What are your hours?
NDC is open daily from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm Monday through Friday all year except for holidays. You can bring your child or pick her or him up at anytime during the day. Just remember, your child’s friends will be eagerly awaiting their arrival to get ready to play.

What does a typical day at NDC look like?
We are open all year round with exceptions of national holidays. 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, hand washing 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 with chatting with a teacher and welcoming friends and some drawing and small toy play. The children will then, usually without much direction, go on to play where they choose to play: in the block room, the doll house, the hide out, engage in dress-up play or quietly read a book or help the teacher prepare a snack. One teacher will initiate an art project while one of our Carleton student workers will prepare 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). After lunch (prepared in our kitchen from scratch) 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. Often parents will join their child to celebrate his or her birthday with treats and a singing. In the afternoon the morning more or less repeats itself, with the children often continuing the game and free play they got 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 and characters come and go. We couldn’t make it up for them! Most days, parents arrive much too early to take their child home in the mind of their friends.

NDC is licensed for 20 children. All children are between the ages of 21/2 and 6yrs old. We are licensed for toilet trained children but 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?
NDC provides 2 snacks and a hot meal everyday (included in the cost of the tuition). Lunches are prepared and served by us. We serve kid friendly menus such as spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup, Quesadillas, and pizza. All meals are accompanied by at least 1 fruit and vegetable with as much local and organic product as possible used. Milk and water are served, and food allergies and intolerances are observed, as are the State guidelines for child nutrition.
Snacks consist of biscuits, bagels, cereal, muffins in Am and crackers with cheese peanut butter or cream cheese for Pm snacks. 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.
Parents are welcome to join us for lunch anytime, especially to celebrate special occasions.

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, 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, 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.

Outside time: 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, learn a lot about themselves and the world they live in. 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, as does our furniture, pots and pans in the kitchen, etc.

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.

What food is offered during snack and lunch?
All food is prepared at the Daycare and our food is purchased locally. All meals meet the standards of the Minnesota Department of Health and go well beyond that by using fresh fruit and vegetables whenever possible. We can meet most children’s dietary requirements with the food we serve on site and we will work with you if you have special needs or concerns. We provide a hot lunch in addition to morning and afternoon snacks. And often parents will celebrate their child’s birthday with treats at lunch.

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)