Rest time over, art project
2:00pm                Free play, whole center opens
3-3:30pm            Snacks, free play continues
4-5:30pm            Outside time
5:30pm                Center Closes

The day starts by chatting with a teacher and welcoming friends while drawing and engaging in small toy play. The children will then, usually without much direction, go on to play wherever they choose: in the block room, the doll house, the hide out, the book corner, or help the teacher prepare a snack. One teacher will initiate an art project while one of our Carleton student workers prepares a mid-morning snack. We will have a short group time before we get dressed to go outside (which we’ll do almost ALL days of the year). Following lunch, the younger children, and all who wish to, take a short nap, while one teacher takes the rising kindergartners for a walk in the neighborhood, which includes downtown Northfield and the Carleton campus. After one hour, those who are awake are welcome to draw, paint, trim, or glue whatever art project the teachers have prepared. This is followed by free play outside and an afternoon snack before parents arrive.

Often parents will join their child to celebrate his or her birthday with treats and a singing during afternoon snack. In the afternoon, the morning more or less repeats itself, with the children continuing the game and free play activities they started in the morning, or sometimes even days ago. They develop an amazing attention span sometimes and their make-believe can become quite intricate and elaborate as characters come and go. We couldn’t make it up for them! Most days, parents arrive much too early as children wish to stay longer to play with their friends.

NDC is licensed for 20 children. All children are between the ages of 2 1/2 and 6-years-old. We are licensed for toilet trained children, but we are able to make exceptions for children in the “learning phase.” We do not have a school-age program and are not able to accept children once they have started school.
Priority is given to children who are full time. We do offer some part time options:
5 day part time AM or 5 day part time PM
4 day all day
3 day all day
Please call or email for tuition information and availability of space.

What do lunches and snacks consist of?
Lunches are prepared by parents at home and sent to daycare with the child. Parents are welcome to join us for lunch anytime, especially to celebrate special occasions.

NDC provides 2 snacks everyday (included in the cost of the tuition). Food allergies and intolerances are observed, as are the state guidelines for child nutrition. Snacks consist of dried fruits, apple sauce, crackers, and peanut butter. Substitutes are included, but we serve few snacks with sugar and use as many organic and whole wheat products as possible. Good nutrition in young children is very important. We make exceptions for birthdays and special occasions where sweet treats are fine.

What is your approach to discipline?
NDC does not use timeouts or separation as methods of discipline. When a child is having difficulty managing themselves, a teacher takes the child out of the situation and holds them in their lap or next to them while the child gets him/her self in control. Then when child is ready, the teacher helps child reenter the game or choose a new activity. With this method we hope to help build self control and confidence, as well as personal direction skills.

What is outside time like?
Our facility includes a huge outdoor playground and outside play is a very important part of our program. We expect the children to have a lot of fun and learn a lot about themselves and the world in which they live. In doing this, they get dirty some days. We take this as a sign of intelligence. We hope you do too!

Is there TV?
Northfield Daycare has been in operation for many decades without any TV’s, computers, or other electronic games. They do not fit our philosophy of free and make-believe play, problem solving, and getting along with your friends (and it keeps the electricity bill low). Why watch “The Land of Make-Believe” on TV if you could be right in the middle of such a land, right here at Daycare and make up your own story? We guide the children in wondering about the world, social and natural, that they see and experience every day themselves. We discourage families from bringing toys from home, other than a small nap toy. We have plenty of toys and we are proud that we maintain our toys to serve many generations of kids.

Can you explain the focus on play rather than learning basic math, Spanish, etc?
We believe that a young child’s job is to play. There is no proof that a child who can read at age 4 will enjoy reading at age 17, nor that a child who can do basic arithmetic at age 5 will excel in calculus in college. Children are generalists in their curiosity and interests and develop at a different pace from each other; none of this is an indication of their intelligence or joy of learning in later years. We recognize that and allow them to take the initiative and we avoid any formal instruction. Children who try hard to color between the lines in a coloring book, may loose interest in expressing in drawings how they felt when their mom took them to the pool or when their sister was mad at them. We encourage children to draw and tell their own stories (and soon enough they will learn to write these down), to take worms apart in the play ground, to figure out which way water flows that is spilled from the water table, or to marvel at the flowers in the yard that weren’t there a week ago (let alone the bumble bees) – it is that type of learning and discovery that has turned generations of Daycare kids into engaged learners throughout their school and college years. When a child is ready to write their name, not only will the teachers help, but also many of the older friends, who learned from their friends the year before.

Are there some parents I could talk to about the daycare?
Northfield Daycare parents past and present are happy to share their experiences with the Daycare. Feel free to contact NDC for the names and contact information of the parents.

Do you close for holidays?
Northfield Daycare Center observes the following holidays:

  • New Years Day (2 days)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving (2 days)
  • Christmas (2 days)